The Souvenir of Western Women/A Scrap From an Old Diary

A Scrap from an Old Diary

By MRS. E. M. WILSON. The Dalles. Or.

IN September, 1851, 1 was riding from Albany to Forest Grove, where I was then engaged in teaching. Only for short distances was there anything that could be called a road for wheeled vehicles. Much of the way we rode over a grassy trail, and everywhere the "ooihut" was in the open.

The few-and-far-between settlers, as soon as was possible, had a corral fence for cattle and horses if they were fortunate enough to have any, and a field for grain, but nowhere could a fence be found on both sides of the way. The day waned; we met no one; we passed no one as we rode. It was a delightful ride, though a lonely one. Several times from adjoining thickets we saw the faces of deer steadily gazing at us with their penetrating eyes wholly without fear.

We were still many miles from our destination and very tired (at least one of the riders was), and it was decided that the next cabin (there was nothing else) should be interviewed to see if possibly supper could be obtained. As we turned the bend of a large hill, somewhere in Yamhill County, we came in sight of a man plowing in the open. At some distance was a cabin, and a fence enclosing a piece of land for gardening. My escort rode to the plowman to make inquiries, and I to the cabin. Two children, about 4 and 6 years of age, were standing by a rude stile. I asked them to tell their mother that I wanted to speak with her. They made no reply, but steadily stared at me. "Go call mamma," said I. There was no response. I then dismounted, wondering that no motive of interest or curiosity had caused the cabin door to open, but still all was silent. I said to the oldest: "Take me where mamma is." She readily took my hand and led me through the tall rye grass and stopped by a newly-made grave.

Stony Point was at one time an Indian burying ground. The dead were put in canoes on scaffolds. Years later some of the oyster men turned the skeletons out and patched up their coffins and used them for oyster boats. In one of the skiff's was found the petrified body of an Indian. It was carried on board a vessel in the night and shipped to some museum.