Yoakum Family

Interview with Mrs. Chester Irwin

Don Yoakum was born in Missouri in February 1859. His wife, Anna (Hunt) was born in Arkansas in 1868. She is now 98 years of age. She is presently living, in Portland, Oregon (1945). They were married in January 1888 at Pendleton, Oregon. Three children were born to them: Grace, Jenny and Edith. Mr. Yoakum’s occupation was farming.

Grace Yoakum was born at Pendleton, Oregon in 1886. She came to Meadows in the spring of 1890. The trip from Pendleton took 6 weeks in a covered wagon. They lived at various places–the Kearns place, near S.S. Freeman’s house; near Stanley Parrot’s barn; Old Town, and the Hot Springs.

They went to school near the Abshire home 3 months a year. In 1905 she graduated from grade school. There were no high schools here then, so they could not continue their education in this vicinity. They rode horseback to school. Her teachers were Florence (Freeman) Brown, sister of Mrs. Meyers, a former teacher of the primary grades at New Meadows; Miss Jewel, Mary Henn, Lola Date, Mr. Erving Lee, Bess Meriness and Elizabeth Lapp.

At Christmas and Thanksgiving, programs were given by the pupils of the school. Such games as “pompom Pullaway,” “London Bridge” and “steal sticks” were played. In school they studied arithmetic, geography, physiology, spelling and history as their subjects. School was much harder then because there were no reference books as there are today.

She was married to Chester Irwin in 1907, two years after her graduation from grade school. They lived near Salmon River for 6 years, then came back to New Meadows in May, 28 years ago.
To this family were born 3 children—two boys and one girl. They are Lloyd, Nellie and Everett.
While they were on the Salmon River they were in the sheep business, but while in the lower end of the valley they were in the cattle business. Mrs. Irwin joined the Rebekah Lodge in December 1923.

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