Copyright 1999 - 2003 - Janine M. Bork
This page is part of the Union County, OR AHGP
opposite the coal bunkers. A few weeks later, C.P. Ferry came to Commencement Bay to visit the General. There being but two routes from Portland to Tacoma, one by trail and the other by water, Mr. Ferry came by water via Victoria, as being the more direct and comfortable. Fare to Victoria, thirty-six dollars; from Victoria to Vashon Island, nine dollars; thence to Tacoma, about three miles out of the regular route to Olympia, nine dollars.
Upon arriving off Tacoma, the shores being heavily timbered to the water's edge, some difficulty was experienced in finding the city, which consisted of two cabins, Carr's and General McCarver's; but Mr. Carr set fire to a stump, and fired his rifle, whereupon the steamer stopped and sent a boat ashore with Mr. Ferry and wife. Communication between the two cabins - a distance of little less than a mile - was by water, so dense being the growth on the shore that it was impossible to travel that distance by land. Shortly after this, Messrs. Hanson, Ackerson & Co. were persuaded to come to Commencement Bay and erect their mill; and other persons coming in, the settlement began to assume an air of prosperity. Starr, Steele and McCarver laid out the original town plat, comprising about sixty acres, including Carr's five acres. Steele sold his interest to Starr and McCarver; and the General went vigorously to work to accomplish the cherished object of his endeavors, - the establishment of Tacoma City as the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Having by this time succeeded in interesting a number of railroad men in his enterprise, he bought for the railroad company large tracts of land, and eventually gave all of his own lands in what was subsequently known as New Tacoma. After years of unceasing and almost superhuman toil and endurance the General received the following telegram, which is still in the possession of the McCarver family.
KALAMA, July 1, 1873
"TO GEN. M.M. McCARVER:
"We have located the terminus on Commencement Bay.
J.C. AINSWORTH, Commissioners."
This was the first announcement of their decision, and was sent to the General as a compliment.
A great impetus was given to the growth of the town, its inhabitants increasing in number during a single month from two hundred to one thousand. The failure of Jay Cooke and the Northern Pacific Company in the fall of 1873 gave the town a blow from which it did not recover for four or five years, since which it has enjoyed a remarkable growth, having but few precedents in the United States, and none outside of it.
In 1875, while on a trip to the newly discovered coalfields of the Upper Puyallup, General McCarver contracted a cold that, after a fortnight's illness, resulted in his death on the 17th of April. His life for half a century was full of action, events and excitements, was earnest and useful, and left many a mark behind that will endure for all time to come. He was one of the men who build great cities and make states and empires.
JOHN BIRCH McCLAIN. - This pioneer, whose record extends to the ;memorable year of 1843, was born January 31, 1820, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the son of John and Mary Swallow McClane. At the age of twenty-two, he left Philadelphia for Texas with the purpose of assisting General Sam Houston to gain the independence of Texas. The ship, however, upon which he took passage, sailing from Delaware Bay in a storm, was delayed thirty days; and, upon his arrival in New Orleans, the young man found that Houston had withdrawn his proclamation of war against Mexico, and that he was in no need of recruits. Encountering yellow fever in the Southern city, he took passage on a Mississippi steamer, stopping off at Burlington, Iowa, and happening along at Fairfield at the time of the Indian treaty with, and the payment to, the Sacs and Foxes.
Still having in mind a journey to foreign parts, he had his eye on Chili as a desirable point, and learning something of the route to Oregon, determined to make his way to the Columbia, and await a ship which would take him to South America. Arriving at the rendezvous in the spring of 1843, he found the emigrants gathering, and with them set out upon the memorable journey. He recalls that there were nine hundred and ninety-nine souls in the company, being precisely the same as the number of the loose stock. His recollection of the incidents of the way is vivid and exceedingly interesting.
We take the liberty to insert here a little fuller report of his connections with Doctor Whitman than might be allowable with reference to one less known. It was at Soda Springs that he first made the acquaintance of the Doctor, becoming very intimately associated as one of his mess. From that point he took a cut-off to Fort Hall. Upon their arrival at the fort, the party was kindly invited by Grant to eat and sleep in his own quarters; and a goodly store of provisions was found that had been deposited by the Cayuse Indians from Waiilatpu for the Doctor. In about three days the wagons came up; and the way-worn emigrants were much distressed by the statements and advice of the Hudson's Bay factor.
Mr. McClane is one of the very few who heard these statements; and it is of interest to record here his recollections. he says: "The governor (Grant) was honest and intelligent; and I believed what he said, which was: 'A small emigration passed through here last year. I told them as I tell you that it is impossible to go through to Oregon with your wagons. They believed me, left their wagons, bought pack animals, and got through safely. My advice to you is the same, - get pack animals and go through; but I advise you to go to California. There is the better country.'"
These statements were made repeatedly to the emigrants singly and in groups, and produced great excitement.
"Doctor Whitman," continues Mr.
McClane, "said to Governor Grant: 'I beg leave to differ with you. You
believe what you say; but I guarantee to the emigrants that I can get them
through safely.' Governor Grant pooh-poohed; but the assertions and persuasions
of Whitman prevailed.
The Doctor went all around among the Americans assuring them that they could take their wagons on, and, to make a practical proof, bought a light "Dearborn" wagon that he found in the train, and when all were ready himself went ahead. he also gave to the emigrants the whole of the provisions brought to him from his mission, supplying his own mess with what bones and scraps he could pick up, among other things throwing into the wagon a newly born calf, which, however, reviving, jumped out some time afterwards without the knowedge of the driver.
Mr. McClane was the man to whom this light wagon was intrusted; and he drove along behind the Doctor's saddle party, leaving a track for the teams coming after. In difficult places, notices were tacked up to indicate the way; and across the dusty plains guide poles were set up at intervals. No troubles were experienced except at Burnt river, where there was no chance to drive except in the bed of the stream for some distance. In the Grande Ronde they met a party of Cayuse Indians, who greeted Whitman with great kindness, and furnished a feast of elk meat and bread and berries.
From his constant intercourse with the Doctor, Mr. McClane remembers many interesting statements touching upon his purpose in going East, and declares that the Doctor told him that his whole object was to preserve the Pacific coast to the United States; that when he arrived in Washington he found the senators and representatives and leading men willing to trade off Oregon for fisheries; that Webster, with whom he had a long interview, was thus disposed; that the Hudson's Bay Company was trying to get control of the Northwest Pacific, and were about to accomplish their purpose; but that now he was satisfied that from his representations Oregon would not be traded off. Mr. McClane found later that General Lovejoy had the same understanding of Whitman's purpose, and that in going East the Doctor knew that he was acting contrary to the wishes of the missionary board, and expected their censure, which he received.
Mr. McLane came to The Dalles in company with Whitman, and from that point to Oregon City, with Jason Lee. Finding Oregon as good as Chili, and conceiving for it an attachment, he took up a claim in 1844 near Salem. On the outbreak of the Cayuse war, he was one of the first to offer his services, and at the encampment at East Portland was asked to accept a nomination as captain of the Marion county company but was requested by General Gilliam to decline nomination for the place, and to act as private secretary and staff officer for him. In that capacity he served through the war, occupying the same tent with Gilliam, and being with the General constantly up to the hour of his death. McClane therefore saw the whole of that war. He acted also as judge-advocate at the time of the formal investigation by the troops of the massacre and its causes.
Having bought a half interest in the grist and saw mill, with a tract of twelve hundred and forty acres of land attached, from the Mission, he made Salem his home and place of business. He spent the winter of 1848 in California, and upon his return in 1849 was married to Miss Helen C., a daughter of Reverend Lewis Judson. Still remaining at Salem, he carried on business and was appointed the first postmaster south of Oregon City. He also held the office of treasurer of Marion county in 1851-52. In 1885 he was appointed agent of the Grande Ronde Reservation in Polk and Yamhill counties, and still holds that office, but accounts Salem, Oregon, his residence, where he still owns his property.
Mrs. Helen C. Judson McClane was born in Otsego county, New York, April 14, 1834. She came with her parents in the bark Lausanne to Oregon, living with them upon the old mission opposite Wheatland on the Willamette, and receiving her education at the Salem Institute. She has been a most efficient companion of her husband since their marriage in1849, making the conditions for his prosperity, and bearing him fourteen children, nine of whom are living, - George F., Annie Isabel, Eva, Louis B., Charles H., James L., Mary Helen, Harold Gilfrey and John Bacon Jr.
ALEXANDER C. McCLELLAND. - The present registrar of the United States land-office at La Grande, Oregon, is a native of Indiana, having been born there in 1842. He received his education at the Berlin High School, Wisconsin, and in 1863 came west to Montana as a gold-seeker. He found the employment of his intellectual acquisition more profitable, however, and for a number of years engaged in school-teaching and educational work in the Willamette valley.
In 1867 we find him in the mines at Baker City, looking after "lodes" and "leads," and also in 1870 engaged in the stock business with his present partner, B.W. Bartholomew.
In 1874 he was married to Miss Mary, the only daughter of the pioneer David J. Chambers, of Chambers Prairie. Engaging in business at Olympia with A.H. Chambers, three years were spent until a change to the dryer climate of Baker county became necessary from considerations of health.
In 1879 he sold his stock ranch,
and located the next year at Island City, following such pursuits as were
suited to the condition of his health. He is at present residing at La
Grande, having been appointed as head of the land-office of that district
by President Harrison.
CHAS. M. McCLURE. - Mr. McClure has taken as active a part as anyone in establishing our state, and was one of the veterans who, as lieutenant, saw the whole war in Southern Oregon.
Born in Missouri in 1832, he went to Mexico in 1850, and in 1851 crossed the plains to Oregon, settling near Brownsville on the Calapooia. He soon undertook the toilsome and exciting life of a miner in Northern California and Southern Oregon, and in 1853 assisted the settlers of Rogue river valley in protecting themselves form the Indians, being one of the relief party from Table Rock to help the reconnoitering party who were surrounded on Evans creek. he was also in the hot fight on the same creek in which General Lane was wounded.
In 1855 he was on the way with a pack-train from Yreka
to Frazer river, when the news of the great
outbreak reached him at Salem. Turning about at once, he joined the company of Bailey as second lieutenant, to avenge the death of the captain's brother, and to save the rest of the Whites. This was the band of Linn and Lane volunteers, and the first to reach the scene, making the trip by forces marches. The details of that campaign are given elsewhere. McClure, however, was in the whole of it. At the place where Captain Bailey was murdered, the oxen and hogs still lay as they had been killed, and the chickens had escaped from their coops and were pecking morsels from among the dead bodies of the animals and men.
He was in the fight at Grave creek and on Hungry hill, where the boys were twenty-four hours without food, and were fighting all the time. He participated in all the movements of the volunteers, including the Big Bend adventures in the autumn. The winter was passed by him with his company at Little Camas; and he assisted in the defense of the Looking Glass, where Bailey's company alone drove out the Indians. When this company disbanded, McClure joined Latshaw's and afterwards Waldron's company as second lieutenant. This company took part in the decisive fight at the Big Bend; and McClure was later in command of a detachment in the running fight on Cow creek. after his own relief, he went to the reinforcement of Captain Smith on the Rogue river. He was also of the party fired upon after dark when spending a social hour at their cam0p, losing four of their number.
After leaving the service in which he so well performed his part, he engaged in packing and stage business in Western Oregon, and in 1`861 extended his operations to the minds of Idaho. In 1870 he made a home in the Grande Ronde, near La Grande, Oregon, and has invested largely in farm lands and in stock, now owning five thousand acres, with six thousand sheep and sixty horses.
He has a family of a wife and six children.
S.B. McCORD. - Syrenous Burnett McCord, one of the leading hardware merchants of Eastern Oregon, was born in Mercer county, Pennsylvania, in 1842. He went with his parents to Wisconsin when a youth, and lived there several years. At the age of eighteen he entered into an apprenticeship in a blacksmith shop in the city of Black Jack, his boss being the Honorable George W. Strong; and there he served out his time and came out a good workman.
He crossed the plains in 1864, leaving with Colonel Flurney's train. At Baldock's ranch, in the Powder river valley, Oregon, he at once entered into the blacksmithing business at Pocahontas, seven miles northwest of Baker City. He came down the valley the next spring, and started the little town of Wingville, which he named after a little town near his old home in Wisconsin. At Wingville, too, he plied the art of Vulcan, but in 1868 came to Baker City and engaged in his trade in partnership with his brother, R.D., who was there before him. The brothers dissolved partnership in 1871; and S.B. entered the hardware business on his own responsibility.
He was a member of the first city council of Baker City, and in 1886 was elected county treasurer on the Democratic ticket, being re-elected in 1888. He was was also elected the first mayor of Baker City in 1887, and was re-elected in 1888. He takes special pleasure in remembering the fact that he was the first to advocate bringing in and operating a water system for Baker City. In that effort he encountered the heavy opposition of a company of capitalists, who desired a franchise for a private enterprise. Clearly seeing the danger of putting so important a public matter in any other than city control, Mr. McCord exerted all his efforts in opposition, and was successful; and the citizens of the city may well thank him for his great service.
He was married in 1871 to Miss Angie Speelman, daughter of a pioneer of 1862; and they now have a family of seven children.
Mr. McCord believes that the resources of Baker city and county are great enough to insure a flourishing future. The combination of mining, farming, lumbering and grazing interests points to a diversity of industries and a consequent large population.
THOMAS K. McCOY. - The gentleman whose name heads this sketch was born March 9, 1827, in Sangamon county, Illinois, and there was reared and educated. On October 12, 1848, he was married to Margaret A. Kendall, who was also born and raised in Sangamon county, the date of her birth being October 4, 1829. The fruits of their union were seven children, three daughters and four sons.
Mr. McCoy came to Oregon in1851 via the "ox-team route," and settled in Linn county. The following year his wife joined him in his new home, she having come in 1852 with her parents. In the spring of 1858 they removed to the Walla Walla valley, taking with them a band of cattle. In the fall of that year a claim was located on the Tumalum, now in Umatilla county, Oregon, to which the family removed in the following fall. At that time there were not to exceed half a dozen families within miles of them. Indians, though, were very plentiful, a large camp being located in their immediate vicinity.
Politically speaking, Mr. McCoy was an ardent Republican. Though not an office-seeker, he, however, was appointed county commissioner of Umatilla county upon its organization, it being customary to select the most worthy citizens. While on a visit to his old home in Illinois he took sick, and on February 19, 1887, passed away; and beneath the rods that were the playground of his childhood lie his remains. In his death his widow lost a kind and noble husband, his children an affectionate father, his acquaintances a valuable friend, and Oregon a sterling citizen.
SAMUEL M. McCURDY, M.D.
- This venerable deceased pioneer of the Lower Sound, whose name will ever
be held in honorable regard by the people of this coast, was born near
Londonderry, Ireland, in 1805. In his youth and early manhood he was favored
with the best of educational advantages, and before crossing the water
to America held the degree of M.D. from Trinity College, Dublin.
In 1836 he had reached St. Andrews, New Brunswick, and was engaged in the practice of his profession. In 1849 he sought to begin life anew in the Golden state, and in the spring of 1850 was established at Marysville, California, still practicing medicine. With the penetration which enabled him to perceive the great future of a northern country, he decided to make Washington his home, and came in 1854 to the deep-wooded and rugged site of the present port of Washington, and in those solitudes erected the first house constructed of boards on the present site of the elegant McCurdy Block.
Upon the outbreak of the Indian war, he enlisted as surgeon in the Northern Battalion, and served until the end of hostilities. Returning to his home he was appointed surgeon of the Marine Hospital, holding the position until 1859. Relieving himself in this year of that somewhat confining work, he associated himself with Traverse Daniels in the establishment and publication of the Port Townsend Register, the first newspaper published in Port Townsend, thus becoming one of the pioneers of journalism in Jefferson county.
He was also one of the organizers of St. Paul's church, and was ever foremost in urging forward the public schools. In 1859 he was appointed United States commissioner of the court, and served two years as sheriff of Jefferson county. In 1860 he had so far identified himself with the city of Port Townsend, Washington Territory, as to send for his family, and to make his permanent home within its limits. He thereupon undertook the general practice of medicine, and in this work became universally known upon the Lower Sound.
His useful life was ended in 1865. His widow, Catherine, née Boyd, of Ireland, to whom he was married in 1840, and five of his children, still survive. Three of the children are deceased.
JAMES McCURDY. - This gentleman, who worthily bears the name of his honored father, Doctor Samuel M. McCurdy, was born at St. Andrews, New Brunswick, in 1840. He was early sent to school, and spent his time to advantage until as a lade of fourteen he began the work of his own maintenance, finding a suitable position in the general merchandise store of Vose & Joyce at Robbinston, Maine. Four years later he engaged as clerk at New York. In 1859, however, he determined to join his father upon the Pacific coast, and reached Port Townsend, Washington Territory, in September of that year. He employed himself there in the study of medicine in the office of his father, and also acted as clerk in his drug store.
From 1862 to 1873 he indulged a love of change and adventure by following a sea-faring life. Returning from this uncertain employment, he began the systematic development of lime works on San Juan Island in partnership with the late N.C. Bailey. Upon the death of his partner two years later, Mr. McCurdy conducted the business very ably and profitably, and succeeded in building up a large manufacturing industry, which he continued until the autumn of 1886, when he sold advantageously to a California company. In 1888 he established the lime works on Orcus Island, conducting them successfully, and still retaining in them a leading interest.
H. McDONALD - Mr. McDonald, who arrived in San Francisco in August, 1849, in the ship Hopewell of Warren, Rhode Island, and reached Portland the first time in August, 1850, on the brig Joaquina of San Francisco, was one of the earliest residents of Portland and of our state, and in the capacity of architect and stair-builder has done some of the most creditable work on our coast. One of his more recent successes, and something of a test of his skill, were the plans and specifications for the buildings for the Indian school at Chemawa, which were preferred to those of all other competitors. Substantial work in Idaho and on the Upper Columbia, at many points in the Willamette valley, on the sea-coast and on the Sound, testify to his long life and skillful activity in the Northwest.
He was born in Scituate, Rhode Island, in 1825, a descendant of McDonald of Revolutionary fame, and also of Lieutenant Phillips, who took part in the battle of Bunker Hill.
During his youth he studied architecture, and upon coming to California, in 1849, devoted his time to contracting and building, erecting Bugoine's Bank building, completing government work under Lieutenant (now General) Sherman, and constructing the first theater and the first Protestant church in San Francisco. Arriving in Portland in August, 1850, he was at once sought to put up first-class buildings, - the first Academy building, and many others of a substantial character still standing in Portland; the first Congregational church, and the first water works. He also built the first steamboat launched at this point, the Hoosier, which was set afloat in September, 1850, and was completed by the following February. He constructed the first brickyard in Portland, and furnished the material for the brick building now standing on the corner of Stark and Front streets, and for the Holman building, and for many minor used, such as foundations and chimneys.
Upon a vacancy being made by the resignation of Mr. Hastings in the first city council of Portland, Mr. McDonald was chosen by that body to fill the place, but resigned shortly afterwards in order to return to the East to bring his wife and son William H. to his Oregon home. The second trip to this coast was performed on the new clipper ship Hurricane, of New York, sailing around the Horn. For a number of years life was continued at Portland, Forest Grove and Salem subsequently became his places of residence; and a few years were spent temporarily near Willamina in Yamhill county, in the foothills of the Coast Mountains. Forest Grove has been his home of late years, although he has personally made numerous temporary sojourns at various points according to the requirements of his business.
Among the buildings which now
stand outside of Portland, as monuments of his skill, may be mentioned
the Congregational church at Forest Grove, the Congregational church at
Salem, and the first railroad stations on the line from Portland to
Albany. He has also recently erected a very neat church in Hillsboro, the acoustic arrangements of which are without a parallel for excellence on this coast. The First National Bank building at la Grande, Oregon, was also built from his plans and under his superintendency. Although now for forty-five years having been in charge of building, he has never suffered an accident either to his men or work, and has never failed to accomplish an undertaking.
His wife, Betsey M., the daughter of Abial N. Sampson, of Providence, Rhode Island, to whom he was married in1847, is a lady whose memory will always be cherished, as she has always surrounded herself with a circle of friends in whatever place she has been located. Eight children have blessed their home: William H., a banker of La Grande, whose biographical sketch will be found in this work; Charles H.; Ella F. Hinman, of Ellensburgh; Lulu A. Imbrie, deceased; Edwin S.; John C.; and Lela Berta and Lillie Anna, twins.
WM. H. McDONALD - Mr. McDonald, long known as purser on the old Oregon Steam navigation Company's steamers, and now cashier of the La Grande National Bank, is one of the Oregon educated men who are a credit to the state. He is the son of Mr. H. McDonald, the well-known architect and pioneer, and was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1848, coming around Cape Horn on the clipper Hurricane in 1851. His education was gained at the Portland Academy at the Pacific University of Forest Grove, and the Willamette University of Salem.
While still young, he entered the service of the old Oregon Steam Navigation Company, and, soon gaining a reputation for ability and fidelity, was rapidly promoted, attaining at length the position of general shipping agent of the Upper Columbia and Snake rivers, - one of high responsibility. He was in the employ of that company thirteen years, followed by two years' service in the general office of Wells, Fargo & Company's express in San Francisco, four years as chief clerk of the construction department of the railway branch of the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company, and two years as cashier of the First National Bank of Island City, Oregon.
In 1887 he located at La Grande, and, in company with several of the leading citizens of that place, organized the La Grande National Bank. Prominent capitalists of Portland, - Henry Failing, H.W. Corbett, James Steel and J. Lowenberg, - were also largely identified with Mr. McDonald in the enterprise, which, through the efficient management of Mr. McDonald, already enjoys a high-credit rating in banking circles, and is considered on of the most sound and active banks in the state. During the entire period of five years of Mr. McDonald's experience as a bank cashier, it is a matter of record, that he never has been obliged to charge off a cent to profit and loss, nor to place a note in the hands of an attorney for collection, - a record of which Mr. McDonald is justly proud.
Mr. McDonald enjoys the implicit confidence of the community in which he resides, and is esteemed by his acquaintances there and elsewhere throughout the state as a high-minded, upright gentleman, honorable and conscientious in his dealings, and one who is proud of being a pioneer.
HON. E.B. McELROY, A.M., Ph. D. - Among the institutions of our country, none more deservedly attract the attention of all lovers of law and order than do our public schools. It is all-important, therefore, that each commonwealth should have some men of learning and ambition at the head to represent, as it were, in a single individual, the individual interests of very child in the state. Especially is this the case in our state, where we are in reality but just laying aside the swaddling clothes of self-government, and endeavoring to lay broad and deep the foundations of a government for higher, and more prosperous days to come.
In order, however, to prepare for this good time coming, it is necessary that we should make wise laws and most thoroughly systematize the workings of our public schools, and by this and other means better prepare for their development and improvement in the future. Our legislators are sufficiently wise to make the laws; but no system of a uniform course of public instruction can be complete without a head-center; and in this head-center, in a great measure depends the success or failure of the common-school systems in other states is to the effect that a very few men have advanced and developed these public-school systems until they have reached the high state of perfection already secured. What is true of other states is equally true of Oregon.
Our state has, since the creation of the office of superintendent of public instruction, been peculiarly fortunate in the selection of men of capability to fill the position creditably. Among the most active of these is Doctor McElroy, who has evinced a rare aptitude for his work, and has proved a superior officer from the very beginning. He brought with him to the office the ripe experience of a successful teacher, the practical teaching of a like, although minor, position of county superintendent, the energy and ambition of a man who is just entering the prime of life, the love of the work inculcated in him by his long-continued connection with public instruction, the necessary qualifications of a successful business career, and the spirit of that progress to the overthrow of old-fogyism and moss-backism which will insure to his education work the advancement made by other public interests. As a man, he is the very soul of integrity, and is very highly esteemed by those who know him best. He is one of that class of men who, while you fancy him the moment he addresses you, will none the less bear acquaintanceship, and advance in your admiration and esteem the longer and more intimately you know him.
Like so many of the leaders and
public men in our state, his early boyhood was spent on a farm, where he
the foundation for a healthy body and a sound mind. He was born in Washington
county, Pennsylvania, in September, 1842, and is consequently now in his
forty-seventh year. He entered
school at an early age, and remained there until the breaking out of the Civil war in 1861, when he enlisted a s a private in the First Regiment of West Virginia Volunteers. He served in that regiment until 1863, participating in the battles of Cheat Mountain, Romney and Winchester under Generals Kelley, Shields, and others. In 1863 he was mustered out of that regiment, and re-enlisted as veteran volunteer in the One Hundredth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers ("Round Heads"), and served in that regiment until it was mustered out of service in July, 1865. In the latter regiment he was engaged in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Bethesda Church, Cold Harbor, Poplar Church Grove, Mine Explosion, Weldon Railroad, Squirrel Hill Road, Hatches Run, Fort Steadman, and the final assault on Petersburg.
Being mustered out of the service at the close of the war, Superintendent McElroy re-entered college, where he remained for two years. From that time until 1874 he was engaged in teaching in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In 1869 he was married in Washington county, Pennsylvania, to Miss Agnes C. McFadden, a niece of the celebrated Bishop Alexander Campbell, who was one of the chief founders of the Christian church in America. In the spring of 1874 they moved to Corvallis, Benton county, Oregon. The same year Superintendent McElroy was elected principal of the Corvallis public schools; and in 1875 he was elected to a chair in the State Agricultural College, which position he filled until 1882, when he was nominated by the Republican party of this state, and was elected state superintendent of public instruction by a very large majority. In 1886 he was renominated by his party by acclamation, was re-elected by a handsome majority, and is now serving his second term as state superintendent of schools; and such was his efficiency and popularity that he was during that time twice re-elected without opposition.
Doctor McElroy is now the department commander of the Grand Army of the Republic of Oregon. He is an active and leading Grand Army man, and has held several prominent positions in that order, among them being assistant inspector-general and aid-de-camp on the staff of the commander-in-chief. He is a prominent member of the Masonic order, being a thirty-second degree Mason of the Scottish Rite line, and a Knight Templar. He is also an honored member of the A.O.U.W. and I.O.O.F., and has been for many years a leading member of the Christian church.
The Superintendent now resides in Salem, Oregon, where he and his estimable wife are well known in society, and are prominent in charitable works. They have a family of five children. The superintendent is a man of great activity and practical energy. His oft-quoted motto among his friends is "Work." He is pre-eminently a worker, and has a high reputation for organizing ability and executive force. He served throughout the entire war. He was a brave soldier, and has a splendid army record; and the Grand Army of the Republic of this department has done itself credit by selecting as its department commander a man who bore a musket in the ranks during the long four years of the Civil war.
During the six years of his administration, a very great advancement has been made in our public school work, chief among which we should mention the admirable system of blanks, registers and reports prepared and established by him; the splendid compilations of school laws; the establishment of the department of appeals and decisions; the uniform and regular issues of circular letters, etc. Indeed, it is questionable if any state in the union has advanced her school interests as rapidly as Oregon within the past six years. Special mention should be made of his active interest in and vigorous efforts, to have our state represented at the national association held last year at San Francisco. The great success of this effort will be remembered by all.
For the year 1889 he has already taken active steps to have our state largely represented at the national association to be held at Nashville, Tennessee. These efforts in behalf of public education and enterprise are appreciated by all. The profession of teaching is being rapidly advanced in our state; and this advancement is very largely due to the continuous encouragement given to our teachers by our active state superintendent. The district and county institute work ahs been regularly and uniformly established by him. This of itself has given a great impetus to educational work. Superintendent McElroy has always been a true friend and vigorous advocate of thorough public education. And throughout the state he has hosts of friends who wish that he may long continue to add to the ability and strength of our public-school system and educational progress generally.
FRANK McFARLAND. - This representative merchant of Eastern Oregon, one of our best and most enterprising men, was born at The Dalles December 17, 1858, and is the son of Mr. and Mrs. James C. McFarland, who crossed the plains in the year 1852 from Ohio with four-horse teams, and in Oregon have reared a family of four daughters and two sons, all of whom occupy honorable positions in the Northwest.
He made his native city his home
until 1882, and spent his boyhood days in assiduous attendance upon the
public school, obtaining thereby a thorough, practical education. He secured
a position also as salesman and clerk in the general merchandise store
of McFarland & French of The Dalles, where he learned the ins and outs
and practical management of the mercantile business. At the age of twenty-four,
having become ambitious to make for himself a career, he went to the town
of Alkali (now Arlington) and entered, as a partner with Mr. A.W. Coffin,
in the general merchandise business under the firm name of Coffin, McFarland
& Co., successfully continuing the same until in 1887 the "Co." was
dropped; and Coffin & McFarland conducted the business a year longer.
At the expiration of this time, Mr. McFarland moved to Heppner, Oregon,
and opened a branch store, which he conducts at the present time with great
success, having an extensive trade, and being one of the
best liked, most popular and most trusted of the business men in the whole Inland Empire.
He was married in December, 1880, to Miss Ida M. Potter of Hood River, and has a home furnished with all the comforts and refinements of life on the Pacific coast, having also two fine boys, Earl and Carroll. Mr. McFarland has confined himself strictly to business, and has never aspired to public office; yet he was glad to serve the public eight years as a member of the Columbia Hose Company of The Dalles. He is a native Oregonian of great promise as well as of high record; and it is to him and such as he that our state must look for leaders in business and public affairs.
HOMER McFARLAND, - Mr. McFarland, one of our most able young men, was born at The Dalles June 22, 1865, the youngest son of J.C. McFarland, and a nephew of E.B. McFarland, who was one of the oldest settlers of The Dalles, and one of her most substantial citizens. He received his early education at the Wasco Academy, attending until his nineteenth year.
In 1885 he came to Lexington, Oregon, where he has been engaged in the general merchandise business ever since. This enterprise was the first of its kind in that town; and the firm, in which he holds a half interest, does an extensive business, having the largest stock of goods and the finest accommodations in the place. By the destructive incendiary fire which swept over the town in August, 1887, the firm lost ten thousand dollars over and above their insurance but yet carry on a large business. Mr. McFarland was married March 4, 1887, to Emma J. Mahaffy, and has a delightful home and one child.
NAPOLEON McGILVERY. - The life of this pioneer is full of interest, and embraces many of the most interesting occurrences on the coast, particularly the campaign of Frémont's little band, which secured California to the union.
Mr. McGilvery was born in the Lake of the Woods, Upper Canada, at the Hudson's Bay post, his father being for many years an officer in that company. In 1839 he came to Vancouver with a considerable party, and was occupied in the service of the company until 1844, when he left the British and became his own American master on Howell's Prairie. In 1846, upon the outbreak of the war with Mexico, he went to California, and at Sonoma joined the American volunteers, who soon crossed San Francisco Bay and were incorporated in Frémont's forces. He took part in that belligerent captain's various military excursions, going on board the Sterling to make an attack at San Diego, but returning with that ship upon the news being received at sea that the American forces had suffered defeat at San Pedro. He was in the campaign all the way from Monterey to Los Angeles, and was at the capture of San Luis Obispo.
The next year he was with Commodore Stockton, crossing the plains to Missouri. After a short stop at the Missouri river, he came back in 1848 to Vancouver, but immediately left for California, digging gold for two years. There he again fell in with distinguished company, becoming a member of Captain Warner's exploring party, which made an expedition to Goose Lake, and had a hot fight with the Indians, in which the Captain was killed and four others wounded, who all died form the poison of the arrows. McGilvery escaped unhurt. After his return to California, he was up and down the Sacramento, paying as much as one hundred dollars for fare between Sacramento City and San Francisco; and he paid another hundred to reach Oregon on the brigantine Pedimont. It cost eighty dollars to get to Portland from Astoria by an Indian canoe. Those were rustling times.
He took another trip south, falling in with General Lane in the Calapooia Mountains, and helped him to drive stock to the mines, and himself stopped awhile at Yreka. Returning, he was in the Willamette valley, until his marriage in 1853. The lad concerned in this affair was Miss Sarah, the daughter of William Flett, a woman of great personal attractions. The same year he occupied his farm near Vancouver, Washington Territory, and has lived upon it nearly forty years. There are four children in the family, - Simon, Edward, Kate and Susan.
HON. JOHN McGLYNN. - This influential resident and proprietor of the well-known hotel that bears his name in La Conner, Washington, and whose portrait appears in this history, is a man fitted by nature with qualities that insure success, and which are held in especial esteem among men. With manners suave, a disposition to accommodate, and generous promptings towards his fellows, he greets the stranger, the customer of the friend in a manner indicating the kindness of his own feelings, and which seldom fails to leave with the recipient a desire to do a favor. This is a happy faculty and gives it possessor a respect and friendship among men that is bounded only by the extent of his acquaintance.
Mr. McGlynn is a native of the province of Connaught, Ireland, and first saw the light of day May 10, 1845, and is the son of Patrick and Catherine Juckein McGlynn. When he was some seven years of age he came with his parents from that unhappy island to the United States, and located at Hamilton, Ohio, and three years later moved to Carroll county, Indiana, where he was educated and employed on his father's farm until 1872. In that year he concluded to come West, and selected Washington Territory as his future home. Shortly after his arrival he was appointed in this territory as Indian agent for the Lumni Reservation, a position which he held for five years. He was then appointed to the same position on the Swinomish Reservation, and held the position until his removal by the Cleveland administration, being in politics a strong and consistent Republican, and therefore objectionable as an "offensive partisan."
In 1878 he built his present
hotel building, the McGlynn Hotel, which he has managed on strictly temperance
principles. His success is proof positive that a temperance hotel when
properly managed can be successful on the Pacific coast. In the fall of
1879 he was elected to the territorial council for two years. While there
Mr. McGlynn distinguished
himself as a leading debater, and was ever foremost in the advocacy of all measures having for their object the honor and welfare of the territory; and particularly was he faithful and vigilant in all legislation affecting the interest of his constituents. This was justly recognized by a magnificent banquet and the presentation of a gold watch by his constituents on his return from his legislative duties. Mr. McGlynn introduced the bill to segregate Skagit from Whatcom county, and carried it through the council; but it was not until the next legislature that the measure, somewhat amended and modified, and introduced by another member, was passed by both houses.
He now holds the position of Indian agent of Neah Bay Indian Reserve, having been appointed to the position by President Harrison in July, 1889. He has been identified from the first with the public school system of Washington, and has filled the position of school director at La Conner for many years.
In personal appearance he is tall and slender, and, as the portrait indicates, a fine-looking gentleman. He is always in earnest, and is straightforward in whatever he undertakes. He was united in marriage December 25, 1875, at Tulalip to Miss Elizabeth M. Bemm, a native of Canada. They have a family of five children.
FRANCIS McGUIRE. - Under the wheeling shadows of Lone Fir, where green vines clamber over the gently swelling mounds, where beautiful funeral flowers, at each glorious resurrection of the year, breathe sweet memorial incense, and gleaming marble guards the last bivouac of the loved and lost, lie the remains of Francis McGuire. Standing by his grave we have no need to invoke the tender Latin maxim, - De mortuis nil nisi bonum; for when his weary head drooped at last it was by the chosen path of duty. He left no stain on the bright escutcheon of his manhood, - no cloud on his title to honor and affection as a man and as a citizen, and in the close and sacred family relations, which build up and beautify, all over this broad land, those clustering shrines of home at whose vestal fires the torches of true religion and advancing civilization are forever renewed. No, it was his happy fate, as he bowed meekly to the imperious mandate of the pale messenger, and followed him in silence down the lonesome pathway that leads to the Valley of the Shadow of Death, to leave behind him a green and fragrant memory and the light and inspiration of a bright example.
Francis McGuire was one of that illustrious band of early Oregon pioneers, who, in those stern, heroic days that tried the fiber of the manhood of men, and amid almost incredible hardships and dangers, blazed the first narrow, winding trails of progress through the green wilds of these sunset slopes and vales, and laid the sure foundation, "as rude and as strong as stone hinges," of the state whose heraldic ensign now streams in proud splendor among the clustering ensigns of the queenly sisterhood of states.
When the mythical hero Hercules had finished the might labors imposed upon him by destiny, he ascended Mount Aetna, and then, with his lion skin about his loins, and his conquering club by his side, lay down on the lofty funeral pyre which his attendants had prepared and calmly surrendered his colossal form to the devouring flames. And there it is with the early pathfinders and home-builders of Oregon. One by one, as the swift seasons roll, the gray-haired veterans, their battles over and their victories won, stand forth to answer the summons that cannot be denied, and, in the calm of the golden sunset that closes a long and stormy day, pass on serenely from labor to reward.
The pioneers were not perfumed knights, but strong heroic souls on whom a stern and sacred duty was imposed. In review of their rugged, romantic lives, it is not easy to point out special achievements; because in noble purpose, matchless daring and unbroken fortitude they were peers. The life-work of each must be looked upon as a whole. We must consider the state of the country at the time of their advent in comparison with what it is to-day. With all this splendid progress and lofty achievement, their name and fame, their toils and battles, and their victories and defeats, are inseparably connected; and it is the duty of those that follow them, and bask in the sunshine of the day whose dreary dawn they ushered in, to revere their memories and endeavor to still keep burning in their own bosoms the fires of patriotism and public spirit that burned in the bosoms of the pioneers.
Francis McGuire came of good old patriotic stock. He was born in Brooks county, West Virginia, July 4, 1810, his father having served gallantly as a lieutenant in the Revolutionary war. Led by a spirit of enterprise and adventure, and while yet a very young man, he engaged in the business of trading on the Mississippi river, then the great highway of wild, romantic life and swift, successful commerce, when fortunes were lost as easily as they were won, and when the pistol and knife were the unchallenged arbiters of the sudden and frequent quarrels. He continued in that business with profit for five or six years, when the malarial mists of the Mississippi swamps began to affect his health; and he was compelled to seek a more congenial clime, removing in 1840 to Burlington, Iowa. There he continued to prosper in business, and in1842 was happily married to Miss Arvilla Green of New York.
In 1851 the pallid specter of disease again appeared in his path; and after considering the matter judiciously, he bade adieu to Burlington, and, with all his hopes and household goods, set out on the long and memorable journey across the great plains to the sunset slopes of the far Pacific. He arrived in Portland in 1852, and in the following year purchased and settled on a valuable farm in Washington county. In 1855 he returned to Portland, and immediately interested himself in many public enterprises, prominent among which was the Mechanics Fair, the initial enterprise of the kind in the state, which was held on the site afterwards occupied by the old Oro Fino hall. Possessed of abundant public spirit and remarkable business energy, he was soon looked upon as one of the most valuable citizens of the future Metropolis.
Noting with the quick eye of
a successful business
man the opportunity for a profitable investment, Mr. McGuire, in1871, removed to East Portland, then hardly more than a struggling village of few houses and weary spaces. he purchased a home of twenty acres in the vicinity of Eighteenth and I streets, and was soon energetically engaged in private and public business. It was here that the grisly phantom of consumption, which had menaced him twice before, again appeared and would not be denied. For four long, hopeless, torturing years his vital energies struggled heroically against the fell disease, but finally succumbed; and he breathed his last January 13, 1879, being in the sixty-ninth year of his age. Followed by a long cortege of sorrowful friends and relations, his remains were laid to rest in Lone Fir Cemetery. A widow and four children - one daughter, and three sons -w ere left to mourn his loss, Eliza, his eldest child, became the wife of J.M. Murphy, editor of the Washington Standard, published at Olympia. The three sons, H.D., H.P., and W.W. of the now flourishing city of East Portland. Mr. McGuire was a devout and consistent Christian, being at the time of his death a communicant of the First Baptist church of Portland.
"They were each of the breed of the hero,
The manhood attempered in strife, -
Strong hands that go lightly to labor,
True hearts that take comfort in life."
DR. W.C. McKAY. - One by one the pioneers who braved the wilderness and its dangers, in order that their posterity might enjoy the fruits of their hazardous conquests of the domain of the savage are passing away. As the poet sang of the valorous knights of the days of chivalry, "Their souls are with the saints, we trust," so, at no distant day, will the same be sung o'er the graves of the last of the pioneers. So, while yet alive, let us honor them as they deserve to be honored; and when dead let their deeds be recorded with loving remembrance on the pages of history.
Of the old pioneers who still exist, Umatilla county can claim but a few. Prominent among them is Doctor William C. McKay, who, together with his father and his grandfather, figured conspicuously in the eventful early history of the State of Oregon. His father, Thomas McKay, was born in Canada. When he had grown into a lusty lad of some fourteen summers, he, together with his father, Alexander McKay, then a partner of the millionaire, John Jacob Astor, left for Oregon to establish a trading-post. The expedition sailed in the ill-fated ship Tonquin, and arrived at the mouth of the Columbia, the beauty of whose rolling waters and massive cliffs were then known to none but the savage.
In 1812, the year of the second war with Great Britain, a company was formed under the title of the Pacific Fur Company; and a trading-post was established on the present site of Astoria. Soon after its establishment, Alexander McKay went up the coast on a trading voyage, the result of which unfortunate expedition is known to every reader of Oregon's history. His vessel, the Tonquin, was taken by the Indians, the goods confiscated, and every soul on board destroyed. Owing to sickness, the boy Thomas did not accompany his father, and to this is due the presence of Doctor W.C. McKay in Pendleton to-day.
Thomas McKay was then left upon his own resources; but they were sufficient to carry him through and make his name illustrious in the annals of Oregon. Soon after his father's death, the war resulted in the mastery of the British on the Pacific coast. The vessels of the Pacific Fur Company were intercepted and confiscated by British cruisers; and to prevent its capture, the trading post of Astoria was transferred to the North West Company, a Canadian organization. It soon became a prominent trading station of the Hudson's Bay Company, the history of whose subsequent extensive operations is known to all readers. With this powerful organization, young McKay became connected; and his services were found to be very valuable. He was placed in charge of all important expeditions; and his word was law. He was at the same time feared and respected by the Indians; and it was probably due to his influences that the trading operations of the company were carried on so peacefully with the red man, who at that time doubtless little suspected that the pale-faces would in the future become their absolute masters. He was one of those remarkable characters of which pioneer history furnishes the only type, - a crack shot, brave but cautious, resolute and determined in his actions; and he was viewed in the light of a terrible and wonderful being, gifted with almost supernatural powers, by the Indians, over whom he exercised a peculiar controlling influence. His life was an eventful one; but its incidents can be recorded in this sketch only as they concern its subject, his son.
Thomas McKay married first a princess of the Chinook tribe; and to-day Doctor W.C. McKay, their first-born child, is chief and ruler of that nation by hereditary right. As a result of this union, three sons were born, William, John and Alexander. On his second marriage, Fortune favored him with a son and a daughter; and the third time two sons and one daughter were born, making quite a large family altogether. William C. McKay with whom we have to deal, first saw the light of day at the Astoria trading-post on the 18th of March, 1824. His eyes opened on a country whose resources were almost boundless, but were yet unknown even to the few adventurous souls who had invaded the Western wilderness. It was the domain of the savage, whose wants were simply and easily gratified, and whose untutored mind was utterly unconscious of the wealth which lay beneath his feet and all around. Little he knew what he was losing when his empire was yielded inch by inch to the encroachments of the pale-face settlers. To-day what a magical scene meets the view of the Doctor; and it is due to such men as he that all this material wealth has been reclaimed. This land is compelled to yield up its riches unto the white man; and the fertile plains of the Oregon are covered with farmhouses, villages and cities instead of the few rude wigwams of the Indians.
Doctor McKay, during his boyhood
days, was given over to the charge of his grandfather, Doctor
John McLoughlin, who was governor of the territory occupied by the Hudson's Bay Company, and was stationed at Vancouver. Here it was he first received instruction, his young mind being trained by two Yankee teachers, John Bant of Massachusetts and Solomon H. Smith of New Hampshire, the first school-teachers that ever set foot on the shores of Oregon. They came across the Rockies with Captain Nathaniel Wyeth, the founder of the Pacific Fur and Fishing Company, of Boston, in 1832. Methodist missionaries, who braved every danger of the West in the interest of christianity, were his next educators; and altogether the young pupil had better training than many youths of the civilized present.
When William was fourteen years of age, his father concluded to send him to Scotland to be educated, and particularly to study the art of medicine; and plans were formed for his safe transportation across the continent and the Atlantic Ocean. It was one of the annual expeditions of the Hudson's Bay Company to Canada, placed as usual in the charge of his father, that he started; but, reaching the martyred Doctor Whitman's missionary station at Waiilatpu, the entire plan for the youth's education was changed. Whitman was a man of singularly impressive faculties, and exercised a powerful influence over those with whom he came in contact. He was moreover truly loyal to the United States government, and at length persuaded the father to have his son educated at home. "Tom," said he, "I suppose you know that this country will one day become the property of the Untied States, although a British organization, the Hudson's Bay Company, now has temporary control; but the time is coming when Uncle Sam's mastery will be undisputed. I therefore wish you would send Bill to the college in which I was educated in the Eastern states. Give him an American education, and let American principles and ideas be thoroughly inculcated in his youthful mind." His words had a great effect; but the father replied that his money was all in England, and that he hadn't the means to give his boy a collegiate education in America. "I trade at your post," answered Whitman; "and I draw my money from Boston. I will pay for the young man's education; and in exchange you can furnish me with supplies." The worthy Doctor was so intensely loyal that he did not wish a single useful subject to be lost to the United States; and he carried his point. The matter was forthwith settled; and at Soda Springs, on Bear river, William McKay, with his two brothers, John and Alexander, parted company with their father, and in charge of Missionary Jason lee and party safely made the trip across the plains in the summer of 1838.
On reaching the East, the subject of our sketch entered Fairfield College, Herkimer county, New York, at that time, his two brothers being placed in a Methodist training school at Wilberham, Massachusetts. There he remained, wrestling with his studies in medicine, for five years, and then, grown nearly to man's estate, and ready to battle with life, returned with another expedition of the Hudson's Bay Company, starting from Montreal in1843. His two brothers left for the West a year before with the first emigrants who ever crossed the plains. The operation of the Hudson's Bay Company, notwithstanding the dangers and difficulties encountered in trips through the wilderness, were conducted on a perfect system; and the return journey was made without hindrance or delay. On his return young McKay was established in the mercantile business at Oregon City by the grandfather, and continued in that occupation until the California gold fields were discovered, when he joined a party of eager gold-seekers in the palmy days of 1849 and started for the El Dorado. The Trinity mine, in Northern California, was discovered and operated with profit by this expedition, but its members were attacked by sickness, death decimating their ranks; and in one year those who remained were glad to return to the fair climate of Oregon as best they could. McKay being among the number who survived. He located again in Oregon City on his return; and we find him there a short time after the Whitman massacre, which set the little frontier world afire.
It was this sad event, and the necessity of a stronger organization and protection against the Indians, which warned the settlers that the days of a Provisional government must cease; and efforts were made to bring Oregon Territory under the United States government. This was finally accomplished, Joe Meek being sent to Washington to present the claims of the would-be territory, and Joseph Lane being made governor. One of his first acts was to call the Indians together at The Dalles, in council, to enforce the delivery of the actual murderers of Doctor Whitman and party. The Umatillas, Walla Wallas and Cayuses obeyed the request; and the guilty Indians were yielded up to the avenging white man, and were duly tried and executed at Oregon City. The chiefs of those Indians, who were present at the trial, invited Doctor McKay to establish a trading-post in their midst; and his final settlement in Eastern Oregon is due to that fact. He soon had a post established, locating on the creek which bears his name, a short distance from the present site of Pendleton, and on the spot where the residence of Mr. Fanning now stands, commenced operations. His post was situated on the very outskirts of the country known to the white man, and became the general rendezvous of traders and travelers.
The Doctor wintered on the site
of Pendleton in 1851 and 1852, on the spot where W.H. Jones' residence
now stands, then occupied by a flourishing grove of trees. Then, instead
of brick blocks and fine residences, the valley of the Umatilla was covered
only with cottonwood trees and thickets of brush and willows. Into the
vast and fertile territory of Eastern Oregon even the earliest pioneers
had not ventured; and the race of the pale-face was only represented by
the trader, driving his traffic with the Indians, and exchanging beads
and blankets for valuable furs. In the spring of 1852 McKay returned to
Oregon City, but soon came back with a larger stock of goods, and remained,
doing the while a "rushing business," until the Yakima
war in 1855, in which he with many others lost all his possessions. The Indians had recognized by this time that the people who came form the land of the rising sun had grown all too numerous; there was menacing danger; the houses and lands of the red men were being taken and occupied by the pale-face settler and miner, who by this time had begun to make their presence felt. The time had come when this number should be lessened, and a few scalps hung to the lodge poles of the tribes; but they began the work of destruction too late, - and in vain.
The primary cause of the war was the treaty with the Indians in1855, in which all their lands from the east of the Cascades to the Missouri river were purchased, and their occupation by the settlers begun. Another cause was the discovery of the Colville mines in Idaho, and other discoveries of the rich mineral wealth contained in the country of the Snakes, Cayuses and Walla Wallas. These discoveries led to an excitement and consequent influx of population much similar to the one in the Golden state in the "days of gold" of '49. The savage began to look upon the increasing number of white men with distrust and suspicion. While few in number, nothing could be feared; but now the forest, the plains, the beautiful valley of the Indian, were becoming monopolized. So the hatchet was dug up with a vengeance; and war was declared.
The treaty in question took place on the present site of Walla Walla. General Issac I. Stevens, Governor of Washington Territory, and General Joel Palmer, Superintendent of Indian affairs for Oregon, with their associates, met the head men of the Indians there in council. Dr. W.C. McKay took a prominent part as secretary of council for Oregon; and this explains the subsequent antipathy for him by the Indians, and the total destruction of his property. Almost immediately after the treaty the war began, lasting two years, the Indians finally being forced into submission. Its history is well known; and it is not necessary to particularize it here. Suffice it to say that McKay took a prominent part, and that his services as a scout were found to be very valuable by the campaigning generals, who were as unacquainted with the methods of Indian warfare as the Indian himself would be of military tactics. In the fall of 1856, Doctor McKay acted as guide for the expeditions of Generals Wright and Steptoe; and it was he who selected the site of Fort Walla Walla, a garrison being their established at his suggestion.
After the close of this war, when the power of the Indian had been almost broken, mines were discovered in Southern Idaho and Eastern Oregon and Washington, principal among them being those at Boise in1864; and to this fact is due the final rapid settlement of this section, the rancher and stock-grower following fast upon the heels of the miner, as he himself had followed the early traders and missionaries.
In the meantime the doctor had taken unto himself a wife, marrying Miss Mary Campbell at The Dalles, then a small settlement, in1857.
The Indians gain began to make trouble for the now hated pale-face at the close of the Civil war. The red man could not remain quiet and see his possessions wrested from him. The Snakes began a bushwhacking style of warfare, harassing the entire mining section, intercepting and confiscating pack trains and supply outfits, and taking the scalps of struggling unfortunates. Everything was thrown into a state of chaos; miners were compelled to cease operations because of the lack of supplies, which traders were unable to send. The Untied States soldiers seemed powerless or unwilling to take any action; and indeed one wily redskin, familiar with every nook and cranny of his mountain home, was more than a match for a dozen blue-coats. Finally measures for defense became absolutely necessary; and here again we find McKay placed to the fore. A petition was signed by the settlers and sent to Governor Woods, asking, in the name of God, that volunteers be organized as a means of protection against the devastating Snakes. A bill was thereupon introduced in the legislature for three companies of volunteers; but an amendment was proposed by Judge Humason, representative from The Dalles. He said volunteers were all well enough in their way; but his plan was to fight Greeks with Greeks and Indians with Indians. He moved that a company of scouts consisting of Warm Spring Indians be raised, and that Dr. W.C. McKay be placed at their head.
The amendment was carried with a rush. General Steele, commander of the department of the Columbia, proposed that the scouts be equipped with necessary arms and accoutrements, and be regularly mustered into the United States service. As is usual in such cases, a quantity of red tape was wound around proceedings; and we find the Indians waiting at The Dalles for three or four months, impatient for action, but not yet supplied with everything necessary to well-regulated warfare from a tactician's standpoint. At last, in the dead of winter, the company was inspected by General Steele; and McKay was asked when it was advisable to begin the campaign. "Now," was his emphatic answer; and he forthwith took the field with his command, being assisted in the leadership by captain John Dauch. It is needless to say that, being acquainted with the modus operandi of the enemy, their campaigning was eminently successful; and they returned with thirty-five scalps, more than the entire regular army of the United States in that section had captured in five years.
In the month of June they again
took the field, being then used as the eyes and ears of the command of
General Crook, who was in command of this district. The Doctor says that
the General, a very affable gentleman, spent much of his time in schooling
himself in Indian warfare, using the Indian scouts as his tutors. He was
an apt scholar, and gained knowledge which afterwards proved of much value
during his famous campaign against the Apaches in Arizona. The result was
that in one year after the little band of Indian scouts took the field
under McKay, and afterwards placed themselves in the service of General
Crook, the Piutes and Snakes sued for peace in solemn council with their
enemies. One of their chiefs, in a grave and impressive address, said that
once his people were
as numerous as the leaves on the trees, pointing to a grove green with verdure; now they were few in number, and had fallen as the leaves in autumn, and were compelled to make peace with the white man. But he told the pale-faced commander that it was not he whom he feared, nor his blue-coated soldiers, at whom the Indians laughed. "It is there," and he pointed to McKay and the Warm springs scouts, "the salmon-eaters (as the Warm Springs Indians were styled by their copper-colored brethren) who have taken the scalps of my people and compelled us to bury the hatchet ere it is red with the blood of our enemies."
The chief was right. The Warm Springs Indians, guided by the vigilant McKay and his able assistant; were a terrible force. They knew the customs and habits of the foe with whom they had to deal, and could fight him with his own weapons and in his own style of warfare, and were provided with all necessary supplies by the government. The method employed, says the Doctor, was to march from place to place by night, camp in some obscure retreat during the day, sending out scouts to discover signs and traces of the enemy. When a trail was discovered , it was followed with the keenness of a pack of hounds by lynx-eyed pursuers. The camp of the enemy was discovered; and that night the hapless Indians were swooped down upon and destroyed as the hawk darts upon its prey. That was the method of warfare, and it was a successful one.
With the surrender of the Snakes terminated the eventful portion of the Doctor's history. He was invited by General Canby to take command of the same company of scouts during the Modoc war, but considered the outbreak a trifling matter, owing to the small number of the Indians, and refused. It was not, however; for it cost the government nearly three million dollars to subdue less than one hundred able-bodied Indians. Donald McKay, a brother of the Doctor, had charge of the Warm Spring scouts during this famous campaign against Captain Jack in the lava beds; and these scouts did about the only successful fighting.
Leaving the Doctor located in Pendleton after the close of the outbreak, we will close our sketch, a brief and unsatisfactory one, considering the variety of events the writer endeavors in a faint way to portray. Should the principal incidents of the Doctor's life be particularized, a volume would not contain them.
He is now a hale and hearty old gentleman of over three-score years, and has seen churches, buildings and schools spring up magically around him where once was a wilderness. He has seen the pack-train superseded by the iron horse, and the last vestige of the early days of the trader and pioneer obliterated. Here, in the midst of civilization, refinement, and the busy bustle of a world of mortals, we find the Doctor at present, and will leave him to the tender mercies of the future.
DANIEL G. McKENZIE. - This is also a pioneer who found all the lands surrounding Pullman, Washington Territory, a sea of bunch-grass. He was born in Illinois in 1842. His father, Henry McKenzie was one of the early settlers of that state, and served in the Black Hawk war, and he came afterwards a pioneer of Iowa, building the town of Winterset. As county commissioner he conceived the idea of building a county-seat, and with the two other commissioners bought one hundred and sixty-acres of land near the center of the county, sold enough lots off from it to pay the purchase price, and deeded the tract to the county, naming the place after his old home. The town flourished; and the sale of lots has been sufficient to obtain all the money for county buildings without taxation.
There the subject of this sketch grew up, and in 1855 was married to Miss Sarah A. Bell, and removed to Texas, but the next year returned to Iowa, and afterwards made his home in Kansas. He was in the old West until 1877, when he came to his present locality, taking a claim on the sight of Pullman. There he began living and improving; and the country has settled up and the town grown around him. He is very hopeful of the future of the city and county, believing this to have the best climate, soil and natural resources of any other equal area in the world. He does not think that the delicate fruits, such as peaches, will succeed; but apples and berries grow without any hindrance. The grasses, cultivated as well as native, and grain and root crops growing in profusion, make this the region for stock.
Mr. McKenzie, like many others whose memoirs we present, has served his time in the United States army, but on account of a physical infirmity - weak eyes - did not complete his term of service. In this beautiful "utmost West" he is living with his family in all the enjoyments of home and a prosperous community.
DR. JOHN McLOUGHLIN. - Doctor McLoughlin has been very well called the first real governor of Oregon. As chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company west of the Rocky Mountains, he was more than this; - he was autocrat. He was a great man, - large physically, of large views and ideas, and above all, very large-hearted. He was nearly forty years on this coast, and during that time was the chief man in it. The Indians called him the "white-headed eagle;" and the Whites went to him with their troubles. In a pathetic little manuscript found among his papers, and never published until after his death, he calls himself the father of Oregon; and in a certain way, from a certain point of view, his claim is wholly just.
The circumstances of his life
may be briefly told. He was born in Canada in 1784. His parents were Scotch,
although his mother, by some, is said to have been French. When but a youth
of sixteen he entered the service of the old North West Fur Company, and
for twenty-four years thereafter was making his way up, step by step, from
the lowest to the highest positions. It was his duty during the years of
his initiation to roam through the forests, and to navigate the long rivers
of British America, going northward far towards the Arctic circle or to
the skirts of the Shining Mountains in the West. He was stationed in lonely
forts year in and year out, and made pilgrimages back again to
the headquarters at Montreal. He probably took a good brisk part in the "war" between the tough North Westers and the Hudson's Bay Company in the Selkirk settlement. But, amid all these lonely labors and exploits of the Northern wilderness, he managed to attain a magnificent physical development, and to store his mind with the knowledge necessary to make of him a medical practitioner, and to acquire a commanding and urbane manner, making of him a medieval gentleman.
In 1824, the object of the North West Fur Company having been fully attained, and they having been admitted to the privileges of the Hudson's bay Company, whose name they assumed, he was intrusted with the great responsibility of going to Astoria and assuming absolute control of the whole Columbia valley and northern coast. he was to be commander of about a thousand Canadian and half-breed servants of the company, over whom he exercised the unquestioned right of discipline, extending in exigent cases even to life and death; and over the hundred thousand Indians within these bounds he was to assume absolute control and make himself autocrat, with full power to levy war upon them, or to inflict capital punishment if it became necessary. He was to move all the machinery of the company on this coast; to send a shipload of furs every year to London; to destroy competition of the French, Spanish, Russians or Americans; and to hold the country for the Hudson's Bay Company to the exclusion of all else. He had no means with which to perform all this except his own native faculty and address. Considering the failures of governors before that time, and the difficult circumstances, it is worth while to notice how he accomplished his object.
In the first place, he gained control by superiority of intelligence and priority of will. He had his plans fully laid, and permitted no one to question them. Before others could think, he was acting; and they had nothing to do but acquiesce. In a very short time all subordinates trusted his judgment, and naturally left with him all executive decision. He had, moreover, a commanding physical presence, and a personal magnetism which it was hard for anyone to resist. He was capable also of knocking a man down with his cane or driving him out of the fort with a shovel, if his authority was stupidly defied; and, when this was not practicable, he was full of resources for winding up opposition.
It was but a short time after coming to Astoria that he had the whole department in working order; and, in addition to his masterful energy, he showed a fatherly kindness to the clerks and factors and servants which endeared him to them. He treated them with a rigid honesty which inspired their confidence, and so recognized faithful or meritorious service that all were inspired to do their best. He became to them one of those men whom it seems wicked to disregard.
To the Indians he used the same scrupulous exactitude, paying them precisely the same price for their furs, according to the directions of the company, and thereby established an idea easily implanted among simple people of any race, that the exact worth of their goods would always be recognized, and that he was absolutely reliable. With a handy body of good riflemen, a few cannons and ships, he was ready and able at any time to punish any refractory tribes. At the time of the wreck of the William and Ann at the mouth of the Columbia, when the Clatsop Indians refused to give up the plunder that they had gathered from the wreck, and which they claimed was their own, as it came from the water, he bombarded and burned their village. For the plunder of Americans in the Umpqua valley, he also punished the Shastas. Between fear and reverence, and love and dependence, the native tribes soon acknowledged his sway, and recognized him as their chief of chiefs.
The Spanish and French gave him no trouble; and the Russians kept to their own quarters, accepting with him a trade in wheat and potatoes for their furs. But the Americans made repeated efforts to continue the idea of Astor in establishing a great fur emporium on the Columbia. It took McLoughlin less than a year, however, to break up any one of them by destructive competition. Wyeth, Kelly, Smith, Ashley and Bonneville succumbed. Although in most cases treated with great personal kindness, they found it impossible to make the slightest headway against the Hudson's Bay Company, or to gain the Indians. As trader and factor, McLoughlin's operations were a great success. He took and held the country.
As the father of Oregon he accomplished a still more remarkable labor. Soon after coming to Astoria, he moved the post up to Vancouver and began at once to nourish agriculture and develop cattle, and to encourage settlement. All this was aside from his official duty, and was due to his humanity, and perhaps political bias. A peck of peas and a little seed wheat, and a few potatoes, he accounted precious, and soon multiplied to large fields of grain and vegetables. The few cows and their mate sent out to supply milk and veal for his own table he cherished as the apple of his eye, on no account slaughtering an animal of any kind except one calf a year for rennet to make cheese. He soon had a fine young herd on Sauvie's Island. The apple seeds put in the pockets of some Hudson's Bay gentleman just off for Oregon after a dinner party by ladies in London as a playful memento, he actually had planted; and from them grew the first tress.
All these things were not contemplated
by the company; and a start in any line was very hard to obtain. But before
1840 he had quite a system of agriculture under way. As early as 1829 he
began advising the discharged servants of the company to settle in the
Willamette valley, forming the community on French Prairie. It was the
positive order of the company to discharge no servants in the Indian country,
but to return them home. The Doctor, however, got an indulgence for these
men on the ground that they had Indian families that they ought to take
care of, and still kept their names on his books as servants, although
they were really settlers. He himself encouraged their marriage with the
daughters of Indian chiefs; and, as they had families, he became anxious
to provide them with schools. He made these settlers dependent
on himself by lending them cattle, the increase of which was to be returned to himself, and lending seed and implements for which they were to pay in wheat at the fort. To get rid of his wheat he established the trade with new Archangel in Alaska, and to the Sandwich Islands. There was no money in the country; and all necessary goods were only to be obtained from the fort.
When it came to American missionaries and settlements, McLoughlin was no less forward to encourage them. In 1834 he treated with the greatest kindness the first missionary, Jason Lee. He offered him every facility, and early made up for him a purse of one hundred and thirty dollars to assist in carrying on the mission school. He furnished him provisions at the usual rates. To Whitman and Spaulding, from 1837 onward, he was no less helpful. He seems to have fully desired the establishment of missions, and to have been glad to assist these little sprouts of civilization. but he attempted to make all such efforts absolutely dependent upon himself for worldly necessities, and in a manner to reduce them to simple Hudson's Bay posts. He even went so far as to withhold supplies from Whitman, if it happened that the missionary failed to carry out his directions in certain particulars. The other Americans who came as settlers, he would treat in the same manner as he treated the Canadians on French Prairie, encouraging them to settle, to raise wheat for him, and to use his cattle and return the increase. He hoped in this way to make Fort Vancouver dominant, and, while not absolutely stopping immigration, to make the country a dependency of the company.
The English have charged him with playing into the hands of the Americans. By others it has been suggested that he had in view an independent state to be attached to Canada when she had attained her independence of Great Britain. Still others believe that he had no object but to retain the territory for England, and to occupy it exclusively for the Hudson's Bay Company, and to control the missionaries and settlers whose coming he could not prevent. But by all it is admitted that he nourished the young settlements, and from 1843 onward loaned, without security, goods to the value of many thousands of dollars, in many cases without any apparent motive except to supply the needs of those in want. From the time of the organization of the Provisional government, and the arrival of an immigration of eight hundred Americans in the autumn, the controlling influence in the territory gradually passed out of his hands. Posts and stores, and a government which he did not dominate, began to spring up; and Oregon became a part of the American union. McLoughlin himself severed his connection with his company and began an American citizen. His death occurred at Oregon City in 1857.
It may be well enough imagined that the efforts and scenes through which he passed from 1840 to 1847 were exceeding harassing. Then began the decline of his personal control which, during a long time, he had made exclusive. The Americans first broke the arch of his authority. His human and benevolent treatment of these Americans, who could brook no government except their own, soon drew upon him the censure of the English. Belcher, Simpson, John Dunn, Fitzgerald's Journal, all stigmatized his policy as imbecile. He was called to a very sharp account by the Hudson's Bay Company for his generosity; and every cent's worth goods that he had let go he was obliged to account for. His loss was some twelve thousand dollars.
With the disseverance of his interests form those of Great Britain, his troubles did not cease. Even after he became an American citizen, it suited the purposes of one party of these to make him a scapegoat, and to curry favor by defaming him. He was also drawn through a long and most tedious contention for his claim at Oregon City, which was withheld for a number of years. An examination of his papers convinced so keen an American as Judge Thornton that his affairs had been conducted with absolute honesty, and that in the circumstances the effort to exclude him from his claim was very wrong. To the credit of the state, the wrong was righted before his death. Nevertheless the wreck of his influence, the almost universal condemnation passed the ingratitude of the thousands that he had befriended and well nigh rescued from starvation, was a bitter thing to fall upon his declining years, and his only consolation in that dark hour was his religious faith and hope. He was a Catholic, having joined the Roman church of Oregon City under the labor of Bishop Blanchet; and his body sleeps in a grave in the churchyard by the river bank, underneath a plain slab whose characters declare him to have been the friend of Oregon.
McLoughlin was a grand old man, with a depth of discernment, a force of will and an abounding humanity which gave him a touch of greatness.
CAPT. J.H. McMILLEN. - Captain McMillen, a fitting example of the men whose stout courage, tireless energy and ready friendliness laid the groundwork of our state, is a pioneer of 1845, having crossed the plains with W.H. Rector, Colonel Taylor, Hiram Smith and others of that large immigration.
Of Scotch ancestry, he traces his American lineage to a great-grandfather who crossed the Atlantic and settled in Rhode Island, where a numerous family grew up around him. The grandfather, James, pushed westward as far as New York; and in that state Joseph, the father, was born. Arriving at maturity he married Miss Ruth Gannett and settled in Attica, New York; and in that village James H., whose life we here record, was born May 10, 1823. During the very early life of this child, a further removal was made to Lodi, now Gowanda; and in 1836, when James was coming to be a stout, active lad, a further move to the prairies was effected. It was at Orange, Du Page county, Illinois, that the new home was made and a new farm opened. Aside from his agricultural pursuits, the father was a millwright; and the son learned that trade as his reliance for future support; and it has ever served him most opportunely and honorably.
It was a foregone conclusion
that the migratory life should not end with the third American generation;
and in 1845 James H., now a stocky, powerful
and skillful man of twenty-two, undertook the crossing of the plains to Oregon. Upon the advice of William Card, one of the organizers of the company, he did not sell his eighty-acre farm in order to provide an outfit, but, deeding it to his brothers, joined the train upon promise of necessary means to be furnished along the way in return for services. Mr. Card, William A. Culberson, Kale Grower and Edwin Stone were of the immediate party to which Captain McMillen belonged.
Many of the experiences on the plains were exciting; and one, at least, was singular. Two-thirds of a day out from Ash Hollow, on the North Platte, a wheel of someone's wagon was broken. Rector, hunting up McMillen as the handy man in the crowd, asked him to go back with a horse and buggy to Ash Hollow and get a good piece of ashwood to mend the wheel, while the train would make camp and wait. The distance was great enough to bring his return far into the evening; and he found the road occupied for miles by a vast herd of buffalo, quietly feeding in the meadows. It was necessary to observe great caution in order to make his way through without startling the herd and causing a stampede. The thick, dusky figures in the darkness, the chewing and fretting of grass, the movement of hoofs, and the possibility that the whole might suddenly move like an avalanche, kept on a constant qui vive the spirits of the man in the buggy, and prevented his using his whip or chippering to his horse; and he was much afraid that some ugly bull of the band would run up in the starlight and attack his animal. The buffaloes, however, stepped out of his way and made room with all the docility of domestic cattle, and let him pass without difficulty.
Another interesting reminiscence of the train was the banquet given at Laramie to the chiefs of the Sioux Indians. The young men of the tribe were off on the war-path; and the old fathers and mothers and boys and young women were very friendly. The Whites served up a quantity of bean soup with civilized delicacies; and the Indians, as they ate, sat in a circle alternately with white men. In smoking the pipe of peace, it was noticed that they were careful to blow the first whiff upward to the Great Spirit. They spoke with amity of the emigrants going through their country and shooting buffalo for meat, but not for indiscriminate slaughter. It was a gala day; and the young women were dressed in their best buckskin gowns, which were whitened by the application of a certain clay which made them very lustrous. They reached nearly to their feet, and showed off to excellent advantage their beautiful lithe figures.
A little below American Falls Captain McMillen came as near experiencing the hunger of the wilderness as at any point. Starting off in pursuit of a number of lost steers, himself and companions took with them but a small piece of bacon, which was obliged to do duty as food in that keen air for three days. He still remembers with pleasure the beautiful loaf of light bread with which Mrs. Rector greeted the little party upon its return.
Reaching Oregon City October 25th, with a fifty-cent piece which some one had clandestinely slipped into his pocket in return for some one of his many timely services, he found employment in Abernethy's mills on the island at the falls, and in 1847 built the bridge leading from the main street of the town over the basin owned by McLoughlin, and used as a boom for logs. This bridge was a substantial structure, and supported eight hundred and fifty feet of railway constructed of two-by-four scantlings, and bar iron one-half by two inches. This was the first railroad in the state, or west of the Rocky Mountains.
During one of those early summers, he was at work on a boat at the mouth of the Skipanon creek, and was one of the party that broke up a liquor seller's shop at Astoria. This dispenser of "blue ruin," who was exciting the Indians, was a desperate character; and it was only McMillen's revolver that brought him to terms. A hundred-and-forty mile pull in a canoe up the river to Oregon City was also performed that summer in order to cast a vote for Abernethy, the temperance candidate for governor.
Upon the outbreak of the Cayuse war, consequent upon the massacre of Whitman, permission was granted to quit work on the mill and proceed as a member of the party of forty-six soldiers to occupy The Dalles. The trip up the river in the midst of storms and show, and the exciting scenes at The Dalles, in which Captain McMillen took an active part, are fully described elsewhere.
In 1851 he secured a Donation claim on the Tualatin Plains, and there for a number of years carried on farming.
At the present time he occupies a delightful residence in East Portland, Oregon, upon land purchased from Jacob Wheeler, and is occupied in the metropolis in looking after his large real-estate and business interests. At the age of sixty-six years he still maintains rugged health, and surrounded by his family and friends, finds much to console him for the many privations incident to the early settlement of this Northwest. His first wife, Margaret Wise, was born in New York State in 1832, and was left an orphan at the age of three years. In 1846 she came to Oregon with a married sister, Mrs. Jessie D. Walling, and was married to Mr. McMillen January 28, 1850. Within less than a year she passed from earth, leaving a son, Frank, eight days old. Of his present wife and family a sketch is here added.
Mr. McMillen gave land for a public school in his district, where he has acted in the capacity of clerk and director for twelve years. He has served as councilman in his ward four years, and has given liberally to schools, churches and for charitable purposes. In politics he has been a Republican from the firing on Fort Sumter. In religion always liberal, he has of late years become a firm believer in Spiritualism, and has always been a friend to the cause of temperance and other moral reforms. For the past three years he has served as captain of the Indian War Veteran Association, Camp Number 2, of Multnomah county, Oregon.
It is proper also to add here
that this gentleman is the president of the North Pacific History Company,
and that it is due chiefly to his steadfastness and liberality that our
work has been brought to completion.
Mrs. TIRZAH B. McMILLEN. - Especial interest surrounds the life of those mothers who made possible the social conditions of our state. They will be held in everlasting remembrance.
Tirzah, the daughter of Edward and Hannah H. Barton, was born in Clermont county, Ohio, in 1832, and at a very early age accompanied her parents to Cincinnati, later to Indiana, and in 1851 across the plains to Oregon. In October of the same year she was married in Portland to James H. McMillen, and soon removed to their new home on Tualatin Plains, ten miles west of Portland. It was there, amid the agreeable surroundings and comforts of the farmer's life, that six children were born, - Ernest B., Justus H., June, Union, Right and Constant.
The next home was at Oswego, whither they removed in 1861. It was there that Justus and Union passed to spirit life in 1863, they with their elder half brother Frank, departing within a few days of each other. Constant remained until 1882, when he joined his brothers in the beyond. One daughter, Myrtie, was born at Oswego. At the age of twelve she passed to the better life. Two sons, Ernest and Right, and the daughter June, now the wife of Julius Ordway, and Ivy, the wife of Dr. W.L. Miller, of Portland, are living near the parental home.
Their present home is at East Portland, Oregon.
MICHAEL McNAMARA. - This prominent resident of Skagit county was born in Woodstock, Canada, in 1848. His early years, however, were spent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and at Chicago, where he completed his growth and education at Chatham, Canada. In 1865 he came overland to California, and the next year reached Puget Sound, finding employment ten years in the logging camps. In 1876 he was able to set up a business of his own, keeping a hotel at Stanwood, and three years later building his present commodious hotel, the Ruby House, which is first class in every respect. His own residence at Mount Vernon, Washington, built in 1887, is one of the finest on the Sound outside of Seattle. Mr. McNamara is married and has three children.
ROBERT J. McWILLIAMS. - Robert J. McWilliams has been for many years identified with the pioneer business interests of Oregon, particularly in the line of lumbering and preparing materials for the construction of steamboats. He was born in New York in 1825, and in 1839 emigrated to Michigan, where he assisted his father in opening out a farm, and after the age of twenty entered upon the business of lumbering, with which he remained until 1850, when he crossed the plains to California, and remained until his trip overland to Milwaukee, Oregon, in 1851.
At that young city, then a rival of Portland, he leased the sawmill of Lot Whitcomb, and subsequently that of Collins & Torrence, opposite Milwaukee, which was run by steam. His lumber sold readily at from forty to fifty dollars per thousand, and laths at sixteen dollars. In 1854 he erected and furnished at Mlwaukee the Veranda Hotel at a cost of fourteen thousand dollars, the best then in Oregon. In 1856 he worked for or in the sawmill of Bradford & Company at the Cascades for four years, and sawed the lumber for the steamer Hassalo, long known on the Columbia, and also prepared the planking for the bottom of the steamer Colonel Wright, built for the Upper Columbia traffic.
In 1857 he was married to Miss Olive W., daughter of Lot Whitcomb, who built and launched the steamer Lot Whitcomb on the 25th of December, 1849, at which event the captain of a vessel was killed by the bursting of the cannon that was being fired on the occasion. The boat was a side-wheel, high-pressure, double-engine, walking -beam steamer, with Captain J.C. Ainsworth as captain. and pilot, and Joseph Myrack, assistant pilot and clerk, and Jacob Kamm engineer. She was sold to a California company in 1882.
Many of Mr. McWilliams' early enterprises led him among the Indians, as when in 1854 he accompanied Green Arnold to the Umatilla country, and was with him barricaded by the Cayuses for more than a week. The years of 1863-64-65 were spent in mining expeditions seventy-five miles from Lewiston, in a place called Elk City, while his family remained at Milwaukee.
The Grande Ronde proving attractive to his mind, he accepted employment in a large livery stable at La Grande, known as the Cattle Stable. As proprietor of the "Our House" hotel for two years, and afterwards of the Sixteen-mile House, as keeper of the Clover Creek Station, and in different enterprises at La Grande, he passed the years until his removal to Summerville in 1874. At that point he was instrumental in reopening the Thomas and Ruckle Blue Mountain road. He also carried the Wallowa mail, and increased the service from two to seven times per week. The sixteen days of the first years he carried the same. He also purchased the Patton sawmill of Summerville, and conducted the same, together with two livery stables. Afterwards, in 1887, he removed to the town of Elgin in Indian valley, Oregon; and this beautiful section in his present home.
HARVEY C. MEANS. - This flourishing merchant of the town of Umatilla was born in Missouri in 1858, and while yet a boy, in 1863, crossed the plains with his parents to Oregon, stopping in Umatilla county. During those early days he had the severe experiences of a pioneer life in this country, acquiring a hardihood and force, both of frame and character, which has ever stood him in good stead. He enjoyed the advantages off a good common-school education, and in 1880 came to the town to find a business opening, first engaging in draying, jobbing and clerking. In 1888 he succeeded J.H. Kunzie in his general merchandise business, whose store was the oldest in the county. Mr. Means is very successful in this line, and also conducts the postoffice, being well and worthily known throughout the section.
COL. JOSEPH L. MEEK. -
As one of the remarkable mountainmen of our early age, "Jo" Meek is deserving
of special mention. Aside from the class of men of whom he was one of the
types, he possessed an unusual personality of his own. This led him to so conspicuous a place in our early annals that his frequent appearance in the body of the work makes an extended notice here unnecessary. We shall present only the salient features of his remarkable career.
Born in Washington county, Virginia, in 1810, he early developed a love of wandering which took him from home and deprived him of all opportunities of education. While still a boy he ran away from home and joined the trapping company of Sublette in the Ricky Mountains. In the wild life of the border, - its alternate starving and abundance, its fierce extremes of toil and inactivity, its desperate adventures and its wild revelings, - he spent over fifteen years.
In the year 1840, the dissolution of the American Fur Company having left them without occupation, a number of the trappers resolved to collect their worldly goods and seek new fortunes in the Willamette valley. Among the number was Jo Meek. That was the earliest settlement in that part of the valley, and next to the Chemeketa settlement of the Methodist missionaries, was the first American community anywhere in the valley. Meek's place was near the present site of Hillsboro. The various fortunes of this tamed mountain hero-such as his winter journey to the East as the envoy of the Provisional government of Oregon, his part in the settlement of the question growing out of the Cayuse war, his performance of the duties of United States marshal, etc. - are a part of our general history, and need but be alluded to here.
The monotony of farm life was distasteful to a man who had undergone such a life; and Meek's later years were shadowed with poverty and disappointment. He was out of his sphere in such a community as Oregon soon grew to be; yet almost to the end of his life he retained the gayety and reckless abandon, as well as the physical magnificence, which he had possessed to so superlative a degree in his youth. His wife was a Nez Perce Indian of great beauty. His children, of whom he had several, are well known in the state as possessing remarkable personal attractiveness and intelligence. The stormy life of "Old Jo" came to an end on the 20th of June, 1875.
THOMAS MERCER. - This well-known and highly respected resident of Seattle, Washington, whose portrait, together with a view of his beautiful home, is appropriately placed in this volume, was born in Harrison county, Ohio, March 11, 1813, and was the eldest son of Aaron and Jane Dickerson Mercer, - the latter a native of Pennsylvania and the former from an old Virginia family. Thomas resided at his birthplace until twenty-one years of age, and after his school days entered his father's woolen factory and learned the trade thoroughly. In 1834 he moved with his parents to Bureau county, Illinois, and located on a farm near Princeton.
April 20, 1852, with his wife and four children, he left the Illinois home, and with horse-teams crossed the plains to Oregon, being captain of the Mercer train. On arriving at the Cascades, Oregon, he buried his wife, who had been stricken with disease at The Dalles. His first winter in Oregon was passed at Salem; and in the spring of 1853, with one of his companions of the plains, Mr. Dextor Horton, now a well-known banker of Seattle, he came to the present site of that city. He took up a claim of one hundred and sixty acres adjoining that of D.T. Denny, - now having all undergone the wonderful transformation from a tract of wooded, rugged hillside to lots graded and covered by buildings.
On coming to the Sound, Mr. Mercer brought with him the same team of horses with which he had crossed the plains, - the first that ever reached the neighborhood of Seattle. He built in 1854, upon his claim, a residence that is still standing, and in contrast with the beautiful home in which he now lives is a striking evidence of the prosperity of its owner as well as of the city. A few years ago he laid out his entire farm in city lots, and realized a fortune from their sale. He deserves mention also as the one who first christened the beautiful lakes which are the pride of Seattle, having in an address delivered at a picnic in1855 suggested that they be called Union and Washington.
In June, 1858, he was elected probate judge of King county, a position that he held for ten years, declining thereafter a re-nomination. He was also one of the first county commissioners of that county. In 1883 he built his present residence, where he now enjoys the fruits of a well-spent and prosperous life.
Mr. Mercer was married in 1859 near Salem to his present wife, Miss Hester Ward, a native of Kentucky. Two of the four children who came across the plains are now living near the old homestead in Seattle, the third and eldest living near Olympia.
C.K. MERRIAM, M.D. - Mr. Merriam was born June 29, 1848, in Houlton, Aroostook county, Maine, being the eighth child in a family of ten children, the third and fourth being girls.
His father, Lewis Merriam, when a young man, went from New Salem, Massachusetts, to Maine, in 1832, and married and settled in Houlton in 1833. He is now eighty-two years old, and is coming West this summer.
The parents were poor, and lived on a farm two miles from the village. In early childhood he was taught to pick wool, quill yarn, etc., as the wool of the farm was manufactured into garments in the family mill, the motive power of which was supplied principally by his mother; and with boyish impatience he watched his father make his first pair of shoes by candle light.
If a book, slate, or pocket money for a Fourth of July celebration were needed, the wild strawberry patch frequently contributed the means. If a handsled, cart or miniature mill were desired, it was found in the workshop over the woodshed after a few days' work with the lumber and tools; while the yearly sugar camp in the maple grove furnished amusement for the boys as well as syrup for the family.
The farm was sold; and the family
moved about two miles to a sawmill which the father built on
the north branch of the Meduxnekeag, where they remained a short time, until the mill was sold to the oldest son in 1861. The family move again to a farm having an old up-and-down sawmill in Hayesville, Maine, about twenty-five miles south of Houlton. While there he received much valuable advice, encouragement and promise of aid from an older brother, - then and now an officer in the United States army, - which led him to resolve, in 1864, to obtain an education, though not unmindful of the difficult task before him, as the promised aid was to be given him after entering college.
The older children were away, - three to the war, others to make homes for themselves. The parents were growing old, and not only were unable to render much assistance, but required his service in the mill or on the farm with still a younger brother. One term of three months each year in Houlton Academy was all that could be given him; and the expense was chiefly met by teaching writing schools evenings, by money earned driving logs, and by the sale of furs trapped along the banks of adjacent streams in the fall.
In the summer of 1867, after the usual spring work was done, he assisted by his younger brother, cut some timber, hauled it to a stream, drove it several miles to a point near home, took it from the water and manufactured fifty thousand shingles for the purpose of paying for land desired for pasture.
Thus the years ran by, offering little opportunity for study; and the necessary preparation for college required the long tedious struggle of seven years. One day during that period, needing a pair of boots, and having no money, he went one morning to a cedar swamp about one mile from the house, cut a load of shingle rift, and returning yoked the steers, - he had been taught to drink milk and later to work, - haled the timber to a brother's mill near by, and sawed and bunched before night a thousand of extra shingles, which paid for the boots.
On the way to enter Colby University in Waterville, Maine, September, 1871, being unusually pale from too close confinement and study during the summer, his brother, who accompanied him in a carriage sixty miles to Mattawamkeag Point railroad station, urged him not to go, and expressed the opinion that he would not live to get through college; to which he replied, "I will die then in the attempt."
His first term's expenses in the university were paid in part with money earned river-driving the previous spring, his last experience with the peavy. While a student in college, he became a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, and taught schools during the long winter vacations. Just before graduating in the spring of 1875, he applied for a position as teacher of penmanship in the public schools of Lawrence, Massachusetts, and by invitation met the school board of that city May 29, 1875, and was appointed sub-master of the Liver Grammar school, and teacher of penmanship in the city schools for the next year at a salary of one thousand dollars. After getting settled in his new duties he began the study of medicine under Doctor Chamberlin of that city.
At the close of the academic year, in the summer of 1876, he returned to his native town in Maine, and continued the study of medicine under Doctor Bussy. He taught the High School in Rockport, Maine, in the winter of 1876 - 77, and resumed the study of medicine again during the summer, and entered Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City in September, 1877. He went to Lowell, Massachusetts, after the close of the session, and studied medicine under Doctors Burnham and Benoit. He entered the medical department of the University of the City of New York in September, 1878; and in February, 1879, received his degree of M.D. from that institution.
Returning to Lowell, Massachusetts, he began the practice of medicine in partnership with a former preceptor, Doctor Benoit, March 1, 1879. The income from the practice of medicine during the year only paid his expenses; and, becoming impatient and anxious to achieve something more, and being debarred from a commission in the United States service on account of his age, he applied for a medical contract in the army. Being promised such contract by the medical director, Department of the Columbia, on his arrival in Vancouver Barracks, Washington Territory, he started west and was given a contract March 18, 1880, and assigned to duty temporarily at that post. In May he was ordered to accompany troops up the Columbia river to a new military camp at Lake Chelan, - which is destined to become the greatest pleasure resort of Washington. The lake is nearly sixty miles long and is narrow and deep. Its waters are full of immense trout; and its shores abound in large game; while the scenery near its head amid the snow-clad peaks of the Cascade Range is of surpassing beauty and grandeur. En route to this section, the troops landed at While Bluffs and marched across the great plains to a point opposite Lake Chelan, and crossed the Columbia river in Indian canoes and roughly made bateaux. While enraptured with the pure mountain air, the fertile plains and beautiful pure mountain scenery, he received the sad news of his mother's death at the old home in Maine in her sixty-seventh year, which clouded for a time all he had witnessed.
Camp Chelan was abandoned in October, 1880, and a new site for a military post selected near the mouth of Spokane river, to which point the command was moved. He was again ordered to Fort Colville, Washington Territory, in October of the same year. While there he paid the last of his indebtedness, amounting to over twenty-three hundred dollars, and January 1, 1882, possessed the capital of twenty-one dollars. During that year he began assisting, and has since aided, a nephew through college. November, 1882, Fort Colville was abandoned; and he was ordered to Fort Spokane, Washington Territory, where he is still stationed.
On the frontier the lessons learned
from necessity in early life have proved useful to him. Among other things
he improvised a rawhide jacket-splint, with a detachable jury-mast for
supporting the head in cases of Pott's disease of the vertebral column,
which met indications admirably, and possessed the desirable qualities
of strength , lightness and durability. As a taxidermist he has preserved
specimens of many a successful hunt or chase. As a mechanic, household furniture, snowshoes and fishing rods served to utilize an otherwise idle hour. His latest effort was a seven-ounce fly rod made of lance wood, and covered with eel skins sent from Maine. It doubtless has few equals in beauty and durability.
During his connection with the army, he has traveled over the greater portion of Eastern Washington Territory, and has visited Puget Sound. Being so favorably impressed with the great natural resources of the territory, its fertile plains, its fine timber, it mineral wealth, and its healthful climate, he not only decided to make it his home, but induced others of the family to do so. By investing wherever he was able, he has laid the foundation for a snug little fortune.
Z.C. MILLS. - Z.C. Mills
of Seattle, Washington is a native of the Empire state, and was born in
1834. While yet in his boyhood, his parents moved to Illinois, where he
grew to manhood and received his education. After he had reached his majority,
he engaged in business with his father. He was successful; but, when an
American has once felt the excitement of
moving, it is almost impossible for him to be contented, so long as there are new countries to be found beyond the Western horizon.
Accordingly, in 1859, when the Pike's Peak gold excitement reached his home, young Mills started for the new El Dorado, and settled in the new town of Denver, where he opened a tin store. That country, not proving as productive as expected, Mr. Mills, with others, pulled up stakes in 1862, and started for the Salmon river diggings, which were then just reaching their fame as the richest strike yet. The party crossed the Rocky Mountains, the Bitter Creek Desert, Green river, the Wasatch Range, went down the Bear river past the famed soda springs, and had reached a point above Fort Hall, when news reached that the Salmon river gold bubble has burst reached them. They retraced their steps to Fort Hall, and there joined a train bound for Oregon. In the eastern part of that state they stopped, and went to mining in the diggings on the headwaters of Powder and Burnt rivers.
In three months time the Boise gold excitement swept them back to Idaho. They located in the beautiful Payette valley, and built the "Pickett Corrall," a formidable inclosure of logs, which was the first structure in that valley, except, possibly, the old fur trading station in the Hudson's Bay Company times. There Mr. Mills did a general ranch business the year round, and freighted to the mines in the summer months with ox-teams. He continued in that business for three years, after which he went to Pendleton, Oregon, and built, by contract, the first hotel of that place. Upon its completion, he was given its management. Two years later he removed to Umatilla and engaged in the hardware business.
In 1870 Mr. Mills removed to Seattle and formed the hardware firm of Waddell & Mills. They built up a large and paying business. After sixteen years, Mr. Mills bought out his partner; and he is now the sole proprietor. When he started in business in Seattle, it was a place of two thousand inhabitants. Its growth to twenty-five thousand has more than justified his foresight, and his faith in its future. Mr. Mills is an illustration of that class of Americans who have ever been ready to brave any dangers and endure any hardships in search of the precious metals. But these men have been more than gold hunters; they have been the advance guards of civilization for all the country west of the Missouri. Wherever the told and silver prospectors have gone, the grazier or plowman has followed. Mr. Mills, after his many hardships and exposures, is still in the vigor of manhood, and will live to see the city of his choice the entrepót for commerce, the trade of the Northern Pacific coast and Asia.
JOHN MINTO. - While Oregon was held to freedom and the American union against the magnified sprit of despotism of England, as exemplified in the Hudson's Bay Company's rule, in the valley of the Columbia, it is worthy of note that an Englishman made as good an American, and, in the capacity of settler, would do as much for American independence, as one born in Massachusetts or Virginia. In point of fact, many of the best Americans in Oregon were born in England, and proved in their career that American ideas, after all, are not so much a matter of birth or inheritance as the outgrowth of a grand principle which suits the real nature of the most complete minds of all nations. Mr. Minto, a man of great native force and boldness, with a penetrating and inquiring mind, of marked business ability, and much various culture, is a perfect illustration of this fact; and, indeed, he has been so much of an American settler that Oregon without him would not be Oregon.
He was born at the town of Wylam, near Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, October 10, 1822, the family name coming from Scotland, in the person of his grandfather. He crossed the ocean to the United States in 1840, as a member of his father's family, who settled at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and engaged in coal-mining. Very soon after is arrival in this country, young Minton began to hear or see newspaper allusions to Oregon; and, before the close of the year, he declared to intimate friends that "He would go to Oregon if he ever got the chance." In February, 1844, from a plethora of coal on the market, prices were low and ill paid; and a miners' strike was the result. Hoping either to find opportunity to get land under the pre-emption laws, or, that failing to get employment in the lead mines, Minto started from Pittsburgh to Dubuque, Iowa. The boat on which he was ascending the Mississippi stopped over night at St. Louis; and he there learned of companies forming on the Upper Missouri for emigration to Oregon. Immediately making such an outfit of rifle, ammunition, fishing-tackle, etc., as his means would allow, he took boat for the rendezvous.
On arriving at Gilliam's camp,
he was directed to R.W. Morrison, as a party who needed assistants for
crossing the plains, and was soon engaged to him in that capacity. On the
emigrants forming their military organization, of which Gilliam was the
elective head and Morrison one of the captains, Minto was chosen as corporal; but on the sickness of Willard H. Rees, also of Morrison's party, who was orderly sergeant, Minto filled that position until the companies ceased to observe their military rules. On the arrival of the train at Fort Hall, Minto, in company with S.B. Crockett and Daniel Clark, with the full consent of their captains, Morrison and Shaw, left the trains and came forward in advance to the Willamette valley. For this there were two reasons; First, every consumer of food whose services could be dispensed with did a good service to their friends by leaving them and such supplies as yet remained for their families; second, at this point a communication was received from Hon. P.H. Burnett, of the previous year's emigration, saying, "If from any cause there is need of assistance, and the fact is made known in the Willamette settlements, relief will be sent." There was cause of apprehension of suffering, as some families were short of supplies before reaching Fort Hall. In some cases this was caused by improvidence; but the general cause was the slow progress made during the first three months after starting, by reason of rainy weather, and the fact that Colonel Gilliam did not seem to appreciate the importance of traveling whenever possible. Many were dissatisfied with his dilatory course.
The three young men made their way to the Willamette valley settlements without bringing any special appeal for the relief of their friends. they worked about a month while waiting for the latter to reach The Dalles, having meanwhile successfully applied to Doctor John McLoughlin for the use of a bateau with which to return and assist them down the river. The good doctor kindly broke his own rules of trade and opened his store at Vancouver in order to furnish the three lads the means of subsistence during the trip. It was but a trifle, and not "a boatload of provisions," as Bancroft has it; and Minto was in no sense "the leader of the party" thus going to assist their friends. They were equals in every respect; and when they met the train it was only Minto's share of the little joint stock of provisions that he gave to Mrs. Morrison, whom he met at the Cascades entirely destitute of anything to eat in her camp; while her husband, Captain Morrison, was snow-bound near the base of Mount Hood in his attempt to get the cattle of his company and those of Captain Shaw across the Cascades via the Indian trail on the north side of the mountain. Morrison extricated himself and stock by driving them back to The Dalles, where they wintered well, and whence Minto drove them the next spring to the Washougal bottoms, by swimming them to the north side of the Columbia below the mouth of Hood river, and driving them down the river trail to the Washougal.
That service filled a verbal contract made with Mr. Morrison within five minutes of their first meeting at the Missouri home of the latter, and which was lived up to in letter and spirit by both parties, and took a full year's time. The bargain was that Mr. Morrison should board Minto, and Minto would help Morrison to get his family and stock to Oregon. Mr. Morrison bettered his part of the bargain by the gift of a yoke of oxen and chain, which, with his two hands, and an axe purchased at St. Louis, was Minto's capital in starting his business life in Oregon. He had all to earn, but was chiefly anxious to perform well the duties of citizenship. His labor life gave him no trouble.
He had made his declaration of intention of citizenship in Washington county, Pennsylvania, in 1843. He crossed the plains with Americans, as an American, and cast his first vote at Oregon City for George Abernathy, an American candidate for governor under the Provisional government of Oregon. Strange as it may seem, in these days of tax-dodging, he actually was for many years proud to pay his taxes. During early years in Oregon he was a Democrat in the fuller sense of that word than as a mere partisan. Without taking an active part in partisan politics, he noted carefully their drift, and, as the slavery question grew in importance, was strongly opposed to that peculiar institution, but was a supporter of Douglas in his theory that the citizens of a territory and embryo state had as inherent right to shape their own local laws. But he would by no means submit to a partisan rule which placed himself and others in virtual bondage.
A few weeks before the Charleston convention, at which the division of the Democratic party occurred, a precinct meeting was held at Salem. The Democrats, then regnant in Oregon, had under consideration what was known as the "Eighth Resolution," which virtually bound in anticipation all there to support whoever should be nominated. The proposition seemed about to pass as usual, when Minto rose to his feet and said: "Mr. Chairman, I desire to say that I will not vote for that resolution, and will not be bound by it, even though it be carried by a majority of this convention." To the question, "why," he said: "I will tell the gentleman why. Before the nominations are made, to effect which this is the beginning, and before a policy can be declared by the delegates you will to-day elect, the Charleston convention will have met; and all indications point to a division of the Democratic party into pro-slavery and anti-slavery parties. I wish to say here and now, that no resolution that this meeting can pass shall force me to vote for slavery when I have a choice of voting for freedom." This incident is given as characteristic, and as probably being the cause of Minto's nomination two years later - a representative of loyal, adopted citizenship - as member of the state legislature, - a position which he has held three times from Marion county, and virtually refused once in 1874, by declining the nomination of the Republicans, with whom he has generally affiliated since the Civil war.
As an Oregon yeoman, Minto's
life has been that of a pioneer, student and experimentalist, his interest
being to find the grains, grasses, fruits or domestic animals best adapted
to the climatic and other conditions of Oregon, this being to him as satisfactory
compensation as making money by some special line of certainly profitable
application had been to others. This life of experiment and observation,
joined with some facility in telling what he has learned, has brought him
into prominence among his fellow-citizens; and consequently he is