“A fine double-breasted sort of woman!”

Feb 15, 2024 | 2 comments

Brother and Sister Ed and Dora Espy at their graduation from Grace Seminary in Centralia, 1892

February 15, 2024

The highest compliment that my Great Aunt Dora Espy Wilson could pay to another woman was to refer to her as “a fine double-breasted sort of woman!”  As a youngster, I always wondered exactly what she meant by that, but it was certainly clear that it was praise of the highest order.

I thought of that today when I received a note from a woman in Lake Oswego, Oregon who wrote: …I am a volunteer at the Oswego Heritage Council in Lake Oswego, Oregon.  I am working on an exhibit about women in Oswego history and came across your website while researching Dora Espy Wilson.  As you likely know, she was born in Oysterville in 1872 to Robert and Julia Ann (Jefferson) Espy.  She moved to Oregon by 1895 and to Oswego by 1910.  Here she was active in the women’s club and served on the school board.  Though she was prominent in our town, we have no image of her either in the collection of the Heritage Council or the Lake Oswego Public Library. 

Dora Espy Wilson, on her return from Hawaii aboard the S .S. Lurline, c. 1951

I have a number of photographs of Aunt Dora, a few of which even give a hint as to her larger-than-life personality.  I sent them on to the volunteer and hope that she will find them useful.  I also asked for more information about the exhibit.  We have a good many relatives in the Portland area who might be interested in seeing it and learning a bit more about that era of her life.

I only know that her husband, King Wilson, was the Mayor of Lake Oswego but I’m not surprised that she was on the school board,  She had attended McMinnville College and Bellingham Normal School and had taught school for two years here in Pacific County before marrying King in 1895,  In addition, they had three children during their years in Lake Oswego, so I’m sure that she had a great interest in the schools both professionally and as a young mother.

Although she asked me for pictures, the volunteer did not ask for any of the particulars about Aunt Dora’s background or personality.  So perhaps this will be a totally “new look” at Aunt Dora.  Stay tuned.



  1. Robert Gwinn

    Standing by for the update from Lakr Oswego.

    • sydney

      lol Me too!


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