30 Year Old Mountain Mystery Solved
By Ty Walker
The centerpiece of this local mystery is a century-old scrapbook, a document of family history through newspaper clippings and photos. The 1-by-2-foot behemoth dark gray book, whose cover is emblazoned with the words “Scrap Book” in gold lettering, is of little value to a burglar, but to the family who carefully put it together, it’s a treasure trove of priceless memories.
This is part one of a two-part story about a family whose cabin was burglarized three decades ago and their scrapbook stolen. News that their missing memoir is safe and sound at the Mountain Times might even merit the entry of a new clipping when the scrapbook is returned to the family descendants.
Our story begins in Rhododendron in the mid-1990s when a number of cabins, including Wilbur and Evelyn Reid’s, were burglarized. Among the usual things stolen, like TVs, VCRs and other electronics was this scrapbook, an antique document passed down from one generation to another over the years.
Some time later, the burglar was caught and arrested in Oregon City. The precious collection of family photos, wedding and birth announcements, and newspaper items didn’t belong in a sheriff’s evidence room. Maybe a newspaper would be more appropriate.
Around 2006, the Clackamas County sheriff’s office gave the scrapbook to then-Mountain Times publisher Steve Wilent and for a while, it ended up in the local library, where his wife Lara worked. Wilent put an article in the paper asking readers if anyone knew to whom the scrapbook belonged. One person responded but turned out not to be the right party.
The unclaimed family heirloom bounced around from one publisher to the next as ownership of the newspaper changed four times over the years, finally ending up in the hands of current publisher Matthew Nelson. The curious looking antique caught Nelson’s attention in the pile of things he acquired when he bought the paper earlier this year. He assigned his Social Media Manager Kaity VanHoose the task of finding its rightful owner.
Exhaustive internet sleuthing, using names found in the clippings of old wedding announcements and obituaries, led her to a Seattle real estate agent, Chelsey (Reid) Ryskalczyk, a direct descendant of the scrapbook’s original owner. In fact, she is the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Wilbur and Evelyn Reid.
Chelsey (Reid) Ryskalczk, who was mentioned as a child in the scrapbook, was tracked down through an internet phone number search. She answered a phone call from VanHoose and confirmed her Reid identity. “Most of what I did was just a lot of name tracking and harnessing the power of the internet,” VanHoose said.
The scrapbook will be returned to Chelsey and her father Matt Reid, the rightful heirs in the Mystery Of The Family Scrapbook. Mountain Times Publisher Matt Nelson is arranging a meeting to give it back.
“The father is absolutely ecstatic that we have this,” Nelson said.
Don’t miss “The Mystery Of The Family Scrapbook” Part II in the December edition of the Mountain Times. We will interview the Reid family and get their reaction to finding their long lost treasure. Stay tuned...