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.
LA FOLLETTE BROTHERS, who are
well known throughout the Big Bend country, are Millard F., John H., and
Silas D. At the present time they have rented their large estate,
which lies about eight miles north from Almira, and are dwelling in the
suburbs of Spokane. They have been identified with the settlement
and upbuilding of Lincoln county long before it was organized and are known
as prominen and substantial men. They are natives of Floyd county,
Indiana and the sons of Joseph C. and America (Swank) La Follette.
The parents are both natives of Floyd county and in 1883 came to Washington.
The father died at the age of eighty-five in 1899. The mother had
died four years previously. Our subjects received their educational
training in the district schools of Indiana, the same being held in the
primitive log cabins of the day and they well remember the split log seats
and slab floors. The school terms were about three months each year
and the balance of the time they spent on their father's farm. Some
of the time they worked for the neighboring farmers. They finally
decided to emigrate to Washington and accordingly, in 1883, found their
way to the territory now embraced in Lincoln county. It was then
a part of Spokane county. They made settlement as stated above, and
as it was late in the season, built themselves a dugout for their home.
Having never lived at a distance from a store, they were unfortunate in
not securing supplies sufficient to tide them over, and, to use the localism
of the day, their "grub," and especially the tobacco, became very short.
Pilgrimages were made to Sprague, Cheney, and Spokane, their nearest points
for supplies, and they understand well the work of the pioneer in opening
up farms from the wild prairie of Lincoln county. Although they had
much hardship and had to do an immense amount of work, still there is no
portion of their experience so vividly impressed upon them as the first
winter. Mrs. Proebstel was the only woman among the neighbors and
the winter was decidedly gloomy and lonesome. They had provided themselves
with no reading matter and no mail could be gotten for months, consequently
they had to whittle and repeat their fund of stories over and over to while
away the time. Occasionally they would gather up the inhabitants
for twenty miles in each direction and have a dance. At such times
our subjects furnished the music. They were successful in their labors
on their farms and now own over fifteen hundred acres of the choicest wheat
land to be found in the Big Bend country. The entire estate is under
cultivation and is handled now by tenants. In 1900 they moved to
Medical Lake and engaged in the poultry business. Three years later
they decided to locate in Spokane. They own five acres which are
supplied with a residence and all the buildings necessary to handle poultry
successfully. The same lies on Latah creek, immediately southwest
of Spokane. They make a specialty of Minorcas and White Leghorns.
They had one other brother, Dave, who is now deceased.
Millard La Follette is the only one of the
brothers married. His wedding occurred in 1896, when Miss Mary F.
McPherson became his bride. She was born in Vigo county, Indiana,
the daughter of Thomas and Virginia (Bennett) McPherson. She was
educated in the common schools of Indiana and Washington, having come hither
in the fall of 1889. To Mr. and Mrs. La Follette, four children have
been born, Thelma and Thula, twins, Clara A., and Marion B. In 1903,
Millard La Follette was commissioner of Lincoln county. They are all members
of the Masonic order and are men of excellent standing, having always taken
a keen interest in the upbuilding and welfare of the country, and show
by their labors, thrift and energy.