Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle


December 28, 2023

The Bertroch Chadwick Christmas 1920.

School board news

At the last Naselle/Grays River school board meeting, Bob Torppa was elected Chair, and Amy Hunt, Vice-Chair. Both have had years of experience serving on the School Board.

Deep River Church History

"Clear memory of childhood is rare they say, but I am fortunate to remember some of the old things better than later happenings. Within my four-score years and nine, much water has passed under the many bridges I have crossed, and within this life-time of mine things have often crowded into short periods of time. Some good, some not so good, but I am thankful for all of this. I have three lovely daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. They never fail to call me or come to see me if they are within reach. I am now a Senior Citizen and at last have time to do the things I have always wanted to do paint, write and still have time to visit with my friends. I am a full-blooded Finnish lady by ancestry. I was going to say a woman, but anyone my age should have the distinction of being called a lady." From the preface to "I Remember Deep River, by Ina Cecilia Cameron, a child of early pioneers. The book can be found at the Appelo Archives Center's Library.

Our First Church in Deep River

by Ina Cecilia Cameron

transcribed in 2004 by Karen Bertroch

The first church built in the community was in about 1900. Prior to this, whenever a visiting pastor came, services were held in the schoolhouse or in homes; quite often at our house, because we had a big house and were more centrally located. By now the ladies of the community had organized a sewing society and borrowed their first five dollars to buy material to work with. They were very busy trying to raise money so eventually they could have their own church. Distances were far. Some roads were only trails so their bazaars were held wherever and whenever possible. Within the next six years the earnings of the sewing society, and dues from members without a church, was now two-hundred and seventy-five dollars.

It was time to start looking for a location to build the church. There were three sites offered. Two were too far from the country center and the other too highly priced. They wanted the church not too far from the cemetery cut-off.

My father attended his last directors' meeting just before we moved to Astoria. The church building site was the most important question, but as before, the question was tabled for future consideration. Before the meeting adjourned, Father said to the directors, "If you can't find a more desirable location within your means, I will donate an acre of our farmland by the side of the road at the cemetery junction. The ground is level and easy to build on."

The directors immediately accepted Father's offer as they all approved of the location.

The construction of the church commenced at once, with its steeple and its own bell. The pioneers worked hard holding bazaars and picnics, and the membership grew. It was an active church until the pioneers, one by one, passed away. Their children married, moved elsewhere, and new people came into the community who were not interested in church work. Within a short distance other denominations began building a more modern, ornate church, and the congregation of this small church began to fall apart, and gradually die for there were not many left to support the valley's first church.

Today the old church still stands, dejected and alone. Still dignified and alert against all elements, keeping a careful watch over the cut-off entrance that leads to the old cemetery in front of her where sleep the pioneers who built her with so little money but with so much love and eagerness so their children and grandchildren could have a place to worship and thank God for all His blessings.

Finally, there came a time when this church passed its usefulness, and no more services were held there. It seems almost sad that newer churches nearby do not remember that it was their ancestors who paved the way to build the first church here, and it was this very church that paved the way to build other churches nearby.

A few devoted children and grandchildren still guard the old church and cemetery nearby, and neither show their age although the church is now well over seventy years old. In my memory I can still hear that church bell echoing through the woods and fields, far and wide, as from its knoll it rang the parting sound of someone on their way to that last resting place.

It's up to future community members to take an interest in the old church. I hope the surrounding communities will support it and take care of it. What better memorial can there be to those early pioneers than to have their own church standing there watching that cut-off. She stands there alone, straight and dignified as she was in the beginning...a silent sentinel.

Photo of the Week: Christmas in the Chadwick home in 1920 in Knappton.

Calendar of Events:

Mondays/Wednesdays: Balance Class Naselle Community Center 2-3.

Second Monday: American Legion at Rosburg Hall, meal at 6. Meeting at 6:30.

Tuesdays: Naselle Lutheran Church: quilters in morning/ knitters in afternoons.

Third Tuesday: Naselle/GRV School Board 6:30. Next on January 16 in School Library.

Wednesdays: AA meeting Grays River Grange at noon.

Second Wednesday of the month: Grays River Flood Control District at Fire Hall 5:30.

First and third Wednesdays each month: Rosburg Senior Club Lunch at Rosburg Hall. Jan. 2/16.

Thursdays every week: CAP senior lunches at noon at Rosburg Hall. Joel Fitts recommends it.

Second Thursday: Johnson Park Board meeting at 10.

January 14: Concert at Naselle Community Center with Greg Parke and Gene Quilhaugh, both excellent folk singers and guitarists.

January 17: County conservation meeting. Dan Cothren, chair, at 2 at Courthouse 3 rd floor.

February 24: Memorial Reception for Dale Dutcher at Rosburg Hall from 1-4.

April 7: Memorial service for Darlene Bjornsgard at Naselle school. Time not set yet.

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