Tuesday, September 15, 2015
This document is an ‘Abstract of Title’ which shows the chain of title to the property my grandparents purchased in 1928. Within this document, is the history of lumber companies owning portions of the property, and liens granted for unpaid wages. The unpaid wages were owed to Japanese workers, as pictured in the series of photos. These workers won in court, in Pierce County, in the State of Washington, the right to collect their unpaid wages from the Myers Lumber Company.
The oral tradition on the farm while I was growing up was that the former chicken coop was at one time a bunkhouse for Japanese workers. This document led me to contact the Japanese Shin Buddhist Temple in Tacoma, Washington, which was founded in 1913. Some of the names on the lien recorded match names of members of the Temple. The next step in my research from this document is to interview people at the Temple, and excavate the site of the now collapsing building to see if material culture exists to tell the tale of the building and who may have resided there.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
There's a shed on the hill at the farm where I was raised. It currently lives in an abbreviated state of its former self; having been partially dismantled in 1972. The trees have grown up about it, blackberries encroach on what was once a well kept space, until time marched on and the shed was forgotten, until now.
In going through items with my mother, we came across the Abstract of Title to the property from the 1870s, prior to Washington becoming a State. The family folklore always held this shed to be a former bunkhouse to either Chinese or Japanese laborers in the 1800s, and now, the Abstract of Title shows the names of Japanese being awarded a lien for what appears to be back wages in the early 1900s. The shed has been a relic most of my life, and now is falling in on itself. The time has come to take the shed down, and see if any material culture, remnants of the past 100+ years, will fill in any of the blank spaces between today's reality, and yesterday's whispers.