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Cleveland & Louisa

Rodgers last homesite

Approaching the hill where Cleveland and Louisa lived at the end of his life. This is located on a ridge south of Mabton, Washington.

It was a typical summer afternoon: blazing sun glaring on the dusty windshield, clouds of dust kicked up by the wheels swimming past the windows. Thankfully, air conditioning isolated us from the grit, and beyond the haze the view was spectacular. We had followed gravel roads to a promontory overlooking the Yakima River valley, with Mabton in the distance. There were ripening wheatfields at our back, a rocky defile in front. The irrigated farms below were so green they nearly glowed, in contrast to the sagebrush and yellowed grasses around us. We found a dusty lot, scantily graveled, near an old structure that was probably used to load wheat onto trucks, or even wagons. Checking the map, I was sure these were the coordinates we were seeking. But there was no trace of a house, nor was there any indication that there ever had been one here.

This was the place that property records showed was the last dwelling place of my great-great-great-grandfather, Cleveland C. Rodgers and his wife, Louisa. A more bleak setting I could not imagine. Continue reading