Early area settlers’ descendants plan reunion in September

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Jerry Taylor and Jan Hansen came together over vintage photos in Jan’s possession that ran in Etcetera early this year. Turns out they have more than that in common. They’re cousins several times removed, connected through families that lived on Baskett Mountain, east of Weston.

The pair are planning a Baskett Mountain reunion for descendants in the area slated for some time in September, they said.

Those interested in attending or helping plan the gathering may contact Jan at jannieh8504@gmail.com; or Jerry at jt2618@centurylink.net or 509-301-1157.

They want to know what connection to Baskett Mountain folks have and phone numbers so they can collect additional information.

“We both had family that grew up on Baskett Mountain,” Jerry said. Among the family names of people who lived there that they know of are Warfield, McAuslan, Diggins, Figgins, Duncan, Clark, Gould, Kent, Kutch, Shaw, Singer, Beathe, Millikin, March, Brown and Gettings, according to their email.

The school there was named for early area settler Ruben Baskett and “it stands to reason that maybe Baskett Mountain was also named for him.”

Samuel Warfield of Pennsylvania was Jerry’s great-great-grandfather and Jan’s great-great-great-grandfather. Four children of Samuel and Rosanna Shell Warfield began coming West in 1870 and eventually settled in Northeastern Oregon and Southeastern Washington. The children they know of who made the journey were Annie E. Warfield Diggins Greaves, and Ella, Samuel Howard and Daisy Warfield.

Jerry’s great-grandfather Samuel Howard Warfield and great-grandmother Catharine “Jennie” Ziegler Warfield came to Oregon in 1890 with four small children ranging from 1-7 years and settled in the Milton area. Sam and Jennie had six more children born in the Weston/Baskett Mountain area.

Jerry’s grandfather, William Warfield, was 3 when his parents came West . He grew up on and called Baskett Mountain home and learned to farm from his father. At 27, he married Mary Wilson, leased land from his mother and continued farming on Baskett Mountain until 1930 when he moved his family to Walla Walla.

Jerry’s mother, Myra Warfield Duff and her siblings, Laura Warfield Abbott, and Bill and Victor Warfield, were all born on Baskett Mountain between 1914-1923.

They attended the one-room Baskett Mountain School. Myra’s grandfather’s siblings, Anna, Grace, Tom, Walter, Howard, Jesse and Rose Warfield, also attended the school.

The schoolhouse for all 12 grades operated from 1899 until its closure in 1941. “Other family members no doubt attended Baskett Mountain School but so far we have found no records to say what students were in attendance,” Jerry said.

Sam Warfield was school director from 1901-1904 and Jan’s great-grandfather John McAuslan was school director in 1905 and 1906.

Jan’s second great-grandmother Ella B. Warfield, was a daughter of Samuel and Rosanna Warfield. Ella and Thomas Lessor wed in Pennsylvania in 1873 and moved the family to Colorado in 1878. They moved again, in 1886, to the Baskett Mountain area.

Ella and Thomas had four daughters: Rosa married John McAuslan, Miriam married Herbert March, Honora “Nora” married John Klee and Mary married William Sutton and later Andrew Fay.

Rosa and Miriam and their families also made their homes on the mountain, but both died of tuberculosis as young mothers. Rosa left behind three young sons and Miriam two.

Descendants of these McAuslan and March families are still living the Walla Walla/Milton-Freewater area.

Jan hopes that some of the descendants of Thomas and Ella’s four girls will be able to attend.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or 526-8313.

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