Visiting Uncle Willie

Family

A hundred years ago this past New Years, Karen’s Great Uncle Willie came to Rathdrum, Idaho. He’d been born the fifth of the ten children of James and Lucy, the eldest of their surviving sons. About 1912, in his early twenties, after the untimely deaths of his parents, he chose to leave his native Kentucky and seek his fortune in The West. His family never heard from him again. Apparently he had an address in Spokane WA and registered for the draft in June of 1917 in Havre MT. On that cold New Years Eve he found an vacant railroad building south of Rathdrum and built a fire for warmth but the smoke overwhelmed him. When his family learned of his death they gave permission for his burial in Pinegrove Cemetery and his story was all but forgotten. Then in the 1990’s Uncle Jack began making inquiries and ultimately was able to have a granite marker placed. He has visited Uncle Willie here and today we enjoyed an opportunity to spend time here listening to the trains and imagining Uncle Willie’s life here in the Great Northwest.

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