Just my cup of tea

Originally ran in the Sept. 23, 1971 edition of the Illinois Valley News

Mr. and Mrs. Bill Wilhelms, Roseburg, brought their three children, William, Jr., Donna, and their new little son Clinton, to visit their grandparents, Cecil and Fran Wilhelms, Old Stage Road.Doris Boyd went to Bloomington, Cal. to visit her daughter, Mrs. E.L. Martin, who has been ill but is now improving. Doris’s daughter-in-law, Roberta Boyd, drove her, stayed overnight and returned home. Doris stayed with her daughter for a week.Monday the board of the Illinois Valley Federated Women’s Club met at the home of Doris Boyd for a luncheon and business meeting. Goldie Peters is the president of the club. Others present at the luncheon were Leota Tucker, Marian Tolin, Bert Billig, Josephine Peters, Ruth Woods, Esther Randall, and Harlene Barilli, and her guest Florence Schaptman. Tuesday morning George and Florence Schaptman, who had been visiting Mario and Harlene Barilli, 422 N. Old Stage Rd., since September 9 left for their home in Fullerton, Cal. For several years the Schaptmans have come to visit the Barillis in the summer . Mario and George used to work together in various California cities.Ward and Ione Wilson have just returned from a week’s trip to California. They visited with friends they have known for many years, Ira and Agnes Harris of Sebastopol. Ira took Ward on a 3 day fishing trip, while Agnes and Ione visited. Ward only got one salmon, but he and Ira have been waiting to go fishing together for a long time. From Sebastopol the Wilsons went to San Jose to visit their grandson David Sayler and his wife Maria, and their 5 day old son Dwight. Dwight is the Wilson’s second great grandchild. On their way home they picked up their granddaughter, Margaret Wilson, and took her to Chico where she was enrolled in Chico State College to start her career in nursing. Two of our Valleyites have had accidents and one has had a heart attack. George Martin recently fell while feeding the cattle when a bale of hay slipped. He dislocated his shoulder and hurt his feet. He is recuperating at home, and reports that he is beginning to feel better. Kenton Mayfield, who works for the Martin daisy, went to Gazelle, Cal. to get a load of hay and while loading the hay fell and was injured. He was taken to the hospital in Yreka. The doctor reported no bones broken, but at this time no further word has been received. Stan Waterman , son-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Lackey, Kerby, had a heart attack Sunday and was taken to Josephine General Hospital. He has shown some improvement but cannot have visitors at this time.Marvin and Tracy Cross attended the Oregon State Convention of the Gideons International, held in Portland Sept. 18 and 19. They were accompanied by Marvin’s sister Julia Cross, and drove as far as Sheridan, where they stayed overnight with Marvin’s sister Lexie and her husband, George McKnight. Julia visited at her sister’s home while Marvin and Tracy stopped for her on their way home. The Crosses spent Friday night with Erroll and Becky Stephens and their six children in Portland. Becky is the daughter of Mrs. Walter Freeman and attended school in Cave Junction. On their way home they stopped to visit friends in Dallas. While in Portland they went to the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Hicks who used to live in the Valley a number of years ago and had the garage and service station now known as Banks Automotive Service. The Hicks are in good health and sent greetings to their friends and acquaintances. During their busy weekend Marvin and Tracy remembered their wedding anniversary and Tracy’s birthday, but had no time to celebrate them. Marvin is vice president of the Grants Pass Gideon Camp and Tracy is vice president of the Gideon Auxiliary of the Grants Pass Camp.Phayo and I also went on a weekend trip. We were invited to the Homecoming dinner to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Salvation Army in Klamath Falls. Phayo became a Salvation Army soldier in 1929 and after our marriage in 1934 we were both soldiers of the Klamath Falls Corps until 2 years ago when we transferred to the Medford Corps because of the distance. While attending the anniversary celebration and services, we met friends of many years and also made new friends.Every week I meet people in town and others call me on the phone asking for more of the stories of the early days in this area, some of the people are “Old Timers” and others are new to our Valley. As in other gold rush areas there is much to tell of the everyday lives of the people who lived and worked in the mountains and valleys and the small towns which sprang up almost overnight.When word of a gold strike here became known and the miners started pouring in, the Chinese came also. But the Chinese were not welcome and many discriminating laws were passed to discourage them. They had to buy their claims and gangs of them would work together with infinite patience on claims that the white man had already worked. Often they would find large quantities of gold the white men had hastily skimmed over. The Chinese kept pretty much to themselves most of the time, and lived cheaply except for a celebration or a feast now and then. A number of years passed and the miners left and several of the early day towns became ghost towns and finally all of the Chinese were gone too – all except one – old China Lem. His cabin was still standing until a few years ago. It was located just south of where the trailer home is on the 4 Sum 1 Ranch on Takilma Road.When China Lem was an old man the feeling against the Chinese still persisted. In his last sickness there were only 2 friends who would come to help him. These 2 men took turns staying with him day and night for about a month. After his death, they carefully went through his few belongings and found some black silk and a beautiful new silk robe, which they believed he had saved for his burial, a small rice bowl and two burial spoons. One of the men made a pine box for a coffin and lined it with the black silk. They dressed him in the robe and put the rice bowl and one of the spoons in the coffin as was the Chinese custom.I do not know exactly where they buried him, but it was probably where the other Chinese were buried. On a round topped hill just south of Waldo, is the old Waldo Cemetery, where the white people were buried but the Chinese were not allowed to be buried there, so they buried their people about half way down the side of the hill.In the early 1930’s a Chinese Tong in San Francisco sent money to have all of the Chinese exhumed and their bodies sent back to China. The depressions can still be seen where the graves were, and all of the ones I have seen were facing east and west. But I didn’t quite finish the story of old China Lem. His friends followed what they believed would be the way he would be buried except instead of a pagan ritual, as they buried him, one of his friends prayed a Christian prayer. And Phayo is the possessor of the extra burial spoon found among China Lem’s belongings.