(b. December, 1888  d. August, 1964)


I WAS BORN BYRD J. CLARK Dec. 27- l888 at Hartland Wash. the son of David K. and Rowena E. Clark. There were four girls and four boys in the family. There are just two of us left now, Mrs. Edith Sorenson and myself of Lyle. My folks really done pioneering here. My folks moved here from Portland where they had one hundred and sixty acres where East Portland now is. If we only had that now.

They had Hartland Post Office for years, at that time the mail was brought from The Dalles horse back and if there was enough mail they would use a pack horse and would bring the mail three times a week to begin with but soon increased it to daily mail and by the time I came along they had a road straight across the mountain to The Dalles, a distance of about twelve miles. They had a steam wood-burning ferry boat across the river at that time. I Hauled my first wheat to The Dalles with a four horse team and a wagon.

Most of the wheat was hauled to Lyle and shipped by wood-burning steam boats to Portland. We had some pretty narrow and steep grades over the mountain to The Dalles, and in the early days most of the shopping was done in The Dalles, and, of course, if they wanted anything strong to drink they went to The Dalles to get it as there was always plenty of saloons there. This story was told to me and I believe it, as in later years I knew the parties. I was too young at that time, one of the men had a real foxey driving team, and they had been to The Dalles for a supply of whiskey, there were four or five men in the hack, and coming back they got pretty happy and at the top they started down the mountain with its long steep grade and the horses got to running and this one fellow looked down that terrible grade and got pretty badly scared, and he says to the man that was driving, "Sam, don't you think those horses are running away?" Sam said, "I don't know, we'll see". He grabbed the whip and whipped them into a dead run, down over that road that would have scared anybody nearly to death. Pretty soon, he said, "Yep, they are running away, because they can't run any faster!" When I started to haul wheat to Lyle, my older brother, Erta, would go ahead with a four horse team and wagon loaded with wheat and I would come behind with two good old gentle horses, and going down the steep old grades I would put on just all the brake I could and then I would have to make the horses hold back the rest of the load. I could drive horses when I was six or seven years old. I sure hauled wheat to Lyle a good may years with horses, up until trucks finally took over the job. There used to be thousands of bushels of wheat come off of High Prairie.

They used to take me out in the field or I begged them to let me get in the field with a team to work the ground when I was so young they would send my older sister out to watch me to see that I didn't get in trouble with the horses.

In the school days, we had a one room school and the teacher roomed and boarded with whoever would keep her or him for from ten to twenty five dollars a month, and go to school and do all the janitor work, teach school all day to from twenty five to fifty children (kids in them days) all eight grades, and have time for programs and take part in all Community affairs. Kids and teachers alike walked to school if it wasn't too far, and if it was too far, they rode horseback sometimes for rniles through the rain, mud, and through deep snow with wind blowing regular gales. Pardon a persond story, but this is a true story. When I was a small boy I nearly always drove the team when my mother and sisters wanted to go anyplace. We had what they called a democrat wagon, a light wagon on which you could put two or three seats and haul several persons when you wanted to take passengers.

One day, we started out and me driving and my mother in the seat beside me to hold me in line, and two of three of my sisters in the back seat and the horses got to going too slow to suit me so I raised up with the whip gave them a whipping, and they jumped ahead suddenly and throwed my sisters seat and all over the back end of the wagon on the ground,

Byrd and Kamma Clark Residence

and then we went on down the road leaving them laying there in the middle of the road and my mother nor I knowing that we had lost them. After a awhile we discovered we had lost them, and we turned around and drove back up the road, and as luck would have it, they weren't seriously hurt and were coming down the road a foot, but oh boy oh boy were they mad at their little brother for dumping them out on the road, and then add insult to injury by going off and leaving them there in the middle of the road. My father used to be sick a lot, and he liked to go down to Wahkiacus (I think some spell it differently now but that is the way we spelled it Wahkiacus) and take baths in the warm mineral springs there the way nature left the springs.

Sometimes he would lead the family in a large wagon and take all of us down over the hill, and then it would be quite a thrill to ford the river there at Wahkiacus. Sometimes the water would come up into the wagon bed, and that was the way we got across the Klickitat River for his bath. There was not bridges across the river at that time except here at Lyle, just above the present bridge, but a little later there was a bridge built at Fisher Hill where it is no. There was not railroad at that time.

I remember when a small boy soon after the Stearns brothers, Rolley and Al moved on out to that land across the river from where the town of Klickitat now stands. They cleared the land for farming and pumped water out of the river and built them nice houses there. They had to come up over that hill on horseback to my folks place to to the Hartland Post Office to get their mail and I know they didn't get no daily mail at that time. Sometimes once a week and sometimes once a month. There was not Neals Lumber Co. in there at that time and the only way you could get in there at that time was an old wagon road from the top of the hill near the Appleton country. It just doesn't seem possible to me when I go down there now and see what the Neals have done and see the town of Klickitat, see their logging railroads, their log loading places and Camp Draper and well I haven't seen half of it. Well, I just don't know what?

Klickitat was where the Wright family lived in early days. My grandfather, Jason Clark, had the first store

in the original town of Lyle over on the South side of the tracks close to the present site of the old sheep sheds standing in the old part of town. I remember when the railroad as built from Lyle to Goldendale and the track ran down to the river just east of Lyle, and the Company put in a big floating dock. The track ran dovn nearly to where the tunnel is now east of town. All freight for Goldendale and way points was unloaded from the boat on to the dock and from there onto the cars, and passengers from the boats into a passenger coach and onto to go to Goldendale and way points to Portland including wheat in sacks and livestock of all kinds, as there was neither railroads or highways on this side of the Columbia river and, of course no flying machines.

There was a railroad on the Oregon side, but no road. I remember I loaded a wagon load of fat hogs at High Prairie and brought them to Lyle at 7:30 A.M. to ship them to North Portland by boat for market. They run the gang plank from the boat to the back end of the wagon, with gates on the sides so they could run the hogs up onto the boat, there was no boat dock at that time, and we let the hogs out of the wagon, and it was up to the deck hands to get the hogs onto the boat. They got them started but they didn't want to go for a boatride and they knocked the panels down and about ten or twelve of the hogs went into the river, and went swimming on down the river while part of them got back on the ground, but about eight or ten hogs went swimming on down the river towards Portland. The Captain of the boat ordered the deck hands to launch two or three of the life boats from the big boat. The life boats were just row boats and he ordered two or three deck hands into each boat to go after those hogs swimming down the river and pick them up in the little boats, while the rest of the deck hands gathered up the hogs that were running loose and get them to the landing, and get them aboard the boat. Fat hogs cantt swim very long until they give out and drown. Needless to say those men in those row boats didn't go out in the river and pick up two to three hundred pound hogs by hand out of the river and put them in the row boats and haul them in with themselves, but they did manage to get them herded up on the bank where it ran down to the river about a quarter of a mile below Lyle, and when the big boat these loaded here and we got down that far with the big boat they managed to get them loaded on the boat by all hands helping, but there was sure lots of squealing going on and youcan imagine what the deck hands said. The boat company paid me for two or three hogs we never did find, and they evidently did drown. The boat was sure late getting away from Lyle that morning also late getting into Portland that evening.

Yours truly,

Byrd Clark