Wilbur Bassett, took out a claim on land in the Four Lakes district near a lake that he gave the name Granite Lake. He also gave names to Clear and Silver lakes.
He chose a spot near the same spring where 14 years earlier Colonel George Wright's troops camped before engaging the confederation of Indians in what we know today as the Battle of Four Lakes.
In 1871 Wilbur
Bassett, his wife Adelia and son Herman traveled to Spokan Falls where Wilbur
immediately found work building a sawmill on the river for Scranton and
Downing. The family of three shared
living space in Scranton's 12 x 24 foot cabin which was near the sawmill. Today there is a small monument marking the
spot near the old Washington Water Power building by the falls.
While they were
living in that cabin, their daughter, Minnie Maria Bassett was born on January
2, 1872. She is reckoned to be the first
white child born in the area. That same year,
Wilbur Bassett, took out a claim on land in the Four Lakes district near a lake
that he gave the name Granite Lake. He
also gave names to Clear and Silver lakes.
He chose a spot near
the same spring where 14 years earlier Colonel George Wright's troops camped
before engaging the confederation of Indians in what we know today as the
Battle of Four Lakes.
Wilbur's son, Herman
later told a story of how James N. Glover offered his father a corner lot for
free in what would become the center of downtown Spokane if he would build a
house on it in order to make the town look like it was picking up. Herman reported that his father replied,
I don't want any of your gravel.
You can't grow anything on it.
I've got good soil where my farm is, and I can grow anything out
original cabin burned down, and Wilbur built a second cabin on the same spot.
On July 19, 1873,
young Minnie Bassett drowned in the creek by the family home. Herman described what happened, My
sister, Minnie, the first white child born in Spokane, was drowned in the big
spring on the farm on July 19, 1873, aged 1 1/2 years. The spring was about 100 yards from where the
cabin stood. The soil had not all been
broken, and the native unplowed ground toward the spring constituted a virtual
flower garden at that time of year.
Minnie loved to pick these flowers and to play amongst them. Mother had a hired girl at the time whose
duty it was to watch the child, which she had been doing. But at the fatal moment, Minnie had been out
of her sight for only a moment when she missed her and began searching.
search finally led to the spring, the child was found floating on the surface,
together with a considerable number of flowers which she had been holding in
her hand before she fell in.
his carpentry skill in making a coffin, mother lined it, and Minnie was lowered
into the grave, located about 400 yards south of the cabin. Dad carved the
initials M.M.B. on a granite slab and placed it at the head of the
first grave on the Bassett farm.
In 1873, a plague of
crickets swept into the district, and for the next 3 years they ate everything
in their path. Wilbur Bassett dug a
three-foot deep trench around his vegetable garden. Each morning, before dawn, he and Adelia
hauled in water to soak the inner wall of the trench to keep the crickets from
crawling up into the garden. It wasn't
until 1885 when a wildfire swept through the grass on the plains that the
crickets were destroyed and the plague was over.
The Bassett family
suffered another tragedy in 1884 when their son, Chester Wilbur, died at six
months of age. He was buried next to his
sister, Minnie, in an unmarked grave.
Granite Lake because
of its high sodium bicarbonate and silica content was known in those days for
its medicinal qualities, much like Medical Lake. Farmers dipped their sheep in the lake to rid
them of parasites. People bathed in the water and washed their clothes, rinsing
them in the fresh spring water, or taking them home to dip in their own clear
Wilbur and Adelia
were said to have friends among the Spokane tribe. Indians would stop at the Bassett homestead
to sharpen their knives and camas diggers on the grindstone, while traveling to
camas beds to the west. They also traded
salmon and huckleberries for vegetables from the Bassett's garden.
Wilbur Bassett built
a schoolhouse near his homestead where his children attended for a year or two,
it was later named the Granit Lake School.
He then built a house in Cheney so that the children could attend school
there. While he stayed on the homestead,
Adelia and the children moved to town during the school terms. In 1885, Bassett built two houses in Spokane
near today's 5th & Pine streets. One house was for a friend, while the
other was used by Adelia and the children during school terms as they continued
During their second
winter in Spokane, Adelia and the children all contracted typhoid fever, likely
from well water. Adelia died of the
fever at home. Son, Wesley, was taken to
Sacred Heart Hospital which was located along the Spokane River. Unfortunately, Wesley died ten days later.
The other children recovered.
Wilbur sold the
cabin in 1888 and moved with his remaining three children, Herman, Jennie, and
Bertha to his house in Cheney.
homestead cabin was moved during the first part of the 20th century into the
barnyard of what later became the Owen/McMillan farm. The granite stone fireplace of the old cabin
was not moved, and has since disappeared.
A fruit company
planted the farm in orchards, and their hired blacksmith used the cabin for a
number of years. The big red barn near
the cabin housed the mules which hauled the fruit wagons. An extension for
sheltering cattle was later added to the cabin, and a new roof was put on in
For years, the
graves were uncared for and overgrown with weeds, as was the area around the
spring. However, the farmers always
plowed around the grave site. In 1954, a
Rogers High School northwest history class did restoration work on the cabin
and built a low stone wall around the gravesite. They made a sign for the cabin and marker for
the graves. The McMillan family
continues to care for the cabin and graves of the Bassett children.
The cabin and
gravesite are on private property. Permission is required before approaching