Mobile Home

049012096 (2)


13550 NE Roedel Rd., Newberg, Yamhill, Oregon

In 1978, Boyd decided to retire.  Mr. Patton had always told the Fergus’ that they didn’t need to worry about their retirement because it was taken care of.  Unfortunately, all he meant was that Social Security would be available.  It was very hard for Boyd and Cleo to accept this after all the time they spent working for him.

One day, on the way to Salem, Oregon, they saw a beautiful mobile home for sale, sitting out in a yard.  They bought it for $6000.  Their daughter Dorothy offered to let them site the trailer by her home and a special variance was obtained from the county.  After moving from the big house on the Patton farm, they felt a little discouraged because their new home was so much smaller, but they did look forward to more relaxing days with no farm chores.

Retirement turned out to be filled with ups and downs.  Boyd suffered with chest pains a great deal of the time, but he also had the time to relax, go along on fishing and hunting trips, and work-related trips with his boys.  He occasionally rode along with Monty on appliance repair visits and worked on several remodeling jobs with his son Gary.

Boyd always enjoyed a new car.  He didn’t usually buy himself a lot of things, but every five years or so he would splurge on a new car, typically a Chevrolet.  The Chevrolet dealer was a good friend of Boyd’s so he felt like he got a good deal.  Boyd also liked to have a nice suit and hat even though he didn’t dress up a lot.

049012095 (2)Boyd and Cleo enjoyed visiting the Seattle Temple more often and taking trips together.  Many of the trips were just short visits to the Oregon Coast.  They also visited family in Utah, and went to Yellowstone National Park together.  It was while on this trip that Cleo jumped out of the car to take a picture of a bear, causing Boyd great anxiety.  She quickly jumped back in though, when the bear started towards her.

After Boyd’s death in 1983, Cleo continued to live in the mobile home next to her daughter Dorothy.


Mobile Home

The property is now owned by Eloheh Farm, a sustainable, organic teaching farm.  2016.

Strawberry Place

Strawberry Place - 2015

11905 Dudley Rd. Newberg, Yamhill, Oregon

While living at the Patton place, Boyd and Cleo decided to invest in some property relatively close by.  They had always wanted a piece of property of their own; a place to go when they retired.  The farm was about 13 acres, 5 of which was planted in strawberries, hence the name.  The family raised pigs here and the land also had cherry trees.  Darwin and his wife Barbara lived here for a time shortly after they were married.  Everyone helped remodel the existing house for them.  Boyd and Cleo sold the land after owning it for six to eight years.  All that is left on the property is a cleared plot of land in the fork of 2 roads, (northwest side of both the drainage and the roads) near a cluster of fir trees.

Jobs & Moving Days Part Two – the William & Martha Fergus Family “

The Great Depression had begun and the William & Martha Fergus family had been lucky enough with the help of a friend, to rent a dry farm in Stone, Idaho.  These were very hard times.  The family sold cedar posts and sometimes traded posts for flour and honey.  They raised wheat and rye which was mostly used to feed their livestock.  Later they raised milk cows, separated the milk and sold the cream to buy kerosene and other staples that they needed.  They raised chickens for eggs and to eat.  They raised turkeys, herding them into the field by day for their feed and locking them up at night to protect them from the coyotes.   In November they were slaughtered and sold for Thanksgiving.  They had sheep and hots for meat.  In the summer they raised a big garden and the vegetables they didn’t can went into the root cellar.  And an uncle in Brigham City always brought them fruit for canning.

Eve & Nola Fergus

Sisters Eve & Nola Fergus

According to Marion, “Monday was washday for clothes, we also cooked a pot of soup beans that day.  We had an old wooden washer, you had to push the handle back and forth to make it work.  On Tuesday, you had to cut extra wood, as we baked bread and ironed our clothes.  We heated the old flat irons on the cook stove.  This happened every week.  We also had chores to do, such as milking cows, feeding the livestock, keeping the barns clean, chopping wood and keeping the dooryard clean.”

It was around this time that the WPA (Works Progress Administration) started and William and his son Boyd went to work hauling gravel with horses and wagons, putting gravel on the roads which, up until this time, were dirt roads.  The bottom of the wagon box was built with 2 x 6’s, so after it was loaded you could turn the board up and the gravel would come out.  Horse-drawn graders would follow behind to spread it.

Don, Boyd, and Marion Fergus - the Fergus brothers.

Don, Boyd, and Marion Fergus – the Fergus brothers.

Second son Don worked on a dairy farm milking cows and putting up hay all that summer.  When his work and the road were finished, all three (William, Boyd, and Don) went back to cutting cedar posts.  About 1935 William got sick with diabetes.  Martha wanted to move into Snowville, Utah with her mother because she didn’t want to be alone so far out in the country during the winter.  So that summer, Boyd, Don and Marion had to go to Hansel Valley to stack and put up straw for the livestock for winter.  Then they moved the livestock from Stone, Idaho to Snowville, Utah.  Here is one memory shared by Marion of his dad’s illness.

“Having diabetes, Dad couldn’t have anything sweet.  He had to take insulin shots.  Mother made part of the fruit, jams, and jelly with saccharin for Dad, and some with sugar for the rest of the family.  Sometimes Dad would get into the jams made with sugar and would get sick.  This would upset Mother.  We had to make sure everything he couldn’t have was put away from him.”

Around 1937, William’s diabetes was much worse and the family decided to sell off what they could of the farm and move to McAmmon, Idaho so he could be closer to a doctor.  They moved into the back of an old cafe.  William and Martha initially thought that by running the cafe, they could help make a living for the family but it didn’t work out that way.  William’s health grew steadily worse and he was unable to work. William would eventually pass away on November 21, 1939 in Pocatello, Idaho.

Windshaker or Earthquake?

One of the more frightening memories from living in the Couche place in Wilsonville, was the earthquake of 1949.  It happened April 13, at 11:56 a.m.  The epicenter was in Puget Sound, between Tacoma and Olympia, Washington, but its effects were felt throughout western Washington and Oregon.  Cleo was hanging clothes on the line outside the house, Boyd was in the field plowing, Dorothy was home sick from school, Monty and Gary were inside the house playing.  As soon as it began, Cleo yelled, “kids come outta that house now!”  Dorothy thought that her mother was banging on the outside walls of the house just to tease them.  Monty ran out through the kitchen and remembers watching the old wood shed and tall trees around the house swaying back and forth.  Boyd was in the field trying to figure out why the tractor wouldn’t stay down in the furrow.  When it all ended and all were safe, Boyd came in from the fields only to be asked by little Gary, “Daddy, did you hear that big windshaker?”

For more information about the 1949 earthquake click here.

Oregonian April 14, 1949

Oregonian April 14, 1949

Couche Place #3

Couch Place 1993 - This home replaced the original farmhouse that burned down after a lightning strike.

Couche Place 1993 – This home replaced the original farmhouse that burned down after a lightning strike.


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

There are many pleasant childhood memories associated with the Couche place, including harvest time in the orchards.  Every year the children helped pick pears, apples, filberts, and walnuts.  The walnuts in particular were memorable because of the special burlap sacks with pictures on them, in which the walnuts were place.  The pictures were usually animals or birds and the children would carefully choose which sacks they wanted to fill first.

Lightning was common in the Wilsonville area and just in the few years the Fergus family lived there, a house across the road was hit and its wiring system burnt out.  The pump house belonging to the Couche place was also hit with the same results.  The night the pump house was hit by lightning, Darwin remembers being upstairs with Dorothy in the middle of the storm.  They made up their minds to run downstairs and barely made it before the lights went out and the pump house was hit.  The intercom phones between their home and Mr. Couche’s were also damaged.  Ironically, six months after the Fergus family moved to Newberg, their former home on the Couche place burned to the ground after a lightning strike.

One day while detaching the mower from the tricycle tractor, the mower slipped away from Boyd and Darwin.  It fell on top of Boyd, injuring his back.  He was crippled with pain for many months as the doctors tried to diagnose the problem.  During this time, Cleo and the children struggled to keep the dairy chores done so that Boyd could keep his job and not worry too much.  The months of inactivity, pain, and relying on his wife and children too its toll on Boyd and he used alcohol to numb not only the physical pain, but the mental strain.  Finally, a doctor in Portland diagnosed his injury as crushed vertebrae and operated, leaving Boyd in a body cast for the rest of the summer.  The drinking, which eased his suffering, added to Cleo’s worries.  It was only with great courage and faith that he was able to overcome it.

Eventually the dairy and Mr. Couche, proved to be too burdensome to handle so the family started looking for new job possibilities.  One day in a Relief Society meeting Cleo heard about a farm in Newberg, where a man was looking for help.  Boyd contacted the man, accepted the job and the family decided to move.

Couch Dairy Barn 1993

Couche Dairy Barn 1993

Work and Play – Couche Place #2


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

Boyd standing with children in front of church building.

Boyd standing with children in front of church building.

Cleo standing with children in front of church building.

Cleo standing with children in front of church building.

The Fergus children had a very work-oriented relationship with their father.  Instructions for chores were given and expected to be done.  There may have been a lot of playing between times, but the job always got done.  Many times the children would play tag in the dark and before long Boyd would be in on the game, chasing them.  It was fun until he caught one of them because they were in trouble for not doing their chores.

One of the children’s many jobs at the Couche place was to kill squirrels and bluejays because they would eat the nuts from the trees in the orchard.  Sometimes they shot them, other times they left poison barley out in the open, or they built traps or cages to catch them.  Another one of the children’s jobs at the Couche place was to drive the tricycle tractor, called so because it had three wheels.  Howard was often accused of trying to drive it up a tree.  Usually Howard or Darwin, would hook up a trailer to the tractor and use it to carry the household garbage up the ridge to the end of the cliff overlooking the river.  Their difficult and sometimes scary job was to back that trailer up to the edge in order to dump the garbage.  It would have been so easy to slip over the edge of the cliff.

One day while the boys were working in the barn, they had an awful argument and got Monty into trouble.  Monty had a habit of hiding when he was upset or in trouble, so after the argument he slipped into the house to hide.  While everyone was out looking for him he got tired.  He crawled into bed and pulled the covers up.  The family looked and looked for him outside, never thinking that he might be inside the house in his own bed, sound asleep.

Life on the farm, while fun, could be fraught with danger for children because of the heavy responsibilities they had.  They had their share of accidents and Monty in particular, seemed accident prone.  One night, after a day full of pranks and setting booby traps in the barn, the kids were rushing around to get the cows and calves fed so that they could go to the movies (a Ma and Pa Kettle double feature).  They had forgotten however, about one booby trap that had not been sprung; a covered rope strung between the calf pen and the hay.  Monty came running through the barn, hit the rope, and stabbed himself with a pitchfork.  He insisted on going to the movies anyway.  During the wait in the ticket line, Boyd and Cleo had to ask if Monty could wait for them inside the theater because he was in so much pain.  As they came inside, Monty was waiting for them on the stairs.  He was sick through the whole movie.

The kids always knew how to have a good time together.  Sometimes, too much of a good time.  Once after milking the cows they started playing around and let the milk sit out until the calves ate most of it.  To cover up their “crime” the kids added water to the milk to bring up the volume, and then took the pails up to the house.  Cleo was so surprised as she tried to separate the milk and there was no cream in it.  Another prank the Fergus children loved was throwing apples and pears at the chickens, knocking them flat, and then dunking them in the water trough to bring them back to consciousness.  Apples could also be stuck on the end of twigs and sticks, preferably apple suckers which were supple.  Then you could swing it like a sling shot and watch the apple fly.  This brought trouble when they managed to hit the house.

Couche Place

Couch Place - cropped

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


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.


Sattler Place


Old garage still standing on the Sattler Place  in 1993.  The original home's foundation stands behind the present house.

Old shed still standing on the Sattler Place in 1993. The original home’s foundation stands behind the present house.


8946 Dick Rd. Rock Creek, Oregon (formerly in West Union city limits, then Rock Creek, now incorporated into Hillsboro)

“West Union was the meeting place of early pioneers, trappers, and Indians.  The name of the community comes from this meeting place or union in the west.”  (Hillsboro Argus, February 12, 1976)

The third Fergus home in Oregon was located in West Union, near Rock Creek, Washington County, Oregon.  They rented a farm here while Boyd continued to work in the shipyards.  This home was very well kept with a big kitchen and a built-in back porch with windows.  There were three rooms upstairs, one bedroom downstairs that was used as a living room, and a stairway in the middle of the house.  (The old house itself is gone now.  It was moved down the hill and later destroyed.  In the early 1990s the old foundation still stood behind the present house.)

There was a bus from West Union to the shipyards and Boyd could walk home if Cleo wasn’t there to pick him up.  It was while they were living here that little Monty had problems with a hernia.  One night, after Boyd had left for work, Monty started having some terrible pains and began to scream and scream.  Cleo was alone without a car, no telephone, and no close neighbors; no way to get help for her little boy.  All she could do was pray.  This seemed to have a temporary calming effect on her little boy and her prayers were soon answered because Boyd came home because of car trouble and they were able to take Monty to the hospital.

The doctors operated on Monty to repair the hernia and he experienced no trouble from it again.  Cleo however, went into the hospital herself to bring another baby into the family.  Gary Leon Fergus was born January 6, 1945.  Cleo cried at first because she had wanted another little girl so badly, but afterwards felt so sorry for she would not have traded her sweet little blond-headed boy for anything.  Cleo was once again in the hospital with one of her children, because Monty was still recovering from surgery.  She could hear him hollering, “Good morning mommy, this is Monty.”  In eleven days she took both boys home.  Now the family consisted of four boys and one girl and it would remain this way.

Life for Darwin proved tough in the school department when they moved to the Sattler place.  His friend George used to tell him awful horror stories as they walked home from the bus.  Darwin would then tell them to Dorothy, and they’d scare themselves silly.  Darwin also had a tough time with his new schoolteacher.  When the family moved to the Sattler place, he changed schools.  The teacher of his new (one-room) school liked to pick on him because he’d gone to “fancy” Columbia Academy.  It was also at this house that the children contracted a case of the “itch” (lice) from friends.  The doctor prescribed a real hot bath, a good scrub of the skin, and then special medicine.  Boy, did that medicine burn.  The kids would run up and down the stairs trying to get cool after their treatment.

Contact with the Church, particularly during wartime was difficult.  The nearest branch at the time was in Portland and with gas rationing the family’s trips to church were few and far between.  Boyd and Cleo struggled to keep their children close to the church by setting a good example and teaching them gospel principles at home.

Grandma Martha Peterson, came for a visit shortly after her second husband died and ended up moving to Oregon.  She used the insurance money from her husband’s death for a down payment on a house in Hillsboro.  Boyd went to Utah and helped his mother move her household.  The Fergus family kept their washing machine at her house and as a result, visited her often.

The view from the Sattler Place in 1993.

The view from the Sattler Place in 1993.

Sattler Place - Cascadian Wholesale Nursery

Cascadian Wholesale Nursery Supply now occupies the property once known as the Sattler Place.  2016.

True Place

True Place 1993

True Place – 1993


36566 NW Harrington Rd. Cornelius, OR (formerly in Roy city limits, now incorporated into Cornelius)

Eventually, with the two new additions in their family (Dorothy and Howard), the little white house proved too small for the Fergus’ and so they moved to a farm in Roy, Oregon.  This house, called the True place for the man who owned it, was large and square shaped.  It was white originally, and sits next to the house were Mr. True and his family lived.  The house had two floors and a porch almost all the way around it.  Plenty of room for their growing family.  They rented this house from Mr. True.  It was at this house that little Darwin started school at the Methodist Church in Roy.  It was called the Columbia Academy School.

Side view of the True Place which includes a view of the home next door (right side of photograph) that Mr. True's family lived in.

Side view of the True Place which includes a view of the home next door (right side of photograph) that Mr. True’s family lived in.

True Place Roy 3- 2015

True Place – 2015

Little White House

Little White House - 1938

“Little” White House pictures – 1938


10789 Gordon St. North Plains, Oregon

“The Garden of Eden of Oregon: North Plains, a thriving town where things are doing…” (North Plains Optimist Aug. 7, 1913)

The first Oregon home for the little Fergus Family of Boyd, Cleo, and Darwin was in North Plains located in Washington County, near the county seat of Hillsboro.  The house had 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, and dining room.  Money was tight while they lived here, and Boyd and Cleo each only had one good pair of clothes.  It was while living in this house that they came in contact with some Mormon missionaries.  There were only two LDS families living in the area at the time.  Cleo was so excited to see the missionaries that she put her arms around them and gave them a big hug.  A branch of the church was soon started in Hillsboro and grew from there.  One of the missionaries at the time prophesied that there would be so many wards and stakes in his mission of the Northwest that they would be unable to count them.  This was proven true and Boyd and Cleo were involved from the beginning.

Darwin as a child, loved to throw the ball up against the house and catch it.  He also loved to follow his dad around while he worked.  One time Darwin was dragging a chain around trying to reach the railroad trestle that his dad was working on.  He accidentally drug it through an electric fence and instead of letting go he just hung on until his mother rescued him.  A very scary experience for both of them.

Two children were born to the family while they lived here, Dorothy and Howard.  In August of 1938, Dorothy Cleo Fergus was born with a struggle.  Cleo’s doctor was about to go on vacation and as a result tried to hurry the baby along by inducing labor.  Both mother and daughter had a very rough time and fought hard to survive.  Dorothy’s little feet were black when she was born.  At the time, the doctor advised Boyd and Cleo not to have any more children.  After praying about it, Boyd and Cleo did not feel right about it, so Cleo did not have the surgery which would have prevented her from having any more children.

Approximately 2 years later, Dorothy contracted pneumonia and was put in the hospital.  Cleo was pregnant with Howard at the time, and as she prepared to leave Dorothy at the hospital she went into labor.  So, with both mother and daughter in the hospital, another baby was born to the family on February 26, 1941.  They named him Howard Edwin Fergus.  This time everything went smoothly and easily and they were so glad that they had not consented to the surgery which would have limited their family.  While Cleo recovered from the birth of little Howard, she could hear Dorothy calling out, “Daddy, let’s go milk the chores.”  In those days you were not allowed to visit your children in the hospital and this was little Dorothy’s way of calling out for her Daddy.  When she was well and home she loved to wait for him outside on the ledge and then follow him around while he worked.


Little White House - 1993

“Little” White House on Gordon Rd. – 1993

Gordon House North Plains 3 - 2015

“Little” White House – 2015