Hello fellow Internet surfer and welcome
a gem of a site dedicated to illuminating the onyx-like parallels
from an otherwise beclouded and boring American and world
into its many hues and flavors, a spectrum inclusive of most light
makes up the untold stories, fascinating stories and journeys not
attached or put together in this theatrical or holistic manner as
I bring many years of personal and unique historical research, reading, collaboration, living, and writing experiences. I am a published historian, journalist, and genealogist, whose roots are in the Central Oregon Coast, the primary though not exclusive gathering or focal point of these stories.
I am not professionally enamored by historicism in the classical sense, or any particular intellectual chains, other than the challenge to loosen the usual grip of white Western European, heterosexist and masculinist elitism! And yes, I believe in being politically correct, and am proud of it, that I still name the names! I am a student and practitioner of folk and established history, and am expanding my understanding of story, wishing to share some of those exciting findings and perspectives. I plan to update this site regularly with the little known gems and connections to "the rest of the story" usually relegated to footnotes I have uncovered from the current draft of our mammoth, interconnected, well documented history saga, Sovereigns of Themselves: A Liberating Historyof Oregon and Its Coast. I would welcome and appreciate hearing from you, comments, questions, suggestions, corrections, or other resources and I hope that you'll stick around long enough to get to know just a little bit more about what this cyber-historian has to offer.
The Written Word
History-Onyx Online Challenges You To Believe It Or Not!
Before The Oregon Trail
The Ancient Bronze Age Norse King
was not alone in leaving a written trace of his visit to America.
who came after him may have done likewise. The American
thoroughly peppered with ancient graffiti, writes historian
in his book, Columbus Was Last. Strange inscriptions cane
on rocks, tablets, and stone monuments all across the continent.
people have expressed any interest in this historical bonanza. "We
been acting like illiterates," says Berry Fell, "collecting the
of vanished peoples and trying to reconstruct their lives without
attention to the written records they have bequeathed us." (Columbus
Last, Hyperion 1992, p. 65)
The geographical distribution of finds of ancient coins in North America shows a strong correlation with navigable coastal and riverine waterways, according to Harvard professor Berry Fell, author of Saga America. Fells says petroglyphs depicting ancient coins extend the range to the ancient equivalent of the Oregon Trail, extending across the prairies of Moneta in Wyoming. The latter town appears to mark the site of the annual fur market in Roman times, lying near the North Pass in the Great Divide, and thus as convenient for ancient trappers as the 19th century Wyoming markets were for trappers and buyers of the Astor company. The route also gave access to Nevada and California silver. In the north, the Michigan copper mines linked both with the Upper Mississippi traders and with ships on the Great Lakes. (Saga America, New York Times Books 1980, p. 35)
When Lewis and Clark reached the Pacific in Oregon, they found that the local Indians knew a number of rather colorful English words and deduced that they acquired them from English-speaking traders in furs who, according to the Indians, arrived periodically by sea from the Southwest, purchased all the available furs, and sailed off in the same direction. Dr. John Blakeless, the authority on Lewis and Clark, deduces that the markets for these furs were in China, where the dealers exchanged the Oregon cargo for silk, and then took off for Europe to sell the silk.
Nick Bennett, the "InfoPoobah" of the Oregon Trail Foundation, further notes Blakeless deduced the 'round-the-world trade, called "the China Circuit" of 18th and 19th century sailors looked like this: Tools and trinkets from Europe gets you fur from North America; fur gets you silk or spices from Asia; silk and spices are worth a lot of trinkets back home in Europe; and off we go again! It was a long and dangerous trip, but all things considered, it was probably better than whaling.
It is significant that circular petroglyphs found in California and Nevada depict the designs found on ancient Chinese coins, as of the Sung dynasty (960-1279). It seems very probable, therefore, that the entire economic structure of the western fur trade in Classical times paralleled very closely that which it had in the 19th century. Bankers financed the dealers who shipped the furs both West and East, destined for markets in the Mediterranean and in China. The demand was strong: houses were not generally well heated, wealthy Romans--and Iberians--liked comfort. The Chinese winters are severe in regions where the ancient and modern capitals were established, and China itself could not meet the demands for furs from native hunters. Imports were needed, and America provided the goods.
Our whole idea that America was an unknown continent 2,000 years ago is false. It was a very busy trading area, with shipping on both coasts. Its major exports were furs and skins for the leather trade.
Gloria Farley, a colleague to Fell, investigated the cliffs and caves in the Midwest and Southwest along the banks of the Arkansas and Cinarron rivers. She discovered records of visits and settlements by Old World voyagers from Phoenicia, Libya, and Egypt who ascended the Mississippi, into Iowa and the Dakotas then turned west to follow the Arkansas River, to the Cinarron bordering Oklahoma and Colorado. She found that centuries before Christ, ancient Celts had followed this southern route and that Libyans and Punic-speaking Iberians, and even one Basque king, were venturers into the heartland of this country. (America BC, Simon & Schuster 1989, pp. 7-9)
The Moneta site, Castle Gardens, Wyoming, the first ancient banking site to be identified, was obviously not alone. In all probability the west Arkansas site that Farley and Fell had jokingly called the Grand Bank of Iberia was indeed just that--the inscriptions are too fragmentary to do more at present than identify the site as a banking location. It is significant that west Arkansas has already yielded on Carthaginian coin to the search antenna of Jesse R. Kelley's metal detector. Possibly the western Arkansas site may have been a yet earlier Carthaginian bank. The Colorado petroglyphs that match Byzantine coinage probably mark the presence nearby of a bank that dealt with Levantine currency, during the Middle Ages, both Arab and Greek; for, as shown in later chapters of Fell's book, Saga America, Byzantine Greek and Islamic inscriptions abound--all of them hitherto mistaken for Indian "curvilinear" signs.
By following the trail of the mysterious Roman coins across America Fell has overshot the course of history by leading into the West Coast sites where the Liberians had founded a maritime community, settlements of sea dogs who traded with the kingdoms of China and India, and who had done so since the third century BC, as their coinage tells us. Coins do not deliver themselves, nor do bankers appear spontaneously without some evident form of transmission. More needs to be said about what others were doing while Rome was conquering the Western world. Conquests imply displaced people and land robbed farmers, often also a hungry native population whose crops have been seized by the conqueror. Such displaced people often form the reserve of labor for distant colonies, whose founders beckon encouragingly to those in bondage, offering a bright vision of freedom to any who will dare to join them across the sea. The forebears of nearly all Americans felt the urge to escape to a New World, andFell examinedsuch evidence on this matter as antiquity affords. (Saga America,New York Times Book Company 1980, pp. 161-163)
Libyans And Celts Settle West Coast
Harvard professor and epigrapher Barry
in Saga America identifies areas of settlements and points
via the river systems of the earliest, pre-Columbian, colonists
and North East Africa (Asia) and Europe. Some of the Indian
whom the visitors are believed to have come in contact are the
tribal nations believed to have descended in part from the African
of Iberia, Crete, and North East Africa; Phoenician, Philistine,
and Israel. Traders also came via the continental river systems
and the Southern mediterranean or Africa; Carthage and Libya. The
are believed to have reached North America after most of these
had been made, possibly from South America around 1200 CE (Common
i.e., AD), and pressed up the Mississippi River into the Dakota
The ancient Celts came down from Hudson Bay to enter the prairie lands, and on the cliffs at Castle Gardens, near Moneta, Wyoming, they left the petroglyph of Lug, the Celtic god of light. The Punic (African Carthage) traders of Iberia brought to America coinage of Carthage and other North East African (Semitic) cities. These coins show a horse, the emblem of Carthage, or Pegasus with wings, often without parts of the or the rest of the body, since there were no horses in America at that time. Centuries later, long after Woden-lithi, these Nordic descendants began to migrate westward to the Great Plains and finally the West Coast from British Columbia southward. They also encountered and intermingled with many Dakota tribes, referring to them as Sioux. About the same time the Celtiberian colonists who had occupied New England and some of the southeast also reached the Plains, and blended with the Sioux and the Shoshoni. They also had a great influence in forming the Takhelne people of British Columbia. The Celts spread southward along the Pacific coast, through Oregon and much of California. (Bronze Age America, Little Brown & Company 1992, p. 154)
Libyans and ancient Celts also settled on the West Coast among the Ute and Shoshoni tribes; and the Han and Taxila-Arab cultures sailed to California and Mexico coasts for trade among the Aztec and Maya. Greeks, African Libyans, and ancient Norse traded along the Mississippi River, with the latter trading and intermingling with Eskimo and Athabascan nations as well. (Saga America, New York Times Book Company 1980, p. xi)
Fell bases this conclusion on findings of extensive ancient North American alphabets introduced by the maritime people of the ancient world, prior to the universal Latin distributed during Roman times. These alphabets include Hieroglyphs, Nabatean, Kufic, Sabean, Greek,Libyan,Punic, Tifinag, Iberic, Ogam, and Hebrew. (Saga America, New YorkTimes Book Company 1980, p xiii)
Reliving The Old Oregon Trail
Travelers who speed along I-84 through
Oregon are never far from the route of the fabled Oregon
Trail, the overland route of emigrants journeying West to
Willamette Valley. Traveling in long wagon trains, thousands of
made the arduous 2,000 mile journey in search of free land and a
life in the West. The mass migration began as a trickle in the
1841, when a wagon train of 69 pioneers headed West, following
in recent history by trappers and pathfinders. Each year the
emigrants increased, peaking at 55,000 in 1850.
Pioneers traveled by wagon train to Oregon through the 1870s, and travelers continued to arrive by wagon until the 1890s. Some 350,000 pioneers traveled the ruts of the Oregon Trail. (Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press 1992, p. 330) Leaving Independence, Missouri, at the first sign of spring, the wagon train arrived at Old Fort Boise on the Snake River in the late summer or early autumn. Another weary month and 400 difficult miles of travel still lay ahead. Wagons were loaded with family possessions along with provisions for the long journey and the first year in the Pacific Northwest. Most family members trudged beside plodding oxen; a lucky few had saddle horses. Straining oxen pulled the creaking wagons across dusty plains and up steel slopes; today, a modern freeway reduces that month's journey to a few hours. Where pioneers camped or stopped to water their stock, state parks and rest areas now offer conveniences to motorists. Yet time and the elements have not erased signs of the route. Ruts carved by the narrow wheels of heavily loaded wagons still run for miles across parts of Northwest and Central Oregon. South of Mount Hood on Laurel Hill, trees retain deep gashes by ropes used to slow the wagons' descent on the Barlow Road. Interpretive displays in four state parks and seven rest areas along I-84 recount the life on the trail in the words of the people who experienced it, point out details of terrain, and discuss the route's impacton Oregon and on the nation. Roadside markers relate historic details.(Sandy Area Chamber Of Commerce 1998)
Mileage On The Oregon Trail
Mileage on the Oregon Trail was recorded
different ways. Many published trail guides, particularly in the
and 1860s, listed distances between landmarks, particularly
watering holes. By the late 1840s, maps and experienced trail
and mountain men working as guides also provided fairly reliable
as to distance. Odometers for wagons and carriages had been in use
Thomas Jefferson regularly recorded odometer readings when traveling by carriage. Odometers recorded the number of wheel rotations, which at the end of the day was multiplied by the circumference of the wheel to figure total distance traveled.
A similar method is recalled in some pioneer memoirs where one spoke of the wheel would be marked with a daub of paint or a rag tied around, and then a child would be designated to count the number of rotations. This sounds like an extremely tedious and unreliable method, and it's doubtful it could have actually been accomplished on a daily basis for four to six months.
The most likely method used was probably an educated guess. In the mid-19th century, men and women were accustomed to traveling by foot or wagon, and thus knowledgeable about distances covered in a given number of hours and conditions. On good, level road, oxen speed was about two miles per hour. In a manuscript in the Huntington Library entitled A Woman's Trip Across The Plains, Catherine Haun wrote that in the evening men were "lolling and smoking their pipes and guessing, or maybe betting, how many miles we had covered during the day." (Sandy Area Chamber Of Commerce 1998)
Gilliam County Oregon
County , with its land area of 1237 square miles, was
25, 1885, from the eastern third of Wasco County. It was named
Cornelius Gilliam who commanded the forces of the provisional
in 1847-1848, after the Whitman Massacre, in the campaign against
He was killed toward the end of the campaign, March 24, 1848,
from a wagon a rope for his horse. The rope caught the hammer of a
and discharged it.
Gilliam was born in North Carolina in 1798. He came to Oregon in 1844 with the early wave of westward migration. "He was brave, obstinate, impetuous and generous, with good-natured abilities but little education. Thus died an honest and patriotic and popular man, whose chief fault as an officer was too much zeal and impetuosity in the performance of his duties." (Bancroft's History of Oregon, Vol. I, p. 725)
In 1899 a portion of Southern Gilliam County was used to form Wheeler County. Alkali (now Arlington) was selected as the temporary county seat, but Condon became the permanent seat of government in 1890. Condon was originally known as Summit Springs, which in 1884 took the name of a young lawyer from Alkali, Harvey C. Condon, nephew of the state geologist and university professor Thomas Condon. In 1884 David B. Trimble took the steps necessary to secure a post office and was appointed the first postmaster.
Although Gilliam county has a population of only 2,100, it amazingly has two Nobel Prize Winners to boast about! Two-time winner of the Nobel Prize, Dr. Linus Pauling was raised in Condon as was Dr. William P. Murphy. Renowned sculptor Anna Keeney was also a native daughter of Condon.
(1) Singing Falls Oxen Tears And Bright (2) Oregon Trail Marker on the
Arlington-Condon Highway Courtesy of Oregon State Archives
(3) Olex Pioneer Schoolhouse
Oxen and School Photos Courtesty of Julie Hendrics
Alkali City Or Bust
is on the south bank of the Columbia at the mouth of Alkali
Canyon, and in pioneer days the community was known as
The post office at Alkali, which was then in Wasco County, was established on November 7, 1881. Thomas L. Bradbury was first postmaster of the Arlington office, established December 31, 1885. (Oregon Post Offices 1847-1982, p. 10)
Local residents did not consider the name Alkali suitable for a growing community, and at a town meeting N. A. Cornish suggested that the town be named Arlington, supposedly because there were a number of Southerners living in the community at the time and it was the home of General Robert E. Lee. However, an ulterior motive lay hidden, for many years his daughter, Nelly C. Cornish, in Miss Aunt Nelly, says the name was selected to honor her father whose full name was Nathan Arlington Cornish. Cornish apparently neglected to mention this connection and the honor went unknown, at least during his lifetime.
The name of the community Alkali was changed to Arlington by an act passed at a special session of the legislature and approved November 20, 1885, and the Post Office Department conformed on December 31, 1885. Arlington post office was relocated slightly up the canyon during the 1970s due to flooding of the original site by construction of the John Day Dam.
In his October 25, 2001 letter to the author, David A. Opp of Endicott, New York wrote:
"...I have been doing some genealogy
my family and have come across a diary kept by my great
W. Opp: [The diary contains] this reference to the area : 'Leave
Falls (MN) Feb 28 1884 for Spokane Falls (ticket 44.75$). Stay one
leave for Alkali Oregon (ticket 15$). leave Alkali for Foset the
March--backed out to go back to Alkali. Bought 40 acres of A.C.
there. March 17th 1884 go to work for Colby and Sennett for 1$ a
Colby and Sennett the 6th of August. leave Alkali for Portland
7.75$ on P.O. Road.' [He] goes on to describe the trip from
San Francisco, etc. Was about 32 years old at the time. He had
bought and sold land in Ottertail County, Minnesota before
Fergus Falls on to Oregon. He eventually returned home to
Muncy Pennsylvania where he raised a family and became a respected community leader..."
Trail crossing is south of town, two miles off US-30, on
A marker honors W. W. Weatherford who was 17 when he followed this
barefoot across the plains, driving a team of oxen, in 1861. (Oregon
Names, Oregon Historical Society Press 1992, p. 26)
Eight miles south of Arlington is a plateau called Shutler Flats, named for a type of wagon popular with the early emigrants, one of which was found abandoned here along the Oregon Trail,that crosses SH-19 at this place. At one time Shutler Flats was ranchedby a man who owned 20,000 acres of wheat land.
China Bars, Creeks, Ditches And Flats
China Creek is a small stream flowing
Snake River from China Gulch. In the early days of placer mining
Pacific Northwest and particularly near Lewiston, ID there were a
many Chinese panning for gold, and there are China bars, China
China flats in many parts of Oregon, Washington and Idaho. It was
points that large colonies of Chinese carried on their mining
Arlington lies at the mouth of a long draw named Alkali Canyon. Most of the Union Pacific was built in 1904, but when the Condon branch of the Union Pacific was built in 1904, a drainage ditch was dug alongside the railroad grade. Much of the work was done by Chinese laborers. When the job was finished, one family stayed and built a laundry. West of the ditch which was soon known as China Ditch. This drainage was later called China Creek but the dry watercourse was eventually given back its original name. (Tour Guide To The Old West, New York Times BookCompany 1977, p. 321)
Condon: The Seat Of Gilliam County
Condon, the seat of Gilliam
was formerly called Summit City, then Summit Springs. The latter
applied because of the sweet water springs at which stage drivers,
and other travelers paused. The present name was given for Harvey
of the Arlington firm of Condon and Cornish, which sold lots in
He was the son of Judge James B. Condon, a pioneer jurist in
and the nephew of Thomas Condon, Oregon's pioneer geologist who
the nearby fossil region to the attention of the scientific world.
Geographic Names 1992, 198)
Dr. Condon was a member of the faculty of the University of Oregon from its founding in 1876 until his death in 1907. Condon Hall, named for him houses laboratories and classrooms for geology, geography, anthropology and psychology, as well as the collections of the Museum of Natural History.
Sculptor Anna Keeney (1898-?), whose mother lived in Arlington, studied under Arvard Fairbanks at the University of Oregon, from which she graduated in 1928, remaining there as assistant instructor for two years. Keeney developed a new approach to sculpture. Her creation of a large fountain for the Leander Stone School in Chicago featured glazed terra cotta forms set in solid stone for an entirely new effect. Keeney modeled the figure of the Fallen Aviator at Condon. (Oregon, End Of The Trail 1951, p. 131)
Condon lived in the State of Washington during the latter part of his life, and died in Vaughn, Washington on June 21, 1931.
After World War II, Condon was the location of two US Air Force stations. The high plateau on which the city lies was once a Native American ceremonial ground. Later it was used for cattle roundups. From the elevated site on clear days are visible the Ochoco Mountains, the Blue Mountains, and the Cascade Range.
Condon is the heart of vast rolling wheat fields for which it is the distributing center, with extensive warehouses and elevators.
The post office, located on the Union Pacific Spur, about 13 miles north of Mayville, was established July 10, 1884, with David B. Trimble first postmaster. (Oregon Post Offices 1847-1982, p. 26)
"What constitutes a ghost town? To me it
a place formerly, but not now inhabited by humans. Condon is
a ghost town, and then a semi ghost town. I don't understand that!
"I sent you the only info I could find on Olex. Surely any place is worthy of more than a paragraph or two. How disappointing. However, I was pleased to see the name Charles Schultz, as I recall his stone. Interesting about the rock marker, but I would like more info there. Who, when, and how did they all meet death? And I would still like to know what happened in the area in 1872, when the three Schott children were lost.
"I feel like I had been born 100 years too late, but had I been, I surely would have died of a broken heart losing my babies. If I had survived childbirth. My there were few, if any doctors around backt hen."
(1) Olex Cemetery Sign (2) Baby Jewell (3) U.S. Grant Wade
(1) Bell Wade (2) Olex Cemetery (3) Francis Mobley
(1) Frank Lewis (2) Jessie Lewis (3) Martha Wade
M. Constance Guardino III