Just as Anna and Engel traveled from Norway to Washougal, this book begins in Norway, then travels to America, the Pacific Northwest, Washington State, Clark County, and ends in the City of Washougal.
Early Norwegian history reminds the reader what the Engelsen genetics survived, including harsh weather, unusual geography, deadly plagues, and famines. The book speculates why Norwegians left their country to take their chances in America and points out the similarities of Norway and Washougal, Washington, in farming, fishing, and logging.
In America, the Engelsens lived through history that repeats itself in financial panics, economic depressions, severe winds, and freezing temperatures. As early Washougal homesteaders, they witnessed fires, floods, isolation, disease, slow transportation, drownings, and other accidents. They saw the arrival of trains, automobiles, electricity, and plumbing.
Anna and Engel Engelsen, born in 1845 and 1846 in Norway, lived long, eventful lives before they died in Washougal, Washington, at ages 75 and 83. Only four of their ten children lived past 70 years of age. Why the other children lived shorter lives than their parents is unknown, but the author looks for clues and hopes the reader will seek insights that could extend their lives.