Thursday, March 28, 2013

Telephones in Corbett

Elizabeth Benn was born in South Dakota and married Roland Morgan in Idaho. Together they had four children and moved to the Corbett area in the late teens of the 1900's. All of the children attended the Corbett schools, the youngest graduating high school in 1936. Elizabeth (known as "Mrs. Morgan" to most) spent 20 years as the telephone operator for the Columbia Telephone Company in Corbett until her retirement in 1957. Mrs. Morgan was the lone switchboard operator and "central" to a system that served 300 people. There were a profound number of duties involved at the little telephone office located next to Settlemier's grocery store, now known as the Corbett Market. The wires set up to carry messages back and forth were known as "party lines" with folks having to "share" the lines. There was a momentous change in Corbett in February 1957 when the Columbia Telephone Company replaced the old system with a dial system. Mrs. Morgan was happily able to retire. It was in July 1945 that Vern Lucas died and Raymond and Wilma Smith took over the operation of the Columbia Telephone Company. They later purchased the company from Laura Lucas. Raymond experimented with several different types of overhead lines, due to the severe east wind causing problems. Eventually underground cable was used. Using a government sponsored program, Leroy hired Basil Lampert in 1957 so that he could help manage the increasing growth of the business while Raymond logged and created the revenue to continue keeping the telephone company afloat financially. Basil spent 17 years with the phone company. In 1972, Columbia Telephone merged with Cascade Utilities, Inc. During the time Leroy and Wilma oversaw the telephone company, the number of customers rose from 138 to over 1,100. This information was found in "Living East of the Sandy, Volume 1" by Clarence Mershon.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Clarence Mershon- HOW it all started in Corbett

Having been raised in the Corbett community, Clarence Mershon has always chosen to be active in the Pioneer Association, as was his mother. In the mid 1970's local resident Bea Graff asked Clarence to piece together and write his mother's family history. Clarence decided to tackle the project! James "Curly" Wilson and Myra Isabella Miller met in CA when the Miller family was visiting relatives. Curly and Myra married in 1893 in CA. and together they had three daughters and a son before moving to the Miller homestead in Corbett in 1899. (The Miller family had come to Oregon from CA in 1881, purchasing 180 acres at the end of Mannthey Road.) Curly and Myra went on to have seven more children, and eventually purchased 80 acres of their own just north of the Miller homestead on Loudon Road. Curly worked as a farmer, at the Palmer Mill, and even worked on the construction of the Scenic Highway. Laura was the oldest of their eleven children, and she attended school locally until it was time for high school. It was then she went into Portland and did housework and cared for children within a family in exchange for room and board. The family offered to help assist her in getting a teaching position, but she said she was "too shy." After graduating, she worked as a housekeeper for the Chamberlain family before marrying George "Jum" Mershon on December 15, 1915. Jum and Laura went on to have five children, with Clarence being the fourth child, born in 1931. Clarence had a happy childhood as he grew up in Corbett, graduating in 1949 from what was then called Columbian High School. Two teachers stand out in Clarence's mind as being strong mentors and life shapers for him as he grew- Mrs. Ruth McCollough Sommerville and Mrs. Eleanor Baer. Miss McCollough encouraged him to read well over 100 books in his 4th grade year of school! Mrs. Baer was his English teacher in 7th/8th grade who taught him writing skills that he has used all through his adult years. Walter Vockert was a best friend that he spent many, many hours with. Clarence said it was Walter's family that made the biggest impression on him to get a college degree. Before finishing high school, Clarence and friend Jim Rhodes joined the Oregon Air National Guard and was later called to duty in 1951. Clarence had married his high school sweetheart, Colleen Innes April 28, 1950. In 1952 Clarence was able to begin college with the GI bill at the Univ. of Portland. With a math major, Clarence was able to graduate in 1959 from Portland State University. In 1963 he graduated from the Univ. of Oregon with a master's degree in Education. A math fellowhip of one year in Colorado followed his graduation. Along the way Clarence and Colleen went on to have three sons and a daughter. Mike, Elise, Christopher and Perry. Education was always important, and this played out as Clarence became a school teacher, principal and later an administrative assistant in the Park Rose School District. Today Clarence and Colleen still live in the home they purchased in November 1959 and are able to enjoy six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Recently diagnosed with cancer, Clarence is working diligently to finish the third volume of "Living East of the Sandy River." Clarence says he never intended to become a published author, as his first love is math! But, he was raised and raised his own four children to become "contributors" to community and society in general. Clarence and Colleen have established the "Clarence and Colleen Mershon Family Fund" with the Oregon Community Foundation, primarily to give a scholarship to a graduating Corbett High School Senior each year. Writing nearly a dozen books, Clarence has given Corbett residents as well as others the GIFT of preserving our precious history, which he is definitely a beloved part of.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hurlburt School

In the early 1940's, Ernest Aschoff purchased the Hurlburt Schoolhouse, and remodeled it into a home with the help of his brother-in-law, Harry Bramhall. Earnest's wife died in 1943 at the age of 81. He continued to live at the Hurlburt location until he suffered a stroke in the early 1950's. He died in 1954 at age 78. Upon graduating from high school, Ernest and Ellen's son, Otto Ashoff married a classmate, but the marriage was short lived. He remarried and had one daughter. Otto Ashoff died in the early 90's. The Mackaness family purchased the Ashoff property, which included the remodeled "new" Hurlburt Grade School. The Mackaness family eventually sold and moved to another location in Corbett. The "school" continues to be a residence for the current owners. These facts and more are found in Living East of the Sandy, Volume 2 by Clarence Mershon.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Louden Loudon or Lowden Road???

As most Corbett folks know, the roads around here are named after families that settled here many years ago. Many of those families are still living here, many generations later. Some are not. I have lived on Loudon Road for 16 years, and the road signage has actually changed in spelling since we arrived. According to Clarence Mershon's book Living East of the Sandy, Volume 2, page 475 reads as follows: "Thomas Loudon's (for whom the road is named after) parents are buried in Josephine County, Oregon. Various members of the family changed the spelling of the name (originally Louden) to Lowden, Lowdon or Loudon. Thomas H. changed the spelling of his surname to Loudon." In 1884 Tom and his wife Cynthia filed on a parcel and built a home. Tom's income was $1.00 per 10 hour day, working for nearby farmers. Together they raised eight children, none of whom are currently living in the area. Tom died at age 59, and is buried locally in the Mountain View Cemetery off of Smith and Evans Road.

Monday, March 4, 2013

INSPIRATION from Mr. Clarence Mershon

When my husband Barry and I moved to Corbett sixteen years ago with our two sons, I found myself to be quite fascinated with the place! Having moved fourteen times all over the U.S., I had never previously lived in a rural location. First of all, WHERE the heck were our neighbors?! I could only see one home from anywhere inside or outside of our home. And then there was the pasture...we had no CLUE who/what to put out there....and even less of a clue as to how to care for anything other than a cat or dog! I can laugh now, but back then I had to LEARN what a septic tank was all about as well as heating our home with a wood stove! And by the way, the first night I went running and Barry said to be sure and get back before dark, I quickly understood WHY. Not only are there no sidewalks, but there is not a single light post to be found. When night time rolls in, it is DARK out here!! Soon after moving in, I was able to come across some of Clarence Mershon's books about the history of Corbett. Fascinating!! Recently diagnosed with cancer, Clarence said he is happy to have me share excerpts from his many Corbett history books with you. I am going to switch up my blog and focus on some of the historical fun FACTS about this wonderful place that so many of us get to call home. NEVER did I even dream of becoming a Realtor, but six years ago I began learning about many, many homes in Corbett, and I will be blogging about those as well. I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO excited to start this "new chapter" of my blog. Check back soon, and often. HERE WE GO!! :)