Asotin County, WA History

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ASOTIN JAN.11: Stories of seeing wild horses and a wild man at cloverland are among the recollections of
Mrs. Alice Ginsbach who celebrated her 79 birthday yesterday.
She also lays claim to the longest continuous residence in Asotin county,
having come to Dayton when Columbia county included the area now in Asotin County.

Telling of having seen a "wild man" emerging from the brush and timberdown toward the point of the Smoothing Iron,
she describes vividly the adventure when she and two sisters were rounding up stray stock one summer.

"I saw something down in the brush, and got off my horse to see a little better.
He started toward me, probably to get a better look at me, too. He didn't have any clothes on to speak of,
and had hair all over his face. I cleared out of there."

Her sisters, who didn't share the actual experience, said she was white as a sheet,
when she returned to them. years later, she relates, she saw mention of him in a newspaper,
and later still, she heard that someone had killed him.


The wild horses were just as real--more real to the stockman, to whom they were quite a nuisance.
They came right up to the back of their pasture on the upper end of Cloverland flat, eating hay and mingling with the tame stock.

"The only way to stop them was with a bullet."
Her claim to the longest continuous residence in the county stems back to the days when the area now comprising.

Asotin county was a part of Columbia county. That was when the family came to Dayton from Silverton,Ore.
A few years later, they homesteaded on Cloverland flat and Asotin county came into it's own after that.
She has lived here all the rest of her life. She was then a little dark headed, olive skinned girl.

Born Jan. 10,1873, in southern Missouri,
she made the trek across the Indian-terrorized plains in a 14 wagon caravan when only 3 months old.

Some of the men stood guard for Indian raiders every night, and the Indians saw blackheaded Alice,
and begged her mother to give the baby to them.
"Once I was almost stolen right out from under the tent," she said her mother told her.

They came north in '79 from California, with the wagon train literally bursting with children.
by now there were ten youngsters,and other settlers in other wagons would stop, nudge each other,
and all would count. She was proud of being a member of a large family, she said.
Her eyes fairly shine when she tells of the beautiful gold jingle to the waving bunch grass as high as a wagon bed,
before the sod was turned on Cloverland. The family homesteaded what is now the W.A.Weiss ranch,
reaching their plot by moonlight. It was wonderful land, but not worth much in money.
In 1905 her father Jackson Dillon, traded his farm for a house and two acres at Asotin.


A really self sufficient family on Cloverland, they had to raise their own meat, vegtables, and the like.
They stored the carrotts and turnips and dried the corn for winter use.
The meat was smoked or pickled, and farm made sausage, head cheese,bologna,
hams and bacon were always on the table.

She was married in 1898 to Tony Ginsbach.
They lived at Asotin and operated the Asotin House,
a boarding house and hotel which stood where the Asotin telephone exchange is now.
A list of their 35 regular boarders like a dossier of the old timers in Asotin county.

A.A.Wormell, Emil Matthes, Louis Closult to mention a few.
Later they engaged in other business ventures together--a confectionary,
pool room, and he was deputy sheriff several years under John Wormell. Mr. Ginsbach died in January 1938.


Mrs. Ginsbach recalls that "Lewiston was a fright 50 years ago. The last 50 years have made such a difference in that town.
"When they went into town, the mud slopped up over their galoshes,
and the teams with empty wagons mired down the middle of the street,
she recalls. There were no sidewalks, and dirt streets downtown, and nothing but sagebrush on the Lewiston flat and Clarkston area.
About 35 years ago, when every building in town contained a thriving business venture,
her husband predicted that the automobile would take the business from Asotin,
to a larger more central business venture.


During the summer she maintains her own home and lawn around the home her parents aquired in1905.
She plants and weeds her garden, and cans her fruit.
Yesterday she spent the day at home, tending to household chores, and receiving greetings from her family.
She is the last of her brothers and sisters, but three of her four children live in Asotin.

One of yesterdays callers was A.A.Wormell, who also observed his 79th birthday today,
and came to Asotin only six months after the Jackson Dillon family.
They have maintained a traditon set up when she and her husband were operating the Asotin house
and Wormell was one of the boarders--that of being"twins for a day,
"and observing each others birthday with a rememberance visit.

Transcribed exactly as written by Carla Weza North Great-Granddaughter of Louise Alice Dillon Ginsbach