Saturday, March 14, 2009

On The Trail of the Old Pump Organ

This is a sample of recent email back and forth I am having with John and Gabriele, the owners of the pump organ in last weeks post. We are still on the trail of its origins. If anyone has more thoughts or something to add let me know. I deleted a couple of phone numbers and email addresses out of respect for privacy. I stuck in a few more photos too.



Thank you for your efforts to track down more information. I have great fun and satisfaction with the many contacts I have made in recent years and new and surprising discoveries that show up from time to time. I enjoy the detective work!

Walla Walla/College Place played an important part in the early history of the family on the side of my grandmother, Francis Beardsley Wood Steunenberg. Her grandparents and great grandparents (Maxson-Wood) were Seventh Day Adventist and had a great deal to do with the settlement of the Walla Walla Valley and the early formation of Walla Walla College. They brought the first piano to the valley and taught music at the college and in local schools. My grandmother also played and taught piano to local school children.

Meanwhile, In Caldwell, ID, the Steunenberg’s (Hollanders) were migrating from Iowa and Michigan, with the boys coming first and settling in Caldwell looking to make their mark and their fortune. Frank Steunenberg quickly became involved in business and politics and rose to become governor in 1897. His wife was my great grandma Belle Steunenberg. Most of the families were Presbyterian but Belle, always somewhat on the outside of the usual family social circles, one day joined up with a small Adventist sect that was getting established in Caldwell. It raised a few eyebrows as generally the Adventists were viewed as somewhat “fanatical.”

Around 1904, my grandfather Julian, eldest son of the governor and Belle, had been sowing a few wild oats as he finished high school and, at Belle’s insistence, was sent off to the Adventist College in Walla Walla. Julian objected being sent to “that missionary college” but Frank Sr. supported Belle’s decision even though Frank himself had not followed his wife into the Adventist religion. Frank had many Presbyterian friends and as well as most of the family but was not a regular at church…much like me.

To make a long story short, it was in Walla Walla that Julian Steunenberg met up with Francis Beardsley Wood. After his father was murdered in December 1905, Julian tried but was never able to finish his studies. Later in 1906, Belle gave her blessing to his marrying Francis knowing it would help soften the blow he was feeling from the murder of his father. Julian and Francis moved around a bit between Caldwell, ID and Walla Walla and Medical Lake, WA, as there was lots of family in all those areas and throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Frank Jr., the youngest son of Frank and Belle Steunenberg, who was only five or so at the time of the assassination, was also living in College Place and graduated from Walla Walla College in 1924. So he too was living there right around the time in question as related to the pump organ. Later in the 1920’s, Francis and Julian loaded up the kids (by mother being the youngest and was born in Caldwell) in the old Ford and headed for California. Hence, here we are!

My mother will be 91 in August and lives with by father not far from me here in San Luis Obispo County. They are struggling but maintaining some independence. I have many fond memories of our frequent visits and family gatherings with my grandparents Julian and Francis.

Regards, John

Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 11:22 AM
Subject: pump organ

Hello John,

Gabriele has informed you that I will get in touch with you.

As you know, we acquired the organ in Vernon, BC from the local well-established antique auction house. (Antique Imports - Chartered members of BC Auctioneers Association, 3021-29th Ave., Vernon, BC, 250-542-9119). The owner's name is Victor and he can be contacted. He's a great individual and has been auctioning estates for many years.

Meanwhile I searched for the name "Haines" and found approx. a dozen names in BC, in various places. Yesterday I was able to talk to a Mr. Doug Haines in Silvercreek near Salmon Arm. His telephone number is XXXXXXX. He is apparently 72 years old and lives on an acreage where the Haines' originally homesteaded. He inherited the place. He was kind enough to tell me about the Haines family history. Lyn Haines is buried there in Silver Creek. I asked him if he remembered a pump organ that his grandfather owned and he said: yes. Now, that does not mean that this is proof since we would have to show him pictures. Pump organs were not uncommon.

Apparently, the Haines family came originally from the northwestern US . Joseph Haines was a wounded civil war veteran. In the 1880's he took advantage of the Canadian settlement incentives and moved to Salmon Arm, BC as did many other Americans in those days. His son Lyn Haines took over the farm and stayed in Canada. Joseph Haines eventually moved with his wife back to the US since she was not too fond of the Canadian winter... :)

Doug Haines provided the first name of a couple of his cousins who live close to where we are located and I will try to contact them.

Will keep you posted John.

This is becoming a detective story.......


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