The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle


August 1, 2019

Darrell Alexander

Thelma and Bob Miller

An Old Barn

Over the years traveling to and fro in the Westend, I would go by an old barn in Deep River across the highway from Deep River Camp. I had no idea who owned it and the surrounding property and I assumed it to be abandoned, but during Christmas I would see the barn lit up with Christmas lights. To most it is just an old barn, but to the curious like myself, it is calling me. There are too many stories with this old barn, and I would like to know. One day traveling back from Naselle, I saw a man standing in a garden near the barn, so I stopped and talked with Bob Miller who lived there. I was so intrigued with what little he told me about the place that I asked if I could come back and hear his story.

His house is just northeast of the old barn up the hill out of sight from passersby. Bob, who is 83 and his wife Thelma who is now 77, have lived on the property since 1967; however, Thelma lived there since 1951 when she was just nine years old. This was the home of Thelma's parents, Ivan and Mildred Jones. Ivan had been born in Kansas, and when he came to the county he would eventually buy the 140 acres for $25,000. They would sell 70 acres to Wasser & Winters. Ivan and Mildred raised Jersey cows. The Millers are not sure of all the owners of the property, but they did know of Mary and Ellen Campbell, sisters who had the house built in 1929. One sister was a doctor, and the other was a nurse. When the sisters bought the place, it had 160 acres and there wasn't a state highway. In the early 1930's the state would take away 20 acres to make way for State Route 4.

There is a lot more history, the Millers informed me. After all, they have been married since 1961 and they have four children, five grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. Their offspring may or may not care now, but more than likely they will love to read about their heritage. The Wahkiakum County Eagle has been a source of current events as well as accounting the history of the area documented on a weekly basis. The paper has been a source for historians and The Eagle will hopefully always be a part of our community.

Bob also can attest that his father's mother was from Canada and part of the Cowichan Tribe, who live in the Cowichan Valley region on Vancouver Island. The tribe was created by the Canadian government taking seven nearby tribes and amalgamating them into one tribe.

Bob spent most his life in Rosburg and worked for Crown Zellerbach for 23 years. Thelma was a stay at home mom for 13 years before she went to work for Okies for 26 years.

When the Millers bought the 70 acres from Thelma's parents, they paid only $15,000. They were making an $80 per month payment until one Christmas Ivan and Mildred gave them the deed to the property for a Christmas present. The Millers do have a great story and we can thank them all because of an old barn.

Westend News

Those of you who are new to the area may like to know that there is a place to get rid of the trash. The KM Transfer Station is located at the top of the KM Mountain and run by Lori Smith who took over the job just recently. Rates are reasonable.

Keep in mind that the Grays River Grange #124 will hold their Farmers Market on Tuesdays from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the Grange Hall until harvest is complete and the produce sold.

Johnson Park in Rosburg this summer is the place to be for your children. The Outdoor Café will be from noon until 2 p.m. with fun for your children. There will be crafts, activities, games, produce, and a healthy lunch. It is all free. For more information call 360-465-2310. This is for children of all school ages. If you are in need of food, then come to the West End Food Pantry every Thursday from 1-5 p.m. The food for you is free at no charge. Johnson Park is looking for board members to help coordinate the facility. If anyone is interested in volunteering please contact Shonda Ware at 360-465-2722 or Toni Fest at360-465-2393.

For those who have attended or are planning to attend the Naselle/Grays River Valley Seniors luncheon on Wednesday, those who are 55 and older can join; also the potluck will be at the Valley Bible Church on every fourth Wednesday. Anyone inspired to volunteer on Wednesdays or would like further information, please contact the Naselle/Grays River Valley Seniors' president Diane Hollenbeck at or phone her at 1(360) 465-2991. Anyone interested in renting the Rosburg Hall is encouraged to contact Sonja Kruse at 465-2251 or Dee Nikkila at 465-2595. Thursday luncheon at noon at the Rosburg Hall is sponsored by the Community Action Program (CAP) out of Kelso/Longview. Any questions, contact Denise Rae at (360) 425-3430 extension 259.

Valley Bible Church is located at 4723 SR 4 W in Rosburg and will host a Blood Drive Tuesday, August 13 from 1-6 p.m. This is sponsored by The American Red Cross. You can visit and enter valleybiblechurch or call Susan Burkhalter at (360) 465-2264 to schedule an appointment.

American Legion 100th birthday

Darrell Alexander

Above: Thelma and Bob Miller. Children going for a ride at the American Legion birthday party.

A century has passed since the Legion was first formed, but Saturday was a day to remember. The American Legion's 100th birthday celebration was not a somber event, but an event full of laughter and conversation and above all, good tasty food prepared by Deep River Post #111 local veterans and served by wonderful ladies smiling cheerfully as they passed out the food. For me, as a veteran, it had a feeling of a family reunion as everyone mingled together.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was seeing the children playing with the miniature jeep and cannon. It was also the last event that Doug Meyer, the cook, would do for the community. He and his wife are moving to Florida to be closer to the grandchildren.

Coffee with a cop

Come and join your neighbors, sheriff, and undersheriff at the Rosburg Store Wednesday, August 14 at 8:30 in the morning to enjoy coffee and conversation. You can ask questions and voice your concerns while getting to know your law enforcement officers from the community.


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