from The Columbian archives

Charter Oak, a rural area two miles north of Battle Ground, is as picturesque as its name.

It has oak trees-lots of them-along with rolling fields, autumn-bright woodlands and a rich heritage.

"Sure, I know about how Charter Oak got its name,"said Dorothy E. Person, a teacher at Hockinson Elementary School. "It was my great -grandmother, Miranda Spencer, who named it."

Ira Spencer, a Civil War veteran, and his wife came from Missouri after the war. They settled on the breaks of the East Fork of the Lewis River.

There were beautiful oak trees, and they reminded Miranda Spencer of her former home, Charter Oak, Mo., said Mrs. Person, author of several books on Clark County history.

Charter Oak had its own school, dating back to the 1870s, and one of the earliest Granges in the county. However, the community never had its own post office. Early day residents picked up their mail at Lewisville, a small town on the river near where Lewisville Park is now located.

The first business in Lewisville was a general store, started by D.M. Rowland in 1880. The Charter Oak Grange in 1890 started its own cooperative store there.

Nothing is left of the community of Lewisville, which was once larger than Battle Ground, but Charter Oak remains memorialized in road signs and a beautiful church, the Charter Oak Evangelical Free Church.

Mrs. Person said the Charter Oak Grange, which dated back to the 1880s, was disbanded during the last decade. Charter Oak had several school buidlings over the years, but these, too, are all gone.

The last of these was a large, two-story structure. The Charter Oak School District 44 elected to consolidate with Battle Ground May 9, 1931, and the school building was later torn down.

Among the pioneer family names, in addition to Spencer, are Greene, Burley, Schumacher and Koitzsch.

Charter Oak in general lies between the Daybreak and Lewisville bridges, on the northe side of the East Fork. It is bordered on the north by another community with a picturesque name-Bee Tree.

Return to Clark County names

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