Florence May Long Clayton (20 Feb 1907 - 13 Dec 1998)
Virgil Guy Clayton (4 Nov 1898 - 27 May 1957)
Florence May Long was born in Nebraska on February 20, 1907. In 1909 her family decided to look for greater opportunities in the West and they moved to Richland Washington. She was raised there in Southeastern Washington near the confluence of great rivers, Columbia, Snake, and Yakima. She graduated from Richland High School in 1925. This, in itself was quite a feat, not only because of the difficulties of the time but because her mother had died in 1918 when she was just eleven years old. When her mother passed away there were nine children in the family so Florence had to tend to the little ones while trying to get an education.
Tending to the family still didn't slow down her personal development. During her childhood she learned to play both the piano and organ. She also learned needlework, crocheting, and knitting. Athletically she also excelled. Because she could run like a deer she was good in many sports of the time but was an exceptional basketball player.
||After graduation she went to Hood River to work. While in Hood River she stayed at the home of an Aunt of Virgil Guy Clayton. Over a period of time Virgil, who lived in Umpqua, OR and Florence began writing letters back and forth. Virgil had recently returned from service in the Army where he'd been an observer/ bombardier stationed in Hawaii. Finally in 1928 Virgil couldn't stand being away from Florence any more and traveled to Richland where they were married on May 8, 1928. This picture was taken early in their marriage.|
Virgil remained in Richland and that is where they made their first home. At first they tried farming but just a year after marriage the Great Depression hit, and times became very hard. They spent one winter on the American River in Washington near Yakima living in a tent with one of her sisters and her husband. They trapped for furs, shot deer for food, and worked whenever the Works Progress Administration, or WPA, gave them work. One of the hardest parts was when Virgil had to "hawk", or pawn, one of his shotguns to get money for flour. Imagine the consternation both must have felt in giving up one of the last remaining sources of meat for the family. They didn't lose all their guns however and soon times improved. When Virgil and his brother-in-law got work with the WPA Florence and her sister had to work the trap line. Trapping was year-round so in the Winter Florence ran the trap line on homemade skis!
After one hard winter they decided to try their luck further south. They moved down to Umpqua, OR to Virgil's parent's farm. This is where they felt comfortable enough to start a family. Their first child was a daughter named Virginia. Unfortunately with the difficulties of the time she only lived two days. Still looking for a better life, they went back to Washington for a time, where a boy; Phillip was born in 1934. Times were still hard and they moved back to Umpqua where another boy; Arthur was born in 1936.
They stayed on this farm until 1941 when Virgil's father died. After that they moved to Yoncalla and Virgil found work with Roy Crystal in a sawmill there. In 1942 the Crystal sawmill moved to Glendale and so did the Clayton family. Eventually Virgil moved from Crystal's mill to the Robert Dollar Company. There he worked his way up to where he fed the pony edger in the sawmill. He was proficient as a blacksmith, carpenter, electrician, automotive mechanics, and other related skills. He loved the Forests and this was reflected in his hobbies of hunting, fishing and gold prospecting. Virgil passed away in 1957 at the age of 59 and was buried in Coles Valley Cemetery in Umpqua, OR.
||Both Florence and Virgil were members of the Christian Church under the leadership of Guy Armstrong. Both their sons were baptized in this church which sat on the corner near the Glendale Arch and Shell Station. Florence was the piano player in the church for decades. Their two sons delivered the Oregonian for many years in and around Glendale. If they were sick or the snow was too deep both Virgil and Florence substitute for them or would drive them around.|
Florence remained in Glendale until 1962 living on a pension and doing sewing. In 1962, She moved to Tillamook to take care of Arthur and his wife's first son. She moved back to Grants Pass in 1965 to take care of Arthur's two sons.
She continued to do needle point, sewing, knitting, and crocheting until she died. In her later years she especially liked doing needlepoint and gave many of her works to dear friends in and around Glendale and Grants Pass. She passed away on December 13, 1998 at the age of 91. Her ashes were placed with her husband who was buried in Coles Valley Cemetery at Umpqua Oregon.
Florence and Virgil Clayton were fine parents and provided a home that was full of love and security. They and their family always considered the community of Glendale a nice place to raise a family but especially saw the school system there and the people as outstanding.
Art "Shorty" Clayton
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The music is the hymn "You Come to the Garden Alone"