Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Memorial of John Mears


My Christmas present from sister Patty this year was an authentic copy of The Memorial of Lieutenant John Mears dated 30th April 1790 and containing "every particular respecting the capture of vessels in Nootka Sound". The book is a numbered edition published in 1933 and belonged to my grandfather Frank Mullis.

In 1788 Mears purchased land from a local Chief and set up a trading post on Nootka Sound. Then, while Mears was in China, the Spanish, who at that time still sought to control all of the trade from the American west, seized the trading post and some ships preceding the great Spanish armament as well as George Vancouver's Historic Voyage. Mears has been criticized for exaggerating but none the less was instrumental in securing British interests in the Pacific Northwest. He joined the Navy at 15 as a Captain's servant and in 1795 was made a Commander in the Royal Navy. I'll have to read the book now so I can give you the particulars.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Northwest Regional Archives Workshop

Northwest Regional Archives
Hosts Free Workshop
Researching the History of Your Property
Saturday, January 12th, 2008 ~ 9:30 am ~ 1:00 pm
Washington State Archives Building
808 25th Street, WWU campus

Root Cellar of old King Farm With Millstone

The workshop is a half-day training session led by knowledgeable staff that will show you:

*How to access information from local government resources
and title companies

*What research materials are available at the Center for
Pacific Northwest Studies

*How to use resources at the Washington State Northwest
Regional Archives

Staff from the Whatcom Museum Photo Archives and the Bellingham Public Library will give an overview of the resources available at these City repositories.

Registration is required and space is limited. Priority will be given volunteers working on the Preserve America historic resource survey project (must register by Friday January 4th to receive registration priority).

To register contact Susan Fahey, Washington State Northwest
Regional Archives (360) 650-4911

Link to: Preserve America historic resource survey project

Link to: Washington Trust for Historic Preservation

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Family Christmas Memory

The Mullis House on Argyle

Hidden by a teeming jumble of vegetation the old Mullis house on Argyle is barely visible today but at one time it was among the most prominent homes in the county. Built by my great grandfather George Mullis in 1905 the house was occupied by his family and later by my grandparents Frank and Belle Mullis, my Aunt Ina, uncles Don and Wally, and my mom, Flossie Mullis (McRae-Lang).

Earlier this year I was doing some research on the old house and my mom shared a Christmas memory with me. Ina and Don were the older siblings and in the late 1930s were both attending the University of Washington in Seattle. They came home to Friday Harbor for Christmas one year with a big surprise, a radio! The whole family gathered around the kitchen table thrilled to be listening to a Christmas concert broadcast all the way from New York City!

Flossie Mullis (McRae-Lang)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More Fun With Kelp


Photo Credit: This photo must have been taken by Chinmayo.
I'm busy rowing and the dog is clearly meditating.

My friend Chinmayo reminded me that to get the extra special prize winning kelp we went out in a small rowboat on a rather brisk day. She recommends: "Be sure to bring a big dog with you". A good sharp knife and a few plastic buckets for the kelp will come in handy too. I recall that I not only made kelp pickles but I dried the blades.

link to: Tongass Clearinghouse
to find recipes for Kelp Salsa & Kelp Relish
plus more tips on harvesting Kelp.

link to:
to find a recipe for Kelp Energy Bars
plus health benefits of Kelp

link to: Beliefnet
to find a story about the Classic Zen Koan
Does a Dog have Buddha Nature?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Susan Osborn Christmas Concert

Susan Osborn Christmas Concert
Saint David's Episcopal Church
Wednesday, December 19th at 7:30

Susan, and her friends and musical colleagues, Martin Lund, on piano and woodwinds; Gene Nery, on guitar and bass, and Ritambhara Tyson on cello are bringing their concert to Saint David's Episcopal Church (newly remodeled at 760 Park Street) on Wednesday, December 19th at 7:30. It's limited seating so to be sure of a ticket, get it soon!

link to: Susan Osborn

Tickets are $10 and are available at Griffin Bay Bookstore or at the Saint David's office.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Night At The Opera

Performance at the San Juan Benefit Players Theater
Saturday January 12th at 2:00PM
Experience Seattle's operas without leaving San Juan Island!

~ Corinne Stevens ~
"Mi chiamano Mimi" from Puccini's La Boheme
Puget Sound Concert Opera, Seattle WA, October 2007
(photo courtesy of Puget Sound Concert Opera)

Puget Sound Concert Opera proudly presents a concert performance of Verdi's Il Trovatore with some of the Pacific Northwest's premier performers, including Friday Harbor soprano Corinne Stevens (San Juan Singers concert soloist, opera singer with Skagit Opera & San Juan Performing Arts Society)!

Come join us for an unforgettable evening of Verdi's masterpiece including the audience favorites: "Anvil Chorus", thrilling tenor aria "Di quella pira" and Leonora's show-stopping duet with Inez "Tacea la Notte". Cast includes David Barela, Robert W. Corl, Brandon Higa, Ralph Wells, Sharon Karsner, Corinne Stevens, Regina Thomas and coach & pianist Jay Rozendaal of Seattle Opera.

Wieslaw Walkuski ~ Poster for Verdi's Il Trovatore

Puget Sound Concert Opera appears courtesy of the San Juan Performing Arts Society.

link to: Puget Sound Concert Opera
link to: Corinne Stevens
As with all Benefit Players performances, admission is by donation.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wishing Stones

I was pleasantly surprised that my recent post "Fun With Kelp" got more responses both on and off line than any other post so far! We do like our kelp out here and there are so many ways to have fun with it!

One reader had a copy of that same Almanac that she sadly lost track of. At her request I'm posting another page from the 1985 San Juan Islands Almanac Vol 12.

PS. Lindy ~ I'm pleased if not amazed that you remember this. If you will go to my "profile" and email me I would be happy to send you a higher resolution image. Also, you might give Serendipity, Friday Harbor's second hand book store a call at 360-378-2665 and let them know you are looking for this Almanac. I don't know what happened to my first copy but when my sister sent me this copy it seemed like a charming little treasure.

Friday, December 14, 2007

All In The Family

There is still time to adopt an Orca from the Whale Museum for that special gift. One of the great things about adopting a Whale from our Southern Resident Pods is that we know them individually so with your certificate and photo you also get a personalized biography of your whale. I am the proud adopter of J-14, Samish, she is the Mom who recently gave birth to our newest Orca calf. Orca social organization is matrilineal and Samish is the granddaughter of Granny, the grand matriarch of J-Pod. Adopters receive a handsome packet and regular updates on their own special Whale. Adoption includes membership in the Museum.

To see photos an read brief biographies of the Whales link to: Meet the Whales

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pig War Era Holiday Social at English Camp


At Saturday's Holiday Social at English Camp Eric Ellison was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award for his service to San Juan National Historical Parks. Eric, an active participant in the Pig War reenactments "spent countless hours in 2007 assisting the park with everything from interpretation to hauling equipment and creating the traveling forge". Here is Eric being congratulated by National Park Historian and the Park Chief of Interpretation Mike Vouri.

Photographer: Ron Garner

Eric again stepping out on to the dance floor with Julia Vouri...

NPS: photograph

The old-fashioned tree trimming party took place in the old British Royal Marine Light Infantry barracks building -- "just as it was likely done in the mid-1860s when the camp was in its heyday".

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Festival of Whales

Come to our "Holiday Festival of Whales"
on Saturday, December 8th
activities and refreshments all day, for all ages
have fun while you shop for the perfect gift!

Get your photo taken with Oly the Orca!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Festivities at the Whale Museum

5:30 ~ 7:30 PM December 6th

You are invited to join the Whale Museum in initiating Thursday evening late holiday shopping with punch, cookies & hammered dulcimer music preformed by local musician Chinmayo.

The Museum Gift shop will be open with holiday sale prices* 15% off or 25% off for members (sale lasts until Dec 10). You will find the best priced and most unique stuffed animal selection around! Beautiful mugs and travel cups with Northwest Native designs, Whale, Otter & Jellyfish socks, beautifully crafted jewelry, ornaments...and much much more! Or for that hard to shop for person on your list why not adopt an Orca? Orca adoption comes with a lovely informative package and provides the adopter with year round updates on their own special Orca. All proceeds from the Gift Shop and the Orca Adoption Program support the Whale Museum's mission of education and research. Get some holiday shopping done at great prices and save the Whales at the same time!

*sale price does not include consignment art or books

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Fun With Kelp

Patient reader, I'll be getting back to you very soon with the story of that firebrand Lyman Cutlar. Meanwhile, in the mail today I got a package from my sister Patty including a 1985 copy of the San Juan Almanac published by Evelyn Burke & Eleanor Howard at Longhouse Printcrafters. Within it's pages are a few contributions from yours truly. Here is one with a few suggestions on how to have some fun with kelp. Here I am bragging about getting a blue ribbon on my kelp pickles.... well, wouldn't you?

I've had fun with kelp all of my life. When we were little girls my grandfather carved faces into the bulb of the kelp to make kelp dolls for my sisters and I. Later, as an adult, when I lived on Lopez Island I learned how to weave baskets out of kelp. The kelp shrinks up quite a bit as it dries but it does dry beautifully. A warning, you do not want to get your kelp basket wet.

I've noticed that even scanning the page from the Almanac in at a higher resolution it is still hard to read. I'm not trying to protect my prize recipe. If you would like the recipe but have trouble reading it leave a comment and I will happily reply.

Friday, November 30, 2007

New Show at Waterworks Gallery

Waterworks Gallery
December 8 - January 6
opens with two San Juan Island artists
Jaime Ellsworth and Tom Small

Dog's World ~ Acrylic on Canvas ~ Jamie Ellsworth

Jaime has begun a new series of paintings on two of her favorite subjects, dogs and horses. Tom's newest sculpture in basalt and granite is beautiful to the touch and a visual treat for the eyes. Art new to the gallery includes the beaded sculptures of local artist, Susan Williams and a few other surprises from gallery artists.

View this show online as of December 6, 2007 at Waterworks Gallery

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Local Musicians Honored in LA

Local Songwriters Tom Doenges and Richard Hieronymus
nominated by the Los Angeles Music Awards

Friday Harbor residents Tom Doenges and Richard Hieronymus have been nominated by the Los Angeles Music Awards for Independent artists/writers(LAMA) for two songs they co-wrote. Tom Doenges aka TOM HENRY performed and produced both songs and has been
invited to attend this event.

The songs are entitled "ALL TIED DOWN" and "THE SHUTUP SONG." These songs can be heard along with others on a website called "broadjam". The songs can be played by going to the web site.

link to: Broadjam

The merit of the songs is figured by of number of hits and strength in the independent artist web sites along with and some other notable sites.

This event will be televised locally in Los Angeles the evening of Nov. 29th expecting to reach over 1 million people. Many celebrates will be in attendance.

Richard Hieronymus and Tom Doenges have worked together over the past 15 years on feature film scores such as MOLLY AND THE GHOST and THE MEANCO PROJECT. Currently they are writing songs for the film, MISCONCEPTIONS to be shot in January 2008.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Most Notable Pig

Champion Berkshire Boar - Adelaide Australia

Patience gentle reader, we are approaching the notorious “Pig Incident” that figures so significantly in the history of San Juan Island. Yet before we get to Lyman Cutlar, American prospector, potato farmer and author of the deadly deed, I’d like to say something about the pig.

This was no paltry pig, no ordinary hog. This was Charles Griffin’s prize Berkshire Boar. Berkshire Boars are thought to be the oldest breed of pig and first became notable over 300 years ago during the English Civil War when Oliver Cromwell housed his men for the winter in Reading, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire), in the English countryside. Since then Berkshire Boars have been widely valued for their outstanding texture and flavor. The breed can weigh in at as much as 1,000 pounds.

In the 19th century the Berkshire breed was introduced to Japan as a gift from the English. There they thrived and became known as the Japanese black hog or Kurobuta pork a name that literally means “unique dining experience”.

The English Royal Family kept a herd of Berkshires at Windsor Castle. The first hog ever recorded was the boar, Ace of Spades, bred by Queen Victoria. The Berkshire breed has also been enshrined in literature by some of England’s most beloved authors in the characters of Beatrix Potter’s Pigling Bland, P. G. Wodehouse’s Empress of Blandings and George Orwell’s Napoleon.

link to: British Pig Association

Pigling Bland by Beatrix Potter

Friday, November 23, 2007

Drama on Stage


Stage Left presents the award-winning drama "Doubt" by John Patrick Shanley Thursdays through Sundays at Roche Harbor Pavilion. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 4:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Island Stage Left will present an extra performance of "Doubt" at Roche Harbor Pavilion at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25 with the proceeds going to the fund to help the Banry Family. Suggested donation is $15.



The Benefit Players present "The Fantasticks" at The Benefit Players Theater, corner of Tucker Ave and Guard Street in Friday Harbor at 7:30 on November 30, Dec. 1 and 2.



The Benefit Players present "The End Game" by Samuel Beckett at the Benefit Players Theater at the corner of Tucker Ave and Guard Street in Friday Harbor at 7:30 on November24th and 25th, December 7th, 8th, 9th and December 14th, 15th, and 16th. As with all performances at BPT, admission is by donation.

San Juan Benefit Players is a 501(c)3 organization that was established to provide quality theater productions for the benefit of the community, and to assist the community in charitable and educational benefits.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wild Turky Feathers


2 cups boiling water
2 cups sugar

Boil together 5 minutes and add 4 cups cranberries.
Continue cooking until popping stops (usually 5 minutes)

Mrs. Karl Templin
1941 San Juan & Orcas Rebekah Lodge Cookbook

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hardy Pioneers

If you go into Friday Harbor’s Town Hall you will see this photograph hanging in the reception area. The hardy pioneer in the middle is Charles McKay, one of the first Americans to settle on San Juan Island. McKay and his friend D.W. Oakes were 49ers who after unsuccessful prospecting for gold in California took a schooner out of San Francisco to Astoria, Oregon. From there, they bought a large Indian canoe and paddled the rest of the way up the coast, around the cape and into the Strait of Juan de Fuca against formidable winds and currents, north and up the Frazer River. As I mentioned, these were hardy pioneers! Both men farmed on San Juan Island where they married native women and raised families.
Powder-Keg Island, Jo Baily & Al Cummings, p 30-31

Friday Harbor Founding Fathers
Edward Warbass, Charles McKay and Stephen Boyce

W. D. Oakes and I, returning from the Frazer River mining excitement, arrived in Victoria, B.C. on our way back to California. There we got acquainted with some hunters and they told us about San Juan Island. They told us what a fine Island it was, full of game. So we went there to see it. There appeared to be a lodestone on the island, for we got stuck there at once. We found the Hudson Bay Company had a station on the island. They had more than 2,000 head of sheep and cattle and horses. There was also an American Customs Inspector by the name of Hubbs. We took up farms and soon there came a number of other American citizens to the island. All took up farms, and among them there was a man by the name of Cutlar who took a farm.

Charles McKay 1908
source: Powder-Keg Island, Jo Baily & Al Cummings

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Island Holiday Events

November 23 & 24
Holiday Bazaar at the Elementary School
November 30

Memorial Park Tree Lighting ~ 5:00 PM
Port of Friday Harbor Lighting ~ 5:45 PM
December 1
CATS Festival of Trees ~ San Juan Community Theatre ~ 5:00 PM
December 2
“Winter Wonderland” Holiday Decorating Contest ~ 5:00 PM
December 5
San Juan Historical Museum
Old Fashioned Holiday Celebration ~ 5:00 PM ~ 7:00 PM
December 8
Lighted Boat Parade and Santa Ship ~ 5:30 PM
December 9
San Juan Community Theatre Teddy Bear Tea ~ 11:00 AM
Limekiln Park Lighthouse Holiday
“Tours to the Top” 1:00 PM ~ 4:00 PM

December 15
Roche Harbor Old Fashioned Christmas
Neighborhood Block Party ~ Late Afternoon
San Juan Singers Holiday Concert
San Juan Community Theatre ~ 7:30 PM

December 16
San Juan Singers Holiday Concert
San Juan Community Theatre ~ 5:00 PM

* * * * *

send holiday event news to
or leave it as a comment and I will post it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Arctic Raven ~ November 23

Hot Cider Reception 5:30 - 7:30 Friday & Saturday November 23 & 24th
This show will feature a new collection
of Native Arctic artwork & gifts from recent trips North

Puffin by Henry C. Shavings Sr. Woodcarving

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pumpkin Pie

The San Juan and Orcas Island 1941 Rebekah Lodge Cookbook

Pumpkin Pie, always a favorite, is featured in my Grandmother's 1941 Rebekah Lodge Cookbook. It is that time of year. If you are contemplating baking a pumpkin pie here are a few recipies from Island cooks for you to consider.

photo: Margaret Bell

Monday, November 12, 2007

Remembering Veterns

Colorguard: National Park 1998 Encampment

photo: National Park Service

"For more than 10 years, re-enactors from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada have been gathering to celebrate peace each August on the English Camp parade ground.

The annual Encampment commemorates the peaceful joint occupation of San Juan Island by British and American forces from 1859 to 1872, and final, peaceful settlement of the Northwest Boundary dispute." NPS

Link to: San Juan National Historical Park

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thirty Thousand semi-barbarous Californians

Victoria, 1858 ~ Illustrated News of the World

Adding powder to the powder keg building up on San Juan Island, in 1858 gold was discovered on the Frazer River in British Columbia. Here is a brief excerpt from: “an Irish-American itinerant journalist and California propagandist” J. Ross Browne’s account, The Golden State’s View of the Frazer Gold Rush, originally published in Harper’s Magazine 1861.

The British Lion had been slumbering undisturbed in Victoria for half a century, and was very much astonished, upon waking up, to find thirty thousand semi-barbarous Californians scattered broadcast over the British Possessions. Governor Douglass issued manifestoes in vain. He evidently thought it no joke. The subject eventually became a matter of diplomatic correspondence, in which much ink was shed, but fortunately no blood, although the subsequent seizure of San Juan Island by General Harney came very near producing that result.
~ J. Ross Browne

"Returned From the Frazer"

Resource: Unsettled Boundaries: Frazer Gold and the British-American Northwest
by Robert E. Ficken

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Things Heat Up

Punch cartoon from Vouri's The Pig War

Following the “exceedingly annoying affair” of the sheep auction on the beach tensions continued to rise. Both British and Americans received instruction from further up their command counseling them to maintain the peace. Neither country however went so far as to suggest ceding territory as a means to secure the peace. To the contrary, both sides saw retaining San Juan Island as being in their respective national interest.

Not only that but northern tribes were sweeping south with increasing frequency in fierce raiding parties attacking both settlers and southern tribes taking slaves, guns, pots and scalps (remember Issac Ebey). The common adversary inspired some cooperation between the British and the Americans while at the same time bringing the military closer in. The United States established military posts at Bellingham Bay and Port Townsend and by 1856 Rear Admiral HW Bruce of Her Royal Majesties Navy relocated his Pacific fleet from Central America to Vancouver Island.
references: Baily-Cummings Powder-Keg Island, Vouri's The Pig War

Welcome New Baby Orca J~43


photo: Gene and Merilyn Ohlson, Greenbank / via Orca Network

First spotted on Wednesday, J-pod's new orca calf J-43 is seen here swimming beside mother, Samish J-14 (right) and brother, Riptide J-30. J-43 joins brother Riptide and sisters Hy'Shqa J-37 (whose name means "blessing" in coast Salish language) and Suttles J-40. J-43's Great Grandmother, Granny J-2, is the grand matriarch of the Southern Resident Orca community. Granny and Great Uncle Ruffles J-1 were featured in the Free Willy movies.

link to: Raw: Orcas Near Alki King5 video

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Chamber Music ~ Saturday

Saturday, November 10
Chamber Music San Juan Presents

Antonio Vivaldi
link to: text of the Four Seasons Sonnets in English and Italian

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Poetry Night ~ November 9th

Friday, November 9th 7:00 PM
Poetry Reading

Poet Sappho and Phaon ~ Oil on Canvas ~ Jacques-Louis David 1809
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia

Featured Poets:
Ernest Pugh (actor/playwright)
Susan Wingate (published poet)
Wendy Wood (wildland firefighter, poet)
& Open Mic...

Hosted by Tom Odegard
Curious, Call 3213

- no devices please -
listen and speak your hearts, minds, & ephemera

Sunday, November 4, 2007

An Exceedingly Annoying Affair

So far, cool heads have prevailed regarding the touchy issue of just what national jurisdiction San Juan Island and its herds of Hudson’s Bay sheep belonged to. A bit of grease gets thrown onto the fire when the brand new state of Washington decides that San Juan Island should fall under the purview of newly formed Whatcom County. Hudson’s Bay farm manager and Deputy of the Peace, Charles Griffin had just been told by his colonial office “I have to authorize you to continue to treat those Islands as part of the British Dominions” when he was paid a visit by Whatcom County’s Sheriff Barnes.

In October of 1854 Sheriff Barnes gave Griffin the choice of paying $80.33 in back taxes or facing a sheriff’s sale. Initially, Griffin paid him no heed. Barnes left only to show up again with a crew of armed “bidders” who, after having rowed to the Island in 3 rowboats proceeded to have a moonlight sheep auction on the beach purchasing 40 Hudson’s Bay sheep. After a considerable struggle to load the sheep (10 escaped) into the 2 boats and an Indian canoe they were just shoving off early in the morning when Griffin and a posse of Kanakas (some said with knives) attempted to stop them. The Kanakas and Griffin gave up the pursuit recognizing that with drawn pistols the Americans had a superior show of force. Or so it seemed, as the Americans fell to their oars they glimpsed the Beaver, a well-armed Hudson’s Bay steamer out of Victoria.

Governor Douglas appraised the incident: “an exceedingly annoying affair”.

reference: Vouri, The Pig War, pg 33-37

William Holman Hunt ~ Strayed Sheep ~ Oil on canvas ~ Tate Gallery, London.

Spring Forward Fall Back

Turn Clocks Back One Hour Today

Friday, November 2, 2007

VOTE! General Election Nov 6

Women's Suffrage Parade ~ Pennsylvania Avenue 1913
They fought for our right to vote.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Meanwhile Back At The Ranch

Charles Griffin ~ Manager Belle Vue Farm

After the ill-fated Issac Ebey left his friend Henry Webber on San Juan Island as assistant collector of customs, Charles Griffin, manager of Hudson's Bay's Belle Vue Farm, issued a warrant for Webber's arrest. Webber, who was camped directly beside Belle View Farm in a tent ornamented with an American flag, resisted.

"This gentleman instantaneously presented a revolver at the breast of the constable, telling him if he touched him he would most certainly fire." Webber was armed with "two brace of pistols hung about his waist and breast, and a knife thrust in his boot at the knee."*

Griffin then ordered and was later advised by BC Governor Douglas to leave the American alone as long as he did not attempt to carry out customs duties. Webber, charged only with keeping tabs on Belle Vue farm and being paid $5 a day to do it was perfectly happy with the arrangment. He soon became best of friends with Charles Griffin.

quotes from: *p.31, Vouri's The Pig War

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Waterworks Gallery ~ Nov 3 ~ 25

Cathy Schonenberg, Mary Ann Rock & Holly Durham
Two Painters and a Ceramic Sculptor Show Recent Work
Opening Reception Saturday November 3rd 5:30 ~ 8:oo

Navajo Rug ~ Oil on Canvas ~ Cathy Schoenberg

Monday, October 29, 2007

Lee Bave directing Visitors in her Museum

These Youtube vignettes seem to have been taken by a group of visitors who stopped by the Pig War Museum with their video camera.

Emelia Lee Bave ~ The Pig War Museum

Lee Bave & Escort in Front of Pig War Museum

I’ll get back to the problem of alleged illegal alien farm animals on San Juan Island soon but first I’d like to mention the work of Emelia Lee Bave. I stopped by to visit Lee yesterday afternoon. She still has a flare for the dramatic and is, at 97 years old, truly a living Island treasure.

Historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, was interviewed on KUOW Weekday this morning. The title of Ulrich’s latest book, Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History has become a popular slogan. Says Ulrich, “History is not just what happened but its what gets remembered.” Lee Bave is one memorable, energetic and creative woman who may have veered slightly outside of the bounds of what is considered “well behaved” to keep the history of San Juan Island’s Pig War alive and vibrant. Bave maintained the Island’s Pig War Museum and was also famous for her performance of the San Juan Saga, a one woman accounting of the Pig War.

Ian Byington Releases New CD

Things Seen & Unseen by Ian Byington

from Ian's Update

"It's a whole new approach: Singing songs that reflect both the reality of what surrounds us, and the hopefulness it will take to make it better.

In this album, Ian draws from spiritual & activist roots to speak directly to the sorrows that surround us, and the chance for joy."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Time Warps

Peggy Sue at the Woolworths in Anchorage Alaska - 1980

A reader gently corrected me. Washington and Oregon separated in 1853 not 1953 and Isaac Ebey came to San Jaun Island in 1854 not 1954. I could say, Hey, I'm the visual type, I don't do well with numbers and that would be true. It is also true that I have often felt I somehow stumbled into these modern times by mistake. I have at various times confused the 19th & 20th centuries. Wishful thinking perhaps? Even as a child born in the Pacific Northwest I dreamed of coming west with a wagon train. I loved old-fashioned things. As a young adult for a number of years I sewed all of my own clothes by hand, with a needle and thread. Those were in fact the best clothes I ever owned. The charming but rustic house I lived in on Lopez Island could easily have been a 19th century home but for the air traffic overhead. Here I am now in the 21st century working on a computer. I do love the modern conveniences, a hot shower and my email. Yet, there is a part of me that loves to linger in the 19th century. Hence my love of history. I hope you will enjoy time traveling with me through my blog.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Isaac Ebey ~ Big Tyee

Isaac Ebey (1818-1857)

Isaac Ebey is noteworthy for being the first U.S. settler on Whidbey Island. He was a farmer, a lawyer and a prosecuting attorney. He helped persuade the legislature to separate Washington from Oregon in 1853 and in 1854 as U.S. Customs collector he made several trips to San Juan Island. According to Bailey-Cummings in their book Powder-Keg Island the Hudson Bay Company had neglected to obtain a license to import farm animals therefore according to Ebey the animals were illegal and Ebey informed Charles Griffin, Hudson’s Bay agent, that they would be impounded. B.C. Governor Douglas responded by appointing Griffin as Justice of the Peace for San Juan Island. Ebey and Griffin threatened to arrest each other. Ebey withdrew leaving his friend Henry Webber as a deputy customs man.

As it was, Ebey's importance did not serve him well. In a skirmish between Northern Natives and an American warship as the story goes, 26 natives including a chief were killed. In 1857 a party of Haida came south to avenge the killing of their chief by killing a white Tyee (chief). After inquiring as to the importance of Ebey and being assured that he was an important man they called him out of his house, shot him dead and cut off his head in front of his terrified family.

According to the Sunnyside Cemetery records, a Captain Charles Dodd of the Hudson's Bay Company was able to retrieve Ebey’s scalp for “6 Blankets, 3 pipes, 1 cotton handkerchief, 6 heads of Tobacco, and 1 fthm of Cotton” Ebey’s brother Winfield noted in his diary, “At last a portion of the mutilated remains of my dear brother is returned. Near three years has elapsed since his murder and now his poor head returns to his home. The skin of the head is entire contained, the ears and most of the hair. The hair looks quite natural. It is a sad memento of the past".

Ebey was the only reported white casualty of the so-called Indian War of 1856-1857.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Invaded by a Legion of Sheep

usdaPhoto:Ken Hammond

With the establishment of Belle Vue Farm as a Hudson’s Bay Company outpost, James Douglas, governor of British Columbia and chief factor of Fort Victoria, hoped to usurp the American “squatters” who were beginning to drift onto the Island. Douglas wanted to claim the Island for the Crown. Besides Belle View Farm, the British corporation under the agent, Charles Griffin, established sheep stations at three other points on the Island, according to Vouri, in The Pig War, these included “Oak Prairie (today’s San Juan Valley), another valley just south of Roche Harbor, and a clearing above a sheltered bay on the Island’s east side (Friday Harbor). Douglas hoped this would establish enough of a presence to make it obvious that the Island was a British holding.

Governor Douglas of British Columbia