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Florence Reyes MacGregor

Florence Reyes was born in the 19th century on January 24, 1898 in Blyn, Washington. Her parents were Annie Jacob Reyes, a S’Klallam Indian, and Bartolo Reyes, a Chilean from Puerto Montt, who had been shipwrecked in Washington State. Her parents had a ranch in Blyn and that was where she grew up. Although she was a sickly child and her mother was told she might not live, of course, she did. In fact she is remembered by everyone who knew her, especially her family, as truly being one of the “strong people”.
From the time she was small Florence wanted to learn and go to school. Her education began in a one-room schoolhouse in Blyn called the Oliver Wendell Holmes School. The year was 1903 and she was only five years old. Apparently her mother Annie always knew when a kind teacher came and that was when she started her little children to school, regardless of their age. When Florence was in the 7th grade her teacher suggested she take the 8th Grade State Exams. She did and her certificate was delivered to her in a dramatic way. In the middle of the summer a local cowboy rode up to her house on his horse and in a courtly fashion, bowed and presented her with her diploma. She was the first student to graduate from the Oliver Wendell Holmes School in Blyn.
From there Florence went on to high school even though it involved going to a different school in a different town every year. One year she lived with her older sister Cynthia in Hoquiam and another year with a French family in Port Townsend. The family wanted someone who could cook French food as well as take care of their child. Although Florence did not know how to prepare French dishes she bought a French cookbook and each evening alone in her room she memorized the recipes. This is just one example of her determination to obtain an education as well as her intelligence and ingenuity in problem solving.
After high school she went to college at Western Washington College of Education in Bellingham (Bellingham Normal School) where she received a teaching credential. She went back to Blyn and taught in the same school she had attended. During the Great Depression Florence taught in Sequim and later in Yelm, Washington. After she retired at age 65 she trained with the Peace Corps and almost went to Liberia, but an injury during a soccer game prevented her from teaching children in Africa. At that point Florence elected to teach at a Methodist Mission School in Mexico City and then at Toyei on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. She claimed one of her most exciting moments on the Navajo Reservation was when in the middle of a severe winter snow storm she got to shake the hand of Robert F. Kennedy who was running for the American presidency. When she finally returned to Sequim she cared for her older sister Tillie and tutored S’Klallam children in the Sequim school system.
Florence married George MacGregor in 1919 and had three children: Betty, Andy and Juanita and later eleven grandchildren. She thought nothing of taking the eleven grandchildren for a few weeks each summer. All of her grandchildren remember with great fondness the good times they had with her and with one another as each family (the Bowens, MacGregors and Gaumers) lived in a different state. Florence let each child plan and prepare a meal while she sewed new school clothes for each one of them, baked cinnamon rolls and blackberry pies and ultimately gave them wonderful, lasting memories of their childhood spent with her.
In her later years Florence was well known for her liberality, far-sightedness and progressive ideas. On one occasion in the 1960s she volunteered her sewing expertise when a friend of one of her granddaughters was trying to make a huge anti-war protest banner to hang on a skyscraper in San Francisco. On another occasion she observed an inter-racial couple and commented it was a changing world and these folks were the pioneers.
Although Florence was a quiet and reserved person she had a sense of adventure and a love of travel. She preferred travel by bus so that she could see the countryside. She loved nature and occasionally personalized plants by referring to them as “this sweet little fellow”. She valued education which she struggled to achieve for herself and as a result every one of her descendants has attended college. She placed great importance on family and nothing made her happier than to have them gathered around her. Her family has continued ever since to get together although they are now spread out over five western states.
Florence Reyes MacGregor died in 1978 and is buried at Discovery Bay next to her great grandmother, E’ow-itsa, the “little sister” to the seven brothers of the House of Ste-tee-thlum. Her descendants have chosen to name their family section of the House of Seven Generations Archive after her to show the love, reverence and admiration they will always hold for her.

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Blyn Beginnings    


In 1895, Bartolo Reyes and Annie Reyes purchased property in Blyn for a farm. The Reyes family lived on this property and it was in Blyn that the couple raised their children. Over the following 100 years, members of the next three generations in the family lived on sections of this original property.


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Family Reunions


Family reunions held by the descendants of Annie Jacob Lambert Reyes have occurred intermittently over the 20th and 21st centuries. With three to four generations always in attendance, family members come from as far away as Alaska and California to see each other. Traditional S’Klallam foods such as salmon cooked on stakes over an open fire and “Indian ice cream” made from the dried Soap Olalla berry are served.


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Family Events and Occasions

Formal or informal family gatherings have occurred with regularity over the years. The occasion might be a wedding, birthday, graduation, Mother’s Day celebration, day at the beach or travels enjoyed by family members.



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