East Beaver Creek School and Area

Excerpts from a letter written by Nora Holgate Treadwell on June 4, 2001:

These are memories our mother told to us as she grew up on East Beaver Creek and went to the East Beaver Creek School.

In order to keep a school open there were supposed to be at least 6 students. One year the number was only 5 and most of them were the Holgate children, so it was decided to let the youngest brother, Gus, go to school too to bring the number up to 6. Many years later Gus was killed in a head-on car crash about 15 miles east of Cottage Grove.

One day after heavy snow, Dad was afraid we would get lost on our way home from the East Beaver Creek School house since there was only a trail now covered with snow. So Dad came to get us. He carried a big hack umbrella, and we followed him home by stepping in his tracks. The umbrella covered our heads.

Dad raised pigs. After the milk was left at the East Beaver Cheese Factory, the empty milk cans were filled with whey for the pigs. The cans were unloaded from the wagon to a landing above the pig trough. Mom was emptying a milk can, and it fell into the pig pen. I was small enough to climb down into the pen and raise the can so Mom could reach it. Our old boar pig thought I'd be good eating and started after me. Mom said, "Run!" and I raised my arms and Mom pulled me up onto the landing.

We children drove the cows two or three miles to open range. About 1/2 mile ablve the East Beaver Creek School house was a gate across the road. Us kids turned the cows through the gate and went back to school. One night after school it was Curtis's turn to get the cows, about 30 of them. We took a dog named Time with us each day to school. He was a white cattle dog. Curt took the dog and went to get the cows. One half mile through the gate there were large maple trees in what later became a park. In those maple trees Curt saw a bear, and the dog chased it. Curt hurriedly gathered up the cows and rode home on the back of the bull.

Another time on a cold winter night when we left the house to go to the barn we saw tracks close to the house. Dad came back and saw where they went around the house and up the hill . . . a whole pack of wolf tracks.

One of the teachers at the school was Miss Dawson. She would come out from Tillamook each Monday morning and stay with one family, and then on Friday evening go back into Tillamook. Her brother, Drury (Drew), would bring her out on Monday morning early and come after her Friday evening. He met the oldest sister, Ora, and when she was 18 they married. It was said this broke Dad's heart, and he was always more stern and gruff with we who were left.

One of the teachers, Mrs. Creecy, was married and brought her small daughter with her. Mom took care of the child each day, and at the end of the month was given $15.00. To my mom this was a LOT of money, and she had dreams of how she would spend it. However, during this time, Mom was not able to do the washing which meant building a fire down by the creek, heating the water in a tub, then scrubbing the clothes on a washboard; then rinse, wring, and hang to dry.

After doing this the few weeks that Mom couldn't, Dad spent her $15.00 for a down payment on a washing machine, and that is where the following $15.00 went each month.

My sister, Ora, and I went to get the cows on the hillside across from the house. Dad had been clearing land, and the logs were too big for me to climb over. So Ora left me in the shade under a tree, and she went on looking for the cows. After a little bit she told me to call the dog to me. Tim, the dog, started barking and looking up the tree. I looked up there, too, and I saw a huge big cat. It jumped off the limb above me and ran with the dog after it. Dad later killed it, and he said it was a lynx.

Our neighbor, Henry Elf, couldn't talk very plain. He called me Dacie instead of Gracie and Gus, Dussie. One April fools day he passed our house going to the factory with his milk. My brother, Gus, told him the factory was closed, so he turned his team around and was going back home when Gus yelled, "April Fool!"

Mr. Ely said, "Oh Dussie and Dacie, you would think of that."

My mom's youngest children were twins, Nora and Marvin. They were born after our oldest sister had married, left home and actually had her first child just months before the twins were born. Sister Nora was asked by some of her friends how her big sister Ora was. Nora, called Nonie, said she didn't know, and when she got home from school that day asked Momie who Ora was. That was when she learned she had an older sister tha no one talked about because she broke her Dad's heart.

Nonie remembers one time when the school teacher was trying very hard to prepare a Christmas program. There was no piano at the school, but one of the neighbors had one. So the teacher took all the children there to practice the songs. Dad came after us that day, and when he found us not at school he would not let us be in the school program.

Besides milking cows, raising pigs, growing big gardens for food and hunting and fishing our dad would cut cord wood for the cheese factory and the schools as that was the only kind of heat then.

There were no school buses we walked the mile or two from our home to the school house. Sometime if the weather was really bad, Dad would bring the horse and wagon. This was a real treat and didn't happen very often.

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