Chapter 1: Introducing Mabel

Chapter 1: Introducing Mabel

Imabelt was a bright spring day when Mabel Roning and Russel Cline decided to marry. They had informally planned to marry and Russel had rented a small apartment in Spokane. On Saturday 14 March 1931 they decided it was a good day to get married. So they drove from Spokane to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where no waiting period was required.

They looked up the Justice of the Peace only to discover that he did not work on Saturdays.

IMG_20170522_0002They didn’t give up.  They drove the streets until they located a parsonage where people seemed active. The minister who answered the door assured them that he would be happy to perform a marriage ceremony.  Sam and Esther Nation had accompanied the happy couple to serve as witnesses.

After the ceremony, they drove back to Spokane and spent the rest of the day shopping for essentials to set up housekeeping. Saturday was chosen for the marriage so neither would need to take a day off work. Mabel was forever convinced that this was the best way to get married.

Russel & Mabel '31
Russel & Mabel ’31

Mabel was born Mable Bergitte Roning on March 15, 1901 in Fargo, North Dakota, the first child born to Elmer (Hjalmar) Roning and Tillie Hansen. (On at least one occasion their last name was spelled Ruenning.) There also seems to be some confusion as to the spelling of Mabel’s first name. On all official documents she signed as an adult, for example investment papers, she spelled her name “Mabel”. However her birth certificate and her Certificate of Confirmation use the spelling “Mable”. In a conversation with her daughter Pat at one time she commented that people usually spelled her name correctly – Mabel!

As this is her story, we will spell her name the way she preferred it.

Mabel’s Parents Elmer and Tillie

Mabel’s father Elmer, Hjalmar,  fondly called “Pa”, was the oldest child in his family. His father, Julius Falla, was a prosperous farmer in Fetland, Norway with eight children. Elmer came to America in 1890.  He was the first of three of brothers to sail to America.  At the age of 16, he came as an indentured servant and his passage was paid by an uncle already farming in Minnesota. Indenture meant that Elmer came with the obligation to work, often for five years, to repay his uncle for the ticket. Later, Elmer helped his brothers Ole and Axel to also make it to America. Axel stayed in Minnesota while Elmer and Ole went west. Three other brothers, Carl, Halfdan, and Johan, as well as sister Marianna stayed in Norway.

The lack of official records leaves unexplained gaps in this story.

There may be no single reason why Elmer chose to emigrate to the United States. However there were numerous influences. There was a massive Norwegian emigration at thet time. Over population in Southern Norway limited worthwhile opportunities. Elmer’s father was known as a “difficult” man. Norwegian communities in Minnesota and N Dakota assured that language difficulties would not be a barrier. A consequence of the surge in emigration toward the opportunities in US. His timing may have been fortunate as the US chose to limit immigration with the Immigration Act of 1891 that rejected many immigrants.  Ellis Island, opened, in 1892 is depicted as unfriendly to immigrants.

After serving his time as an indentured worker, Elmer traveled to Fargo, North Dakota in 1899. Old city directories show that he lived in a boarding house at 207 1st Avenue South and worked at L. Oil Mills. In 1900 he boarded at the Central Hotel. During that year he met and married Tillie Hansen who was to become Mabel’s mother. After the wedding, they established housekeeping at 305 1st Avenue North, and Elmer worked as a maintenance man with the Everhart Candy Company.

Where did Elmer meet Tillie? It is unlikely that she traveled to N Dakota alone. It seems that the others of the Hansen family remained in Minnesota. Very likely Elmer and Tillie met and married in Minnesota.

Elmer & Tillie Wedding M
Elmer & Tillie Wedding Photo

Mabel’s mother was born Tillie Hansen on the Nyhus farm near Bergen, on the west coast of Norway on January, 13 1877. She was the sixth child in a family of nine. Her father Hans Olsen Nyhus was a storekeeper. Tillie’s two older sisters and a brother immigrated to America in 1888, 1889 and 1890.

In 1892, when Tillie was sixteen years old, her parents and the remaining five children also came. Most of the members of the Hansen family settled in Minnesota. On one of her visits to her family, Tillie took five-year old Mable along to the family home in Minnesota. At one of the neighboring farms a man had recently died. Mabel retained a vivid memory of the way the body was displayed on a plank table in the barn and how it radiated a powerful odor.

Mabel’s Early Years

When Mabel was born in 1901 the young family moved to 713th Street South in Fargo. Her father had pursued several occupations, for some time he had a dray business that amounted to two horses and a large wagon. When Mabel was born, Elmer changed jobs, now working as maintenance man for I. D. Grant Co. candy makers. To the delight of his family, he was often able to bring home small amounts of candy so there was always candy in the house. The candy was safely stored in jars on the top shelf in the kitchen cupboard.

Among favorite memories: Once, when one of Mabel’s young friends was hospitalized, they assembled an attractive box filled with selected candies and took it to her. Mabel once related also that she knew where the candy jars were kept in the kitchen, however she never took any without permission. Perhaps this is a preview of her life because Mabel always followed the rules. In spite of being such a good little girl, curiosity got the better of her one Christmas. Tillie told Mabel not to look in the living room because she might not get presents if she spied on Santa Claus. But as soon as Tillie left, Mabel peeked through the door. She saw Santa Claus with his pack leaving presents! For many years Mabel was absolutely certain of her observation.

On August 19, 1903, two years after Mabel’s birth, the Ronings welcomed a son Harry Clifford to their family. At the time they kept a cow to provide milk for the two young children. The excess milk could be sold which was a welcome addition to the family income. During those early years of the 20th century, the drinking water was kept in large wooden barrels outside the house. When Mabel contacted typhoid fever, the cause was suspected to be contaminated water of those barrels. To keep her fever under control, large blocks of ice were brought in until they covered one entire wall of her room. Fortunately, Mabel recovered and the rest of the family avoided the disease.

Mabel remembered her mother Tillie as generous in spite of their limited assets. Once a group of gypsies camped in the field near their home and Tillie went over to share a decorated white cake with them. She was always remembered for that incident. Tragially, Mabel’s mother died of Bright’s disease on February 28, 1908, shortly after giving birth to a third child, a baby girl. Tillie was only 31 years old. The serious and painful disease made her suffer for some time before she died. Elmer arranged for a portrait of the children and she frequently looked at the photo to remind herself of life’s rewards.

Mabel and Clifford 1908
Mabel and Clifford 1908

A newspaper carried the following obituary, and for the critics contains three errors:

Mrs. Elmer Ruenning died early Saturday morning at her home in Fargo. Her maiden name was Miss Tillie Hansen and she was a sister of O. Hansen of the firm of Hansen & Nelson. The deceased has a great many friends here who will regret to learn of her death. No information as to the cause of her death has been received here. She was thirty-two years old and leaves a husband and two children.

Tillie’s last name is spelled incorrectly, there is no note of the recently born third child and her age is wrong. The obituary was published in an unidentified newspaper, probably in Minnesota, where the other Hansens lived. We should remember that newspapers had poor communication in those times and were posting the obituary on the basis of a ten-word telegram.

Mabel, who was seven years old, when her mother died, was allowed to choose the name for her new sister. She named the baby Helen Tillie. Helen was the name of Mabel’s best friend at school and Tillie was her mother’s name. Helen Tillie lived until the 1st of September, when she died of “Cholezo Morbus” (possibly cholera). Mabel would forever remember seeing her baby sister, dressed like a doll, lying on a table without moving.  It must have been at this time that an aunt gave Mabel a beautiful doll with porcelain head, hands and feet. The doll had a kid leather body with jointed arms and legs, and a wig and eyelashes made of real hair. Her aunt had made a beautiful white cotton lace dress complete with slip and pantaloons, a red velvet coat and hat. Mabel named the doll Charlotte and played with her so much that the hair and eyelashes were eventually worn off. Charlotte and her clothes though were kept in perfect condition.

The Move West

In the fall of 1908, the year Tillie had died, Elmer and his children, seven-year-old Mabel and five-year-old Harry Clifford moved to Spokane, Washington, where Elmer’s brother Ole lived. For the first year after their arrival at Spokane, the family lived with Ole and his wife Anna. Mabel found a good friend in their eldest daughter Myrtle who was about the same age. The two girls remained close friends throughout their lives even when Ole and Anna moved to Canada for a while. Eventually they retuned to live in Coeur d Alene, Idaho and the two girls reconnected. Not far from Spokane, Coeur d Alene was a the family’s favorite picnic spot. There was a beautiful lake, a pavilion, and steam boats that took them for rides around the lake. When Mabel was 14, Auntie Anna’s sister Manda was expecting a child. Mabel spent the summer helping cook and clean house for Manda. Manda’s husband Ed was a fun-loving person, but Mabel was slightly afraid of him. Unfortunately, the pregnancy turned out to be ill-fated and the child died at birth.

During the first winter that Elmer and his children were staying with Ole, there were not enough beds in the house. Mabel would sleep inside with Myrtle whereas Elmer and Cliff had to sleep outside in a tent. We should keep in mind that this is a climate where winter temperatures can frequently drop below zero.

Neighbors across the street were three single women, each with a child. Two of the women worked while the third, Carrie, stayed home with the children. Her daughter Sigrid had been born August 22, 1908, presumably out of wedlock. Carrie was to become Elmer’s second wife. On August 24, 1910, about a year after the Ronings had arrived in Spokane, Elmer and Carrie married. And a year later, a son, Carl, was born to Carrie and Elmer on August 22, 1911.

In 1931, when Carl was 20 years old, he met his future wife Lee Raeburn at the Garden dance hall. After the meeting they saw each other every day and married only months later. Carl and Lee were the last of the family to marry but followed Mabel and Russel by only four months. Carl did not complete high school, quitting when he was offered a job in a gas station. Carrie encouraged the young couple to stay in the house but the younger Ronings quickly moved out when his job disappeared because the service station went broke. They moved to Diamond Lake and Carl built a one room cabin for them. When Lee was in labor with their first child, Carl walked the length of the lake through snow to call a doctor in an effort to get help. The doctor had to drive 75 miles to get to the cabin, meanwhile the baby had been born lifeless so he only cut the cord. Like Manda and Ed, the young Ronings had to face the loss of their first child. Soon after Carl took a job working for the county and later worked for Pacific Telephone Company until he retired.

Elmer’s second wife Carrie born in 1882, had been a seamstress in Norway. In those times a seamstress would bring her own sewing machine and move in with the family for a week or two to complete needed sewing. She was a good seamstress but not a particularly good cook. More than anything, Carrie liked to sit and crochet. She made table covers, chair covers, curtains, pot holders, edges for pillow cases and many other things. Most often she used brightly colored variegated thread with several shades of a color repeated at intervals along a strand of thread. Mabel ever after considered variegated thread to be poor taste. Mabel never developed a warm relationship with Carrie, even if she called her Ma. In Mabel’s eyes, Ma was a constant nag to Pa and also showed favoritism for her daughter Sigrid. Mabel and Sig never became close sisters, even as mature adults.

In 1923, when Sigrid was fifteen, Mabel went home one day from her work at a telephone company. She had been feeling ill and had asked for the afternoon off. Upon arriving at home she discovered Sigrid and Russell Larson along with Grandma and Grandpa all dressed up. To her surprise, she learned that Sig and Russ were getting married. Sigrid had become pregnant, and now they planned to marry. Ultimately, she lost the child. Russ moved into the house and he and Sig lived upstairs. Sig attended one day of high school and Russ worked for his father in a service station. Later he got a better job at another service station working the night shift.

The Roning family home in Spokane was at 721 Dalton Street, a neat home surrounded by a lawn and flowers with a lane that led to a garage at the back corner of the lot. The property had been part of a private orchard before the houses were built. There were two apple trees and a plum tree in the back yard and the people next door had two cherry trees. Birds got most of the cherries and the other fruit was of poor quality. The apples had many worms so that Carrie did not preserve any of the fruit. Sometimes Carrie would send Mabel out with a pail of fruit to see if she could sell any, but Mabel hated to offer the inferior fruit for sale. Elmer and Carrie usually spoke Norwegian at home. While the children all understood the language, outside the home they only spoke English. Like most children they did not like to be different, so they refused to speak Norwegian.

Life in Spokane, Assorted Memories

In Mabel’s youth, early Spokane was a bustling western town, the center of mining and lumber in northeast Washington. The streets were busy with horses, wagons and streetcars pulled by horses. Consequently, the streets were littered with horse manure and large numbers of men were hired simply to shovel the manure from the streets. Among them were the Roning’s neighbors, the Holens, a large family including grandfather, father, and several sons. All of them had jobs shoveling manure and they prospered. The Holens’ children found jobs delivering telegrams on bicycle which was an even better job.  Three of the family died from the Spanish Flu, and the family never recovered.

The neighborhood doctor lived four blocks from the Roning house. He brought in a dentist to share his medical practice. Tooth repair was rare, it was common practice to just pull it. The doctor had a big family with ten children and they, as all the children at that time, were expected to work at a very young age. A couple of the young sons helped at the medical office. The daughter Florence, who was in the same class as Mabel, never attended school on Wednesdays as she had to stay home to iron clothes for the family. Two of the boys later went to medical school and subsequently opened a medical clinic in Spokane, the Robinson’s Medial Clinic.

As money was scarce, walking was the standard way the Ronings traveled. The streets were not paved and there were no sidewalks, so in addition to the year round manure problem, people faced dirt in the summer and mud in the winter. Most of the time people walked where they needed to go. Longer distances were managed by using the streetcars but there was not enough money to routinely use them. One rainy day when Mabel was walking to school and feeling miserable she found a booklet of streetcar tickets on the pavement, a veritable treasure! Mabel guarded those tickets and used them only at times when it was important. Even as a young working woman, Mabel walked to her job almost every day. She wore high heels all the time as she was self conscious about being short, so only on bad weather days she rode the streetcar.

On pleasant, the Ronings often went to Corbin Park, one of the many unique and attractive parks in Spokane that was near their home. Those days people did not drive to remote locations for recreation so these local centers were busy places. For example, Corbin Park provided places for organized games and there was a bandstand that frequently hosted weekend entertainment. Manito Park contained a greenhouse and rose gardens of note.  Natatorium Park offered amusements including the traditional roller coaster, carousal and an assortment of rides. This was a beautiful carousal with hand carved painted horses and an admired the calliope imported from Germany.  (The beautiful carousal has been restored an operates today at Riverfront Park in Spokane.)

During Mabel’s youth available food was limited due to lack of refrigeration and slow methods of shipping. In the early 1900s a typical meal of the family was strong on starchy food like potatoes and weak on fruits. During spring and summer they ate carrots and cabbage which were raised at nearby farms. Carrie would go to small local stores and sort through every vegetable or fruit. Sometimes she would buy a ham bone and boil it to make a soup. Fortunately, the butchers were good about leaving meat on the bones which added protein to the diet. Carrie did not like having her stepdaughter underfoot in the kitchen. Since Mabel learned few cooking skills at home she especially enjoyed cooking class at school. When one day the teacher assigned a recipe for dessert sauce and Mabel saw the ingredients she became excited because she recognized it as something her mother Tillie had made.

                                                      VANILLA SAUCE

                  1 1/3 cup sugar ,  2 tbsp cornstarch,  1/2 tsp salt,  2 cups water,  1/2 tsp nutmeg             2 tbsp butter

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt with water. Stir and cook till clear and thickened, about 5 minutes.

Add nutmeg and butter. Or substitute 2 tsp lemon rind and 1/4 cup lemon juice for lemon sauce.


The children attended Emerson Grade School that was across Monroe Street, a major thoroughfare but unpaved at that time. The street was dusty during the summer and muddy during any rainy season. The deep mud churned by heavy wagons made it impossible to keep shoes clean. During inclement weather, school children were allowed to remain indoors, and since needlework was a popular pastime, girls often brought their handiwork to school. One of her classmates brought tatting, Mabel was intrigued and soon learned this beautiful craft. Tatting was to become a lifetime skill which family and friends were to benefit from over the years. The schools celebrated May Day as a festive occasion. A tall May Pole was erected and students danced around it wrapping ribbons as they went. Everyone tried to dress nicely for the celebration but as usual it was a challenge to get to school without being splashed from the muddy streets.  (The history of May Day is interesting and one wonders why it would be celebrated at school.)

In 1916 Mabel graduated from the eighth grade and was also confirmed at Our Saviors Norwegian Lutheran Church. There were no money gifts and Mabel rarely had new clothes, but for that occasion Carrie made her a beautiful new dress. Later, Mabel attended North Central High school but dropped out in the 10th grade. It was more important to get a job and she had an opportunity to work as a telephone operator in the switchboard building near her home. Mabel continued to live at home, but she paid rent.

Elmer and Harry Clifford

Mabel’s father was a happy and well-liked man and he loved to build things. He constructed whimsical folk toys for his children’s pleasure, played the concertina and always loved to tell stories and joke with friends. One of his favorite reveries was of a time when he was riding the same train as William Cody and got to meet “Buffalo Bill”. Elmer also was the home handyman. Not only did he repair the family’s shoes, he remodeled the original small house they bought on Dalton Street to have a basement and a second story. Even so, the house was crowded with four children. When they discovered a folding bed in a used furniture store, it looked like an ideal way to provide extra sleeping space. The bed was purchased and moved home. The next morning though, everyone had bug bites! Later, in senior years, they sold the Dalton house and moved to a smaller house.  Pa was about seventy years old. The new house was not that much better than a shack. However, Elmer set to work repairing the house, the garage, and the yard. Over the years it became more and more attractive.

On his job, Elmer spent most of his time as a carpenter working for the railroad, repairing and building railroad cars at the railroad yard in Hillyard. Occasionally there were dances for the railroad workers. As his wife would never go to these events, Elmer once invited Mabel to go with him. They had a great time. After retiring from the railroad job Elmer worked part time for a commercial laundry repairing their equipment. Always active, following the work at the laundry, he built shipping boxes for the Spokane Fish Company. The fish company was owned by the brother of Harry Clifford’s wife Babe.

Elmer’s son Harry Clifford had met his future wife Babe Cranford at a movie theater where Babe was working as an usher. Harry walked her home and continued to walk her home many times after that first occasion. The two were married on August 21 1926 in Coeur d Alene.

On one occasion, when Babe went to the Greyhound office to claim a package that had been shipped, they were looking for someone to handle the baggage so she took the job. She continued to work with the Greyhound Company for many years. Cliff was the only member of the family to graduate from high school and he attended Gonzaga University for a while. He maintained a paper route for many years, then joined the National Guard for extra income.

Russ Larson, Sig Larson, Carl Roning (seated), Mabel Roning, Babe Roning, Cliff Roning, Grandpa, Ma
Russ Larson, Sig Larson, Carl Roning (seated), Mabel Roning, Babe Roning, Cliff Roning, Grandpa, Ma

The Piano

When Mabel was 14, the family bought a player piano. It cost $400, which was a big purchase for them. Mabel and Sig started piano lessons which were not always fun. The room with the piano in the teacher’s house was so large that she found it expensive to heat. Consequently, lessons during the winter turned out to be very cold. Mabel was a diligent student and practiced each day, but Sig did not want to practice. Thus, Sig was very rarely given new pieces to learn and Carrie frequently blamed Mabel for that. We must note the Mabel was 8 years older than Sigrid. After a couple of years Mabel quit playing, but the piano still received a lot of attention. It was a player piano and was popular with the neighborhood kids.

In 1946 Mabel bought the piano from her parents and moved it to the farm. This was before the time of plastics, and the rubber tubing had become brittle and broken so that the player mechanism was no longer usable. Since it was useless and added weight to the piano, she had the mechanism removed.  There was a concern that the heavy piano might crush through the flimsy floor of the farmhouse. Some years later the piano was given to the Methodist church in Lind.

Cars for Elmer

Cars did not become common until Elmer was in middle age. He purchased his first car in 1916 when he was 43 years old. These early cars were not dependable and breakdowns were frequent. Mabel’s father never became a skilled driver because he easily became absorbed in watching the scenery during a drive. When the car hit the shoulder of the road he would just smile and swing it back onto the main road. Riding with him was always a thrill for the passenger. Mabel and her husband Russel tried to avoid situations where their children would ride with their grandfather.

Lee Roning with Betty and Ken Larson, Carl Roning with Clifford, Mable Cline with Dick, Russel Cline with Pat, Babe Roning with Bruce, Cliff Roning withBob Roning.
Lee Roning with Betty and Ken Larson, Carl Roning with Clifford, Mable Cline with Dick, Russel Cline with Pat, Babe Roning with Bruce, Cliff Roning withBob Roning.

Mabel’s Jobs

As a young woman, Mabel started to work as a telephone operator for a telephone company near her home. The supervisor of the telephone operators, Mrs.Barnett, was a wonderful person. When one of the operators would get upset at the pace of connecting all the lines, Mrs.Barnett would come, calm them down and provide encouragement. Finally this lady was promoted to a position where she traveled around the phone company to help troubled operators. In many respects, the phone company was a good place to work. On hot days they would send someone out and get ice cream for the operators. Mabel worked two years at this job.

She then spent a semester at business school and followed that with a job at Dalby’s, a men’s clothing store. The job paid $60 a month almost half of her salary, twenty-five dollars, Mabel gave her parents for living at home. Next she went back to the phone company at a salary of $100 per month. After a couple of years she was promoted to work in the business office. She was a good worker and did well at her jobs. By purchasing shares of Bell Telephone stock, Mabel initiated savings. Mabel continued living at home untill she married on the day before her 30th birthday, March 14, 1931. Carrie was sorry to see her go, as she liked the rent money.

Mabel and Carrie never established the happy Mother-Daughter relationship desired. This lack of a loving relationship was revealed only after Pat and Dick became adults. It was never observed by children.

Mabel occasionally made reference to an uncle Gilbert, but Norwegian records do not identify a Roning named Gilbert. It makes most sense if we assume that uncle Gilbert was a brother to Elmer’s second wife, Carrie. Oral history says that Uncle Gilbert was the “black sheep” of the family. He had a family in Minnesota, but just worked odd jobs. He frequently showed up to stay a few days with Mabel’s parents. He always had a large bag of dirty laundry. Carrie said that Gilbert probably stayed in dirty places and the clothes might have lice. She wouldn’t let the clothes in the house until they had been washed. And washing meant scrubbing on a washboard, even though there was a washing machine on the porch. Habit is hard to change, and Carrie did not think clothes were clean till they had been scrubbed. She put the laundry through the washing machine, and then scrubbed it by hand.

Chapter 2: Introducing Russel

Chapter 2: Introducing Russel

Mabel Meets Her Future Husband

Russell with Dick and PatEsther Nation, a good friend of Mabel’s at the telephone company, was a pleasant person with a big, good-natured boy friend, Sam. One day, Sam and Esther drove to Idaho with friends who were on the way to get married and it was suggested that the other Sam and Esther should also get married, so they did! Sam and Esther had never before discussed marriage. In Spokane, the Nations belonged to a pinochle group and invited Mabel to join them one night and among the people she met was a young man named Russel Cline. As he did not have a car, Sam and Esther drove him as well as Mabel to their homes. Russel asked Mabel if he could see her again, but she said no. She really wasn’t impressed with him and anyway she was already going with someone else.     Ralph, the man Mabel dated during this time had been married before and had an eight-year-old son. Mabel decided that she didn’t want to marry him because this would make her the boy’s mother. From her experiences with her own step-mother, she did not want to be one.

Soon after the card party, Sam and Esther invited Mabel to go on a picnic which Russel also attended. After that picnic, the Nations often invited their friends to join them, Mabel and Russel travelling in their car’s rumble seat. One evening the four of them decided they were hungry so they drove to Coeur d’ Alene to eat and didn’t get home until 4:30 in the morning.


Russel was born in Kahlotus WA on 26 January 1909 as the youngest of five seven children born to Hattie and Emery Cline. Following is a brief introductioon to members of the family. Father, Emery, had moved from Indiana in Walla Walla WA in 1890. He was educated enough to have a teaching certificate in two states. Emery had a lifelong love of literature. Mother, Hattie, was born in California in 1869 but moved to Washington when 12 years old. She obtained a teaching certificate in Washington. They married in 1889. They were a farm family.

Daughter Florence was born in 1890. At age 16 she married Harry Hunt. They farmed at Grandview IA while raising a family of 10 hardworking children.

Twins, Ralph and Ruth, born in 1892 died in their first year.

Edith, born in 1895, at the family farm in Dayton WA. She married Ray Fitting who was chief ranger for the St Joe National Forest. Edith spent years as editor of the St Maries newspaper.

Dorothy, born in 1897 completed a BA at U of Idaho. After colorful college years she married Professor Carl Naether and they lived in Los Aangeles.

Winfield, born in 1903, established an advertising company that grew to importance. His resume includes traveling with the governor of Idaho to visit President Roosevelt.

Russel, the focus of this history, was born in 1909, lost his mother at age 8 and led a confused childhood.  When Russel was born his mother Hattie Abbott decided to shorten the LL in Russell.  She said that there were already too many double letters in family names.  Thus Russel misspelled his name in his own marriage certificate.

Hattie died of a heart attack in 1917. (Footnote for Hattie obituary clipping) Emery recognized that he lacked the dedication to responsibly raise a young son. Emery did not remarry and decided he could not support a young son.

Let us jump forward in time to a conversation that took place 35 years later, when Russel’s son Dick was courting Marie Kosola. On a visit to Marie’s uncle Walter Eades, Walter wanted to know more about the family background and asked a number of personal questions about Russel. To Dick’s surprise, Walter went on to explain that shortly after his marriage he and his wife knew Emery Cline very well. At that time, Emery was seeking a stable home for his son Russel. He asked the Eades if they would entertain such a task. They declined the responsibility. On hearing the story in the late 50s, Russel would not grant it credibility.

Russel grew up living with first one, then another of his older sisters and his brother. When Hattie died, Russel’s sister Dorothy was teaching in a one-room school and living at home, so Russel could stay home the first year. At this time his sister Edith was teaching at Connell. Russel attended Dorothy’s school and, being precocious, accomplished two academic years during that one year. At one of his subsequent schools he also completed two years of work in a single year. Consequently, Russel was two years ahead of his age in completing grade school. He dropped out of school for two years but since he was unable to find a satisfactory job, he went to Spokane to live with his brother Winfield. Russel graduated from North Central High in 1926 and stayed to work in Spokane.

Hattie in back, Florence, Edith, Emery, and Dorothy

After his time with Dorothy, Russel went to live with his oldest sister Florence. Born in 1890, thus 20 years older than Russel, Florence was married to a farmer, Harry Hunt, and her first two children were older than Russel. They lived in an area near Richland but subsequent to this time period they moved to Grandview Idaho. The Hunts were quite poor but freely shared everything with friends. Russel once mentioned that they would swim across the Columbia River at Richland. During late summer there was very little water flow and it was a small river.

Russel and Emery / Grandad and Billy
Russel and Emery

Russel fit well with the Hunt family, but was shuffled along so the sisters could share. Soon it was time to move on to Edith, who by then was married to Ray Fitting and living in Great Falls, Montana. While the sisters all adored him and quarreled over who should have him, it was hard for the boy to understand why he didn’t belong anywhere permanently. Russel sometimes commented that during his school years he changed school at least once each year.

Getting Married     (This gets confused with the previous bold entry.)

Mabel’s and Russel’s friendship blossomed with time and they finally decided to get maried. He admitted being “somewhat younger” than Mabel, which she interpreted to mean maybe a couple of years which was OK with her. Some years later on January 26, Russel’s father Emery noted that it was Russel’s birthday and mentioned his age. It was only then that Mabel discovered she was not just three years, but eight years older than her husband. She was — upset and she locked herself in the bedroom and wouldn’t speak to him for the rest of the day.

Their financial situation restrained the young friends from    Russel and Mabel had very little money and this initially kept them from marrying. But one day Russel came to the house and said he wanted to talk about money. They sat down at the dining room table and he explained that he paid his brother Winfield and sister-in-law Peggy to rent a room with them. Also Mabel paid room rent to her step mother and her father as well. It looked as if they could have their own place for the same costs so there was no need to delay marriage.

The young couple were not going to marry on a weekday as it would mean losing a day of work. So one Saturday they they decided to go to Coeur d’Alene to get married by a Justice of Peace since Idaho had no requirements for a waiting period before marriage. They drove to Idaho only to discover that the Justice of Peace did not work on weekends. Being resourcful, They didn’t give up. They drove up and down the streets until they found a church and the nearby parsonage. They went to the door, apologized for interrupting the minister’s dinner and asked if he could marry them. He was happy to officiate and his dinner guests served as witnesses to the ceremony. Mabel was so excited that throughout the drive and the ceremony, she didn’t say a word. But after the ceremony and through supper at a local restaurant she couldn’t stop talking. Before making wedding plans, Mabel and Russel had already arranged to rent an apartment. However, they didn’t have much to put into it. They spent part of the afternoon of their wedding day buying some cooking utensils. The apartment was close to their jobs so they would be able to walk to work.

Russel’s Job

Russel’s job consisted of collecting payments for the classified advertising department of the Spokesman Review newspaper, which meant riding a motorcycle to people’s homes to make the collections. He took several spills on the motorcycle due to the combination of poor mechanical brakes, rough roads, steep hills, and icy conditions. While he never got injured, Mabel didn’t like the idea of him driving so much on his job, especially during the winter months when snow and ice were on the roads.

In spite of the dangers involved, Russel’s job paid $90 per month, while Mabel earned $100 at the telephone company. Russel’s job also proved to be frustrating since many times people were not at home when he stopped to collect. He sometimes had to contend with dogs. Russel often told the story of one unhappy encounter. As he approached a yard with a Beware of Dog sign, Russel could see that the dog was tied with a leash short enough to allow safe cross of the yard, so he wasn’t deterred by the barking. When he had got halfway across, a loud noise caused him to look behind and only then did he realize that the dog leash was tied to a clothesline that gave the animal total coverage of the yard. By then it was too late and both, pants and skin bore tooth imprints.

Living Arrangements

Downtown Spokane was very hot in the summer and the apartment was uncomfortable. On one of his rounds for the newspaper Russel discovered a house on a hill on Roan Street, at the north edge of town. It would rent for the same price as the apartment, $10 per month, so they moved there. Transportation soon included their own car, a 1926 Ford coupe, they bought on April 27,1931 for $60. The money was payable in four monthly installments of $15.

When Mabel’s brother Cliff and his wife Babe bought a home, they asked Mabel and Russel to move in with them to help cover their house payments. The Ronings had a five-year-old son Bob, so that when Mabel became pregnant during the time they lived with the them, the Clines moved into a two-bedroom house on Montgomery Street. Clifford’s house had no room for the addition of another child. Mabel and Russel rented the house for $10 a month. We have to remember that bread cost only five cents a loaf at this time, so their expenses were low. Although she wanted to keep working, Mabel become so ill from the pregnancy that she had to quit. One day not long after she had quit her job, Russel came home with the bad news that he had lost his job. It was the year 1933 and the Depression was in its depths. Russel could only find odd jobs which might pay a dollar or so per day. The depression which had started well before this time, was felt most severely in the cities. It was an economic crisis that fed on itself. People were out of work so they had no money to spend. Businesses could not realize a profit so they laid off workers. There was so much competition for jobs that business owners did not increase salaries. Most odd jobs were not adequate to support a family.

Pat Is Born

As the time neared for the baby to be born, Mabel came down with a severe cold and cough. Russel took her to see a doctor who gave her some medication and admitted her to a hospital for the night. When the doctor told them nothing more could be done for her at the hospital the next day, they went home. But after being home for no more than a day, Mabel began to feel labor pains, so she returned to the hospital where she was told not to get excited since it would be some time yet before the baby would be born. Russel stayed with her until the end of visiting hours, and then went home. Not long after he left, the labor pains increased and Mabel asked the nurse to call her husband. As the time drew nearer for the baby to be born, Mabel wanted to know if anyone had called Russel, only to find out they hadn’t. The hospital only called him after the birth of the baby.

The Clines had agreed that if the baby was a boy, Russel could select the name, and if a girl, Mabel could choose. Mabel had decided to name her girl Carol. Babies, in her mind, were supposed to have red skin, be wrinkled and bald. When the nurses brought in a little girl, she was white skinned, and had so much black hair the nurses had combed a curl into it. Obviously, this was not Carol, so Mabel had to choose a new name. The baby was christened Patricia Joyce, and called Patsy.

While visiting Russel’s brother and his wife to show off the new baby, Winfield and Peggy mentioned their concern that neither Russel nor Mabel were working, and asked how they managed to get by. As they had no children, Winfield proposed he and Peggy would take the baby if the young parents didn’t have enough money to take care of her. Appalled at the idea of doing such a thing, Mabel and Russel explained that they could make their payments as they had money in the bank that they had saved from their earlier jobs. Mabel took pride in the dividend payments from her telephone company stock.

The Prospect of Moving

In May of 1933, Russel’s father Emery wrote that at age 73 he was getting too old to do farm work. His farm was located in an area called “the Sandhills” that was 11 miles from Kahlotus, 12 miles from Washtucna, and 17 miles from Lind. Emery found the demands of the farm too great and living alone on the farm hard. He was willing to share the farm, the work, and the income. It was not much – a rented farm, a small house – but it was a guarantee of a roof and food. By this time, Russel had been out of work for six months so the offer of a home on the farm was welcome and Russel quickly agreed to the offer.

As an adult Russel was a serious young man but still given to fun. He loved to sing little ditties to his family. He might sing By-By Blackbird, Buffalo Gals Are A’Coming Into Town, or Three Little Fishies. Alternately he could recite The Village Blacksmith, Abou Ben Adhem or Invictus, poems which he had learned as a child. He was skilled at mathematics. When his daughter Pat’s high school algebra teacher was poor at communication in 1947, Russel could explain each day’s lesson but he was careful to never provide the answer. Throughout his life crossword puzzles, card games, jigsaw puzzles, or other mental challenges were his favorite pastimes.

Chapter 3: Life at the Sandhills

Chapter 3: Life at the Sandhills

The Farmstead

Threshing machine '20Russel and Mable left Spokane early one June morning accompanied by Mabel’s brother Cliff and his wife Babe, with all their belongings in the two cars. It was a long drive as it was poor gravel road from Lind to the Sandhills and dirt road for the final two miles. When they arrived at the Sandhills farm before noon, Emery Cline had cooked a large roast with potatoes for them. He had also bought them a Jersey cow named Peggy who gave good rich milk. Mabel wandered through the four rooms of her new home, the living room, a kitchen-dining room and two bedrooms. The kitchen had a pump for water and there was a back porch with the washing machine. To her delight, Mabel found carrots and onions, rhubarb and lots of strawberries in the garden. Emery was a master at gardening and produced so many strawberries that visitors were rewarded with buckets full in season. There was also the requisite chicken house and pigpen and Mabel fell in love with chickens.

They no longer need fear hunger even though this was only a small farm. The total farm included land rented from Emery’s neighbors, one section from the Watsons and 1/4 section from Bill and Nell Curry. After subtracting the land suitable only for pasture, there were about 300 acres in crop each year, not enough acreage for economic farming. Much of this land had been homesteaded about 1900 and the homestead allowance of 1/4 section was not adequate to sustain owners. This was a dry-land farm, meaning that acreage was cropped one year, and then left idle for a year to collect moisture enough to support another crop. The soil was low in nutrients, this being before the days of applying fertilizer and sandy so it did not hold moisture well enough for a prosperous crop. In subsequent years, properties were merged to become economically reasonable. While the farmstead may have been barren, the countryside offered some diversion. A couple cows and a steer were kept on a portion of land too rugged for farming. The area abounded in wild flowers and rabbit trails. Each evening the cows would be gathered for milking which was a happy exploration, especially since the old sheep dog, Rags did most of the work.

Out of doors the farmstead consisted of a large barn in traditional style, with haymow in the center, stalls on either side. The machine shop contained the variety of farming tools and served as a garage for the truck. The tractor and other implements stayed out in the weather. The garage was not much larger than one car width and partitioned so that coal could be kept inside. Also the chicken house, the pig pen and the outhouse. In front of the garage, an old poplar tree grew, a favorite climbing place for kids, and there was an elm tree at the entrance to the garden. A windmill filled the water tank for irrigation and a small cistern for house water. Water was precious, since the cistern was filled only when the wind blew.  A root cellar for food storage was near the kitchen door.  The cellar roofed with timbers and covered with a heap of dirt to insulate contents from the heat of summer and frost in the winter.

When revisiting the farmstead in 2005, it was sad to discover that all of the farm buildings had collapsed or were totally gone and the farmland had been absorbed into nearby farms as only those large farms were profitable.  We must admit that abandoned, poorly constructed buildings, might disappear after 65 Years.  Yet it feels unfair that the key to our memories is gone.  Moreover, In 2016 an industrial size marijuna  growing operation is located just one mile from our old home.   The natural springs in the area are dry due to excess pumping of water for agriculture.  The dunes have lost steep sides from years of cattle grazing.    The old official geological Maps had identified a spot as picnic area.

Emery Cline

Russel’s father, Emery Cline, was originally from Indiana.  In 1880 he married Malina (Lina) Godlove, the daughter of his next-door neighbor and In 1881 daughter Winnie was born. He moved to Walla Walla around 1887 and shortly afterward married Hattie Abbott.  A more detailed description of Emery is in Chapter 7.

Emery married in 1889.  One daughter was born in Walla Walla, two daughters born in Huntsville, WA, and two sons born in Kahlotus WA.

The following may be deleted as information is in Chapter 7

Emery worked the farm at Huntsville with an understanding that he would eventually become part owner. After it became clear that he would only be used as a laborer, the family moved to a farm of their own near Kahlotus in 1907. Primarily, Emery had worked as a day laborer for several years to provide income. On his farm, Emery kept a journal with a listing of labor hours, expenses, and income. But the journal is a confused random listing of finances and the first 50 pages have been removed. Surprisingly, the expenses in the journal do not identify any expenditure for his wife or children. Apparently this started as a journal of business expenses. It provides samples of Emery’s excellent script. The lack of organization of the journal suggests that Emery was a poor businessman and did not effectively manage the apple farm.

Seven children were born to this marriage. Florence was born Walla Walla in 1890 followed by Ralph and Ruth who were born in 1892 and died at age two. Edith Maud was born in 1895, Dorothy Dean in 1897 and Winfield Emery in Huntsville in 1903. The last child, Russel Thompson was born in 1909 in Khalotus. Hattie died while Russel was 8 years old and Emery spent the remainder of his life in the Kahlotus area where he worked at the grain warehouse, and later rented the small farm in the Sandhills.

In an effort to describe Emery’s live there are times when important milestones are lacking. Emery’s father Abraham Cline died owning farm in Indiana than had considerable value. The farm was willed to Emery and his two sisters. Emery always exhibited a meager lifestyle and never showed freedom to spend money. There should be some reason why his sister had full authority to sell the farm.

Emery and kids
Emery with his children: Russel, Dorothy, Emery, Florence, Edith, Emery

Adjusting to Life on a Farm

In the beginning, the move from the modern city of Spokane to a dirt farm was very difficult for Mabel, the city girl. There were no friends within walking distance, and her family 100 miles away. When she looked out of the window, she saw dry land without grass or green shade trees and the wind blew dust every day. Mabel cried every day and told Russel “I won’t stay here”. She had left behind a clean, modern home with electrical appliances to move into a tiny farm house shared with her father-in-law. Mabel had to get used to an outdoor privy, water from a hand pump and life without electricity. Temperatures ranged from zero in the winter to over 100 degrees in the summer and home insulation was unheard of. Hot water for washing or cleaning came from a pot on the coal-fired cook stove.  We pain at the thought of bending over the hot stove while the outside temperatures is above 100 degrees.  Bathing was done in a large tub in the middle of the kitchen floor. The kids bathed first, then Mabel and last was Russel.

When curtains appeared in the windows of Emery’s house, the neighbors became aware that a woman had moved in. The farm community was always eager to meet new residents. The first to visit was Leona Watson, and who came very first day. As Leona’s husband Alec was too busy to come, Leona climbed on one of the big old workhorses and rode the five miles to the Cline house. Half a mile eastward down the road the Murphy’s lived. They were much older than Russel and Mabel but they made a delightful set of substitute grandparents. “Skinny” and Laura Krause lived further along the road. One day near harvest time Mabel asked Laura how one prepared a meal for a large harvest crew. Laura said to just “fill ‘um up” with lots of potatoes and meat. Other neighbors included the afore mentioned Watsons, Currys, Pasleys, Williams’ and Blairs. Most of these people remained good friends for twenty years.

Getting Along with Emery

Russel and his dad Emery had differences. They had initially agreed to share the cost and profit for the crops. In Emery’s eyes, however, the crop that he had already planted before inviting Russel, belonged to him, so Russel worked the first year for nothing. Emery was outwardly a likable person but with firm convictions of his rights. At least, Mabel was paid $15 for cooking for the harvest crew during harvest time which lasted 3 weeks that first year. This $15 turned out to be the only income Mabel and Russel received that first year on the farm. There was no returning to Spokane, however. After having to ration their food in the city, the farm provided an abundance of vegetables and fruit such as potatoes, corn, peas, strawberries and rhubarb, as well as beef, pork, chicken and eggs. In the second year, Emery kept an account of every cent Mabel and Russel borrowed to buy items from shoelaces to oil or repair parts for the machinery. Deducting this from that year’s income left little to live on. A low wheat price put additional stress to their financial problems. Previously, in 1931, the price of wheat had dropped to its lowest point, and Emery had to sell his crop for only 35 cents a bushel. There were 300 acres in crop each year with an annual yield of about 20 bushels per acre. Of the resulting $2,100 annual income, nearly $1,000 were needed to provide seed wheat, farm machinery, and fuel. Only the rest could be considered money for personal use which meant for Russel working for $1.50 per day.

Fortunately, Mabel proved to be the buffer that allowed Russel and his father to live together. On one occasion, when relatives came to visit, a trip to Palouse Falls was planned. After seeing the number of sandwiches his wife had prepared for the trip, Russel told Mabel that she had made too many, but she had prepared enough for Emery as well. Russel didn’t want to go if his father was going. However, Mabel remained adamant that both of them should go and convinced Russel to come along. On the way to the falls they stopped in Washtucna, and Emery bought beer for the group. This made Russel change his mind, since his father was contributing something.

Emery’s firm convictions also became apparent when Mabel washed his dirty overalls shortly after moving in with him. When he saw them later, he told her never to wash his overalls again because she allegedly had ruined them. Emery liked his work clothes starched and after buying a pair of overalls he never washed them so they would retain their starchy texture. At another occasion, Mabel got the better of her father-in-law. Emery wore long underwear, the old-fashioned one-piece union suits. When dirty, he pulled them off leaving arms and legs in a tangle that Mabel needed to straighten every laundry day. Finally, deciding that she had had enough of that, she returned them to him in the same tangled condition he had given them to her. After that they came to the washing neatly untangled.

Mabel’s Jobs as a Farm Wife

Those times, washing clothes was a carefully orchestrated daylong job. Water had to be heated on the wood stove, then carried to the machine which was powered by a small noisy gas engine. After agitating for an appropriate time, the wet clothes were lifted out of the hot water using a long stick which was faded from many wash sessions. Then they were fed through the wringer which was notorious for catching hair, fingers and other parts of a woman’s body and then moved into the first of two rinse tubs. The final rinse tub always contained bluing, a bright blue liquid that whitened the clothes. Clothes were hung outside even when the weather was cold. Frozen pieces were brought in a few at a time to thaw and dry on a small rack in front of the living room stove. Pieces to be ironed were sprinkled, then rolled and placed in a basket till the next day. Ironing was accomplished with a heavy sad-iron. Made of cast iron, units were heated on the wood stove and a handle was attached when the iron was used. Two garments were usually ironed at the same time, one that needed a very hot iron, and another that was ironed at a cooler temperature. Mabel had to skip back and forth, frequently returning to the stove for another hot iron.

The laundry porch was also the site of soap making. This was an activity that followed butchering since fat was necessary. Every scrap of fat was cooked or rendered till the fat had melted out of it. This produced the lard used for cooking and also, combined with lye and ash, it produced soap.

Keeping food with no refrigeration was a big problem so Mabel quickly became proficient at canning. She stored a wide variety of canned fruits on shelves in the root cellar as the underground area didn’t freeze in winter and remained cool in summer. She sterilized the jars in an enamel canning-kettle heated by a blazing cook stove. Canning meant hours of bending over a sink of hot water on a hot day, peeling hot fruit to be boiled on a hot stove. Remnants of fruit were stirred into jam. For kids who helped, this was much more fun than canning, as there was a sweet sugary pot to lick afterward. Mabel canned quart containers of rhubarb as this was Dad Cline’s favorite fruit. Sometimes he opened a jar and ate the entire jar himself. Emery also liked what was called “apple pie”, a piece of bread on a plate covered with a generous helping of applesauce. This “apple pie” remained a family staple for many years.

The farm’s chickens were another of Mabel’s responsibilities, as the family diet included the meat of chickens as well as beef and pork. Each spring 100 to 200 chicks were ordered from a hatchery in Spokane and arrived via US mail. All the farmers ordered baby chicks so the post office was filled with their cheeping during the early spring weeks. The hatchery sorted the chicks by sex so it was possible to order them sorted for eating or for egg laying. Mabel always chose half hens and half cockerels. That way there would be a crop of young hens for eggs and cockerels for the dinner table. She nursed the chicks keeping them in boxes in the kitchen on cold nights and studying each one for any sign of ill health. As they matured everyone began to yearn for fresh fried chicken.

Butchering chickens was a frequent activity. Farmer’s wives were not genteel. Every farm had a chopping block, and Mabel chopped off the head and and bled the chicken. (Bleeding meant tossing them on the ground until they quit flopping.)  The carcass was dipped into scalding hot water to pluck feathers. If too hot the skin came off with the feathers, if too cool the feathers would not budge. Plucking had to be accomplished quickly as the bird cooled and the feathers were more difficult to pull. Finally, the bird was held over an open fire to singe off the pinfeathers. Farm kids were expected to help chicken butchering, they were familiar with life and death of animals.  As we watched the killing of the steer or pig and visualized food.

Mable acquired a pressure cooker and preserved meat from the pigs and steers that also were butchered on the farm. Storage for items needing a dry atmosphere was in the attic. Here, hams were hung, homemade lye soap was cured, and the 100-pound sacks of sugar and flour stored. In the heat of summer, the attic became unbearably hot and walking there was precarious because only half of the attic floor had flooring boards so in much of the attic one had to step from one 2 x 4 to another. Occasionally little children would creep up the stairs to sample the sugar. But hard as they tried to deceive her, Mabel always spotted the telltale sticky fingers.

Mabel made a little spending money by marketing eggs and cream. Eggs were stored in the root cellar until a completed crate of 24 dozen was ready to take to town. The cream was separated from the raw milk and sold in one-gallon containers. A Spokane creamery would pick up the filled cream can and drop off an empty one.

The Children

Mabel took pride in the fact that her first born girl, Pat, was always dressed in white, even though they now lived on a farm. One day while gathering fresh peas in the garden, she placed Pat on a blanket nearby. After Mabel had put the first pan of peas on the stove, she quickly returned to the garden. She was horrified to find that a group of pigs had gotten out of their pen and were rooting around and nuzzling Pat.

Russel and Mabel had not planned the first pregnancy. They had followed the saying “First children can come anytime, the rest are planned.” But now they wanted a second child and planned for Dick. They planned for a child to arrive in early spring, however the delivery date turned out to be in mid July. As he would be born too close to harvest, it was decided to induce labor. Happily, this second child was a son and given the name Richard Winfield. This time, Russel remained at the hospital throughout the birth. During the subsequent harvest, they hired a young girl to help Mabel. Helen Harter, the teen-aged daughter of a Kahlotus family came to help in the kitchen. The girl couldn’t make pies and Mabel never asked if she could bake bread.

Emery, Pat, & Dick
Emery with Dick and Pat
R T Cline Fam '37 M
1938 Family outing at the park
Pat & Dick w cats modified
1941 Kitten Collection
Clifford Roning, Betty Roning (in Stroller), Dick Cline, Pat Cline
Clifford Roning, Betty Roning (in Stroller), Dick Cline, Pat Cline
Dick and Pat as Children
Dick and Pat as Children
Dick Cline First Photo
The first photo of Dick

The favorite destination for the children’s adventure was the Sandhills, just an easy half-mile walk to the West. The dunes were of gold sand as fine as any ocean beach, many of them standing 60 feet tall and 500 feet across. In technical terms, by Robert Verish, the glacial outwash during the Pleistocene produced huge volumes of wind-blown silt called loess.  Although loess is very fine-grained silt and can be widely spread by the wind, the coarser-grained silt and sand cannot be carried as far. Typically, the wind will “drop” these coarser-grained, suspended sand particles much sooner, as is the case here in the Sand Hills Coulee.

Returning home from a day in the Sandhills for the children meant a mandatory strip at the front door. Firstly to eliminate as much sand as possible and secondly to assure Mabel that no one had a tick. The dunes were the result of ice age glacial deposits, and were the site of occasional explorations by teams of college geologists. One group came to the Cline house for water, displaying the tooth of a saber-tooth tiger. Arrowheads also were occasionally discovered. In that dry country, the dunes were a water reservoir having a swampy area, and elsewhere a small pond. Russel, who had lived in Kahlotus as a boy, would tell of a homesteader in the dunes whose farm was devoted to raising produce.

When sheepdog Rags became too old for adventures with the kids, the family acquired Specks, a little white terrier with two black eyes. Specks was so cowardly that he hid under the garage if a strange vehicle appeared at the farm. Where Dick was concerned however, the dog was his protector. A hired man, playfully tossing Dick in the air, earned a bitten leg and a visiting cousin came sobbing into the house with bloody tooth marks on his chest after a playful chase. Even Russel was even reluctant to discipline Dick in front of the dog outside. As a companion for the kids Mabel never worried. Specks not only protected them, but he also found the way home when they were lost. Rags, the old sheepdog, continued to be held in high esteem by one person at least. When Russel’s sister Dorothy saw how much Rags was suffering from his age, it appeared to her that he needed a more comfortable bed. A package from California soon arrived, and when Mabel opened it she discovered a new blanket with instructions to make “dear Rags a good bed”. But no dog was going to have a better bed than the people in the Clines’ house, so Rags had to continue to make do with gunnysacks.

A Happy Social Life

At the time when Mabel and Russel moved to the Sandhills, Emery was active in the Odd Fellows lodge. He paid for Mabel’s membership in the Rebeccas and provided transportation to the meetings in Lind so that she could meet some of the local ladies. But it was a long way to town, so the community of farmers found much fellowship among themselves and formed close family-like relationships. There were the Blairs, for instance, whose two sons, Dale and Dean, were about the same ages as Pat and Dick. It was wonderful to have someone to play with, so the kids enjoyed the time spent with the Blairs as much as the parents. A typical visit with Clarence and Lila Blair began with breakfast. The men may have done some tinkering in the shop, but the main objective of the day was pinochle. A card game could last well into the night. During the fall of 1940, the Blairs and the Clines left their children with neighbors and visited California together. The Blairs owned a fairly prosperous ranch and were able to indulge in a higher style of living. Unfortunately, both Clarence and Lila had a short temper and this eventually led to marital problems. It was a sad day for the Clines when their friends decided to divorce.

The place most significant for the social life of the Clines was the Sandhills Grange. It was here that they gathered with the neighbors, the Blairs, Charley and Zelma Williams, Roy and Zora Kelso, Ken and Shirley DeVore, Ken’s brother Lloyd and his wife Ellen, Ruth and Harold Huse, Bill and Nell Curry, the Pasleys, the Watsons, the Davidsons, and over the years, many others.

The building used by the Grange had been constructed as the Delight School, before school districts were reorganized in the 1920’s.  By 1930, building was abandoned by the school district as children could be bussed to better schools.  The Grange took ownership. The building was primarily one large room.  There was an entry/coatroom at one end and a kitchen at the other end.   The room’s school desks where were placed along the walls for seating.  The kitchen that contained a wood cook stove, one large table,  and shelves holding a generous supply of tin coffee cups. There was no running water but Zelma Williams could always be depended on to haul at least enough water for coffee. There was an ourside hand pump and sometimes vigorous pumping could get it working. A long table was always piled with goodies when the neighbors gathered for events. Someone would come to the hall early to start the downstairs furnace.  Also,there were two outhouses in the nearby sagebrush.

The Sandhills chapter of the Grange was chartered in 1934, with Emery, Russel and Mabel as charter members. It served as a farmer’s cooperative with twice-monthly meetings providing a forum to exchange important information affecting every aspect of farm life from crop insurance to the condition of the local roads. During the business part of the evening, there was often lively discussion culminating with letters to the state legislature as well as the Washington State Grange. The Grange dealt with all aspects of farm life, including support for traditional women’s activities.   There were contests for sewing and cooking. After Russel had served as an officer in the Sandhills Grange he served in the county organization. Then he proceeded to become a deputy at the state level.

Grange meetings were a popular social gathering. After business came food and fun. There was often a planned program with skits or memory work. Emery was widely known for reciting poetry. Kids were always expected to participate in the entertainment program with poems, musical presentations, etc. The children who grew up in this environment, including Dick and Pat, were never intimidated by standing in front of an audience.

But Sandhills Grange was most famous for its dances. One reason for this was the fact that it was so far out in the country that there was virtually no law enforcement, so drinking could be enjoyed, and often over-enjoyed, regardless of age. The dances were family affairs. Originally, local musicians would play for a free-will offering. As years went by and the dances became more popular, musical groups were hired. They agreed to play till 1:00 a.m., at which time someone always “passed the hat” so they would stay another hour. No one ever went home before two or sometimes three in the morning. It was not the practice at that time to hire a baby sitter for the kids. They came along wherever the parents went. They played in the kitchen, slept on the benches, and sometimes even danced with their parents. The evening provided a wide range of dancing, including ballroom varieties, Two-Step, the Schottish, and of course, Square Dancing. Russel had never learned to dance, but since this had been such a favorite pastime of Mabel’s, she gave him lessons. He never became very enthusiastic for the activity, much preferring to gossip with the men.

Russel’s Jobs as a Farmer

In the beginning, horses or mules did the farming and it took a team of twelve or more horses to pull the equipment. Each farmer kept a small team year round but rented others for the brief harvest time when a large team was essential. Russel often started to feed and harness the horses at 4:00 in the morning so that field work could start by 7:00 a.m. Feeding the horses for 12 months was costly and the family typically ran out of money in the spring time, having to borrow until the next crop could be harvested and sold. Russel had no love for horses and as he recognized the need to modernize the farm, Most farms eliminated horses and adopted tractors in the early 30s.

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Typical Harvest with Mule Team

Russel usually could easily manage the farming alone. Harvest, however, even with the arrival of a tractor, required a crew. Typically the harvest crew included a tractor driver, header puncher, combine man, a jigger, and a sack sower. Sack sowers were the most critical as they need the experience to rapidly and accurately stitch the top of a sack and scoot it down the slide . The sewing often limited how fast the combine could travel and thus how long it took to cut the crop. By the numbers, a crop yield 20 bushels per acre allowed the combine to harvest about 40 acres per day. That produced 800 bushels of wheat filling 350 sacks. A harvest day was 10 hours long, thus there was less than 2 minutes between full sacks. After the wheat was cut and sacked, the sacks were dropped in groups of five and were lying in the field to be picked up after the harvesting was finished. If they remained wet awhile lying on the ground, the sacks were subject to spoilage. One fall day after a rain, Russel set out to turn the sacks to prevent spoilage. Mabel had heard that Leona Watson, her diminutive neighbor lady, often helped the men with farm chores like this so she wanted to help, too. However, she could not lift the 140 lb. sacks and Russel sent her back to the house. Picking up the sacked wheat demanded muscle as it had to be lifted up onto a wagon or truck bed. After the first layer of sacks it was four feet and then six feet high.

Itinerant workers began drifting into town about the time cutting was to begin, and Russel and the other farmers went into town, scanned the crowd, and hoping to find some experienced, reliable workers. For many of these men harvesting was their profession. The laborers began the year in the rice fields of Texas, then moved on to California and wheat, proceeding northward and ending the year in Canada. Russel was particularly fond of one sack sower named Blacky, who returned to harvest for the Clines for several years. Then one winter Blacky wrote and said that he was in jail and in need of a loan of $10.00. Russel figured he would never see his $10.00 again but he sent the money out of appreciation for the man’s work. Although Blacky never returned to harvest after that, a couple of years later, Russel received a letter with the borrowed money enclosed.           The harvest crew brought their own bedrolls and slept on the floor of the implement shed. Cousin Bob Roning also worked as part of the harvest crew for several years. One summer he slept on a cot in the barn, where the numerous pet cats played on his bed during the night. One night he stroked one of them only to discover that it had a thin, hard tail which identified the animal as a large rat.

One year, Vern Conklin came to drive tractor for Russel and he was to return almost as many summers as Russel farmed, bringing along his two sons for some years. Vern and his wife Ruth became good friends, with many pleasant visits outside of wheat harvest season. They owned an asparagus farm at Sunnyside, and their crop was finished just in time to come to the wheat harvest. Mabel soon learned that Vern looked forward to two things, hot bread and pecan pie. She was careful not to serve both the same day, because Vern would eat so much he was likely to be sick the next day.

Another responsibility of the men was the butchering of large animals. This was a process done entirely on the farm. When a pig was slaughtered, it was shot and then scalded in a vat full of very hot water so the hide could be scraped of hair. Emery kept a pearl-handled 32-caliber revolver in the top drawer of the bookcase that was never touched for any other purpose than shooting the animal at butchering time. The children knew the gun was there, but faithfully observed the rule that they were never to open that drawer. The revolver was one Emery had found in the 1880s along the railroad track during his travel to Walla Walla. After scalding, the meat was cut into pieces on a large table, nothing was wasted. Hams were smoked and salted, then hung in the attic of the house, but most of the meat was preserved by canning which was Mabel’s job. On one visit, Russel’s brother Winfield was particularly taken with the meat they were eating and Mabel explained that it was canned pork. Emery, though, was not too pleased that his city daughter-in-law could not make headcheese. She also refused to learn to milk the cow. She knew that once you learn, then you have to do it all the time. Beef was butchered the same way on the farm. Both of these activities entailed the gathering of a crew of neighbors, and it was a rather festive occasion.


One dusty, windy afternoon in April 1934, Mabel, Russel and Emery were relaxing by playing cards. When Mabel went to the kitchen to get a drink, she discovered that the roof was on fire. Sparks blown from a sooty chimney probably had started it. Baby Patsy was rushed outside and stuffed in an apple box, but being over a year old and walking, she did not stay. She was then put in the car where she found a wrench and began banging the car window. Mabel finally had to stop her fire-fighting efforts and sit in the car with Pat. The house and most of its contents were destroyed. Only a couple of pieces of furniture, the bookcase notably, five feet by six feet and filled with books, was rescued. Russel and his dad carried it out fully loaded with the books. A dust storm had so completely obscured the fire that the neighbors were not aware of the tragedy. There was a funeral for young Alec Watson that afternoon and some neighbors finally began to wonder why the Clines did not attend the funeral. Upon investigating, they found the distraught family. The Pasleys, who lived through the fields, about three miles away, realized there was something missing in their view, the neighbors’ house!

Mabel had kept her diamond ring in a drawer so it wouldn’t get dirty. She had removed it the morning before the fire while rolling out a piecrust and had placed it in the drawer which also contained the household cash. Underneath the drawer, a cupboard stored some heavy cast iron kettles. After the fire Mabel sifted the ashes for many days trying to find the ring. She found the kettles melted in a heap, so she knew where to search for her ring. Finally Russel could tolerate her pain no longer and trucked the ashes to a remote dumpsite.

The community quickly rallied to their support with a “shower” at the Sandhills Grange. Everyone was poor but they shared what they had. They were surviving the depression with meager resources but it was necessary to share with less fortunate. There were used dishes, used clothing, beds, even a kitchen cupboard. The cupboard was from a remodeling project at the Lind Odd Fellows Hall. It was used all the years the family lived at the Sandhills. Eunice Shimek brought a gift that was to become a treasure, a new blanket. Mabel used it only for special occasions and it was still in fine condition when she and Russel moved to California in 1962. Everyone contributed a little money. Emery decided that the money should be divided three ways and, when it did not divide evenly, he decided that Mabel should get the extra two dollars. From this outpouring of generosity, Mabel realized that Sandhills really was home, and she never cried again. During the year following the fire, the family survived in the garage/coal shed. It was an unheated building built only with exterior siding of a 2 x 4 frame. One night shortly after moving into the garage Mabel and Russel smelled smoke and fears of another fire came to their minds. A hasty search revealed the cause to be a smoldering in a pocket of Russel’s overalls, where the loose wooden matches had ignited when he had dropped the pants on the floor. Fortunately, the landlady hired her brother-in-law, a minister, to come and build a new house. He brought a helper to work with him and Mabel cooked for the extra men. The new house was built on the same foundation so they again had four rooms. One visible reminder of the fire remained, a 1-foot square spot on the garage roof was charred black, where flaming debris from the house fire had fallen.

The Clines had another encounter with fire in the summer of 1940. A wheat fire started to the west on the Pasley farm. Farmers all feared fire in the dry summer as there were no fire trucks to serve the rural areas. Farmers had to devise their own fire-fighting ideas. They kept a barrel of water and a pile of gunny sacks on the back of a truck, ready to go. When they saw smoke, they dropped whatever they were doing and rushed to help. As the Pasley fire burned toward the Cline home, several neighbors arrived and Mabel was told to start packing. She recalled Emery’s statement after the first fire, that everyone should set aside some bedding and a change of clothes to prepare for such an event. She headed for her new electric table lamps. When the fire was 1/4 mile from the house, the farmers started backfires. Then there was a sudden change in the wind and the fire died in minutes. The neighbors stomped out the backfires and life quickly returned to normal.

Daily Purchases and Improvements

Occasionally, salesmen stopped at the farmhouse intent on selling their products. In the depression era few people had money so the salesmen became adept at bartering. People spent money for necessities, usually not such things as magazine subscriptions. But when one day a traveling salesman stopped and tried to sell the Clines a subscription to the Saturday Evening Post, they bartered and ended up trading him an old worthless cowhide. At another time, a refrigerator salesman stopped at the house and accepted Russel and Mabel’s offer to trade the refrigerator for a cow. The kerosene-fueled refrigerator remained with the family for years even after the house was wired for electricity. The neighbors, Clarence and Lila Blair, were so impressed that they searched out the salesman and made a similar trade for a refrigerator.

In 1940 electricity finally came to the farm. The children Pat and Dick were instructed as to the risks of electricity. They played around the new electric pole but were careful to avoid touching the bright copper wire that ran down to the ground. A couple of days after the electricity was turned on, the power crew returned because there was an extremely large load at the farm. They discovered that they had made a wiring error and the copper wire going to the ground actually was energized. Parents’ instructions and cautious child’s play had paid off! Already in the late 1930’s Harry Kasper, the town grocer, had installed frozen food lockers in his grocery store in Lind and it immediately became the preferred place to store meat. The frozen meat retained much of the character of fresh meat. Also, it was much easier and safer than canned meat.

Russel, Dorothy, Emery, Florence, Edith, Emery

Clifford Roning, Betty Roning (in Stroller), Dick Cline, Pat Cline

1938 Family outing at the park

1941 Kitten Collection

Neighboring Towns

While Lind was further away than either Washtucna or Kahlotus, it was a larger community, offering four grocery stores, a variety store and a drug store, as well as farm implement outlets. There were tree-lined streets and cement sidewalks. The kids were also to go to school there so Lind became their home town. Still, Kahlotus, being nearby, was often the destination for necessities. Russel was well known there, as he had spent many years of his youth in Kahlotus. For the kids also, it was a favorite place as they still had downtown watering trough built for horses. Those times, Kahlotus still had a board sidewalk and hitching post in front of the grocery store. Church was in Kahlotus as well. When Mabel, who was raised Lutheran, wanted to go to church, she discovered that the Lutheran church in Lind had been founded for the benefit of the many German immigrants. Consequently, services were conducted in the German language. On the other hand, the little community church in Kahlotus was a warm and friendly place. The Clines’ church attendance was not regular, as Russel often worked all week, including Sundays.

Emery’s Final Years

Emery wanted to take two trips in his retirement. The first trip he wanted to take in the fall of 1935, shortly after his 75th birthday, was to visit the Indiana home his father had built. While he made plans for his travels, Mabel secretly organized a birthday party for him. She invited each of his children and one by one they arrived on the day of his birthday, November 10th. Mabel prepared a nice meal for them and Emery thoroughly enjoyed the day. A few days later he left for Indiana and stayed until March in the home his father had built as a long hard winter prevented him from returning home sooner.

Emery and Family 34
Edith Fitting, Peggie Cline, Emery with Pat, Dorthy Naether, Winfield Cline, Mabel Cline, Florence Hunt, Harry Hunt, Ray Fitting

The second trip Emery wanted to take, was to California to visit his daughter Dorothy and her husband Carl who he had never met. He made the trip in 1936 in company with his grandson Deemer Hunt and stayed with the Naethers until January 1937. On the day he was going to leave to return to the farm he was stricken with a heart attack and died. During his absence Russel had purchased an oil heater and installed it in the house so that Emery would not suffer so much from the cold. Sadly, his father never had the opportunity to enjoy the oil heater. The Cline brothers and sisters buried their father in Walla Walla where he had lived as a young man and where their mother was interred. They then gathered at the farm for reminiscing. The weather that day was as miserable as Eastern Washington could provide, blowing dust and tumbleweeds. Dorothy vowed that she would find a farm in California for her baby brother, and for years afterward peppered him with proposals. Poor as they were however, Russel and Mabel chose to remain with the wheat fields for the time being.

The Economics of Farming

Small wheat farms were barely profitable.  Machinery and repair were costly.  Seed wheat was essential.  Harvest season required payment for hired hands.  Yes there was need for food to feed the family.  As each year progressed the farmers cash reserve dwindled and it became necessary to borrow money.  Local grocery stores operated with charge accounts and allowed unpaid bills to accumulate for months. The local bank recognized that keeping farms operating was their main responsibility and their reason for existing so loans were available through the hard times.

Banks had problems.  In the late 30’s and early 40’s the nation was recovering from the great depression.  Money was scarce, purchases were delayed or avoided, stores closed, and manufacturers suffered for lack of customers.  Banks operate by keeping a small amount of deposited cash and investing the majority.  The failure of businesses forced many banks into deficit holdings and collapse.  When a rumor would spread about a bank weakness people would run to the bank to withdraw their money.  Even a healthy bank cannot immediately return deposits to a flood of customers as the money is invested elsewhere.  The run on a bank forced more into collapse.  The economic depression fed on itself.  Fortunately, the Lind Bank remained healthy and farms survived.

Years Later

Several of us visited the Sandhills farm in 2013.  All the buildings had disappeared into rubble between the weeds with exception of the old “machine shed”.  The photo shows that it was ready to collapse in the next windstorm.  This farm like many others had been absorbed into a larger farm.  The remaining useful scraps were removed and the teetering shed was a reminder of the effects of neglect.

The Machine Shed (2013)

Another remnant of the past is the Sandhills cemetery just a mile from the farm.  The bleak cemetery is again testimony to neglect as the rural community shrinks.  The century-old headstones stand in contrast to a few from the recent times.  The scene is an echo of difficult and lonely farm life.

The Nearby Cemetery (2013)

Chapter 4: The Elmore Farm and the Changing World

Chapter 4 The Elmore Farm and the Changing World

Sandhills Eviction

In the fall of 1941, Russel and Mabel received a letter from their landlord informing them that they would have to move as the farm was going to be rented to someone else. The letter allowed only six weeks to vacate the property. Harvest was completed and unofficial farming law said that the man who planted a crop would be allowed to harvest the crop. It wasn’t yet the best planting time and the landlord did not give Russel time to get next year’s crop planted. Six weeks was a very short time to locate another farm. There was no dissatisfaction with Russel’s farming but the property was going to be made available to a relative.

A new farm

There were a very few properties available, and none that appeared able to support a family. The prospective ranches were even more bleak than the Sandhills property. Russel visited Lind one afternoon to ask if anyone knew of a job that might be available. “Urque” Urquart, who managed the local grain elevator, suggested that Russel should call on Ted Elmore, who was past eighty years old and retiring from the active management of his land. Russel drove to the farm to ask if the farm were to be rented. Mr. Elmore told Russel that he had already spoken to a neighbor (Strohmaier) and planned to rent to him. A dejected Russel returned to town and related the situation to the Urque and to the banker, Harry Sneed. These gentlemen stated that the town needed young people like Russel and Mabel. They told Russel to wait while they paid a visit to Mr. Elmore. An hour later the two returned and told Russel that he could have a six-year lease on the ranch. This was an dramatic good fortune, as Russel had never before enjoyed a profitable farm nor the promise of a multiyear lease. This was a large farm and the rental terms were generous. The business friends had negotiated terms that allowed Russel and Mabel to retain 2/3 of the income from the farm. Russel realized that the farm equipment he owned would not be suitable for a farm this large but the banker had an answer for that. Just sell what you have and borrow the rest. This was a farm with great prospects but also a debt that Russel had never experienced.

Each farm has a name and this farm will always be referred to as The Elmore Property. Ted Elmore died shortly after the Clines arrived And Mr Elmore had no legal relationship with the property.

Home at the Elmore property

Home at the Elmore property


The World at War

The United States entered the Second World War during the time of the move to the new farm. The family huddled around the radio to listen to President Roosevelt make the declaration of war. This war strongly affected the life of every person.  Men were called into the services and women assumed tasks previously all male. Draft cards were issued to all adult male citizens. A classification was assigned to each man determining his susceptibility to being called into the army. A classification of 1-A indicated that you would likely be drafted soon.  Russel was initially classified 3-C based on being head of the household and an essential business. A nation could live without nylon stockings, new bathtubs, or new automobiles but people still needed to eat.   Subsequently he was declared too old and classified 4-F, giving him the lowest probability of being drafted.  Everything was dedicated to the war effort.

Each person had a ration card that permitted them a certain quantity of life’s necessities. The family learned to use saccharin to sweeten ice tea thus saving the restricted sugar. Feeding a harvest crew became a challenge. Mabel had to request the crewmen to supply their ration cards so that she could obtain sufficient quantities of staples.

Ration Card

WWII ration card, Color indicates the type of product, The number defines the numbert of points

Ration stamps were issued for each person. The red stamps were good for meat. The blue stamps were other foodstuffs. Each stamp had a value in points shown here as 1, 2, 5, and 8 points.   The OPA administered rationing for nearly everything, different food staples, auto tires and gasoline, clothing, appliances, etc.

Many new activities were dictated by the need to conserve materials for the war. Every child collected tinfoil and wadded it into a ball. The school sponsored scrap iron drives which yielded tons of iron. Cooks saved cooking fats that could be rendered to produce glycerine.  Extra money was invested into war bonds. The speed limit that had been 50 miles per hour was lowered to 35 miles per hour. Chocolate was almost unobtainable.  Every one was urged to raise a “victory garden’ to take care of their own food needs. And scarce as water was, the Clines grew a small plot of vegetables during those years. Other things such as gasoline and tires were rationed. However farmers were less handicapped than most people as items such as gasoline and tires were considered essential to the food supply.

Even a small boy was privy to the secrets of the war. Vern Conklin told Russel of one of his jobs. Vern had worked for a few months in an area called Hanford. They were making a large excavation for some secret military device. The hole was so large Vern struggles for descriptive words. No one had any concept that this was the birth of the atom bomb.  A second secret dealt with the presence of Japanese incendiary balloons. The Japanese could launch cheap balloons with incendiary devices that would drift cross the ocean in the high altitude winds and then descend in US forests and fields to cause numerous fires. It was official policy, to not publish stories about the devices, so that the Japanese would think the project was a failure. There was some damage from the balloons but it was not extensive.

The challenge of the Elmore farm

The new ranch was a blessing to Russel who had been so despondent over his bleak future such a short time before. Situated one mile to the south of highway 395, there were farm roads approaching the buildings from both the north and the south. The “Elmore place”, as it was to be called, was 1100 acres of crop land one year and 1200 the next. It was situated in a range of hills that received a bit more moisture than the neighboring areas. The soil was an ideal mix of loam, rather than the Sandhills loose sand. Happily, it was close enough to their old neighborhood that they could still easily visit their friends and participate in Grange activities.

On Mabel’s first visit to the farm Russel took here out to a clear spot of ground and pointed out the property line limits. To the south the property stretched 1 1/5 miles to the crest of a distant ridge. To the West the property extended an unbroken mile. To the North and the East the property stretched a full mile to where vision was obscured by a hilltop. (There was not a tree in sight.) It was a dramatic improvement in the eyes of a farmer.   The farm was not so wonderful in the kids’ eyes. Everywhere there was wheat. The wonderful Sandhills playground they had enjoyed was only a memory.   Still, the numerous farm buildings offered lots of opportunity for exploration.

The new farm caused Russel a great deal of worry. In order to purchase suitable farming equipment for a farm of this size he was forced to go into debt far more deeply than he had ever envisioned, even more deeply than he thought possible.     However Mr. Sneed was reassuring. He told Russel and Mabel to list all their present assets and borrow against them. It was a surprise to learn that money could be borrowed that way. Would the crops fail? There was no pasture for a milk cow or for raising steers.  Water supply, from a deep well, was not dependable.  It took a good wind for the windmill to lift water from a deep well.

The move was accomplished with the resources at hand. Everything was loaded onto the farm trucks.   The farmers were very resourceful in loading things like heavy farm equipment without special apparatus.   With the final load of furniture and miscellaneous possessions, Dick rode in a corner of the truck bed holding his favorite kitten. All the land surrounding the buildings was cropland.   The only pasture for cows was well over a mile distant. It wasn’t long after this that the Deatons, on the farm just to the south of Elmore’s, had a pony stray onto the highway. A truck hit the pony, and the ensuing lawsuit convinced Russel that it was smart to buy beef rather than worry about livestock.

An introduction to the Elmore farm

The house was larger. A kitchen, separate dining room and a living room on the main floor, then an upstairs with three bedrooms. The house, however, was a disaster. There was rotting food in the kitchen. The house wasn’t just dirty; there was a thick layer of grime throughout. In the dining room was a small old pump organ. Mr. Elmore was deaf but he liked to make loud sounds on the organ to see if he could hear them. In one of the upstairs bedrooms there was a pile of old blankets and clothing that belonged to the landlord. Mabel cleaned these and subsequently delivered them to him at his new home outside Cheney. He was impressed that someone would do these things and not expect to be paid for the work.

A more spacious home was still a disappointment in one aspect. Electricity had come to the Sandhills just six months before the move, but the family was again without. In its place was a system of bottled gas. The recently purchased electric stove and refrigerator were useless. In a stroke of luck, Bill and Nell Curry had just received electricity were planning to replace their gas appliances. A trade was negotiated. The gas stove, though a little expensive to operate, proved very satisfactory. There was again no running water, a hand pump, and the outhouse was 40 yards to the west.

The three rooms on the main floor of the house had Flamo gas (Trade name for propane) piped across the ceiling to permanent light fixtures — a mantle consisting of a gauze-like fabric that covered the gas jet which when lit produced a wonderfully bright light. The one hazard was that the mantle was very fragile. The kids could not play upstairs with normal childhood enthusiasm because the ceiling would vibrate enough to cause the mantle to disintegrate.

Other aspects of the house soon became apparent. The kitchen and dining room had originally been a teacher’s cottage to which the living room (rumored to be a one-room bachelor’s shack) had been attached. The kitchen contained only one small unit of cupboards, and that with a counter made of a sheet of tin, well dented and covered with linoleum. No windowpane was the proper size for the place it was installed. Nor did any top and bottom pane meet in the middle, but rather overlapped, leaving a space in the center large enough to stick one’s arm through. There were doors everywhere, frequently two on a wall. A section of iron water pipe was attached to the ceiling in the center of the kitchen as a chinning bar.

Friends continue to help

After some initial cleanup, the DeVores and Huses came for a daylong papering party. More interesting things were discovered. Removing old paper disclosed newspapers from an early year had been used as wallpaper at one time. Some of the superfluous doors were sealed off and the trusty unit of kitchen cabinetry from the Sandhills fire days was installed. The oil heater from the Sandhills also came along and was to warm the living room of the Elmore place. It was still an old house that leaked dust every time the wind blew, but the house had become a home.

Once again there was no heat for the bedrooms. This time however, with the bedrooms upstairs, they seemed much colder. The upstairs was completely unheated. Children donned pajamas behind the oil stove, and then carried a warmed blanket to bed. In the morning they raced down the stairs to that warm spot to dress for the day.  Despite the cold, Dick commonly slept with a window open.  On one occasion awakening with snow atop the bed.

The outside, layout and appearance

Outside, the yard was filled with weeds that stood head high to an 8-year old boy. The two old workhorses in the corral appeared wonderful to the kids. Russel, however had not changed his view of horses, and they were the first of the unnecessary things to go. There were buildings spread over what seemed a vast area. Two large barns, around 5,000 sq. ft. each.  They had been converted to bulk grain storage and were filled with wheat. There were more than 40,000 bushels.  This was the equivalent to an entire year’s crop. Farm storage was common so the owner could supplement a poor year with stored grain. At the west end of this drive was another barn, now a machine shed with a large central bay and two side openings. Several buildings filled the space in between the barns. Two chicken houses pleased Mabel, but the chickens inside did not. They were white and brown leghorns, notorious for being flighty. A huge old rooster with vicious spurs on his legs did not approve of this strange women coming into his domain and attacked each time she came near. He succeeded in stabbing Mabel in the knee, a feat that quickly brought about his demise.

The pigpen was nearly empty but this aged facility had housed 40 pigs in earlier years. There was a second outhouse at the lower edge of the pigpen. An ancient shop building held a collection of tools and a forge worthy of an antique shop. This building was so badly askew that the children were cautioned not to enter. A multipurpose shed contained five stalls, each about the size of a one-car garage, was used for a variety of purposes. One end contained sacks of chicken feed while several of the units were filled with collections of horse harness. The feed room had numerous rodents so this is where the family made a home for the pet cats.

The Elmore farm, like all farms, had its own garbage dump in some steep useless piece of ground.  Combustable material was put in the burn barrel.  Cats were rodent control  Dogs announced  the arrival of everyone.  All families had recently been through the great depression and it influenced every expenditure.  There were stacks, rolled f unused barbed wire, a stack of old railroad ties, a scrap heap of iron salvaged from broken implements, an old broken truck, and dust.

The Pigpen.jpg

The pigpen with machine shop in background.

Old Barns

Old barns that had been converted for bulk grain storage.

Elsewhere the family discovered a buckboard, a hay wagon and a truck dating from the 1920’s. A small structure used to store coal and wood, and two cellars completed the farm site. The older of the cellars contained a few empty jars, but had not been used for many years. The newer cellar has walls of concrete, clean, free of spiders, and wonderful! It was covered with dirt for thermal protection and a wooden cover to limit erosion. The top became the favorite lookout station for the family dog.  It was a fascinating playground.

Family Visit

Family vist by Roning families from Spokane

As Mabel cleaned the house, Russel was relentless organizing the farm. This was not without reason. The various junk contributed to the fire hazard and the places for rats and mice to multiply. He gathered everything lacking obvious value and torched it along with the old shop. The remaining buildings were sound although size and shape were better suited for working horse management.  He covered the parking areas with cinders, a gravel sized residue available as a waste from coal fired trains. The children quickly discovered the very sharp edgs. Ultimately the entry road became the site of an underground fuel tank and a gas pump providing fuel to all the vehicles. The old outhouse was replaced with a new privy.  The old dirt cellar filled in. The coal shed remained for a few years as it contained coal needed for the large forge that was in the rickety old machine shop that was torn down and the forge moved to the new machine shed after the new machine shed was construced – but that is another story. In hindsight there were things that may have had collector value. There were a couple old guns that were buried, They were badly rusted and Russel deemed them useless. A remaining sack of old black powder shotgun shells provided diversion for a young boy – until discovered.

During the first few years at the Elmore farm there were many large dust storms. Farmers were slowly learning that careful farming practices were necessary to prevent the soil from blowing badly. They learned to cultivate the ground less frequently, cultivate around hills rather than up and down in straight rows, During harvest, let the straw fall on the ground to hold the soil. Dust storms were a frequent annoyance. During the stronger storms we could even not see the coal shed from the kitchen window even though it was only 40 feet distant. The dust inside the house was nearly as bad. Mabel placed dinner plates on the table 15 minutes before dinner and by the time everyone was ready to be seated, it was possible to trace a visible line across the dust accumulated on the plate. The dirt did not delay dinner.

More than inconvenience, dust could also be dangerous. Gene Phillips and wife were driving on dusty afternoon and Gene’s wife wanted to talk to son-in-law Lee Bricky who was plowing. She started walking toward the tractor but became lost because visibility was so bad. She wandered around the field until they could organize a search party. Driving was a hazard as the road was often invisible. It is not possible to move safely but stopping was worse, some other driver will continue moving.

For a young boy there were always interesting places on the farm. The barns provided challenging places to climb. Every farm had a junk pile where scrap iron was piled. This iron frequently was used to repair some other implement. Russel did not like the dirty nesting habits of the numerous English Sparrows so this was a challenge to destroy the maximum number of sparrow nests.

Additions to the farm

Now it was time for building. A first step, really the second year on the farm, was the addition of an indoor bathroom. This was accomplished by closing off the end of a porch that ran the length of the kitchen and dining room. It was now during World War II, and such things as bathroom fixtures were not being manufactured. Russel was fortunate to find a used sink and toilet, and find an old bathtub. A wonderful antique tub, six feet long, with ball and eagle-claw feet. The installation of a gasoline powered pump in the cellar assured water pressure. A water heater allowed the family to finally enjoy the pleasure of running water in the house. However living was still very frugal. The pressurized water only lasted for a short time and than one needed to go back to the cellar and start the gasoline power pressure pump. The water heater used large amounts of gas so we operated the heater only briefly before bath time. Water for washing dishes still came from a kettle heated on the stove.

Every farm needs a shop, so Russel set out to build one. Farmers, and Russel especially, were self-sufficient people. He had never built a building, but this did not dim his ambition. He purchased a small cement mixer and poured a concrete floor and foundation. The four walls were framed. He had not reckoned with bracing, however, and soon his nice new structure was leaning at a slight angle, growing more precarious daily. A neighbor with more building experience identified the problem. There were no diagonal supports between the studs. The tractor pulled the shed vertical, diagonal braces were added, and the shed stood proud on that glorous day.

Russel built a new bedroom on the ground floor so that he and Mabel could enjoy a comfortable bedroom. This was adjacent to the living room so it would get some of the heat from the oil heater.

The crew hired at harvest deserved better shelter than the open barns provided, so Russel went to Moses Lake. An air base established for the war was closing and small structures were offered for sale. He purchased a building — just one room large enough for three single beds, hauled it home on the wheat truck, and placed it in the vicinity of the outhouse. A tour of the junkyard produced a quaint wood-burning parlor stove. Mabel prepared generous meals, so hired men, though working long hard hours, enjoyed a reasonable bed, warmth on cool nights and good food. There is one humorous incident concerning the stove.  Vern call Dick to the bunkhouse one afternoon during a severe dust storm.  Anyone touching the stove received a strong shock.  Dick was seriously accused of connecting a Ford coil to the stove.  Finally,  all accepted that static electricity from the storm had transferred electric charge to the stove.

An elevator for the storage of bulk grain was constructed. The farmers had learned that it was best to sell half of a crop in one year and half during the next year. This allowed one to average out the market price. However it required facilities on the farm to store a large amount of grain. The old barns had been used for storage of hold grain were very inconvenient. The wide, low buildings made it difficult to load and unload bulk wheat. The new building was properly designed for handling bulk wheat.  The building was constructed following a prepared plan.  It was assembled of pre fabricated parts like a toy building.

A first Crop

The first crop at the Elmore farm started poorly. The fall seeding froze and needed reseeding. This meant borrowing more money. The cost of seed wheat alone was about the profit Russel was accustomed to at the Sandhills farm. However reseeding in the spring was to change the fortunes of life. The year was unusually wet and the land that normally produced less than 20 bushels per acre yielded a generous 30 bushels. It was possible to pay off all the out-standing debts and go through the next year without debt. Vern enjoyed pulling the combine along the highway where summer tourists would often stop and leap out of their cars with camera in hand. Whenever a camera appeared, Vern stopped the tractor and proudly posed.

Concerns over farm ownership

Ted Elmore died that year, and his nephew promptly put the land up for sale. Russel did not have funds to purchase the farm. He and Mabel were concerned, but scrutiny of the lease proved that they would have five more years with the farm, regardless of whom the new owner was. Ollie Watkins, who lived on the neighboring farm, purchased the property. His plan was to transfer a large segment of the acreage to his farm and set up his nephew from Missouri. Russel argued that the farm would not be enough to provide his needs, and he would not farm under those circumstances. It was certainly known the Russel was a good farmer and his fields consistently out-produced neighboring farms. Ollie was aware that Russel was a valuable tenant, and the nephew already had a very adequate farm.

Farm management and Prosperity

The farm prospered.

While cultivating or planting fields was a boring job, Russel was an intelligent farm manager and worked hard to operate a successful business. The size of the farm justified full-time additional help and Russel began to hire men for fieldwork. A small four-room house on the South road, close to its entrance to Highway 395 still had an operable well and provided adequate shelter for George Rapp and his family. George worked for Russel for 5 years. After George retired, Russel sought to find another hired man.   He hired “Blackie,  an experienced, hard worker and recently married.  One day Blackie simply did not show up for work. The next day a Federal Investigator came to the ranch hunting for Blackie who was wanted for a robbery in Montana. Blackie’s wife was totally bewildered when he disappeared, as she knew little of his background.

Russel was adept in the annual repair of machinery.  Attention to all machinery, combine, trucks, tractor, road maintenance, meant the the harvest would be completed without delays for repair. In general, it was continually difficult to retain a responsible hired man. Ross and Violet Hunt were invited to work on the farm. Ross, who was a nephew of Russel’s, the son of Russel’s oldest sister Florence, had been working as a welder for the construction of Anderson Dam in central Idaho. The job required that he be separated from his family throughout the week. He spent his day climbing on the uppermost steel webbing and welding rebar for the subsequent concrete pour. A dangerous occupation for a family man.  The Hunts became especially close friends and a big influence on the lives of each of the Cline family. While Russel tended to worry a lot and sometimes created a feeling of tension, Ross was relaxed and full of humor. The Clines and the Hunts became close social friends. Ross’s humor and creative background had enormous impact on a teenager, Dick.

Technical improvements continually changed farming methods. Grain was handled in bulk, rather than sacks. Russel quickly adopted university proven methods of plowing and seeding in contours to minimize the damage from water runoff or from blowing dust. He recognized that excess tillage of the land made it sensitive to blowing so implements were selected to minimize soil movement.   Russel was one of the first to utilize aerial spraying for weed control and further limit ground cultivation. He was one of the first in the community to use a header with pickup fingers to lift fallen grain.  The harvest crew that had once required 8 men was reduced to four men.  Average crop yields grew from 20 bushels per acre to 40 bushels per acre.  Wheat prices soared due to demand.  Buicks become more common than Chevrolets.

Social Life

Social life centered visiting neighbors, group parties, and fraternal organizations. Card games were frequent playing pinochile, Canasta, bridge, hearts, etc.  The Sandhills events had evolved into a group of peers who met, during winter months, at homes every couple of weeks. The typical party had six tables of pinochle or Canasta. The regular card game would end about midnight and a prize would be awarded for the best cumulative score. Then the men started a serious poker game that might last another four hours. The snacks were abundant and the drinks were hard.   It must be noted that the farmers maintained an active social life to compensate for the solitude of work.

At one particular party Russel thoroughly enjoyed some homemade wine made by Ruth Huse’s father.   When it came time to drive home, Russel found that he saw two highways in front of the car. He didn’t know which road to follow.   Finally he discovered confusion was removed using one eye. He confidently drove home while Mabel held a cover over the second eye.

On another occasion the Cline family along with Ken and Shirley DeVore traveled to Camano Island on the Puget Sound for a week of vacation. The only accommodations were very crowded. In order to provide some privacy they hung a blanket between the Clines bed and the DeVores bed. Shirley DeVore was pregnant at the time and had spent the first day enjoying many pickles. During the night she very uncomfortable and made repeated trips to the bathroom — which meant walking through the Cline ‘bedroom’. The next day the pickle jar could not be found. It was suspected that the disappearance was intentional. Mabel had been the first one out of bed that morning.

The Elmore property was just seven miles south of Lind and Russel found it easy to drive to town for errands. Often there were parts to purchase, or even just to get the daily mail.   He often spent a couple evening hours socializing and shooting pool with the other men.   Mabel had attempted driving, but found it beyond her realm, so she was bound to remain alone on the farm. Evenings were especially long with the day’s chores finished and no one to talk to.

The kids were both in school, and left home each morning in a little yellow school bus. He drove a mile-long dirt road to the house.. This new bus ride seemed a real treat to Pat and Dick who had ridden over an hour from the Sandhills. They were now among the last to board in the morning and the first off at night. “Gravy” was the driver’s nickname, acquired surely from his portly figure. There was endless teasing — and treats for special occasions.

For Mabel, life become lonelier. Leaving the Sandhills had separated her from the family-like group of neighbors. This farm by its very nature seemed more isolated. The nearest neighbor was a daunting three and a half miles away and there was no place to walk except through the wheat fields. Evenings were especially long with the day’s chores finished and no one to talk to. Needlework, that wonderful talent developed in childhood, occupied much of her time.

The Greyhound bus allowed Mabel a new bit of freedom. The bus route stopped in Lind early in the morning on its way to Spokane, and returned in the evening. Russel would take Mabel to town where she could board the bus, enjoy a day of shopping, visit with family, and return in the evening. She often waited for the bus in Carlock’s Hotel. There were many stories about how badly the hotel was maintained but the fact remained, Lind had a hotel.

Mabel and Russel were always grateful for the help others had provided during their times of need. As a result they tried to be helpful in providing loans to others when they needed help. When Pa and Ma Roning moved to Pasco they needed some immediate money. Mabel and Russel purchased the house in Spokane and then resold it at no profit. When Carl and Lee wanted to purchase a small farm outside of Spokane they loaned money. They loaned money to Vern Conklin so that he could purchase a small asparagus farm in Sunnyside.

Russel loved baseball. The family took occasional trips to Spokane to watch their professional baseball team, the Spokane Indians. The games were fun; the stadium was attractive and well maintained. Spokane typically had a good team and it was a family activity.

Kids growing up

Pat grew up as an attractive teenager. She was active in school plays That required nightly transportation home. There were frequent visits to the farm from her boyfriend Loren. Pat worked during the summers to help Mabel feed the harvest crew. Pat had the responsibility of baking pies each day.

At age 13 it was decided that Dick was old enough to work on the harvest crew. He would work as “header puncher” where Russel could oversee his performance and provide help as needed.  The most difficult thing was to overlook the miserable working conditions and concentrate on the job. After about a week as a header puncher, Russel terminated one of the unreliable truck drivers and Dick became a truck driver. Dick was very happy with the change, as truck driving was not as dirty.

Further growth of the farm

The combine that Russel started using at the Elmore farm continued in service for the full twelve years that Russel operated the farm. However in later years it was supplemented with a self propelled combine. The new machine did not need a separate tractor.

1950 Combine

1950 Modern Self Propelled Combine

During Dick’s last year of working on the farm he moved to the more responsible job of driving the self-propelled combine. This combine supplemented the old combine Russel had been using at the Elmore farm for full twelve years. The newer machine did not need a separate tractor. Working together the two combines allowed the crop to be cut more quickly and there was less loss of grain due to shattering. In previous years Russel had run the self propel while Ross operated the main combine. The season went favorably until the last days when they were cutting the barley field. The barley aggravated Dick’s hay fever and Russel offered to take over running the combine for the final day. In short order he managed to fill the thresher with dirt and Dick climbed inside to clean it out. Russel then proceeded down the hill only to appear a short time later with the header high out of the grain. He had again thoroughly plugged the combine with dirt. Russel said, “I believe we will finish with one machine.”

Chapter 5: A new house in the town of Lind

Chapter 5 A new house in the town of Lind

To Keep Mabel Happy

After sixteen years of living in isolated dusty and dusty location Mabel longed for adequate water to grow a garden and some roses. The ample crops and good prices of wheat since settling on the Elmore farm had given them a comfortable savings account. Mabel wanted to move into town. Russel did not like the idea at first. He felt that their lease carried an implicit promise that they would live on the farm to protect the property. But Mabel prevailed. They could not build their home on the rented farm property.

Mabel prevailed. It was time to build a house in Lind. A lot was purchased on the north hill in the town of Lind. Booster Moon was hired to do the construction. Mabel’s main requirements were windows that did not leak dust and lots of closets. They had found a magazine floor plan that appealed to them, they found a draftsman in Spokane, and he created a set of blueprints from it. It cost the outrageous sum of fifty dollars. Booster was an experienced builder, and in January of 1950, they moved into a lovely three bedroom home with thick carpeting in the front room and dining room, big windows with pull drapes, central heating, a second bathroom in the full basement and an attached garage. The house was built on a hillside, so that the basement had a ground level opening in the back while the living room had a street level door in front. A special feature was the cemented roof of the garage, creating a delightful patio outside the kitchen door. The actual move day was memorable. It was the coldest day of the year. Temptures hovered around 5 degrees and ice made it difficult to carry furniture..

The lot selected fot the house was in an area of nearly solid rock. The hole for the basement was blasted using dynamite bringing concern for the neighboring houses. The house construction was done a professional but everything else was family farmer do-it-yourself.   Russel and Mable established a landscape plan with retaining walls that created terraced beds for vegetables or roses. Russel and Ross Hunt mixed concrete and constructed concrete for retaining walls adjacent to the driveway and sidewalks in front of the house. They hauled dirt from the farm to create a layer of soil on the rock base of the property. The plans, the blasting, and the construction were all done without permits and contracts were verbal. There were no detailed plans for finishes, for cabinets, for heating, or for site grading. The local builders knew how to build with quality without any technical experts.  Government approvals were unnecessary

About Lind

The geography and the small town life

The town of Lind was ninety miles southwest of Spokane. Three blocks after entering town was city center requiring an abrupt left turn.  In three more blocks, one was out of town.  Sometimes an unwary driver would miss the turn and drive the entire mile length of town. The town had adequate water and most people had lush tree lawns. Pat and Dick had never before lived in a house with a telephone. Local phone numbers were three digits. Long distance calls were handled through an operator but it might cost several dollars for a short call. The Lind telephone operator knew everyone and every activity serving as an area answering sysstem. One might call Hilda Hougan and be informed that she was out of town for the day. If an important call came to someone without a phone the operator knew a neighbor who would walk or drive, many miles, to convey a message. Charge cards did not exist. The family could charge items in any store in town. As a teenager Dick could walk into the hardware store and simply say “charge it” for a box of 22 shells (No signature required.). Grocery delivery was common. School plays or dances attracted everyone in town. Offically the streets had names but we did not know our house address. Service stations attendants pumped gas, cleaned windows, checked oil and smiled. Television arrived and, only a few people, availed themselves of the fuzzy black and white images. Coke was 5 cents and double dip ice cream was 10 cents. Minimum wage was $0.75/hour. Women’s slacks were not common and men never wore shorts. Aside from school teachers and ministers there were three people in town with a college degrees.

Much of eastern Washington bears the scars of the ice age 15,000 years ago. Glacers blocked river drainage from Montana for years until a massive collapse released the entire lake. The rushing water scoured the land removing soil and creating valleys in the basalt base. The dark colored bare rock remains exposed on hillsides around Lind. Areas stripped of soil, called scab lands,  have never recovered although land at higher elevations was undisturbed. The Elmore farm elevation protected it from the Missoula flood. We should say floods as the flooding process repeated itself an estimated at 40 times throughout a thousand years. Regarding climate, 10” annual rainfall limited the variety of crops, Dryland wheat farmers learned to utilize the limited moisture and claimed that they were the most efficient wheat farmers in the US.  A couple decades earlier farming was dependent of horses. The farm employed more men.  The town had a population greater than 1,000.  In 1950 it had 700 residents.  70 years later the population has dropped to 400 and the retail business has nearly disappeared.



We didn’t think of Lind as a dusty little town in the midst of poor farmland.  It was home.  The old German farmers had a work ethic instead of high education.  While Lind had a population of 750 people, it had four grocery stores.  There were three hardware stores and three new-car dealerships.  And five churches.  We could add the, out of the city,  Mennonite church, that served numerous industrious farmers, merchants and teachers.   The farmers were Republican while townspeople were Democrat. The major town grocer, Harry Kasper, was Jewish, while his wife was Catholic.  Small towns had many retail establishments because people were unaccustomed to travel.  In subsequent years, cars became better, roads were better, and the lure of better shopping decimated small town retail business.  There was no restaurant in town.  Restaurant food was too expensive.  Small town gossip enforced monogamous relationships.

We had our own bank, an attorney, a town jail, a town newspaper, and a teen recreation center.  At noon each day a siren would echo across town.  It was the test of the emergency system.  When there was a fire or need for an ambulance, the city telephone operator would call the closest merchant to blow the siren and the trained volunteers would rush to the fire station.   Lind had a doctor, some of the time.  One doctor had come from a West Virginia area with coal mines.  Miners eventually developed serious lung problems from coal dust.  He wondered how the local farmers continually worked in clouds of dust without lung problems.  The doctor discovered that the small dust particles were rounded rather than sharp like coal dust.  Also Lind had two train stations, several grain elevators, two gas stations, two bulk fuel distributors, five fraternal organizations. And two town drunks.  Continuing the retail census, one motel, movie theater, telephone office, dress shop, insurance office, leather repair business, rail express office, Greyhound bus stop, a weekly newspaper, a lumber yard, an airfield, and a slaughterhouse.

Schools were a center for much town activity.  A high school of 75 students had athletic teams for four sports.  The marching band had 25 musicians.  Most of the town attended the annual school play.  Two annual school dances invited the whole town and used the gymnasium.  In summation, the small town provided nearly everything found in a large city.  

Mabel & Russel '53 modif

Russel and Mable 1954

Newfound Freedoms

There were additional freedoms for everyone after the move to town. Mabel had the opportunity to become involved in additional social groups. Russel could make routine visits to the implement store, the pool hall or the local grain wholesale house, etc. without the feeling that he was abandoning Mabel. Everything was within walking distance and there was no concern about being snowed in during the winter. Pat and Dick could visit friends anytime.

Mabel now had water so she could indulge in a previously hidden talent for gardening. The vegetable garden produced the usual radishes, peas and beans, cucumbers, beets and chard. No spinach — Russel hated spinach. On the back edge of the lot was planted an asparagus bed and a strawberry patch. It was a large lot so there was a generous area of grass. Along the west side, two trees were planted. But Mabel’s special joy was her new rose garden. Many hours were spent visiting Manito Gardens in Spokane to choose the most beautiful specimens for her collection. A climbing rose, Red Blaze, even found its way up the side of the garage to the rail around the patio.

Lind was a joy for Mabel. She no longer had to wait till Russel went to town if she wanted a pound of butter or a spool of thread. She could walk down town and browse the stores. She went to the beauty shop and had her hair done. While Lind was too small a town for mail delivery, the post office was an easy walk also. The town center was a down–hill walk and return was up-hill so exercise became a part of each day.  Remember, Mabel was 51 years old at this time.  The six block walk wasn’t heavy exercise.

Here was a full community of friends. The town women had many daytime activities in which Mabel was soon involved. Homemakers Club was an organization tied to the County Agriculture Extension Office. Its main purpose was to educate women in home-related skills, such as food preservation. Each meeting, however included crafts, and Mabel learned many enjoyable new hobbies with this group. Playing cards continued as a favorite pastime for both Mabel and Russel. The new next-door neighbors, George and Hilda Hougan played bridge and in a short time Russel became an avid bridge player. Mabel learned bridge, but she would always prefer pinochle. It didn’t require so much analysis.

The family began to attend the Methodist Church. In her youth, Mabel regularly attended church.  Russel seems to have had no religious background. The church was a center of the social part of town. The Women’s Fellowship, sponsored by the church, became a favorite monthly activity. Many of the members of this group included old friends from Sandhills. Russel slowly became more involved in the church. It may be odd but Dick spent many hours at the church because there was a pool table in the basement.  The church and basement were never locked and nobody required permission.

During this time period world tensions were high. In 1956 and 1957 here was talk of war with the USSR. There was a Cuban missile crisis and the Korean War. The Iron Curtain was an absolute barrier. All of the small towns were mobilized to report aircraft traffic to discover flights that might be a threat. A small building on stilts was erected at the edge of town for aircraft watch. Each of the Cline family members volunteered a couple hours a week to man the aircraft watch and reporting site. It was a high traffic day if one ever observed more than a couple crop duster airplanes.

Fraternal Organizations Were Important

Fraternal organizations were very strong in the 1930’s and 40’s, as social gatherings. Remember, there was no TV or internet yet there was need to have contact with the world particularly for isolated farm famlies Meetings of these groups were structured around rituals followed by relaxed social interchange. Russel and Mabel had been members of the Odd Fellows and Rebeccas for many years. Russel become a member of the Masonic Lodge, and felt a particular devotion to the charitable activities of this group. Mabel joined the companion organization, the Eastern Star. Althoughj Mabel joined, she did not have enthusiasm for public speaking. Russel and Mabel each occupied positions of increasing stature in the organizations. It took seven years to complete the leadership cycle of “chairs”, the last four being a commitment that should not be broken. As the years went by Mabel realized that she could speak in front of people after all! Eastern Star proved to be a huge step in self-confidence that stood Mabel in good stead for the rest of her active life.

A Farmers Life

The men in the farming community had many ways of abusing their bodies. They were idle for many months of the year and got little exercise. But, if a job required, they would spend all day at heavy labor in the heat of the day. This was a time when men were very macho. No man ever complained about hard work. (They would always complain about poor crop prospects.) One would work to absolute fatigue without suggesting that they were tired. There was no such thing as exercise for health. The diet included lots of fattening foods. Russel enjoyed eggs, bacon, and buttered toast for breakfast every morning. Most men, including Russel, smoked cigarettes. Even at that date, cigarettes were called cancer sticks.

The nearby O’Sullivan Reservoir provided some outstanding fishing. Russel took Vern Conklin fishing and showed him where the perch fishing was just outstanding. Vern enjoyed it so much that he brought his two older brothers back to the spot a month later. They were having so much fun that one of them fell overboard. In a rescue attempt a second brother fell overboard and both drowned. Russel worked with the volunteer crew dragging the lake to recover bodies. When they snagged a body and pulled it to the surface they grimly pulled the body onto the boat and Russel methodically disconnected the hook. Russel realized that some tasks, no matter how unpleasant, needed to be done.

An Initial heart attack

The Masonic Lodge meeting hall was on the second floor of the Phillips Building, on the main street of Lind. The upstairs meeting room was reached by a long flight of stairs, with no landing to break the climb. Each year the lodge had a banquet for incoming officers. The gathering necessitated many trips up and down stairs carrying chairs and other necessities. It was in preparing for the banquet Russel was to preside over, that he collapsed on the stairs of a massive heart attack. He had just celebrated his forty-second birthday.

During the next week, Russel lay in a condition so critical that the doctor told Mabel there was no more he could do, and little hope. Pat, who was a freshman in college, feared that she would never see her father again. But Russel survived. Recovery was long, with many weeks of bed rest after leaving the hospital. By summer, however, he was back in form. He had always been a perfectionist, quick to temper. The heart attack seemed to accentuate these qualities. Ross, ever patient and good-humored, attempted to take it in his stride. Eventually, however, he severed his association with Russel and found employment elsewhere in the community. At the same time Russel was increasingly considerate and supportive to direct family. His priorities had shifted.

Career directions

No one ever told Pat and Dick that they should go to college when they completed high school. It was just one of those things that was understood. We were not grooomed for any specific vocation but free to choose. Russel and Mabel were eager to support the children in school. Mabel and Russel would have gladly paid all of the college costs. Pat chose to pay for much of her costs by working at the cafeteria. Dick worked as a troubleshooter for the campus maintenance department. As Mabel commented, “when we were young we didn’t have two nickels to rub. We wanted our children to have some fun.”

Pat 1950 and Pat 1963

dick 1953

Dick 1953

It was important to treat both children equally. Whatever was provided to one would be provided for the other. At college graduation Mabel and Russel bought a new car for Pat. Therefore they did the same for Dick. They helped Pat and Loren with funding for purchasing the farm equipment. For equality, they provided a down payment for Dick to buy a first California home.

Upon high school graduation Pat enrolled at Washington State College in Pullman. Pat was eager to get on with life, so by attending college summers as well as regular terms she graduated in three years. She received her diploma in education in 1954. Her first job was as a second grade teacher in Othello. Loren Woodside had come home after four years serving the Coast Guard. The summer courtship resulted in marriage in December.

Dick also elected to attend WSC. After a year of general studies he chose to major in physics. It took Dick five years to obtain a degree. During the summer of his sophmore year he met a nursing student Marie Kosola. Their courtship led to marriage in 1957. Subsequent to graduation he took a job at the Naval Missile Center at Point Mugu, California.  Although Mable and Russel could comfortably pay all college costs, Pat and Dick each worked part time.  Some of that work is described in the appendix.

More health issues

Mabel had gall bladder surgery in October 1956 so it was a stressful time for her.   One positive result of her illness was a nice washing machine and clothes dryer. Since Mabel was restricted from lifting, Russel had to do the washing. Mabel would never ask for a new machine but Russel quickly recognized that washing clothes was hard work.

There followed twelve years of failing health for Russel, a second serious heart attack. Diets were advised and blood-thinning agents prescribed. Physical work was difficult. None of the hired help for the farm were satisfactory.

By now Pat was married to Loren Woodside, and Russel soon discovered that his new son-in-law, raised in the city, yearned to be a farmer. The deal he offered was just too good to turn down. Russel would provide the equipment, Loren would provide the labor, and they would split the profit (since the lease was in Russel’s name) 49% – 51%. Loren was delighted. Pat, more aware of her father’s impatient nature, was reluctant. But the two men were an amazing match. Loren proved to have the same desire for work well done. He was eager to learn, questioning everything, and Russel took delight in explaining.

Two years later, his health continuing to fail, Russel took Pat and Loren to Spokane to meet with the farm property owner, Ollie Watkins. Russel explained to Ollie that he could no longer be daily involved in operating the farm, and hoped, since Loren knew the land and had proved so capable, that he might be extended a lease. Ollie was agreeable, but now exercised his desire to shift a section of the farm to operation of his nephew.

Retirement, for a farmer is never boring. It seemed Russel could finally relax. He would go to the shop and tinker for a while, or just drive by and see how much rain had fallen the night before, and then head back to the house to read the paper or work on his books. He took pride in having up-to-date records of his investments. It was also a joy to stop at the farmhouse and see the grandchildren. One afternoon Pat heard her father on the doorstep commanding her to get upstairs to Scott’s room. When she complied, she found an open window, through which two-year old Scott had crawled. He was standing on the edge of the roof chatting with his grandfather. Fortunately, he came willingly back to his mother.

Remember the Grandparents

Elmer and Carrie Roning celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1960. They had moved shortly before that to live in Pasco with Carrie’s daughter Sig. Within the next two years they were both to pass away, Carrie first, of congestive heart failure, and then Elmer, of a heart attack while taking a walk on a brisk January day. Elmer and Carrie, always thrifty, had saved money through the years to pay for their burial. Everyone knew about it. But when the brothers and sisters gathered for the funeral, the account was gone. Sig told them she needed help paying the expenses. Valuable gifts were also missing. The reaction from Cliff, Carl, and Mabel was explosive. They paid for the funeral because Elmer was their father but vowed never to speak to Sig again.

There was little Russel could do in the way of physical activity by now, but he could still drive. He was always ready to chauffeur Mabel for any errand. Many afternoons were spent in sightseeing drives around the countryside. Having a husband with such delicate health was an endless strain on Mabel. She worried every moment he was out of her sight.

Finally a stress test revealed that there was damage to the arteries from arteriosclerosis. A new technique of treating this problem was being developed, called by-pass surgery, so Russel made a trip to Seattle for tests at the University of Washington Medical facility. The examination revealed damage too severe for the operation. He came home with the news that he had little time left. He accepted the news with stoicism. Jumping ahead, a year later the surgery had been proven successful. Russel had an appointment with a surgeon at UCLA at the time of his death.

Mabel and Russel had foresight and faced the realities of their life knowing the Russel would die before long. The inability to drive would be a continuing handicap to Mabel. The Lind house was far larger than needed. No alternative housing was available in Lind. Aside from daughter Pat there were no close relatives nearby. They began the search of an alternate location where Mabel could live an active lifestyle.

The chronology of Russel’s Cars

A listing of the cars Russel owned tells much about his life. He started with a cheap used car. It did not take long to justify the need for a better car. As time went on he purchased new cars even though the prior car was still operating well. Farming did require lots of driving over poor roads so cars deteriorated rapidly. By 1955 only ocasionallly did one see a car more than 10 years old. Mabel never learned to drive.  Purchasing a new car every three years was common.  Cars one the 40’s and 50’s did not have the reliability common today.  Cars needed frequent “tuneup”, oil change, new tires and many small parts.  Today we have an electronic ignition, occasional oil change, radial tires are superior. better suspension, federal standards for performance and safety.  Also, prosperity permitted car replacement.  


  • 1926 Ford purchased secondhand in 1931
  • 1936 maroon Ford coupe purchased new
  • 1939 gray Ford sedan driven to death.  No new cars were available during WW11
  • 1946 green Ford sedan. Poor quality, post-war hurry to manufacture.
  • 1949 blue Ford sedan Drove Alcan highway to Alaska,  Never reliable
  • 1950 blue Ford sedan, — Later this became Dick’s car
  • 1952 green Mercury station wagon, Travel back East and to CA
  • 1954 blue Buick Century sedan, took Florence and Harry to Calif.
    • This was a hot car. Once got it up to 100 mph
  • 1957 green Buick LaSabre took many trips to Palm Springs. Dad didn’t like the color.
  • 1960 blue Buick LaSabre
  • 1963 white Buick Electra —  A very large car.  Dick inherited this car upon Russel’s death.

Starting in 1948 Russel also had a pickup truck which was replaced each two to four years. There were always two wheat trucks for the farm and another older truck for carrying farm lubricants. Other farm equipment included a crawler type tractor, a seeder with fertilizer spreader, a cultivater, and two combines. In the 1950s this was over $100,000 of rolling machinery. For value comparison, at this time a new Chevrolet cost $2,000.

Aircraft watch station, 1952. Dust storm approaching Lind. Wheat sacks. Each sack is 140 pounds, 1938.


Chapter 6: A Move to California

Chapter 6: A Move to California

The Doctor’s Orders

Doctors told Russel that he would be more comfortable in a warmer winter climate so he and Mabel began exploring locations for a new home. They were looking for a retirement location that promised a favorable climate. It was unstated but the search had a more urgent meaning. Russel knew that his lifetime was limited. Mabel needed to live in a safe and comfortable environment. She needed to be self-sufficient without driving a car. She needed a community where she could easily make friends. They discovered an adult community (no resident under the age of 18, and at least one member of the couple 55 years old) under construction at Seal Beach California, just south of Los Angeles. It seemed perfect for their needs.

Leisure World

Leisure World was a gated community of five thousand people. Passing the entry gate required an invitation of a resident. A shopping center was just outside the main gate, complete with supermarket, dress shops, gift shops, banks and business offices. Here also was located a bus station providing transportation to anywhere one might wish to go. The Clines purchased a two-bedroom apartment in the spring, returning to Lind for the summer to arrange their move. They had few pieces of furniture that would fit into their new smaller home. The dining set was sold to Paul and Esther Hunt while living room pieces were left behind. The office furniture and a bedroom set went into the moving van for the trip to california. The beautiful house on the hill, their home for just thirteen years, was sold.

They moved into their California home in October 1963. The neighbor from two doors away came to greet them, saying “Welcome to Leisure World! My name is Bob Cline.” What a good laugh the two men had. It wasn’t long, however, till they began to wonder if their relationship might be more than a common last name. Russel’s father had come west from Indiana. Bob Cline had just moved to California from Indiana. They were given little time to explore the possibility.

  • Churches
  • Friends
  • Travel     Travel companion
  • Death burial funeral Spokane headstone photo
  • Health
  • Parkinsons
  • Heart attacks / Panic attack hospital recovery
  • Santa Barbara
  • Stay stay2 stay3
  • Memorial

Mabel & Russel 63 Modif
Mable and Russel at Leisure World home.

Leisure World employed its own medical staff, and when Russel presented them with his records, they made an appointment with the University of California Medical School, saying that advancements were so rapid in bypass surgery there were many new options. The appointment was for January 7, 1964.

Russel and Mabel traveled to Santa Barbara to spend Christmas with Dick and Marie. It was a very happy Christmas day. The three young Cline children were on their best behavior to impress Grandma and Grandpa. The next day tragedy struck and Russel took his final rest 12/26/63.   Mabel was devastated but always liked to remember Russel sitting on the floor playing card games with the grandchildren and looking so very content. Russel died from a major heart attack with no suffering or lingering distress.

Russel Cline Obituary in Ritzville Journal Times   1/2/ 1964Cline Services Held Tuesday in Spokane
            Lind – Funeral services for Russel Thommpson Cline were conducted Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 31, from the Alwin Chapel of the Hazen and Jaeger Funeral Home in Spokane, with the Rev. Martin Larson of the Lind Methodist Church officiating.


Adjustments for Mabel    For the first year, Mabel sought ways to return to the home she had enjoyed in Lind. She could find no suitable place to rent, certainly nothing pleasant like her former home or the new facility in Leisure World. She was not comfortable in moving to Spokane. As time passed in Leisure World she began to know more people. She joined the Norseman’s Club, The Woman’s Club, and she became active in the church. For years she kept records of all church financial affairs, every donation, and fundraiser. And of course, Mabel enjoyed a weekly card party with her neighbors.   The associations eventually helped her to feel comfortable in California where she spent the next 35 years. The Leisure World recreation hall provided live music and the travel bureau organized group travel.

During their marriage, Russel handled all of the financial issues. At the time of his death, they had a good-sized portfolio of investments that were intended to provide enough income for retirement. Russel was worried that Mabel would not understand the complexities of investment so he left his estate to a bank-managed trust fund. The fund would pay all of its gains to Mabel but ultimately the money would be divided between Pat and Dick. Mabel received half of their joint property in her own name and she, with the advice of a broker, invested in stocks and bonds. During the years at Leisure, World Mabel took great pride that she was able multiply the value of her half of the estate by almost ten times while the value of the trust investments remained unchanged.

Mabel made many trips from her home in Leisure World during her thirty years of residence. She made twice yearly trips to Santa Barbara to visit Marie and Dick and an equal number to Lind, or Pasco, to visit Pat. In total, total about 60 trips She also took the opportunity to take longer trips to visit other parts of the world. Following is a list of the major trips during the years at Leisure World;

  • September 1965          Europe
  • May 1967                      Tokyo   (With touch down in Saigon during Vietnam War.)
  • June 1968                      Norway
  • January 1973                Caribbean
  • April 1974                     Holy Land
  • October 1974                Indian Country
  • January 1976                Australia
  • March 1978                   Phoenix (with brother Carl and Lee Roning)
  • June 1983                       Alaska               (with Pat & Bob)

Mabel lived at Leisure World until 1993. She maintained a very active social life with meetings and visits each day. She could never think of another man entering her life. She would scoff at a foolish woman who would appreciate the attention of a man. She maintained excellent health until the age 90. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. While there is no definitive test, the presence of several symptoms led to the diagnosis. Also, she experienced three painful physical issues that were identified as heart attacks. In hindsight, these were likely panic attacks, occurring, in part, because she feared a heart attack.

It was agreed that it was best for her to move to Santa Barbara where she could get more attention from the family. She suffered from Parkinson’s disease for ten years until her death on 11/1/98.   The last several years were not happy times. First, she lived at Wood Glen Hall, There were private rooms, a common eating area, and each person cared for their housekeeping. As she became less mobile she moved to     xx   . Subsequent she moved to a full nursing home. None of these provide the warmth of a real home.

Mabel had instructed that she was to be cremated and her ashes would be buried in the same grave as Russel. There was no standard funeral as Mabel had outlived all her peers. Her brothers and sister had passed years before. There was a family celebration of life, featuring the memories of each family member. The book of memories is included in the Appendix.

This document is an ongoing history. To start, the members of the next generations are introduced.

During these years Pat and Dick developed independent careers.  Pat graduated from Washington State College with a certificate for teaching and later obtained a Masters Certificate from Eastern Washington College.   Pat marred Loren Woodside had three children, Kathryn, Scott, and Lori.

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Woodside family, Loren, Scott, Kathryn, Pat, Lori


Cline family,    Dick,  Cindy,   Janice,  Marie,  David

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Cousins. David, Kathryn, Scott, Lori, Janice, Cindy

During this time there was a growing unhappiness between Pat and Loren that ended in divorce in 1977. Pat obtained a teaching position at Burbank and moved to Kennewick.   Pat Married Bob Phillips in 1981. She continued as a library administrator until her retirement from teaching in 1996. Bob died in 2004.

Dick obtained a BS in Physics from Washington State College, married Marie Kosola and started working  for the Navy at Pt. Mugu California. Marie and Dick had three children, David, Janice, and Cynthia. In 1963 The family moved to Goleta where Dick worked at Santa Barbara Research Center.

This family history ends at this time.  Subsequent information on development of these families will wait until someone else adopts responsibility to record family history.

Chapter 7: Prior Generations

Chapter 7: Prior Generations

5 Generation Family Chart

Click on the chart to get an enlarged version.

The above charts give a quick look at the people who will be described in the following pages.  This 5G, five generation, pedigree charts are generated using the commercial program Reunion.  The display format provides a basis to see the relationship of family members.  Serious genealogists include thorough documentation of the source of each bit of information.  I have chosen not to attempt a scholarly document.

Russel’s ancestors include the Cline family, the Russell family, and the Abbott family. Mabel’s ancestors include the Roning family and the Hansen family.  There is some data dating back additional generations and that is included in the appendix.

Family names: Cline, Abbott, Russel, Thompson

The Cline Family

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Initially we will trace the line of ancestors that have the Cline name.  This is followed by ancestors with the Abbot name.

John Jacob Klein was born in Germany in on 23 August 1736, d 1818. He came to America on the ship Fane in 1749 with 595 all male passengers.  The ship sailed from Rotterdam with immigrants from Palatinate, Wuttenburg, and Rottensein.   Other passengers included Johannes Schweizer and Jacob Schneider who remained close for their entire lives.  He settled in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with many other German immigrants.  He may have been the John Jacob Klein who enlisted in Eastburn’s Company of Pennsylvania Regulars in 1785.  Eastburn’s papers identify Jacob Cline, miller, 5 ft. 5 in., born in Germany, enlisted at Philadelphia May 22, 1758.  Ruddy complexion, black hair.  He was only 13 at the time of crossing the ocean, but there is no indication of travel with a family member or related companion.

Jacob married Eva Dusong in 1759 and they migrated to Frederick County Virginia in 1760.  He settled in Stephensburg, south of ‘Winchester in 1764 and erected a large flax-seed mill.   Flax provides the fiber used for linen. Cotton and wool were not widely available and there was demand for flax.  The flax seed can be processed it produce linseed oil, the basic item in high-quality oil paint.  The mill is still standing.  Over the years the structure has served as a flour mill and as a sawmill.  The older photograph of the mill below was taken from a postcard dated 1907.  A more recent photograph shows the mill with some restoration.  Additional photos can be seen at

Klein’s Mill

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Jacob and Eva had ten children.    Phillip b 1760,  Adam b 1761,   Abraham b 1763,  Catherine b 1766,  Mary Magdalene b 1768,  Barbara b 1770,  Daniel b 1772,  Elizabeth b 1774,  Anthony b 1777,  and ?  Only two of the children died before their 80th birthday.

The long lives of these people are remarkable.  They obviously did not have the medical care we now enjoy.   Their diet was limited to seasonal foods and those that could survive without cooling.  We might initially attribute longevity to the clean air and lack of pollution.  However, they lived in small houses with a constantly burning fireplace and lots of smoke.  Warm clothing was required for outside work in winter.  Ten children in a small house suggests some might sleep in a barn. They could not employ cleanliness we deem important.  There are severe winters in the Shenandoah Valley.

We visited West Virginia 1995 hoping to find reference to the Klein history.  We stayed at the Asa Cline Bed and Breakfast.  Asa born 1827 was a grandson of Phillip Klein.

Phillip Klein

Philip is the next on our family tree.  He was born in Frederic Co, Virginia.  Philip was a soldier in the revolution.  He served for a time in the German Pennsylvania regiment (at age 16) of Captain Woelpper.  Phillip enlisted August 6, 1776 and rose to the rank of corporal.  Phillip was wounded October 4, 1777 at the battle of Georgetown.  Later he served In Captain Bell’s company from Frederick Co. VA and he was present at the siege of Yorktown.  After the war, Philip and his brother Adam moved to the Hampshire Co. Virginia  to improve the land their father had purchased in 1765.  They are mentioned in the tax roles for 1786.   At his death, Elizabeth applied for a widow’s pension but it was refused as Philip’s name could not be found on any official roster.

As a mental exercise, try to visualize the home of early settlers.  The house would be poorly constructed due to materials, experience, and tools, diet would be poor, it is unlikely that there was enough floor space for beds, privacy for parents was limited, water would be carried daily, stock would require daily feeding, visiting a store might be monthly.  They must have spent many hours in the dark.

Philip died intestate and his son Philip Jr. was appointed an administrator of the estate.  on June 16,1850 the administrator filed his final report showing principal of $5477.17 or $456.43 per share and the widow Elizabeth receiving $525.54

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Philip and his wife Elizabeth Schweizer had 14 children
Salome b 1797, Daniel b  1795, Katherine b 1798, Elizabeth b 1799, Rebecca b 1804, Abraham b 1803, Barbara b 1804, Phillip b 1807, Johannes b 1808, Michael b 1811, and Eva b 1812.  It should be noted that there was a second Phillip Cline living in the same area.  It is more confusing as they were both born in 1760 and both died in 1837.  Each had a wife named Elizabeth.  It would be easy to assume that there was only one Phillip and records were confused.  However Matt Cline, a serious genealogist, relates that he has visited the graves for both Phillips.

Abraham Cline (Kline, Clyne)

Abraham Cline (1803 – 1866).   Abraham was born in Virginia, growing up with the many Klein relatives around Frederick.  Abraham’s first marriage to Mercy McKee (1803 – 1855) produced nine children. Perhaps the fertile land of Virginia  was taken.  They moved westward in 1832.  Their first three children, James Madison b 1828, Elizabeth Ann b 1830, and Jemima b 1832, were born in Virginia.  Sarah Jane b 1833, was born in Ohio.  Amanda b 1836, Mahon Lovett b 1837, Louisa b 1840, Eli Barton b 1842, Mellisa Anne b 1844, and Lydia b 1848 were born in Indiana.   This was a time of busy migration into Indiana as the National Road had just been opened to Indianapolis.   Abraham’s brother Michael preceded him in the move to Delaware Co, Indiana.  Delaware County had been occupied by the Delaware Indians until ceded to the US in 1820. During Abraham’s lifetime, the census records spell his name Kline, Clyne, and Cline.

Abraham Cline modified

Abraham Cline

On March 2, 1838, Abraham bought the Eppert estate in  Indiana.  These lands amounted to one hundred twenty acres or which Abraham paid $200.  Abraham owned two parcels of land near the small town of Clifton, Indiana. (There is some debate as to the name of the settlement.  Residents call it Sharon while mapmakers call it Clifton).  He served as a Justice of the Peace in 1840-1841.  Abraham and Hannah were charter members of the Desoto Methodist Church in Delaware County. Indiana.

We visited the cemetery in DeSoto Indiana.  The tombstone for Mercy is intact and readable while the tombstone for Abraham is broken.

Our family roots come from Abraham’s second marriage to Hannah Thompson Hatfield.  Hannah Thompson (1820 – 1893) was widowed in the first marriage with Jacob Hatfield that produced seven children. John Nelson b 1841, Mary Matilda b 1843, Melissa Ann b 1844, Charles Melville b 1864, Rhoda Catherine b 1847, Sara Jane b 1850, and Amelia Cecily b 1854. The last four children died as infants.

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Abraham and Hannah married on 25 Oct 1857 and produced three children. Martha Alice b 1859, Emery Lloyd b 1860, and Florence May b 1863.  The children from previous marriages were old enough to be independent.   It has been speculated that this was a marriage of convenience as both needed a spouse to care for the family.  However, records show that Hannah was not without money and neither had dependent children. Most likely it is a marriage of attraction.

Abraham purchased several plots of land in the vicinity of Sharon Indiana.  He constructed his home in the late 1840s.  This was a relatively small single story brick home.  Abraham must have been a very industrious man. He was primarily a farmer.  He made bricks for their house from clay from the property.  He made mortar from a limestone deposit on the property.  The limestone deposit was quite valuable.  One descendant, Larry Burke has speculated that the brick and mortar sales may have been a major source of income.  Walnut trees provided the wood he sawed into lumber.  Remember that Abraham as an adult lived many years at the family property in Virginia.  He likely learned the building trades from his father and grandfather.  The original home was a single story  and the second story added later.

Cline Home in Sharon, Indiana

Abraham’s health deteriorated in the 1960s, and his impending death became obvious.  He tended to legal issues, so everything about his death was organized.  Abraham’s obituary stated that “he was a man of good taste and sound judgment, he had so arranged his buildings that he had a place for everything and everything in its place.”

Emery Cline

Emery was born 10 November 1860.  In 1880 Emery Cline married Lina Godlove 1859 – 1930), a girl from the farm next door. The marriage produced one daughter, Winnie (1881-1960 ) who subsequently married William Depoy. Emery obtained teaching certificates in Indiana in 1883, and Nebraska 1885 and 1886.   There is no record of he and Lina living there.  He and Lina lived in the Dakota Territory around 1886.  Family stories say the Emery abandoned Lina and Winnie and moved West.  Emery wrote Lina telling her to get a divorce.   In 1888 Lina filed for divorce and it was granted. A copy of the divorce petition is included in the Appendix.  The divorce paper indicates that Lina left Emery.

———–  insert reference to divorce

Emery’s father, Abraham, died when Emery was six years old. His wife Hannah lived until Emery was thirty-three. Abraham’s will stated that his farm property would be divided among the three children, Martha, Emery, and Florence at Hannah’s death. A copy of the will is included in the Appendix.  Hannah died in 1893 but there is no record that Emery received an inheritance at that time.

________  will

 The 1890 Walla Walla city guide lists Emery’s profession as a gardener.  As a young man, Emery was better educated than most of his peers.  The education did not help him to find work or an occupation where his education was valued. His first marriage in Indiana was unsuccessful. After moving to Walla Walla he married Hattie Abbot who had roots in the Walla Walla area.

in 1890 Winfield Scott Offner owned a prosperous wholesale grocery business. Winfield’s wife Francis Abbot was an older sister to Hattie Abbott. Naturally, Emery and Hattie became aquatinted. At this time the town of Walla Walla was a rough western town. Although the surrounding community had rich agricultural land, the town served as the gateway to the silver mines in Idaho.  It was a rough Western town.

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Emery and Hattie were married on 10 November 1889. They had seven children, five of whom grew to maturity. Florence (1890 – 1967), Ralph and Ruth died at age 2, Edith (1895 – 1982), Dorothy (1897 – 1993), Winfield (1903 – 1947), and Russel (1909 – 1963).

Florence married Harry Hunt at age 15 and they raised a family of ten children.  They farmed in southern Idaho.

Edith and Dorothy took additional schooling and taught school briefly. Edith married Ray Fitting, and they raised three sons. Ray was a forest ranger who supervised the Kootenai National Forest in Idaho.  There is an amusing story about Ray refusing to allow his men construct a new road but later took credit for his foresight.

Dorothy first went to EWCE in Ellensberg, then to U. of Idaho for a BA and subsequently to USC for an MA. One family story says she was married briefly to a star athlete at U of I but his irresponsible behavior forced a divorce.  She married Carl Naether, (four days after graduation at USC) an English Professor at USC. They had no children.

Winfield obtained some college education, He worked in advertising for the Spokane newspaper, and eventually started his own advertising business in Boise, Idaho.   After he achieved success in Boise he joined a large advertising firm in Seattle. Winfield and his wife Peggy had no children.

Winfield Offner invested in farmlands around Walla Walla.  Emery took over the management of a farm in Huntsville, WA (1895).  According to daughter Dorothy, Emery and Offner had an agreement that after a few years as manager Emery would be granted part ownership of the farm.  The shared ownership never happened.

The photo below shows Offner’s that wholesale grocery employed twenty people.  Family lore says that he was one of the pioneers in refrigerated shipping.

A large school (college) was built at the town of Huntsville.  It hoped to attract the university that subsequently located at Pullman.  

We will speculate on next events. Dorothy’s account says that Emery concluded that the shared ownership would never happen, so he moved on. But it is likely that Emery was not a dedicated farmer and that he did not pay enough attention to running a farm business. Emery did keep a journal of income and expenses. The organization of the journal, which still survives, is chaotic. Certainly, a business manager like Winfield Offner would realize it was an inadequate record of farm income or expenses. It is easy to speculate that Offner asked Emery to leave.

There are many family recollections of Emery characterizing him  as intelligent and generous, and alternately,  that he avoided work and responsibility.  Clearly, he was well known in the community.  For starters, Emery liked to entertain.  He was active in the fraternal organizations that were popular in the 20s through the 50s.  Farm life was lonesome.  Emery commonly gave readings or recited poetry at the meetings.  He liked to officiate at ceremonies, even funerals.

Emey had a mustache from the days he was young.  This began after an incident as a young adult.  Emery had gone to church.  Two men edged into a pew behind him and sat there until the services were over.  When Emery started to leave, they cautioned him to remain seated.  Emery had been identified as the man who had recently stolen some horses.  He had the age, build, and a scar on his upper lip.  However, Emery had friends who vouched for his location at the specific time to prove he could not have been the thief.  Emery decided to grow a mustache to hide the scar, and he kept a mustache for the rest of his life.

Emery was emotional and found it difficult to read sad stories.  If he were reading a story to his children and it had a sad passage, he would hand the book to Hattie, his wife, and ask her to read the sad part.  Then he would resume reading the story.

Emery’s Journal       The journal is not a family history but only a record of finances showing income and expenses. It starts in a reasonable fashion in 1896 with pages “A” through “Z” listing the names of all people to appear later in the journal together with

The journal is not a family history but only a record of finances showing income and expenses. It starts in a reasonable fashion in 1896 with pages “A” through “Z” listing the names of all people to appear later in the journal together with a page of entry. That sounds good so far. Pages 1 through 66 are missing and according to the index, these pages include family money dealings. There is no clue why anyone would have removed the pages. Pages 66 to the end at page 137 show dates, names of people, and amount of money transactions. The entries are not in any chronologic arrangement but mostly random locations in the journal.   Events 10 years apart might be entered on adjacent pages. It is hard to determine whether any entry is income or an expense. There are no entries after 1907. A study of the records reveals that he moved to his own farm in 1903

Offner Wholesale Grocery                       Huntsville School

The family, that now included three daughters, moved to a farm near Kahlotus. The records in Emery’s journal indicate that he worked as a day laborer from 1903 to 1907.  There is no mention of purchasing groceries or clothing or anything else in support of the family.  There are no clues as to how he was able to purchase the property. It was not rich agricultural land.  In  _____ he purchased three separate parcels of land totaling over $3,000.  From 1907 until Hattie’s death in 1917 he worked his own farm.

The farm was close to the Snake River downstream from Lower Monumental Dam. This was very poor farmland topsoil had been washed away 20,000 years ago in the ice age floods leaving exposed columnar basalt. At age eight it was Russel’s responsibility to drive a team of horses down the curvy road to fill a tank with water for the farm.    A curious entry in the 1914  Walla Walla city directory lists Emery And Hattie.   In 1917 when Hattie died,   Emery was unable or unwilling to manage the chores of a marginal farm and care for a young boy.  The family split in all directions. Russel, age 8, was the only child young enough to need a guardian. As explained earlier. Russel was traded from sister to sister for the next 5 years until settling with Winfield to attend high school.   The 1910 census lists the family living at ElRoy. 1920 census shows Emery working at the grain elevator in Kahlotus. The 1930 census shows him on a rented farm at Fairview, 10 miles north of Kahlotus in the Sandhills.  The town of Huntsville, ElRoy, and Fairview no longer exist.

There are strong conflicting views of Emery’s personality. His obituary, in the appendix, focused on what a wonderful and likable man Emery had been. He was an officer in local fraternal organizations. he frequently recited poems or stories to entertain people at Grange meetings.  But we know that Emery and his son Russel had many issues. Alice, one of Emery’s adult grandchildren, lived with him one summer. Alice had a dislike for Emery ever afterword as she explained he cheated her out of $20. Alice was a generous woman who normally would not voice bad words about anyone in the world.

Jumping forward a few years, Adams County records show that in 1923 Emery married a third time, to a widow, Christina Beinhower.  Neither the third marriage or the name Christina were never mentioned to Pat or Dick.  We can speculate that the marriage was entertainment for two lonely people. There is no record of divorce.  Emery lived until 1937 and Christina until 1956.  When Pat was a young adult, her neighbor, Nell Curry, confided that Emery did not always live alone.

Hattie died in 1917 when Russel was 9 years old.   Sister Florence married in 1906 and other sisters, Edith and Dorothy,  became school teachers. Emery sold the farm property and worked for Kahlotus Grain and Elevator company.  He remained there until he rented the Sandhills farm in 1927.

The Abbot family

In the historical records, we see the spelling of Abbott and Abbot.  For simplicity, we will use the Abbot spelling except where the correction is overlooked.

At a meeting of the descendants of George Abbot on August 16, 1842, it was decided to compile a family genealogy. The results of their efforts were published in book form, 181 pages long in 1847. The  Abbot family had immigrated to America in 1600s first at Andover Maine, our branch moved to Canada after the Revolution, then Ohio, next California, and finally Walla Walla, WA.  To a large measure, the genealogy book is simply a listing of parents, children, with birth and death dates recorded. There are occasional stories about family members that add personality to the book. The family starts with George Abbot.   who emigrated from England in 1643. He and his family were Puritans and they continued the Puritan traditions for many generations. Many people listed in the book are the seventh generation descendants from George Abbot. They settled in Andover, Mass and there are many Abbots in that town today.

George Abbot emigrated from Yorkshire, England and settled in Andover MA in 1643.  Hannah Chandler (1629 – 1711), daughter of William and Annie Chandler came to America in the same boat and they married in 1647.  Their house was the local garrison.  George and Hannah had twelve (or maybe 10) children and 73 grandchildren.  Many generations continue to live in Andover.

Our line of ancestors includes;       George Abbot 1659 – 1681, Benjamin Abbot 1661 – 1703,  David Abbot – 1689 – 1753,  David Abbot 1728 – 1799, Josiah Abbot 1759 – 1837, Walter Scott Abbot 1798 – _,  Seneca James Abbot 1834 – 1926, Hattie Abbot Cline 1869 – 1917.   There are records of the Abbot family in England before immigration.  Walter Scott and Seneca were born in Quebec, Canada shortly after the Revolutionary War. It causes us to think Josiah was loyal to the king and moved the family Canada.

The Abbot book tells about  John A Abbot (1712 – 1802).He was employed in the business of the town as selectman; Of strict integrity, always acting on principle and holding truth and his promise sacred. He was constant in religious duties, reading the holy scriptures, and having prayer morning and evening. On the Sabbath morning and evening, he with his family sang a psalm or hymn before prayer. This was also the custom of his ancestors and his children. He passed through a long life with few faults and many virtues and had the gratification of seeing his sons well settled and respectable, regarding him with filial affection and gratitude.

Samuel Abbot (1732 – 1812) who, at his death, left $100,000 to the Theological Institution in Andover. (That must have been an enormous amount of money)

And there are Daniel Abbot Indian stories;  The Indians took James Bidlack, Robert Durkee, and Samuel Ransom prisoner on 21 March 1779. They stripped them, tied them to a tree, stuck them full with sharp points of pine knots, and having piled pine knots around them, set the whole on fire.

Daniel Abbot (1738 – 1804) when a boy was taken by the Indians. By engaging with spirit in everything which they considered manly, and spurning all they considered the drudgery of squaws and unbecoming a warrior, he so won their esteem, that they promised to adopt him and make him a chief. After he had been some time with them, they obtained several pairs of ice skates. He soon perceived that they were unskilled in the use of them; and having obtained permission, put on a pair of them, appeared to be as inexperienced in their use as they were, till, their attention being turned from him, he got behind a point of land; then, being a good skater, he put forth all his strength, and neither their shouts nor balls could stop him; and, though they pursued him, he escaped. This happened on Lake Champlain.

Benjamin Abbot

Benjamin Abbot (20 Dec 1661 – 30 March 1703) lived on a farm near Shoeshine river. In the trial of Martha Carrier (Aug. 2, 1692) for afflicting Elizabeth Hubbard, by witchcraft, Benjamin Abbot gave in his testimony, “that last March was a twelvemonth, this Carrier was angry with him upon laying out some land near husband’s.” Her expression in this anger was that she “would stick as close to Abbot as the bark sticks to a tree;” and that “he should repent of it before seven years come to an end, so as doctor Prescott should never cure him.” These words were heard by others besides Abbot himself, who also heard her say, she “would hold his nose as close to the grindstone as ever was held since his name was Abbot.” Presently after this, he was taken with a swelling in his foot, and then with a pain in his side, and exceedingly tormented. It bred a sore which was lanced by Dr. Prescott, and several gallons of corruption ran out of it. For six weeks it continued very bad; and then another sore bred in his groin, which was also lanced by Dr. Prescott. Another sore bred in his groin, which was likewise cut, and put him in very great misery. He was brought to death’s door, and so remained until Goodly Carrier was taken and carried away by the constables; from which very day he began to mend, and so grew better every day, and is well ever since.

Sarah Abbot also, his wife, testified, “that her husband was not only all this while afflicted in his body, but also that strange extraordinary and unaccountable calamities befell his cattle; their death being such as they could only no natural reason for. Elizabeth Johnson confessed before Dudley Bradstreet, that she and Goodly Carrier afflicted Benjamin Abbot.”

Martha Carrier was executed by hanging.

Jumping forward a couple hundred years, Seneca Abbot is an important link to our modern history.  Born in Canada (b 1834 in Quebec,  d 1926 Walla Walla WA) the family moved to Ohio.  In 1858 he married Chloe Russel ( 1837 – 1926). They moved to California by wagon train in 1863.  It may be the Civil War prompted the westward move. After several years in California their farm was destroyed by floods, they moved to Walla Walla. Daughters Eva (1859 – 1939) and Francis (1861-1938) were born in Ohio while the five other children were born in California.  Charles (1866 – 1879),  Hattie (1869 – 1917), Russel (1874 – 1879),  Ernest (1879 – 1949), Lulu (1879 – 1953).  Charles and Russel died in California.

Seneca Abbot                               Frankie, Chloe, Eva

The Russel Family

Now we go back to talk about the Chloe Abbot and her ancestors.  Seneca Abbot’s wife Chloe Russel had ancestors that had long lived in the United States.   

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 3.38.54 PM

Following is a rambling paragraph connecting these people.  Chloe’s parents, John Russel 1802 – 1897) and Emeline Adams (1806 – 1869) married in 1923. John was the son of Rachel Harper (1782 – 1844) and John Russel (1782-1820). (Yes, two Johns.) The Harper family achieved notice when one of the brothers (Tom) was captured by Indians and won release in a trade a year later. Chloe’s mother was Emeline Adams (1806 – 1869). Emeline’s maternal grandfather Samuel Post (1728 – 1814) was a revolutionary war soldier. Her paternal grandfather was Elisha Adams of Mass. Elisha Adams has been reported (suggested) to be a cousin of John Quincy Adams. (Knowledgeable genealogists have pointed out that there were many John Quincy Adams’ and lineage to the president Adams is unlikely.)

John Russell and Emeline Adams joined in the westward migration from Pennsylvania to Allen County, Ohio about 1825. This was the time when reasonable roads were being opened toward the West.  In the subsequent westward movement, their son Thomas Adams Russell traveled west to California in 1855. Thomas made a total of 4 trips to the West. The most significant being 1863 when he led a train of 33 wagons that included Seneca Abbott and Chloe Russel Abbott on their move west. During 1863 the country was torn by the civil war. There were hard-core abolitionists in the north and dedicated slavers in the south. Ohio was between extreme factions and many people had no desire to fight. This influenced the timing of the westward migration as it put most of the war issues far behind. Thomas Russell returned to the Midwest and settled in Missouri for 18 years but moved to Walla Walla in 1889. Many of his brothers, sisters, and children are buried at Walla Walla.

We all have seen movies with wagon trains.  It was a long tiresome trip  The wagon trains would gather at St Louis to prepare for the trip.  As soon as winter was past the trains would start.  In the 1860s there would be two or three trains each day.  The common path went across the great plains and most aimed for Salt Lake where they could get fresh provisions.  They crossed the mountains headed for Sacramento.  At this time there were Indians, but normally not organized in attacks.  Sometimes an Indian would wander into camp but they were not looking to fight, only a handout.  During the long trip westward walking was more comfortable than riding a wagon. Hunting parties ranged far from the train to supplement the limited provisions and to select sites for the next camp.  The trail was so busy that wagon trains competed for the best place to camp each night.

Family stories are interesting.  During the covered wagon move to the west, milk for the babies came from the cow they drove.  But the cow, in the Abbot wagon train, died.  There was concern about how to feed the babies.  The travelers carried lots of potatoes which they cooked each night.  They fed the babies the water from boiled potatoes.  The babies seemed to prosper on the new diet.  Seneca Abbot lived to the age of 91. Seneca and Chloe raised a large garden each year and they saved seeds for the following year.   After Seneca’s death, Chloe threw the seeds away commenting the “we won’t need these anymore.”  Chloe died ten days later

Chloe was born in Allen County, Ohio on June 10th 1837. Eight years later the family moved to DeKalb County, Indiana. She returned to Ohio to teach school for her 17th through 21st years. Seneca and Chloe married in 1858 and survived 68 years of marriage. They had two daughters, Eva and Francis, before starting the six-month trip west. The move west may have carried some dream of finding gold. They started a farm near the gold country.  They settled in the Sacramento Valley not far from where Sacramento City now stands. Five children, Charles (1866 – 1879), Hattie (1869 – 1917), Russel (1874 – 1879), Lulu (1879 – ), and Earnest (1879 – 1949), were born during the 17 years that they lived in California. Charles and Russel died of scarlet fever. The family suffered flooding that wiped out their farm and they moved to Walla Walla, WA. It is written in a journal (probably from Alemeda Fox) that Chloe was very devout from childhood throughout her life. Chloe and Seneca were active in the Methodist Episcopal Church in California and Washington.

There is an interesting letter written to Chloe by her sister

Ilion, Nov. 29, 1863

Dear Sister Chloe

      I can’t tell you how welcome your letter was. It was twenty-six days coming here and the distance seems shorter than it has before since you left. I felt very bad when I heard you started for that place and I said they never will reach there with their children and I have often imagined you burying your little ones by the wayside and traveling on, but I am so thankful you are there safe and well. I mean I am not particularly glad you are in CA. but since you are there. I must try and be reconciled to it. I wish you had written me more particulars about leaving Ohio, what father said to you leaving, how large a company you had is all H, H,.

      Those dear little children I never shall see now, neither you or Seneca in all probability. My little Willie, I think, resembles Seneca a great deal. Often when I speak to him, I call him Seneca and then comes to my mind the time when Seneca used to call me his “little man” and I sometimes think I used to love him as well as I do “Willie” now. I suppose that could not reasonably be so. Also, Cylinda and Mary went with you? And Mary is married. Well, much joy be with her. But a man of good authority once said; If a woman marries she does well but if she does not she does better. This is for Cylndia’s benefit and there is as much truth as poetry in it without casting any reflections upon anyone.

      Charles has written me since his return from his wedding tour, had a very pleasant time. He said he and Hattie sat their dinner in the Sugar Place under the same old trees that were his companion in boyhood. visited Agnes’ grave, and sent me some moss from it.   (He) did not give many particulars of the neighbors except that Sarah Ellis was married to John Johnson. Sarah Norris also married and has a little boy. Probably he will write you the same or more about them.

      My health is very poor and has been for nearly two years or since Ella was ten months old, occasioned by nursing her too long I suppose. I see by the direction of your letter that you knew we had moved. Ilion is about ten miles from our former home in Alexander. (We) bought a house and two lots. It is a village which has mostly grown up with the war. Contains an Armory which has a large government contract at only quantity. A great deal of business for the mechanic line for which he paid $14,000. He moved his barn 20′ by 24′ onto the vacant lot, finished it off. This all into a nice little house and has just sold it for $900. It leaves us with one lot and the brick house. It is situated at a point where two streets run together. The house is two stories in front and three on the other street which makes a cellar kitchen where all our work is done. On the first floor front, the street front is the parlor, sitting room, dining room and our bedroom. Pantry and clothes press on the second floor are five rooms, It will accommodate 13 boarders (Armory workmen)

(The rest of the letter is missing)


The Roning Family

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 5.03.33 PM

This is the family line for Mabel’s mother. Let us start the story with Johan Dalgren (1827 – ) who was born in Sweden and his wife Anna Widding (1824 – ). They moved to Norway in 1858. Among their six children was Julius Johansen (1850 – 1930) who is our direct ancestor. Julius married Maren Gudmendsdatter (1849 – 1923). The family had lived several places before they bought Rönningen, for example at Dammen of Tofsrud and at FrÂstad. In 1884 a deed of conveyance was issued to Julius for a portion of the Falla farm. They named this small farm Rönningen (cleared ground) and they build a house. Julius and Maren had eight children. Three sons came to the United States and they all adopted the surname Roning. Hjalmer (1873 – 1962) our ancestor, was the first to come in 1889. Ole (1876 – xx), and Axel (1885 – xx) in that order. Gunda Axel Carrie Elmer Anna Ole

Gunda               Axel                 Carrie              Elmer            Anna           Ole

Axel returned briefly in 1922 -1923 with the intent of running the farm. He found that his father was resistant to modernization so he surrendered his ownership of the farm to his youngest brother Johan Falla Juliussen (1888 -1924) and returned to the US. Johan died then following year and his wife Emma (1884 – 1961) continued to operate the farm, raising both grain and animals. The son Erling Falla (1914 – 1986) took over the farm after his Mother. However, he lived in Oslo and rented out the farming. It appears that his grandson Kjell Falla (1941 –   ) is operating the farm at this time. He owns a transportation firm as well as operating several farms.

We have a long genealogy of for Maren Gudmundsdatter. Dag Hofsodegard, a Norwegian genealogist who lives in the area of Fetsund near the Falla farm, has provided this information. A comment should be added the name of locations. Norway is divided into 20 states or fylker. The fylker are divided into counties or kommunes. The next small division is the farm or gaard. Usually, the farms are subdivided into bruks. Our ancestors lived in Akershus flyke, Fet kommune, Falla #33 Bruksnummer 3, known as Rönningen. This area is just east of Oslo. The land is gently rolling hills with rich farmland.

xxxx visit to Norway and farm

Maren’s brother Peder (1862 – 1896) came to the United States when he was young. It is undoubtedly Peder who financed Hjalmer’s move to the US. Peder ultimately returned to Norway. He had two daughters who remained in the US.

The Hansen Family

This is the family line for Mabel’s mother. The Hansen Family immigrated to the United States in the late 1800s. Hans Nyhus and Brit Skielle had nine children. Ole come to the US in 1889, Mary in 1888, and Bertha 1n 1890. The balance of the family came in 1892. Unfortunately, the parents did not live long. Hans died in 1898 and Brit in 1909. Most of the children enjoyed long and prosperous lives.

  • Ole lived from 1865 to 1950 as a farmer,
  • Mary lived from 1867 – 1958.
  • Tom (1870 – 1964) ran a grocery store.
  • Bertha lived in Mankato 1872 to 1970.
  • Carrie (1874 – ) lived on a farm is Melfort, Sask. Canada.
  • Tillie, our ancestor, lived from 1877 to 1908.
  • Sivert (1879 – 1968) ran a jewelry store.
  • Marit died as a child.
  • Marie ( 1884 to 1956 ) ran a restaurant in St. Paul.

Sivert’s son Harold had an outstanding career as a plant biologist at St. Olaf College. Edna, the oldest daughter of Ole started some genealogical research 40 years ago. She was able to establish some ancestors back to 1500. The chart is shown here. Mabel Rykhus, the daughter of Mary Hansen Rykhus, wrote a brief history of the family in Norway. That story is repeated here.

Tostin Shelly was born in Norway on the Shelly Gaard in Dovre. He was in his time a rich man. He had come there from Sjaak where his three brothers, Hans Sperstad, Nels Prestgaard, and Kriston Steingard were men of great power. Ole Shelly, his son, was also a rich man but his son Tostin Olsson Shelly, was called “Rich” Shelly. He was born on Northern Shelly in 1669. In his time a freeman in Leshja. His great work was in the lumber business from which he derived all of his wealth. He would buy one Gaard, exhaust the timber supply from them and buy up more of them in Dovre and Lesja. All the people knew him as a “straight” man in the business. But he went too far in his zeal for more money and timber. He mortgaged everything he had in the purchase of more land and lost it because he could not make payments. People could hardly bring themselves to believe how “Rich” Shelly in one year could become so poor. In the midst of all this trouble, he died on January 28, 1764, at 75 years of age.

His son and wife, Ole and Berit, continued to live on northern Shelly. They had nine children. Their daughter Mary became the wife of Tostin Shelly of Southern Shelly. Here is where the Shelly families of North and South Shelly inter-married. These people now were all farmers. On the combined Shelly gaard was born Berit Shelly in 1843, my maternal grandmother.

Another set of maternal great, great grandparents was Kari and Chester Korsvold of the Korsvold gaard in Gulbrandsdalon, Norway. Their son Ole Nyhus, married Berit Uleklev, who was the daughter of Hans Uleklev of the Uleklev gaard, and Gari Shelly, sister of Tostin Shelly, my great, grandfather on my maternal grandmother’s side. So here the two descending sides of my Mother’s ancestors were united.

Ole Nyhus, or Uleklev, in 1839 bought a part of Uleklev gaard and called it Nyhus because of the new house he had build upon it. The gaard Uleklev was a big farm, divided into two sections by a river which ran through it. The farm was very hilly, as is usual in Norway.

Hans married Berit Shelly, daughter of Tosten and Mary Shelly, again the Uleklev and Shelly uniting two generations later.

All my maternal ancestors were farmers, except whereas a side activity they kept a store on the gaard. They were of medium height, but the Shelleys were small, which is decidedly characteristic of the direct Shelly descendants in this generation. Most of them died from old age, and they were usually up to the time of their death, a vigorous, strong, healthy people. True to their nationality, they were fair-haired, the Shelleys going further in having a red color for their hair. Along with the fair hair and skin went the blue eyes. These characteristics are easily found in the present generations. The Shelleys and the Nyhuses are not quick-tempered, being slow to anger.

Hans Nyhus was born in Gulbrandsdalon, Norway, in 1840, the oldest of a family of six children. In 1863 he married Berit Shelly, born in Norway in 1843. She was the oldest in a family of five. They continued to live in Norway on the Shelly farm. Nine children were born to them, seven of whom are still living in 1947. Mr. Nyhus kept store for a while, as had his father, but as this did not prove especially successful he gave it up.

The children went to the school of the district but none of them went farther. They were in strict attendance upon the Dovre Church, and the children to this day always smile and tell of its beauty when reminiscing about the old days in Norway.

Some of their friends and relatives had already left for America by 1885 or 1890. Mary (the second oldest) moved the United States in 1888. Ole moved in 1889 and Bertha in 1890. The parents decided that they would take their other children and go also. The full family arrived in America in 1892, going directly to Mankato, Minnesota to make their home.

In 1893 their youngest child, Marit, died. The parents did not work while here, being supported by their children who were now all grown up and working. Ole, being the oldest, had much of the burden fall upon him. He kept the family and aided some of the younger ones in obtaining an education or a job. These grandparents died in 1898 and 1899. They had hardly been in America long enough to adjust themselves to know people, customs, and surroundings. Their life had been rough but so was everyone else. They left eight children to carry on the family work.

Ethyl Myrum in a 1968 letter identified a couple relatives in Norway. She identified a cousin of Tillie Hansen my Grandmother, named Karen Klieven in Dombas Gudbransdalen, Norway. Karen lived with her daughter Mari Borstad. Mari worked at the Dombas Hotel. Dombas is a busy tourist stop at the intersection of major highways crossing Norway.

Eunice Logan visited in Norway 1981 and found numerous relatives. There is a special church a Dovre which was built in 1740. The cemetery has the names of numerous ancestors. There are still people with the name Uleklev. Eunice reported that Norway seemed prosperous, the people happy and very helpful.

Information About Ancestors.

Personal notes

We have taken the opportunity to visit some of the ancestral locations. In 2000 we traveled to Europe and spent several days in Norway. We visited the farm in Norway where Elmer Roning (Dick’s Grandfather) was born. It was a great pleasure seeing the farm and meeting the distant cousin who now farms the property. We asked if there was some memento of the farm that we might take home. He hauled out an old slab of wood that he said was part of the roof from the original home. He next brought out his chainsaw and sliced off a chunk for each Pat and Dick.

In 2001 we stopped at Yellow Spring, West Virginia, the location where the Clines lived for a couple generations. We did not identify any particular property that would have belonged to Phillip Klein but we did stay at the Asa Cline Bed and Breakfast. Asa Cline was a relative.

Also, in 2001 we visited Indiana. We found Lowell Cline, a GG grandson of Abraham Cline but through a different wife than Dick’s family. We also located the house built by Abraham Cline sometime in the late 1850s. The house was still occupied and when we knocked on the door we discovered that the resident, Paul Beckley, is a distant relative. Paul was able to provide us with other family names.

In 2003 we revisited Indiana and had a delightful visit with Paul and his wife Nancy. They showed us many of the historical features of the property. Subsequently, we traveled to Ft. Wayne and visited with Larry and Betty Burke. Larry’s brother Jack and wife Iris were also there visiting so we had a great reunion.

DNA Analysis

A personal DNA analysis will reveal information of your ancient ancestors, inherited genetic features, and possibly other, previously unknown. relatives. There are several well-known companies that will analyze your DNA for a modest cost.  The author, Sick Cline belong to two of the genealogy sites, Ancestry, and 23 & Me. At present, the analysis primarily has entertainment value. The newspapers tell of crimes solved by matching fragment

Other Family History Records that stimulated interest and/or provided information

  • Family Ties, An Ancestry of the DePoy Family, Compiled by Charles L. DePoy
  • John and Sarah Brenner, Their Ancestors and Descendants, By Marilyn Roberts   1998
  • Hunt Family Tree, Angie Hunt
  • Genealogical Register of the Descendants of Abbotts of New England States
  • Rev Abiel Abbot, D.D., & Ephramin Abbot 1847
  • Family Tree of the Abbotts, Russell Abbott
  • Paul Hunt Autobiography
  • Misc. notes from Dorothy Naether
  • Misc. notes from Emery Cline
  • Through Their Eyes and Mine
  • A Collection Of Family Stories
  • LaVerne Hunt Silcott 2004
  • Misc. notes, letters, and photographs from Larry Burke
  • Conversations with Paul Beckley
  • Conversations with Lowell Cline
  • Childhood and Adult Stories by Mabel
  • Childhood and Adult Stories by Russel
  • From Win Cline’s Diary, October 28th to November 4th, 1945


Chapter 8: DNA analysis

DNA analysis


In recent years DNA analysis has become a popular tool with genealogists.  The scientific details are far beyond the scope of this document.  Yet it is necessary to understand the concept of DNA in order to see the potential value and the usefulness to genealogists

DNA is a molecule that contains instructions to your body.  Think of a mile-long ladder where each rung is an instruction. Many instructions are common to all people, and some are different. Your size, your sex, the color of your hair are determined by the DNA molecule.  Each child inherits DNA from both parents.  And this is different than any other person.  The similarities in the molecule reveal  your parents, their parents, grandparents, and further back. Similarly, each ancestor has contributed to your DNA.

Many technical articles about DNA are available.  The complexity of the molecule is illustrated below.  The internet will explain this in whatever detail you want/

Screen Shot 2019-01-13 at 9.15.41 PM.png

Half of your DNA comes from each parent, on quarter from each grandparent, and one eighth from each grandparent.   You and your cousin have a common grandparent and the number of common DNA elements reveal this relationships

There are several private companies that will test your DNA and provide a list of individuals who share your DNA.  We have used this to find several relatives starting with second cousins.  Second cousins are descendent from the same grandfather.  50% of your DNA comes from each parent, 25% from each grandparent, and 12% from each great grandparent.

The DNA might identify your susceptibility to physical or mental problems.  While that information may be useful to you. This information may also influence your suitability for certain careers.   This introduces legal issues so DNA analysis must be protected.

I have paid two companies for a DNA analysis.  A major function of the DNA analysis iOS identification of individuals that are related.  Second function is to identify physical or mental features that are common in your DNA related group.For illustration, some of that information is copied here.  This is a part that identifies features common to others in my DNA category (Haplogroup)



Your Reports Summary

This is an overview of your 23andMe reports. It provides brief descriptions of your results but does not provide detailed information that may be important for understanding your results. 23andMe reports do not include all possible variants or account for other factors related to these conditions and traits.

Log into your 23andMe account for more details about each of your results. If you have concerns about your results, talk to a healthcare professional.

Genetic Health Risk Reports 4 highlighted reports of 9 reports available

Learn whether you have specific genetic variants that can influence your risk for certain health conditions. Consider talking to a healthcare professional if you have a personal or family history of one of these conditions or have concerns about your results.

Our reports do not include all possible genetic variants that could affect these conditions. Other factors can also affect your risk of developing these conditions, including lifestyle, environment, and family history.

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration

    Variant detected, not likely at increased risk

  • Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

    Variant detected, not likely at risk

  • Celiac Disease

    Slightly increased risk

  • Hereditary Hemochromatosis (HFE‑Related)

    Variant detected, not likely at increased risk

  • BRCA1/BRCA2 (Selected Variants)

    Variants not detected

  • Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

    Variant not detected

  • Parkinson’s Disease

    Variants not detected

  • G6PD Deficiency

    Variant not detected

  • Hereditary Thrombophilia

    Variants not detected

Carrier Status Reports 0 highlighted reports of 44 reports available

Learn whether you have specific genetic variants that may not affect your health, but could affect your children’s health.Consider talking to a healthcare professional before making any major lifestyle changes or if you have any concerns about your results.

If you see “Variant not detected” for a Carrier Status report, it means you’re not a carrier of the tested variant(s). Keep in mind that while our Carrier Status reports cover many variants, they don’t include all possible variants associated with each condition. So it’s still possible to be a carrier of a variant not included in our test.


    Variant not detected

  • Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum with Peripheral Neuropathy

    Variant not detected

  • Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease

    Variant not detected

  • Beta Thalassemia and Related Hemoglobinopathies

    Variant not detected

  • Bloom Syndrome

    Variant not detected

  • Canavan Disease

    Variant not detected

  • Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation Type 1a (PMM2-CDG)

    Variant not detected

  • Cystic Fibrosis

    Variant not detected

  • D-Bifunctional Protein Deficiency

    Variant not detected

  • Dihydrolipoamide Dehydrogenase Deficiency

    Variant not detected

  • Familial Dysautonomia

    Variant not detected

  • Familial Hyperinsulinism (ABCC8-Related)

    Variant not detected

  • Familial Mediterranean Fever

    Variant not detected

  • Fanconi Anemia Group C

    Variant not detected

  • GRACILE Syndrome

    Variant not detected

  • Gaucher Disease Type 1

    Variant not detected

  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type Ia

    Variant not detected

  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type Ib

    Variant not detected

  • Hereditary Fructose Intolerance

    Variant not detected

  • Herlitz Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa (LAMB3-Related)

    Variant not detected

  • Leigh Syndrome, French Canadian Type

    Variant not detected

  • Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Type 2D

    Variant not detected

  • Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Type 2E

    Variant not detected

  • Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Type 2I

    Variant not detected

  • MCAD Deficiency

    Variant not detected

  • Maple Syrup Urine Disease Type 1B

    Variant not detected

  • Mucolipidosis Type IV

    Variant not detected

  • Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (CLN5-Related)

    Variant not detected

  • Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (PPT1-Related)

    Variant not detected

  • Niemann-Pick Disease Type A

    Variant not detected

  • Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome

    Variant not detected

  • Nonsyndromic Hearing Loss and Deafness, DFNB1 (GJB2-Related)

    Variant not detected

  • Pendred Syndrome and DFNB4 Hearing Loss (SLC26A4-Related)

    Variant not detected

  • Phenylketonuria and Related Disorders

    Variant not detected

  • Primary Hyperoxaluria Type 2

    Variant not detected

  • Rhizomelic Chondrodysplasia Punctata Type 1

    Variant not detected

  • Salla Disease

    Variant not detected

  • Sickle Cell Anemia

    Variant not detected

  • Sjögren-Larsson Syndrome

    Variant not detected

  • Tay-Sachs Disease

    Variant not detected

  • Tyrosinemia Type I

    Variant not detected

  • Usher Syndrome Type 1F

    Variant not detected

  • Usher Syndrome Type 3A

    Variant not detected

  • Zellweger Syndrome Spectrum (PEX1-Related)

    Variant not detected

Wellness Reports 2 highlighted reports of 8 reports available

Find out how your DNA may affect your body’s response to diet, exercise, and sleep. Consider talking to a healthcare professional before making any major lifestyle changes or if you have any concerns about your results.

  • Alcohol Flush Reaction

    Unlikely to flush

  • Caffeine Consumption

    Likely to consume more

  • Deep Sleep

    More likely to be a deep sleeper

  • Genetic Weight

    Predisposed to weigh about average

  • Lactose Intolerance

    Likely tolerant

  • Muscle Composition

    Common in elite power athletes

  • Saturated Fat and Weight

    Likely similar weight

  • Sleep Movement

    Likely more than average movement

Ancestry Reports 1 highlighted report of 5 reports available

Discover the story of your ancient ancestors, your origins, and your ancestral background.

  • Ancestry Composition
    • European


      • Scandinavian


      • British & Irish


      • French & German


      • Broadly Northwestern European


      • Broadly European


    • Sub-Saharan African


      • Broadly Sub-Saharan African


    • East Asian & Native American

      Less than 0.1%

      • Broadly East Asian

        Less than 0.1%

  • Maternal Haplogroup


  • Neanderthal Ancestry

    Fewer Neanderthal variants than 82% of customers

  • Paternal Haplogroup


  • Your DNA Family

    1033 DNA Relatives

Traits Reports 0 highlighted reports of 30 reports available

Explore the genetics behind your appearance and senses.

  • Ability to Match Musical Pitch

    Less likely to be able to match a musical pitch

  • Asparagus Odor Detection

    Likely can smell

  • Back Hair

    Likely little upper back hair

  • Bald Spot

    Likely bald spot

  • Bitter Taste

    Likely can taste

  • Cheek Dimples

    Likely no dimples

  • Cilantro Taste Aversion

    Slightly higher odds of disliking cilantro

  • Cleft Chin

    Likely no cleft chin

  • Earlobe Type

    Likely detached earlobes

  • Early Hair Loss

    Likely hair loss

  • Earwax Type

    Likely wet earwax

  • Eye Color

    Likely brown or hazel eyes

  • Fear of Heights

    Less likely than average to be afraid of heights

  • Finger Length Ratio

    Likely ring finger longer

  • Freckles

    Likely little freckling

  • Hair Photobleaching

    Less likely to experience hair photobleaching

  • Hair Texture

    Likely straight or wavy

  • Hair Thickness

    Less likely to have thick hair

  • Light or Dark Hair

    Likely light

  • Misophonia

    Average odds of hating chewing sounds

  • Mosquito Bite Frequency

    Likely bitten less often than others

  • Newborn Hair

    Likely little baby hair

  • Photic Sneeze Reflex

    Likely no photic sneeze reflex

  • Red Hair

    Likely no red hair

  • Skin Pigmentation

    Likely lighter skin

  • Sweet vs. Salty

    Likely prefers salty

  • Toe Length Ratio

    Likely big toe longer

  • Unibrow

    Likely no unibrow

  • Wake-Up Time

    Likely to wake up around 7:05 am

  • Widow’s Peak

    Likely no widow’s peak

Reflections by Photographs

Photo Index

Travel Photos

IMG_0609 IMG_0160 IMG_0289

A collection of travel photos from Marie and Dick.

Group Photos


An unsorted collection of snapshots

Old Family Photos

Family 1937 sandhills copy

Old photos covering 100 years.

Misc. Family Links



Screen Shot 2017-12-08 at 8.53.59 PM
These documents are interesting but we don’t know where to put them so they are here in the appendix.

  • Memory Book of Mabel Bergitte Cline
  • Mary Rykhus Family History
    with Introduction by Richard Cline:
    Roy Anderson has generously allowed us to copy his book Mary Rykhus into our family history.  Mary Rykhus is the grandmother of Roy Anderson.Roy gives us a history of the Hanson family that immigrated from Norway to Minnesota.  The book is an introduction to the family of my maternal grandmother.

    Names will be confusing as Norwegian naming patterns differ from common US patterns.  Hans Nyhus and Berit Shelly had nine children. Hans son naturally leads to Hanson for sons.  All of the children adopted the surname Hanson.  Most of the family remained in Minnesota, near Mankato.

    Mabel’s mother, Tillie Hanson Roning, is a sister to Mary Rykhus.  Roy and I have common ancestors, Hans Nyhus and Berit Shelly, the great-grandparents of both of us.  Roy is thus a second cousin.

    Roy has authored two other books about family history.  The research and dedication continue to be impressive.

  • Paul Hunt’s Autobiography
  • Win Cline’s DC trip Diary
  • Dorothy Naether_Letter
  • Jacob Kline Biography
  • DNA Research
  • Methods of Genealogy Research
  • Birth and Death Records
  • Family Charts