Adele Maxwell Died at Age 95; Noted School Teacher 50 Years
Adele Powell Maxwell 95, whose life was school teaching in the small communities of this Eastern Oregon region, but whose later years were on a ranch near Vale, died March 17, 1991, at the Columbia Basin home in The Dalles.
Graveside service was held Thursday at Haines Cemetery, with her grandson, Rev. Dan Grady of Portland, the pastor.
Her death closed a long chapter in the history of this country dating back to 1835 in the East when her father was born. But her life was Burnt River Valley and neighboring counties where she left an imprint in the elementary schools of nine communities.
Pioneer Family Beginnings
Her father, John L. Powell came West as a youth, was a scout out of Vancouver, and there met Gen. U.S. Grant during the latter’s Western assignment. He was in the silver mining camp of Virginia City, drove stage from central California, had a cabin in the primitive Burnt River country, and stopped at it frequently on journeys up from Portland. His relationship with the Indians was friendly and he traded for hides from them as he was skilled in tanning. He lived briefly in North Powder but his home came to be Burnt River Valley.
Adele’s mother Ellen Moore Powell came with her family by covered wagon, walking much of the Oregon Trail at age three. That was in ’79-’80 and they settled in Burnt River Valley. She wed John L. Powell at an early age, he being beyond middle age.
Attended Local Schools
Adele was born in the Burnt River community Dec. 9, 1895. She attended grade school first in 1903 at Sumpter, at Muddy Creek and Unity. She is listed in the Baker High School graduating class of 1914, and then at 18 her elementary school teaching career was begun in New Bridge in Eagle Valley.
She took her college education training at Cheney Eastern Washington and she joined Pi Phi Sorority. She held a lifetime teaching credential certificate.
She taught at Unity, Hereford, Dayville, Little Lookout, Muddy Creek, Haines and Willow Creek this latter being in Malheur County. From her early teaching in her late teens, including New Bridge, her pupils recall she disciplined her classes and at times did principal duties.
She wed John E Maxwell at the church in Haines in June of 1929 and he continued ranching at Muddy Creek until the couple moved to Willow Creek in 1949 where he bought a ranch.
It was then that she began her teaching in the Vale Elementary school until retiring at the age of 65 in 1960.
Burnt River always continued as “home folks” to her and her life and teaching was enriched by lifelong ranching life, pursuit of camping and back country excursions; and bird life was of major interest.
Their children are Nancy Kinzey, now Mrs. Howard Kinzy of White Salmon, Wash.; Edward Maxwell, now living whith his wife in San Jose; and Marguerette, now Mrs. John Keetch at Chula Vista, Calif.; Seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Adele at an early age learned piano on Burnt River through the coaching of Mrs. Tom (Bernice) Whited, that couple being schooled in classic form at Eastern schools but who moved to establish a dude ranch on Burnt River. Adele was an accompanist available in all her life at various communities, her longtime friends recall. She used the music in her grade schools as well. She participated in various groups wherever she taught, was active in education associations and in Senior Citizens in late years at Vale, until 1989 when she moved to The Dalles to be near her daughter Nancy, at White Salmon.
Haines friends recall that during WWII she led a program of mattress-making, one of many home-front programs during the war. Bale cotton was converted by the ladies into mattresses for wartime relief. She was a member of the Retired Teachers Assn.
The Record-Courier, Baker City, Oregon, Thursday March 28, 1991, Page 4
Contributed by: Belva Ticknor