Due to recent newspaper articles, most everyone knows the Old House has received an M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust grant for a considerable amount - $65,000. Of that amount, $15,000 must be matched dollar-for-dollar. (Some “matching” funds can be met by in-kind work and some, like Murdock’s, require the dollar-for-dollar match.) The historical society’s Board of Directors is EXTREMELY pleased with this grant because funds will complete the next step; heating of the Old House and once that is done, work will begin on completion of the 14 rooms of the house; refurbishing the wainscoting in the two kitchens, papering walls that have been stripped of the old, deteriorating paper, refinishing doors and woodwork AND starting preparations for 3 rooms to be converted to a library to house a massive collection of the history of the Cow Creek valley.
Board members Jennene Johns and Lynne Diltz recently attended an all day class on Archival Collection, Classification and Storage. The class was taught by a certified archivist from the Oregon State Historical Records Department. Our two board members found out how much they DID NOT know about the many facets of collecting and storing old records, photos, etc. Setting up the collection for the Old House will be a definite challenge.
MORE GOOD NEWS - the Old House received a generous donation of $2500 from Sue Shaeffer and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, to upgrade the security system at the Old House. Video cameras with audio, motion and zoom will be in use; and of course the resident caretaker keeps his watchful eye on everything.
Two more grant requests were submitted to funders - one was sent to the Douglas Community Fund and the other to the Oregon Cultural Trust. Both requests were denied - the cause given was the tremendous number of requests for money and CCHS was invited to “try again next year”.
Once the house itself is completed the project is about half done. The Master Plan calls for building a replica of the carriage house (referred to in the following article as the garage); this modern one will be a bit larger than the original and feature a large, commercial-style kitchen, storage, ADA accessible bathrooms on the ground floor and a caretakers apartment upstairs. The outside will be finished to match the Old House. Plans for the grounds include a gazebo (for weddings and such functions) and across the little gully, a large pavilion for the same. Rental of the finished facilities will help support the Old House.
Last newsletter featured a history of the Springer family. This time we asked Marian Martin Owens to write about the Martin family, occupants of the Old House for nearly 60 years. The following is her story:

“.....The Martin family began the long process of moving into the two-story duplex family home in November of 1940. It was an extended family; Thomas Madison “Matt” Martin and his wife Faye Fisk Martin, their son Whiting Fisk Martin, his wife Edith Ellen Timmons Martin and their two daughters, Zorayda Fay and Marian Martha. The Martins owned a ranch in the San Joaquin valley, in the community of Rio Bravo, California, where they had lived for 30 years. However, Whiting developed life-threatening allergies to crops in that area. For that reason the family made the decision to move.
It was in the spring or early summer of 1940 that Matt and Faye drove from California to Washington State, looking for ranch property to buy. Like many folks who traveled in the 1930's and early 1940's, the grandparents camped along the way. Their search for property in Washington and northern Oregon was unsuccessful and the elder Martins were on their way back home. It was time to set up camp for the evening when they entered the Cow Creek valley so they stopped at what was then - and still is - the Azalea Grange grounds - to spend the night. The Martins resumed their trip the next morning and had driven just a short distance when they saw THE HOUSE.
The large, two-story building was painted a yellowish tan. At the left stood a garage with a small, upstairs apartment. The big yard was fenced and in the back yard was a smokehouse for smoking meat and a woodshed. The house had electricity but no running water. There was a well in the back yard. The outhouse was on the right side of the yard and it was just perfect for an extended family. It had two big holes and a small one!! Across the gully from the house was a large barn with a big sign that read “CHEW MAIL POUCH TOBACCO - TREAT YOURSELF TO THE BEST”. Other outbuildings consisted of a granary, two chicken houses and several pig sties.
Inside the house the Martins found there were two large living rooms, two large kitchens with wood burning stoves and two pantries. Between the two sides was a parlor (called the middle front room by the Martins), a hallway, closet and stairwell. Two small rooms were located between the two kitchens. It is believed the builder intended the rooms to eventually be bedrooms. The upstairs had 3 large bedrooms across the front of the house and smaller rooms across the back. Each side had its own front porch and front door but the back porch was shared. Connected to the back porch was a pump house with shelves for canned goods. The thick walls were filled with sawdust so the temperature in that room stayed fairly constant both summer and winter.
The Martin family “struck a deal” with the owner of the property, Union Life Insurance Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. It would take time to sell the California ranch, so a mortgage was place on this property. The following is recorded in the abstract... “that the said Mortgagors hereby mortgage to the Mortgagee an undivided one-half of all crops now growing or which have been or may be hereafter sown, grown, planted, cultivated or harvested during the year A.D. 1941 and 1942 on real estate in the County of Douglas, State of Oregon (and it describes the location of the 965 acres, more or less...) there was to be a $713.92 payment due on Dec 1, 1941 and another on Dec 1, 1942. Another abstract entry indicates all mortgages satisfied on Aug 14, 1946. Purchase price of the property and house was $15,000.
It took a year for the Martins to move both families, two hired men, furniture, farm equipment, the cattle, sheep, horses, dogs, chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese to Glendale. Whiting brought Edith and the girls to Oregon and the elder Martins stayed in California to prepare the loads for Whiting to haul to the new home, on his Ford truck. He could make a trip a week.
Edith’s nearest neighbors were Mr and Mrs Davis, who owned the Glendale Junction. It was one half mile south of the New Martin home. Besides selling groceries and gasoline, there was what we now refer to as a motel. In those days it was called an “auto camp”. Cecil and Myrtle Young lived another half mile beyond the Junction. Edith bought milk from the Youngs until cows and a hired man to milk the critters, arrived in Oregon.
Soon after the move was completed and Matt and Faye were settled in their half of the duplex, Matt developed a spring on the mountain above the house and put in a large water tank so the house had running water. A hot water tank was connected to Faye’s wood cookstove and the family then had hot running water, too. Happily, the chamber pots at night and the outhouse during the day, became memories of the past, instead of reality!! The upstairs bathroom featured a toilet, sink and large claw-foot tub. The downstairs bathroom had an old fashioned toilet that flushed with a pull on a long chain attached to a water tank high above, on the wall. The bathroom also had a small, ugly green sink. Both were probably already antiques when Grandad installed them in the house.
Besides the cookstoves in the kitchens, both living rooms had wood heaters. It took a lot of wood to cook food and heat the house. There was no insulation in the walls. The kitchen, pantry and bathroom walls were painted but all the other rooms had wallpaper. When Edith or Faye decided it was time to remodel, that meant pasting new wallpaper over the old and repainting the woodwork and ceilings. The ceilings were high - so the whole process was tricky.
Whiting was a mechanic and had his own machine shop but he also farmed with Granddad. The Martins lived off the land, raising meat, vegetables and fruit. The orchard produced an abundance of fruit. Apples were stored in a bin in the granary by piling hay underneath, around and over the top. Apples that started to age or rot, were thrown to the pigs. Grandad fished in Cow Creek which ran through the property and both men hunted. Nothing went to waste. Granddad shot robins out of his favorite cherry tree early one morning and Grandma served them for lunch that day. (Do you have any idea how tiny a robin leg is??)
Meat was smoked or canned. On two different occasions, Whiting trapped a bear. One of the hired men refused to eat bear meat because he said it looked too much like a man when the carcass was hanging. When a hog was butchered, the fat was rendered to make lard and soap. Duck and goose down was used to make new pillows and quilts.
Every Monday Edith did laundry for the family and the hired men (who lived in the apartment over the garage). She had a wringer type washer on the back porch. When the weather was good she hung the clothes outside to dry. When it rained, she carried baskets of wet laundry up to the third story attic. Edith was a wonderful seamstress. She made new clothes for all the women and girls in the family, using a pedal sewing machine. She also did the mending on the machine.
Every summer hay was mowed, raked and put in the barn. What fun it was to swing from a rope tied to a rafter in the barn and land in the soft piles of hay! The irrigation ditch that runs thru the property provided water for the garden, orchard and hay crops. The water-right for that ditch was granted in 1901. The ditch was dug in 1902. The head of the ditch is on Cow Creek, above Barton Road. It extended past the old Wilton Garrett ranch until the 1950's. Farmers beyond the Martin ranch decided to either give up farming or use sprinkler irrigation. The ditch is still in use on the Martin ranch which is farmed by the Andy and Marian (Martin) Owens family. Their daughter, Kathleen Allen, supervises the ranch and is the official Bovine Midwife, Containment Specialist (fence builder) and she is in charge of the Bovine Meals on Wheels (feeding).
Eventually Edith got a new electric range and Faye started cooking on a small gas stove. The wood hot water heater was replaced by an electric model. The family got its’ first telephone in 1953. It was a crank style phone and was one of ten on a party line. (Our ring was three shorts and two longs) The phone joined Edith’s sewing machine and the family piano in the middle front room. That room also became home to the family’s first television set - that had a black and white picture with lots of “snow”. It was in the late 1940's or early 1950's that the exterior of the house got a badly needed coat of white paint.
The family shared many joys in that house - and their sorrows. The holiday dinners were usually cooked a served in Edith’s kitchen. There were many guests who came for summer vacation on the ranch. Through the years, Edith sewed dozens of new dresses for all the little girl cousins.
Matt and Faye, who married in Santa Maria, California in 1904, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in the Old House on Nov 15, 1964. Matt died at age 89 in November, 1968, while sitting in his favorite chair in the living room of the Old House. Faye died peacefully in her sleep in January, 1973. She was almost 96. Having outlived her husband, three of her four sons, a grandson and all her brothers and sisters, she often said - “I wonder if God forgot where I am?” She never lost her sense of humor.
Whiting and Edith also celebrated 60 years of marriage in the Old House on April 15, 1991. Whiting died at age 85 in November of that same year. Edith had no desire to live without her beloved Whiting and she died at age 82 in February 1992. About a year and a half after their deaths, their eldest granddaughter, their great-granddaughter and their great-great-granddaughter moved into the house, where they lived until the house was donated to the Cow Creek Historical Society by Zorayda Martin Ford and her husband Carl E. Ford. Carl and Zorayda celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2000. Zorayda, who was born in 1932, died in July of 2002. Her donation of the Old House is a lasting gift and historical treasure to the community.
Six generations of the Martin family lived in the Old House for a span of almost 60 years. It is a joy to see the house standing proudly as it is restored to serve the community as a museum and historical library. There’s ovef 104 years of living hidden inside those walls. What a wealth of information and history we’d have, if walls could talk....................