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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:United States / 19th Century
  • Language:English
  • Pages:582
  • Hardcover ISBN:9781667841021

Norway to Washougal

An Unusual History Book Inspired by Washington Homesteaders Anna and Engel Engelsen

by Susan Tripp

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Just how far is it from Norway to Washougal? That depends on when and how you traveled. From Norway to New York took months by steamship and weeks by sailboat. From New York to Washougal by a horse or oxen-pulled wagon took six or more months and weeks by early trains. Susan's ancestors made that journey, and Susan set out to trace their story. The more she learned, the more the book grew. The book starts at the beginning of everyone's genetics, with a brief account of the first modern humans. It then moves quickly through Norway's history touching on related world history. Significant people and events in American history are noted before the book arrives in the Pacific Northwest. The reader meets fur trappers, missionaries, Native American tribes, explorers, pioneers, and settlers. Along the way, there are British forts, battles, and struggles over land ownership. Geology and natural disasters tell stories as the book narrows to Oregon and Washington Territories. Donation land claims, homesteads, river transportation, and early trains grow towns into incorporated cities and territories into states. Just as her great-grandparents, Anna and Engel Engelsen, traveled from Norway to settle in Washougal, Washington, this book does the same. Readers view life in the 1800s through Washougal family trees. The book wraps up with a close look at Washougal today. Over 400 illustrations guide the reader through the text.
Where are we from? From our parents, certainly, and their parents. As we go further back, we come from cities, states, countries, and geographic areas. Going back even further, we come from modern humans and the planet Earth. This book begins in Norway, briefly touches on early world history, then settles on Norwegian and American history. Early Norwegian history reveals what the Engelsen genetics survived, including harsh weather, unusual geography, deadly plagues, political unrest, and famines. A brief look at American history explains when and why Norwegian immigrants left Norway, what they endured, and what opportunities they sought in a new land. Like Anna and Engel, the book finally settles in the Pacific Northwest, with a look back at early fur traders, missionaries, American pioneers, Native Americans, and Euro-American immigrants in that area. The book scope narrows from the Pacific Northwest to Oregon Territory, Washington Territory, and early Clarke County, Washington, before ending in Washougal, Clark County, Washington. It ends in Washougal because the author's grandmother, Alice Engelsen, was born there in 1889 on the family's 160-acre homestead. It's also where the family lived in the Joseph Gibbons Donation Land Claim after selling their homestead. Homesteads and Donation Land Claims are given family names and help distinguish who arrived before and after 1862. The story of Washougal starts with early visitors and settlers in the 1800s. It continues to a platted town in 1880, an incorporated city in 1908, and ends with Washougal highlights today. Family trees added to the book describe early life in Washougal from census records on lifespans, occupations, numbers of marriages, age differences in husbands and wives, the number of children, and the number surviving to adulthood. Engelsen business associates, witnesses, neighbors, acquaintances, and possible friends started the author's interest in these family trees. Obituaries included in the book help describe family connections and lifestyles in the late 1800s and early 1900s. How people lived then can often inspire how we live today. The image collection in the back of the book helps the reader visualize the setting, clarify descriptions, and personalize the people. In the Appendix, the timelines for Norway, America, world, and religious history further describe the past and provide context for the lifespans and lifestyles of our ancestors.
About the author
Susan Tripp, BA, MS Psy, is a wife, mother, grandmother, credentialed teacher, business owner, community volunteer, and past Mayor of La Mirada, California. Susan was born in Long Beach and grew up in Newport Beach, California. She began singing in school choirs in first grade and continued through college to church choirs. In high school, she traveled to Europe with the Newport Beach Youth Chorale and was the lead in the musical Mame. Susan and her husband, Rolan Tripp, DVM, share a passion for helping dogs, cats, and people enjoy the best relationships possible. They owned the La Mirada Animal Hospital for ten years and have started other pet behavior-related businesses such as AnimalBehavior.net in 2001 and PetHappiness.net in 2017. Susan is the author of pet-related articles, books, and training curricula. Her specialty is early puppy and kitten development and training. Susan and Rolan moved to Vancouver, Washington, in 2012. Susan's interest in family history surprised her in 2017 when she discovered her paternal grandmother was born and raised about 10 miles from her current home. Susan soon learned that her great-grandparents, Anna and Engel Engelsen, were Norwegian immigrant farmers. They became U.S. citizens and settled on a 160-acre homestead near Mt. Norway in Washougal, Washington, in 1886. As Susan researched her Engelsen family history and the town of Washougal, her curiosity spread to her Norwegian roots, American history, and more. This book is the story of the author's deep desire to honor her family, leave a legacy, and grow in her Christian faith.