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Emma arrives from Sweden, meets Ben in Coulee Country

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Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012 9:05 am

After the wedding, a shivaree began the life of Emma and Ben Lane. Say, any interesting shivaree stories out there? Read on.

Wilson Creek area history

The Rev. David H. Crawford compiled and published a history of families in and surrounding Wilson Creek titled, "Family Memories of Wilson Creek Area." The book was printed in 1978, which was the 75th anniversary of the town. David's son, John Crawford, has given permission for those memories to be a part of this column.

Today we begin the story of the Lane family by Ben Lane:

On the third day of July, 1972, a little caravan moved sadly from the First Presbyterian Church to the hillside to the northwest of Wilson Creek, to lay to rest the remains of a remarkable woman. It also marked the end of an era, for Mrs. Emma Lane was among the last of those hardy pioneers who emigrated from the old country, Sweden, just after the turn of the century, to find a new life in the Promised Land of America.

While she was working off her passage, on a farm in the Coulee Country, she met her man, Ben Lane. He was a wiry, slender but very strong man, a hard worker. He was engineer on the steam threshing rigs, an expert in his line. When he saw the blond, blue eyed Emma, his heart gave a leap, and in due time they were married.

After the old-time shivaree, they settled down to nearly half a century of wed?ded life. Their story is largely a story of Wilson Creek; the town was only 5 years old then.

In the spring of 1922 another caravan, this time horse-drawn, consisting of two wagons piled high with household furniture and five laughing children, came out of the rolling wheat country and paused by the same cemetery. As it came to the crown of the hill, it paused a moment Ben put his arm around Emma, and pointed to the incredibly green valley ahead and the little town nestled within.

"See that little green house, the one on the left?" Ben said. "That is what I have found for us." He pointed to a little bungalow, its four rooms scarcely large enough for such a large brood.

"Yes," said Emma, "I think this will be our last move."

She was quite determined; the family had moved so many times and she wanted, above all, a home.

Running like a steel band lengthwise of the valley, the railroad dominated the town. To little Ben, just 4, it was a miracle, and he would spend hours every day watching the trains.

The town as a railroad center was just past its hey-day, but there was still plenty of railroad activity. It was the livelihood of much of the town and a moving lifeline to the great world beyond.

There were six passenger trains a day, eight, counting the Fast Mail. There were also many freights including the famous apple trains, the fast silk trains and two local freights a week.

Ben went to work on the section, a hard job, but he was equal to it. Wages were low, 40 cents an hour in 1930, raised a whole penny to $3.28 a day.

The Lane family dug in, but first they made two moves, on account of the floods; first, to a large yellow house near the Kircheners, and then to the grey house on the eastern edge of town, where they remained for 40 years.

They never had any money, but were a happy family. They acquired a herd of cows, and supplied much of the town with milk for years. This was supposed to have sup?plemented Ben's income from the railroad, but in reality the cows were just more mouths to feed and the profit was small.

Next CBH historical picture book due out before Christmas

Tera Redwine needs your help. She is working to gather photos for another historical picture book. Remember the Herald published one in... Well has it been 11 or so years ago already?

This book is expected to be titled "The Columbia Basin; A photographic Perspective; Volume 2." If you missed the chance to get your family photos in the first one, here is your chance. Don't miss the opportunity this time.

We are looking for photos of, well, everything, such as Girl Scouts, school sports, church groups, construction, towns, etc., etc., etc. If you are not sure if your photo or photos are what we are looking for, let Tera have a look at them.

Contact Tera at the Herald at 765-4561 to have your photos included.

Conservation District also seeking photos

In addition to the CBH book, the Moses Lake Conservation is seeking photos for an in-house project. Read on.

The Moses Lake Conservation District is looking for any pictures of conservation activities between 1945 and present day to be used in a presentation book. Especially pictures of the conservation nursery. Contact the person in charge at 509-750-9624.

The Grant County Historical Society has compiled several volumes of Grant County history. The books are available for purchase at the Historical Society Museum gift shop in Ephrata.

I bought the series in 2009 and secured permission to relay some of the history through this column.

Memories of Grant County, compiled from taped interviews by the Grant County Historical Society.

Today we backtrack a bit and then continue the story of Ephrata by Thelma Billngsley Nicks:

In 1917 the traveling bath tub was moved again. It sat resplen?dent in a brand new bathroom. My father's ambition then was to have both hot and cold running water instead of having to heat it on the old cook stoves.

Well, his brother Alvin professed to be a good plumber and when the cook stove was put in he connected the new coils in it and they built a nice fire. In a little while the pipes started rattling and when they opened the faucets nothing but steam would come out of both the hot and cold water pipes.

They tried the faucets outside and they had boiling water coming out of them. Needless to say the coils were taken out and we from then on heated our hot water with a hot water heating stove in the basement. Later when electricity arrived mother had an electric hot water tank installed.

The Waller boys built our house as well as Ed and Ruby Wilson's who lived across the alley from us on the block the court house was to be built on. There were several families who had to move when the county started the court house. The Waller boys had a trade mark of making an angle at the top of the door facing.

When we remodeled our bathroom, after moving into the home my parents built in 1941, we put in new fixtures and gave the old long tub to Vern Adams for use on his farm for a watering trough.

My aunt Cate returned to Washington in 1914 to work for my father in the post office. Later she went back to Texas and Mary came back with her. This time Cate started working for Walt Kinsey in the assessor's office. This was in 1916. Mary worked for Clyde Jeffers in the prosecutor's office. They moved into the new court house in 1917. When Jeffers was appointed Superior Court Judge, she then worked for Nat Washington Sr., who then took the job of prosecutor.

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