When the spring thaws had set in, Dr. Clowe told Grandpa there was lots of good land north of Sprague that the government would just love to give away. The Minkles offered to take care of the third youngest child, while Grandpop loaded the two remaining kids into his prairie schooner, along with his earthly possessions.
Arriving at Sassin, he found Mr. and Mrs. Delius Woods, who had already staked out a claim. At the mercy of the Woods, he dumped off my dad and his sister, and went looking for land. The claim on which he filed was well chosen. The gentle hills were just made for farming.
This 160 acres of land was called a preemption. It cost Grandpa $250, but he had 10 years to pay for it. A timber claim was taken for another 160 acres. It was free, but the government made him plant 10 acres to trees.
After squaring up with Uncle Sam, he got his axe out and chopped down some stray pine trees after which he made himself a one-room, one-door, one-window log house. Then dug a hole deep enough to make a well. Then Grandpa put on his coat and got ready to pick up his five scattered children. Kitty and Sally then had the job of toting Gramps and his wagon back to Walla Walla.
Dr. Clowe wanted to adopt the son he kept, and it sounded like a sad parting of the ways when the youngster was tossed into the wagon. No trace could be found of the baby girl, nor [of] the Collins family. Rumors were that they moved to Yakima. So, when Grandpa got to Wallula, he fixed Kitty into a saddle horse and road to Yakima. Neither Collins nor the baby could be found.
Kitty and Sally finally lugged Kik and his two remaining kids back to Sassin, where at the Woods’, Grandpa picked up kids number three and four. All he could offer the little ones was a log cabin with a window from which they could look out. That’s just what they did that fall, when he locked them in the cabin while he took four sacks of wheat to Gunning’s Mill at Minnie Falls, where a small water-wheel ground it into flour.
Library of Congress
Index to Lands, Adams County, Washington
First entry: United States to N.P.R.R. (Northern Pacific Rail Road Company) 1895
"...160 acres of land..."
The Northwestern Miller - Sept. 4, 1885