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In a nationwide compilation in the 1880 U.S. Census, 555 names identify their occupations as clairvoyant, spirit medium, psychometrist, trance lecturer, magnetic healer among other “pseudo-scientific professions.” These individuals were singled out on a list of occupations to do with Spiritu…

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Tommy and Irene Garretson Nelson lived just south of the Oysterville Church when I was a youngster. They were about the age of my grandparents and I remember being quite fond of Tommy but just a little bit in awe of Irene. She was part Indian and seemed proud and quiet and not too approachab…

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These days, the rotting pilings that sit in the middle of the Columbia River don’t seem like much at first glance but they are the remnants of a booming cannery industry.

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Dr. Theodore H. Parks was born in Bloomington, Indiana, in 1842 and came to Ilwaco by way of Salem and Portland, Oregon in 1889.

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In a nationwide compilation in the 1880 U.S. Census, 555 names identify their occupations as clairvoyant, spirit medium, psychometrist, trance lecturer, magnetic healer among other “pseudo-sci…

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Tommy and Irene Garretson Nelson lived just south of the Oysterville Church when I was a youngster. They were about the age of my grandparents and I remember being quite fond of Tommy but just…

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Michael O. Perry was asked to write about the Lewis and Clark Expedition during the Corp of Discovery’s bicentennial celebration. At the time, his writing consisted of an occasional letter to …

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From 1892 to 1979, five different lightships guided vessels to the mouth of the Columbia River. These “floating lighthouses” served as a navigational aid for ships where it wasn’t practical to…

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The house of my grandparents in Oysterville was filled with books — and not only in the room they called “The Library,” either. It’s hard to tell which were the most important. Perhaps the poe…

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My Great Aunt Dora and her brother Harry (my grandfather, Papa) were the family storytellers of their generation. Papa told the good-news stories; Aunt Dora was the keeper of tales about sinne…

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The following 8th grade exit exam materials for Washington State in 1910 were supplied by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Olympia, Washington, with the following instructio…

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No matter the school district or the teacher or the time of year — story after story told by school students in the early 20th century concerned their problems with a cantankerous bull.

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From the earliest days of maritime tattooing, sailors have covered themselves in images that symbolize their lives at sea. Designs represent faraway loved ones, everyday duties, personal trium…

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This list of rules for 19th century teachers appeared at the end of “Pioneer Schools of the Naselle-Gray’s River Valley” by Louise Holm Hunter, published in a 1993 Sou’wester magazine. There i…

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Cecelia “Janey” Haguet was born in 1848 on her parents’ Donation Land Claim near present-day Ilwaco. She was educated at Providence Academy in Vancouver, Washington, and before she married was…

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So far, all of the recollections I have written down have been about life in the Deep River area. This one involves a short period in my childhood that I spent in Fallon, Nevada. This is one o…

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For as long as I can remember, Walter Davis came over to my grandmother’s house every Sunday. They played rummy, talked in Finnish and had coffee and pastry. Every Sunday was the same routine.…

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The crew are mustered in the waist [aft of the mainmast] and the captain in on the poop [aftermost deck] when a cry comes from somewhere forward:

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In 1940, Arthur E. Skidmore wrote about the old South Bend School which was built in 1871. He went there as a student and, later, taught at the school, himself. His stories about how he manage…

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Catherine “Kay” McGowan Garvin (1911-2010) grew up in the town which had the same name as she did — a circumstance she didn’t much like as a child. But, at least, she once confided, she was sp…

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Verna Smith Oller was born Feb. 25, 1912, and was 95 years young when she and I talked about her growing up years on the Peninsula.

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During my sophomore year at Naselle High School, I thought I would become a pole vaulter. I placed nails every six inches or so from 6 foot on up on two poles I cut out in the woods. These wer…

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Even 100 years ago, second only to getting anywhere by foot (or by “shank’s mare” as pedestrian travel was sometimes called) would undoubtedly have been by horse. But when the destination was …

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In my early years, I wanted to be what we called a “man’s man.” A man’s man was someone the other guys looked up to and admired. I didn’t have sense enough to look around and see what fellows …

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School was held in Oysterville as early as 1860 and perhaps before. Pupils met in various locations and teachers were paid through subscription funds collected in the community. Oysterville pu…

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Tucker Wachsmuth’s best guess is that his great-grandparents arrived in Oysterville in 1870. They came in time to be counted on the 1870 U. S; Census: Meinert, age 28, Day Laborer from Schlesi…

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When, on Feb. 26, 1852, property owners of Pacific City were ordered to vacate the site immediately to make way for a military reservation within which Fort Canby would be located, James Duval…

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Over the years, the Wachsmuth Family of Oysterville has kept closely in touch with their German relatives and have even adapted a beloved school tradition that involves a School Pretzel Bread …

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We had a school bus driver, Clarence Hedlund, who seemed to be humor impaired. To this day, I still don’t know what I did that caused him to kick me off the school bus, but he did. He would pi…

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Now that I am a “senior citizen,” I find myself harboring negative thoughts about some of the clothing and accessories worn by a large segment of our young people of today. A ball cap on backw…

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“Plungers” were the ubiquitous sail boats predominate on Shoalwater Bay from the 1850s until the late 1880s. Perhaps they were best described by Frank Turner (1882-1961) in his column “From Au…

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Another familiar name for Stanley Point (the location of dream-cities Stanley, Napoleon, and Chetlo Harbor) is Cougar Bend. Of all the names for that particular location on the Naselle River, …

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Much to the amusement of other settlements around the shores of the newly named “Willapa” Bay, the slogan “Baltimore of the Pacific” continued to be used for promotional purposes long after th…

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Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

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Paint a nostalgic picture: two boys in a boat, first light, gray as a tarnished coffee pot. Hard wind out of the north, incoming tide rising steadily on Willapa Bay. A light rain begins to fal…

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On March 16, 1915, around 10,000 people gathered at the mouth of the Columbia River to welcome the Great Northern, a palatial high-speed cruiser. The ship had been built, along with its sister…