Publisher description: Oysterville is the tale, truly recorded, magnificently told, of four families who settled up and down the East Coast of America three centuries ago and subsequently migrated west. From Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, they trundled their Conestoga wagons across the prairies, unaware that destiny would eventually bring them to a coast overlooking the North Pacific Ocean, where their genes would commingle in the tiny settlement of Oysterville in the territory of Washington. Drawing on conversations with aged relatives and friends, on historic letters and documents, Willard Espy affectionately reconstructs his own personal past to give us a rich and revealing account of this family that was born, grew up, and died as the United States itself was being shaped and formed, explored and expanded. And what a dappled lot these forbears were! A Puritan jailed for kissing his wife on the Sabbath; an innocent and saintly woman hanged from a Salem gibbet as a witch; a pioneer wife who routed unfriendly Indians with boiling hot mush; men who butchered savages with gun and hatchet until they were butchered in turn; those who fought the redcoats; those who stayed home; a preacher who braved the furies of Cape Horn to raise the eyes of California miners from gold pans heavenward; a Confederate captain who exiled himself to Mexico when the wrong side won; the women all the way along who not only carried on but often became artists, lecturers, and writers for such magazines as Harper's, Century, and The Youth's Companion. And finally there was Oysterville itself, so much a part of the author's inner being that he counts the village, too, among his forbears.