Fernwood Press promotes poetry collections that speak to the human capacity for spiritual experience.

A not-for-profit literary imprint, Fernwood Press is named for a one-acre plot of land overlooking a meandering creek in what was an unincorporated area of Yamhill County on the easterly boundary of Newberg, Oregon, site of the state’s first Quaker meeting. Four prominent headstones mark the graves of the Brutscher and Everest families in this Pioneer Cemetery. It adjoins Friends Cemetery, the burial ground of the community of Quakers drawn to Newberg following the platting of the town by Jesse Edwards in 1883. As the enclave of the area’s first Quaker families, Fernwood represents both our roots as a Quaker press and our aim to provide a home to all poets whose collections uphold and perpetuate the Quaker pursuit of corporate mysticism.

When Quakers and others arrived in the Chehalem Valley in the 1870s, they found a garden. That’s because they weren’t the first people here. Long before Quakers came to Newberg, Kalapuyan peoples managed the landscape, utilizing controlled fire and harvesting tarweed, hazelnuts, camas, acorns, berries, fish, and game.

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Kalapuyan peoples occupied over a million acres in the Willamette and Umpqua valleys and had lived here for over 14,000 years. The Kalapuyans who lived in what is now Newberg (including the Fernwood, Chehalem, and Springbrook areas) were the Yamel people, and they called the Newberg area Che’halem. Many Yamhill County places use the area names originally given by the Kalapuya tribes.

Beginning in the late 18th century, the Kalapuyans suffered from diseases brought by newcomer explorers and fur traders, the first of which was likely smallpox. Malaria took hold in 1829, killing some ninety percent of the Kalapuyans. By 1850, the Kalapuyan population of over 20,000 had declined to only about 1,000. In 1855, the tribes of the Willamette Valley – Kalapuyans, Molallans, and Clackamas-Cascades-Wappato Island (Multnomahs) – were removed to eleven temporary reservations. By March 1866, all of the Kalapuyans had been removed to the Grande Ronde Indian Reservation. Today, the majority of the Kalapuyan people are members of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

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