Friday, June 24, 2011

Reunion Day 2: Spokane, Garfield and Moscow

We started out our day on base at the Fairchild Inn
and went back over to the chow hall for breakfast.

The first item on the schedule was to go downtown to the Spokane County Courthouse where mom and dad took out a marriage license on marriage license.
They were married the next day in 1942.  We wandered the halls for a little while and looked at the cool architecture of the courthouse.  Brad is an architect in Fort Worth so we thought the building would be interesting.

From the courthouse we headed to where Almadean's (our mother) grandfather lived.  Eastern Washington is a beautiful part of the country.  It has miles and miles of rolling hills.  Wheat country.
Asa Overby moved to the Garfield area in 1879.   He homesteaded 240 acres of land.  He married the same year and was active in the local church.  His father-in-law started a bible study that evolved into a Baptist Church that was built in Garfield.  Opening day and dedication for the church was December 10, 1899.

We drove into the town of 600 people and started talking to people.  The first person Reid talked to was Shelly in the town bank.  Larry was out for a walk and Marty and Reid talked to him.
Then we went down to the Community Church that had strong similarities with the picture of the church in the dedication brochure.  There were people outside and we went over to talk to them.
Denise was very friendly and showed us around inside the church.  We looked at the windows, steeple, additions and determined it was in fact NOT the church we were looking for…  We left without locating the church.

We drove onto a dirt road on the outside of town for a couple of miles and found the farm Asa Overby's farm.  Reid and Amy had actually spoken to the lady (Eva Mae) who lived here 6 or 7 years ago when they came out here on a prior visit looking for some family history.

When we drove into town, Reid had talked to a lady at the bank who knew Eva Mae's son.  She called him and asked if it would be ok to go by and see her.  He gave us permission and we drove up to the house.  Reid and Amy knocked on the door and we were invited up to the house.
After introductions, she invited us all in for a few minutes and told us what she knew about the house.  Then we took a quick look outside and got a group picture.
Wow - our 20 minute visit revealed she has lived here since 1947.  She showed us around and showed us the different additions that had been made. What a nice lady.  She was pretty excited to talk to us but we were even more so!

Then it was lunch time.  We heard they had pretty good hamburgers at Grumpy's Tavern.  Since it was the only place in town, that is where we went.
From Grumpy's we went to the cemetery outside of town.  We wandered around for a while and found Asa Overby's grave.  We found the grave stones of some of his 8 children.
We had some unsigned letters from a woman addressed Asa as her 'loving husband' who was away a  lot.  She pleaded for him to come home… Asa was a busy business man and travelled a lot.  We knew he was married to Alma Overby who died in 1907.  Pam noted these letters were postmarked in 1909 and 1914 from Moscow Idaho.

Who was this mystery woman we have never heard about?  We drove over to Moscow Idaho.  Our first stop was the Latah County Courthouse.  After getting some help from Stacy, we found a marriage certificate in the  auditor's vault for Mary Hunter and Asa Overby.  Aha!
We found they were married November 24, 1908.  Hmm.  Alma died in March 1907.  

Then we went over to the Latah County Historical Society in Moscow.  We weren't sure what we were looking for but now we had a name.
And found that Mary Hunter was on the 1910 census that listed her as married with property holdings of $10, 228.
The Historical Society folks were great.  Dan- the director, Christine and another volunteer were very interested and asked probing questions so we could find out some things.
We saw that Mary was later listed as head of household long before Asa died, so we are trying to find out if she and Asa ever divorced.

More detective work ahead.  Mary's address was a couple of blocks from the Historical Society.
By time we saw her house it was about 5:00 and we had reservations at the Best Western in Colfax.  It was almost 7:00 before we checked in.
Then wewent to eat at Eddies Chinese / American Restaurant in town.
It was a long and interesting day.  We found some answers, learned a lot, saw some great countryside in Eastern Washington and enjoyed each others company.

Now on to day 3!

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...


  1. This is really fascinating to read. Family histories are so interesting. Can't wait for day 3 :)

  2. Wow what an exciting post... fun to read!
    Have fun continuing your journey!

  3. I like the idea of a direct search for family history, sounds exciting and fun!

  4. what a great journey down 'memory lane'!!!..have fun tomorrow playing 'detective'!!