Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
WINN. Among the substantial and successful agriculturists of Adams
county, we are constrained to mention the gentleman whose name heads this
article. He was one of the first settlers where Delight now is located
and has given his attention to farming and stock raising since. Industry
and uprightness have characterized him in his walk and the result is that
he has made a becoming success in his labors.
Thomas Winn was born
in Texana, Texas, on October 2, 1863. His parents, Thomas and Hannah
M. (McChesney) Winn, were natives of Virginia. The grandfather of
our subject came from England to Virginia in early days and secured a plantation
in Roanoke county. His youngest son, Thomas Winn, the father of our
subject, was well educated in the state university and became a prominent
lawyer, but owing to failing health was forced to abandon his profession.
Ten years after his marriage, this gentleman removed with his wife's father
to Texas, and there did stock raising and also held several prominent offices.
In 1880, he went on to New Mexico, later to California and in 1884 landed
in Washington. He secured a homestead above Washtucna lake and there
remained until 1889, when he went to Pasco, being elected county auditor.
There his wife died in 1889, and he the following year. Seven children
were born to this marriage, three in Virginia, and four in Texas.
Our subject was educated
in Texas and received his training from the public schools. He remained
under the parental roof until eighteen years of age, then he began the
duties of life for himself and took up stock raising as his initial labor.
For two years he labored at that and then lost his holding through the
hard winter. As early as 1883, Mr. Winn made his way into Washington
and located on the Snake river. Two years later, he took a homestead
and timber culture where he now lives, about three miles south from Delight.
Since that time he has been steadily engaged in general farming and stock
raising. His place is all under cultivation, fenced and supplied
with plenty of good water and good buildings, his residence being a new
structure, completed in 1902.
In 1888, at Moscow,
Idaho, occurred the marriage of Mr. Winn and Kate McChesney, the daughter
of Zachariah and Celia (McDowell) McChesney, natives of Virginia and Kentucky,
respectively. The great-great-grandfather of Mrs. Winn came to America
with his parents before 1812, as some of the family fought for the cause
of the young states in that struggle. They were of Scotch-Irish extraction.
The son of this venerable gentleman lived in Virginia, as also did his
son, George W. McChesney, the grandfather of Mrs. Winn. This man
had two brothers, Zachariah and Adam. G. W. McChesney was a wealthy
planter in Roanoke county, Virginia, and also a merchant. In 1858
he went to Texas and did stock farming until his death from yellow fever.
He left a family of five boys and two girls, the youngest of whom was Zachariah
McChesney, the father of Mrs. Winn. He left Texas when young for
Kansas, whence he journeyed to Missouri and married Miss Celia McDowell.
They went to California and dwelt for ten years, having a farm where Longbeach
is now situated. In 1879 he sold this property and went to Texas
and the following year accompanied the elder Mr. Winn, another McChesney
family, and some others to New Mexico. They had a fine trip part
of the way and some of the time were exposed to great hardship, and danger
from the savages. Mrs. Winn's mother died at Whiteoaks, New Mexico,
and sleeps there to this day. Then Mr. McChesney went to California,
returned to Texas, in 1883 journeyed to Virginia, in 1884 back to California,
and finally in 1886 came to Washington and located government claims.
He had two children besides Mrs. Winn. One only, living now.
Mrs. Winn's mother's people, the McDowells, were a very old and prominent
family, being connected with the Pages, Montgomerys, Alexanders, and other
leading families. Many of the ancestors were stanch Americans before
there was a United States, and fought in the various struggles from the
first settlements of the colonies all through. To Mr. and Mrs. Winn
seven children have been born, Thomas, Celia E., Mary M., Roy M., Alice
G., John H., and Virginia.
In the political world,
Mr. Winn has always pulled in the Democratic harness and is well pleased
with the principles of that party. He has held various minor offices
and is a man always greatly interested in the welfare of the community
and the state.
Mr. and Mrs. Winn are
members of the Christian church and are exemplary people. They have
endured much hardship in getting started here and have shown a zeal and
stability that is worthy of note. They struggled with the other pioneers
in the days of trial and scarcity of provisions, but have overcome and
are among the leading people here today.
We wish to mention in
this connection regarding Mr. Winn and his father in New Mexico.
They had various thrilling experiences from the wily savages, and were
exposed to much danger continually. On one occasion the Indians made
a raid and all were forced to flee for their lives. It became necessary
to notify some men who were caring for stock in the mountains and young
Winn, our subject, who was then but seventeen, was selected for the dangerous
undertaking. Owing to the condition of things speed was urgent.
He secured a fast horse and in the darkness of midnight struck out.
He was forced through hard passes on a dangerous trail where but one horse
could walk at a time. Yet with drawn pistol momentarily expecting
an attack from the savages, he pressed on. Finally he reached the
men, and soon they had the loose stock up and on their way back.
They finally reached a place of safety though some of the stock was sacrificed.