Saturday, April 10, 2010

The “Rhoades” To Beaver Creek

Transportation in the early days of Lincoln County was difficult to say the least. There were places of dense shrubbery, marshlands, steep ravines, mud, and wide waterways to cross. Access to many areas was limited until the late 1930’s when the Roosevelt Highway (now Highway 101) was completed, which included bridges spanning the rivers and bays.

In order to get to Beaver Creek before then, one had to cross by boat to the south side of Yaquina Bay, and take a narrow dirt road (by foot or horseback) over a couple of hills to Ona. This road extended a couple miles further to Seal Rock. From there one could take the beach “highway” on to Alsea Bay, and cross by boat to Waldport.

Susie and Henry Rhoades were long-time residents of Beaver Creek (over 50 years). In an interview with Susie and her daughter, Aletha Wolkau, in 1975 when Susie was 92 years old, they describe how the family moved from their first home on Ollala Slough near Toledo to Beaver Creek in 1915. Henry Rhoades had built an inboard motor launch with a house on it. When getting ready to move, he lashed a scow to the side of the houseboat and packed all the household belongings into it.

As his daughter, Aletha, explained:
"...that’s the way we moved to Beaver Creek, coming down the river a little bit to Poole Slough, up Poole Slough, and evidently Daddy had made arrangements to where he could put his boathouse [there] before he came in here [to Beaver Creek]. He had made a trip or two down here to look at the ranch and when we moved down, that’s the way we moved. And it was at nighttime before we came up Poole Slough that night, and I never will forget that, because I was just a little kid in those days. And there was four of the children then--my two older brothers and my sister just younger than I. And my last brother and sister was born after we lived in here. Now my younger sister was born in the fall of 1915."
Susie Rhoades continues the story: "[We started out on] March the 2nd [1915], we left Ollala Slough...Henry stayed on the front end of the scow so we could see there was no logs to strike..."
Aletha added: “...and [brother] Floyd was on the boat stern, and was out there to help him, too.”
Susie again: “Yes, he did. Floyd had his little old pike pole, you know...Yes, that was a twisty little old place, I tell you. But we managed it. We got up there. Got in there on half-tide, so we could get the scow in the little tributaries run out into the main slough, you know.”
Aletha: “...we must have spent the rest of the night there...”
Susie: “We did...I fixed a bed down for you and Alpha and Beatrice.”
Aletha: “And one of Father’s brothers was here, wasn’t he? And he had a team there to meet us, and...started hauling the household stuff over to the house there.”
Interviewer: “And he came down this road that’s still there now?”
Aletha: “The Old Poole Slough Road, yeah. That comes up the hill, and then the feeder branch was there and it would come on down this way.”
Susie: “And this man that owned this place then--I think Uncle Bowery or Mr. Bowery [Bowers] he was called, and he told Henry, he said, ‘You take my barn.’ He had a barn to put his horses in, and had an interesting business, going to town, he used to get groceries and things [for people]. He took his hay over there and put it in the barn, you know, so the milk cows could get in and eat it, and the horses would have their feeding part.”
Aletha: “We stored our stuff in the barn.”
Susie: “Yes, we stored our stuff all in the barn. We just brought one load a week down. Those horses that Henry had offered to took us a whole week to move...”
Interviewer: “This barn, was it at the slough?”
Aletha: “It was on Poole Slough.”
Susie: “Yes, it was a small barn over there. Just big enough for his horses and it had sides on it and all, so you could shut it up, you know.”
Interviewer: When you moved to Beaver Creek, did you move right where you are today?”
Susie: “Well, we [moved] up there, in that little old house over there...”
Interviewer: “Where the orchard is up there on the hill there?”
Susie: “Yes, over there--up over across this side, we lived in that...We built our barn first...”
Interviewer: “And lived in the barn?”
Susie: “No, we didn’t. We lived in an old house that was there.”
Interviewer: “Oh, there was a house there already.”
Susie: “Yeah. It was an old house. The kitchen was a log house, and the front room that they built on was just bunkhouse, it was strip stuff, laths.”
Aletha: It was about 1919 when Dad built the house, and that was the house that burned over there, years later.”
Susie: “And then we got around to moving into the house, we had it pretty good. It was not an elaborate house, but we had plenty of room."
And it stood them in good stead for many years to come.

[Excerpted from Susie Rhoades Oral History, Lincoln County Historical Society Oral History Collection].

Posted by jackie.

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