The Odessa Record -

Soldiers' letters, sixth-graders tour archaeological site; store break-ins

Series: This Week In Odessa History | Story 1

November 15, 2018

100 years ago

The Odessa Record November 15, 1918

Soldier’s Letters. France, October 15, 1918. Dear Parents:

Just a few lines to let you know that am well at present and hope these lines will find you all the same.

It is pretty hard for me to believe that I am so far away from home, but it sure is true.

Well, we have moved again and probably you can imagine where we could be. This place is not fixed up like the one was we came from, but one good thing they have a good Y.M.C.A. here, with piano. Moving picture shows every evening and also have all the books we want to read etc., “ Ys” are sure a great help to us boys over here and the money that you folks gave at home sure went for a good cause.

If it wasn’t for the Y.M.C.A. I don’t know what we boys would do over here.

Well, we boys are all ready to do our duty – and guess you will soon hear of us at home. Have seen some of the boys that left Camp Lewis when I left home. But none that I knew, but might see some of them (Hoefel, Kuest, Unger, etc.).

Well, don’t know how this Peace came out yet but guess we will have to fight to a finish. And we will sure, make it in a hurry.

You folks don’t want to worry about your son over here for God is with him all the time. For I am sure glad that I have gotten to believe in him.

Well, there is not much news here, so must close. God bless you all and hope that you will see me soon. Best regards to everyone at home.

I am your loving son,

Gustav A. Weber

78th F.A Band.

At sea, September 17, 1918. Folks: Well, here I am on the ship—. On my way to Siberia, this is our fourteenth day at sea and am feeling fine at present, expect that we will be there in about seven days from now, things have been real good on board ship we may stop at Japan for a few days hope so and anyway I think that we are going to a very good place and also think that our quarters will be the best that they can get in the country. Expect that the war will be over in a very short time from now at least we all hope so, then we will all be able to go back home again, the weather has been real good and hope that this will find you all the same and give my sister and family my best regards and also the rest of the folks that ask you where I am at.

I will be able to write more next time as we do not know where we will be able to mail this from, so will close for this time hoping that you will receive this note all right, I am your loving son as ever.

Pvt Jacob Witt.

62 Inf. Repl. Troops.

San Francisco Cal.

Depot Quartermaster

A. E. F. Siberia .

Conrad Schafer. Conrad Schafer, one of the old settlers of the Odessa country, died at his home in Odessa Sunday morning of pneumonia following an attack of influenza after an illness of eight days. He was 46 years, 11 months and 22 days old. He was born in Russia and with his wife emigrated to America in 1891. He came to Washington 18 years ago and settled on a homestead southwest of town where he resided continuously until a few weeks ago when he moved to town.

He was a man of sterling character and thrifty habits, so active member in the Emmaus Congregational church, a devoted husband, a kind father and a good neighbor and his sudden death was a decided shock to his many friends in the community. He leaves a wife and five children.

War work drive lacks steam. The United War Work drive which is now on, began under most favorable circumstances, practically $700 being subscribed at the two local banks the first day, but after that there was a decided lull in volunteer work and money has been coming in much slower, and to date only 1550 has been collected by the Odessa committee.

This does not include Lamona subscriptions. Lamona is a part of the Odessa district, but the subscriptions are kept separate in order that each town may receive its full share of credit. The Lamonaites, under the direction of County Commissioner G.N. Lowe, went into the drive determined to do up the work in a hurry and so well did they do their share that their quota of $200 has already been oversubscribed $42. Irby is also in this district but at this writing the Record is unable to get the total of her subscriptions. Her quota is $100.

So far most of the subscriptions have been of a voluntary nature, but at a meeting of the local drive committee Wednesday night, it was decided that unless money came in faster it would be advisable to get out and do active soliciting among practically half of the people who have not yet responded to the call volunteering and in all probability automobiles will be sent to the country to round up tomorrow. It is the desire of the committee to have the quota oversubscribed from 25 to 50 percent and every effort will be made to see that it is done.

Probably the strongest argument that this quota should be met in full is presented in a letter from Gust Weber written while in the front line trenches before peace was made. It is reproduced in this issue of the Record and will make some mighty good reading for any doubters on this question. Let every one of our readers that has not subscribed to this fund which is for the soldier’s happiness while he is serving our country; read that letter and he will not be long in deciding what is his duty. The amount asked of this vicinity is only a small one if everyone does his full share in the good work. Let all them do their part and Odessa will go over the top even with the 50 percent in crease that has be asked, since the original quota was apportioned.

75 years ago

The Odessa Record November 18, 1943

Household hints. Peeled, quartered apples add a delicious flavor and soft topping to a roast of lamb or veal.

Paint is “good to the last drop” if kept in glass jars tightly covered.

Keep your cut flowers fresh by changing the water in the vase each day. Thoroughly wash the vase when the change is made.

You might try breaking up crisp left-over bacon and adding it to muffin batter for supper.

For success in hand-laundering rayons, use lukewarm water; if the water is hard dissolve a small amount of mild water-softener in the tub before adding the soap. Use mild soap flakes or beads and make rich suds.

Dies committee dying. The Dies committee soon will release an interim report, listing the various Nazi and Jap groups which operated more or less openly in this country until Pearl Harbor under the names of tourist bureaus, trade associations, etc.

It will be prosaic, less sensational than previous reports, with a backhanded slap at the administration for permitting such things to happen.

Employees of the committee are bemoaning the report’s mildness. Committee funds are getting to the point where the house must ask for more. But maybe the dough will throw the house something far more sensational.

The only thing sensational that forthright Martin Dies can drag out now concerns Communist influence among the Negroes, and he hesitates to do this, fearing nation-wide repetition of the Detroit race riots.

Surprise three at birthdav party. Mrs. S.F. Praetorius, W.P. Smith and Frank Groh were honored at a birthday surprise party at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Smith on Friday evening.

Pinochle was played at four tables, high scores going to Mrs. Henry Moellering, Mrs. S.F. Praetorius, W.P. Smith and Mark Smith, the traveling prize going to Mrs. Dan Giese.

Guests included Mr. and Mrs. Al Trejbal, Mr. and Mrs. John C. Kissler, Mr. and Mrs. W.P. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Moellering, Mr. and Mrs. S.F. Praetorius, Mr. and Mrs. Dan Giese, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Groh and Carl Praetorius.

Soften ruling for wood users. Allowances are made in favor of three types of consumers by new OPA fuel regulations according to advice received by the Spokane office of James C. Scully, regional fuel rationing representative. The consumers affected are: (1) those who find it necessary to buy wood and coal on a “cash and carry” basis, (2) those who live in isolated localities where deliveries are hard to make during certain times of the year and (3) those who use two or more solid fuels in combination for a single purpose. These orders apply without modification to all deliveries of fuel wood, sawdust and similar fuels; the present limitations on coal delivery still stand. The new regulations reflect flexibility with regard to consumers’ needs. Detailed information on these new regional administrative orders may be secured from the Spokane district office of price administration.

Minerals and proteins are needed. With the coming of winter it is necessary for livestock producers to feed their stock, rather than pasturing them as during the summer. Pasture supplies minerals and protein that is not available in straight grain hay. Therefore it is necessary that livestock feed in the dry lot be given a balanced ration. One feeding of alfalfa hay per day is desirable, as alfalfa supplies calcium and protein.

Minerals can be supplied by feeding a mixture of one-third ground limestone, one-third steamed bone meal, and one-third salt. At the present time steamed bone meal is hard to get. Phosphorus can be supplied by mixing in burnt bones in the mixture above, instead of the bone meal if bone meal cannot be secured.

Symptoms of mineral and protein deficiency are:

(1) Pregnant ewe’s disease in sleep.

(2) Weakness and paralysis of cattle and hogs during late winter months.

Protein and mineral deficiency is more acute in young stock and livestock carrying young; therefore, these two classes of livestock should get first priority on such feeds.

Poor ‘Pa’ Watson. Toughest job White House Secretary Maj. Gen. Edwin ‘Pa’ Watson of the White House secretariat has to tackle each day is keeping the President’s appointment schedule on time.

Frequently FDR will sit talking to an old friend for 15 or 20 minutes over the allotted time, and that snarls the White House schedule for the rest of the day.

This is hard on the general’s nervous system, especially when bigwigs from the war or navy departments are waiting to discuss military matters. On such occasions Watson is not above barging in and breaking up the conference.

The other day when the President’s old friend, Governor Bob Kerr of Oklahoma, was overstaying his time—through no fault of his own—Watson walked in and began to parade nervously about the room.

“Well, here’s the undertaker, Mr. President,” grinned Kerr, catching the hint. “If one of your callers gets so he doesn’t move, ‘Pa’ moves him.”

Roosevelt laughingly motioned Watson to a chair.

“Sit down and talk to us for a while, general.” He said. “We’re having a very interesting conversation.”

With a sigh, Watson took a chair.

50 years ago

The Odessa Record November 14, 1968

One hospitalized in bus - car collision. The collision of a Greyhound bus and a vehicle Friday afternoon at the creek road intersection a half mile east of Odessa resulted in injuries to one occupant of the auto. The daughter of Mrs. Floyd Thiel, Ritzville, accompanying her mother at the time, was admitted to Memorial hospital with fractures, cuts and abrasions. The mother was also admitted overnight for observation while Miss Thiel is still a patient here.

St. Trooper Gordon Campbell has been out of town this week attending a special school at Shelton for troopers so his report of the accident has not been available here or from the Detachment Headquarters at Ritzville.

The 2:15 p.m. westbound Greyhound collided with the Valiant station wagon when the latter vehicle pulled onto Highway 28 at the intersection near the Crab Creek bridge. The right side of the passenger vehicle was extensively damaged, both doors being crumpled. The vehicle was tossed to the side of the road by the Greyhound. Spectators report that the bus driver obviously almost went off the right side of the highway in attempting to prevent the collision.

Minor damage was evident to the left front of the bus. Passengers were held up here until a substitute vehicle could be brought out from Spokane to continue the trip west. The left headlight of the bus had been demolished so the bus was stored here at Odessa Auto Parts garage overnight.

Marmes tour reported in Mr. Glick’s sixth grade class. On the 5th of November, Mr. Glick’s sixth grade class went on a field trip to the Marmes Rock Shelter. We saw the caves and where the people are digging for the bones that have been buried for thousands of years. Our guide showed us where they have been finding many of the skeletons. We also saw some of the ash and soil from the burial hearth. The people dig in squares because if they find something they can usually locate the rest of the object without breaking it.

Some of the workmen were busy relocating their tents due to the fact that a construction firm was building a cofferdam around the diggings. Our guide did his best to explain all he could to us but it was hard to hear him over the noise of the heavy equipment.

We were not able to go into the cave itself, because there was a danger of falling rocks that were being jarred loose by the large machines. Time was given to the students to take pictures of anything they wanted. Needless to say, many pictures were taken.

Then we were shown where the workers lived while they were working on the project. The guide pointed out a red marker that was located about forty feet above us. This was to be where the water level would be if the cofferdam hadn’t been approved. The dam is supposed to be about 60 feet high and almost 2,000 feet long. We were told that the area would be flooded sometime in February.

Before we left, the guide explained to us how the lava was formed from Crater Lake volcano (it formed the area of the Indians’ shelter that had lived there between eight and eleven thousand years ago).

Next we went to Palouse Falls State Park to eat lunch. While we were there we were able to walk around the park and see the different formations of lava rock that form the cliffs and canyons of the river. Some of the students also took pictures of the falls and the canyons.

Our room mothers who accompanied us were Mesdames Mills, Smith, Neufeld and Scheller. Eddie Kern was our bus driver.

Rural fire trucks returned to Odessa. All rural fire trucks of the local fire district, other than the one which is stationed full-time at Lamona, have been returned to Odessa for the winter, Jim Scrupps states. Residents of the area should remember this in placing calls in case of fire emergency within the district.

Veterans Day program draws crowd. The Veterans Day dinner at the school cafeteria Monday evening drew a near capacity crowd to honor 50-year Legion members and gold-star mothers.

Speaking of the nation’s future, Congressman Tom Foley stated “I’m an optimist. Our nation will be one of the greatest of all time.”

In his discourse the speaker related a predicted optimistic future by the year 2000: a 315 million population; each family earner drawing 20,000 per year; 4 to 5 day work week with 6-hour days, one from a family working and 3-month vacations; organ banks in our hospitals; computers to run and clean our homes; computers to operate farms.

Foley stated he felt we’ll be able to contain any outside forces with a military defense setup illustrating his point by the fact that one squadron of planes at Spokane can carry more explosive force than was expended in all major world wars to date.

“No one can be prouder than those who serve their country in the armed forces,” he said, commending all servicemen present at the dinner.

The Pledge of Allegiance, singing of “God Bless America” and an invocation by Rev. Daniel Cronrath marked the opening of the dinner, emceed by Don Evavold. The Mesdames Wilma Schmidt, Ruth Suchland and Delores Stehr sang a medley of World War I tunes, accompanied by Mrs. Delores Cook. Gold-star mothers were introduced, as were the 14 50-year members of Rudolph M. Stumpf Post 105, American Legion. World War II, Korean conflict and Vietnam veterans stood for recognition.

Girls State speaker was Monica Deife, who related her experience at Ellensburg this summer. Tom Wacker, Randy Suko and Steve Evavold reviewed with enthusiasm their week at Gonzaga in Spokane as Boys State delegates from this area.

Presentations were made to the 50-year members by Legion Commander Merl Spurling.

A delicious turkey dinner, prepared by the school cooks, was served to those assembled on Veterans Day by freshmen home-ec students. A special cake for the occasion was cut by the Legion Auxiliary VFW Auxiliary presidents, Edna Leitz and Osa Walter, respectively.

25 years ago

The Odessa Record November 11, 1993

Denny’s Thrift hit by break-in. An early morning break-in at Denny’s Thrift was discovered last Friday as Ernie Hall, the supermarket’s produce department manager, arrived for work at 6 a.m.

Odessa police, called to the scene as owner Denny McDaniel and store personnel arrived, said the forced entry apparently was made during early morning hours through a locked door.

The store’s safe, located inside the door of the main entrance, was moved to a center aisle, but police said no cash had been removed from the premises. However, an undisclosed number of items were taken from the store.

McDaniel and his wife, Kathy, went through the store on Friday to determine which items were missing. Few if any groceries or produce were taken.

Police said telephone and fax wires into the building had been cut.

Police chief Randy Carlson said evidence was left at the scene which could link possible suspects to the crime. He said his office would interview possible suspects this week.

Pending the investigation, police and McDaniel could make no further comments.

Ten years ago, in September 1983, the supermarket, then Brown’s Thrift, was broken into and burglarized. In that incident the burglar was seen through the window and police were called. When they arrived, however, they at first had difficulty in apprehending the suspect, who had crawled through a hole in the ceiling and was hiding in the rafters. Since that time there have been two more break-ins which resulted in an arrest.

Last Friday’s break-in in Odessa follows on the heels of a series of six night-time break-ins at Davenport businesses between September 23 and October 1.

In that community, a force of volunteers was organized to patrol the downtown area late at night and in the early morning hours to watch for or prowlers other suspicious activities.

A childhood “tape recorder” of long ago.


When I see the children’s toy called Big Bird with its tape player inside and a button to push to turn on a story, it reminds me of how I could program a story as easily in my childhood.

Our home then had few books or magazines, but a child had only to ask and Dad would repeat the story the child wanted to hear. Like on Big Bird’s recording, the story always came out the same because they were true. Children like predictable endings.

Dad’s 20 years of living on High Hill north of Soap Lake after coming to the area from Pennsylvania in 1906 gave him a never-failing fund of recollections. One that I recall now was about a neighbor of Dad’s who had just completed all of the requirements necessary to proving up on his homestead claim. There was a long list of government rules and regulations then, just as there are now when dealing with the government. They had been put in place by the government to make sure the claimant was serious about owning and improving the land.

Even after the homesteader was ready to do the final filing, he had the long trip by horse and buggy to the town of Waterville which was the county seat of Douglas County (this was before Grant County was formed).

One summer morning in the early 1900s, a neighbor stopped by Dad’s house and asked if Dad would ride along with the neighbor as a character witness when he filed for his ownership papers. Partway along the trip, the neighbor asked Dad’s advice about one of the improvements he had listed. He said, “I have listed a cellar as one of the improvements. So far I haven’t needed one as I live alone. I did take the post-hole digger and dig a deep hole about three feet deep and a foot wide. I put a length of chimney liner down in it. I poured a little water down on the outside of the liner, enough to keep it damp. It is covered with a board. This keeps my butter from melting on hot days and I keep milk in it. I’ll build a bigger one when I need it.”

When an official at the Waterville courthouse ran through the list and came to the word ‘cel-lar’ the neighbor said, “I did dig a cellar of sorts. Not very big, but it suits me.”

The official took his word for it and listed the man as having done all that was needed to become the owner of the homestead. Dad would chuckle each time he retold the story, and say, “Smallest cellar I ever attested to!” This happened several years before Dad sent back east for Mom to share his life and give him a ready-made audience for his “I remember when stories.”


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