Happy 165th Birthday, Oysterville!

Sunrise Over Willapa Bay

Statement given by Robert Hamilton Espy on July 13, 1913 and recorded by his son Harry Espy:

Came down [from Wisconsin] Spring ’53; worked at mill six weeks in Astoria; came to Palix in June.  Worked six weeks or so for Mark and Job Bullard and one Brown at Bay Center getting out piles for San Francisco till learned San Francisco could not take them.  Got yoke of oxen for his work.  Turned them out on Palix and John Crellin killed them the next year on shares.

From Bay Center went to North River and helped build mill for [James Clark Strong] who was first legislative Representative from this county.  He [R.H.] scored logs and others hewed.  Worked there till late in Oct.  Then returned to Palix and squatted on what was after Wilson place at fork of Palix.  Built log shack and put some clapboards on it.  Went up middle fork of Palix Falls and caught lot of dog salmon and salted down.  Left in cabin of man named Steel farther down Palix.  Steel went to Astoria, [got] sick and died about Christmas.  About same time R.H. went over leaving some things, including Prince Albert coat, in his cabin.  Next Spring when returned cabin was burned and “Tom Hayes,” Indian, was wearing his coat.  Salmon were all right.

During Winter ’53-’54 sawed logs on beach at Harrington Point with one Ellis and kedged them over to Dad Simmons’ mill near Tongue Point.  Toward Spring he met Clark at Parker’s Mill above Tongue Point and in week or so came over here.  Clark was looking round for opportunity like himself.  While n Palix “Old Klickeas” Indian had told of oysters here and on his telling Clark, he became interested – came over as partner.  [On April 11] came in sail boat to old Chinook, down beach to Wallicut where they secured large canoe and John Edmunds (or Pickernell) hauled across portage to Tarlett Sough ½ mile or so from bay, west of point where was a house – think owned by Pickernell’s son.  Staid overnight then took canoe down slough and down bay.  When came along front of Oysterville tide was out – was foggy – couldn’t see shore but heard something tapping in shore, tied up and came in.  Found Klickeas pounding on old stump on beach (one that had been washing in).  He had seen them coming and tried to callout.  They staid a few days, then went down to Bruceport for supplies.  Stopped at Dick Marion’s present place and picked oysters.

Boys at Bruceport objected and made as uncomfortable as possible.  There were then there Morgan, Winant, the storekeeper (Simmons) and few others.  Garretson was then returned to S.F. and some had gone East.  They thought entire bay belong to then as far as oysters were concerned.  Soon was so uncomfortable they [RH and Clark}returned to Oysterville…

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