Community

Family celebrates 100 years in Oak Harbor

The Youngsman clan gathers to celebrate 100 years in Oak Harbor. - submitted photo
The Youngsman clan gathers to celebrate 100 years in Oak Harbor.
— image credit: submitted photo

A celebration of the 100th anniversary of the John Youngsman family’s arrival on Whidbey Island occurred this past weekend at the beachside home of grandson Jim Youngsman and wife Ruth in Oak Harbor.

The descendants of John and Caroline Youngsman came together from many states to honor their forebears who immigrated from Holland and had the vision to see a benevolent land on which they could worship and prosper.

They built a small home near the Old West Beach Golf Course. Their five children were educated in a one-room schoolhouse in Clover Valley.

They were very poor and life was terribly harsh for this pioneer family. Caroline found work as a midwife, a two-week commitment to the family she kept house for. John was a theologian and poet, writing sermons and books, and taking care of the farm.

They were a family of strong faith in Jesus Christ and in years later, several of the children became missionaries or married mates who were pastors.

Adrian, the eldest, married Henrietta Strating and became a major force in the marine construction and salvage industries. Elsie married Neal Noorlag, tulip bulb grower, lay-minister and tenor soloist; Johnny became a well-known landscape painter and married Martha Sacks; Marie married John Berentschot, a Baptist pastor, and Helen married Richard Teeter who, together, founded churches for the Assembly of God in the further reaches of Alaska, often traveling by dog sled. She was a photographer and wrote numerous books of her adventures in Alaska with insight and great humor.

And from these unions sprang a great host of offspring, who met last weekend to remember and commemorate the very beginning of the Youngsman dynasty on Whidbey Island in 1909, one hundred years ago.

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