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.
CHARLES W. BETHEL. In the
month of August, 1883, Charles W. Bethel arrived in the state of Washington,
his sole wealth consisting of a healthy body and fifty cents in currency.
He borrowed money with which to file on a pre-emption timber claim twelve
miles west of Harrington, Lincoln county, borrowed more money with which
to pay out on it, then filed a homestead on a quarter section seven miles
nearer town, and went to work improving it. He owns the same land
yet, it being one of the most beautiful farms in its vicinity, and the
aggregate holdings of its owner are estimated at at least $70,000, which
sum represents the fruit of his labor during the past twenty years.
Mr. Bethel was born January 26, 1857, in Adams
county, Illinois, the son of Laven C. and Eliza J. (Featherngill) Bethel.
His father, a native of Virginia, died in 1866, and his mother, who was
born in Kentucky, of French descent, is now living in Caldwell county,
Missouri, in her eighty-fourth year. His grandfather, William Bethel,
was a flag bearer in the War of 1812.
At the age of ten Charles went with his parents
to Caldwell county, Missouri, where he lived until 1875, when he went to
California, located in the San Joaquin valley. Here he worked on
salary as a farm hand until coming to this state.
He was married in Cheney, Washington, November
7, 1884, to an old schoolmate of his, Mary Bell Cormana. The first
nine months of their married life the couple lived in a "dugout" on Mr.
Bethel's homestead. For three years he worked for wages among the
different neighboring farmers, improving his own homestead meanwhile, and
in 1889 he and his wife both took employment on the California ranch, owned
by B. B. Glasscock, for a combined salary of fifty dollars a month.
In the spring of 1891 he returned to his homestead where he has been engaged
in farming until 1903, when he sold his stock and farm implements and established
his residence in Harrington. Besides his handsome home in town, he
has a farm containing three thousand acres, and about two thousand dollars
worth of stock.
In fraternity circles Mr. Bethel is known
only as a member of Spokane lodge, No. 228, B. P. O. E.
Being an early pioneer of the Big Bend, Mr.
Bethel is a man of wide acquaintance, and his friends are legion.
He saw the country, now a continuous sea of grain fields, when it was simply
a vast expanse of bunch grass prairie, when it was considered fit for nothing
but grazing purposes and when the cattle man was king. He saw the
advantages the country had to offer men of energy and brains, and decided
to stake his fortune here. His present standing in the financial
circles of the state is sufficient proof of the wisdom of this decision.
Mr. and Mrs. Bethel have been parents of but
one child, Georgia May, who has passed away.