A Note to My Grandfather

Apr 11, 2015 | 0 comments

Helen and Harry Espy Golden Wedding Anniversary

Helen and Harry Espy
Golden Wedding Anniversary

The other day I ran across the most interesting file folder – Photostat copies of some of the earliest business considered by our Pacific County Commissioners way back in 1857 — back in the day when we were still Washington Territory and the only way to get to Oysterville was by water. In fact, these documents have to do with the very first roads here on the Peninsula.

The documents were accompanied by a cover letter to my grandfather from Verna Jacobson. She served as County Auditor from 1947 to 1974. Beyond that she was the Daughter of North Cove pioneers, wife and mother, County Clerk, WWII Veteran, concert singer, world traveler, founding member and first Secretary of Pacific County Historical Society (PCHS.)

1857 Petition, Pasge One

1857 Petition, Page One

My grandfather, Harry Albert Espy, also descended from pioneers, had been a State Senator, long-time Justice of the Peace and, like Mrs. Jacobson, was one of the founders of the PCHS. The Espys and the Jacobsons were acquainted and the note begins with a reference to my grandparents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary which they celebrated on November 24, 1947:

11-25-47
Mr. H.A. Espy, Oysterville, Washington
Dear Sir:
May I extend my congratulations to you and Mrs. Espy with my very best wishes.
In rearranging my office I came across a very old record or as nearly as I can ascertain it is the oldest document in the office as to Commissioners Proceedings. I am enclosing a Photostat copy for you as I think you will find it most interesting as I did. This is not the complete record but only the first entry.
Sincerely,
Verna Jacobson

1857 Petition, Page Two

1857 Petition, Page Two

What follows are copies of ten handwritten pages of petitions to the Pacific County Commissioners – seven petitions in all with dates spanning the years 1857 to 1865. Most have to do with roads, or more specifically, the need for roads. The very first, dated October 1857, begins:

We the undersigned would respectfully represent to your honorable body by petition that we are without a direct road from Oysterville, Pacific Count, W.T. westwardly to the Pacific Ocean on 3weather beach and knowing that it is essential for it would be a general benefit to the travelling wayfarer or emigrant who is looking for a home and by locating this road, it being only one and half miles from Oysterville directly westward to the Sea Shore and from thence southerly toward Bakers Bay on the Mouth of the Columbia River for eighteen or twenty miles an excellent hard Sea beach Shore but aside from that it would connect a few miles South with the Territorial Road from Pacific City, Columbia River to Narcata landing in Shoal Water Bay, and would afford an easy ingress and egress, both to citizens and travelers and then would have both to choose whether to take Mail Stage or his own private conveyance in the more rugged way in an open sailboat up to the portage, through or over that dismal road (especially for families at any season of the year is unfit) to get at Baker’s Bay on the Columbia River…

Repair Work on Oysterville Road, 1880s

Repair Work on Oysterville Road, 1880s

Twenty-five men signed the petition. Most of the names are familiar in the annals of Pacific County History, among them R.H, Espy, Abe Wing, Andrew Wirt, Ezra Stout, I.A. Clark, Gilbert Stevens, Ed Loomis.

I had always ‘heard’ that Oysterville Road was the first in the county and that it was built in 1858. The information in this long-neglected file folder would seem to corroborate that information.

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