Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pleasant Valley

Driving through south central Washington I tried to imagine what it was like for the early settlers. The rolling hills covered in grasses now broken into fields of corn, orchards, and vineyards.

As we entered Goldendale I was entranced by the Victorian and Queen Anne style houses. My daughter and I were there in view of Mount Hood to learn more about her ancestors.

John Martin was born in Ohio in 1818. He married Susan Jane Philips in Indiana in 1841. The family spent some time in Missouri and Iowa before joining the westward movement. They had eleven children including Doug’s great grandfather, James L. Martin who was born sometime in the early 1850s.

Our first stop was at a beautiful old home on Broadway. The Presby Mansion is the home of the Klickitat County Historical Society and is one of the nicest and most interesting museums I’ve ever seen.

The kind lady who met us at the door showed us into the room where the society keeps their records. With the clues we already had we found information that William A. Martin the eldest son of John and Susan donated land in Pleasant Valley to the Church of Christ as a cemetery. We now have a copy of the deed. We also found a photograph of William Martin and James H. Beaks. We aren’t 100% sure but we feel confident the man on the left is the William. Martin…the resemblance to my husband is uncanny.

Some marriages and a county history added to our information. After touring the museum we drove the 11 miles to Bill Anderson Road where we were to turn right and follow the narrow dirt road that wound back to the cemetery.

After parking we had to open an old ranch gate to make out way into the cemetery. I was so impressed by the side of the hill and Mount Hood in the distance. It took us awhile but we found numerous names that had become familiar during our visit to the historical society. Tuttles, Beeks, Rowley and finally Martin’s were found.

Jessica’s face when we found her great great great grandparents was worth the stickers in my socks and incessant blowing wind.

There in the far corner under a tree were John Martin, August 14, 1818 to May 14, 1896, and Susan Jane Clossin (who had remarried after John’s death) Nov. 1, 1823 to July 29, 1920. “Gone but not forgotten”

Not in this family anyway. When Jessica’s great great grandfather, James Martin, moved to Solomonville, Arizona he took a big step. When Jessica married a man from Yakima, Washington we had no idea she would be returning to her own family roots. Various members of the Martin and Beeks families lived in Yakim including Susan. Susan was also living in Solomonville in 1900. We have indeed followed in their footsteps.