Greg, our Oysterville Storekeeper, has loaned me a copy of a 1903 magazine sent to him by his Aunt Lillian. It is called The Coast: An Illustrated Magazine of the West and it is the January, 1903 issue – Volume V. Number One. Pages 27 to 34 concern Pacific County and I was impressed that one of the introductory paragraphs could have almost been written today:
Pacific County, Washington, although among the smaller in area, is large in resources and great in opportunities. Here we find six distinct avenues open for industrial and commercial activity: lumbering, fishing, oystering, dairying, cranberry raising and the conducting of sea-side resorts. Some things don’t change.
What interested me most, of course, was the part about Oysterville. This is what it says: (The editorial comments are mine.)
Oysterville, located near the head of the Peninsula, is a thriving village and was the first county seat of Pacific County. [Not true. It was the third county seat, Pacific City and Chinookville being first and second. – SS] I.A. Clark and R.H. Espy who came in 1853 [1854 – SS] are the reputed oldest settlers in the place. They engaged in the oystering business and named the place Oysterville. It is called the oldest town in the county, and was laid out in 1877. John Crellin was the first postmaster here and received his appointment in 1856. [Actually Isaac A. Clark was the first postmaster of Oysterville and received his appointment April 29, 1858, John Crellin, Jr. was next and was appointed February 14, 1863, -- SS] The Oysterville Oyster Company has just been organized here with M.E. Greenman president; F.A. Greenman, secretary; C.E. Kerlee, treasurer, which has a capital stock of $55,000, and proposes to plant fifteen acres with eastern oyster seed. The shipping point of Oysterville is Nahcotta. Again, some things don’t change, as in writers getting the facts straight.
Although the section is liberally sprinkled with illustrations, – lithographs and photographs – there were none of Oysterville. Several were of particular interest, though:
The Bay Center Methodist Church – the twin of our Oysterville Church, probably built using the same cookie-cutter plans. It still exists, but for years has been a private residence and its similarity to our church is hard to make out.
The North Cove Lighthouse – where my great-grandfather holed up for a year in 1859 recovering his strength after a scarlet fever attack. It is not clear whether he served as lightkeeper during that time. The Lighthouse, officially called the Cape Shoalwater Lighthouse, no longer exists due to eroding sands and ever-encroaching tides.
A view of Fort Canby – and of the Ilwaco shoreline of 110 years ago.
I am so grateful to Greg for sharing (and to Aunt Lilly, too!). The magazine is a treasure and no doubt I’ll be coming back to it time and time again. My interest in our past is another thing that doesn’t change.