For most of this century the DSDI Registrar-General’s records resided on the West Coast. When Jim Alexander turned over the Registrar responsibilities to Wendy Davis-Bushey this summer, the records joined a multi-generational road trip from Jim’s home in Portland, Oregon, to Wendy’s home in Rockville, Maryland.
The Registrar transition happened to coincide with DSDI member Leah Bushey’s graduation from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. The new Registrar, Leah’s mother Wendy, and Leah’s grandparents, DSDI member Anita Davis and SOD (Spouse of Descendant) Steven Davis, made this an occasion to travel by RV from North Carolina to Oregon. The records hitched a ride in a U-Haul trailer along with the college dorm room contents and camping gear on the return trip. DSDI member and Leah’s sister Lauren Bushey also joined the group for the trek back.
The return journey began at the Alexander home in Portland, where approximately 200 cubic feet of documents and related Registrar materials were loaded into the trailer. After a lovely lunch served by Jim and wife Ruth, the conversation revealed that the descendants of two New Jersey signers (Witherspoon and Stockton) had a common history of family migration to the West Coast.
From Portland, the documents followed the Columbia River and Oregon Trail briefly before the first stop in the foothills of the Washington Cascade Mountains. Next stop was Post Falls, Idaho outside Coeur d’ Alene, a former English trading outpost, named by French fur traders. From Kalispel, Montana, and Glacier National Park, through Yellowstone National Park, the records camped with the humans and Larry, the 15-year-old dachshund. The intention of visiting Mount Rushmore in South Dakota was quashed by fog. Fortunately, the nearby Crazy Horse Memorial was visible and the Lakota-Sioux history presentation there was exceptional.
Taking a road less travelled through native lands toward Nebraska, the group came upon an unexpected gem, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Veterans Cemetery, the first Native American National cemetery, established in 2013 through a $7 million grant from the Veterans Administration. The cemetery highlighted the patriotism and sacrifice of Native American veterans, particularly during World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, and Iraq wars. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe claims the highest number per capita of veterans of any ethnic group.
By Memorial Day, the records were passing through Indianapolis along with the Indy 500 fans. After a sprint through Kentucky, Tennessee and the Appalachian Mountains, the records safely arrived at their new home where their new caretaker will strive to live up to Jim Alexander’s legacy of dedicated service to DSDI.