Family Stories are Family Treasures

family archives family stories front porch conversation Aug 17, 2023


 By Carol Woolum Roberts

Last night, Paul and I were the final speakers in a six week long series of local Silver Valley residents who shared stories about life growing up in Kellogg. 

As Paul and I began preparing for this talk, we each pulled out information we had about our families.  Paul’s family has done a good job of writing family stories down.  He knows his Taylor family made their way our here from Missouri in the late 1800’s and homesteaded 160 acres up above what is now the Kellogg Greenwood Cemetery and Ross Ranch.

I had a cousin from Tennessee do some family ancestry information back in the 1980’s.  These large three ring binders of information helped me to tell a little bit of my family’s story of my Grandma Woolum’s family, the Wilsons, coming west from Tennessee.  I know that my Grandma and Grandpa Woolum settled first in Union Town, Washington, then up Burke Canyon in Black Bear, then finally in Kellogg and Wardner.  And I know this because I have record of where each child was born.

It was interesting listening to Paul last night share the story of his great grandparents lives, and how they were both deaf.  We learned Paul’s grandpa Paul Taylor was born August 20, 1910.  For most people, the significance of this date was the beginning of the 1910 fire here in the Silver Valley.  But, for Paul’s family, their question was, what is coming first, the fire or the baby?

I found out some of the men in my family apparently had some commitment issues.  My Grandpa Woolum left his wife and four children to return to Tennessee.  This would have been in about 1935, when my dad was five years old, and the other siblings were around the ages of 7, 10 and 12.

My great grandfather William Wilson also left his wife to return to Tennessee.  This was when they were older, and their children were grown. It is noted in these family records that William Wilson did not divorce by great grandmother Emma Wilson but did marry another woman.

Paul and I both had family members who were victims of accidents at the Bunker Hill Company.  In 1962, Paul’s dad Burt fell 72 feet down a mine shaft.  In 1973 my brother Bill fell into a roaster at the Zinc Plant.  We were able to do a good job telling these stories last night, because both men had written their accounts of these stories down.  They are stories we want to be able to share as part of our family history.

Stories are so important.  Writing them down is important as well.  I think most of us like to read about our families, and where they came from.  But that is all lost if people don’t tell their stories, either by writing them down, or telling them on video or audio.

My dad died at the very young age of 64.  Over the last 27 years since his death, there are so many times I wish he was here to answer questions I have about one thing or another.  Many of those stories were never written down by my dad.  My brother, sister and I have tried to document some of the stories through our blog writing.  We are thankful we have them saved in some form.

Paul and I ended last night's talk encouraging the people in attendance to take the time to write down their stories.  If it is only seen by family members, that is okay.  That is still important.

If you have no idea how to go about starting something like this, contact Paul or I.  We would love to give you some assistance to get you started.


 What stories does your family have written down? See if you can and find out!! 

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