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Remembering Glenwood’s lumbering days!

The following letter was written by F. J. Raffelson to Arliss Sherin Cady in regards to her column that appeared in the Tribune at that time. The letter dated November 16, 1966:

Arliss Sherin Cady,

Dear friend:

Last week I received a clipping from the Glenwood City Tribune, entitled “Now and Then.” As I am the man referred to as of about 80, give or take a few years (78.5 to be exact). I have an urge to write you a letter and share with you a kindred love for Glenwood. As your grandfather and my father, Peter (Pete) Raffelson were long time friends and co-workers in the Glenwood lumbering-milling days, perhaps I can tell something of the life first-hand, you had by hear-say.

With those two men it was a sort of Peter-Paul combination. My father worked to Paul’s superintendency and they had a fine working spirit. In my thinking Paul was an important man, as also his son Herman. I admired Herman, he was a fine person, and I still remember his sly smile, and quite sense of humor.

To begin my story with Paul and Peter and my brother Louis.  This Glenwood Tribune clipping of October 30, 1902. “Paul Salscheider, Peter Raffelson, and Louie left Monday for Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho where Mr. Salscheider will superintend the saw and planning mill for Stein Lbr. Co.” My mother and family arrived in November 1903. I was acquainted with C. H. Stein and others who made up the group from Glenwood. Fred Gleed, Wm. Proctor, Mr. Schultus and others, I cannot recall the names.

At completion, Pete and Louie stayed on to operate the mills, later going to Everett, Washington. We often talked of Paul and Herman, did not hear, ever, what their plans or environment led them into. It was great venture and I am happy to have been a part of it, even as a teenager, my true love is Glenwood (the word ‘City’ is foreign to me). I am living, in remembrance of things past.

We arrived there about 1894, to a wooded glen, and thru all the years since, I hold a fond memory of the mills, the mill pond, Tiffany Creek and its swimming hole, the oxen that pulled the loaded car of logs, the oxen out to pasture below the D. H. Syme farm, where we picked plums and choke cherries and were even in fear of the oxen grazing not too far away.

The dam spill-way gave us small fish, now and again, then Old Betsey and Camp 9 and 14, numbers I recall tho’ I did not go there, perhaps I was too young. Taking lunch to my dad in summer vacation was not a chore. I was able to see such men as Gust Carlson, Louie Larson and a man who stoked the boilers (can still see him wipe the perspiration from his brow) and cared for the engine, and other men piling lumber in the yard where I brought them “oat-meal” water to drink on many hot summer days. They were certain clear water was detrimental when the heat was terrific.

In the town the “Company” houses, that row of Maple Street directly above the depot, (the Proctors, Rabenstorf’s lived in two of them in my time) were a part of the lumbering project. My father built a good house further up the same street, however the four large homes as I understood it, were the “great” homes of Salscheider, Van der Heiden, Cleveland and H. H. Dean, (the lawyer, only man in town, owner of horse and buggy) we sort of envied him.

Well do remember a political rally, a torch light parade to the Van der Heiden house one evening. We kids tagged along, we were told we would be given ice cream and cake.

My visit to Glenwood was truly a sentimental journey, and I was most happy to see again the living room of the Salscheider home. It was as I remembered it as a boy. I remember Ida as a young lady and had hopes of seeing her. Had planned to spend time at the old Glenwood Hotel, found it vacant and closed. I determined I would not be discouraged by change or circumstance. I came to see things as they are, not as they may be. My old home on Maple Street is in need of repair, isolated in spirit from the life that once prevailed, still proud however exposed, as were the other “Great” houses. I did not feel our home was great, but humble, and full of memories. The present tenant kindly asked me in to see the rooms I once knew as “home.” And the joy of once again sitting in my mother’s kitchen was most gratifying. The rooms as in my mother’s day (now gone these 30 years) are as immaculate, and my mother was a good “cooker” and housekeeper.

I roamed the hills toward Glovers Peak where Swen Carlson and I herded the town’s cows. I found the cemetery where a small brother lies interred, and many were the graves of those I knew in life, in those dear dead days that are not more.

I can talk and elaborate on end, the praises of one little Wisconsin “hamlet” and I am most happy to hear of one who shares my enthusiasm. In the summing up, the question arises. Is it the better way to be born, live and die, in one small secluded town, or shall one go out into the world, make new friends, new contacts, turn one’s back on the memories of youth?

I am intrigued with the fact, on a journey to one’s hometown; one comes away with no material thing of value, only memories! I am reminded of the lines of Wordsworth, “thanks to the human heart by which we live, the meanest flower that blows can give thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.” However may I add my thought is, if you have gained a bit of knowledge of your grandfather’s day in Glenwood, this note is not written in vain.

Sincerely your friend,
Fred J. Raffelson, Salem, Oregon


A Saturday night to remember, Paul and Peter, Mr. Boardman, M. Y. Cliff, Louie Larson, Gust Carlson and others, gathered around the pot bellied stove on a cold winter night in M. Y. Cliff’s hardware store, discussing politics and what not.