Larry Danielson lives on a family farm that was homesteaded in 1891. He helps his son, Dale with the hay crop and cattle. Some of the land is in the government CRP program, which means it rests, undisturbed.
It was the sixth generation back of the Bradfords and the Brownes in his mother’s lineage that sailed to America on the Mayflower. Larry’s dad, Helge, was a Finlandian. A family cemetery has been established on the property in honor of generations of those sturdy people who chose to come to America.
Danielson’s great-grandparents homesteaded on the lower end of Rock Lake and later in 1891 on the property where Larry Danielson lives. He said they were in the area in 1881.
An interesting addition to his family heritage tells us Danielson’s great -grandfather, George E.W. Butts, was a personal friend of Col. Edward J. Steptoe. Steptoe fought in the 1858 battle with the Yakamas, Spokanes and Palouse Indians near Rosalia. Butts later became friends with Chief Kamiakin, one of the main leaders of the confederated tribes and bands of the Yakama nation. Chief Kamiakin died in 1877 and is buried somewhere near Rock Lake. The exact location of the grave is unknown.
As a young boy, Danielson saw many of the Yakama tribe moving through the area searching for camas bulbs that they dug for winter food. Camas bulbs have a pleasant mild onion taste. We can picture Danielson hiding behind a tree watching the Indians and probably a young Yakama boy was hiding behind another tree watching him.
Danielson said, “My mother, Norma Danielson, attended Cheney High School. I graduated there. My children and two of my grandchildren also graduated from Cheney High School.” That makes a lot of Danielson graduates pictured in their graduating classes at Cheney High School.
In 2003 I published my book “Juba’s Cup.” Since the real Juba, who called himself John Smith, homesteaded in that area I spent some time with the Danielsons getting information. One day we walked through the woods to a waterfall and tried to locate the approximate place where this man might have been. There is a certain feeling of connecting with the past when one can stand where a pioneer may have homesteaded and know that you are standing there too.
Larry Danielson is the fifth generation of Danielsons on the farm. His granddaughter, soon to be 17, is the seventh. She is taking an active interest in the farm and enjoys working with the livestock and machinery. We may hear from this young lady in the future.
Danielson knows how to mix business with pleasure and often enjoys country dancing at the Spokane Valley Eagles. Sundays will usually find him at breakfast with friends at Sprague. With a sly grin he said, “I occasionally have a delicious dinner in Cheney at Lenny’s.”
Danielson said, “In January I will have lived here 69 years.” Happy January birthday, Larry.
Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at lots@email@example.com.