Conferences and Colleagues Spell Opportunity

This week I’m packing my bags for the Oregon Christian Writers summer conference in  Portland, Oregon. The conference has grown in recent years to include editors, writers, and agents from across the United States. It’s a great opportunity to connect with others in the publishing world, hone my skills, and renew old friendships. I have […]

My Readers Respond

 Not many weeks ago, I posted titles of new books available for summer reading pleasure. At the time I also invited my readers to suggest authors whose names and works might be unfamiliar to me. To my delight I have three authors—Ann Gaylia O’Barr, Camille Eide, and Frieda Wampler—to introduce to you. Each one is […]

Storykeepers #19–Freedmen Freed Men

One of the most interesting aspects of my research into the life of my great-great-grandmother has been the disagreements between scholars on what truly happened to runaway slaves during the 1840’s. I’d been led to believe that kind, God-fearing white folks abounded along the trail, helping the fugitive find his or her way to freedom […]

Storykeepers#18–Prairie Emergencies

A trip to Urgent Care this week prompted me to consider the dangers my great-great-grandparents faced as they attempted to cross the prairie. What I discovered wasn’t what I expected. Moviemakers have made us believe Native Americans, riding wild ponies and whooping at the top of their lungs, were the greatest threat. Few tribes are portrayed […]

Storykeepers #14–Runaway Fugitives

While my great-great-grandmother waited to join her future husband in Oregon territory, the slave controversy continued. Tempers flared and conflict threatened as the numbers of those fleeing for freedom continued to  climb. Laws threatened to change the landscape. The first fugitive slave law, passed in 1793, stated that no person held to service of labor in […]

Story Keepers #10–Lost At Sea

Continued from last post. . . The Hackstaff left San Francisco Bay with twenty-seven passengers aboard and provisions for a fourteen-day voyage up the Pacific Coast stowed securely within the belly of the vessel. Soon, though, those aboard grew wary, as the captain seemed to have lost his bearings. The captain, bewildered by the whims […]

Story Keeper #8–Gold Fever

  Sent by his employer to build a new sawmill, James Marshall, an emigrant from New Jersey, was inspecting a ditch on the morning of January 24, 1848 when he looked down into the water and thought he saw gold. He reported the find to his boss, Johann Sutter, a Swiss emigrant to Mexican California, […]

Story Keeper#2–Barreling Along

When my great-great-grandfather left his family on the east coast and headed west, he brought two important skills with him. He had apprenticed as a cooper, working for the Syracuse Salt Works, making fifty cents a day. He had logged in the woods as well, learning the skills a frontiersman would need to tame the […]

Story Keeper #1–Lust for Land

The promise of free land in Oregon Territory in the early 1800’s lured many settlers westward. Entrepreneurs like John Jacob Astor, who founded the Pacific Fur Company in 1811, moved to the region and sought to establish their businesses almost as soon as Lewis and Clark finished their overland expedition to the Pacific Ocean. By […]