Gifts to the Colony 2016

Enriching the Aurora Colony Collection

For the ninth consecutive year we celebrate annual artifact contributions to the Aurora Colony Historical Society with our end of the year “Gifts to the Colony: 2016” exhibit which opens November 5th and continues through December 31st.
Gifts this year include four quilts, an office table, and a wide variety of manuscripts and photographs which add so much to our understanding of the Aurora Colony and its member’s relationship to the broader French Prairie region of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Piecing Together the Story

As per usual we receive donations from colony descendants that fill in pieces to the missing parts of the colony story.  In 2016 Alesa Hintz, for example, a descendant of the George Kraus family, donated a story book that was given to her Great Aunt Georgia Kraus by Georgia’s Aunt Louisa Giesy Greenwood.  A simple gift perhaps, but combined with many gifts in 2015 concerning the life of Aunt Louisa from Anne Watson and Chloe Hartman another piece of the story falls into place.

Thanking Our Donors

Lisa Williamson came across stereographic cards at a garage sale that depicted scenes from Aurora.  She realized that they would be lost if she didn’t donate them to the historical society and now they are part of the collection.
Mike Byrnes purchased an original colony office table used by Fred Will and Mike then donated the table to the museum.
Nancy Woodyard, descendant of Fred Will, donated photos and a marriage announcement concerning her relationship to this story.
Judith Remington donated photos from her Staiger family relatives as well as part of their 1863 chest that carried items belonging to her Great Uncle William.
Aurora storybooks, school papers and schoolbooks were donated by Lela Wanner, Joyce and Arlie Lenhart, Joyce Holmes and Emily Hitchens
Gary and Elaine Ihle donated a series of letters between cousins who lived at Bethel and Aurora.  They offer interesting insights into the late Colony period and after.
Shirley Will donated her husband Hal’s letters and photographs from the South Seas during World War 11.  Hal produced some of the best Will family history during his lifetime.
Todd Gary, descendant of Dr. William Keil, donated the 1858 German Bible used by his son Frederick Keil.  The book contained not only Frederick’s signature but also family genealogy which we have translated.
Original piano music composed by Edward Finck was donated by his descendant Elinor Golding.
Eugene Georgetta donated four envelope covers from 1893-1894 identifying Aurora businesses including one with an Aurora Mills address.