The history of Chimacum is rich, textured, and now at our fingertips, thanks to author Nancy McDaniel.
The history of Chimacum is rich, textured, and now at our fingertips, thanks to author Nancy McDaniel. Her recently published book, “Chimacum — In the Valley, Near the Water” covers a wide variety of the farming community’s foundational elements, including businesses, farms, fishing, logging, and personal memoirs.
“I think people will gain an understanding of not just the history, but also an appreciation for farm life and the importance of how a small community worked together,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel is a self-described Chimacum girl with “generations of ancestors” preceding her.
“My great-great grandfather was William Bishop Sr.,” she told The Leader. “He was the first indigenous person to serve in the Washington state legislature. And he came from Chimacum!”
The idea for writing the book came after a few speaking engagements.
“Finnriver Cidery asked me to speak a couple times about the history of Chimacum. I woke up one morning and realized that must make me an ‘elder!’” She recalled.
“Chimacum history needed to be written by someone, and I realized it was probably up to me.”
McDaniel explained how there were once beautiful farms owned by prominent families such as the Yarrs, Huntingfords, Sparlings, and Strands.
“They were all a part of my childhood. We remain close friends,” she said. These connections helped shape her book.
“They were the heroes — they answered a litany of questions about their farms and entrusted me with precious photos,” McDaniel said.
Other resources included the Jefferson County Historical Society, and her mother’s boxes of old photos.
“There were even some copies of The Leader dating back to the early 1900s!” McDaniels added.
“All of it was so valuable in telling the stories.”
“Now, People from the old families will have a small record of Chimacum life to pass on to kids and grandkids,” she said of her book, which she describes as a collection of memories.
“I encourage them to write their own stories down, annotate the backs of those old photos, and tell stories around the dining room table about their own memories.”
Logging, fishing, and school pride were important parts of the “old” Chimacum community. Organizations including 4-H, the Grange, the Eastern Star, and the Methodist church “held the community together,” according to McDaniel.
“My book describes the roles these organizations played in daily Chimacum life,” she said.
“There were so many different cultures represented — Native American, Swiss, Swedish, Japanese, and others. It created a tapestry built on diversity and hard work,” she added.
McDaniel’s book has been available at informal “pop-up” book signings. This fall, it will be sold at local arts and craft shows. Books are also available directly from the author, who has speaking engagements throughout the rest of the year. A portion of each sale will be given to support the efforts of “The Friends of Chimacum School” scholarship program.
Contact McDaniel for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.