Chronological History of the Ashford Family
1937- 41 Dad and Mom were married in 1937 and lived in five different
locations in the city of Sweet Home. However, they did spend approximately
six weeks in Idaho during this time period. They drove a 1937 Studebaker
converted to tow a 5th wheel trailer. This trailer was specially built for
the person Dad purchased it from. Dad worked at the local Chevrolet garage
while they lived in Idaho.
1941-46 In 1941 they built a house on Knox Butte Road, a place near Albany.
They sold this house to Doris (Dad's sister) and Charley (her first husband)
and bought a house from Herman (Dad's brother) in Albany because Herman was
going into the Army. They sold this place and bought a place in Millersburg.
While they lived in Millersburg Dad was drafted into the Army and returned
there after the war. Delberta (9/3/41), Rod (10/6/43), and Dennis (3/30/45)
were born while they lived there.
Dennis was born just before Dad was drafted. Dad served from June 1945
until December 1945. Dad arrived home the day before Christmas 1945. Shortly
after Dad arived home Rod followed Mom down stairs when she went to cook breakfast
for dad and asked her for a drink of water. Because it was winter the wood Mom
used to start the fire in the wood burning cook stove was wet she splashed some
kerosene on the wood and set the cup with the leftover kerosene in it she used
on the counter. Rod thought it was his drink of water and drank it. They took
him to the hospital and pumped his stomach.
1946-48 They sold the place in Millersburg and moved to Jefferson
for a short while. Rod played 'big game hunting' with his brother and sister
in the corn field next to the house. Dennis swallowed a penny while they lived there.
Delberta's input: While we were living in Millersburg, Mom was playing with you
(Rod) on the bed and somehow your two front teeth got caught in the bedspread
and pulled out, so you were without them until your permanent ones came in.
Also, we had a hammock in the yard there where I sometimes took my nap. I
remember getting out of the hammock after one of my naps and stepping on a bee.
1948-49 They sold the place in Jefferson and bought a ranch at Vernonia.
Dad bought a silo from a man on Sauvie Island in the Columbia River and moved it
to the farm. They went broke trying to be farmers so they sold out. David was
born at home while they lived there. Delberta and Rod started school in
Vernonia and Rod cut his left hand playing with a sharp axe there. Dad told
him to not to touch the sharp ax. The axe Rod was allowed to play with was a
single bit ax and was dull on both sides. Rod attended afternoon kindergarten
and in the morning Mom kept his school clothes clean by making him wear one
of his sister's dresses. The hired hands would make fun of him. Dennis was
run over by an empty trailer while they lived there. Rod turned over a car
battery on the floor board of Dad's new car.
Delberta's input: While in Vernonia, I started school. One day Daddy told me a
story about laying 50 or so miles of railroad track and making it straight
because a bear was chasing him and he didn't have time to go around corners.
Being a gullible little girl, I believed him and told my teacher at school
all about it. I got lots of teasing from the family about that in later years.
Also, when David was born, I got to pick out his name -- I guess because I really
wanted a sister and just got another silly brother instead! Anyway, I named
him after a little boy in my class at school whom I must have had a crush on.
Grandma Buckle or whoever came to help out when David was born, told me go
wash some potatoes for dinner, and to be sure to get them clean. So I
washed them with soap! Never heard the end of that either.
1949-52 After selling the farm Dad and Mom moved to a place on Stone Road out of
Gresham and built a large barn on the property. The kids used to ride the cows
and one time David fell off one into a fresh cow pie. Rod would play with sticks
with a sharpened nail in the end (a spear). He has a scar on his head to prove it.
He told his mother he hit his head on a nail. There was a large tree on the hill
which had a spiral stripe of bark missing, caused by a lightning strike. Dad was
going to plow a field with a horse and did that for one day. On the second day he went
to town and bought a Ford/Ferguson tractor. Delberta and Rod would follow Dad
around the field when he was plowing with the horse and she stepped into a hornets
nest (the nest was in the ground). Delberta got her first bicycle at Greshem.
Rod learned to ride before she did. Across the road were some very tall fir trees
which Dennis and Rod used to climb clear to the top. All the kids had the mumps
while they lived there. For one of Rod's birthdays there were two presents from
which he could choose. The one he didn't pick was to go to David. Rod chose
the smallest (relatively speaking) and it was a steam shovel he could sit on.
The other was a large moving van, which David called a bread truck. The school
aged children attended Orient Grade School. Rod had the same teacher, Mrs. Thompson,
for the first three grades. Marvin was born while they lived there (12/29/50).
Here at Stone Road an older neighbor kid and Rod would hide David in a large cow
1952-53 Dad sold the place on Stone Road and moved the family to the home place in
Albany. Nanny and Grandpa bought a house and had it moved to a piece of land north
of the old home place. The school age kids had to walk one mile (one way) to a two
room school house called Oak Creek. There were 36 students in the whole school.
The children attended all of one grade and six weeks of the next grade there. Dad
worked for a planing mill owned by a Seventh Day Adventist. One day Dad came in and set down
at the supper table and asked, "Do you kids want your whipping now or later?" Rod
immediately thought of all the things he had done that day that Dad knew about and
he deserved a whipping for (he was sure there was at least one) and announced he
would take his later. The rest of the children (there were five of then by now)
followed suit. Then Dad explained why he was going to whip the children. Dad had
spent several weeks putting up a free swinging gate across the lane going to the back
forty and knew the children would swing on it if given a chance. Rod at the age of 72
has never swung on the gate. Now as a side light to this story, when Dad and Mom had
the 50th wedding anniversary in 1987, Dad tied back the gate on the deck to keep from
tempting the grandchildren.
While we were living at the farm in Albany, we were playing tag outside one afternoon
and Dennis fell against the side of the house and broke his collarbone. Amazingly,
that's the only broken bone that any of us six kids having as we grew up. Dennis and
Rodney both cut their hands on axes at different times, but mostly we were free of
1953-53 They moved to Myrtle Creek and lived by the Umpqua River. They started a house
there and when the double car garage and kitchen were complete they moved in. The garage
was divided into three rooms and the plumbing was outdoors. They stayed all of six weeks
at this place. The kids attended a very large consolidated school in Myrtle Creek which
had three fifth grade classes. Contrast this with a two room school at Oak Creek.
1953-55 After Myrtle Creek they moved to a rent house at Four Mile, between Bandon and
Langlois. The school aged children finished the rest of the current grade and all of
the next grade here. This was the third school for them in one year. At Four Mile Dad
shot a large yellow jacket nest out of a tree. He did this feat with just one shot from
a dead rest on a stump across the canyon from the tree. The nest was as large as an
apple crate and was taken to school for "show and tell". Robin was born while they lived at Four Mile
(3/24/54). A house was started at Two Mile but was never lived in. At Four Mile Del
always wanted us to play jump rope. Dennis was not much interested so Del and Rod tied
one end of the rope to the mirror on Dad's pickup. It worked great except they forgot to
remove it when they finished. Well as luck would have it, Dad took the pickup to work
the next morning and as he rounded a corner in the lumber yard guess what got caught.
You're correct. The loose end of the jump rope. The lumber pile did not move and rope
didn't break. The mirror was ripped off the side of Dad's truck. Boy did they ever get
in hot water for that mistake.
Delberta's input: While living out at four-mile near Bandon, Mom took all the kids except
Rodney and me to stay at Nannie's while Mom had her hysterectomy. I stayed home to
cook and keep house for Daddy and I guess Rodney was just supposed to keep me company.
I was only 12 years old, but there was a neighbor lady living right across our driveway
who kept an eye on us so we weren't in any danger.
David's input: I remember the bathroom window would swing open and close when you opened
the bathroom door. One time when Marvin was in the bathroom I was outside making the
window swing when it broke. I took off and Marvin got the whipping.
1955-56 The next move was to Bandon into a house near the mill where Dad worked. One
complete grade was attended there. Rod missed a lot school that year because of sickness.
Dad's first head injury occurred here. The forks off a fork lift fell on him and nearly
killed him. He had a hard head.
The things I remember about living in Bandon are that while living
there we got our first telephone, first electric mixer and first clothes dryer.
Mom loved the ocean and I remember her getting us all dressed, down to the ocean and back
before 10:00 AM when the wind came up. Quite a feat when you have six children.
I remember Marvin turning somersaults all the way across the floor when Aunt Polly and
Uncle Ivan came to visit us in Bandon. And I remember him running away from some of the
older boys and telling them, "You can't hurt me. My head's made of bone."
1956-57 The next move was to a rent house in Gardner. The rent house was sold and they
were forced to move to Coos Bay to find a house big enough for eight. Dad took Delberta
and Rod to Reedsport (Dad's job in Reedsport was on Bolon Island) so they didn't have
to change schools. Rod was in the eighth grade and graduated from Gardner Grade school.
At Coos Bay they lived next door to an egg distributor and had access to lots of cracked
eggs cheap. Marvin collected string from the Safeway store which was across the street
and he made two very large balls out of the string.
1957-59 After Coos Bay the family moved to a C.C.C. barracks in Reedsport and lived there
while they built a house on Cedar Street. Delberta learned to cook while Mom and the older
boys worked on the new house during the day. They had two single men (Del Spencer and ??)
who rented the room over the garage. The barracks roof leaked and because all of the kids
slept in the attic, every time it rained (all the time in Oregon) they were constantly
moving their beds to a place where the leaks would miss them. Also there was no bath tub
or shower in this house. We had to take baths in the kitchen in a tub. Because the school
had an indoor swimming pool, sometimes during the summer Mom would take us swimming instead
of giving us baths on Saturday.
After the house was complete they moved into it and then at the school break of 1958/59
(Rod's sophomore year) they moved to Beaver, near Tillamook. Delberta stayed in Reedsport
living with Betty Kay Thompson because she (Delberta) was a senior and did not want to
change schools. Rod took the plant phylum half of Biology at both schools and made a 'C'
both times. At Beaver Rod attended Nestucca High School in Cloverdale. Before the end
of the school year they moved back to a rent house in Gardner which was across from the
boat dock. Mom had to take Dennis and Rod to Beaver so Dennis could graduate from grade
school and Rod could take his final exams. Dennis and Rod had a business selling worms
and other kinds of bait to the fishermen. While they lived at Gardner Rod had the thrill
of a lifetime catching a 36 inch, 30 pound striped bass.
Somewhere along about now Dad had his second near-fatal head injury. He was attacked
by an employee (Ernie ???) who hit Dad over the head with a two by four.
1959-6x While living in Gardner they built a house at Lakeside, south of Reedsport
and moved into it when it was finished. Rod finished out high school when they
lived at Lakeside and left for college. He married in 1963.
Dad and Mom sold the place at Lakeside and moved the family into a trailer house
at the ranch (home place in Albany) while Dad and Dennis went to work in Alaska
(this was not a good idea).
After the fiasco in Alaska they bought a house in Halsey and Dad quit mill work.
Dad and Dennis started building houses.
The next move was to the Coos Bay area where they built a house at Eastside.
Rod got a divorce in 1964 and moved back home (at Eastside)
They built a bigger house north of North Bend near Hilltop Restaurant and moved
there. Rod cut the end off his thumb while working at Conrad's Building Supply.
Dad, Dennis and David were involved in a near-fatal car wreck while they lived
there. Before Dad recovered completely from the car wreck, Rod joined the Army
After Dad recovered they moved to Mt. Vernon, Washington, to a place in town.
They built a house in the country and moved there when it was ready. Dad
developed the property by building three more houses on it in his spare time.
They moved to Nevada and lived in two different towns.
After Nevada they moved to Junction City, and then to Green and then into a house
Dad built on Arcadia Drive in the country near Roseburg.
Mom died in the spring of 1989 and Dad sold the house on Arcadia Drive moving to Reedsport
to be near David. Dad lived two places in Reedsport.
In 1990 Dad married Bonnie and moved to her place in Winston.
After Dad and Bonnie's divorce, Dad spent the next few years being unsettled. He lived
in Mt. Nebo (near Roseburg), in Canyonville in a retirement complex, a home in Roseburg,
two places in a retirement trailer park in Sutherlin, and in 1997 he moved to Coos Bay
where he lived in a trailer house across the street from David.
In April of 1998 Dad married Esta Huntley and they lived in her home on Old Wagon
Road somewhere out of Coos Bay, Oregon until he died in January 2001.
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