Newspaper Archive of
Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
April 5, 1989     Hells Canyon Journal
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April 5, 1989

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Hells Canyon Journal, April 5, 1989 Pace 5 By Sybyl Smith Wilma Hill of La Grande tells of her stepfather Luther Perkins and early-day hard- ships in the Snake River Can- yon, as it was called then. "My stepdad Luther Perkins was born in Joseph, Oregon in 1884. Back in 1913 he and his first wife Myrtle had settled on McGraw Creek and built a house and a log barn. They hauled the lumber over the hills and past an old mine by team and wagon, locking the back wheels when going down old house for some time-the house Luther had built-but we cleaned and repaired it and lived there several years. It was a good house, with front room, kitchen, two small bedrooms, porch, and cellar. There was one large room upstairs. We raised fruit trees, rye, and garden near the house and spuds up on the bench land. some of the canyons, an all-day job. Later he and Myrtle separated and went their different ways. "In 1927 or near that, he married my mother, Blanche Coppock Landreth. He had been herding sheep in Calif- ornia for her brother, Charlie Coppock. I was seven, having been born in 1920 in Merrill, Oregon; and my sister Eleanor was just past a year old. Mother and Luther had a son, Charles Perkins. "In the early. 1930's, Lu- ther decided to buy his old ranch back, and we all moved to McGraw Creek, using big pack horses for the smaller things. Took the stove and larger pieces over the hills to the end of the road, which was at Robbins' place, then up past the old mine, with teams and wag- ons. Had to lock the wheels on the hills again, plus pull up sage brush in order to clear a wagon trail from Robbins' place to our place. THE OLD McGRAW Creek Ranch, taken in 1975. "We also had milk cows and saved the cream. Since I was the oldest, it was my job every other week to lead the pack horse with two ten-gal- lon cream cans to the store in Homestead, owned by Rof- flings, from whence the cream was taken to the creamery in Halfway. "Another job I had was to leave home ahorseback at break of day once every alternating week, pick up the mail in Homestead, and return home in the late afternoon. "One year my mother decided to raise about one "No one had lived in the Hearing Aid Counselors, Inc. Sole Representatives of Miracle Ear Hearing Aids Will be in Halfway at the Lions Club on Friday, April 7, 1989 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to service and check bearing aids, pro- vide batteries to those requiring them, and give free bearing exams. FOR MORE INFORMATION: 523-6944 I DO MAKE HOUSE CALLS ! G. T. KENNEY Baker, Oregon hundred turkeys. When they were ready to sell, the folks clipped one wing of each turkey, so they couldn't fly. Early next morning we all herded them down the trail to the road at Robbins' place, with one person going ahead to scatter feed. Luther took them by truck to Baker and sold them. "Another time we had a bunch of pigs and again drove them out afoot, with one person going ahead and scattering grain. What a jobl "We kids certainly had to learn to be self-reliant and take care of ourselves. When our brother Daniel was born in 1936, my mother and stepdad rode ahorseback to Halfway and were gone two weeks. Charles, Eleanor, and I were left to do the milking and other chores. "After the first week Luther came back to the ranch to see if we were ok and doing the chores. Then built a shack in Homestead, across from the Homestead school, for Eleanor and me. We lived alone, but we didn't mind. Different ones were around, like Mr. and Mrs. Harold Burns. I was in the seventh grade. "Of course I had the job of cooking, and I had to cut the wood, using a crosscut saw and axe. We didn't realize this was difficult or unusual. We were happy and were just doing what had to be done in those days. Some- times someone came by and cut some wood for us, usually old railroad ties. "Each Friday night Eleanor and I took off afoot for home, nine miles, came back Sunday night, and were ready for school Monday morning. We attended scho- ol this way for three or four years; then Eleanor attended a couple of more years alone. "One teacher had all eight he rode back to Robbins' grades in Homestead. I place, where he had left the remember one year it was truck, and was gone for Mrs. Elliot. another week. "I left there and was "When Eleanor was ready married in 1939. After we all for the first grade, Luther left home, the folks sold out Saturday, April 8 9:00 p.m, to 2:00 m, Sunday Specials Every Sunday! Richland. OR 893.6122 IIdf"~TTDQo Sun. Mun., Tues., 1thurs., i6 8 p.m. to a Rob'mette and moved to Halfway. I was gone about forty years, came back, and walked back to the old home place in 1975. The house was still there plus some old fruit ,trees. The log barn was gone. BLANCHE AND LUTHER Perkins, photo takeo in 1947. "I now live in LaGrande. Charles and Daniel both live in California. My stepdad passed away in 1969, my mother in 1982, and Eleanor in 1987." Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel 1500 Dewey Baker, Or. 5233677 At Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel we feel that the families of Baker County deserve to be served in the very best way possible. We attend to every detail in a pro- fessional and competent manner, to assure you long after the funeral service, that your every need is attended to. We try our hardest. You can always depend on us. Locally owned and operated. Baker County Preference since 1887.