The Goldendale Sentinel, Goldendale, WA., July 1, 1954
Diamond Anniversary Edition insert, page 1
WELLENBROCK FAMILY AMONG EARLY DAY SETTLERS IN GLENWOOD VALLEY
Anton and Louise Wellenbrock brought their family up
two boys, Ernest and Harry to the Camas Prairie on April 20, 1880.
Anton Wellenbrock was a brick and stone mason by trade, also an iron worker and had never milked a cow.
They had originally migrated to the United States from Germany in 1865 and landed at New York and went to Cincinnati, Ohio where he worked in an iron mill until a strike was called. Not wishing to be called a scab, he went to Pittsburgh and got another job in a rolling mill. Then another strike, so he took his family and went to Norfolk, Virginia where he followed brick laying. After a time there were more strikes, so they were on the move again and went to Cleveland, Ohio where he worked in a rolling mill. After several years and there was a strike, so he went to work to Topeka, Kansas and another brick laying job. Another strike, so he left brick laying, took up a Prairie Claim and started his first farming. The grasshoppers proceeded to eat his first crop, so he tried for a second crop and a prairie fire took that crop as well as their home.
By this time the railroad was built across the continent so they took the train for San Francisco were again he went to work as a brick layer. After a short time a strike was called so he was out of a job.
In looking through a German newspaper, he saw an article written by H.F. Troh telling of the wonderful timber and homesteads in the Camas Prairie. Interested by the article he took his family and came by ocean vessel to Portland and by river boat up the Columbia to Bingen. They were met by Mr. Troh who hauled them to the Camas Prairie.
They spent their first night at Chris Epsen's place. He was a bachelor homesteader who lived on what we now call the Bowman Place.
After establishing a home here, Mr. Wellenbrock used to make frequent trips to The Dalles to find work to support the family.
It was while he was on one of these trips before 1884 that Mrs. Wellenbrock one night heard someone call. At first she thought it was Indians, but soon she became convinced that it was someone calling for help. Near home she found Mr. Epsen who had been thrown from a horse and had broken his leg. She brought him some blankets and then went on foot to the Henningsen place, where Frank Lyle now lives, for help. The next day a man was sent to get the nearest doctor who was at Hood River. On the following day Mr. Epsen was loaded into a wagon and they started out to meet the doctor. They met somewhere near Gilmer and the doctor ordered that he be taken to the hospital where the leg had to be amputated.
On still another one of Mr. Wellenbrock's trips to The Dalles in 1890, the oldest daughter, Bertha, got lost on the way home from school. The little 7 year old girl was lost all night and the next day. She was found on the hill about 1 mile back of the Borde place, what we know as the Young Place. Most of the countryside joined in the hunt for the girl, and when she was found about 4 p.m. a shot signal was fired to let researchers know she was found. Frank Frazier was then dispatched to go by horseback and notify the mother that the girl had been found and all o.k. He took her dinner pail along as evidence that the girl was found. In 1905 Frank Frazier and Bertha Wellenbrock were united in marriage.
At the time Wellenbrocks arrived the neighbors were Trohs, Kelleys, Ladiges, Henningsens, Tams, Shaws, Bergs, Fraziers, Conboys, Wrights, Stumps, Chapmans, Joe Devine and Chris Epsen.
Anton Wellenbrock died in May 1897 leaving his wife and 7 children, the oldest being about 18 years and the youngest 5 years.
In the fall of 1898 Louise Wellenbrock took the family by horse and wagon to the Yakima Valley to pick hops for Wilsons and Herkes. This became an annual trip for seven successive years and was the means of supporting the family.
In 1900 Mrs. Wellenbrock married Wenzel Louse Borde and a few years later they moved to a small acreage and house near Glenwood.
Louise Wellenbrock Borde died September 8, 1919. The surviving children are Harry, Robert and George Wellenbrock of Glenwood; Bertha Frazier, Yakima; Louise McKinny, Chico, California and Anna Avery of Portland. There were 17 children, but most of them died in infancy.
© Jeffrey L. Elmer