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THE KESTNER AND HAAS FAMILIES 1891 - 1898



Two sisters, Louisia, and Josepha, were born and raised in Stein-Bomerwald, Austria. Louisia married Louis Haas, and they became the parents of Louis, Jr. Anton Kestner, also Austrian, migrated to Texas. Josepha later took ship to New Orleans, made her way to San Antonio where she met and married Anton. There a son Joseph was born. After they moved to California another son, Otto, arrived.

In 1891, Anton Kestner took a homestead at Quinault. The following year, 1892, Josepha with their two sons joined him. They landed at Oyehut, followed the beach to Taholah, and took a canoe up the Quinault River. The journey to their claim on the north side of the valley above the Lake, consumed about a week.

Robert Locke refers to Mrs. Kestner as 'the first white woman settler'.

Joe Kestner says his mother was the third white woman in the area. Her obituary states she was the sixth.

Orte Higley says:

"Mrs. Chesney was the first white woman in Quinault, Mrs. Julius Locke, the second; Mrs. Laurence Slover, third."

Belle Fairbairn, Mrs. Slover's sister, says Mrs. Wright came at the same time, 1890. Mrs. Joe Norwood also arrived in 1890 and Mrs. Jack Ewell in 1891.

During the winter of 1890-91, Mrs. Albert Merriman and daughter, Mrs. Webster, lived alone on the claim at Merriman Falls. They left in the spring. While most of these women stayed but a short time in the Valley, Mrs. Kestner was a permanent settler, living on the homestead for 46 years, or until her death. Her daughter, Josie Dickey, still farms a portion of the claim. Mrs. Kestner was phsyically strong, and worked outdoors with the men. She always made a big garden.

That first winter, the Kestners lost practically everything in the high water of the Quinault. They did salvage a pig that was floating on some debris.

Mrs. Kestner once shot a cougar. In telling of it, she said, "The first time I missed him. The second time, I hit him in the same place. But, the third time, I got him."