In the beginning…

“Native American Tribes at Time of Columbus’s Arrival” wall poster

As promised yesterday, here is Installment #1 of my commentary on the article, “Oysterville, A Simply Lovely, Living Ghost Town” in the recently published Discovery Coast 2019-2020, ChinookObserver.com.

Mr. Webb begins his Oysterville story with this one-sentence paragraph:  Oysterville could be the only place in the United States that has always had human occupants.

A short paragraph, to be sure, but I had to go back and read it several times to see if I was missing something.  Since the next paragraph begins The Chinook Peoples… (and will be examined tomorrow), I can only assume that the writer means that no other place in the United States was inhabited by indigenous peoples before pioneer settlers arrived.

First Map of United States — by Abel Buell, 1784

Really?  Oysterville was the ONLY place?  Not Boston, not Sarasota, not Yosemite, not even Bay Center or Tokeland?  Just Oysterville?  Wow!  I wonder how one could arrive at such a conclusion.

Or maybe — though I don’t see it so stated — the “always” is taking into consideration scientists’ best guess as to the age of the Peninsula.  About 8,000 years old, isn’t it?  Maybe all other places in the United States pre-date the appearance of humans entirely.  Hmmm.  Does Oysterville occupy the very youngest sandspit in the United States?  Wow!

But, perhaps I am mis-reading it.  Perhaps the emphasis should be on HUMAN rather than on “only.”  So just who or what were the occupants of Boston or Sarasota or Yosemite early on?  Mastadons?  Dinosaurs?   Aliens?

Map of Historic Oysterville by Charles Fitzpatrick with information by H.A. Espy, Dewitt Stoner, H. Wirt, Charles Nelson, Eva Slingerland

Well… I am obviously getting carried away.  But, upon re-reading the paragraph —  Oysterville could be the only place in the United States that has always had human occupants — I find myself totally flummoxed.  Perhaps it will come clear tomorrow as I take a  closer look at Paragraph #2.  Or perhaps a reader will understand the words better than I.

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