The Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., November 17, 1937, page 4
MEMORIES OF HOOD RIVER'S FIRST SCHOOL
(By NETTIE A. COOKE, who taught in Barrett and then in
Hood River. She married George W. Lee in 1885 and has two
I took my sojourn at Hood River with delightful memories, I was enough of a pioneer myself to feel quite at home in pioneers surroundings, for my parents had come to Oregon "across the plains" in 1851, and were married in Portland, in August, 1852. My mother had taught in the Oregon Institute, (now Willamette University) the first winter she was in Oregon, and later, in 1862 or '63, for a primary department then included in the Institute. The latter time I was one of her pupils.
I graduated from Willamette in the class of 1877, when Dr. T.M. Gatch was its president. When I taught at Hood River in 1844(sic) he was teaching at The Dalles. The young men of Hood River were great baseball players; the east side team played against the west side team. Miss Flora Neal, who lived on the east side of the river, and I on the west side, where the official score keepers for our respective teams, and our interest was as intense as that of the players.
Through the kindness of Captain Henry Coe, whose father was the first resident of Hood River valley, I secured the position as teacher of the three months' school in the Barrett district, located seven miles southwest of Mr. Coe's home, which was on the bank of the Columbia.
The small school house was a new board building, and this was to be the first school taught in the district. The term began on April 14, and ended July 3rd, 1879. I had had but three months' teaching experience previous to this. Fortunately my pupils were all well behaved, obedient children, and things ran quite smoothly as I recall.
There were ten girls and fifteen boys. The girls were -- Grace Clark, Amy Hall, Ellen Hall, Lady Henrichs, Maggie Husbands, Emily Husbands, Maggie Ingalls, Mgertie Ingalls, Lettie Wallace, and Laura Wilson. The boys were Lewis Clark, Prentice Hall, Copley Hinrichs, Clyde Hudson, Edgar Husbands, James Ingalls, Alvah Pealer, Bertie Phelps, Tommy Phelps, Dorrance Smith, George Stranahan, Timmy Stranahan, Albert Wallace, Charlie Wallace, and Arthur Wilson, a total of 25 pupils.
I find that the names of Maggie Ingalls and Alvah Pealer are marked in my roll book "deceased." I think this means that they died while I was still keeping track of my pupils, for I have no recollection of any deaths during the school term.
In 1879 there was no railroad along the Columbia, and the only access to Hood River was by wagon road from The Dalles, or by steamboat on the Columbia. There was no dock, and the boats landed wherever the stage of the water or the direction of the wind indicated; sometimes above the mouth of Hood River or at various places below, and if a landing could not be made, a row-boat was lowered from the deck of the steamer and passengers and freight were lowered into it. I once had to land in that way, on coming from my home in Salem, and the next day, when such a landing was in progress, the row-boat capsized and a trunk went to the bottom of the river -- but it was not mine.
I used to have a great joy riding horse-back over the prairie in Barrett. One day Mr. Coe brought in some of his horses which had been running wild over the country. Next day he put me on a three-year-old colt which had never been ridden, with only a bridle, a blanket and surcingle; riding up a steep hill the clinch loosened, and just as we reach the top the blanket slipped off, (those were the days when we women road sideways) and of course I slipped with it, but landed safely on both feet; the horse gave a slight jump, jerking the bridle from my hand, and then stood perfectly still while Mr. Coe alighted from his horse and readjusted the blanket for me. We thought that was a very well-behaved colt. There were lots of Indians in Hood River then.
(Continued in Next Week's Issue)
© Jeffrey L. Elmer