These three Ohop Valleypioneers are taking a well deserved break for a photo. Picture left to right is Ole Olden, his wife Hannah Olden, and her brother John Larson.
Ole and Hannah celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1930, along with Mr. and Mrs. Herman Anderson and Mrs. and Mrs. DeWitt, also Ohop Valley residents. These couple were married in 1880 — the same year the first electric street light was installed.
This group of campers was making eating breakfast after a rugged night in the woods in 1989. The boys seemed to have the wood supply in hand. Life seems pretty tough already then, it’s hard to imagine the appeal of camping.
Linda Lewis says, “The lady in the far back left is my grandmother Alena(or e) Olden Peterson, wife of Pete; the woman just right and in front of her is my great aunt Anna Peterson(never married) sister of Pete.”
The following was taken from the History of Pierce County, Volume 3, published in 1927 by William Bonny.
Among the sterling old pioneers who contributed their full quota of clearing and developing this section of the state was one named Robert Fiander, a resident of this country since 1874.
Robert was born in Dorsetshire England, September 30, 1847, a son of Robert and Emma (Chaffey) Fiander. Both of whom died in their native land. (Robert Sr. was engaged in freighting.)
Robert Fiander received limited education in the public schools of his home neighborhood and then was employed in public work in England and Scotland until 1871 when he came to the United States.
For a short time he lived in New Jersey and Iowa and in 1872 came to Pierce County, Washington. Later he went to Thurston County for about two years lived with a brother Richard Fiander, who had come to Washington in 1851 with the Hudson Bay Company.
In 1874 Mr. Fiander filed a homestead claim on Section 14, township 16, range 3 at Swan Lake, Pierce County, being the first settler in that part of the county.
The land was covered with timber and brush and during the first years of his residence here, Mr. Fiander was compelled to pack in his provisions and supplies from a distance fourteen miles away. However, his larder was well supplied with meat, the county having an abundance of wild game and birds, as well as salmon.
There wer also dangerous wild animals, which made it necessary to be constantly on guard. Mr. Fiander had a number of thrilling and unpleasant experiences in those days. One of which was a hand to hand flight with a large cougar, which he did not conquer until after a long and severe struggle.
After entering his land, Mr. Fiander built a small log house and then began the task of clearing and draining the land, which entailed a vast amount of the hardest sort of work.
Eventually, he created a good farm and ran stock cattle on it until 1912, also devoing considerable attention to raising draft horses until the advent of the automboile. He then turned his attention to dairy farming, keeping about 18 cows, and met with success, except for about three years when he leased the farm.
He resided there continually until 1922, when he sold the place and lived in Eastern Washington for a few years. The he made his home with a duaghter in Eatonville Washignton until his death.
Mr. Fiander was twice married, first in 1871 to Jennie, and Indian girl. She died in 1880 and in 1884 Mr. Fiander was married to Catherine Dean, a native of Pierce County and a daughter of Aubrey and Rosie Dean.
Photos courtesy of Pat Van Eaton and Debbie and Gary Saint.
In 1889 a Norwegian named Henry Kjelstad settled in Ohop Valley. He married another Norwegian, Olava and this is a picture of their farm years later.
The farm moved through the generations:
• Olava and Henry’s son Matt and he and his wife Velma lived at the farm,
• They were followed by Matt and Velma’s daugther Caroline and her husband Steve Burwash. Steve still lives at the homestead today and farms.
People started homesteading in Eatonville in the late 1800s, the first church wouldn’t be built for years. So where did people congregate on Sundays? The local hotel.
The first “public” religious services were held in 1892 at the Groe Hotel. [Owner Frank Groe was described as “a fat little man whose jokes and laugher lightened the wilderness,” making him in my opinion an ideal candidate to host church services.]
Services were later moved to the log schoolhouse. And when the Van Eaton Hall went up in 1895, services moved there. (Timber Town and Later)
This picture, courtesy of Pat Van Eaton, shows the Groe Hotel, along with Mrs. and Mrs. Frank Groe seated out front.
Girlfriends haven’t changed much over the years. This is Anna Peterson (Torger Peterson’sdaughter) and Laura King. They probably had quite a bit in common — they were both from pioneer families, both grew up in a remote area and both probably went to the same school with the same (albeit limited number of) young men to have a crushes on.
Axel Henry and Mathilda (Anderson) Hedborg were early homesteaders in Alder — you could say they blazed the trail. (They were members of the Pioneer Association of 1928. To be on this roster you had come to the area before 1903.)
In 1889, Henry bought 160 acres about 3 miles outside Alder. He had to clear the land to make space to build a log cabin. His farm prospered and in 1923 he purchased another 160 acres and Hedborg’s farm was considered one best around.
They had 4 children — Curtis, Helen, Sadie and Ida. You may see Ida’s name come up again. She taught school in Eatonville for a number of years.
The Elbe Union paper reported the following regarding School District #74
For the month ending June 12, 1896
Enrolled – 9
Days taught – 20
Days absent – .5 day
Tardiness – 0
Percent in attendance – 99.70%
Those neither absent nor tardy during the month were:
Janet Judson, teacher
Images courtesy of Pat Van Eaton, Gary and Debbie Saint, and information contained in The History of Tacoma area.