Our research and references.
Are you curious about local history and looking for a good reference list?
Or maybe you are a researcher looking for a rare books?
Bethany K. Mathews, MA, RPA
2023 The Status of Northwest Historical Archaeology: An Analysis of Representation, poster presented at the 76th Northwest Anthropological Conference, Spokane, WA, April 13.
Historic-period archaeological research comprises a substantial portion of the cultural resource management archaeology completed in the Northwest every year. How do we define historical archaeology in the Northwest? How much of our research is focused on historic-period archaeological sites? Does the archaeological community publish the results of historic-period archaeological research proportionally? Do cultural resource assessment background reviews and their resulting research designs identify diverse histories in the Northwest? This poster presents data on Northwest historical archaeology in presentations, publications, and cultural resource management literature to begin to evaluate the status of Northwest historical archaeology in cultural resource management.
2023 Women Homesteaders of Northeastern Washington: Orcharding in the Okanogan Highlands, poster presented at the 76th Northwest Anthropological Conference, Spokane, WA, April 13.
Homesteading in Washington’s Okanogan Highlands occurred later than in other parts of the State, with very few Americans claiming Homestead Act lands here until the 1890s. American settlement and land claims began to peak in the Okanogan Highlands in the early 1900s, shortly after surveyors mapped out available government lands. Railroads expanded in the area at this time, and small Okanogan communities were promoted as emerging boom towns. New irrigation districts encouraged orcharding and farming in a region that had previously supported transient mining. Does the history of homesteading in the Okanogan Highlands reflect this change in the economy? This poster presents summary data of women’s homesteading history in Washington’s Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties and explores connections between homesteading and orcharding histories in this region.
2023 Washington Women’s Homesteading, 1862–1949: Developing a Historic Context of Women’s Homesteading Experiences, Society for American Archaeology, Portland, OR, March 30.
The Homestead Act of 1862 enabled feme soles — women who were legally single, widowed, divorced, or deserted— to claim up to 160 acres of land. In Washington State 8.5 million acres (20%) of lands were claimed through the Homestead Act; and although feme soles were a minority of these homesteaders, their homesteading experiences illustrate important themes of American settlement and industry. As a place-based heritage, women’s homesteading history presents a rare prospect to study and preserve sites of women’s history, including the history of women’s rights, the history of suffrage, and queer history. One of the objectives of the Washington Women’s Homesteading History project is to explore the spatial and temporal patterns of homesteading across Washington State, to understand women’s motivations for homesteading and immigration. This poster presents summary data of women’s homesteading history in Washington’s Channeled Scablands, Okanogan Highlands, Northern Puget Sound, Southern Puget Sound, Southwest Washington, and Washington Coast regions, and explores context themes for future study.
2022 Women Homesteaders of Washington’s Channeled Scablands: Summary Statistics and Spatial Patterns for 5 Counties, Northwest Anthropological Conference, virtual, March 10.
Western historians estimate that nearly a quarter of all American homesteaders were women and that most women’s homesteading occurred after 1900, shortly before American homesteading was at its peak in the 1910s. An analysis of western Washington homestead records concluded that feme sole women comprised only 3.5% of homesteaders, and that homesteading peaked in the late 1880s and sharply declined in 1899. How does this compare to the homesteading history of the Channeled Scablands, where the Homestead Act requirement to farm presented distinctive challenges? This poster presents summary data of women’s homesteading history in Washington’s Channeled Scablands and explores the temporal and spatial patterns of women’s homesteading history.
2021 Western Washington Women Homesteaders: Summary Statistics and Spatial Patterns for Nineteen Counties, Northwest Anthropological Conference, virtual, April 8.
Twenty percent (8.5 million acres) of Washington State lands were patented through the Homestead Act between 1866 and 1969, but little is known about the experience of Washington’s women homesteaders. Western historians estimate that nearly a quarter of all homesteaders were women and that most of women’s homesteading occurred after 1900, however prior to the Washington Women Homesteader project no quantitative studies have been completed in Washington. This poster presents summary data of women’s homesteading history in Western Washington and explores the temporal and spatial patterns of women’s homesteading history.
2020 The Process and Practicality of Ordering Washington Homestead Land Entry Files: A Case Study of Women Homesteader Records, Northwest History Conference, Tacoma, Washington, October 20.
Under the authority of the Homestead Act, 8.5 million acres (20%) of Washington lands were patented by private citizens between 1863 and 1976. Homestead claims were successfully patented after claimants proved to their local land office that they had met the requirements of the Homestead Act. The patent application process resulted in case files containing a variety of records of the property improvement history. Homestead Act land entry files are now maintained by the National Archives, and although land entry records have been digitized for many states Washington files must be ordered individually. For this study, ten women’s homesteader files were selected for analysis. This poster explores the process of ordering land entry files and serves as a case study in the types of information available in these historical records.
2019 Washington Women Homesteaders: Finding the Underrepresented History of Land Claimants in Early Washington, Northwest Anthropological Conference, Kennewick, Washington, March 22.
Under the 1862 Homestead Act, single, divorced, deserted, and widowed American women were eligible to claim up to 160 acres of unappropriated public land for the purpose of settlement and cultivation. No comprehensive study of women homesteaders has been completed but regional studies indicate that women comprised between 1–22% of homesteaders in parts of the American West. Homesteader demographics varied across the West due to differences in local environments, culture, and settlement politics. The Washington Women Homesteaders project seeks to record the story of female homesteaders in order to build a historic context of homesteading which includes underrepresented persons and to preserve the sites of their homestead experiences. This poster presents the preliminary findings from 2018 historical research, including a summary of Thurston County homesteaders.
2019 Very Truly Yours: The Eliza Ann Woodard Hurd DeWolfe Letters, 1860-1862. Zine 2, The Undertold Histories Project.
Eliza Ann Woodard emigrated to Olympia, Washington Territory with her extended family in early 1853. By early 1860, Eliza befriended Seattleite Sarah Yesler. With less than one-thousand American women residing between Olympia and Seattle it is easy to see how Eliza and Sarah would become fast friends: Like many mothers of the time, they both experienced devastating loss in their families. They were both Spiritualists from the Midwest, and would go on to become suffrage leaders in the 1860s. And perhaps because they were not hindered by oppressive traditions and sought happy healthy lives, they were both the subject of local gossip. The pair exchanged letters and visits from at least March 1860 to June 1862. Historians have suggested Eliza and Sarah had a romantic affair but their letter exchange only reveals a close, supportive— and occasionally naughty in a Victorian kind of way— friendship between two intelligent ladies. Sarah saved at least eleven letters from Eliza and her friends and family from this period. These letters are archived at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle and the Washington State Historical Society in Tacoma.
2019 Feminism & FreeLove in Olympia, 1862: The Sensational Marriage of Eliza Ann Woodard Hurd & Charles Henry DeWolfe. Zine 1, The Undertold Histories Project.
In May 1862, Eliza Ann Woodard Hurd married Rev. Dr. Charles Henry DeWolfe in a ceremony held at Eliza's parents’ house on Budd Inlet, outside of Olympia, Washington Territory. Olympia was scandalized! Their "conjugal alliance and matrimonial co-partnership" was not officiated, making the couple criminally liable for offenses against morality and decency.
A few days after their marriage, a crowd of citizens gathered on the Olympia wharf as the couple were arrested attempting to board a boat destined for Victoria. At court Charles Henry exclaimed that future generations would "look upon him as a martyr and reverence his memory." This sensational marriage was reported in local, regional, and national newspapers, and recalled in history books for decades.
Four days after her marriage, Eliza was seen riding a horse through town while wearing "bloomers." Bloomers were considered practical attire by early feminists, but conservative Americans considered them immodest. The Washington Standard mocked Eliza as a "weak, silly woman" for her Strong-minded protest, five years before other Olympia women would start protesting suffrage. The DeWolfes left Olympia for Victoria. Following the suspicious death of an actor at DeWolfe's hydrotherapy establishment, the couple relocated to San Francisco. In San Francisco, Eliza violated a law prohibiting cross-dressing, further securing her place in history. This is the story of Eliza Ann and Charles Henry DeWolfe, told through newspaper articles, letters, images from the period, and a selection of entertaining "vinegar" valentines inspired by their lives.
2013 Spatial Analysis of the Western Pluvial Lakes Tradition in the Southern Columbia Plateau and Northern Great Basin of North America, Society for American Archaeology Meeting, Honolulu, Hawaii, April 5.
The Western Pluvial Lakes Tradition was proposed relatively early in the history of Great Basin archaeological research to account for an apparent early Holocene adaptation to lake environments in the western Great Basin. Basin-specific studies have since established lake-centered foraging patterns across the early Great Basin landscape. Many studies of early Great Basin hunter-gatherers rely on the proximity of relict lake features to known archaeological sites to confirm this early Holocene lake-centered subsistence-settlement pattern. Were Paleoindian subsistence-settlement strategies focused on pluvial lakes, or is a lake-centered pattern produced by the region’s archaeological research history? Spatial analyses of cultural resource management survey locations in eastern Oregon reveal that pluvial lakes are over-represented in regional archaeological surveys, biasing site discovery. Analyses of archaeological site distributions suggest that early subsistence-settlement practices were focused on pluvial lake sub-basins. Sites containing fluted and crescent bifaces are strongly associated with lake margins, while sites containing stemmed bifaces are associated with a variety of landscape features within pluvial lake sub-basins.
2012 Testing the Western Pluvial Lakes Tradition Hypothesis in the Northern Great Basin and Southern Columbia Plateau, presented at Northwest Anthropological Conference in Pendleton, OR, March 15.
The late Pleistocene climate of North America‘s Great Basin supported extensive lakes that appear to have been major resource draws for hunter-gatherers through the early Holocene. The Western Pluvial Lakes Tradition was proposed to account for a focused adaptation to lake-marsh-grassland environments in the western Great Basin and southern Columbia Plateau from the late Pleistocene to early Holocene. While concentrations of early sites are found on ancient lake margins, several Great Basin studies suggest Paleoindians followed a more broad spectrum resource collection strategy than is proposed in the Western Pluvial Lakes Tradition. To answer broad questions of regional resource use and mobility at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition it is necessary to broaden the scale of analysis. The present study uses paleoenvironmental and archaeological spatial data from the Burns and Vale Oregon Bureau of Land Management districts to analyze the centrality of wetlands in the dynamic landscape of the Pleistocene-Holocene transition.
2010  Balanophagy in the Pacific Northwest: The Acorn-Leaching Pits at the Sunken Village Wetsite. Journal of Northwest Anthropology 43:125-140. Reprinted in 2011 Collection of Papers from the Journal of Northwest Anthropology Associated with Traditional Indigenous Resources, Part 1 General and Terrestrial.
Archaeological and ethnographic studies in North America have recorded the importance of acorns where they were available to many cultures through resource or trade, but they have not generally been considered an important plant resource in the Northwest. Recent archaeological examination of approximately one hundred acorn-leaching pits on Sauvie Island, Oregon suggests otherwise. Comparison of the Oregon white oak range with ethnographic and archaeological information indicates that acorns were consumed in the oak’s range through western Washington, continuing south into the well-documented California acorn cultures.
2011 Chelsey G.D. Armstrong, Jason Moore, Antonia Rodrigues, Bethany Mathews, Dale Croes, Dana Lepofsky, and Dongya Yang. Recovering Ancient DNA from Archaeologically Preserved Garry Oak (Quercus garryana) Acorns, poster presented at Society of Ethnobiology Annual Meeting, Columbus, Ohio, May 5.
2010 Bethany Mathews and Leroy Keener, “The greatest of all delicacies”: Waterlogged Archaeology and the Search for Ancient Food Preference on the Northwest Coast of North America, presented at Society of Ethnobiology Annual Meeting, Victoria, British Columbia, May 7.
Excavations of waterlogged archaeological sites offer valuable glimpses into otherwise perishable practices of the past. The ecofacts found at such sites on the Northwest Coast can bring archaeologists closer to understanding regional diet, but what can they tell us about food preference in the past? While archaeologists frequently rely on human nutritional needs to model food consumption, social complexity on the Northwest Coast likely influenced food production practices in idiosyncratic ways. For instance, the Sunken Village site, located near the lower Columbia River in Oregon, contains unique evidence of the extensive use of an aquifer location for acorn processing and storage in the centuries leading up to European contact. Ethnohistoric accounts indicate this plant food and associated processing techniques were uncommon but highly regarded. Excavations at the Qwu?gwes (Mud Bay) site, on the southern Puget Sound of Washington, suggest fall foods (acorns and hazelnuts) were an important part of the diet at this spring fishing camp. The ubiquity of these plant foods at the Qwu?gwes site is muddled by uneven abundance in the midden, which might be caused by waterlogged preservation conditions. In this paper we ask: “How can waterlogged ecofacts contribute to our understanding of ancient plant food choice?”
2008 Acorn Leaching Pits, Oak Woodlands and Comparative Ethnography of the Northwest Coast, presented at American Society for Ethnohistory Conference in Eugene, OR, November 13.
2008 Balanophagy in the Pacific Northwest: The Acorn-Leaching Pits at the Sunken Village Wetsite and Comparative Ethnographic Acorn Use, presented at 61st Annual Northwest Anthropological Conference in Victoria, BC, Canada, April 25.
2008 Balanophagy in the Pacific Northwest: The Acorn-Leaching Pits of the Sunken Village Wet Site 35MU4 and Comparative Ethnography of Acorn Use, presented at 73rd Annual Society for American Archaeology Meeting, Vancouver, BC, Canada, March 28.
2007 The Acorn-Leaching Pits of Sauvie Island: Macroflora Analysis, Comparison of Regional Acorn Use, and Human Population Size Estimate, presented at 60th Annual Northwest Anthropological Conference in Pullman, WA, March 15.
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