Archive for January, 2018

Oregon’s Military Heritage

On Thursday, February 22, the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum will host Oregon authors Alisha Hamel and Warren Aney as they present their book on Oregon’s impressive military heritage.

Screenshot 2015-03-14 14.06.41

A blimp patrols the Oregon Coast. This is Seaside, Oregon.

Oregon’s military heritage goes back thousands of years with native warrior traditions. These native cultures were relatively peaceful and welcomed visiting strangers such as the 1805-06 Army expedition led by Lewis and Clark. The overwhelming numbers of settlers and miners began taking over their traditional grounds. From 1847 to 1880, Army and volunteer units engaged Oregon’s native peoples in eight major conflicts. The Army built several forts from Oregon’s coast to the Snake River.

Screenshot 2015-03-14 15.03.22

Members of the Coast Guard’s mounted beach patrol cross an inlet during their patrol on the west Coast. The use of horses allowed the Coast Guard personnel to cover wide stretches of beach more quickly than on foot. Image courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Oregon Militia was first created in 1843 and this led to creation of the Oregon National Guard in 1887. Oregon Guard members and many other Oregonians served the nation in major overseas conflicts from the Spanish-American War through World Wars I and II. As the Pacific Northwest’s well-trained National Guard unit, the 41st Infantry Division served commendably from 1941 to 1945.

Oregonians served heroically in Korea and Vietnam. Recently, Oregon Army and Air National Guard units have been serving in Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. Oregon’s Militia and National Guard served the state in many civil-support actions, from quelling 1886 riots to Operation Tranquility peacekeeping in 1970 to tackling wildfires and floods.


A Japanese balloon bomb.

Most Oregonians are completely unaware of Oregon’s long military history, especially its pivotal role during WWII. The authors will give an engaging thirty to forty-minute presentation at the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 22, 2018. They will also have copies of their book, “Oregon Military,” available for purchase.

This event is part of the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum’s annual lecture series. All lectures are free and open to the public. The museum is located at 1387 South Spruce Street in mid-town Cannon Beach. The museum is a private non-profit with a donation based admission program. Thanks to Clatsop County for making this a free event.

This event has been sponsored by Sea Sprite Guest Lodgings in Cannon Beach, Oregon!


One of my favorite comments from museum visitors is, “Who knew your little town had so much history!”  The truth is Cannon Beach’s past might not be as lengthy as that of European towns or as rich as New York, but Cannon Beach can hold its own with tales of rum running, misused dynamite, and even eccentric British bachelors.  Over the next few articles, I was hoping to focus on some of the true characters of Cannon Beach, some of whom were true remittance men.

Due to British primogeniture law, daughters and second sons of the British aristocracy were unable to inherit.  During the 1870’s these sons and daughters were often sent away, sometimes with a small lump sum of family heirlooms or funds.  Some even received annual or monthly lump sums from their families.  The remittance man (or woman) weren’t just sent away due to lack of inheritance, for some it was due to an unapproved marriage or to save the family from some kind of embarrassment.

Some of these British bachelors found themselves in Cannon Beach.  Names like Joe Walsh, Herbert Logan, Marmaduke Maxwell, and even Robert (Jack) Astbury pop up in Cannon Beach’s historic records.   Early settlers like John Delbert Griffin, whose parents were some of the earliest settlers in Cannon Beach wrote, “Reflection on Early Cannon Beach.”  In his book, Griffin remembers local remittance man Joe Walsh.  It seems Walsh was partial to using his remittance funds for alcohol in Seaside and on one return he remembered, “I remember one time the tide was well in and here comes Joe on his horse dragging through the soft sand and drift logs.  Just as he reached our place Joe fell off his horse.”

1003.3 Joe Walsh-Elk Creek Hotel CCHS.jpg

Joe Walsh in front of the Elk Creek Hotel.

Many remittance men had never held a job and had little to no skill to speak of.  They were often considered to be lazy drunken scoundrels.  While Joe Walsh might have had some of these habits, the other remittance men in Cannon Beach were industrious to say the least.   Walsh also helped Herbert Logan with his properties and was a ranchman at Seaside.  Herbert Logan built the Elk Creek Hotel, the first hotel in Cannon Beach, and campaigned the area as a sportsman’s paradise, perfect for rest and respite.  He also purchased property in Seaside and managed the Elk Creek Toll Road – and so much more!  Jack Astbury was a popular fellow in the area.  He was an excellent dancer, very active in the community, was mannerly, and was an excellent county surveyor.  Or at least, so the stories go.  In 1895, Astbury was made captain of the Seaside cricket team.


Robert (Jack) Astbury with the Astoria Football Club in 1894. The Astoria Football Club was one of the sponsors of the first Astoria Regatta. Astbury is seated, second from the left.

As county surveyor, Astbury surveyed parts of Astoria, Seaside, Elk Creek Road and even the area south of Tillamook Head known as Elk Creek, now Cannon Beach.  This plat map is currently on display at the museum in our exhibit, “The Long Road Home.”  He conducted surveys during various years, but it seems as if the first survey he conducted was done in Seaside in 1896.  He continued surveying the area until 1906, but by 1908, Astbury had moved to Gold Hill, Oregon and began growing apples.  He never married and passed away peacefully in 1945.

Other notable characters include Marmaduke Maxwell, Joe Walsh and James Jacob Mahar (also known as Jimmy the Tough.”  Jimmy the Tough homesteaded north of Silver Point before 1894.

The remittance men practice continued until WWI.  Just a few years after World War I primogeniture law was abolished in England, in 1925 to be exact. The remittance men and women of Great Britain did not just end up in America, many were sent to New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and much farther. As one historian surmised, this probably helped spread the use of the English language.

These men definitely had an impact on the character of Cannon Beach.  They contributed substantially to the character of our community just by bringing a little bit of home with them through their construction, entrepreneurism and ideals.  Cannon Beach has had a series of wonderful characters that have added to the charm of our small town; you’ll hear their stories over the next few articles.  If you would like more information, the museum is home to an extensive oral history collection, over 12,000 historic documents and photos, and a great research library.  The Cannon Beach History Center & Museum is open 11:00 until 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Monday.  Located at 1387 South Spruce Street, stop on by and see what we have!

This article originally appeared in the January 26, 2018 issue of the Cannon Beach Gazette.



On Friday, February 16 at 7:00 p.m., the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum welcomes jazz horn player Dmitri Matheny and friend. The museum is one of three stops of his Oregon tour.

Dmitri Matheny

Acclaimed for his warm tone, soaring lyricism and masterful technique, American flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny has been lauded as “one of the most emotionally expressive improvisers of his generation” (International Review of Music). An honors graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Dmitri Matheny vaulted onto the jazz scene in the 1990s as the protégé of jazz legend Art Farmer. Since then he has garnered critical acclaim and a loyal international following, touring extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, traveling to 19 countries. With over 100 recordings to his credit, Dmitri Matheny has released 11 albums as a leader. His latest is Jazz Noir, a fresh spin on crime jazz, film noir movie themes and timeless classics. The San Francisco Chronicle calls Matheny “one of the jazz world’s most talented horn players.”

Matheny will be promoting the release of his 11th album – Jazz Noir. With the help of a tremendous cast and a repertoire refined over two decades, JAZZ NOIR proves a sinister beauty for fans of rainy city nights and old school noir.”—Earshot Jazz

Mysterious, melancholy and menacing, JAZZ NOIR offers a fresh spin on crime jazz, film noir and timeless classics.

Selections include classic movie themes from Touch of Evil, Laura, Chinatown, Vertigo, Taxi Driver, Blues In The Night, Twin Peaks, Toute Une Vie, High Wall, The Long Goodbye and Stormy Weather, modern standards Estate, Caravan, Here’s Looking At You and Golden Lady, and two originals: Film Noir (from a poem by Dana Gioia) and Crime Scenes, a San Francisco-inspired jazz suite with voiceover narration in the hardboiled style of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.

The Papillon/BluePort Jazz release, Matheny’s 11th album as leader, showcases the talents of “some of the most accomplished musicians in the western United States” (All About Jazz): Bill Anschell, Matt Clark, Nick Manson, Charles McNeal, Susan Pascal, Phil Sparks, Todd Strait, Akira Tana, Jay Thomas and John Wiitala.

“In these grooves,” writes annotator Eddie Muller, “Matheny leads his crack crew through a sonic history of noir. Dmitri Matheny is an artist who manages to find beauty blooming in the darkest corners.”

“Dmitri Matheny is a jazz treasure. The lyrical Matheny has impressive chops, but it’s his warmth and soulfulness that win you over.”—All Music Guide

Tickets to the concert are $15 each and include complimentary refreshments. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with ample time to tour the museum.

The Cannon Beach History Center & Museum is a private non-profit museum featuring seasonal historic, textile, and artistic exhibits. Get your tickets at or by phone 503-436-9301. The museum is open from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Wednesday through Monday and is donation based. The Cannon Beach History Center & Museum is located at 1387 South Spruce Street in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Talking About Dying

Jennifer SasserWhat do we think about when we think of dying? When we think about our own dying, what do we want most? Death is part of the human experience; all of us have experienced loss, and all of us will die one day. Yet conversations about death and dying are difficult and often avoided even with our closest family members and friends.
This is the focus of “Talking about Dying,” a free conversation with Jennifer Sasser on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. at the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum. This program is hosted by the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum and sponsored by Oregon Humanities. This conversation provided an opportunity for participants to hear perspectives and ideas from fellow community members.
Facilitators of Talking about Dying discussions are trained professionals in the field of chaplaincy, counseling, gerontology, facilitation, and hospice care around Oregon.
Through the Conversation Project, Oregon Humanities offers free programs that engage community members in thoughtful, challenging conversations about ideas critical to our daily lives and our state’s future. For more information about this free community discussion, please contact Elaine Trucke at 503-436-9301 or
Talking about Dying discussions are made possible thanks to the generous support of the WRG Foundation Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation.
Facilitators of Talking about Dying discussions are trained professionals working in the fields of chaplaincy, counseling, gerontology, facilitation, and hospice care around Oregon.
Oregon Humanities (921 SW Washington, Suite 150; Portland, OR 97205) connects Oregonians to ideas that change lives and transform communities. More information about Oregon Humanities’ programs and publications, which include the Conversation Project, Think & Drink, Humanity in Perspective, Public Program Grants, Responsive Program Grants, and Oregon Humanities magazine, can be found at Oregon Humanities is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and a partner of the Oregon Cultural Trust

%d bloggers like this: