Grewell, Thomas Clayton “Clate” – Obituary

Veteran Of Indian Wars Passes Away. Clate Grewell Made First Trip Through This Valley In 1878. Clate Grewell, 75, pioneer resident of Washington and a veteran of the Indian Wars, passed away Friday night, April 1, 1938, at the Pasco Hospital after a brief illness. He had suffered a stroke on March 27.

Funeral services were held at Kennewick on Monday, the service being read by Rev. Stanley Grewell of Ellensburg, a cousin of the deceased. Burial was in the Mabton cemetery, pallbearers being C. I. Wright, Matt Wiehl, Henry Young, Colburn Anderson, Archie Borden and Paul Schicka.

He is survived by a sister, Mrs. Belle Little of Yakima, two sons, Purdy and Byron Grewell of White Bluffs, a daughter, Mrs. Harry Parsel of Ellensburg, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Born in Lucas County, Iowa, in 1863, Clate Grewell came to Washington as a baby and lived through a colorful career as a soldier, scout and cowboy during the early days of this state.

His parents started across the plains by ox team with their family of four children and their household belongings when he was but four months old. While on the trip, his father died, and his ten-year-old brother brought the party the rest of the way, reaching Vancouver, Washington, six months later. After living there for ten years, the family moved to Ellensburg, there being at that time only three or four families in the Kittitas Valley.

At the age of fourteen he joined a company of soldiers which had been organized to fight the Indians, who had joined forces to drive the whites from this section of the county, and helped build the old block house at Ellensburg.

A year later, while employed as rider for the Figure 2 ranch, he saw the Priest Rapids Valley for the first time. Hearing that the Indians were gathering for a march against the settlers, he left the party he was working with east of Othello and started for Ellensburg. He crossed the Columbia River here only a few hours later than the Perkins family, who that night were massacred near Barrel Springs. He was later present at the hanging of their murderers in Yakima.

While in the vicinity of Priest Rapids that day, he road around a bend of the river and saw just ahead of him a large Indian camp. Unable to avoid detection, he rode through the valley and managed to escape the band of Indians, which pursued him.

Arriving at Ellensburg, he found his family and all other settlers hiding from the expected war party, which the next day rode through the valley, destroying everything and carrying away all the stock.

He worked for the Figure 2 ranch at that time the only ranch on the river, for a number of years, and spent much time in this valley before the first settlement began. Later he worked in the Yakima Valley for a time, returning here in 1915 to make his home. He served as deputy sheriff in this district for eight years.


White, Judy Wallis. Kittitas County, Washington Obituaries. Published by Copyright 1999-2013, all rights reserved.

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