Camas-Washougal, WA — Local storyteller Pepper Toelle Kim will recount the real events of her ancestor’s 1844 wagon train journey along the Oregon Trail at the annual meeting of the Camas-Washougal Historical Society. The free CWHS program is open to all on Saturday, November 4 at 2pm at the Washougal Community Room at 1681 C Street, near City Hall.
“Like many Oregon Trail journeys, the saga of my ancestors’ wagon train seems like a novel, with its array of trials, sorrows, and triumphs,” said Kim.
Kim’s ancestors traveled alongside historic settlers David C. Parker, Michael Troutman Simmons, and George Washington Bush in their seven-month passage. Parker was the first permanent American settler in Washington and present-day Washougal. He created a dock, ferry service, and the town of Parkersville on the north bank of the Columbia River where the Camas-Washougal Port is now located.
Kim hopes her presentation will provide the audience with a deeper understanding of pioneer experiences in general, and the particular challenges experienced by David C. Parker and other early Washington settlers.
“Hearing the tale of a particular group engages one more, especially if the storyteller has a personal connection,” she explained.
The sheer courage that pioneers demonstrated moving to an unknown area is impressive to Kim.
“Especially if you had children to care for,” she said. “To me, the most difficult times were the deaths of fellow travelers, especially the Sager parents of seven children.”
Kim is a retired alternative high-school teacher who taught at Evergreen ALC/Legacy High School from 1986 to 2011. She earned her BA in English and teaching credential from Mills College, and her MS in (Alternative) Education from Western Illinois University. She is a member of the Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington, Ft. Vancouver Chapter #19.
In 2004, Kim also was awarded a Confluence Project in the Schools grant. Her community liaison for that project was the Clark County Historical Museum, where her students’ art creation was displayed. She has volunteered for CCHM ever since.
As a grandparent, Kim is inspired to bring her ancestors’ stories to life.
“I am a Portland native, yet I had no idea I had connections to SW Washington until I started learning local history,” Kim said. “We are all more connected than we realize!”
The CWHS operates the Two Rivers Heritage Museum, 1 Durgan Street in Washougal. It is currently closed for winter maintenance and will reopen March 2, 2024. Private group tours, for more than eight people, can be arranged by contacting the museum. Prices are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and just $2 for students.
CWHS members can visit for free.
Join the CWHS to help support additional historic presentations and preservation of local history. Membership information will be available at the presentation. Learn more about the museum and volunteer and membership opportunities, visit www.2rhm.com and follow them on Facebook.