In 1871 Wilbur Bassett, his wife Adelia and son Herman traveled to Spokan Falls where Wilbur immediately found work building a sawmill on the river for Scranton and Downing Company. The family of three shared living space in Scranton's 12 x 24 foot cabin which was near the sawmill. Today there is a small monument marking the spot near the old Washington Water Power building by the falls.
While they were living in that cabin, their daughter, Minnie Maria Bassett was born on January 2, 1872. She is reckoned to be the first white child born in the area. That same year, ...
In 1959, Sam Webb recalled that back in the 1880s a family of Spokane Indians camped on the site of the new Gibson's Grocery (1011 1st Street) every winter. He said the camp was made up of about 10 to 15 teepees. This site is on high ground near the spring of water that gave Cheney its original name of Willow Springs.
Sam came to Cheney as a boy with his family on the first passenger train on the Northern Pacific Railroad line.
The Cheney area is part of the Spokane Tribe of Indians territory.
Located on the west side of North 6th Street near the corner of Mike McKeehan Way, Crunk's Hill was leveled to create sport fields. There is a plaque at the restrooms.
George W. Crunk came west from Tennessee. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War as a Private with the 20th Regiment, Kentucky Infantry, Company C. We don’t know when he came west, but by June 1878, he was farming this land with his wife, Annah, and their three children. The Crunk family did not stay long in the area, they moved to Oregon in 1883, but hill is remembered as part of Cheney lore ...
The Cheney Free Press published this letter from Roy Mashburn to his parents:
May 11, 1919
My dear Mother:
Well, I suppose you will be surprised to hear from me, but being that today is mothers day I am going to surprise you and drop you a few lines. You never can guess what I might do, as you know that I am forgetful, but this is one time that I am not forgetting, ain’t you surprised?
Well Mamma, at this very minute I am on the Great Atlantic, somewhere off the coast of France. I think that we are about 800 miles off land, so we have only a ...
Cheney Free Press 9 May 1919
Four Cheney boys - Herman Jensen, Richard Roos, Rodrick Stroup, and Ernest Harr - all of whom left here on October 5, 1917 for Camp Lewis to enter military service, returned home last Saturday, veterans of at least three of the biggest battles of the war, unscratched, healthy, and happy to be home again.
All four of the boys went through the war together, in the same company and division, the 361st machine gun company of the 91st division, and fought side by side in each battle in which they were engaged.
Entering Camp Lewis on October ...
The Cheney Free Press published this letter given by the family of Richard Roos:
St Martin in view of Bellevue France, January 22, 1919
Dear Folks: Received your letter written December 23. We are still waiting here. Tomorrow we are due to parade before General Pershing. Whether we do or not you will find out next time I write if I don’t forget to mention it.
We have seen snow twice over here, but it did not stay on the ground. In fact, the grass and fields are green. I received the pictures ok.
I had a sickening hope that we would be mustered out in New ...
These men, of our districts or attending the Normal School also served during the war in Europe, but we have not discovered information. Can you add to their story?
Arland E. Ableman
James Leighton Almack of Cheney
Eldon J. Belyea
William R. Bernard
Percy J. Burnell
Neil Caplinger (Navy)
Archie N. Dake
Jack Dowd (Navy)
Joseph W. Hueter
Arden Lee of Amber
Lewis Montford McCormick
Wilbur H. Miller
Alfred Claude Morley of Tyler
Walter H. ...
The war in Europe ended as per the agreement between the waring parties, on the 11th month, the 11st day at the 11th hour.
The above Associated Press image is of the celebrations in Paris on that day.
Here in Cheney, there was a Peace Parade through the town followed by a carnival celebration that evening in the Normal School gym.
Jim Bair, said his father, Everett Bair, was in New Jersey with the 12th Infantry, ready to be shipped out, when the Armistice ended the war, November 11, 1918. The 12th Infantry was to be deployed to Europe to protect the Trans Siberian Railroad.
Chester Shepard joined the Army at age 16. He was born in Peoria, Illinois and came to Washington with his parents as a boy. His family homesteaded land near Fish Lake.
During the war, Shepard served in France. Returned to his home, marrying his wife, Berneice. The couple had three children Jeanine, Charles, and Richard.
Chester Shepard became a member of the Four Lake Grange and the Odd Fellows, serving as IOOF Noble Grand of the Cheney lodge. He was employed at the college until his death in January 1964.