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From: "Earline Wasser" <>
Subject: John Michelbach Family The Dalles Chronicle Feb. 5, 2006
Date: Sat, 4 Feb 2006 19:32:28 -0800

The Dalles Chronicle Sunday, February 5, 2006 page A9

Michelbach family left imprint on The Dalles history

Editor's note: today's article is the second in a series by local
historians that will appear the first Sunday each month.

Local History by Joan Wagenblast

John Michelbach came from Germany to The Dalles in 1860. By 1862 he had
established himself in a large stock-raising enterprise with Joe Teal of
Portland. The two built a meat market at 120 East Second Street (Second
and Court) with John as the operator. In 1865 he married local resident
Louise Hanschildt and they lived in apartment quarters over the
Washington Market. Their first child, Charles F., was born there in

In 1870 Michelbach built a home at 121 West Fourth Street where six more
children appeared: John E. 1870; Emile J. 1873; Clara, 1874; Louise M.,
1875; Delia, 1878 and William, 1870. By 1880, John had sold the house to
Malcolm Moody, Congressman, who bought it for the Lang sister, Anne and
Bessie, to whom he was devoted, but could not choose between.

Michelbach had bought a stock ranch of 160 acres on West Sixth and River
(now Terminal) Road, where he built a twelve-room house to shelter his
growing family. He also constructed a slaughterhouse for his meat
industry, two barns for hay and a well to supply domestic water. He used
Mill Creek water to irrigate a system of extensive gardens on the south
side of the property. The Weekly Mountaineer of Feb. 1871 noted he had
erected an arbor in his garden for growing grapes. The same article said
every week he would send to Portland by boat a large band of fat cattle
for butchering.

Only Klindt land lay between his property and the Columbia River. The
Klindt children - Walter, Mollie and Albert - would ride their ponies by
the Michelbach home on the way to the Union Street School and the
Michelbach children would run out to join them.

Michelbach had begun to invest his money in different properties in the
downtown area. In 1880 he built the Union Street Lodging House next to
what is now the old post office building. He also owned the area where
the new post office building has been erected. Another small building on
Second Street housed two offices, one the National Employment Service,
and the other sold adding machines.

However, both he and his wife Louise had some personal problems. The
July 17, 1878 Weekly Mountaineer reported John Michelbach had been
arrested for being drunk and disorderly, and disturbing the peace. By
Aug. 12, Mrs. Michelbach was also arrested for being drunk and
disorderly. With such public actions by so prominent a couple, it might
be concluded that their marriage may have been at times an unhappy one.

John Michelbach died Jan. 22, 1882 at the age of 48, leaving a promising
future and a large estate. His will left Louise $100 a month as long as
she stayed a widow and the rest to his young children.

On Jan. 22, 1884, John, 14 and Emile, 11, decided to hunt along the area
near the river. Descending into a ditch, the gun which John was holding
went off, striking him in the stomach and killing him instantly, much to
the horror of the younger boy. The Weekly Mountaineer notes John's death
and then in April states the passing of Emile without explanation.

Louise remarried a man named Goldstein, forfeiting her monthly income.
She died on May 8, 1888 at the age of 41. The house and estate were in
charge of administrator George Williams, who rented the ranch until the
1930s when he sold it to Jacob Scherrer, clerk of The Dalles Post
Office. Jake operated a dairy there for many years, and still owned some
of the land after it became part of the freeway and the present site of
the Fred Meyers store. The old gardens now lie under Albertson's and the
busy West Sixth Street.

The younger Michelbach children were sent to a convent school in
Vancouver, Wash. and later Louise and Delia went to live with their
sister Clara (Mrs. George Schultz) in San Francisco.

Delia married a man named Anderson and moved to Portland.

In 1900, Louise married James Wood, who operated the Michelbach Meat
Market at Second and Court. He finally moved to Third and Washington.
The building eventually becoming the property of Wiley McDaniel in the

Sons Charles and William eventually owned several saloons in The Dalles,
Charles at the White Horse and William at The Hub. They also had horses
and wagons and lots of equipment to keep them going. Charles dies Mar
13, 1904 at the age of 35, while on a trip to see his sister Clara in
San Francisco. William died Sept. 27, 1909 at the age of 30.

The Michelbach estate was never really settled until it became the sole
property of Louise Michelbach Wood at the deaths of her sister Clara
(date unknown) and Delia at 64 in 1942.

Louise lived to be 96. She and James Wood had two sons, Stan and Howard,
the first a permanent resident of The Dalles and the second the owner of
a car dealership in Corvallis. Stan, born 1902, died in 1986 at the age
of 84. Howard had also passed on, but left a son and daughter, who have
inherited the last of John Michelbach's estate from their uncle.

All of the family but Clara and Howard are buried in the I.O.O.F.
Cemetery, as is Charles' wife Mabel.

John Michelbach died young and left few heirs, but his roots extend into
the 21st Century. When you are shopping at Fred Meyers or riding the
freeway above it, you are treading on what was once Michelbach ground.

* * * *
* *


History fans will have a chance to contribute to the next history book
published by The Chronicle in 2007 for the 150th anniversary of The

In addition to our own staff contributions to the book, people with a
connection to The Dalles, regardless of era, may purchase space to write
their own family histories - or histories of local farms or businesses,
churches, service clubs, lodges, schools, agencies, bridge clubs,
sororities, political parties, alumni associations or social circles.
Space for pictures may also be purchased. Details will be in future
issues of The Chronicle.

Permission to reprint given by The Dalles Chronicle

Earline Wasser

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