Fern Ridge Review
Sweet Lorane Community News
December 10, 2020
By Pat Edwards
I am struggling to come up with a column this week. Life amidst the pandemic stay-at-home protocols is pretty mundane and there’s not a lot to talk about, I’m afraid. Jim and I continue to make town runs each week to pick up groceries for the store. We used to have lunch in town in restaurants where we felt safe and socially distanced when we could, but eating in the car is not a lot of fun and the food not nearly as varied or good.
This week, I decided to search my local history files and see if I could come up with something interesting that occurred this time of year that my readers would enjoy. One of my favorite pieces of research for our From Sawdust and Cider book, about the history of Lorane, Oregon, popped up in my search. It includes two letters that were written in 1883 by Jerusha Petrie to her son, Chan (Channing), who lived in Wisconsin. Jerusha and her husband Jost had moved from Wisconsin to settle on a 1,200 acre ranch south of Lorane the year before. I’m including the letters as written—misspellings and all.
“Cartwright Lane Co. Oregon December 23th 1883″ (from Jerusha Petrie) “My dear Son and deaughter
“I have received two letters from you since I wrote you. Pa wrote you about a month ago so I thought I wait awhile before writing to you. We are all well and it is almost Christmas again. Time often rools around fast. Ellen and her children came and spent Thanksgiving with us. They came on Wedensday eavening got here at five Oclock. They came with the four horse team and the big Wagon. Watkin looked grand sitting up on the high seet driving his four horse team. They staid till Sunday. We all had a good time together and nice weather. We all thought it would have been better if Chan, Mary and Winnie had been with us. Harley went home with them to go to school. He is boarding with Ellen and going to school to Eugene him and Watkin. They go to the public school, he was home a week ago to day. Him and Watkin came with some more Cows to paster. They staid over night and went back the next day. They like the school very much. One of the cows they brought is giving milk so we have two cows to milk now. They give a nice quantity of milk. I am making more butter now than I have at any time this season. The Syuslaw people are going to have a Christmas tree at the school house two miles from here. The Syuslaw Cornett band are going to make their first exhibition in public. They are going to play Christmas eave at the school house. Well Mary we are so land poor we cant aford to by carpets. I hope to get enough by spring to make one. I have commenced a rug. I am doing pretty well withe it for the first one I am drawing it on sacking.
“Flees are the worst pests we have here in Oregon. They have them all a long this cost in the Summer. They wer very bad here on this place last summer. Mr. Kennedy had so meny hogs on the plac. Pa is cleaning up all around to get rid of them as much as we can but they will trouble more or less in warm weather. I suppose Pa wrote you abut the new Cornett band started here in the Syuslaw Valley. Irving is getting along with his finely. Have you made up your minds As come to Oregon. You see I am anxious to know for misery likes copany. I hope to heare from you soon from your loving Mother. J.F. Petrie
“December 30the.” As I did not get my letter mailed last week I will write you some more. This week it stormed so last Monday on Christmas day no one would go for the mail. We have had a big rain the last week. It rained so on Christmas night. The Cornet band had to stay all night to the School house and wade through the water in the morning home. Irving was wet to his middle and had to strip himself and put on dry cloths. The streams have been full and runing over so the Salmon have come up into the small streams to spawn and the folks have been Salmon hunting last week. Irving has caught 20 Salmon. He went three days came home weet all over every time, and haved to stripe for dry cloths. I have not seen Harley nor heard from hime for two weeks. Pa and I staid at home for our Christmas. We had a pretty good time. He was reading and I was working on my rug. None of us get preasents. We are so poor we could not aford it and another thing we could not go any where to get anything. We live so far from market. That is the most I dislike this place for it is so far from market. Chan, Pa wanted me to tell you if you would send him the Interocean. He would send you a paper regular that is if you take it. Chan I wish I knew how you and Mary would like it here but that cant be told until you see it for your selves. To tell you the honest truth, I like the looks of Wisconsin the best. One thing is I lived there long. As I have told you Wisconsin did not look good to me when I first saw it. Folks can get use to amost any place. We do not have such feareful stormes here as they do in the eastren stats. We have read of a good meny since we left there. We have not had any very cold weather yet. Nothing more then fall frost. It has snowed some but melts right away. Well how do you all feel since Christmas Eve. All well and harty. Write soon for I am anxious to heare from you. This paper is some of your brother Josts. Kiss Winnie for grandema. I want to see her. Tell us all about what Carp done in and thinks of this country if you know. 26̊ above zero today Dec 31st. From your Mother”
Thank you to the Petrie family who shared 14 letters written to Chan by Jost and Jerusha with us. They include a wealth of information on the Lorane area at the end of the 19th century.