Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
ROBERT McLAREN dwells about five
miles north from Edwall and has been a resident of the Big Bend country
for many years. He is now the owner of a fine farm, well improved
and provided with substantial outbuildings and a modern residence of twelve
rooms. Mr. McLaren has been a man of wide and varied experience,
having traveled all over the world and wrought in various capacities.
He is now enjoying the competence gained by his labors and he is one of
the most popular and highly esteemed men of his portion of the country.
Robert McLaren was born in Forres, Morayshire, Scotland, on February 27,
1844, being the son of Robert and Jessie (Wallace) McLaren, natives of
Scotland, where also they remained until their death. The father
followed farming. Our subject was the second boy of a family of five
children and had one sister. He studied in the schools of Scotland
until thirteen years of age, then came to Boston, Massachusetts, and entered
the employ of a sewing machine company, working in the factory. For
two and one half years, he continued in the same, then returned to his
native country and learned ship carpentering thoroughly. In 1865,
he went to sea but three months thereafter, his vessel, the Bedford, was
wrecked on the reef as they were coming down the Gulf of Finland.
They took to the boats but the weather was extremely cold and their suffering
was intense until picked up by the lighthouse keeper. We next find
him sailing from Liverpool to Calcutta and in 1871 he came to Boston.
Soon thereafter he went to New York and shipped again, this time on a cruise
around the world, landing in Massachusetts on his return. For fourteen
months he wrought in the shipyards, then went to sea again, stopping at
Frisco. He worked for the Pacific Mail and Steamboat Company of that
state for three years, then went to the Sandwich Islands where he built
a ship. Returning to Frisco, he built the steamer Alexandria, one
the Skeena river in Alaska, for the Dunsmuir Brothers and the ship is still
in commission. We see him next in Victoria and in 1877, he made his
way to the Black Hills of Dakota by way of Cheyenne, by wagon and packtrain,
having a journey filled with terrible hardships. The Sioux Indians
were then on the war path and times were dangerous. After a summer
there, he came to the Big Horn country prospecting and then landed in Butte
in the fall. He prospected all through Montana and in the spring
of 1878 was in Idaho, where the Bannock Indians were on the war path.
Two years later, Mr. McLaren came to Ainsworth, now Pasco, and worked for
the Northern Pacific in bridge building. In the fall of 1881, he
bought one half section of land in Lincoln county and still continued in
the employ of the Northern Pacific, as locomotive carpenter at Sprague.
In March, 1897, he retired from the service of the company and came to
his farm. Since then he has been actively engaged on the ranch improving
it in very fine shape, and handles stock and raises grain.
In 1895, at Rathdrum, Idaho, Mr. McLaren married
Mrs. Eunice Hinkley, a native of Nova Scotia. She was married first
in her native land, then went to California and in 1883 came to Spokane,
where Mr. Hinkley died. After the death of her husband she came to
Sprague, where she lived until married to Mr. McLaren. She had three
daughters by her former marriage: Estella, at home; Mrs. C. R. McKinley,
living at Brewster, this state; and Nita, at home. Mr. McLaren has
always taken a very active interest in politics, and the Republican faith
is his choice. In 1871, he was in Scotland and there was made a Mason,
taking the three degrees. The wife is a member of the Rathbone Sisters.