Hello fellow Internet surfer and welcome
to a gem of a site dedicated to illuminating the onyx-like parallels unearthed
from an otherwise beclouded and boring American and world historical perspective
into its many hues and flavors, a spectrum inclusive of most light that makes
up the untold stories, fascinating stories and journeys not quite attached
or put together in this theatrical or holistic manner as you will find!
We bring many years of personal and unique historical research, reading, collaboration, living, and writing experiences. One of us is 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. And her co-author is more centered, though not exclusively so on the personal-spiritual journey as a former Lutheran minister, and how this has come into play to reinvigorate her own philosophical historical understanding of faith and her questions of the world-church professional Christian training, vision and cultural paradigms, relying upon her common sense and also the expertise and critique of those historically disinherited, disenfranchised, and despised.
Neither of us is 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, we believe in being politically correct, and are proud of it, that we still name the names! We are students and practitioners of folk and established history, and are expanding our understanding of story, wishing to share some of those exciting findings and perspectives. We plan to update this site regularly with the little known gems and connections to "the rest of the story" usually relegated to footnotes we have uncovered from the current draft of our mammoth, interconnected, well documented history saga, Sovereigns of Themselves: A Liberating History of Oregon and Its Coast. We would welcome and appreciate hearing from you, comments, questions, suggestions, corrections, or other resources and we hope that you'll stick around long enough to get to know just a little bit more about what these two cyber-historians have to offer.
Maracon Challenges You To Believe It Or Not!
Yaquina Bay Oyster Wars
The Yaquina Bay oyster industry began with a shipwreck. In January 1852, the schooner Juliet was forced by storms, and her captain and crew were stranded in in this area for two months. When they reached the Willamette Valley, the captain reported that the Yaquina River was abundant with oysters, clams and fish of all kinds.
Other visitors also reported on the abundance
of oysters, and 1863, two commercial oyster firms appeared on Yaquina Bay.
The first was Winant & Company, represented by James Winant and Solomon Dodge,
who established a community known as Oysterville. The second was Ludlow &
Company, represented by Richard Hillyer. (Oregon Oyster Farms History)
There are few names more indelibly connected with the history of Yaquina Bay than James J. Winant, who was born in upstate New York, April 12, 1838.
In the fall of 1856 he followed his brother Mark to California where they began dealing in oysters in San Francisco Bay; they were the real pioneers of the oyster trade on the Pacific Coast.
Winant was master of vessels on the Pacific Coast for nearly a third of a century. He traded pearls in the South Pacific and hunted walrus and whales along the shore of Alaska, the Alteutian Islands, and the Coast of Siberia.
A salvage voyage to the coast of Mexico, where he explored the sunken ship, City of San Francisco and recovered $23,000 of her treasure, was the climas of his legendary career.
In 1862 or 1863, the Winant brothers began the oyster trade on Yaquina Bay. The community bearing the captain's name was located at Oysterville Station on the Corvallis & Eastern Railway, about two miles due south of Yaquina City, on the north bank of Yaquina River.
At that time, Yaquina Bay was part of the Coast Reservation, and disputes quickly arose as to who could do what, and at what cost. The government found that by the terms of the treaty setting out the Coast Reservation that "all amenities arising there from" belonged to the Indians, and the agent at Siletz, Judge Benjamin Simpson, was authorized to lease the oyster beds and protect the leasees. Simpson demanded a fee of 15 cents for each bushel harvested be paid to the tribes. (Oregon Oysters Farms History)
Winant & Company complied; Ludlow & Company did not. Relying on the "free right of all citizens to take fish in American waters," they filed a lawsuit, which they lost. Under orders of General Benjamin Alvord, the employees of Ludlow & Company were arrested by US soldiers and removed from the reservation. While their suit was pending, Ludlow & Company shipped several cargoes of oysters to San Francisco. The courts decided in favor of the government leasees and the military were again used for the protection of Winant & Company.
The first merchandise store on Yaquina Bay was opened at Oysterville in 1864 by Winanat & Company. The oyster business attracted considerable attention from the company from Corvallis to the head of Yaquina Bay, at the confluence of the Big Elk and Yaquina rivers, the subscribed capital being $20,000. The road was duly constructed and opened to wagons in 1866, the distance being 45 miles. People were anxious to settle the country; the pressures became strong. The Indian Department readily conceded the people's claim, and the US senator, James W. Nesmith, succeeded in having all that portion of the Coast Reservation laying between the Alsea River south, and Cape Foulweather north of Yaquina Bay, opened to settlement.
Newport Cemetery Of Yaquina
Newport Cemetery Of Yaquina is located at South Beach. Turn off US-101 to the Marine Science Center and take the first left turn, park on the gravel, and climb through the brush about a half a block.
Brown, Jas (1832-1884) pvt Co D 4th Inf Regt CA Vol, Fort Yamhill; hs of Sarah Jane (1838-? MO); fr of Nancy E (1855-? OR), Mary Jane (1857-? OR) & Christina E (1865-? OR); Copeland, Mary Esther (1879-1881) dau of Rebecca Catherine Davis Copeland Winant; Davis, Fanny Ann (1867-1871) dau of Mary Jane Webster Davis;Davis, Lemuel E (1832-1917) bro of M M Davis MD; Davis, Mary Jane Webster (1831-1913); Davis, Tracy W (1857-1938); Davis, Zenas C (1861-1907) sn of Mary Jane Webster Davis; Depew, Hiram B (?-1895) pvt Baty B 1st Inf Regt WV Vol Civil War; Ewing, Elizabeth (?-1930) wf of Wm; Felton, Adelbert S (1851-1924) grandfather of Pruner & Ewing; Felton, Margaret Ellen (1847-1929) wf of Adelbert S; Girl, -- (?-?) bur near Thiel Creek; Goebel, Frank (1863-1933 Germany); Heinke, -- (?-1939); Huffman, Michael (?-1934); Huntsucker, Jas C (1819-1893 McCaffrey Slouth); Huntsucker, John (1838-1875 MO) pvt Co D 4th Inf Regt CA Vol, Fort Yamhill; Jauguan[Jaquan], Celestine (1830-1872 France) pvt Co D 4th Inf Regt CA Vol, Fort Yamhill; Johnson, Lorraine (?-1936); Kenion, Kenneth Lawrence (1937-1937); Lynn, Lucy (1898-1919) dau of Jas Lynn (1847-? MO)?; Native Americans (?-?) bur near Thiel Creek; Omlid, Ruby (1919-1921); Peterson, -- (?-? male); Plowman, -- (?-?) female); Plowman, -- (?-? male); Plowman, Chas Noah (1850-1932 PA); Plowman, Jennie M (?-?); Sherf, Wm (?-1930); Schmidt (Smith), Martha (?-?); grandmother of Edw Smith; bur near Thiel Creek; Smith (Schmidt), Jerry (?-?) bur near Thiel Creek; uncle of Edw Smith; Smith (Schmidt), -- (?-? male) uncle of Edw Smith; Tamm, Carl (1856-1929 Russia); Unknown, -- (?-1930); Unknown, Elizabeth (?-?); Unknown Seaman I (?-1881); Unknown Seaman II (?-1881); Winant, Chas Mark (?-? bur Eureka Cemetery Newport); Winant, Elma (1879-1902 bur Eureka Cemetery Newport); Wimant, Rebecca Catherine Davis Copeland (1854-1936); Winant, W D (1850-1902).
Captain Solomon Dodge And Mate
One of the best known and best liked oystermen
of the early days of Yaquina Bay, Captain Dodge and his adopted son, Willie
Carson, were drowned on April 15, 1870, when the schooner Champion,
from Astoria, was wrecked on the bar while entering Shoalwater Bay, Washington. All aboard
were lost save on Indian boy. (Oregon Journal, June 11, 1927)
In 1863, Captain Solomon Dodge, a native of Maine, located in what is now Oysterville, as the agent of Winanat & Company, one of the first firms to enter the commercial oyster trade on the Pacific Coast.
Dodge commanded several vessels at different times on the Atlantic Coast, and some 12 years before he met his death, left his family to try his fortune on the Pacific Coast. He was at Shoalwater Bay engaged in the oyster trade for several years, but adversity seemed to follow him. In 1864, he came to Yaquina Bay where he became connected with Winant & Company, and was successful for three years. Those who visited Yaquina Bay at that time recalled the captain's hospitality, and no assemblege was considered complete without his presence. His extreme generosity went far to create the necessity for following the sea, a calling he never liked, and one he tried hard to avoid.
He carried with him on that periolous voyage, Willie Carson, a "manly little fellow," the captain's adopted child; they "loved" each other and none but the Almighty knows how nobly the captain struggled to save Carson, the son of a widow. (History of Benton County, Oregon)
Long John Silver And Jim Hawkins
If Robert Louis Stevenson
had really wanted to make Treasure Island historically accurate, Jim
Hawkins and Long John Silver would have been lovers. The odd sexuality
of pirates pirates
has been the subject of a study by B.R. Burg, Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition:English
Sea Rivers in the Seventeenth Century Caribbean. Pirates are hardly part
of normal society, but it is of some interest that they had a formal, and
sexual, male bonding relationship called matelotage (pp.128-30). This may
have originated as a simple master-servant relationship, but Burg leaves
no doubt that it came to be seen as a formal and inviolable relationship
which gave both parties access and possession of each other's property. Not
quite "marriage," but a relationship with clear parallels.
In the time of pirates, european states were constantly at war. Most of the wars were fought for economic reasons, unlike the previous century when wars were fought over religious differences. Such a prolonged period of fighting caused severe economic hardship in many countries. The only job for many able-bodies men was to serve in the armed forces.
In England, that usually meant serving in the navy, an all-male organization. The only sexual partner possible for sailors between ports was another sailor. Despite the hardships of poor food, rampant sickness, harsh discipline, and low pay, homosexuals found a haven in the king's fleet.
Whatever a sailor's orientation, the harshness of life in the Royal Navy caused many men to jump ship, and by the first decade of the 17th century, small groups of pirates had formed on the islands of Hispaniola and Tortuga to take advantage of the treasure fleets and trading vessels that passed by on their return voyage to Europe.
England turned a blind eye to the pirates' activities as long as they were raiding her enemies' ships. As a result, by the middle of the century pirate strength had grown considerably through the Caribbean. One of their strongholds, Port Royal, was known as "The Sodom of the Universe." Antigua had a similar reputation.
Most pirates, however, were not very promiscuous. They formed close bonds with one of their comrades, their "messmate." These pairings were considered sacred unions, and the lovers were treated as a couple. Called "matelotage," this bonding had many of the features of mixed-sex marriage, including the inheritance of property by one partner in the event of the other's death.
Members of the pirate society, particularly the captain (like Dodge) and tradesmen, took teenage boys (like Carson) as their "lads." For the few heterosexual men on board, the smooth, small body of a boy was the closest he could come to a woman while at sea.
Pirate society was relatively short-lived. By the late 1600s, England had decided that law and order had to be maintained. The Royal Navy pursued offenders and many of those captured were executed. The lucky ones disappeared into legitimate occupations or quiet retirement, their matelot by their side. (Out Of All Time, Alyson Publications 1998, 90-93)
Fort Yamhill Soldiers Visit Oysterville
On February 21, 1864, soldiers from Fort Yamhill visited Captain Dodge at his home in Oysterville. Corporal Royal A. Bensell recorded the visit in his journal:
"In command of seven men, I start for Yaquina Bay. About six miles from the blockhouse we came to the "department" (a shed without a roof). Here we found two miserable canoes, unsafe at best, but six of us embarked, two remaining behind. The slough is very narrow and onlyu navigable at high tide. As we caught the tide going out we made good time, arriving at Oysterville before dark. Captains Dodge and Winant lent us their cabin. Rather crowded. Oysterville is built on the steep side of a very high bluff; indeed it seems clinging to the mountainside. A very narrow trail leads from house to house. The shore is lined with floats and boats, and these boats are crowded with squaws, busy "culling" for which they obtain 12 and a half cents per bucket (one bushel). An industrious squaw wil easily make $1.25 per day. The schooners Cornelia Terry and Anna G. Doyle, and the sloop Fanny are at anchor in the sound opposite town. Our lodgings were small and comfortable. Captain Winant insisted on my staying aboard his vessel, but I preferred to share the bed and board of the boys. After a hearty supper we retired." (All Quiet On The Yamhill: The Journal Of Royal A. Bensell, University of Oregon Books 1960, pp. 124, 125)
Fort Yamhill Muster Roll
Company D 1862
Ash, pvt Lewis, 25 (1837-?); Baird, pvt Chas S, 34 (1828-?) fr of David (1858-1929) & Paul H (1887-1952) both bur Eureka Cemetery Newport?; Baker, pvt Wentworth, 30 (1832-?); Bensell [Bensel], cpl Royal Augustus, 24 (1838-1921 WI); sn of Juliet Cottle (?-1849) WI & Chas E Bensell MD (1800-1896 PA). C E Bensell, who was born in Germantown, PA, was Siletz Agency physician 1869-1892. He married Juliet Cottle in 1837 in Cassville, WI. R. A. Bensell was the husband of Mary E Hall Sturdevant (1846-1931); brother of Marguerite S Bensell Dunn Rich (1844-1942 PA). He is buried at Eureka Cemetery, Newport; Brown, pvt Jas D (1832-1884 AR) hs of Sarah Jane (1838-? MO); fr of Nancy E (1855-? OR), Mary Jane (1857-? OR) & Christina E (1865-? OR); bur Newport Cemetery of Yaquina, South Beach; Buckner, cpl Wm C, 36 (1826-?) discharged, leaving a total of 65 men on the Muster In Roll  of June-Aug. 1862; Carr, pvt Sumner, 22 (1840-? OH); bro of Wm Wallace (1840-? OH?; fr of Zenas Carr (1876-1956 bur Toledo Cemetery)?; Case, pvt Saml, 30 (1831-1904 ME) hs of Mary Craigie (1848-1933); fr of Nellie L (1869-? OR); bur Eureka Cemetery Newport; Clark, pvt John[athan] S 23 (1830-?); Cook, pvt Nelson, 21 (1841-?); Curless, pvt Jos, 34 (1828-?); Copeland, pvt Josiah S, 26 (1834-1912 OH) bro of Wm Clark (1845-? OH) & O Aiden (1846-? OH); Coulter, sgt Edw C (1832-?) bro of J P Coulter (1838-1908 bur Mays-Strouts Cemetery)?; Courtright, pvt Alson B, 31 (1831-?); Davison, 2nd lt Jas, 34 (1828-?) joined Company D as 2nd lieutenant at Volcano, CA on Sep. 18, 1861; served as quartermaster at Fort Yamhill and commanded the post in Captain Scott's absences from Au. 31, 1863 to Oct. 8, 1864; Day, pvt Chas, 28 (1834-?); Day, pvt Henry, 33 (1829-?);Dunn, cpl Wm Jay, 27 (1835-1877 NY) hs of Marguerite S Bensell Dunn Rich (1844-1942 PA); m Sep. 1869; fr of Jay & Wm Edw (1870-? OR); Erwin, cpl Geo W, 24 (1838-? OH) hs of Margaret M (1848-?); fr of Lyman (1865-? OR), Stephen (1868-? OR) & Milton M (1869-? OR) "Corporal Erwin drunk, drew a bayonet on Jordan. And Jordan gave him a plug in the face (Corporal Redding placed Erwin under arrest). He then drew a knife and defied any damned son-of-a-bitch to fight." (All Quiet On The Yamhill, p. 17); Espy, pvt Thms C, 28 (1834-1926 PA) hs of Matilda J Hill (1842-1925 MO); bur Toledo Cemetery; Fassett, pvt Mortimer S, 31 (1831-?); Fleehart, cpl Erwin, 20 (1842-?); Frank, pvt Chas H, 24 (1828-?) Company D drummer; Garden, 1st lt Jas, 37 (1825-?); Getzendenner, pvt Ezra T (1825-?); Gilleck [Gillick], pvt Owen, 37 (1830-?); Gillingham, cpl Edw N, 23 (1839-?); Goodrich, pvt Marco B, 33 (1829-?); Gregg, pvt Chauncy S, 45 (1817-?); Grimsley, pvt Martin V B, 24 (1838-?); Grubbs, pvt Caswell Wm, 25 (1837-1864 PA) bur Kings Valley Cemetery; sn of David C (1809-1866 PA) bur Kings Valley Cemetery?; Hammond, pvt Wm H "Butch" (1832-1893 NY) hs of Kitty (1845-? OR); fr of Jane (1868-?) OR), John (1865-? OR) & Wm H "Billy" (1870-? OR); bur Eureka Cemetery Newport; Hannum, pvt John B (1832-?); Hatch, pvt Oliver S, 27 (1835-? NH); Hooley, pvt John, 35 (1827-?); Howard, pvt John, 28 (1836-? NY); hs of Nancy A (1844-? IN); fr of Ida May (1866-? OR); Howell, pvt Saml, 33 (1829-?); Huntsucker [Hunsucker], pvt John, 21 (1838-1875 MO) bur Newport Cemetery of Yaquina South Beach; Huse [Hase] pvt Nelson B, 27 (1835-?); Jaguan [Jaquan], pvt Celestine, 36 (1830-1872 France) bur Newport Cemetery of Yaquina South Beach); Jordan, pvt Rich F, 42 (1820-?); Jordan, pvt John, 26 (1836-?); King, sgt John R, 30 (1832-?); Lamelcier, pvt Alfred, 37 (1825-?); Loutsenhiser[Loutzenhizer], cpl John C, 23 (1838-?) Fort Yamhill fifer; Lowe, sgt Augustus H, 30 (1832-?); Lowe, pvt John, 30 (1832-?); McCathy, pvt John G, 32 (1830-?) hs of Cynthia (1850-? IL); fr of Arthur (1870-? OR); McDermott, pvt Chas, 28 (1834-?); McPherson, pvt Jackson, 28 (1834-?); McWilliams, pvt Jas H, 40 (18220? PA); hs of Mary (1824-? PA); fr of Geo (1855-? IA); Melro, cpl Walter F, 25 (1837-?); Miller, pvt David, 23 (1839-?); Moran, pvt Jos, 33 (1829-?); Morrow, pvt Francis M[athieu?], 27 (1835-?) fr of Mathieu Roy (1879-1956 bur Taft Cemetery?; Munday, pvt Felix, 30 (1832-?); Paddock, pvt Jas L, 24 (1841-?); Parlin, pvt Harlow, 35 (1827-?); Pickett, cpl Jas L, 31 (1831-?) bro of W C Pickett (1837-? TN?; Pilcher, pvt Lewis, 35 (1827-?); Plunkett, pvt Jas, 24 (1833-1911 Canada) hs of Ashnah Norton (1847-1933 OR); fr of Lucius (1865-1926 OR); Wiley (1867-1934 OR), Frank A (1869-1946 OR), Eldora (1869-1931 OR), Nellie A (1872-191 OR), Barton (1872-1876 OR), Edgar (1873-1935 OR), Garfield (1881-1942 OR), Henry (1883-1960 OR), Minnie P (1887-1952 OR) & Ada J (1887-1963 OR); Fort Yamhill drummer; bur Kings Valley Cemetery; Prow, pvt John, 29 (1836-?) hs of Narcissus (1838-? OR)?;Radford, pvt Rbt, 30 (1831-?) "Radford got a jog of liquor, and the contents got several "sogers." Baker, Radford, McPherson, Thompson and Day confined for being drunk." (All Quiet On The Yamhill, p. 52); Rathbun [Rathburn], 1st sgt Jas S, 30 (1832-?); Redd, pvt Patrick R, 30 (1832-?); Redding, cpl Milton, 27 (1835-?); Reed, pvt Zachariah T (?-?) Reed's name neither appears on the Muster-in Roll nor on the Muster-out Roll of Company D. He enlisted at Fort Yamhill on Dec. 7, 1861. Bensell gives Dec. 13 as the date of his desertion. (All QuietOn The Yamhill, p. 218); Reynolds, pvt Abraham, 25 (1837-?); Rodgers [Rogers], pvt [Geo?] Louis, 23 (1839-?) "Rodgers, Howard, Cook, and Morrow arrested by patrol over the "bounds." Morrow is close to confiement, the others walking the "ring." (All Quiet On The Yamhill, p. 16); Sands, pvt Lloyd A, 31 (1831-?); Scott, cpt Lyman , 31 (1830-1892 CT) Lyman S. Scott, a native of Connecticut, grew up in Ontario, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and New Mexico. The gold fever drove him to California in 1850. For 10 years he worked as a placer miner at Volcano, Amadore County, where he married Eliza J. Erwin on Oct. 13, 1858. Following the outbreak of the Civil War (1861-1865), Scott raised Company D, 4th California Infantry at Volcano in the early fall of 1861. He was "accespted and recognized as captain by the colonel of the regiment" on Sep. 18, 1861. The volunteers were detailed for service in Oregon: Captain Scott commanded Fort Yamhill from Nov. 13, 1861 to Aug. 31, 1863, and again from Oct. 9, 1864 to Aug. 2, 1865, and Fort Hoskins from Sep. 1, 1863 to Oct. 8, 1864 (All Quiet On The Yamhill, pp. 5, 6); Shawk, pvt W B, 20 (1842-?); Siemans, Augustine [Augustus], 35 (1827-?); Simmons, pvt John W, 33 (1829-?); Stockwell, pvt Aaron F, 42 (1820-?) "Private A F Stockwell was arrested, placed in guardhouse at the instigation of the orderly. Charged with saving some rice from dinner for his supper. This is military justice; a soldier is allowed simply coffee and bread for supper and because he doesn't eat all he receives at dinner and reserves the same for his supper he is placed in confinement." (All Quiet On The Yamhill, p. 8); Tassero, pvt Ernest, 31 (1831-?); Thompson, pvt Jas, 25 (1837-? PA) hs of Maria (1847-? NY); fr of Morris (1866-? CA), & Elmira (1868-? CA); True, pvt Frank, 38 (1824-?); Tucker, pvt John, 24 (1838-?); Wall, pvt John, 28 (1834-?); Wheeler, pvt Jas, 26 (1836-? TN); Whitall, sgt Wm C, 26 (1836-? IL); Wilson, pvt Andrew Jackson, 24 (1838-? OH) hs of Mary Ellen (1852-? MO); Wright, pvt John M, 34 (1828-? VA) Co G 2nd Inf Regt IA Vol Civil War; bur Eureka Cemetery Newport.
Oystermen Settle Yaquina Bay
The battle for the bay caught the attention of
other potential settlers and oystermen, and they began to push for the opening
of the area. In 1866, the Department of the Interior removed from the Coast
Reservation the area from the Alsea River to Cape Foulweather and settlement
began. (Oregon Oyster Farm History)
Dr. Kellogg from Portland entered the Yaquina Bay oyster industry in 1865. He established a settlement called Pioneer near the site of today's Elk City, and built a warehouse. While he was away, soldiers tore it down. He appealed to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Salem, but received hostility instead of help. Being more determined than Ludlow & Company, Kellogg carried his fight to Washington, which found that the agency had exceeded its authority, and ordered an end to the harassment of the doctor.
Captain John Olsson, a Yaquina Bay settler from Gutenberg, Sweden, traveled from San Francisco at the age of 14 with Captain Winant to Yaquina Bay, to work in the oyster business. In January 1866, he homesteaded 112 acres on the north side of the bay, known as Olssonville. In 1882, Olsson had his estate divided, with part going to an addition to the City of Newport and the balance going to the town of Fredericksburg which he named and started. It was then one of the most desireable locations on the bay. (History of Benton County, Oregon, A. G. Walling 1885, p. 523)
Peter Meads (1820-1914) was also involved in the oyster business. He and his family homesteaded a place at Nortons in the spring of 1867 and lived on it some 20 years when he sold out and moved to Walla Walla, where he lived until his death. Meads was well known to the early settlers of Yaquina Bay. He used to team over the roads hauling oysters and clams from Elk City to Corvallis. This was done in the worst part of winter and over the muddiest kind of roads. Meads never stopped for rain or mud. He had a nice home at Walla Walla and enjoyed life in his later days. He was 84 years old. His wife, Rebecca Jane Carter (1841-1911) preceeded him in death. She was the sister of Siletz Reservation physician Franklin Marion Carter of Elk City. The Meads were the parents of: William H. (1860-?), Olive A. (1862-?), Solomon S. (1864-?), Elijah F. (1866-?), and John S. (1869-?).
Oysterville was established at the site of the Oregon Oyster Company and directly across Yaquina River from Oyster City. The native oysters were so popular that they were almost harvested into extinction. In 1865 an oyster schooner, Anna G. Doyle was wrecked in Yaquina Bay near the site of Oysterville. On board was a seaman named Meinert Wachsmuth, a German-born immigrant. The incident nearly ended his sailing career, but not his interest in oysters. His family still owns the Oregon Oyster Company which consits of 70 acres of Yaquina Bay oyster beds and Dan and Louis's Oyster Bar in Portland. After that they founded today's Oregon Oyster Farms to assure a supply of high quality oysters. (Historic Toledo On The Bay, Pioneer Printing 1988, brochure)
Kumamoto and Pacific oysters from Japan were introduced into Yaquina Bay in 1918. While the Pacifics grew well here, they could not reproduce in the colder water, so each year growers imported seed from Japan. World War II brought an end to the importation of seed, and even though it was resumed after the war, it became increasingly expensive. Oyster growers began to look for a better way.
In 1968, Professor Willy Breese and Dr. Anja Robinson, along with Newport's Tom Becker and Mo Niemi, built three insulated rooms at the Marine Science Center, and began research into the feasibility of hatching Pacific oysters locally. From these three rooms and Breese and Robinson's research, combined with the research of others, gave us the oyster industry in Yaquina Bay as we know it today. The West Coast has now surpassed the east and gulf coasts as the top producers of oysters. (Oregon Oysters Farms History)
McCaffrey Island was named for Irishman William McCaffrey, an oysterman who established Oysterville, and was once owned by a descendent of Daniel Boone. An oysterman and fisherman, this cousin of George Luther Boone homesteaded the site. G. L. Boone, the great-grandson of the famous frontiersman, was a frontiersman in his own right. He fought in the US-Mexican War (1846-1848) alongside Meriwether Lewis Clark, son of Captain William Clark of the renowned Lewis & Clark Overland Expedition. Boone served as a pilot for immigrant wagons to Oregon in 1848. Returning from the California goldrush, Boone wintered at Myrtle Creek in Southern Oregon, where in 1852 he met and married 13-year-old Mourning Ann Young. Riding double on horseback, the newlyweds spent their honeymoon in the Yaquina Bay region. In 1865, Boone helped survey the first road over the Coast Range to Yaquina Bay. The Boones prospered, rearing a family of 12, and in 1870 built a fine home on the site. (Historic Toledo On The Bay, Pioneer Printing 1988, brochure)
Peter M. Abbey (1837-1916) and family arrived at Yaquina Bay from Cleveland, Ohio in 1867. After a short stay in California, he moved to Oregon, first locating in Corvallis. One year later, he moved to Newport on Yaquina Bay and engaged in merchandising until 1870, when he built the Bay View House, which was at the time one of the best hotels in Oregon.
Oyster City's James Craigie
Oyster City was settled by James Craigie (1813-1895), a Scottish fur trader who was born August 11,1813, in Rousay, Orkney Islands, and died at Ocean House, the home of his daughter, Mary Craigie Case (1848-1933), September 29, 1895, in Newport.
Salem Public Library Archives
Spooning Nye Beach 1914  Lincoln County Courthouse 1954  Case Hotel 1940 
Craigie came to America on board the Prince
Albert in 1835. At the age of 22, he went to work for the Hudson's Bay
Captain Nathaniel J. Wyeth had built a trading post where the Portneuf River flows into the Snake River in 1834, which he named Fort Hall. The Reverend Jason Lee (1803-1845), a Methodist missionary, preached a sermon there to Wyeth's men and the fur traders, while Lee was on his way to establish his mission in the Willamette Valley. When Wyeth sold Fort Hall to Dr. John McLoughlin, James Craigie was sent there.
John Minto of Salem, who was a pioneer of 1844, spent the winter here in the Ocean House in Newport some years ago. He told Mary Craigie Case that the first time he met her father was at Fort Hall in the autumn of 1844. Craigie was in charge of Fort Hall at the time, and sold Minto some flour. Minto drove an ex team across the plains for R. Q. Morrison for his board, and later he married Martha Morrison, R. Q.'s daughter.
Craigie helped build a trading post at the mouth of Boise River known as Fort Boise. Craigie cultivated soil at Fort Boise with great difficulty because of weather conditions, but he produced all the foods possible for his family, and, according to Lincoln County historian Steve Wyatt, he might even have been the first to plant Monterey cypress in the Yaquina Bay region.
Craigie took a doctor or nurse's place caring for their injuries, met wagon trains of settlers and guided them safely through the dangerous stretches, then furnished the fort's large canoe for ferry. P. V. Crawford's diary, Journal of a Trip Across the Plains: 1851, tells more about his train assistance.
Historian Wells says, "Craigie's fort was a real haven. Fort Boise was famous for hospitality." Also summarized as "animated by a sense of Christian duty."
Craigie stayed there until 1852, when he moved to Waldo Hills, where he lived for six years and where he renewed his acquaintance with John Minto.
In 1845, Craigie married Mary Ann, the daughter of Chief Toya Pampe Boo, a Bannock leader. The name means "Mountain Head Road," and non-indians often called him "Bloody Chief."
Mary Ann and James Craigie were the parents of nine children--two boys and seven girls, including Jane Craigie Ferr (1850-1936), Rachel Craigie King (1859-1954), and Mary Craigie Case.
The Craigie family moved to Yaquina Bay in October 1866, after living six years on a donaction land claim in Waldo Hills. The trip to Toledo was by horseback over the old trail. The couple first lived on Olalla Slough. Then the family moved to Oyster City which is also near mary Ann Craigie's grave.
Mary Ann died when the children were small. She and her 16-year-old son James Junior are buried on a hillside on Boone Island. The late Violet King Updike said the older, married sisters took the younger girls into their homes, which included her late mother, Rachel Craigie King.
Violet King Updike Remembers Oyster
In 1978 Violet King Updike, grandaughter of Mary Ann and James Craigie, had the following recollections of Oyster City, where she was born in 1893:
"Oyster City was a litte community on the far
side of Yaquina River, and was established in 1865 by independent oystermen.
It consisted of 13 plots of oyster grounds and is located directly across
the river from Oysterville. It had about 20 families and included a daily
paper, a school, but no post office. Later, a post office was built on the
north side of the bay at the railroad tracks. People wanted to call it Oysterville,
but there's a place called Oysterville in Washington that also shipped oysters.
The government didn't think it was wise to have a second Oysterville, so
they called our post office Winant, in honor of the famous oysterman, Captain
"My family moved to Oyster City because the oyster business was flourishing up the bay, and Oyster City was being platted, and my father's brother wanted him to move there and go into the oyster business with him.
"My father and my uncle were raising mostly native Yaquina Bay oysters. Their outlets were primarily Portland and San Francisco, and the oysters were gunny sacked and transported daily by train. By rail, it 12 hours for the oysters to reach Portland and a day and a half to reach San Francisco.
"At times, they sent oysters half way across the continent before there were refrigerator cars. The oyster in the shell would stay fresh for ten days. Once opened, outside, in cool conditions, they don't need to be iced. But once they're opened, the don't last very long.
"My father was the first person in Oyster City to be interested in importing the eastern oyster from Chesapeake Bay. He didn't finance the venture himself. A man in Portland financed it, and my father donated ground for an oyster bed. They brought them in and planted them. They usually brought in a two-year-old oyster and figured it would grow and be on the market in another two years.
"The community's money crops were salmon and oysters. There was no oyster packing plant, but there was a salmon cannery at Oysterville, worked mostly by Chinese laborers. Little logging done in the area except on Wright Creek and Beaver Creek.
"The road from Oyster City goes all the way through to Poole Slough. A lot of the boys worked in Toledo and Newport and a lot of the girls attended Toledo High School.
"My aunt, Mary Craigie Case, owned the Ocean House where we stayed when we visited Newport for pleasure. We did most of our shopping at Yaquina City, and went to Toledo for business matters. With the courthouse in Toledo, my father would get on the train when he had court business."
Today, Oyster City is the site of Mo's Oyster Farm which supplies Mo's Chowder House located next to Aunt Belinda's cancy shop on Newport's Bayfront. Before the building became used for what it is today, it was known as the Good Eats Cafe. In 1942, Mohava Niemi, and a partner purchased the Good Eats and renamed it Freddie & Mo's. Later, when her partner dropped out, the name was shortened to Mo's. It has a world-wide reputation for first class clam chowder and seafood. It also has the distinction of being one of the few restaurants in the world that has a garage door as part of its store front. The building was never used as a garage. In the mid-1960s, a surprised woman drove her car through the front of the building all the way to the cash register. Instead of patching the huge hole left by the car, a garage door was installed. On cool days, when the door is closed, a painting of a woman behind the wheel of a car can be seen. In 1968, Mo's was a stopping place on the presidential campaign trail for Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968). ("Bayfront Walking Tour" Kiwi Publishing Company 1995, p. 13)
Salem Public Library Archives
Photos By Ben Maxwell
Olsonville 1888  Newport Castle 1961  Nye Beach 1939  Old Newport 1958 
M. Constance Guardino III
Reverend Marilyn A. Riedel
This Page Last Updated by Maracon on December 1, 2005
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