The Ann Parry: Talking and Writing about History

For the past two years, I’ve been involved in research on the Ann Parry, a 19th century bark that had quite the career. Built in 1825 in Portsmouth NH, she was first for the trades between that town and the Atlantic, then off as a whaler all over the Pacific. She ended up on the West Coast for the Gold Rush where she lived out the rest of her  40 year life in the coastal trade between San Francisco and Puget Sound.

In about two weeks I’ll be giving a major talk on her life and adventures and her role here in the NW.  It has been a labor of love, requiring a trip to New England to see her original journals and records, reading old newspapers (1849-1855) from San Francisco, and gathering her shipping articles and registration from around the county.  In following her, I have learned more about the history of Puget Sound and our ties to San Francisco and that town’s ties to the great shipbuilders of Portsmouth, Salem and Boston.  That New England connection is in the Chinook Jargon word for American- Boston. I hope to write about her and publish.

img_0635Last year, maritime artist Steve Mayo, painted a picture of the Ann Parry arriving on Bellingham Bay July 1858 to deliver bricks for the oldest brick building in the state of Washington. Proceeds from the sale of the original painting and prints will help support the restoration of said building. People interested in the painting can contact Rick Tremaine at (360) 734-7381 to order.

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History Map on-line

All places have secrets or stories to tell. How they got settled. Why they went away. Who was there first.

I have been researching the “Lost Cities of Skagit County.”  The county is located in Western Washington, about 50 miles north of Seattle. It’s uncommonly beautiful with hills and flats, rivers and creeks flowing to the Sound and majestic mountains to the east, many in snow year round. Its history goes back nearly 12,000 years with the ancestors of the present day Coast Salish peoples. Recent arrivals started appearing in earnest around 200 years ago.

Last year, the Skagit County Historical Museum mounted a popular exhibit called The Lost Cities of Skagit County.  Some 17 long- forgotten communities were highlighted with photographs and artifacts. The show was very popular with the public asking for more.

To help teachers and folks curious about the history of early white settlement in the county , I researched an additional 100 settlements and with a lot of help from friends in the county IT, saw the launching of  a history GIS map last Monday.  It can be seen at http://skagitcounty.net/museum.   Click on the map icon on the front page to enter, then click on a place on the map and a photograph and text will come up. Follow the instructions to play with it.  Explorer is needed. Have fun. Anyone find Hoogdahl?