April 5, 1925.
Dear Cousins All:
It hardly seems that another year has passed since we wrote our last letters. To some it has been a year which has brought sorrow and we wish to express our deep sympathy with those cousins who have lost loved ones.
We are about as we were one year ago, and are very glad to say that my mother, who has been very ill, during the past year, is much better and able to come down stairs several times each week, and to out in a car. Wilford attended a school of Embalming and Sanitary Science in Philadelphia and is now a licensed mortician, which relieves Llewellyn of much responsibility. Helen is very busy with thirty music pupils, two orchestras, playing the pipe organ in church, and keeping young with her two boys. Richard is six feet tall, is in high school and is a patrol -leader in his Boy Scout troop. We have a great deal of music as all three of the boys are musical. Wilford sings, Richard plays the drums, etc. and George Robert plays several instruments, his favorite being the clarinet and ukelele. The boys play in Helen's orchestra and the high school orchestra, and last week, much to his delight, George Robert was asked to play in the Normal band1.
Perhaps it might be interesting to those who have thought that sometime they would like to cross the continent, to hear about the auto trip which we took last summer. The plans, preparations, and anticipation of such a trip are a very real part of the trip itself. We began these in the winter by writing for maps, catalogues of camping outfits and booklets of the national highways, parks, etc. These Llewellyn studied for weeks. Our outfit consisted of a new Essex coach, a "Shilling Camping Outfit" with splendid bed and tent which folded and strapped on one running board, three army packing bags in the back seat, and a kitchenette on the other running board. We could open both car doors.
We left home June second, at nine o'clock, and camped our first night twelve miles this side of Niagara Falls in a lovely apple orchard which was in full bloom. The weather was fine. The next day, after spending a short time at the Falls, we drove through Canada on the Governors Road2. We saw wonderful old English estates, and thought of my father as we drove through Hamilton, his birthplace. That night it was raining, so we decided to stay at an old Canadian Inn, where we had stayed twice before.
1. When I first read this, I assumed she was referring to the college band, which would have been unusual for a 13 yr. old. But then I remembered that the college operated a school where the normal's students could do their practice teaching.
2 This was King's Highway 2 --- now replaced by Highway 401.
At four-thirty on June fourth we arrived at Saginaw, Michigan, and spent the night with "Little Joe" Campbell's daughter, Nina Knuttle, leaving the next morning. Nina's husband has a splendid meat business. That afternoon we arrived at Llewellyn's sister's home in Cadillac, Michigan. On June ninth we left Cadillac in the afternoon and camped at Frankfort, and the next day crosses Lake Michigan to Marinette, Wisconsin, where we visited Uncle Will Campbell and Family until the morning of June thirteenth. Uncle Will is in the coal business, and has a dock all his own where ships of coal land. They have the monopoly of the coal, cement, building and paving material business of that section. Their dock has mountains of coal piled ready for delivery. While there we were royally entertained at the various clubs to which the family belongs.
After leaving Uncle Will's we camped at St. Paul for over Sunday, crossed the Mississippi River3, followed the Yellowstone Trail, passed the great corn, wheat and alfalfa fields which seemed miles long, and entered South Dakota at Big Stone. Here, to our surprise, in exchange for our paper money we began to get our pockets filled with silver dollars which the Westerners seem to like best.
June twentieth we camped at Bowman, North Dakota, stayed over Sunday at Billings, Montana, and Monday night camped at Lake Junction, twenty-seven miles in the Yellowstone Park, by the east or Cody entrance and Shoshone Dam. This was a dangerous road4. We spent several days in the park, driving over every road, and going to the north or main entrance and out of the park at the west entrance. The wonderful natural features of the Yellowstone Park are beyond description.
The next week-end we spent in Salt Lake City, and heard the wonderful pipe organ recital in the tabernacle which seats ten thousand people. The compound of ten acres is surrounded by a high wall within which is the temple and various other imposing buildings connected with the administration of this great deluded sect of people5. On June thirtieth, we drove back to Pocaletta [sic] and camped that night at Buhl, Idaho. Here, by chance, we met a minister and family who, in the course of the conversation, and much to our amazement, informed us that he was on his way to Mansfield, Pennsylvania, to visit a college friend of his. This proved to be the Baptist minister, one of our nearest neighbors.
After following the Old Oregon Trail we reached Baker, Oregon, on July second, and spent a delightful week with Cousin Harry Horton and family. Harry is the leading dentist in Baker, and has a fine office in the center of the city, a lovely home and many fine friends whom we enjoyed meeting.
3. I'm surprised that Mabel didn't go through Brainerd, and visit the Hugheys, whom she would have known of from Volumes 1 & 2. Perhaps they felt it was too far North, or they were feeling squeezed for time. However, they did visit Edd Hughey in WA.
4. I believe her. I've seen photos of some of those old roads.
5. Even though some readers may find Mabel's comments about the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) offensive, I felt it was important for historical accuracy to include them exactly as originally written.
For scenery the Columbia Highway beats them all. After traveling over this road from Baker and stopping at Pendleton where the famous annual round-up is held, we arrived in Independence, Oregon, the home of Cousins Nellie Horton Kimball and Arthur Horton on July eleventh. The next day Nellie had a regular Campbell Cousins Dinner to celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Frank and Arthur and family were there. Nellie and Clark were married twenty-seven years the fifteenth, so it was a double celebration.
Clark is the city editor, and we receive and enjoy his paper regularly, more than ever after meeting and being entertained by many friends of the Horton's and Kimballs with whose names we are now familiar. Probably Nellie will never tell you that her daughter, Faith6, was the youngest student out of several thousand to enter the University of Oregon. Arthur has a fine family, a splendid home and hardware business. While we were there Llewellyn went out with him to deliver several machines as large as some of the houses we saw on our trip. While in Independence we all drove ninety-seven miles to the Pacific Coast and spent several days digging clams, bathing in the ocean, etc.
On July twenty-eighth we left for Tacoma, Washington, arriving at Cousin Ed and Em Congdon's, and enjoyed a shore dinner at the fine house of Cousin Lee Congdon. The next day we drove around the city and called at the home of Edgar Hughey. On July thirtieth we drove seventy-five miles to Mt. Ranier National Park and walked about eight miles on the ruin of the Nisqually Glacier. In two of those miles we made an elevation of two thousand feet.
On July thirtieth we left Tacoma, taking Cousin Ed and Em with us, and drove to Seattle where we took the boat, and crossed Puget Sound to the home of Cousin Georgia Congdon Parks, ate a fine chicken dinner, enjoyed the wonderful view and beautiful flowers, and left the next morning for Portland, the home of Cousin Frank Horton and family. Frank is in business there and is prospering. He had just bought a new grocery store when we were there. While we were there we saw many of our home friends who live in this beautiful city. We spent a pleasant hour with Cousin Charles Congdon7.
We returned to Independence on August fifth and spent several more days with the Hortons and the Kimballs. After shedding some of the characteristic Campbell tears, we left on August twelfth for our homeward trip. We visited Crater Lake, and saw Mt. Shasta for one hundred seventy-one miles.
6. Faith continues to be remarkable, becoming the first woman dean at the U. of Oregon. And, as of this footnote's writing (July, 2013), continues to be remarkable. She is both the only surviving writer of a CCC letter (Vol. 3 pp96-97), and she also is the oldest living member of our "clan".
7. Charlie lived in NYC. He may have been visiting Portland on business.
When one travels over this great, accordian [sic] plaited country, it makes one feel very small indeed, and yet we are not as small as a sparrow. We visited the Yosemite Valley and traveled over some of the most dangerous roads in this gold mining country. The big trees of the Sequoia Forest were a wonder to us.
It was very hot through California and Arizona, especially over the Mohave Desert. We traveled over the Old Trails Road, the Santa Fe Route and Park to Park Highway. We visited the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, and as has been truly said, it is the most "sublime spectacle in the world". We camped at the Cliff Dwellings, visited the Presbyterian Mission School at Albuquerque, and the oldest church in America at Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Indians in their native dress, their homes, their pottery and all were very interesting to us.
On August thirtieth we left Bucklin, Missouri, and drove on a very rough, roller coaster road, passing through Hamilton, Missouri, the birthplace of Mark Twain, crossed the Mississippi and and Illinois Rivers and camped at Spring-field, Illinois, where we saw the homestead of Abraham Lincoln. We came on home through Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia, driving about one thousand twenty seven miles in the last four days. We arrived home on September fourth, after having driven ten thousand two hundred twenty-five miles on the whole trip8. We have a fine collection of pictures which we hope you all may enjoy when you visit us.
I have already written far too long a letter, but I only wish that time and space would permit me to go more into detail about our trip, the grandeur of the five national parks which we visited, the wonderful time we had with our relatives and how prosperous they all are, their lovely homes and how much they all did for our pleasure. It is like a dream now, and a three months which we shall never forget. It is worth every effort one can possibly put forth to take this trip, and there is no way to travel which can equal traveling by auto.
The family join with me in sending love and best wishes to all.
8. Considering what roads and cars were like in 1925, this was an amazing trip. I suspect very few people had made one like it.
Copyright © 2005, 2013, 2015 William B. Thompson. Commercial use prohibited.