Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Family History Story from the Coulee City Area

Excerpt from "Memoirs of Mary E. Higginbotham McCann"

From "The Gold Historian."

March/April 1984

"...The old stagecoach road across the state out of Spokane and west, was the Sunset Highway, which went northwest from Wilbur and followed the coulee to Coulee City. Pioneers traveled this road to Waterville. A branch of the Northern Pacific was built in Central Washington in the winter of 1889 and 1890 and towns were then started.

"Hartline was named for Johnnie Hartline, who owned land there; Almira was originally called 'Davicine' for a family named Davis, who were the first merchants. It was later named for Mrs. Davis--Almira. Coulee City was called Coulee Crossing, the only place in 50 mile where the coulee could be crossed. It was also called MacEntee, for the first stockman who owned a lot of cattle and lived east of town.

"When the railroad came and the town name was voted on there were three names: MacEntee, Three Springs and Coulee City. Frank McCann and my uncle graded Main Street in Coulee City. The first time I was in Coulee City was 1889. My sister and I walked 3 miles to the home of John Henry Smith and stayed all night, going with then to Coulee City for the 4th of July celebration. All of Chief Moses' tribe of Indians were there and a barbeque was held in the grove east of town near MacEntee. There was even a dance pavilion. Indians were quite a sight, as there had been an Indian scare the year before. Moses' Tribe was on the warpath, but Moses quieted them because he wanted peace. The whites got Moses and his two wives to sit upon a platform, where they were given ice cream. Chief Moses was a handsome man in his full buckskin suit trimmed in fringe and beads.

"There was also horse racing and lots of dust from the horses' hooves. The land was all cattle and horse country back then. We got back to the Smith's that night and walked home the next day, arriving by noon. It was a Fourth of July never to be forgotten by me, and 11 year old.

"After the towns sprang up, there were 500 people here and two railroad companies building roads. (Their marks can still be seen today out west of town.) They were close enough to throw dirt in each other's way. Finally each company decided not to build to Bridgeport and most of the population left and this became the end of the Central Washington branch of the Northern Pacific. Coulee City was a thriving town, with three stages leaving from there daily..."

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