Benton County Pioneer Life

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Pioneer life in the Benton Co. WA area

Family Homesteaded Here In 1884

Tri-City Pioneer
Starting Series on The Early Days
Sunday, 30 July 1960

It was back in 1884 that the Lum family arrived in what is now Kennewick to homestead- a "spread" ranging two miles along the Columbia River to the mouth of the Yakima River. On this the family built corrals and began rounding up and breaking wild horses which they sold to large eastern cities for horse-drawn streetcars.

The menfolk in the Lum family - the father and four sons were "buckeroos." And one of them was Burton 0. Lum who is going to write about some of the early, early times in the Tri-Cities, when there was no Kennewick or Richland (neither had been platted) and when Pasco was being settled.

Burton Lum was born in Camanche, Clinton County, Iowa. He declines to say how old he was in 1884 when the family arrived but he does confess to being on the "plus - side of 80." A hint as to how far on the "plus - side" is given by the fact Mr. Lum graduated from the University of Washington in 1905. Two things decided him to down to college, he reports. One was the electrification of horse-drawn street cars which ruined the wild horse market. The other was the hard work and constant danger of injury from being a bronc-buster. When the Lum family arrived, and for many years afterwards, Benton County was merely an extension of Yakima County. The senior Lum moved to "North Yakima"-now the main city of Yakima - in 1898 to become sheriff. However, his eldest son, Charles E. Lum Jr., remained in the Tri-City area to continue wrangling horses and farming. Charles Lum is in his 90th year and is in a rest home in Kennewick, having lived in the Kennewick area for more than 76 years.

Says Mr. Lum: "I attended my first public school in Kennewick. The school term was for a period of three months each year - December, January and February. At the end of nine years I had received 27 months of school. "I was graduated from the Yakima High School. I worked my way through the University of Washington by selling books during vacation in Yakima, Franklin and Adams counties. I canvassed the villages of Toppenish, Sunnyside, Prosser, Kennewick, Pasco. Ritzville and Lind. Also the farms adjacent to each. I rode a bicycle. There were no improved highways, just dirt wagon trails. I graduated from the University of Washington on June 22, 1905 and was with the Seattle City Water department for some years making the original water maps after Ballard, Fremont, Latona, South Park and Georgetown came into the city.

"Many years ago I took leave from the Seattle Water department to come to Yakima and lay out the canals on the Yakima Indian reservation for irrigating the area now known as Harrah. "I was married to a Yakima girl, Pansy Mary McKee on Jan 12, 1911. We have a son Joseph Burton Lum who now resides in Ephrata. My wife died the last day of December, 1958, just 12 days before we would have celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary."

The first article which Mr. Lum has prepared on the early days in the Tri-City area appears today. The Tri-City Herald shall carry one of his articles each Sunday.

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