Some of you may know local historian, Lorraine McConaghy, through MOHAI’s Nearby History workshops. A member of the Pacific Northwest Historian Guild, McConaghy has been writing, talking and teaching the history of Seattle and its environs for years. With her new book, Warship Under Sail, McConaghy delves into the history of the United States Navy by exploring the the USS Decatur warship which played a decisive role in the Battle of Seattle.
I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask her questions about the process of writing “Warship”. Here’s our email interview:
What gave you the idea to write about the USS Decatur?
In the 1990s – as soon as I first saw them – I became fascinated with the two drawings of Seattle made by U.S. Navy officer Thomas Stowell Phelps during the 1855-6 Treaty War, and published with his memoirs. The drawings are labeled, and I began the work by just learning what was represented by the “North Blockhouse” or “Yesler’s Mill.” I didn’t understand why the USS Decatur was here, where it has come from, who had summoned it – nothing. So it was a very organic process where asking a question led to an answer, and that answer itself encouraged more questions. In the end, I wrote about the Continue reading “Warship Under Sail – Interview with Lorraine McConaghy”