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THE HUELSDONKS - 1892
JOHN - "IRON MAN OF THE HOH"

By Lena Fletcher, (March 14, 1956)


My father and mother moved to the Hoh Valley in October, 1892, from Iowa where they were married. Members of the Huelsdonk family who homesteaded in the Hoh Valley or lived there between 1892 and 1897 were:

My father's parents, Herman and Elizabeth Huelsdonk
His grandfather - Cornelius Berntz
His brothers - Henry, Bill, Cornelius, August, Fritz, and Adolph
His sisters - Elizabeth and Johanna
and nieces - Marie and Geneva Wolf, daughters of Johanna.

My mother's maiden name was Dora Wolf and she was an orphan - one of a family of six children. Until she was fourteen she had been a foster sister in the Huelsdonk family, which moved to Iowa from that part of the German Empire which lies against the Dutch border on the lower Rhine River. She was left behind at that time with her older sisters. Several years later she too migrated to America and joined her brother's family and ultimately was reunited with the Huelsdonks in Iowa where they then were farming.

My father and mother were newlyweds when they came to the Hoh, and I, their first child, was born the next year. To get to the Hoh Valley in 1890 and shortly thereafter, settlers left the Straits near Clallam Bay, went by trail to Forks. South of Forks there was no trail, so they just went through the timber on elk trails or anyway they could. Of course each group maked their route and hacked away the worst tangles so that eventually there were trails of a kind.

Forks was connected to Clallam Bay with a "wagon" road (a miserable affair by today's standards) by the late 1890s, though it is hard to determine when it stopped being a trail and reached the dignity of a road.

Early neighbors of my parents were:

"Bill" Smith
Charley Cider
H. Stochek
Bill Hohman
Enoch Borgeis
Pete Willoughby
Jack Wynn
Billy Snell

Later,

Carl Fisher
Fred Fisher
Bill Schleneker
Bill Moritz
Otto Kestner
Ovid Melbourne
Otis Crippen
Pete Brandenburry
T. R. H. Schmitt