Wandering through an antique shop in downtown Forest Grove today, I found a treasure. I am fascinated with old photographs, but generally pass them by because I want so badly to know about the people pictured that it becomes frustrating. This, I could not pass by. For the princely sum of $5, I took home an intimate piece of someone’s life: a scrap book from the 1880s.
The gorgeous Art Deco cover bursts with peacock feathers, flowers, and landscapes. Within are pasted amateur poems clipped from the local newspapers, birth and marriage announcements, obituaries, woodcuts (mostly waterfalls), and the occasional inspirational story, even a scolding article about stingy husbands.
Inside the front cover is the only color illustration: a sailboat, with the hand-written caption “May my birthdays be life’s golden mile-stones.”
While I haven’t gleaned the name of the owner, I do know some things.
- The clippings are from the paper in Weston, Oregon, so I’m assuming that is her home town.
- She is a most sincere Baptist and a believer in temperance.
- Beelers and Dentons are mentioned many times in the announcements, so she may be a relation. Interestingly, there is a wedding announcement for Ella Crawford of Pendleton. Crawford is my birthname, and my father’s family is from Eastern Oregon. Perhaps I’m hold the scrapbook of a distant relative?
Many pages are missing, and the ones left are mostly loose, so it is difficult to determine order. I do think our scrapper used this one book for most of her life, as her handwriting clearly ages. The front pieces are from the 1870s. Here is a later page, with something even older, and a note: “Torn from wall of my birth place [...] Scio about 1912. Probably used as wall paper by my parents.” I’m guessing she was visiting in 1912? Or perhaps there is more than one author? On the back of this page is a note that appears to be different handwriting: “Polk Co, June 23 1877.”
Here are some gems from the pages:
MARRIED. DAVIS-BARKER — On Sabbath, Aug 26, 1877, at the residence of Taylor Cotton, in this city by the Reverend T.B. White, Mr. Commodore P. Davis and Nellie J. Barker.
Accompanying the above notice was the most delicious silver cake, which received due attention from the whole force. Mr. Davis is one of our best young men; honest, capable, steady-going and temperate, he fully deserves the rich prize which has fallen to him. May they meet with nothing but happiness as together they float down the stream of time.
BORN,–To the wife of O.G. Beeler, Sept. 15, 1890, a girl. Weight eight pounds.
Oren goes around with a look of utter bewilderment on his face.
A BOY’S DETERMINATION
You can’t make the pledge too strong,
Though I’m a little shaver,
I’ll to the temperance ranks belong,
And never, never waver.
King Alcohol’s a foe to all,
Who give him any quarter;
The best of drinks for young and old,
Is pure unmixed cold water.
No brandy sling, or cherry bounce,
No wine to soak a cracker;
Nor will I touch a single ounce
Of that vile weed–tobacco.
Though rum and ruin rule the world
They shall not conquer me.
I’m pledged to total abstinence,
The true way to be free.
No word profane my lips shall pass,
Nor filthy juice bespatter,
I will not touch the poisoned glass,
Though all the world may flatter.
Then when I grow to be a man,
And vote for legislators;
I’ll do the very best I can
To beat the temperance haters.
Aren’t you just dying to know what a cherry bounce is?