We are back from our trip to Oregon, with lots more photos. Yes, there are more gardens, but the real reason we went to Oregon was family history.
My sister Laurie organized our excursion back in time, to the place where our father, Henry Norquist, came from. She invited our cousins Kathy and Kris to join us, because their mother Lois was our dad's sister, and so she shared the same roots.
We all met up for breakfast at the Hitching Post in Molalla, the town where my sisters and brothers and I went to school and where Mom and Dad lived after they moved off our little farm in the Willamette Valley. Dad went the the Hitching Post most morning for coffee and visiting.
After breakfast we drove into the foothills on the east side of the valley to the small town of Colton. Here we visited the church where my Grandmother Emma attended and where some of her children, my aunts and uncles, were confirmed.
We talked with the pastor before going downstairs. This was originally a Swedish Lutheran Church. Grandma Emma was Norwegian but Grandpa Olaf was a Swede, so she coped.
Downstairs we found the confirmation photos for Dad and several of his brothers and sisters.
That's Dad, Henry Norquist, and his younger brother Chet (Chester) in the lower right hand corner.
Most of the time they would have looked like this.
We left the church and went a block away to the cemetery.
One of Dad's baby sisters is buried here. Dad was born in 1917 in Havre, Montana. He is one of eight children who survived past early childhood. Two other baby sisters are buried in Montana.
We left the cemetery and drove to the old farm where this Norquist tribe grew up. My Great Grandfather Erick and Great Grandmother Cristina immigrated from Sweden when Grandpa Olaf was an infant, 1879-1880. They settled in Iowa, then North Dakota. After Olaf was grown and married to Emma and living in Montana, my great grandparents Erick and Cristina came to Oregon and bought property near Colton, about 1910. After Dad was born, about 1920, Olaf's family moved to that property and it was divided between him and his brother Lars.
There they lived by subsistence farming and logging, including cutting the trees on their own property.
As we pulled up and parked along the road, the current property owner came out to see what was going on. She ended up taking us on a tour.
We traipsed through the cow pasture to the site of the old house, where now all that is left is this wonderful old black walnut tree.
After we all got back home, our cousins found some treasures.
Here is a photo of Aunt Lois and Aunt Betty swinging on a tire swing hung from the old walnut tree in 1930. It was already a big tree then, so it must have been planted by the original homesteader, sometime in the 1850's or 60's.
These pictures were taken in 1970, when Aunt Lois returned to see the old property. The old house was still standing then.
Since we were tripping down memory lane, we drove across the valley past my old house, where I was the second oldest of the seven kids who grew up here. My sister Ilene is the oldest and Laurie is the third in line. Two sisters have passed. Our two brothers, Henry Jr. and Don, are younger.
Here we all are at lunch together in Canby, Oregon: from left to right - Dennis and Kris, Ilene, Kathy and Mike, Tom and Linda, Laurie and Arnold.
It was a great day, and the memories will linger on.