26
Jan

Dinner For Eight

As I slouch in my recliner eating dinner while binge watching The Game of Thrones,  my thoughts wander to sit-down dinners with family gathered around the table discussing how their day went and sharing their lives.

Poof!  It all disappears as I drop another piece of salad in my lap.  So, let's clean up the salad mess and fire up the imagination again and see who is sitting around our imaginary table.

Of course, my mother, Mickie Stoe (Ethel Maxine Spring) is right there in the middle of everything.  After all, she got me started in genealogy and spent a lot of effort trying to find out about our family.

The first guests to arrive at our family dinner are David and Jean (McClure) Dinwiddie.  Born in Ireland and married in Pennsylvania, thirty years before the American Revolution,  David and Jean could tell us what it was like to leave not only their home but their country to settle in a far away colony across the Atlantic Ocean.  If we are lucky, maybe they can remember the stories of their grandparents and how they left Scotland, willingly or unwillingly, to settle in Northern Ireland.

James H Wilson and his wife Mary (Dinwiddie) arrive next.  Mary is David's and Jean's great grand daughter, but they were invited to dinner to share what  motivated them to leave Indiana to face a difficult and unsure future out West and to tell us about their wagon train trip from Indiana to Oregon, filling in all the personal successes and tribulations that were not written into the Dinwiddie Trail Diary.  We don't know when the Wilsons came to this country.  Maybe James can share stories he heard from his parents and grandparents about their migration to America.

Our last guests are relatively late comers to the American table.  Ivar Olsen and Marianne Iversdatter were married in Norway and immigrated to Oregon about 1880, bringing most, but not all of their children.  How were Norwegians treated in rural Oregon.  Was farming much different in Norway than in Oregon?  Why did some children stay in Norway until brought over several years later?

So there is our Dinner for Eight.  Not just names in our tree, but real people who at different times, pulled up roots and moved great distances to uncertain futures.  Was it the lure of better farmland, religious or political freedom, or just the desire to move on to something new?   How are their stories similar?  How are they different?  There is much to share.  This dinner party will last well into the night.

Thanks for visiting.

Dan Stoe
Junction City, Oregon

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