Gifford: Land of Plenty

 

    Gifford was founded by pioneer James Gifford, a one-legged Civil War veteran, and his family on May 7, 1889. Mr. Gifford saw the agricultural potential of the rolling land close to the Columbia River.  Soon a small town was built that boasted of a barbershop with haircuts for twenty cents. In 1900, a steam-powered sidewheeler cable ferry linked Gifford with the town of Inchelieum on the Colville Indian reservation in Ferry County. Frank Rail and Mrs. Harrison ran the first ferry. The town's growth was mostly due to the ferry. Gifford was relocated in 1939 to make way for the rising waters behind Coulee Dam. Today, this town is home to the only ferry crossing of Lake Roosevelt in Stevens County.

Crossing the Columbia on the Gifford—Inchelieum Ferry

 

Downtown Gifford

 

 

Under the Old Apple Tree, Gifford

 

Peddler Sam Comes to Town

     Imagine, if you will, a knock at the door you open it and smile in delight. In front of you is a short man with a large black walrus mustache. He speaks in his distinct Syrian accent and the children recognize the voice of Peddler Sam and run to see what trinket he has brought this time. His well-trained horses munch oats out of a feedbag after a long day of trodding down the dirt roads of Stevens County. Little Sam, as some called him, is passing through Gifford on route to Inchelium. He is going to cross the Columbia River to trade and sell blankets and bright scarves with the Indians. He carries tales of the county with him and meticulously unwraps each box, sack and parcel to reveal a shining treasure. While enjoying your dinner he shares a bit of his philosophy. "People who eat garlic, never get sick." he states. "Always stay on top of your bills," he warns, "Otherwise you will be cursed with some spell." On top of advice he also gives each child a little toy, and to your delight he pulls out a shiny new mixing bowl in exchange for dinner. You are sad to see him go, but you know in about a month he will return with new tales and maybe some bright cloth to make school dresses for the girls. (Chewelah Newspaper 1971)