By Irene Elizabeth Martin
Birthplace of the state's canned salmon and the cooperative extension flow, Wahkiakum County has a ancient importance extending past its borders. at the present time it stands on the cusp of switch because the rural occupations of fishing, farming, and logging, upon which the county has depended, be afflicted by outdoor impacts and demographic shifts.
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Additional resources for Beach of Heaven: A History of Wahkiakum County
He met nearly all the explorers from Lewis and Clark until the end of the trading era and beginning of the settlement era, Page 22 a record unmatched along the lower Columbia by any other figure of his time. In 1836-37 William Slacum reported that Skamokawa claimed to be chief from Grays Bay on the west to the Cowlitz River on the east. 60 Ensuing documents from other travelers of the time bring him repeatedly to attention as a principal figure. 61 John Mix Stanley, who painted both Skamokawa and a Chinook woman named Tel-al-lek in 1848, gave Skamokawa the latter title.
He was variously described as a "Peruvian" or a "negro," nicknamed Saul, and was the cook aboard the Peacock when she wrecked. He deserted his post, the first example of what was to become an accepted Wahkiakum County custom, that of jumping ship. 4 In Wahkiakum legend, Jim Crow Point was named for him, as he is said to have had a house there. His appearance during the trading era is an example of yet another person who simply passed through the area, leaving little trace. The next James, however, James Birnie, came to stay.
I have lived in Wahkiakum County, or, better, in Wahkiakum Country, for more than twenty years. There have been many influences on my life here, including my husband's family, which has lived here since the 1870s; my participation in the Columbia River gillnet fishery, with the immediacy of living history; and my involvement in many community organizations and events. The oral tradition is strong in Wahkiakum and has provided me with many insights and anecdotes that enrich history. Books, too, have influenced my perceptions of how Wahkiakum is shaped, but, as the bibliographical essay in the appendix will attest, books have frequently neglected the county in favor of its larger and more prominent neighbors, Cowlitz or Pacific counties.
Beach of Heaven: A History of Wahkiakum County by Irene Elizabeth Martin