Couche Place

Couch Place - cropped

Gary in front of the old farmhouse at the Couche Place.

1945-1952

14170 Wilsonville Rd., Wilsonville, Oregon (now known as Riverview Farm)

Shortly after World War II ended, Boyd was laid off from the shipyards.  Even though it was inevitable, he was very nervous because he had never been out of work before.  Boyd was always concerned with job security, due in part to childhood memories of his father’s frequent job changes.  Providing for his family with a steady job was important to his peace of mind.  Job changes were stressful.  On Labor Day he went looking for work and when he came home he had good news for the family.  He had found a job working on a dairy in Wilsonville.  It was called the Couch place.  The family moved to Wilsonville that same month.

Moving to the Couche place and managing a dairy were both difficult adjustments for the family.  The house that they came to occupy was old, rundown, and very drafty, an unpleasant change after the well-kept Sattler house that they had rented in West Union.  Many times the house would become so cold that the family would sleep downstairs around the stove in order to stay warm.

The new job brought a decrease in pay for Boyd and was very challenging because of all the record-keeping needed to track milk production and cow pedigrees for 20-30 cows.  The cows were all milked by hand until a machine was acquired.  Boyd had only finished one year of high school, and with the setbacks of illness during the first two years of grade school and the forced switch from left to right-handed writing, he tended to question his own abilities.  Thus, the clerical tasks required by the hard-to-please Mr. Couch, were frustrating to him.

There are bright sides to every situation however, if you look for them, and this is what Cleo and Boyd tried to do.  Boyd was grateful for the job security which paid $225 a month and Cleo thought the situation of the house, on a bluff overlooking the Willamette River, was beautiful.  The Wilsonville area was blessed with deep snow many of the winters that the Fergus family lived there and the children have many happy memories of wrapping chains around their shoes to make tracks in the fields, and sledding down the hill towards the river.  As much fun as it was watching the children enjoy the winter wonderland, Cleo could not help but worry that they would slide themselves right into the river.

Couch Place - 1993 - cropped

This home replaced the original farmhouse that burned to the ground in 1953 after a lightning strike. Riverview Farm (Couche Place) – 1993

1993 - beautiful view of the Willamette River from the Couch Place.

1993 – beautiful view of the Willamette River from the Couche Place.

Couch Place - Wilsonville - 2015

2016 – Couche Place is now a million dollar horse farm.

 

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