Pioneer life in the Benton Co. WA area
Two Pioneers Take Trip/Mind Goes Back 73 Years
By BURTON 0. LUM
Tri-City Herald, Sunday, 6 May 1962
Where vistas both far and high
Challenge the vision of the eye
Mountain peaks of snowy white
Lakes and rivers all in sight.
“Horse Heaven Hills” is incorrect.
A better name is should select.
Like “Heavenly Hills” or “Angel’s View.”
These, at least, would be more true.
The afternoon of April 25, 1962, Alfred C. Amon called and took me to Amon’s Wells in the Horse Heaven Hills. It was one of this spring’s most beautiful days.
Mr. Amon was a thorough guide, having spent in the past over eighteen years of his life developing this property. It is a show place indeed. The wheat fields are like green lawns carpeting the unfenced rolling hills. To me, a miracle had been wrought.
My thoughts went back 73 years when I first saw father’s homestead at this very spot. The three-month school in Kennewick had run its course. The family now for five future years must live over half of each year upon this claim and make all improvements required by law before the deed to the homestead would be granted. A house and barn and fences must be built and a well dug. Father was lucky he struck a spring that furnished more water than any spring from Wallula to Prosser.
The Horse Heaven Pioneers hauled wagon tanks of water from its ever flowing source. Father held that water was the free gift of God and never charged for its supply. Father planted ample trees around the spring. Then it was known as Maple Springs. This wonderful supply of water added greatly to the value of the claim. Father took no chances that the claim would jumped and did more than the law required to protect his interests. He made final proof at the land office in Walla Walla and received his homestead patent to the claim.
In 1900, Father was appointed deputy sheriff of Yakima County and our entire family moved to North Yakima with the exception of my older brother Charley, who had taken up the adjoining 160 acres as a homestead and was proving up on it. Mr. Amon bought Father’s homestead and a relinquishment from brother Charley.
The people of the Tri-City region should take a tour of this interesting country. The roads are quite good. You will be thrilled by the views that you will see. Learn the contour of the terrain. Learn the names of the hills and mountains from “Jump-Off Joe” to “Snipes” and “Rattlesnake.” Do you know that a 500-acre fruit orchard plants a hundred acres more each year? That it has plans for future processing plants?Can’t you give the fishing pole a rest?
Why not take the family for a quest?
Can’t you turn the television off?
Must you always play your game of golf?
Your family, pop and mom, are growing fast
Enjoy their pleasures while it lasts
Soon from your hearth side they will flee
And your dad and mother all alone will be.
Count your blessing now each day
And maybe a grandchild will come to play.
Your life’s interest will renew
With every childish thing they do.
Yes, Dear Lord, to us the children give
That faith and trust will forever live.
Truth and purity will always abound
Wherever youth and innocence is found.
Return to Index of Burton Lum Articles