By Abigail Beaton
The Journal 

Book describes life on Benge-area ranch

Etulain releases 'Boyhood Among the Woolies'


Last updated 6/20/2023 at 8:55am

Special to The Journal

Former Adams County resident Richard W. Etulain has released "Boyhood Among the Woolies," about his childhood growing up in the Benge area.

BENGE - A former Adams County resident has written a book about childhood on a Macall-area sheep ranch in the late 1930s.

Richard W. Etulain, 84, a professor emeritus at University of New Mexico, has released his new book, "Boyhood Among the Woolies: Growing up on a Basque Sheep Ranch."

The history professor's book is about his childhood growing up in the scablands – his family homestead was in the Macall area.

Born in Wapato in 1938, Etulain was brought home to a "isolated and sprawling" 10,000-acre ranch north of Benge and about 20 miles east of Ritzville.

"If the dry grazing lands dominated the ranch setting, the personalities of my Basque dad and saintly mother molded our family and home life" he said.

His father, Sebastian Etulain, emigrated from the European country of Basque in 1921, arriving in Yakima, He worked his way to becoming a ranch owner in Adams County. He married Mary Gillard Foster and they soon moved to the ranch in Adams County.

The couple had three sons, the youngest of which is the author Richard Etulain, or "Dicky" in the book.

Along with his older brothers "Kenny" and "Danny," Etulain writes about the magical upbringing afforded to the boys from being raised on a sheep ranch.

From growing friendships with the hired help, to favorite dogs and brotherly pranks, Etulain described his boyhood amongst the woolies.

"Brotherly hangouts, religious joys and a love of books instilled by my mom," he said describing his book. "Inheritances of The Ranch Years."

"Those gifts still stretch my mind as they warm my heart with memories," he said.


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