The move to eastern Washington state

Continuing with Gerald Nathan Hodgson’s Northwest family narrative, with thanks to Michael Howard Hodgson:

As for the trip out here, about all I know was that Uncle John Hodgson came out here first, spent some time on the West Coast, and finally wound up on forty-acre homestead on what is now Hodgson Creek above Barstow, after his marriage to a Norwegian immigrant girl named Inga. He wrote glowing letters to Granddad about what a wonderful place this was and Grandpa finally came out here alone to scout the situation in 1902. He considered homesteading in the Deadman Creek area but a delegation of earlier settlers came and told him he was not wanted. Granddad told them that he did not know what it was all about, but if he was going to have that kind of neighbors he did not want to settle there! Since they did not state, it is difficult to know the reason, but it was quite plain that Hodgson was no longer young and alone; they figured they could get away with it.

Granddad finally chose the area around where my road turns off. There was an old [railroad] tie camp there with buildings and a road of sorts up from the railroad which had been completed in 1902. The place had claim papers stuck up on it but it was not occupied so he could have simply pulled the papers down and taken over; however, he located the claimer and paid him about $200 to officially vacate. Afterward, he wrote to Dad asking him to finish winding up his affairs and get Grandma and Uncle Myron started on their way west. This Dad did, and Grandma and Grandpa spent the winter at Uncle John’s place at Barstow to take care of the place and livestock. John and Inga were away. Grandpa had established living quarters and facilities at the tie camp, also residence, before Grandma’s arrival. The winter at Barstow was an accommodation of convenience. Uncle Myron arrived and spent the winter with Tom Bay and Aunt Emma. They moved during the summer to the old tie camp and started to establish a new home. Dad and Mom made their decision to follow, sold off all their property that ‘could not be packed in boxes and barrels, loaded up children in the railway carriage, and started west for Spokane. It seems to me that they were able to get special low priced tickets as emigrants. There were five children — Vera, Victor, Lelia, Lester and Howard. Howard was a babe in arms.

Dad carried his entire wealth in one large leather wallet on his person, mostly in yellowback gold certificates. I do not remember the sum but it was in excess, I think, of twelve hundred dollars. I still have the wallet. In hearing him tell about it I can more less understand him carrying the money on his person but have always been puzzled as to why he did not carry at least a small portion of it in another pocket. Apparently, he just did not want more than one wallet to keep track of. At any rate, he got through with it safe}y and the money served as a backlog for several years. The gold certificates, though, were a handicap, in a way, as they attracted so much attention that he was thought to be rich and be accordingly overcharged.

They got off the train at Barstow and somehow found their way up to Uncle John’s and spent the night there John and Inga were not too cordial or, at least, not very helpful. John had some horses somewhere, but did not volunteer to locate them, so Dad and Mom started out the next morning afoot for Granddad’s — between five and six miles through completely strange country, mostly following the railroad track. They carried Howard all the way and Lester, who was not quite two, most of the way. Vera, Victor and Lelia walked from Barstow along with the others. This was the Fall of 1904. I would have to get additional details from Lelia and Vera. [Lelia seems to remember John, Inga and Grandma meeting them at the Barstow station, so it is possible that Grandma accompanied them as guide on their walk next day,]

They took up residence in one of the old tie camp buildings which had a rather flat roof covered with dirt and which leaked whenever it rained and it was a rainy fall.

Victor Hodgson
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