When: Saturday, April 14th, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: North Lincoln County Historical Museum: 4907 SW Hwy 101, Lincoln City
Come join us at the North Lincoln County Historical Museum to learn about the history and folklore of early Finnish pioneers in North Lincoln County. Storyteller Doug Force will take you back to the early 1900s to tell the story of a Finnish farming family. This story intertwines the family’s trials and triumphs with the legend of the Tomten, a gnome-like mythical creature that was the protector of the farm and caretaker of livestock.
Doug Force has been storytelling since he was a small child. Curiosity and the knowledge and reflections of other people’s lives kept him engaged in the elements of storytelling and listening to this day. Doug used and developed his diverse story telling skills as an educator at all levels of public and private venue, from middle-level public schools through graduate level university courses.
Sophia “Sissy” Johnson 1859-1932
Sophia “Sissy” Johnson was born in 1859, the daughter of Onatta, the great chief of the Tututni Tribe. Her tribe was one of the largest to be forced to the Coast Reservation the same year she was born. In 1887, the Dawes Act dissolved the Coast Reservation and tribal sovereignty and each tribal member was “allotted” 80 acres of land (the concept of land ownership was foreign to native people, and thus dismissed by many). Sissy and her husband Jakie’s combined allotments included most of the land that would become known as Taft, Oregon (Lincoln City).
They built a home and lived an isolated life until homesteaders began moving to the area in the early 20th century. They were known as warm, welcoming and helpful neighbors to all, despite the oppression that they suffered in their lives. They taught many early homesteaders survival skills, including where fresh water springs could be found, how to find and eat mussels and crab, and how to cross the bay with a team of horses. Sissy became a midwife and delivered many babies. She never failed to come to people’s aid when they were sick, as she knew of many medicinal herbs and remedies.
Sissy was a remarkable woman and exemplifies the spirit of independence, helpfulness and harmony with nature so valued by native people. She was respected and appreciated for her knowledge, traditions and values. Sissy and Jakie eventually sold their land and moved to Siletz to be with friends and family.
Photo from the archives of NLCHM. See and like our Facebook page for historic posts!