Stephen Williamson in 1976 as a "gandydancer"

Steve in 2014

Stories By Steve

Tales of Lost & Forgotten History


Stephen H. Williamson ©2007

(note: if you are looking for my new stories on losing weight see the end of this page)

Opal Whiteley, 1907, age 9

Opal Whiteley, Oregon's Nature Girl Genius

Enjoy The Magic & Mystery of Opal
Opal Whiteley Has Been Compared to
St. Francis of Assisi & Indian Princess Pocahontas
But, Some Say Opal was a Liar or a Madwoman
Discover ... "The Last Literary Mystery of the 20th Century

 In 1915 Opal was the most popular teenager in Oregon. She was a magnetic teacher blending science and faith in lectures to thousands of kids everyone thought she would be a great teacher or scientist. Instead, she became Oregon's most Controversial Author. See dozens of historical photos of her life. Website of the Opal Whiteley Memorial in Cottage Grove.

How Cerro Gordo Mountain Got Its Name

The Battle of Cerro Gordo, April 18, 1847 in our war with Mexico

 Read the fascinating story of how Cerro Gordo, Oregon got its name. There are at least seven other places around the US named for the Battle of Cerro Gordo. This was the deciding in the Mexican-American War of 1847. But, by the 1970s almost no one in Oregon remembered this often forgotten war. Our American Civil War just 12 years later has overshadowed the memory of our war with Mexico.

With the US victory a large part of what was Mexico became the part of the United States. By this war we gained the states of California and most of the Southwest. A fact that strains our relationship with Mexico to this day, This is my story of relearning that forgotten history. By the way, popular writer Opal Whiteley used to live near the base of this mountain & taught at the Doolittle School.

                  Joe - Leader of the Boxers against the "High

Maeda, a friend of the Hayden Family

The Ping Yang School Bombings 1895-1901

 This is a true story of the bombing of a school called Ping Yang, near Marcola, Oregon.   It was destroyed from an explosive mix of social, religious and racial prejudices. Here is a picture of the man reportedly behind the three bombings.  He used racist imagery and people's fears of Chinese to fight against the school.


One of the world's largest railroad bridges,
              Circa 1924

The Forgotten Japanese Colony at Shotgun Creek

1915 - 1925

Read the forgotten story of the Japanese Colony of Mabel, Oregon (near Marcola). The 1920 US Census has almost 30 Japanese living where the BLM's Shotgun Creek Recreation Area is today. There also is a 1925 article that mentions an entire Japanese Colony and a 1916 list of men drafted for World War I.

This photo shows one of the world's largest railroad trestles, Much of the lumber they cut and milled was sent back to Japan by the Robert Dollar Steamship Company.

Punjab Sikhs from India working in lumber mills

Sikh Pioneers from India in Western Oregon

Here are several very rare photos and the story of Punjab Sikhs from India working in a Crawfordsville Oregon lumber mill.  Sikhs and Hindus also worked in other local mills.  This photo is from about 1909.

Also, read the story of a young Sikh who in was a student at Berkeley and worked in a lumber mill to earn money for his tuition and PhD.  His immigration case later set a US legal precedent.

ancient Magian from Bactria, Afghanistan

The Real Magi

The Real Magi & Zarathustra

You may have sent and received dozens of Christmas cards with their images. Yet, how much do you really know about the Three Wise Men?  This page is unique in telling the Magi's story through their own culture.

The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy calls Zarathustra "the world's first philosopher." They find echoes of his words in Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. It has a strong emphasis on protecting the environment,


My doctor documented weight loss and kept off for
          over 2 years
How to Quit Smoking AND Lose Weight!

If you or someone you loves smokes cigarettes, PLEASE show them this webpage.

I have stumbled upon a fairly easy way to do what seems impossible - quit smoking and lose weight.

It does not even require hard exercise or extreme diets.  Believe it or not, I have lost over 50 lbs!

You can see before and after photos of me from 240 lbs down to 180.  It's my own research (and body).


Steve 2006 approx 240

Steve in 2014 approx 175-180Stories By Steve Williamson

Stephen was born in 1951 and grew up near Shreveport, Louisiana. He loved to read as a youth, often disappearing for hours into the woods with his dog and books.  He worked railroad construction while at Louisiana State University. In 1975 he moved to Cottage Grove, Oregon.  Working as a "gandydancer" made him appreciate the hard labor that the Asian railroad workers contributed. His sense of justice inspired him to research their stories.

In 1994, Stephen founded the Opal Whiteley Memorial in Cottage Grove. Opal Whiteley was a best-selling nature writer in 1921 and grew up near Cottage Grove. Opal Whiteley was fascinated with Asia. He was later asked by the University of Oregon to assist in publishing Opal Whiteley's best-selling diary online. He collected dozens of historical photographs of the people and places Opal wrote about. The UO graciously provided support for his work as research assistant through a courtesy appointment. For over a decade he has shown his historic photos and news articles at the Oregon Asian Celebration, held each year in February. He is a member of the Cottage Grove Historical Society and frequently speaks to community groups and schools.

Steve has worked for over 25 years with people who have psychiatric disabilities.  He has also been been an advocate for the Association For Retarded Citizens (ARC), and the Oregon Mental Health Association. Stephen has also given trainings in abuse reporting and client rights.

 Email Stephen Williamson