Best chapters to read included (of course) Chapter 2, Steamboat Era, and Chapter 7, Center of Gravity.
Center of Gravity, which details the early history of the Kent Valley, includes this illustration of the differences between Kent (at the time) and Yakima:
Eighty or ninety years ago, many of the Oregon Trail pioneers reached the Puget Sound country starving and ragged and destitute. No one thought the less of them for that; those who had arrived earlier welcomed them and shared what they had. .... The same thing will be true again before another eighty years are passed. Meanwhile, here is an example of community attitude toward the new, destitute pioneers. The item is taken from the front page of the weekly Kent News- Journal of October 30, 1941 :IMPOVERISHED FAMILY NEEDS KENT'S "GOOD SAMARITANS"
A story of destitution and suffering not paralleled since the worst days of the depression was brought to the attention of a number of people of Kent and vicinity the latter part of last week and the first part of this when a family composed of a husband, wife, and seven children ranging from 15 years down to one year, arrived from California, with no bedding to speak of, no clothes for the members of the family, practically no food, and $1.50 cash capital.
The family had tried to get work in the orchards of the Yakima country and, although capable workers, were evicted from camps because of the seven children. Kent residents fed them Friday and secured living quarters in a vacant house, partially furnished, on East Hill. Monday the place was sold and the family had to move quickly to give possession to the new owner. The father skirmished around and secured another house in the vicinity
The Princes organization yesterday investigated the case and is giving assistance. However, the need of the family is so great that other assistance must be obtained to enable the four children of school age to attend school and supply them with food stuffs to tide them over until the father can secure work. At present he has an opportunity to cut wood as a temporary employment measure.
A resident of the district requests all persons desiring to make contributions to telephone 745-R-3 and a car will call to pick up all articles contributed.
One of the technical requirements of a good news story is the name of the chief actor in the first line. This is surely a good story, yet there are no names in it, only people. There are things to think about in the story. One of them is the fact that the parents were refused work and evicted from camps in the Yakima country because they needed work to feed their seven children. Presumably, there was fear that the family might stay and become a charge on the community, and that the children would go to school on taxpayers' money. As a result of that fear, those very things happened, but in a different community. And the community where it happened accepted the family as it was, without questioning its right to be there. More positively, the Kent community assumed that children must not go hungry and naked and shelterless, and that a father should have the right to work. The News-Journal story gives almost a day-by-day account, as if every day in which people suffer is important to everyone in the community. And something happens almost every day: Friday, the family arrives and is fed by residents of the town, and a house is found ; Monday, the house is sold over their heads, and the same day another is provided; Tuesday, there is an emergency call for food to keep the family from starvation, and for clothing; Wednesday, the "Princes" investigate and go into action; and Thursday, the weekly newspaper makes the welfare of the family the concern of everyone in the community.