Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kiona, Benton County, Washington

Letters written in 1927 by Herman Ohms, a 37 year old WWI Veteran (ex-Marine) who is living at Kiona, Benton County, in the Yakima River Valley in the state of Washington and presently employed by the Northern Pacific Railroad. He has written these letters to a pen pal by the name of Robert Meador who lives in Goodview, Bedford County, Virginia. Olms’ two letters are described as follows:

--First letter dated 18 January 1927, is 4-pages written in ink on lined white paper. Ohms introduces himself to Meador and proceeds to write a little about his 20 years of travel throughout Western America and a lot about the Menominee Indians he grew up around in Northern Wisconsin. He describes their diet, lifestyles, living in teepees in summer & log houses in winter. He explains and draws a diagram showing how bears were caught in deadfall traps. He writes “I have had some of the older Indians tell me how they got Mr. Bear . . . the Indian would back up to a large tree one that the Bear could not reach around. Then when the Bear came to attack him, as you know that a Bear always squeezes his victim, the man would have a sharp knife so when the Bear made the squeeze he would disembowel the animal which would be the end of Mr. Bear. It must of took some nerve to do this.” He gives further interesting details of the Menominee Indians of Wisconsin.

--Second letter dated 30 March 1927, is five-pages. Ohms writes Meador that he has been working early & late loading sheep onto stock cars of the NPRR. He describes a recent arrow hunting expedition and his efforts to reproduce the Yakima Indian’s method of making tools & arrowheads. He goes on to describe present conditions of the Yakima Indians: “All that is left of this tribe is on the Reservation at Topnish, WA about 38 miles west of here and number about 500 all told and most of them are Breeds as the full blood Indians are about gone. They live on land allotted to them by the Government and do very little work usually in the fall. They pick potatoes and before 1915 [prohibition] hops, but no more hops.” Meador then describes in detail watching the Indians fish-for and hook salmon in the Yakima River.

This group of great Kiona, Benton County, Washington letters is for sale on Ebay Item number: 360110713250.

Letters & Postcards on E-Bay