Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Around 1893 my great grandfather brought his family to homestead property less than an hour’s drive from where we live.  He built a house and began farming the rich volcanic soil.  Not long after they arrived, a United States Post Office was opened and Great Grandfather was the first chartered postmaster.  The place needed a name.  

Since many of the women who lived there--my grandmother Mary Lucinda and her mother Mary Ellen included--were named Mary, the town became known as Marysville.

Winters at that altitude are long and harsh. Before Mary Lucinda’s father could build a suitable barn, an especially bad snowstorm blew in across the rolling hills. 

My grandmother recalled her father bringing their team of horses and the milk cow into the house for shelter.   He used the big headboard from their bed to contain the animals to a corner of their home.  Grandmother told about trying to sleep while the big animals shuffled and snorted a few feet away and the blizzard raged outside.

More families moved in and with them came an outbreak of scarlet fever.  In a few months two sisters, Martha and Laura, died of the disease.  Not long after that the family moved across the state to warmer temperatures and a longer growing season.

Flag Ranch Road Church--original watercolor by E. Black
Most little churches and schools built around Marysville stand empty.  A larger town grew up around the railroad a few miles to the west.

Not much is left to show that my ancestors lived in Marysville except a name on a sign and graves in the cemetery.

Same photo with Photoshop watercolor filter and Pioneer Woman's Old West actions.


The Weaver of Grass said...

Lovely story Leenie. I do my family history - times were harsh then weren't they? I don't think it was uncommon to bring the animals into the house - after all they constituted livelihood, didn't they?
I remember the scourge of scarlet fever and diphtheria when I was small. You never hear of it these days, do you?
Interesting post.

Jill said...

What a great story - and we moan about life today!!

Carla said...

Very cool story!! I'll bet, despite the smell, the animals actually helped keep them warm.
My grandmother's family came over on a boat from Russia in 1909--she was 9 years old. Landed at Ellis Island.
They settled in Mandan, ND. I often wonder about how they dealt wit the harsh, impossibly long winters.

Anonymous said...

I guess we shouldn't complain about our harsh winters, as we have warm houses and don't have to bring the animals indoors with us!!

TheSims said...

And I was complaining of the 40 degree weather that I had to camp out in this last week. I thought it was so cold. I am more grateful for my warm home and soft bed now though.

Krista said...

Awesome history. Amazing they let the animals in the house. I can barely tolerate a dog. :-)

Kilauea Poetry said...

What a warm cozy story
(before I crash)! I loved reading this and learning about your ancestors! The photos/watercolors are so neat- nice job! She was very beautiful too! A different time as well as conditions indeed huh! Terrific share and post Leenie-

Kilauea Poetry said...

So funny the response regarding the animals..if it isn't too hot our dog sleeps at the foot of the bed with our cat..we used to have our pot belly pig in our old house too (grin)


It's always a treat having the stories and photos from the past.

Elizabeth said...

Gosh, the watercolor filter makes it so stunningly evocative!

kendalee said...

What a great story Leenie! I too love the story of the animals being brought in to safeguard them. I remember as a child once sleeping in the barns where some of my aunts dairy cows were and actually loving the sound of them and the smell of the hay but that was just an adventure, not a necessity.

And that watercolour... gorgeous.

Thank you for sharing this.

kendalee said...

p.s. I am gutted that I missed the giveaway but have so enjoyed catching up on your lovely summery posts. Winter seemed to hang around for an especially long time where you are but now that it's gone, how spectacular your landscape is in all its green finery. Amazing.