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The Northwest Coast

4.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  20 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
In 1849 James Swan turned his back on his wife and two children, a prosperous ship-fitting business, and the polite and predictable world of commerce in Boston and fled to the newly opened gold fields in California. Soon sick of the bonanza society, he emigrated to a shallow harbor called Shoalwater Bay (now Willapa Bay) north of the Columbia River in Washington Territory. ...more
Paperback, 460 pages
Published April 1st 1972 by University of Washington Press (first published January 1st 1857)
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Stephan
Mar 01, 2008 Stephan rated it it was amazing
This book was written by James Swan and is an account of the three years he spent on the NW coast in Willapa bay in the 1850s.

Swan is a wonderful writer. The book is extremely funny, but also provides one of the best anthropological accounts of NW Indian tribes ever written.

As opposed to most of the settlers, Swan had a deep respect for the natives and would set off with them in their canoes to hunt, visit other tribes or just get in trouble. At the time, there were only a handful of settlers
...more
Michael Phillips
Jan 12, 2012 Michael Phillips rated it liked it
This may also be found at my my blog text

During a recent trip to my hometown of Port Townsend I had a great conversation with a friend who’s lived in PT for close to 40 years. We were discussing the crumbling historical brick buildings and he noted they had been built with a mortar mixture consisting of seawater, leading to the crumbling decay of many of these feats of architectural achievement that remain imposing reminders of the majesty that once embraced this beautiful city. We began poking
...more
Ilya
Feb 24, 2015 Ilya rated it it was ok
James G. Swan (1818-1900) was a Boston shipfitter who left his family to join the California Gold Rush. He didn't like it, so he moved to Shoalwater Bay (now called Willapa Bay) in what is now Washington state in order to raise oysters with Indian labor and sell them in California (a site of the local Chamber of Commerce says that the bay still produces 15% of the nation's oyster crop). The book is a straightforward narrative of his life on the shores of the bay in 1852-1855 in the company of a ...more
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