Ready for the family reunion

I’ve been getting ready for a family reunion for the past week or so. My husband’s BARR family gets together twice a year–in August and at Thanksgiving. We are leaving this afternoon for our eight-hour car trip!

My three kids are coming so I’m excited about that. I don’t get to see my son too often since he lives in New York City. Lots of my husband’s family lives in the Midwest–mostly Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Iowa so lots of people come each year.

Photos from past years:

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The August family reunion is in northern Wisconsin where a cousin and her family have a house on a lake. It’s a fun weekend and 50 to 100 relatives show up. There are lots of activities, boat rides, swimming, food, conversations and laughter with family members we don’t see too often.

We usually have a new tee-shirt designed for that year and annual events such as “Swim the Lake.” This is the 25th year for the lake swim. Several boats go with the swimmers and everyone wears life preservers. It’s an event kids and adults look forward to each year! Some years we have themes–last year was a 90th birthday party for our oldest family member and we had dance lessons for the Charleston and other dances–and some years there are games like a watermelon seed spitting contest or relay races.

Families sign up to make a meal, bring supplies or do clean up. Our family is making Sunday morning breakfast–waffles and overnight oatmeal with fresh fruit, syrup and whipped cream among the toppings. I’ve spent time figuring out a waffle recipe for 75 people! I’ve put together double batches of the dry ingredients in ziplock bags so we can make a smaller batch of waffle batter as we need it. My two daughters, son and husband are all helping with the breakfast and bringing supplies, waffle irons and crockpots.

I will post some photos from this year’s reunion next week.

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A book for Central Oregon history buffs

crooked-river-countryCrooked River Country: Wranglers, Rogues, and Barons (linked to Amazon)

by David Braly

Published by Washington State University Press, Pullman, Washington, 2007

331 pages, includes a Select Bibliography, Chapter Index of Personages and a separate map in a pocket in the back cover

Synopsis from GoodreadsCrooked River Country is a sweeping account of north central Oregon’s thrilling history, primarily the years between 1800 and 1950. Bordered by intimidating natural barriers, the rough country and harsh winters produced equally hardy inhabitants.

Legends include Billy Chinook, Chief Paulina, Elisha Barnes, James M. Blakely, Newt Williamson, James J. Hill, Johnnie Hudspeth, and Les Schwab. In the early 1800s, only Native Americans, fur trappers, military expeditions, and missionaries roamed the forbidding setting, but after mid-century, pioneer families discovered lush pastures nestled in the expanse between the Cascades and the Blue Mountains.

The homestead boom sparked deadly Paiute raids and conflicts over grazing rights. As land became more precious, Native Americans were forced onto reservations and Vigilante ranchers terrorized settlers. Moonshiners fought back. Dishonest politicians and capitalists exploited land claim laws and stole vast amounts of timberland.

Steamship and railroad lines further opened the region, and the territory gradually became less wild. Big eastern lumber companies arrived and constructed the largest pine mills in the world. The stock market collapsed, and citizens faced severe economic depression intensified by prolonged drought. New Deal programs, good rainfall, and World War II eventually spurred industrial and population growth.

Crooked River Country presents the captivating and thoroughly researched saga of the region’s astonishing transformation.

I bought this book last week on Amazon and so far I’ve only read a couple of chapters and browsed through the book. I looked through the Index of Personages for any of my ancestors who lived in that part of the country and found my great-grandfather Lee MILLER. He’s mentioned in a paragraph about Paulina, Oregon.

Paulina had been founded in 1870, and its post office was established in 1880 with John T. Faulkner serving as postmaster. Livestock baron Bill Brown sometimes listed himself as a Paulina resident. Cornett had a stage station there, but the big businesses in the early 20th century were the Paulina Cash Store, operated by Lee Miller and George Ruba, and the Hotel Paulina, built by Elmer Clark in 1906. The hotel had a lounge, dining room, and kitchen on the first floor, and eight bedrooms upstairs. While a few homesteaders filed for land in the vicinity, the Paulina area remained a ranching district. (from Crooked River County by David Braly, p. 187)

It’s always nice to see a name I know in print! The book starts with early history of the area and continues to the early 1950’s with the last chapter talking about the growth and importance of Prineville, Oregon after WWII when the post-war building boom created the need for more lumber. The first chapter explores the area as a whole and defines Central Oregon as a larger area than how it’s defined today.

I grew up in Central Oregon and my parents were born there. My Miller relatives came to Oregon in 1847 on the Oregon Trail so even though I don’t live in Oregon any longer I have deep roots there. And lots of relatives all over Oregon. I think I will learn a lot more about the history of the area I grew up in.

About David Braly

From the back cover: He’s a Prineville resident, a former journalist, is a popular author of numerous articles about the West. He was selected as a 2005 Spur Award finalist for best Western short fiction.

Remember the families

Names I’m currently researching

I’m starting a blog to talk about my family genealogy plus stories I discover or receive from other family members or remember my parents or other family members telling. I’m not going to write much about my living family. The purpose is to add the stories, genealogy and the history from the places my ancestors lived. I named the blog “Remember the Families” for several reasons.

I want to have a place to write the stories and genealogy so my children and cousins can find them. It’s always hard to decide it’s time to write that family history book telling “everything” we’ve learned, but this way I can write short posts and perhaps later put it all together in one place.

I also want to remember to focus on the whole family not just my direct ancestors. By doing that I’ve already discovered stories and information about my direct ancestors. Plus this makes for a richer genealogy and will perhaps help me discover living cousins who can help fill in the blanks.

I hope others might find some ideas to research their families, but I also hope to invite my family to visit and perhaps they will add to my posts in the comments or decide to write a short memory they have about our family. Please comment whether part of the family or not and let me know how I’m doing here!