Backstory

Vi (Tibbetts) and Art Sutherland 
In 2005 my father, Art Sutherland, was working on genealogies for both sides of our family when he heard about Calvin Tibbets. He wondered if there might be a familial connection to his wife - my mother - Vi, whose maiden name was Tibbetts and started researching. By the time he figured out there was no connection, it didn't matter: my father had become convinced that Calvin Tibbets was an important figure in early Oregon history who'd been overlooked. He went so far as to propose he could be viewed as Oregon's first pioneer. 

In 2012, I visited the Oregon Historical Society to look up something on Tibbets for my father because I live in Portland. Each answer led to another question. My curiosity got the better of me: after a few months, I was hooked. For the next two years, I scoured archives across the U.S. and Canada adding original source material to the extensive secondary sources already gathered by my father. Eventually, I came to the same conclusions he had and decided the best way to get the story of Calvin Tibbets out to the public was to write an article. 

The Cumtux, Clatsop County Historical Society’s quarterly journal, accepted my article and published it across two issues: Fall 2014 and Winter 2015. They were then gracious enough to allow me to republish the story as a standalone book in 2016. Throughout this process, my father was my primary editor and consultant, and we continue to collaborate on all things related to Calvin Tibbets. 

Feedback from readers and public presentation attendees has taught me that what they appreciate most about Calvin Tibbets is being able to experience life in early Oregon vicariously through his eyes, an ordinary stonecutter from Maine who made a difference. So, as can be seen on the Events page, many of my PowerPoints expand on specific aspects of Tibbets' life which are touched on in the book that are of particular interest to local audiences. Researching for these presentations gives me the opportunity to learn more about the many interesting events of Tibbets' life.