OYSTERVILLE: Roads to Grandpa's Village by Willard R. Espy

OYSTERVILLE: Roads to Grandpa's Village

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Espy--whose family pride has, happily, been but dimly denied--is a resident of Oysterville, the town in the southwestern corner of the state of Washington which his grandfather founded in 1854. And within the Espy genes are the ""coded instructions from three hundred years of American preachers, farmers, tanners, doctors, beggars, and plantation owners; from sergeants, politicians, Indian fighters, haywards, storekeepers, and witches."" This last was the family saint, one of the remaining Salem witchcraft victims whose sad and truly noble final statement Espy includes. Considerably less noble are other Espy ancestors but all are vital and animated figures upon the maps of our childhood classrooms--those charting a people moving westward. Espy's account, with excerpts from letters and hand-me-down stories, illuminates some particulars of life-as-she-was-lived in the 18th and 19th centuries--from the East of town and forest through perilous journeys to San Francisco where after a trip around the Horn one family traveler recorded the welcoming throng of ""reporters, butchers, merchants, land sharks. . . ."" And crowning the astonishing variety of modest and hard-won habitations there is Oysterville--its beginning after a war of oyster boats, its peak years settled by loggers, trappers, oystermen, and Siwash Indians, and its decline when the railroad turned population and industry in another direction. A meticulous, sometimes wry report, rewarding for amateur historians and all romancers with America's downhome past.

Pub Date: May 11th, 1977
ISBN: 0295972254
Publisher: Clarkson N. Potter--dist. by Crown