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Folks For Miles Around Pitched In On Therapy

Solomon Tetherow Story

Solomon Mrs Tetherow


Solomon Tetherow peered into the deep hole. He had been digging this well for several days, but not a trickle of water had appeared, and now he was sure he had hit rock.

Solomon had homesteaded this land six miles north of Waterville for two years, since 1886, and had never found any water on his homestead, although he had dug many wells.

But he decided to go down for one more try. He said something to his sons standing near the well, and inserted his pick absently in the loop of the long rope, so that he could ride the pick to the bottom of the well, as he always did. Solomon swung over the edge of the well. But he had inserted the pick the wrong way in the rope loop, and the tool went tumbling down into the well. Solomon grasped desperately for the rope, but couldn't hold onto it. He plummeted 40 feet to the bottom of the well.

His boys heard him give out a desperate shriek as he fell. They rushed to the edge and could barely make out the form of his crumpled body, heaving and groaning at the bottom of the shaft.

In only a few minutes, Solomon's 16-year-old daughter, Mary, loaded with white sheets, was being lowered by ropes to the bottom of the well. She knelt beside her father, whose ashen-white face was twisted in pain.

She wrapped him in the sheets, and tied the ropes around him so that the hired men could carefully haul him up. When he reached the top of the well, Solomon was loaded slowly into the wagon and driven to the house.

As Mary heard the wagon rumbling away, she screamed fo someone to pull her out. But the sound of the wagon wheels became fainter, and it was soon deadly silent. They had forgotten her. Two hours later she heard someone's footsteps. She saw the form of her brother leaning over the edge.

"Mary, you still down there?" he shouted.

"Where else would I be?"

"Sorry we forgot you. There was just too much excitement."

Soon he lowered a rope to her and pulled her out of the well.

When Mary finally entered her father's bedroom he was lying flat on his back. She tiptoed over to him and rested her hand on his arm. Mary could see that her mother had been crying.

Solomon had landed on his feet, and broken both of them and his ankles badly. Worst of all, he was paralyzed from the waist down and could not move a muscle. His legs were completely black. For months Solomon lay in bed. Neighbors came from miles around to help the family. They patiently rubbed Solomon's legs for hours. They also planted his crops.

One day, about six months after the accident, he called weakly to his wife. He was crying.

"I can move one of my big toes." he said.

Solomon Tetherow lived to be 85 years old, and his family always said that he could do the work of two hired men, even though he remained seriously crippled for life.


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The story is from the publication called, 'The Night The Mountain Fell and Other Stories of North Central Washington History'. 1973


Below is a photograph of Solomon, his wife Nancy, and many of his descendants taken in June 1925, celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. My father, (Kenneth Ferguson), is the child being held in the upper right hand corner.





Allen Ferguson



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Linked toSolomon Southwood Tetherow

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