Our 1915 Patron’s List Spotlight is an individualized page, focused on the original Homestead Families in Douglas County, Washington.


Peter Bumgardner was approved for his first Homestead Land Patent Application on January 21, 1887, for 160 acres in Klickitat County.
Issuing Land Patent Office: Vancouver

When the 1st Homestead Application was approved, Peter was 37 years old, and his wife Clara was 29 years old.

On January 21, 1887, in Klickitat County,
the Peter and Clara Bumgardner Family had four children (age):
Bert (9);
Laura (7);
Ida, (4);
Mabel, (2).

At that time, Clara was very pregnant with child #5, Volney Eugene, who was later born on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1887.

The Peter and Clara Bumgardner Family would stay at the Klickitat County Homestead until sometime around 1893, when they moved 250 miles north to Douglas County.

Peter Bumgardner was approved for his second Homestead Land Patent Application on April 26, 1893, for 160 acres in Douglas County.
Issuing Land Patent Office: Waterville

When the 2nd Homestead Application was approved, Peter was 42 years old, and his wife Clara was 35 years old.

On April 26, 1893, in Douglas County,
the Peter and Clara Bumgardner Family had five children (age):
Bert (15);
Laura (13);
Ida, (10);
Mabel, (8);
Volney, (6).

The Bumgardner Family stayed in Douglas County, living out their lives there including the addition of a sixth child, Gertie Leony Bumgardner, born on June 14, 1893.

Bert Baumgardner, Peter’s oldest child, Homesteaded his own land in 1906.

Peter Bumgardner


Clara Bumgardner

On January 21, 1887, a Homestead Land Patent Application was approved to Peter Bumgardner in the Southern Washington County of Klickitat for 160 acres.


Aerial 3-D View of 1887 Klickitat County Homestead

Sometime around 1893, the Bumgardner Family moved from Klickitat County to Douglas County.

Peter Bumgardner


Clara Bumgardner

On April 26, 1893, a Homestead Land Patent Application was approved to Peter Bumgardner in the North Central Washington County of Douglas for 160 acres.

This land is still farmed today (2023) by Bumgardner descendants.


Aerial 3-D View of 1893 Douglas County Homestead

Sometime around 1893, the Bumgardner Family moved from Klickitat County to Douglas County.

Here is a narrative as supplied to the Douglas County Museum along with some updates:

Peter and Clara Bumgardner started out from Iowa in 1879 with their first son Bert, who was about 2 years old at the time and Clara was pregnant with their second child. They came to Deer Island, Oregon, and stayed with Peter’s brother, Isaac, until their second child, Laura, was born.

By 1880, the Bumgardner’s had moved to Washington and settled near Goldendale in Klickitat County. They took up a homestead and went into cattle. In 1887, Peter Bumgardner was approved for a 160 acre Homestead Land Patent Application.

Peter and Clara had 3 more children while in Klickitat County and then, after 13 years there of raising cattle, they sold their holdings in Klickitat County and moved north 250 miles to Douglas County.

The move from Goldendale was made by wagon. They had 4 horses to pull their things. They came by way of Ellensburg, through Colockum Pass and crossed the Columbia on the ferry at Malaga. Bert, their oldest son, rode horses. They brought a few cows and a sheep herd they had just started. Their meals were cooked over a campfire with fuel which was gathered on the spot. That summer was spent at Badger Mountain.

That fall, the family came to Dyer Hill and started a new life in Cold Springs Basin. They lived there in a small shack, worked the land and tended the sheep. Additional rooms were built when they got more lumber.

Bert’s school was at Badger Mt. in a log school. He stayed with a German family for the 3-month fall term and then for 3-months in the spring. Waterville didn’t have a school yet. He had to help with the family. Bert’s schooling ended with the 4th grade.

Cattle was their main living and 1899 was a hard winter. They had let the cattle run for feed through the winter. The snow was a depth of 3 feet and it packed so hard a horse could walk on top. The cattle headed for deep ravines and got out of the cold winds. Hundreds of cattle died during this winter.

The family traded with Indians who salted down a barrel of salmon and traded it for what the Bumgardner’s raised.

Bert would go down and watch the Chinese pan for gold along the Columbia River and occasionally he would eat with them.

The Peter Bumgardner Family, by this time, had four girls and two boys.

They had their share of sadness, losing Eugene at the age of 7 as he was dragged to death by a horse.

The next year they lost Gertie, age 14, when she drowned while crossing Central Ferry to go to school.
Mother Clara caught the side of the ferry and was later saved by a local rancher.
Here is the article that appeared in the local newspaper:

1907 newspaper report from The Pateros Reporter about Gertie’s tragic death:

“A sad accident occurred on Wednesday evening of last week on the Columbia river, when the fourteen-year old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bumgardner, Miss Gertrude, was thrown from the Central Ferry and drowned.

The family has many acquaintances in this section who will be sorry to hear of the misfortune.

The ferry had crossed to the Douglas county side, and as the ferryman was hunting up a rope on shore with which to make the craft fast, the ferry stared out to mid-stream, with the two ladies aboard.

In a swift current in the middle of the river the ladies could not handle the ropes of the ferry successfully, but were thrown overboard by them, the mother being saved by catching on a guide rope, where she was later rescued from the dangerous position by a near-by rancher.

All attempts to recover the body of the daughter have proved unsuccessful.”

The Pateros Reporter – Pateros, Washington – June 28, 1907

Gertie’s body was discovered later that year on July 4th somewhere near Wenatchee.

If that wasn’t enough tragedy for the Bumgardner’s, the very next year Laura died while giving birth.

Life went on,…

Peter’s son Bert married Ida Reed in 1910 and started farming on Dyer. He homesteaded 160 more acres next to his Dad’s Homestead and bought more farmland over time.

Ida’s family was another homesteader. The Reed family came from Illinois in 1903 to Wenatchee by train, then rode on the river steamboat to Hines Landing, later called “Bonita.” The store and post office at Bonita were together.

James Reed had been there the year before and looked around. He bought 160 acres five miles from Bonita. There was an old house on it. The Reeds were caught in a March snowstorm as they tried to reach their place. They got stuck when crossing a canyon. For 3 weeks they were forced to stay in the house of a local, Mr Parker. Mr Parker was a bachelor and had moved in with his mother.

When the Reeds finally arrived at the house they had bought, they found the house had been partly burned. They had to pitch a tent for the summer until they could get the house chinked and patched. The family had four daughters and they had lost a son before they left Illinois. Their school was Howard.

Bert and Ida had six girls. These girls were “tomboys’ and they all worked in the fields. In October of 1948, Bert and Ida moved to town (Mansfield) and retired. Their Mansfield home had electricity, indoor plumbing and an indoor bathroom, all of which the Bumgardner’s Dyer Hill farm home lacked.

Bert passed away March 21, 1973 at the age of 95. After Bert’s death Ida lived in Mansfield by herself and did her own work in her house and in her yard of flowers. Ida passed away in 1993 and was 101 years old.


The original Baumgardner and Reed families are all deceased.
It is now 2023, and one of the Baumgardner-Reed Descendants still farms the Homestead of Peter and Bert Baumgardner.