Sunday, February 22, 2009

They Drove Away and Forgot Vivian

I've done research on the families of our sons-in-law and daughters-in-law so I could prepare pedigree charts for our grandchildren. I'm trying to visually inspire them to become interested in their ancestors and hopefully kindle a spark of curiosity that will carry them into further research as they get older.

One of my sons-in-law is a descendant of Wesley Clayton Muma. In researching Wesley, I read the most interesting and visually-stimulating story and have reprinted it below. This account is taken from History of Hood River County, Oregon 1852-1982 by Hood River Historical Society, page 303.

From the "History of Hood River"
Wesley and his brother Sidney came to the United States from Alberta, Canada in 1922. They worked in the lumber industry in Estacada, Oregon for several months. After earning enough money, they returned to Canada to get their families and bring them to the United States. Wesley had purchased a 1919 house car and left it at Bonners Ferry in Idaho (as seen in the photo postcard at right), where they entered the USA in 1923. Traveling in the house car were his wife, Violet, and eleven children, All born in Canada. Their first job when coming to Oregon was picking apples at Nunamakers in Odell; they followed the harvest to the Willamette valley, then to Dufur, to the largest apple orchard for the harvest. Wesley decided the family should go to California to "pick up gold in the streets." While traveling through Portland, a kindly lady stopped to ask Mr. Muma if he was in town from the children's farm. Assuring her that all the children were his, they left for California. In their faithful house car, traveling eighty miles a day was fantastic, if there weren't too many flat tires. After working for a year in Los Angeles, Mr. Muma decided to return to Hood River. Leaving Los Angeles, they counted noses and discovered Vivian was missing. In the excitement of leaving, they had left her behind. Returning to the house, the found the seven-year old Vivian sitting on the steps crying. Starting out again, they arrived in Hood River to stay in the spring of 1925. They moved to the Upper Valley to farm and work hard to raise a large family. Three more children were born here - Jiggs, Buddy, and Dickey. They raised the school population considerably by starting nine children in school at the same time. They had two school buses; one was a covered wagon, driven by Mr. Melquist. Alvy Hardman drove a canvas-covered truck for the other bus. Ned Van Nuys delivered the milk on horseback. The Mumas operated a dairy farm for several years, delivering milk to the Upper Valley and around Mount Hood. There were many campsites around the valley in those days - Midway, Homestead, Cloud Cap, Cooper Spur and Bluebucket Inn. Faster cars eventually did away with those places. Six of the Muma boys served in World War II. Daughter Aileen married Gus Maurer and lived in the area all her life. Wesley Jr. married Elsie Ross and lived in Los Angeles. Ross moved to California, where he married Dorothy Patereau, who came from a pioneer family in the Upper Valley. Dorothy's parents, with their fourteen children, had moved to Bakersfield, California about 1929. Buddy and his wife Hazel lived in the Hood River area. Bubbs and Dickey lived in Alaska. Cliff married Leona Smith , from a pioneer family who came to the valley in 1923, and remained in the Upper Valley. Jimmy and his wife Rita lived in Portland. Wesley (Sr.) was the first to pass away, in 1939, leaving Violet to raise their last three children at home. Violet worked until she was eighty two. She passed away on her ninety-second birthday in 1978.


Harriet said...

What an interesting story. I've never seen a house car.

Jennifer said...

Poor Vivian! What a cool "house car." Must have been the predecessor to the RV??

Brenda said...

Great Story. I know you appreciate all these stories and photos you have or I might just get way too envious of you! ;) You and 'Dad' keep up the good work! Brenda

Olive's Granddaughter said...

Great story and wonderful blog! Thanks for visiting my blog--I'll definitely be back.