The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., July 16, 1943, page 1
THE CORRUMS CAME HERE BY WAY OF CAPE HORN AND CALIFORNIA GOLDFIELDS
By Arline Winchell Moore
Hardin and Harrison Corrum were among some of the very
earliest settlers to make Hood River valley their permanent home. They came
to the West by way of Cape Horn and spent some time in the gold fields of
California. I once saw a news item stating that Hardin Corrum had come to
Hood River in 1859. Also once heard David A. Turner state that the Corrum
brothers came to the valley in 1861, about the same time that he himself
first came to Hood River.
Harrison Corrum and D.A. Turner took adjoining claims in the Pine Grove district. Corrum claimed the J.P. Thompsen place and Turner settled on the Bill Perry place, now better known as the Thrane place. Very soon putting up their cabins and publicly indicating their intentions to "claim the land," the two men, who throughout life often referred to each other as "pardner," left for the gold mines of Eastern Oregon. Their previous experiences in the gold-mining enterprises of California showed them that this new venture would not "pan out" too well for them. In a short time they were back on their Hood River claim. Both men spent the most of their lives bringing to production the land on which they filed. There were no further ventures in gold mining for them.
M.D. Odell tells me that both the Corrums was considered better than average mechanics of their day. Harrison Corrum operated a blacksmith shop and general repair at The Dalles very early. He was a student of astronomy and often surprised and entertained many friends by his display of such knowledge.
Harrison Corrum was older than most of the men who came here in the early fifties and sixties, and evidently had more than a natural ability along construction lines, as he designed and assisted with the construction of many of Hood River's early buildings. He assisted Peter Neal in the construction of the first mill on Neal Creek, built in 1862. Later, he helped build the second mill ever put up on the East side, near the present Odell high school. He designed and bossed the construction of the first bridge over Hood river near the town of the same name.
Hardin Corrum was the father of three boys, Henry, George and John. These boys seem to have had a sentimental interest in Hood River, for, throughout the years, we find them paying visits to the place of their early youth. They never fail to look up their old friend M.D. Odell whenever they come this way.
Harrison Corrum married Miss Nana Ragsdale, and to them was born one daughter and one son. For some reason a "nickname" of Jim Crowe was pinned on the boy, and the few who can recall him do not even know what his real name might have been. M.D. Odell says that he was the only member of the family at the bed side of Harrison Coreum, when he answered the Last Call. M.D. was one of the neighbors who, according to the custom of the times, went in to help his dying neighbor.
Mr. Corrum was possessed of a dry sort of humor, the point of which was often lost to his associates. He was something of an Ichabod Crane build of a man and seldom wore a hat when doing manual labor in the hot summer days. Once Uncle Turner was working with his neighbor, assisting with the raising of a barn. The day was hot, and D.A. was thirsty and expressed a desire for a drink of cold water. Mr. Coerum told him there was plenty of water in the spring. Uncle Turner told him that he knew the water was there, but that he had never been able to get any satisfaction of trying to drink like a horse, and his hat was too dirty to use for a cup. The old gentleman handed a cup to D.A., and just as he was about to dip it into the spring for a good draught of cold water, he heard a shout from Corrum, and looking up, found him at the top of the little dip toward the spring. As Uncle Dave looked up, he said: "Hey, Dave, don't drink out of that cup. I was mixing some strychnine this morning for the diggers and forgot to clean it out." Then he burst out with a prolonged crackling cackle at the startled look on D.A's face - for D.A. failed to appreciate any humor in the situation.
When the Pine Grove Cemetery Association was originally organized and lots were offered for sale, Mr. Corrum was one of the first to purchase a lot. Immediately he set about building a high picket fence around his lot, dryly stating that he "wanted to be planted in the very middle, so I can watch the Old Devil from all sides, and be ready to get in line when Gabriel sounds his trumpet.
In spite of his caustic tongue, he was a good neighbor and contributed a general share toward the early development of this Hood River Valley.
© Jeffrey L. Elmer