Tuesday, June 30, 2020


The Sorters: Kalama’s Interracial Pioneer Family

Kalama Harbor Lodge

6 pm doors, 7 pm event

Free. First come, first served. Arrive early!

All ages welcome

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Qualifies for “Attend a McMenamins History-Sponsored Event” Experience Stamp.

Why not stay the night? Receive 15% off your hotel room that evening using the code HISTPUB or mention it when you call the hotel.

About The Sorters: Kalama’s Interracial Pioneer Family

The Sorters: Kalama’s Interracial Pioneer Family

Presented by Jerry Sutherland, author and historian

Most families who traveled the Oregon Trail in covered wagons were white and intolerant of those who were not. So, the difficulties Richard Sorter and Grace Tibbets faced while living in Oregon City in the 1850s increased when they became a couple in the 1860s—for he was a freed slave from New Jersey and she was daughter of Calvin Tibbets and his common law Clatsop wife Louisa.

When the Northern Pacific Railroad arrived in Kalama, Washington in the 1870s, the Sorters moved north looking for opportunity. Dick found work with the railroad and at large construction projects across the territory, while Grace raised their seven children. Though they did not escape racism, they still lived worthy of being acknowledged as one of Kalama’s pioneer families, even in that era. This is their story.

About the Speaker:

Jerry Sutherland spent two years scouring historical archives from San Francisco to Winnipeg and visiting Calvin Tibbets’ haunts across Oregon expanding on material his father, Art Sutherland, had collected over the previous seven years. He discovered that Tibbets had participated in every substantial event enabling America to win Oregon Country from the British and had some great adventures in the process. After retiring from the heating and air conditioning business, Sutherland wrote Calvin Tibbets: Oregon's First Pioneer to provide the public a first-hand look at early Oregon history through the eyes of this unassuming stonecutter from Maine. While giving presentations across Oregon and Southwest Washington on Calvin Tibbets, took interest in a place that—like Tibbets—had been mostly forgotten and began writing www.bayocean.net, and is working on a book about its rise and fall.

About Kalama Harbor Lodge History Pub

Kalama Harbor Lodge History Pub

These monthly, free events are open to everyone interested in Oregon and Pacific Northwest history. Co-sponsored by like-minded historical and civic organizations, we bring you experts, scholars, first-person experiencers and historians who expound on topics from Lewis and Clark to shipwrecks, hop growing to women pioneers and far, far beyond. It's like being back in the classroom - except this time you get to settle into comfortable seats and enjoy a drink or two with dinner while you listen and learn.

This event is eligible for a History Pub Stamp