Mabel's Story
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Copy of a letter from Mabel Alvira (Palmer) Sucher of Veradale, Washington, 1976

contributed by Ken Jorgenson

Two brothers, Edward and Bert Palmer were on their way to Oregon with their parents when they were attacked by Indians. The boys hid from them but the Indians took their mother. Their father was cut where the Indians cut white men and he nearly bled to death. They got to California on one lame horse. The boys were sent later to their grandfather who had a small mill at Latourell Falls in Oregon. I understand he started his mill in around 1860. Ed stayed in the country around there. Bert went back to California. My father, Edward, spent his entire life trying to find his mother. To my knowledge he never did. When we four children were very small, our mother was found dead from a bullet wound. We children told different stories so our father was tried but found not guilty. He married again and went to California.

After our mother died, we children were no longer together. Relatives took some, the Henry Latourells took me. I shall never forget how good they were to me and the love I was given. I had very little after an aunt took me away from them. I was shuttled from family to family. I never saw my baby sister again; She died with Diphtheria far away.

When I was about thirteen years old and very shy, I got to Troutdale. I knew that it wasnít far to Latourell Falls but didnít know how to get there. I stood by a store all day wishing, someone would talk to me and help me.

One time when I was a young mother with a baby boy, I went to the Pendleton Roundup knowing that there would be many Indians there, I hoped to find my grandmother. The Indians had their tepees set up and everyone could go inside to see their leatherwork and skins. I wondered if I might find my grandmother in one. I was looking for someone with light hair. A big Indian woman was in the fourth tepee. Her hair was white and there was no one else around so I walked slowly up to and asked, "Are you my grandmother Palmer?" I saw that she was sick. I said that I was sorry but my grandmother was taken by Indians long ago. Just then a big old Indian came in so I left. When I went back the next day, the tents were all gone. My! how I cried.

I am old now, eighty years, and have often wished I could have stayed with the Latourells. They were so kind to me after my mother was killed. Iíve loved Oregon and everything in it.

Mabel Alvira Palmer Sucker