George McCutchen (1882-1957)
Myrtle Evelyn Cole (1896-1997)

Married May 19, 1916

  Children's names Birthdates Married Mariage Date
# Children
Date of Death
Edith Laura 03/13/1917 Victor Bruce Gregg 06/13/1936
George Cole 12/01/1918 Ruby Maude Metteer 09/27/1941
2 living
Lucille Marjorie 12/19/1920 never married  
many foster
Robert James 06/12/1922 Iris Jean Young 12/10/1942
Ralph Martin 06/24/1929 1. Nadine Gaines 06/11/1952
      2. Lillian Jearum 01/16/1954
Helen Louise 08/28/1939 Paul Richard Buell 06/14/1957

George, from child to grandparent. 1st Photo: Age 5, in 1887. 2nd Photo: Age 35, a groom in 1916. 3rd Photo: Age 47, a farmer in 1929. 4th Photo: Age 61, a shipyard worker in 1942. Last Photo: Age72, a retired logger in 1954. The farmer photo, although not as good is probably the most accurate of them all. He seldom wore a suit.

George Ashworth McCutchen was born in Elko, NV in 1882, to James Monroe McCutchen and Mary Mirinda Landon McCutchen. He lived a ranch near Elko with his parents, 6 brothers and two sisters. In 1892, not long after George had turned 10, the family pulled up stakes and headed out for parts north. Even in his old age, George remembered this trip as exciting and fun. Probably the most exciting thing was that when his dad fell and injured his arm early in the trip, he and his older brother, Will, as the oldest children in the family took over the responsibility for driving the big Conestoga wagon the rest of the way. For a full story of his memories of this trip go to Elko to Yacolt.

In Yacolt, the boys, including George, worked hard, building a home for the family (and then building another when the first burned down). In the process they all learned to be loggers. Yacolt was new but it was a booming logging town. And George never lost his love of the woods. He was a farmer most of his life, but his heart was always in the woods. George completed the 6th grade before his mother allowed him to quit school to work in the woods and on the ranch.

The first house the family built. To see a close up of
George and his family of origin, click here.

By 1915, all the boys except Cal had moved to Eastern Oregon, "east of the mountains" and were homesteading wheat ranches there. This was land the family had traveled through on their way west and similar to what the boys had been used to in Nevada. The land was arid, but well suited for wheat ranching. George homesteaded land but initially lived with his brother Ed. Their sister Avie boarded in Vancouver and attended high school. After she graduated, she followed her brothers east of the mountains and taught. However, she was working as as a cook during the summer when she met John Fisher. In 1913, Avie brought John back to Yacolt so they could be married in her girlhood home. George came back to Yacolt for the wedding too. While he was there, he met his future wife, Myrtle.

Left: The Coles, 1911
Back: Maude,13, Myrtle,15, Edith, 10
Front: Elsie, Iline, (Tootie) 8, and Louis. Tootie died soon afer this photo was taken.

Right: Clara, Myrtle and Edith in their teens, about the time Myrtle and George met.

The Louis Cole's were neighbors of the McCutchen's. While George was home for Avie's wedding, Charlana took her big brother to a party with her. She and Myrtle were friends and of course, she introduced her friend to her dashing big brother. Myrtle was only 16. George was 31. But my mother (Myrtle) says that even before they were formally introduced, he drew her attention to him. They were playing some kind of a round robin game and it was Myrtle's turn to be "it" and do--whatever it was she was supposed to do or say. She couldn't think of anything, so she repeated a common saying of the day, "Let George do it!" And George did! George returned to Eastern Oregon and Myrtle returned to school. But in 1916, they were married. Like George's sister, Avie, their wedding was held in the McCutchen home.

Left to Right: Harry Hooper, Cal, George, Myrtle, Anna Olsen (Myrtle's friend until she died an old lady), and Charlena. Charlena married Harry Hooper a month later. Larger Photo

George and Myrtle stayed in Yacolt for a while and the couple lived with JM and Mary in the home place long enough for Myrtle to have her first baby, Edith, in 1917. But soon after that, they moved to Eastern Oregon where George homesteaded a wheat ranch. At first they lived with George's brother Ed and his wife, Frances and their family. But especially when it became evident that both women were "increasing"--again, Ed helped George build a house on his own homestead and the young couple moved to their own home. George Cole McCutchen was born at Pendleton, OR, in 1918.

George, Sr. guiding a team of horses probably pulling a rake. Depending on the equipment, they could use as many as 32 horses and/or mules. For great photos of the horses and equipment, go to East of the Mountains.

With most of the McCutchen brothers and Avie living in Eastern Oregon, there were a lot of cousins around for the George McCutchen children to play with.

Click here for Larger View
and for a list of most of the people crowded in this car.

In 1920, JM was 85 years old and blind. He could no longer handle the Yacolt farm. George and Myrtle gave up their homestead, which had not been a very lucritive venture anyway, and moved back to the home place at Yacolt. In 1922, JM died and Mary lived only two more years. George and Myrtle took over the farm and their next three children, Lucille, Robert (Bob), and Ralph were born while they lived there. The couple signed a mortgage $10,000 for the original 160 acre homestead, the 177 acre "Woody Place" and a third small parcel of land east of the railway. However, the older McCutchens died before the mortgage was paid off and the transaction wasn't settled until the house was sold again almost 20 years later.

This was taken not long before Grandma McCutchen died at age 69.

Left to Right: Edith, George Sr and Jr, Mary Landon McCutchen.

In Yacolt, there was still lots of family. Grandma and Grandpa Cole lived just down the road and Myrtle's sister, Edith Cole Miley,who lived in Vancouver, sent her two children to spend the summers there. Vera remembers those summers as some of the best of her life. Grandma Cole always had a welcome hug for a lonesome child and Grandpa Cole was a jolly playmate. With loving grandparents, the McCutchen cousins to play with, and the country to explore, summers were just about perfect for these city children.

Left: This is a photo of Louis Cole at age 74, taken in 1932, while Vera and Harold Miley were visiting. Notice especially his infectious smile. No wonder Elise was so infatuated with him that she ran off to Canada to marry him at age 16! He died about 10 years after this photo was taken.

Right: Elsie Cole with her two Ediths: daugher, Edith Cole Miley and grandaughter, Edith McCutchen (Myrtle's oldest)

Charlana and Harry Hooper lived nearby too, with their growing family. And of course, the McCutchens still maintained contact with their Eastern Oregon cousins.Sometimes, the parents would trade children. Lucille tells of spending time with Aunt Avie Fisher, for instance. and at other times, there were children from Eastern Oregon visiting at Yacolt. Here, because the children are younger, it is likely that the whole Fisher family came to visit and the event was used for photo taking.

Back: Edith Mc, May F., Bill H., Roy F., George Jr..

Front: Lucille Mc, Margaret F., Elaine F., Lois F., Agnes H.

This photo was taken at the Hoopers.

But mostly, the family kept busy right on the farm. George and Myrtle had very different ideas about raising children and eventually, they more or less divided the four older children up between them. Edith and Bob went to Myrlte when they wanted help and George and Lucille looked up thier dad. Ralph was 8 years younger than Bob so he was just "the baby"--everyoneone's baby.

A typical day on the farm. Myrtle with baby Ralph, Teddy the wonder dog, George Sr, Bob, George Jr, Edith and Lucille in 1929. Larger View , more photos and the story of how this photo was taken.

Myrtle loved the farm and especilly liked working outside. George, his children will tell you, did not like farming. He farmed a good share of his life, but what he really enjoyed was being in the woods. Many days, he'd leave as soon as the chores were done and just wonder the woods all afternoon. When he and Myrtle divorced and he was free to do what he wanted, he went to live in a logging camp. But that was a long time in the future. For now there was the farm, and the family lived there until 1937, when the oldest McCutchen cousin, Cap, bought the farm.

This photo was taken in 1936 or so, not long before the house changed hands. The old house is weathered but 'hanging in there'. Grandma McCutchen's white rose climbs the wall beside her bay window and hops cover the back porch. At the other end of the porch is an enclosed area that housed the outside bathroom (because toilets were considered too dirty to be inside when the house was built.) For more about the house go to Yacolt.

All of the older children talk about how our parents divided them up. Edith and Bob were "Mama's"'. George and Lucille were "Daddy's". They had different child raising ideas and different rules. The children soon learned to go to their special parent for special attention or special permission. The results of this lasted lifetimes. For instance, Edith and Mama were best friends to the day Edith died but Lucille and Mama never go along, not even when Mama was 80. Likewise, Daddy helped George, who enjoyed horses and farming, to develop a small herd of steers while he refused to help Bob who was mechanical and dearly wanted to buy a car.

The children were growing up and leaving home. Edith went to Battleground to work for her board and room while she attended highschool. After she graduated in 1936, at age 19, Edith married Victor Gregg. Her mother and grandmother wanted her to have a big "McCutchen" wedding, but Edith resisted and was married in a quiet ceremony in Battleground. The lovely lacy wedding dress was cut up and served as baby dresses for her first child. About the same time, George, Jr. left home to seek his fortune.

For several years, our parents had been wanting to leave the farm and move back East of the Mountains. When they finally did, in 1937, the transition wasn't smooth. In fact, looking back, one can see that this move was the start of the end of our family unit. Never again did our parents have all of their children together. The oldest two were out on their own and the youngest three went to stay with the Fishers in Boardman, Oregon, while the farm was sold and the move was made. Ralph, 8 at the time of the move, never returned to his family of origin but mostly stayed with the Fishers until 1942 when he went to stay with his big brother George and his wife of one year, Ruby (Matteer). Lucille graduated that year of transistion (1937) and left to work as an waitress in a resort and earn money to go to college.

This left only Bob and as he tells it now, the folks lived in at least 4 different places that first year or so after the move. Sometimes, each of them took jobs in different areas. Bob stayed with them in Boardman and moved with them to Walla Walla, WA, but returned to Boardman, working for his board and room with family friends, to finish high school in 1938. With all of the upheaval in the four oldest children's high school school years, the miricle is that all of the graduated highschool.

When Bob left Walla Walla, my folks had no more children at home. My father was 57 and my mother was 42. They were still living almost separated lives. Daddy working on a ranch near Boardman and Mama was running a boarding house in Walla Walla when she discovered she was pregnant again. I was born in Walla Walla, in August of 1939. The marriage struggled along for three more years while they tried to make a home for me, their last, unexpected child. Finally, when I was 3 and a half, they were divorced.

George, Myrtle and Helen, age 3.
Center: Bob, Ralph, Edith, George, with Helen

Helen, at 3, with Ralph, 13.
Lucille was away being a missionary in British Hondorus.

The war was on and Bob, who married Iris Young in 1942, had been working as a mechanic. But when it looked like he'd be drafted, he joined the Navy in 1942--on his wife's birthday! George was drafted and went into the Army about the same time. Ralph was too young to fight in World War II, but joined the Army Air Force just as soon as he was 17.

Where my older siblings had aunts and uncles and lots of cousins, I had grownup brothers and sisters and lots of neices and nephews, but the relationships were very similar. Lucille was the only one of my sibs who didn't marry and have children. She was also the only one, besides myself, who completed college. After college, she went to British Hondorus as a missionary and then came back to Southern California where she taught school for many years. She had several foster daughters but we never knew them when they were with her, except for Juana, who was younger than my own children.

Back: Bruce and Laura Gregg, Front: Phil Gregg, Tom and Patricia McCutchen & Paul Gregg in about 1949. Sharon's brother, Herb, is missing from these two photos as is Bob's youngest, Roy.

Laura Gregg, Sharon and Helen McCutchen.
This photo was probably taken in 1954.

After my parents' divorce, my mother, 15 years younger than than my father and still very active, set about earning her own living. With only her experience as a housewife and farmer's wife, her choices were limited. She cooked; she worked as a housekeeper; she worked as a combination of all three at times in the home of an older person. But her favorite was working as a practical nurse in a nursing home. She tried keeping me with her when she did live-in housework, but when I smeared cold cream all over her boss's bed, she gave that up.

My younger years, even before my parent's divorce, were spent living a few months with one sibiling or relative after another but they all had thier own families and responsibilities and one more was one more than they needed.Eventually, when I was 7, I went to stay on the farm with Aunt Clyde, Uncle Bill and my cousin, Cap. When they sold the farm, I was 13 and still with them. They moved to Hermiston, Oregon and I went along. I stayed with them until I was 15.

Thus, even though I never lived with my siblings on the farm, I did live there. I can gratefully share memories with them now even though mine are more than years later than theirs. For more about the old McCutchen house and more photos, showing the house over the years, click here.

My father didn't want the divorce but the upside for him was that now he was free to go off into the woods where he'd longed to be. He was already over 60, but he spent the next 4 1/2 years in logging camps along the Oregon coast. He'd have stayed there longer but he became too ill with emphasema and had to quit. By then I was about 13 and living with his brother, Bill's family. So my father came to live with them too. He stayed until I left when I was a sophomore in highschool. When I left, he did too and spent the final two years of his life with my brother, George, and his family.

From the summer of 1954:
Left: Myrtle and George (center) with their youngest and oldest children--Helen and Edith.
Right: George sitting as he often did that summer, in an easy chair in the sun in front of Ralph's house. Ralph and Lily's dog, Mickey, keeps him company. Note the vintage car.

My father was never well after he retired, but he managed to hang on until 1957. Two weeks after I graduated from high school, I married Paul Buell. In November of the same year, my father, his last chick cared for, died. He was buried in Yacolt with his parents and his youngest brother.

Back in 1950, when I was 11, Mom had married Robert Steighers. He was a "younger man", being all of 3 months younger than she. They were together for over 30 years, until he died at age 91. He was a farmer without a farm, and worked mostly as a large equipment driver for wheat ranchers in Asotin and pea growers in Walla Walla. They usually lived in housing provided by the rancher, but as he got older and became semi-retired, they rented a home in Vancouver. I remember one grand old house they rented, but for the last 20 years of their marriage, they lived in an apartment in a low cost housing complex in Vancouver.

This photo with George and Ruby and Grandma Cole was taken not long after Mom and Bob were married.

After spending the summer of 1954 with my father visiting family, I went to live with my mother for the first time since I was 3. She may not have been there for me as a child, but she was a wonderful mother for a teenager. My friends thought she was great fun. Of course, I was simply embarrassed and wished she was more sedate like my friend's prim and proper mother. In my senior year, we were living in Chewelah, WA, and Bob was working as a farmer's helper (and Mom as farmwife's helper) on a large dairy farm. This job didn't last long and Bob's next job was in Walla Walla. I stayed because I'd met and eventually married Paul Buell.

Mom lived many more years. She broke her hip in her late 70's and was in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Bob took care of her until he no longer could. They both went into a nursing home in Vancouver in 1991. Bob had congestive heart failure and died only a few weeks after they entered the nursing home. Mom was there for another 9 years. She died in April of 1997, after celebrating her 100th birthday the July before. She too was buried in Yacolt.

Left: Paul Gregg (Edith's son) and Mom with her patriotic birthday cake, in 1996. Mom was born on the 4th of July, 1896.

Right: Lucille with her mother at Mom's 100th birthday party. Not long after this Lucille became ill and was no longer able to travel. She died in 1999, the third of my sibs to die at age 78.