Rosdel Slemp Stiltner was born on September 5, 1879 at Grundy, Buchanan County, Virginia. His parents were Milburn Jackson Stiltner and Sarah Catherine Wood Stiltner.
The family moved by wagon train when Ross was about 10 years old, settling near Woodward, Oklahoma, on land Milburn Jackson Stiltner claimed in the Cherokee Strip land rush.
The family again moved westward about 1898, homesteading about 1900 in the Rainy Valley area of Lewis County, in Washington state. Ross used to say he had walked or rode an "indian pony" clear across the entire United States.
On April 26, 1904, Rosdel Slemp Stiltner married Hattie Mable Beuter in the home of her foster parents, E. C. and Lottie Cory, at Napavine, Washington. Hattie was born on July 8, 1885 at St. Paul, Minnesota. Her parents were Carl and Augusta Fletcher Beuter, both of whom were born in Germany. Hattie still did not speak English when she went to live with the Cory's, helping to run their berry farm, until her marriage to Ross.
Ross and Hattie had five children as follows -
The Ross Stiltner family resided in the Rainy Valley area of Lewis County until about 1913. While there, Ross did the freighting for his father's grocery store and also carried the mail, by horseback, for a time.
The family moved to Yakima, Washington for a few months before they started their trip to Oregon by team and wagon. Ross's dad made the trip with them, but later returned to Washington. The trip took several months as the family stopped from time to time for a few days to rest the stock and themselves.
After they arrived in Oregon, one of their mares, Beauty, was badly injured by a mountain lion during the night near the Round Prairie Ranch of Douglas County. She nearly bled to death before she was found the next morning, but did recover with the help of "home remedies" administered by the adults of the party.
Oregon welcomed the Stiltner family with a bad case of poison oak. Having never seen it in Washington, they had a good time playing with it. Delmar had it so badly that he he never got it again in his entire life --- he never forgot his "only case" of it either!
The family ended their trip in the Perdue (later renamed Milo) area of Douglas County in Oregon. Ross did some mining, trapping, and worked on the roads, sometimes walking long distances to and from work. One of the mining claims, the Golden Bell Mine, became the family home. A cabin and barn was built, and some of the land was cleared.
The family lived there until a man by the name of William C. Shannon filed on it as a homestead, claiming it was not being used for mining. A court battle resulted, but the family was ordered to leave their home on March 17, 1924, despite the fact that Ross was able to produce assay reports on rock valued at $230.40 per ton.
They moved from the mining claim to a rented cabin down by the river. A ranch in the Days Creek area, about six miles up the creek from the store, was purchased in a few months. The down payment for this ranch may well have been made from the earnings of Ross, Chester, and Delmar when they helped build the Loon Lake Road.
Ross was a fire warden for the Days Creek District in 1927, a bad year for fires, there being several bad ones. He also did some packing for the Forest Service.
The ranch was sold in 1928 and the family went back up to Washington to visit various members of the family - Chester and his mother Hattie went to visit her bother Carl in the Napavine area; Ross, Delmar, and Woody bought a model T truck and visited with Ross's side of the family in Lewis County.
Cleve, Ross' brother returned to Oregon with Ross and the two boys. They moved into the Moore cabin at Days Creek and the men did some mining until they "starved out."
They moved around a lot for the next couple years --- Woody reports that he attended seven schools in one wither! A move to various towns in Coos County was made to obtain work, mostly in the logging.
Ross broke several ribs on a splash dam on the Coquille River while on a shake bolt drive. These drives lasted a month and the men were wet the entire time.
The next move was made to North Myrtle and then to South Myrtle in Douglas County, where they rented the Kusler ranch and stayed there long enough to harvest one crop.
They then moved to Riddle for awhile. In 1932 they moved back to the Days Creek Ranch which Chester had taken over as the people it had been sold to could not pay for it.
Ross worked on the road, walking 6 miles to the Days Creek Store to catch the wagon which took them up to Tiller where he worked all day. He then had to walk six miles back home at night; the days must certainly have seemed long.
Hattie and Ross, after a stormy marriage, were divorced in the late 1930's or early 1940's. Hattie moved back to Washington where she lived for the rest of her life.
Ross semi-retired in the 1930's while living on Chester's place, doing some fire watching, also helping his sons, Chester and Delmar, after they started a logging company. Ross then moved to his daughter Hazel's farm and then to the Roseburg area in the late 1940's. He then moved to a cabin on Lane Mountain, where Chester and Delmar were running a logging company, living there until he moved in with Chester east of Roseburg about 1950.
He later moved to Woody's home in Roseburg until late 1954 or 1955 when he again moved back to a cabin on Lane Mountain. He then moved to his daughter Myrtle's farm on Roberts Creek for awhile and then moved to Bend with them. Finally he moved back to Roseburg to live with Chester a year or so before he passed away on November 26, 1962.
Ross moved to his daughter's Myrtles' place at Roberts Creek about 1957, and then moved with them to Bend about 1959.
He later came back to Roseburg in 1960 and lived with his son, Chester for awhile until he moved to Curry Manor, a rest home in Garden Valley, after he returned to Roseburg. He died At Curry Manor.
Always a good walker and hunter, he killed a four-point buck, a bob-cat, and a rattlesnake on Lane Mountain when he was in his mid-seventies. Ross had a long and eventful life. His love of the out-of-doors has been passed on to many other members of his family,
By S. Stiltner
Copyright ©2000, 2002 S. Stiltner
URL of this page: http://www.stiltner.org/'GENEROSS.HTM'
Copyright ©2000, 2002 E. Stiltner.