Sunday, September 22, 2019


Thanks to Dan Kleinsmith for this photo.   

That's Teunis  G. Wyers and his Farmall Tractor in the 2013 Glenwood Rodeo Parade.  

I didn't know Teunis very well.  In fact, I didn't know him at all until he and I started going to Camas Prairie Pioneer meetings about the same time.  
I am a newcomer to Glenwood/Camas Prairie and Vicinity.  I have been here  a mere 50 years.  
But Teunis.....well, his roots go way back.  Way back to some of the first pioneers who settled here in the valley.  

His grandmother was Luella Betsy Shaw.   She was born here in Camas Prairie in 1881.  Her parents James O and Telitha T Shaw, came  from California in 1879 with friend Halsey Cole.  They  first settled in the Camas Prairie lake bottom where James became the post master of the Fulda Post Office.  Later James and Telitha Shaw moved a couple of miles north to the area of Bird Creek and  took up a homestead claim in what is now the town of Glenwood.  He set up a sawmill on Bird Creek and christened his farm "Glenwood Farm".  The homestead claim took in the area from the Bird Creek Road east to Mt Adams Highway, and from just south of  the post office, north to Ladiges Road.  The big white house, by the Bird Creek Bridge,  owned by Margaret and Jerry Throop is the old Shaw home, although I think the very first home burned in 1896.  

Across the road they built the Glenwood Hotel which was later cut in half.  Part of it was moved to where Kay Carr now lives.  Her grandparents,  the Henry Hansens continued running it as a hotel.  The other half was moved down by the old Grange Hall on Lakeside Road, and used as a home by Ed Snipes.  

Mrs. Shaw established a post office in 1885 which put a community named Glenwood on the map.  

The Shaw Homestead Claim

There is a July 1889 newspaper clipping stating:
"The picnic at Glenwood, Washington Territory, was a very pleasant affair.  The declaration of Independence was read by J.O. Shaw, and the oration was delivered by Hon. W. R. Dunbar, ......There was dancing in the afternoon and evening.  The attendance was good, at least three hundred being present."

Three hundred is a fair number of people for a celebration in Glenwood,  even by today's standards.  Notice Washington is still a territory.  We became a state in November of 1889.  

Teunis's great grandfather James Orlando Shaw


When Betsy Shaw was 18 years old in 1899, she married John G. Wyers.  Witnesses on the marriage certificate are Mr. and Mrs. R.M. Kreps.  So now, not only does the name Teunis get scattered throughout the family, but also a Wyers/Kreps connection begins.  

John was born in Holland to Teunis and Marie Heyting Wyers.  They came to the White Salmon area in 1891.  Marie's brother Rudolph Heyting,  had already taken out a homestead in Gilmer Valley and owned land in Camas Prairie.  In early days, the  Gilmer-Glenwood road,  up to the Summit was called Heyting Grade.   Marie and Teunis established a hotel and livery stable in White Salmon.

Teunis's great grandmother Marie Heyting  Wyers

John G. and Betsy Shaw Wyers,  for a few years after their marriage,  lived here in the Glenwood Valley.  They owned  property in the area where Travis and Kelly Miller now live.  Their son, Teunis James Wyers was born 1901 in Camas Prairie.  

John and Betsy in 1905,  moved to White Salmon.  Their son Teunis J.  went on to school and became an attorney.   

John's sister  Gertrude Wyers,  married Richard Kreps.  His brother Teunis Jr. married Olga Lauterbach.  Marie, daughter of Teunis Jr. and Olga,  married Russel Kreps.  
Are you confused yet? 

This article is from the March 29, 1945 Goldendale Sentinel and gives a pretty good history of Teunis's grandfather John Gerbrand Wyers.  

Grandmother Betsy Shaw Wyers's sister Lila, married Edwin Bartholomew.  They lived for some time in Glenwood, eventually moving to Bingen.  Alba Bartholomew was a son.  

I found this article about Teunis's grandmother in the August 12, 1912 Oregonian.  I emailed it to Teunis.  I knew he was gathering information about his grandmother, and wanted to do a talk about her at the Pioneer meeting.  

He sent back a reply.   He had heard a story that on one of these drives, a young bull was causing  problems.  Grandma Betsy, roped it, tied it up and castrated it right there. 
I'm guessing the bull caused no problems the rest of the day.  

After one of our Pioneer Meetings, in 2016 I wrote this blog.   


It was a small group that day.  Twelve total.  
It is now fall of 2019 and five of that group are gone.  Bonnie Parsons Harris left us just before our May 2017 Pioneer meeting.  
Member Tillie Williams left us in January 2019.  
President Joann Hutton left us in February.   
Our guest and photographer was Henry Balsiger.  He passed away in June.  
When long time member and Pioneer Hazel Parsons lost her daughter Bonnie, her son Eddie brought her to the meetings.  We lost Eddie in August.
 And then we lost Teunis at the end of August 2019.  

Teunis took over the job of treasurer and secretary of the Pioneer Association.  He even missed Sunday football to attend the October meetings.  
Teunis brought some energy and stability to the organization.  I gained respect  for his sense of humor and his wise advice.  He was an asset and a strength to the organization and its members.  

After we lost our president in February, Teunis continued the May meeting, with the we want to continue the Pioneer organization?  
There was a consensus to continue, and I know Teunis was looking forward to giving a talk about his pioneer grandmother Betsy Shaw.

Hopefully her history and stories are saved and when Teunis's  family has had time to grieve, they will share Grandma Betsy with  the community.  

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


A trip through the Willamette Valley was a real eye opener to massive oak trees.

"....An oak savanna is grassland characterized by a scattered distribution of open-growth oak trees and small groves of oaks 
By Lynda Boyer
Land surveys conducted by the General Land Office of the US Government in the 1850’s documented about 1 million acres of the Willamette Valley were prairie lands both upland and wetland and over 400,000 acres contained oak. 
Evidence suggests that the valley prairies may have become established during a time when the climate was warmer and drier than today (Hansen 
 At present, the climate of the Willamette Valley is sufficiently cool and moist to support woody vegetation on most sites 
Palynological studies indicate that the Willamette Valley has been dominated by oak savanna for more than 6,000 years. Since lighting fires are infrequent, this suggests that human-caused fires have maintained this sub-climax condition.... 

The Kalapuya Indians, the Willamette Valley’s native inhabitants, had substantial motivation to use fire in the landscape. The falls on the Willamette 
River at Oregon City made most of the river inaccessible to salmon. TheKalapuya relied on the native plants of the prairie and game to provide their economy. In order to eliminate woody vegetation and maintain the open structure that facilitated this diverse resource base, frequent, low-intensity fires were set...."

So...when I moved to the Glenwood Valley in 1970,  I paid little attention to the scrubby oaks growing on the breaks of the Klickitat River and the Goldendale Grade. I had great admiration for their tenacity to grow out of a rock, while twisting and turning themselves into a trunk with gnarly branches and still capable of producing a nut.  It was great firewood for holding a fire all night.  
In the 1980's the farms of Battle Ground began turning into one massive housing development and I mourned the loss of those huge Oak trees, but I was still somewhat oblivious to our oak trees.  
However, in the last few years, as I have become more gnarly and twisted myself with age, I have gained a fascination with the Garry Oak, the only oak native to Washington State. 
I had been pondering, what  it must have been like when the Native Americans set fire to Camas Prairie.  Then I pondered the thought that the Camas roots and Oak trees often seem to occupy the same habitat.  Not a "symbiotic relationship", but perhaps some type of relationship.  Remember....I come from the area of Camas, Washington where the Camas root and Oak trees once grew in abundance.  I know this Camas Prairie gets colder with frequent frosts, but is it possible big Garry Oak trees grew here at one time?


"OREGON WHITE OAK  Also called GARRY OAK.   Oregon White Oak was named after Nicholas Garry, a deputy governor for the Hudson’s Bay Company.
This species grows slowly to 80-100 feet (25-30m). It may live 250-500 years.
Oregon White Oak grows on dry, rocky slopes and in open savannahs. Many native oak prairies, and their associated ecosystem, have disappeared and continue to decline due to urban development, fire suppression and overgrazing. There is evidence that native people in the Willamette Valley burned the Oregon White Oak savannahs nearly every year in the late summer or early fall to prevent the encroachment of faster growing conifers....."

Along the southern fringe of the Glenwood Valley are some tall, straight Oak trees.  Nothing like the Willamette Valley Oaks of course, but they are respectable and some are even a bit majestic.  
Then I began pondering,,,,, could I start an Oak Tree from the nut?
And then,..... I found out I am way behind on that idea.

Ted Alway has been doing this kind of work for a long time:

Ted says:
"....There is but one species of oak native to Washington state, Oregon white oak or Garry oak (Quercus garryana). It grows west of the Cascades from Vancouver Island to California, but occurs east of the mountains only in Yakima and Klickitat counties… except for a fairly small population found between Cle Elum and Ellensburg, separated by 60 miles from their closest “cousins”. I don’t know how this outlying population came to be there; perhaps Native Americans transported acorns north many centuries ago. This northernmost population of oaks may be the hardiest of the species, and may do well in other areas of Central Washington.
I’ve been propagating seedlings from these impressive trees for several years now. I collect acorns in the fall, trying to collect enough before the Steller’s jays and weevils get them all...".

And here is another guy, Tom Conway of Tall Clover Farm on Vashon Island.  Notice he addresses the same question I had been pondering about a relationship between our Garry Oak Trees and the Camas root.

"Last week in the greenhouse, I did notice my taproot-cramped Garry Oak seedlings were pining (so to speak) for a forever home in the ground. These wonderfully beautiful oaks, the only native oak to Washington, have a very limited range within the state. Surprisingly, the hand of man and woman created and encouraged the tree’s unique habitat and ecosystem. Indigenous people of the region would start brush fires to clear the understory around these oak groves. The annual practice promoted the growth of an important vegetative food source: camas tubers. As the practice declined, so did the range of the groves. Firs trees would quickly encroach and begin reforestation. Bye, bye Garry Oak? Not so fast…"


and top it all of....I came across this guy...Ed Book, who saw the beauty of our oak trees long before I did.

"Ed Book presents an 8x10 portfolio of 72 photographic images of the mixed woodlands of Garry Oak and Ponderosa Pine found in and on the rims and surrounding plateaus of the Klickitat River Canyon, northeast of the Columbia River Gorge in Washington state.
This forest puts on an autumn color display unrivaled anywhere else in Washington. The small, leathery, multi and irregular lobed oak leaves turn saturated yellow, orange, red, and magenta hues when the first cold clear nights of autumn arrive.
Repeated extended visits in various weather conditions were required to record the woodlands and canyon at their optimum.
These images provide a glimpse of how the oak habit adapts to the varying habitat, from steep walled canyon to rolling parklands of forest mixed with meadow."

Well known
Columbia Gorge photographer, 
 PETER MARBACH has a photo of camas blooming on a high hill in the Carson area, over looking the Columbia River.  In the background you can see oak trees just beginning to leaf out.  

There is a lot of information and knowledge out there about our Majestic, Scrubby Oak Trees and I am just beginning to learn some of it.

 I am continually learning new things about the Garry Oak and coming across new information.  
Below are links to further reading:

By David Shaw, OSU Extension Forest Health Specialist

How to Cook Camas

June 16, 2012


November 01, 2012

Garry oaks can reach great proportions when they grow in deep soils that are free from competing Douglas Firs. Of our western oaks, they are second in size only to Valley Oaks and occasionally reach 90 feet in height. However, on dry rocky soils and in areas with little precipitation, they take on a low scrubby form. Most commonly they are between 50 to 60 feet tall and 6 to 24 inches in diameter 
from the BLOG


Grass-roots groups work to preserve native oak savannas

Oregon effort has 50 groups tending to oak habitats

November 06, 2017


....Kalapuya and other local Native American groups were some of the first people to shape Willamette Valley ecosystems to meet their needs. Prior to European settlement they used fire as a management tool to maintain gardens of camas (Camassia spp.), a native prairie plant whose starchy bulb was a food staple, and foster the growth of tarweed, grasshoppers, nut and berry plants, and bracken fern rhizomes (Agee 1993, Boyd 1999). They also set fires to herd deer for hunting. Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana) is adapted to fire in ways that other species, such as Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menzeissi), are not. Their thick bark protects the delicate cambium and dormant buds are located low on the root collar below the soil surface so they can sprout even after fire (Tveten and Fonda 1999). The fires the Kalapuya set thinned the understory of the oak woodlands and savannas, maintaining the stands’ open structure, enhancing tree vigor and seedling regeneration and increasing mast crops for consumption by both humans and game......


Indian Use of Fire in Early Oregon

The Oregon Encyclopedia
April 07, 2016

"....As Douglas observed while traveling south of present-day Salem on September 30, 1826, "Most parts of the country burned; only on little patches in the valleys and on the flats near the low hills that verdure is to be seen. Some of the natives tell me it is done for the purpose of urging the deer to frequent certain parts, to feed, which they leave unburned and of course they are easily killed. Others say that it is done in order that they might better find wild honey and grasshoppers, which both serve as articles of winter food....."


Isolated white oak trees are prime habitat for birds

September 12, 2008
Author Judy Scott 

CORVALLIS, Ore.—The magnificent white oak trees in the Willamette Valley that stand alone in farmers' fields may provide critical resources for birds living in and around agricultural fields......


The Oregon Encyclopedia
Author Frank Lang
July 26, 2017

".....Oregon white oak, Quercus garryana, grows along the Pacific Coast from southern California north through the interior valleys of western Oregon and the Puget Sound Lowland to southwest British Columbia, where it is called Garry oak. It also grows in the Columbia River Gorge, in eastern Oregon, and along the Columbia River to the east slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Washington. 
David Douglas named the tree in honor of Nicholas Garry, secretary and later deputy governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, who was helpful to Douglas when he was in western North America in 1826 looking for native plants suitable for horticultural introduction in Great Britain. The specimen on which Douglas based the name is from a tree “on the plains near Fort Vancouver,” the Hudson's Bay Company post along the Columbia River....." 


Large oak trees play a crucial role in the Willamette Valley ecosystem

April 10, 2009  by Joe Rojas-Burke
".....Generations of farmers have plowed carefully around the really big ones. Some have stood for more than 300 years, a time when native white oak trees and grasses covered half a million acres across the Willamette Valley......"


By Cynthia Orlando

"........The Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana) is an attractive deciduous hardwood tree native to Oregon, found as far north as British Columbia and as far south as southern California. These lovely hardwoods seem able to withstand both lengthy ooding and drought, and are most common on sites that are either too exposed or too dry for other tree species...... "


In The Shade of the Old Oak Trees

August 24, 2010
A Greenway Trail is dedicated in the Camas/Washougal area where mighty White Oaks line the Washougal River  and the streets of Oak Park.