Oysterville – 1902

Oct 17, 2022 | 1 comment

H.A. Espy House, 1902

By this date, October 17, 1902, my grandparents (“Granny and Papa”) had been living in this house in Oysterville for three months.  They had left behind the gas lights and trolley cars and other refinements of East Oakland, California, and had come to took after my great-grandfather, R. H. Espy who had been recently widowed.

“It will just be for a short time,” my grandmother assured her children, three-year-old Medora and two-year-old Albert.  After all, Grandfather was already 76 years old — how long could it be?

The Oldest H.A. Espy Children – Medora and Albert, 1904

I’ve never been quite sure why they moved into this house — the Tom Crellin House that Grandpa had purchased ten years previously to serve as the Parsonage for the newly completed Baptist Church across the street.  Grandpa continued living in his own house (newer by several years and larger by several bedrooms than this one, built in 1869) just two blocks to the north.

Of course, Grandfather’s youngest children were still “at home” (when not away at boarding school) and Papa’s unmarried sister still lived at home “to do” for her father.  And, perhaps, Mama had insisted that if they were going to live in the wilderness of the northwest, they could at least have their own home.

The H.A. Espys On Their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary – 1947

Mama’s “short time” morphed into fifty-seven years.  By the time Grandpa died in 1918, Papa had established a successful dairy farm here, had served a term in the Washington State Senate and he and Mama had buried two of their seven children.  The H.A. Espys and Oysterville were as one.

In later years Mama likened herself to Lord Byron’s Prisoner of Chillon, eventually growing to love the place where she had felt imprisoned for so many years.  She was beloved by the community, looked to for her calm wisdom and gentle advice, and Oysterville still bears her imprint in oh! so many ways.

1 Comment

  1. Kristina Jones

    Beloved Cuz, it is wonderful to read about them! Thank you! Such beautiful people and so fondly remembered by so many. Hope you are progressing with your new novel, and am so looking forward to reading your account of the nefarious doings on the Beloved Peninsula! Love, KK


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