Visiting… and Broadening My Horizons!

Feb 9, 2023 | 1 comment

Entering Chinook

Yesterday I went visiting — clear to Chinook!  In some ways it seems ridiculous to think of a community with so many similarities to Oysterville  (and only 22.8 miles distant) as being “far away.”  Especially when I drive through it several times a month on average and, in doing so, go right past the houses of a number of folks I know.

But yesterday I had made a date and I actually stopped and had a lovely visit with my friends the Kragers.  I was gathering information for a new book I’m noodling around — this one not a book of ghost stories, but one about real people —  especially the “characters” in our communities from the years of earliest settlement up to and including present times.  Amazingly however, although my notebook was bulging with names and ideas and anecdotes, it was another aspect of our visit that I thought about on my drove homeward.

        The Donaldson House, Chinook

Jon’s great grandfather, W.B, Donaldson, arrived in Chinook in 1860 and soon went into the fish trap business.  I can’t help but wonder if he became acquainted with my own great-grandfather, R.H. Espy, who had arrived in Oysterville just six years earlier and was already a mogul in the burgeoning oyster business.

Even though the distance from Chinook to Oysterville may have been greater in those days — or did the Bear River portage make the towns closer? — there seemed to be a lot of interaction between the two settlements.  That the court house was located in Oysterville, the county seat, explained the business connections. The courtships and marriages among members of the two villages are probably best explained as “human nature.”

Downtown Chinook 1930s

I’m looking forward to more visiting, more note-taking, more speculating about our past and how it informs the present and future.  And along the way… gathering more information about the “characters” of Pacific County!



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