It was a great tour to Toroda!
by Mas Tomita, FOM Chairman
IN SEARCH OF RANALD MACDONALD: AUGUST 11-14, 1994~~~ Our exciting bus tour left the Oregon Historical Center at 8:30am on Thursday, Aug. 11. Once en route, our 22 tour participants introduced themselves and explained why they are intrigued by Ranald MacDonald. Tour Leader, Steve Kohl and OHS Director Chet Orloff provided historical background about Ranald’s life and Northwest geology as we passed many points of interest on the way to Spokane.
We were joined at a welcome dinner in Spokane by an enthusiastic group of seven members from Seattle led by Ken Nakano. Also joining us for dinner were Glen Mason, executive director of the Eastern Washington Historical Society, and his wife; Ed Tsutakawa of Mukogawa Institute, a U.S. branch of a Japanese Women’s college; and Dr. Watanabe and Denny Yasuhara of the Japanese American Citizens League. We enjoyed good food, good conversation and a video presentation.
Friday, we visited Mukogawa Institute to see its new Ranald MacDonald building, recently dedicated to his memory, and the nice display which Ed had set up in the lobby. We then visited Cheney Cowles Museum to see its MacDonald materials. These included Ranald’s copy of the original McLeod manuscript – based primarily on Ranald’s recollections – which was the basis for the 1923 publication of Ranald MacDonald, edited by W.S. Lewis, then director of the Eastern Washington Historical Society, and Naojiro Murakami. The MacDonald files are part of a collection of papers left by Lewis, who did much research on Eastern Washington history. We could have spent the day there but had to move on.
Four hours later, we arrived at Republic and were greeted by Dick Slagle, a long-time Friends of MacDonald member. We first visited the Stanton family farm and saw firsthand the old log cabin where, in 1894, Ranald died in the arms of his beloved niece, Jenny Lynch, saying “Sayonara, my dear, sayonara”. We got a special feeling as we touched the wall of the cabin and looked about us at peaceful fields and hills.
We left the farm for Ranald’s grave site where, in the late afternoon breeze, some 30 people stood waiting for the ceremony to begin. It was a beautiful and memorable ceremony. FOM Vice Chairman Bruce Berney, as master of ceremonies, stood by Ranald’s grave, which was flanked by U.S. and Japanese flags. A kilt-clad bagpiper from Canada opened the centennial observance with the spirited call of the pipes, reminding us of Ranald’s Scottish ancestry. A beautiful bouquet was placed at the grave site monument by Jean Murray Cole, also from Canada and the great-great-great-granddaughter of Archibald MacDonald, Ranald’s father. Rika Matsubara read a message from Consul-General Saito of Japan. Takeo Terahata read a message from Hyogo Gov. Kaihara. A JACL resolution honoring Ranald was read by Ken Nakano. FOM Chairman Mas Tomita made a speech recognizing Ranald’s inspiration beyond time and place.
Chet Orloff presented distinguished remarks. Local historians and families were introduced. The bagpipe’s solemn lament concluded the wonderful gathering of about 50.
A banquet at Republic followed the ceremony and provided a great opportunity to meet local friends and historians; we all enjoyed a cool evening, a considerable contrast to the hot daytime temperatures. We learned that Washington State Governor Mike Lowry had formally proclaimed August 12th as “Ranald MacDonald Day” and that Secretary of State Ralph Munro had paid a brief tribute to Ranald on the previous day when he visited the grave site.
On the third day of the tour we drove south and crossed Lake Roosevelt by a small ferry. Spectacular landscapes greeted us en route to Grand Coulee Dam, Dry Falls and Yakima. Dinner that evening at the Yakima Indian National Culture Center in Toppenish was accompanied by Indian storytelling and dancing.
The fourth and final day of the tour included another visit to the Toppenish Museum. Then we moved on to The Dalles Dam for lunch and a visit to Indian petroglyphs which had been removed from the canyon before it was flooded. Our final stop was at Fort Vancouver, where Ranald spent some of his boyhood. Throughout our bus ride, each of us in turn was able to comment and share interesting information. It was a great learning experience!
I think all of those who participated, in person or by message, for their contributions to the success of our tour. A big “thank you” to Adair Law for coordination and arrangements and to Barbara Peeples for her help with planning. It was a great trip in search of Ranald MacDonald. As he said at the last of his Narrative, more than 100 years ago, “Let us hope of a better day for Peace on earth! Good will to all men!”
Tour participants had a good time. Their comments bode well for future travels and tours:
” … I thought it was a good trip, both memorable and profitable. I hope the others felt the same way” – Dr. Steve Kohl, tour leader
” … All those present at the ceremony and dinner say that they had a wonderful time and look forward to a closer association between local residents and MacDonald’s far-flung friends. The MacDonald family members involved were delighted.” – Madilane Perry, Republic [ Madilane also reports that the Ferry County Historical Society will place a MacDonald exhibit in the local library.]
” … it was one of the most enriching experiences I’ve had.” — Katie Gordon