Copyright 1999 - 2003 - Janine M. Bork
This page is part of the Union County, OR AHGP
Indians commenced making inquiries as to how many guns and how much ammunition our subject had. He told them he only had one rifle and very little ammunition, showing them some damaged powder; but they refused to believe it was all he had. After being accused several times in a laughing way of having more than one gun, he thought of Cooper's revolver, and drew it out, showing them how fast it could shoot.
They were greatly surprised, and at once started up, one going between Neely and the gun, and the other to the door, when he saw their intention was to kill him with knives concealed under their blankets. Suddenly Mr. Cooper came in; and the Indians left, after which Mr. Cooper told the news that all the neighbors were on the way to Seattle for safety. Cooper had seen the four Indians at Neely's place, and felt sure that he and his family were murdered. They at once made preparations; and all went to Seattle.
In a short time they returned home and gathered up the things they had scattered through the brush. On the 12th of October he started for Olympia; and, as his wife refused to stay alone, she accompanied him in an open scow; and they returned to Seattle on October 19th. It was rumored that all the settlers on White river were massacred; and on the nineteenth Mr. Neely, armed with a shotgun, started out to ascertain the facts. He reached Moses Kirkland's about nine o'clock in the evening, and found everybody attending to their daily affairs with little fear of the Indians. On his return home he went to the mouth of Black river and found everything quiet, and so reported at Seattle, though almost before his story was told Kirkland, Cox and Lake were in town, and were certain all the settlers behind were murdered, which was indeed the case.
On October 23d a company was organized to go and bury the dead. Our subject joined Company H, of the First Regiment of volunteers, and acted as scout most of the time while in the company. At the expiration of the service of Company H, the Indians attacked Seattle; and shortly afterwards Edward Sanders raised Company A, which Mr. Neely joined, being elected second lieutenant. At the expiration of this company's time he was in command of the company, and mustered them out of service on July 29, 1856.
Knowing it unsafe to return home, he remained with his family in Seattle until April, 1857, and then moved near L.M. Collins' fort, on the Duwamish river, where he rented a place and managed to slip home once or twice each year in order to say that he kept up continuous cultivation on the Donation claim. There he lived in 1857, '58 and '59, when he returned to the Donation, and has lived there ever since, farming and dairying.
He now owns six hundred and thirty acres of land within two and a half mile of Kent, and eighteen miles from Seattle. He is engaged extensively in hog-raising, and is the king bear and cougar hunter of King county. Mr. Neely is sixty-six years old; and his wife is sixty-four. They have seven children living, and eight grandchildren. He is a Republican-Prohibitionist, and in favor of woman suffrage. He never held a civil office except that of postmaster. His religion is, "Do good to all, and be just and moral; and God will deal in justice sure."
MATTHEW NEEVES. - Mr. Neeves, a prominent citizen of Pendleton, Oregon, was born near Syracuse, New York, in 1830. He there received a common-school education and remained until he was twenty years old. Going west to Galesburg, Illinois, he made his way in that new section in the capacity of a Yankee school-master. After one year in that place he went to Platt county, and remained another year as teacher.
In 1852 he was induced to join the company of the veteran pioneer Joab Powell, and arrived at Portland in October of the same year. He first turned his attention to mining on Rogue river, and remained one year. After this he made his home in Douglas county until 1862, and went thence to the Florence mines, and was engaged in mining and freighting until 1867. At that date he returned to Douglas county, and remained in that delightful region more than ten years. After this long rest he was ready again for a new settlement, and, coming to Umatilla county, located a claim on Butter creek, and remained engaged in stock-raising and farming until 1880. The attractions of Pendleton, however, which was now becoming a point of interest and importance, led him to make his home within her borders and enjoy the remaining years of his life. He has one daughter and a stepson. After many reverses he has been able to collect sufficient property to live comfortably as his sun draws towards the west.
HON. JAMES WILLIS NESMITH. - Oregon has given a few men to the nation; and the luster of their memory still shines in the galaxy of her heroes. Colonel Baker, one of the most brilliant men ever at Washington, District of Columbia, has coupled with his title that of senator from Oregon. Yet he was in no sense an Oregon-made man, but rather made use of Oregon to elevate him to a seat which it was impossible for him to attain from Illinois. With Colonel Nesmith, however, the case was the reverse. He was as truly an Oregon man as one of his age could be, not only coming to our state with the first immigration, but gaining largely here his education, principles and manners. As a commanding historical figure, it will be proper here to notice the circumstances of his life, his political career, and his mental and moral characteristics.
We do not often find distinguished
ability without finding also antecedent capacity in the ancestry. The family
to which our senator belonged is remotely of Scotch Presbyterian blood,
but as early as 1690 removed to the north of Ireland, becoming thereafter
of the Scotch-Irish race, who have made themselves famous on both sides
of the Atlantic. In 1718 the family removed to America; and William Morrison
Nesmith, the father of our subject, connected himself by marriage, about
1814, to Miss Harriet Willis, of a distinguished old family of New Jersey,
her father owning the site of Elizabethtown in that state. The young couple,
however, made their home in Maine; and their third child and only son,
Willis, was born to them in 1820 in New Brunswick, while his parents were there on a visit. The childhood of this boy was in some particulars quite distressful. His mother was drowned while he was still an infant; and when he was but five years old his father lost his entire fortune, which was large, by fire. The peril to life was so imminent in this casualty that the family escaped only by taking refuge in a marsh, until the city and surrounding woods had ceased burning. Resulting from the exposure there experienced, his stepmother sickened and died; and the boy was obliged to live among friends and even strangers. His father never amassed another fortune.
Young Nesmith's life was consequently very little in one place; and his education was very desultory. He was, however, fond of books, and absorbed the current ideas of the times as he went from place to place. He early began to earn his own livelihood, and as he attained manhood developed the jovial temper and humorous turn which make care sit so lightly and baffle misfortune. Being detached from an established life in the East, he came out to Ohio, stopping at the home of his cousin, Joseph G. Wilson, late member of Congress from Oregon, and with him attended the district school near Cincinnati. He still felt the westward tide, and soon after came on to Missouri, where he was joined by his father, who died and was buried in that state. With the loss of this loved parent, the young man had no ties to restrain his impatience to find the fortune and honor that awaited him on the Pacific coast, although he probably imagined as little as anyone that his restless longings, every warning his solemnly beneath the exterior gaiety of his life, meant for him the distinction and service to which he attained.
In 1842 he mounted a horse and rode off to Independence with the intention of joining Doctor White's party for Oregon. But the train was ahead of him; and he was prevented from riding after them by the report of the hostility of the Pawnees. Remaining on the frontier until the next season, he gained a year's livelihood by performing carpenter work at Fort Scott, Kansas, and with the Applegate party of 1843, crossed the mountains. Perhaps it was upon this trip that his life-work was first suggested. To while away the time, the lawyers in this company conjured up a legal case, which was argued and put through all possible transmutations; and Nesmith, one of the principal parties concerned, showed so much address in the hand he bore as to win the high praise of Peter Burnett, who told him he ought to study law. Coming to Oregon City, and finding more or less spare time on his hands, he adopted the suggestion by gathering up what few books on this subject he could find. He gained from them a practical and common-sense idea of jurisprudence, which enabled him two years later to fill the office of judge under the Provisional government.
In 1846 he made the home which he had been lacking nearly twenty years, by his marriage to Miss Pauline Goff, daughter of the pioneer of 1844. She was a lady whose personal and social attractions were much appreciated some years later at Washington. His farm was near the present Dixie, and is now occupied by his son James. He was favored at this time by the loan of cattle to the value of a thousand dollars by Doctor McLoughlin, who proffered him the lot, telling him that now he was married he must be wanting a few cows.
In the winter of 1848 he was one of the number who went to the Cayuse country to avenge the death of Whitman, for whom he had the highest regard, and again in 1855 he served with distinction in the Rogue river and Yakima wars, earning there the title by which he has ever been known, that of colonel. In 1857 he was appointed superintendent of Indian affairs, serving two years. This was a position of high responsibility, covering a field which included Oregon, Washington and Idaho. In the meantime he had been to California in 1848 and dug gold six months, paying his debt to McLoughlin with the dusty, and had built two miles about Dallas a gristmill, the operation of which proved very remunerative. He made the acquaintance of General Lane while on the water coming up from San Francisco. From his residence at Oregon City, and in Polk county, and at Salem as United States marshal, and from his services in the state legislature and in the army and among the Indians, he was gaining a thorough grip upon the affairs of our young state, and becoming one of her most popular men. This led the way to his political preferment.
The threatened disruption of the Union in 1861 disturbed parties no less in Oregon than elsewhere; and life-long political friends became widely separated. General Lane, then senator from our state, took the side of the south, accepting a place as Vice-President of the old Democratic ticket with Breckenridge. His efforts were thereby calculated to detach Oregon from the Union, or at least to sever it from any active sympathy. Without doubt his purpose looked to an ultimate if not immediate coalition between the Pacific states and the south in the great Southern republic of which the Carolina cavaliers dreamed, which was to include the West Indies and Mexico. Nesmith, however, was a politically strongly attached to Lane, and all the old Democrats. He was nothing of an Abolitionist, and felt no sympathy with the anti-slavery agitation; and for this reason his pro-slavery friends expected him to unite with them. But he could not brook the destruction of the Union. That was first, and must be preserved with whatever consequences to any other institution. He therefore stood out from the regular party ranks, and in 1860 accepted a position as elector on the Douglas ticket.
In 1861 the Douglas Democrats,
largely in the minority, put him forward as candidate for the Untied States
Senate; and the Republicans, also a minority, had such confidence in the
Colonel, knowing that he was for the Union to the backbone, that they readily
united to secure his election. He therefore became senator, to fill the
place left vacant by Lane. In taking this course, Colonel Nesmith assumed
a vast responsibility, as, in those uncertain times, the whole weight of
decision to preserve or to acquiesce in the division of the Union might
turn upon his single vote. Nevertheless his convictions upon this one point
of national preservation
were so clear that he entered upon his duties with alacrity and enthusiasm. during the entire period of the war he was indefatigably on the side of the national authority, and became a trusted adviser of President Lincoln. He also served on the military committee; and his military views, picked up on the frontier and in Indian warfare, were sought by the generals at Washington, and were frequently of essential service. Hs counsels wren ever for promptness and efficiency and decisive results. After the war was over, however, he strenuously opposed the reconstruction measures of the Republican party, and became identified with the Democratic party of later days. For many years after his return to Oregon he was leader of his party in our state, and in 1873 was elected to fill the unexpired term of his cousin, J.G. Wilson, who by death left vacant his seat in the United States Congress. The history of our senator is therefore written deeply in national history; and his is a fame which is commensurate with that of the Union in which he identified his reputation, fortune and life.
Colonel Nesmith's natural and moral characteristics are worthy of much study, as well as illustrating the kind of mind developed on the frontier. First of all stands out clearly his confidence in his own mental operations and conclusions. He took no steps except upon his own judgment, and felt certain that what he worked out for himself was practically correct. This led to his astonishing independence. It is not an easy thing to withstand one's life-long associates, to take up with a cause which may throw one down from a well-earned popularity, and to identify one's self with a cause which is, for the present, and may ever be, the weaker. This is a moral quality of the highest value, and to men with the qualities of leadership, like Nesmith, to whom popularity is worth something, is one of the most difficult to attain. It involves a certain truthfulness with one's self, and shows a commanding self-respect which compels fidelity to principle. Coupled with this high quality, he had a breadth and common sense which forbade narrowness.
He had not only respect for, and loyalty to, his own opinions, but respect and charity for the conviction of others. He had peculiarly that large view which prefers to see men and their ideas go for what they are worth, and, if they cannot be reconciled when in conflict, to expect that the best will survive the struggle. Not a contentious man, he was nevertheless combative, and, while careful to be right, felt no hesitancy in trying his views by the final arbitrament. With this martial spirit, he had very broad sympathies, and never lost his warm personal regard for General Lane, for whom he had named his eldest son. it was the request of the general that, at his funeral, Colonel Nesmith pronounce a few words; and no one can read this classic oration in the light of all the memories involved without great admiration. Furthermore, at the request of the Senate, he pronounced a eulogy upon the unbending Abolitionist, Charles Sumner. That great senator from Massachusetts was worlds farther than Lane from Nesmith's own personal sentiments; yet that speech was so broad and just as to attract universal attention.
The substratum of his character, it will be seen, was earnest and rugged, involving a self-respect and sturdy truthfulness which is found alone in the best men. To this he added an intellect of exceptional clearness and vigor, remarkable for its ready reasoning and wonderful memory. To ease the way of life he developed a natural streak of Scotch humor; and his ready memory served him quaint anecdotes and illustrations for every occasion, and made him one of the most interesting conversationalists. The same quality made of him a successful speaker and a fluent writer, although in neither of these fields he was so perfectly at home as among a group of friends where he could indulge in jest or repartee. He was in no respect a man of wide learning; but his own life and experience had served him a world of facts; and he was fertile and quick in resources. His character is well defined in the portrait which we present.
His death occurred in 1885; and of none of her sons may Oregon feel more proud. His public career was without taint or corruption, as his private life had been without stain of dishonestly; and, in this respect, he is a most worthy example for all of the public servants of our state.
Of his children, the eldest, Joseph Lane, died in infancy; Mary J., the wife of Levi Ankeny, resides at Walla Walla; Harriet, the wife of L.L. McArthur, resides at Portland; Valena, the wife of W.W. Molson, lives at Derry; and James and William reside upon the old place by the Rickreal
ROBERT NEWELL. - "Doc" Newell, as he was commonly called, was one of the same breed of pioneers as Jo Meek. He was, in fact, associated with the latter for many years in the wild, trapping life on the border; and when that was given up he went with the rest of the little company of trappers to Oregon and became one of the state-builders there. He was born near Zanesville, Ohio, on the 30th of March, 1807. After having spent some time in Cincinnati, in learning the saddler's trade, he was led by his adventurous disposition to go with a trapping party, in his eighteenth year, to the Rocky Mountains. It was there that he became acquainted with Joe Meek. Te friendship of the two rough but warm-hearted trappers deepened into the closest intimacy; and in after years they stood by each other through thick and thin.
Newell went with Meek, Doty, Walker, Wilkins, Ebberts and Larison, in 1840, to the Tualatin Plains, where most of the number became permanent residents. Newell himself bore an honorable part in the affairs of the growing state; and, although he had had few advantages of early education, he possessed a natural intelligence and force of character which gave him due recognition among the strong-headed men of our early epoch.
He was married in 1846 to Rebecca Newman, of Marion county. In 1867 he changed his residence to Lewiston, Idaho; and there he died in November, 1869.
S.F. NEWHARD. - At the
southern end of the beautiful Grande Ronde valley, on the line of the Oregon
Railway & Navigation Company, and
at the foot of a high, bald hill, is situated Hot Lake, - or White Sulphur Lake. This is a circular body of water of about two and a half acres, with an average depth of three feet, and is fed by two boiling springs, which appear near together at the southern edge where the water is deepest. These springs are in shape of a basin twenty feet across and ten feet deep; and the water coming up perfectly clear form the bottom is the best agent that has been found for allaying pain and curing all the ills that the human family is heir to. In one of these springs the temperature reaches an average of from one hundred and seventy-five to one hundred and eighty degrees. Chemical analyses show it to contain free sulphureted hydrogen gas, carbonate and sulphate of calcium, sulphate of soda, sulphate of potash, alumina and silica, together with organic matter. This lake is declared by knowing ones to equal the famed hot springs of Arkansas, and has already effected relief or cures in many classes of disease.
Samuel F. Newhard was born in Pennsylvania in 1830. His parents emigrated to Ohio in 1837, where he received a common-school education and worked on his father's farm until 1852, when he crossed the plains to California, and in that sunny state engaged in mining and farming for twelve years. The superior attractions of Union county, however, drew him to its scenes, where he located the land upon which is situated the lake above-described, and is still proprietor of this remarkable water. He has erected a small invalids' hotel, with faculties for bathing and hygienic appurtenances.
Mr. Newhard is also engaged in stock-raising, and maintains a vineyard and fruit farm in California.
JOHN M. NEWMAN. - The gentleman whom we here introduce to the reader, and a view of whose residence is placed in this history, is a native of Sullivan county, Missouri, and was born August 10,1851. While but a lad of thirteen he came to eastern Oregon, and, after a sojourn of a year upon the sage-brush plains, continued the march to the Willamette valley. Some years were there spent in Marion and Benton counties, the most interesting period of his life there being his marriage to Miss Isabel Forgey, a noble woman who has borne him eight children.
In 1878 he arrived in the Kittitass valley, and took a claim seven miles from Ellensburgh, Washington Territory. There he still resides, and is engaged in cultivating his farm. He intersperses the time with running a blacksmith shop, which is well patronized. His one hundred and ninety acres of excellent land supporting many head of horses and cattle, producing much grain, and improved with good buildings and an orchard of three hundred trees, is now one of the most delightful places in Kittitass county. As justice of the peace, as school director, and in many public ways, Mr. Newman assists in helping on the community, and is a well-respected citizen. His progressive and helpful qualities are sought, and are ever ready to be lent in schemes of public improvement, such as immigration, etc. His surviving children are Olive M., Lillie V., James Otis, Minnie May, Fred P., Jacob Niles. Ada and Lena are deceased.
W.B.D. NEWMAN. - This well-known pioneer and veteran of the Indian wars comes of primitive stock of old Virginia, where the English family settled on the south bank of the Potomac, and where the father of our subject was born in 1793, and grew up to be a stout defender of the young American republic in the war of 1812. The mother, Matilda Downing, was also of Virginia, having come from that state to Kentucky. William was born in 1827 in the latter state, and two years later accompanied his parents to Ohio. Meeting with the loss of his mother at an early age, he was brought up under the care of his mother's sister, and received his education at Ripley, Ohio.
At the age of fifteen he began work on his own responsibility on the banks of the Ohio river, and upon neighboring farms. His way led down the Ohio and the Mississippi, even to New Orleans, but not liking the South, he bent his steps towards the West. In 1848 he was in Illinois. Making also a trip to Indiana, he found there a party preparing to cross the continent to Puget Sound, and joined the company. A requirement of the organization made it necessary that for every four men there should be provided two yoke of oxen, or two span of horses, and the party set out in the spring for St. Joseph. Starting from that point in good style, they made the journey amid the usual difficulties, hardships and pleasures of the way, arriving at Olympia November 15th. A well-remembered circumstance of that event was their waiting by the shore of the Sound for the tide to fall so far as to allow them to get a breakfast of clams, which they took straight.
In 1854, having in the meantime made some inspection of the region, Mr. De Newman was engaged with Governor Stevens in taking the census of the Indians, and in the summer of 1855 was operating with Surveyor Byles in preparing the county for settlement. In the fall of that year he joined a company of volunteers to quell the Indians, who were on the war path and committing great depredations. he acted first as wagon-master, and after the building of the blockhouse on White river was sergeant at that post. He also participated in the sharp fight on May 8,1856, in which the savages were beaten back and forced to cross the Cascade Mountains. he accompanied his company in June across the mountains to Walla Walla, and passed over the Blue Mountains into the Grande Ronde, taking a part there in the horseback fight or running battle, in which the hostiles were thoroughly subdued and compelled to sue for peace.
In 1857 Mr. De Newman settled upon the Lower Chehalis, a region with which he was fully satisfied, and has lived upon his farm for nineteen years. During ten of these years he has operated a sawmill.
His farm is now reached by a
railroad line, to which he has a way station of his own. There he lives
to see the great progress of modern days, a happy, genial, prosperous man.
He was married in 1868 to Mrs. Mary A. Reed, and has a family of three
children, Sarah Belle, Emma Laura and William Clarence. There is also one
CHARLES NICKELL. - Among the young men of ability and energy in the Pacific Northwest who have come to the front through their own efforts is the gentleman whose name is given above. He is a native of the Golden state, having been born at Yreka in 1856.
The advantages for receiving an education in early days were not good; but, notwithstanding this fact, his natural push gave impetus to a spirit to improve each opportunity for storing his mind with that which would fit him for a sphere of usefulness in the future; and so well did he succeed that at the age of thirteen years he was assistant teacher at Yreka with Professor William Duenkal. In 1869 he quit that most trying of all pursuits, and in 1870 entered the office of the Yreka Journal, completing his printer's apprenticeship in twenty months.
In 1871 he permanently removed to Jacksonville, and worked as compositor and reporter on the Democratic Times until December, 1872, when, at the age of sixteen years, he formed a partnership with P.D. Hull, and launched out as a full-fledged journalist by the purchase of that paper. The great fire in 1873 swept away the office and entire plant in common with other buildings. But the Times existed in a few active brains, not simply in types and plates, and was running as lively as ever in a short time thereafter. In 1874 Mr. Nickell became sole proprietor; and under his personal management it has become a very remunerative property, having a circulation of twenty-five hundred, which is second to no paper published in Oregon outside of Portland. Through its columns Southern Oregon has derived great benefit in the way of advice and advertisement, influencing newcomers to the state to make that section their adopted home. As a writer his style is aggressive, clear and succinct, never aiming at brilliant figures of speech, nor stringing after effect, but appealing directly and understandingly to the minds of all, with a terseness that is commendable. Being a Democrat in politics, the political editorials in the Times herald the principles of that party in unmistakable terms, and champion its leaders. Mr. Nickell has invested his surplus means quite largely in real estate, now owning about six thousand acres of choice land in Southern Oregon, and considerable property in Multnomah county. He is also interested in mercantile pursuits in Jacksonville, and is prominently identified with many of the principal enterprises of Southern Oregon.
Without being an officer-seeker, he has become prominent in politics, and is one of the leaders of the Democracy. He was nominated against his will for state printer in 1886, but owing to political combinations was defeated by a small majority. He is at present president of the Oregon Press Association. In his domestic relations, Mr. Nickell was highly favored, in 1881 having been united in marriage to one of Jacksonville's most accomplished young ladies, Miss Ella, daughter of Judge P.P. Prim. She was a native of Oregon, and was regarded by all who knew her as an exemplary wife and mother. Her death occurred in the early summer of the present year. Three children, the youngest of whom has since died, with their father, were left to mourn her untimely demise. Mr. Nickell's resolute spirit meets all life's experiences with fortitude, and enables him to pursue his duties with energy, notwithstanding this terrible calamity that has befallen him.
CAPT. PLEASENT CALVIN NOLAND. - Captain Noland, one of the most substantial farmers of Lane co8unty, and for nearly forty years a resident of Oregon, was born in Missouri in 1830. His ancestry extends to Ireland and Wales; and his grandfather, Leadstone Noland, was a soldier in the war of the Revolution. His father, Smallwood V. Noland, became a pioneer of Missouri, and a very conspicuous man in that region, and as commissioner of Jackson county was concerned in the removal of the Mormons, by whom he nearly lost his life. In 1846, entering the service of the United States army, Captain Noland, our subject, was sent to Indian Territory instead of Mexico, and in 1849 crossed the plains to the mines of California. Returning East in 1851, he drove the next year a team to Santa Fé, and in 1853 came to Oregon. The journey terminated in a manner as difficult and severe as that of 1845 in Meek's cutoff; for at Matthews the immigrants were met by a man from the Willamette valley who was coming to meet his family and conduct the train by a new route to the latter place. This was to cross the Cascades by the middle fork of the Willamette river.
Nearing the mountains, eight men, including Captain Noland, went ahead with ten days' rations intending to cross the chain of the Cascade Mountains into the Willamette valley, and procure provisions for the train, as supplies were already growing scant. After a week's travel these scouts found themselves off the road; and when the supplies failed they killed and "jerked" a fat Cayuse pony. After crossing the Des Chutes, near the foot of the Three Sisters, and wandering up on their flanks without finding a trail, a division arose as to the direction to be pursued. As it was impossible to agree, three took a route northerly and five southerly.
The men shook hands all around as they separated, with much emotion, and gave messages for their friends, as one party or the other might never escape. It would be a bit a romance to follow the oils of these wanderers through those long mountains, and to note how the five in the party to which Noland belonged finally refused to journey longer together, two taking one direction and three another, parting as before with hand-shaking and solemn farewell messages. The day's travel for Noland and his two companions after this last parting was difficult; and their minds were filled with apprehension. Climbing a great ridge, from which they expected to see the Willamette valley, they discovered only another long, blue range as high as that on which they stood; but, seeing a smoke in the cañon below, and supposing it to be Indians, they descended, and were not a little pleased though a little disappointed to find their companions of the morning.
In three days they came upon
a deserted camp
and a fresh deerskin. This latter served to cut up and roast, and furnished several good meals for hungry men. They pressed on to overtake whoever had gone before. Two days more and they were up with the men, who proved to be no other than the three members of the party who first divided. With torn clothes and bare feet, and limbs scratched and sore, they looked as sorry as the five; but the reunited companions made no secret of their joy at meeting, and fell into each other's arms as the only way to express their emotion. They soon prepared a feast to celebrate their meeting. This consisted of a salmon that had been picked up on the bank of the stream, a lot of roasted snails from the woods, and boiled thistles, with a dessert of elder berries. The deer spoken of above proved to have been killed by some wild animal and left on the spot. After this they toiled on down the widening stream, eating snails and berries, and at length came upon a clearing on the banks of the Mackenzie river. This was the farm of Mrs. Davis; and at her home they dined as if in a dream, - reminding them of their dreams of feasting at some royal board while they were yet sleeping in the hard mountains. Going on to Springfield they reported the train of wagons still in the mountains; and a party went out to meet them, saving them from starvation.
The following spring Captain Noland bought a place a mile south of Cresswell, and there made his home, and amid all the comforts of the Oregon farm lives upon it to the present day.
During the Indian war of 1855-56 he was among the first to be on the ground, in Captain Buoy's company. After his term of three months' service was up, he returned home and raised a company of which he was commissioned Captain. He participated in the memorable fight in Southern Oregon; and it was his company that was attacked at night in the Cow creek country, which was having a little sport playing and wrestling. The incident related in which Captain Noland was to meet by appointment two others at a certain place, and failing to do so the two parties fired upon each other in the darkness, Noland's shot knocking off the hammer of a whit man's gun, illustrates the hazards and humor of warfare with the Indians.
The Captain was married in 1857 to Miss Lena, daughter of Ellen Stewart, of Eugene. Two sons were born to them, George and James E., the former of whom graduated from the State University and studied law, and is now practicing at Astoria. Mrs. Noland dying in 1873, the Captain married Miss Melissa Davidson in 1879; and they now have a daughter, Neva.
CAPTAIN Z.C. NORTON. - Of the early pioneers to Oregon who were natives of the Pine Tree state, the subject of this sketch occupied a prominent place during his life. He was born in Farmington, Maine, December 29, 1808, and when fourteen years of age was sent to sea by his father for the purpose of learning navigation, and gaining possible promotion to the captaincy of a vessel. His patron was an old friend of his parents, and was the commander of the vessel in which our subject began his travels on the briny deep. By close attention to the duties of his calling, he rapidly rose in the estimation of shipowners, and on the arrival of his majority was given the command of a vessel.
In 1833 he was married to Miss Caroline Norton, and took his bride on board of his vessel; and for ten years its cabin was their home. during that time he was in the European and West India trade, and by his energetic management and business tact accumulated sums sufficient to purchase an interest at different times in various vessels. In 1847 he built the brig Sequin, and in her made several trips to the West Indies and to South American ports. While in the latter trade there occurred the circumstances which brought about his coming to the Pacific coast, and his subsequent settlement in Oregon.
In 1848 the Sequin was loaded at Bath with lumber, which the captain hoped to dispose of in Rio de Janeiro; but on arriving there the market was found so dull that he weighed anchor and left for Buenos Ayres, where the lumber was sold at a fair price, a cargo of hides taken on board, and preparations made for a return trip to New York. But prior to his departure word came of the wonderful discovery of gold in California; and he discharged his cargo of hides and took on a cargo and passengers for San Francisco. He was advised not to undertake the journey around Cape Horn, as he would arrive there during the stormy winter season. But the Captain had a mind of his own, and was determined not only to venture as intended, but also to ultimately go into the coasting trade between San Francisco and the North Pacific. This caused no little remark among the sea-faring people in the harbor; and many an ancient mariner warned the Captain not to attempt the determination expressed to cross the Columbia river bar, for fear that the bones of his brig and all the passengers and crew would bleach on the hostile sands that rumor had told them of.
At that time very few had visited the Pacific Northwest; but every sea and ocean was haunted with fearful tales of the dangers that attended the crossing of the Columbia bar, and in entering our great river. He sailed from Buenos Ayres on April 10, 1848, and entered the Golden Gate after an eventful voyage of one hundred and forty-two days. On his arrival in San Francisco the gold excitement was at fever heat. The harbor was full of ships of all nations that could not find crews; nor could they find traffic to engage in. The Sequin was just the craft for the coasting trade of that period; and very soon Captain Norton was able to carry out his intention of working into the Columbia river trade. On the 27th of November he sailed from San Francisco for Portland with a mixed cargo and twenty-two passengers.
Crossing the Columbia bar in
those years was no child's play. It was winter time; and the heavy winds
made the surf beat furiously. Passengers gathered anxiously along the bulwarks
watching the heaving of the lead, the frowning surf-beaten headlands, and
the treacherous sand points that lay between. There was no pilot waiting
outside, and no tug to offer friendly service for legitimate fees. Captain
Norton on the second offing worked his
way into the north channel, heaving the lead in a northeast snowstorm, and towards evening worked in and anchored at Baker's Bay December 2d. The next day they reached Fort George; and their ocean voyage was ended. The passengers had paid from one hundred to two hundred dollars for their transportation, according to accommodations. Stephen Coffin, one of the Portland town proprietors, was among them; and C.A. Reed, his future son-in-law, was another.
The passage on the ocean was quick enough; but the journey up the great Columbia was a much longer affair. That was a year of freshets, and a severe winter. The brig pushed along up the river against high water and floating ice. The passengers were mostly booked for Portland; and nearly all stayed by the vessel, which was fifty-four days in the river before it arrived at its destination; and when at last the city was reached they found little more than a good-sized village in the woods.
The first mail that ever came to Oregon in United States postal sacks came on the first trip of the Sequin, being put on board at San Francisco. The ship left there in 1849, when there was no regular steamer service; and, mail for Oregon having accumulated at San Francisco, the postmaster improved the opportunity to send up the mail on hand.
Captain Norton made several voyages in his brig, and found the trade profitable. The first voyage down he loaded with flour at five dollars a barrel, and sold it all readily at twenty dollars a barrel.
In one voyage down from Portland the Sequin cleared its owners eighteen thousand dollars. Besides carrying passengers, he loaded the brig often to good advantage. The second trip he brought up coffee, stored it at Vancouver and Oregon City, and cleared three thousand dollars on it. The Captain was a shrewd hand at business, and could make money honorably and fast enough; but he was not so good a hand at saving it. Like many others, he did not show foresight in his disposals for the future. He abandoned sea-going, and remained for some years at Portland, attending to business, having built one of the first, if not actually the first, good frame store building erected in that city. This was the same wooden structure that was torn away to make room for the extension of the Oregonian block. He dealt in merchandise awhile, and then took up a land claim in Clackamas county, on the river of that name, twenty-two miles from Portland. He spent seven thousand dollars stocking this farm, and lived there until his death. at that time cows were worth one hundred dollars, and average lots in Portland the same price; but the cow and her increase were in the present, and Portland's lots were in the future. There are many who made the same mistake; but Captain Norton enjoyed plenty while he lived, and left the farm for his beloved wife.
Those who were here in the early times will remember Captain Norton as one of the characters of early Portland. He was free hearted and liberal to all who were in need. Many a time he found immigrants, who had reached Portland destitute, after the long journey across the plains, and took them home to relieve their needs. Having no children, they provided for many children who had been left fatherless. One family, especially, they took charge of; and its members have lived and grown up to remember and cherish their memory.
Captain Norton died on February 13, 1879, full of years and honors, leaving behind, to mourn his loss, his beloved wife, children whom he had raised, and legions of sincere friends. In the brief space allotted to biographies it would be impossible to portray his many good qualities, - energy, integrity, affability and philanthropy, - nor yet given, exception in brief, the incidents of his career. In his death the state lost one of her most useful and capable citizens, his wife an affectionate and care-taking husband, and those to whom he dealt out his many acts of kindness more than a friend, - a father.
Mrs. Norton is now three score and ten, but still bears her age as if many years young. For some two years after the death of her husband she lived in their handsome and comfortable farm home, when she removed to Oregon City, residing in that place for several years, and finally removing to Portland, where she makes her home with Mrs. R. Williams, whom in a great measure she had raised.
Few people who have lived as long as this charming old lady can look back on life with such an unbroken record of good deeds as she; and fewer still are they whose faces wear more cheerful smiles or show less wrinkles. Hers is a character like Caesar's wife, "above suspicion," and a disposition akin to that which the angels are said to have.
HON. JOHN W. NORVAL. - Mr. Norval, at present state senator from Union and Wallowa counties, was born in Knox county, Illinois, June 5, 1840, and is the son of James and Mahala Applewhite Norval. He resided upon a farm at his native place until the age of twenty, having while a mere boy suffered the loss of his father, and being a member of a family of four brothers and one sister. In April, 1860, he came west to Alexandria, Missouri, where he joined an emigrant train and came across the plains to California, arriving at Stockton November 6, 1860. He first found employment in teaching school until August, 1861, after which he came to the Northern mines in British Columbia, and for five years followed mining in Idaho, Washington and British Columbia, meeting with varying success.
In the fall of 1866, he located a farm near Summerville, Oregon, and resided there for two years. In 1868 he located upon his present place, three and a half miles east of Summerville, where he has five hundred and sixty acres of choice land in Wallowa county. During the Bannack war he enlisted in a volunteer company, and was elected captain. In 1878 he was appointed, by Governor Thayer, major of the Third Brigade of the Oregon militia. Mr. Norval was candidate three times for the state legislature, but, from the fact that Union county was persistently Democratic, he was defeated until June, 1888, when he was elected to the state senate for Union and Wallowa counties, a position that he has ably filled.
Mr. Norval was married in Union
county in 1867 to Miss Catherine J., eldest daughter of Honorable Terry
Tuttle, who is a native of Iowa. They have two sons and one daughter.
HARRISON B. OATMAN. - This gentleman, a pioneer of the early days, and at present one of the capitalists of Portland, was born at Courtland, New York, in 1826. As a child he moved with his parents to Ohio, and at the new home in Bellevue attended school, laying a good foundation for his later study and information. At twelve he removed with his parents to Rockford, Illinois, and was married there in 1847 to Miss Lucena K. Ross.
In 1853 he made with his family the toilsome journey to Oregon, crossing the plains with ox-teams, and establishing his home in Jackson county. The early days of his residence there were spent in mining, and in trading and packing. He was closely associated with the lamented Fields, whose massacre at the summit of the Siskiyou Mountains in 1853 was the real beginning of the general Indian war. Indeed, Mr. Oatman was a member of the party to which Fields belonged, and was with him on that lonely mountain; and by only a chance, running between the arrows, he escaped to the settlers and gave the alarm, in response to which a company was gathered and the mutilated body of Fields recovered. Mr. Oatman remained in Southern Oregon fourteen years, coming thence to Portland, where he has since resided. On arriving there he went into the grocery trade, which he gave up after a number of years and confined himself to speculations in land. Being bold, keen and strong handed, he has carried on his operations with great success. Of late years he has invested his capital largely in the Coeur d'Alene mines, and has realized large returns.
He has an army record worthy and significant. In 1865 he joined the First Oregon Infantry, and after serving two years was mustered out in 1867 with the rank of first lieutenant and with numerous commendations for gallant conduct upon the field.
HIRAM W. OLIVER. - Mr. Oliver is a native of Indiana, and was born in 1827. He is the son of a farmer. In 1849 he moved to Illinois, farming until the fall of 1853, when he changed his residence to Iowa. In 1864 he crossed the plains to the Pacific coast, and located a claim in the Grande Ronde valley, Oregon, at the north end of the broad, timbered flat northwest of Summerville, and purchased a sawmill there which he is still operating. He manufactures a large quantity of excellent lumber, and also conducts large farming operations.
He married Miss Julia McCaleb in Illinois in 1856; and their seven children are all prominent in Union county. This companion died in 1874. His present wife, Maria L. Burt, makes for him and their three children a delightful home. Mr. Oliver owns ten hundred and forty acres of timbered land in the vicinity of his mill, and also has considerable well-bred stock.
TURNER OLIVER. - This wide-awake citizen of Union county is the son of Hiram W. Oliver, a biographical sketch of whom is also included in this work. He was born on May 7, 1860, in Iowa; and, although but four years old when crossing the plains, he remembers distinctly some of the exciting incidents of the journey to the Grande Ronde, particularly the pursuit of a band of Indians who were making off with the horses of the train, but upon close pressure were obliged to let go all except those belonging to two Dutchmen, who were in ill odor with the train for shirking their duty as guardsmen. That day three young men were sent to a fort some miles distant for government aid, which they failed to get, and on their return to the train were fired upon by a scouting party of soldiers and had two of their horses killed. He also remembers how the following winter all his father's family were obliged to subsist upon boiled wheat, mashed wheat, and wheat straight, without salt or other seasoning.
Turned obtained the most of his primary education by a systematic course of study at home, working at his father's mill during the day, and studying by the light of a fire of pine knots at night. By this assiduous application he fitted himself to teach school, and began a career in that line at the age of seventeen. After he was twenty years of age he made further attainments by two years' attendance at the Blue Mountain Academy, and two years more at the State University.
In 1884 he succeeded to the management of his father's lumbering business at Summerville. In 1885 he accepted the principalship of the public school at Union, which he raised from a chaotic condition to one of the best in Eastern Oregon. He declined the same position the next year in order to accept that of deputy county clerk of Union county, and in that capacity is serving with credit to himself and with honor to his county.
Mr. Oliver is of a bold, frank and generous disposition, with plenty of nerve and an inflexible will. He takes great interest in the cause of education, and allies himself with every enterprise calculated to benefit society, and to accelerate the wheels of progress.
MRS. HANNAH J. OLMSTEAD. - Life upon the Pacific coast brings out the heroic qualities in women as well as in men. It is a social and conventional form which keeps them in the shadow of their husbands' names. But everybody knows that the greater part of the incentive which a man has to win a position or a fortune comes from his wife. It has long been remarked that the women in the immigrant trains showed more pluck than the men; and many a dispirited husband was cheered up and almost carried through by his brave better half. Delicate women, not used to severe work, would wield the axe or the ox-whip when it fell from stronger hands, and in case of the loss of their companions could take care of their children.
Mrs. Olmstead is one of these
women, - a lady who can run a farm, transact her own business, and provide
for and educate her children. She lives at Walla Walla, Washington, and
owns her home. She is a native of South Salem, New York, was born in 1835,
and is the daughter of Lewis and Eliza Keeler, well-to-do farmers, who,
by the way, are still living, and are now eighty-one and seventy-six years
old, respectively. In 1851 Miss Hannah was married to Daniel H. Olmstead,
of Port Huron. Soon after their nuptials he was led to the Pacific
coast by the California gold excitement. Like the most of the gold-hunters, Mr. Olmstead expected to make his fortune in a few months, - in a year at the longest, - and then go home to enjoy it. Fortune-making was not, however, so speedy a process; and the beginnings of his competency were destroyed by the fire which devastated Sacramento in 1853. His property was the Empire Flour Mills. Meeting this loss with characteristic fortitude, he began again to pick up the ends of a living, if not a fortune, by working with a dray at San Francisco two years, then a short time at Crescent City, and soon at Portland. At the last place he found employment with Colonel Ruckle, of the Cascades, in sailing a schooner between the two points last-named.
In 1859 he was able to return East and bring his young wife to the home which he had made at the Cascades, within sight of the most stupendous scenery of the coast. He had become a Western man. His return was in 1861. The first winter passed at that place was terribly severe. Snow fell to a depth of eighteen feet, - one of those phenomenal avalanches which occasionally burst upon the Cascade Mountains. The thermometer was frequently below zero. In addition to their own hardships, they were beset by half-starved, frost-bitten wretches from above, trying their best to get through to some milder clime than that east of the mountains. Although the Columbia was blockaded with ice fully three months, and there was no telling when their household provisions might give out, no one passed their door without being well warmed and fed.
In 1864 the Olmsteads moved to Walla Walla county and purchased a farm near the Oregon line, but met with little encouragement. The climate and soil were not so well understood then as now. After twelve years of hard labor, and the endurance of the privations of a new and sparsely-settled country, Mr. Olmstead was taken with a severe sickness, under which he sank and died. Mrs. Olmstead, thus bereaved, was left with her four children, and only a farm which had not yet proved productive, from which to gain a support. But, with great spirit and courage, she herself undertook the management, and was rewarded with a large crop of oats and hay, and with increasing stock. For a number of years she conducted the place with equally good success. In 1880 she moved to Walla Walla, buying a home for the sake of educating her family.
There are no failures on this coast, either among men or women, where hearts are so true and brave as Mrs. Olmstead's.
JAMES O'LOUGHLIN. - This gentleman, whose portrait adorns the opposite page, is one of the representative men of Skagit county, Washington. He is a native of Ireland, thus making Skagit, as every county in the United States indebted to the emerald Isle. County Clare was the region of his birth; and the time was April 9, 1844. Before he was three years old, his parents crossed the ocean to this land of liberty, bringing their nine children with the. They located at Lyons, New York, but in 1856 went to Lapeer, Michigan. There the boy James learned the tinsmith's trade. After the completion of his apprenticeship, he clerked in a hardware store nine years. In 1870 he removed to Yankton, Dakota, where he lived one year. In the following year he set forth with his family to cross the continent.
Coming to Puget Sound via San Francisco, he made his first pause at Port Townsend in May, 1871. Thence he proceeded to Seattle and in December of that year established himself at La Conner. He worked at his trade there till 1877. Then, having purchased one hundred and sixty-four acres of land near the town, he devoted himself to farming. His neighbors having inveigled him into political life, he was elected in the fall of 1880, to be sheriff and assessor of Whatcom county. At that time, Whatcom included Skagit. He was thrice elected to that office, serving six years in all. In 1885 e was appointed inspector of customs under H.F. Beecher, having his station at La Conner. That post he held eighteen months, giving, as in all his official relations, universal satisfaction.
Though a firm Democrat in his political faith, Mr. O'Loughlin is respected by men of all parties. Mr. O'Loughlin was married at Lapeer, Michigan, November 28, 1867, to Miss L. Adell Hough; and they now have a fine family of nine children.
ESDRAS N. OUIMETTE. - A portrait of Mr. Ouimette is placed in this work as a representative business man of Tacoma, Washington, and as one who located and pinned his faith to the City of Destiny in the early stages of its organization. Mr. Ouimette is a native of the province of Quebec, Canada, and was born in St. Eustache June 6, 1838. He was educated at the common schools, afterwards graduating from the St. Eustache College. He resided in his birthplace until twenty-two years of age. In 1860 he went to Montreal and engaged as clerk in a general merchandise store, where he remained for nearly five years.
He then concluded to seek his fortune in the golden West, and came to Portland, Oregon, in the latter part of 1865,where he first found employment with the well-known dry-goods house of Jacob & Meyer. One year later he engaged in business for himself in Portland, where he remained until 869. He then removed his stock of goods to Olympia, Washington Territory, where for the following ten years he conducted a large and prosperous business. While in Olympia, Mr. Ouimette was looked upon as one of the most enterprising citizens of the Capital city, and held the office of Mayor of Olympia for two terms. Our subject was one of the first projectors, and mainly instrumental in the building, of the Olympia & Tenino, now the Chehalis Valley Railroad. In Olympia as in Tacoma, Mr. Ouimette has always taken an active part in any movement or enterprise that would benefit the city in which he lived.
In 1878 he concluded to seek
a new location. After looking over the territory, he selected Tacoma for
his future home, and in the fall of that year purchased sixty-five
feet of land on the corner of Eleventh street and Pacific avenue, on which
he erected three two-story buildings, in which he embarked in
the dry-goods trade until 1883, when his building and stock were consumed by fire, entailing a loss of over ten thousand dollars above insurance. In 1884 he erected on the same site the present beautiful Ouimette Block, the first three-story brick building erected in Tacoma. He then sold his dry-goods business to C.T. Harris & Co., and engaged in the real-estate, insurance, mortgage and loan business, in which he has been very successful.
Mr. Ouimette owns a large amount of real estate on Pacific and Tacoma avenues and on other streets in the city. He purchased eight additions to the city by the acre, and sold the entire property in lots. Mr. Ouimette's success has been phenomenal, as he is now one of Tacoma's wealthiest men, as well as one of the most respected in business and social circles of the residents of the City of Destiny. He is vice-president of the Washington National Bank, and is more or less interested in all the different enterprises that tend to benefit the City of Tacoma.
Mr. Ouimette was united in marriage in Upper Canada in 1865 to Miss S.M. Curry. By this union they have five children, one of whom is deceased.
JAMES W.F. OWENS. - This gentleman was the eldest son of the pioneer Thomas Owens, and came as an infant in arms with his parents to Oregon in 1843, his birthplace having been Platte county, Missouri. In 1853 he removed with his parents to the Umpqua valley, and, amid the beautiful scenes of that almost unearthly region, grew to a vigorous manhood. His only education was received during a six months' term of school at Dallas; but, having a phenomenal memory, this laid the basis for his large information of later years. He was one of those men who devour books and entertain very positive opinions upon the important subjects of life.
The free and withal romantic life of a stock-raiser suited his bent; and in that business he was very successful. Marrying Miss Nannie L. Stevens of Ohio in 1864, he made for himself a cozy home, and gathered about him the comforts of life. Four children came to bless his life; and his early prospects were equal to those of anyone in our state. he owned for a long time a ferry on the Umpqua river, but made his residence at Roseburg. Gaining the confidence of the people, he was elected to the Oregon legislature in 1874 on the Independent ticket. During those years he was also very active in the Good Templar lodge, and was advanced to the most honored positions in that order, being elected state deputy in 172. In 1877 he went heart and soul into the work of organizing the State Grange. In that year the local association erected a warehouse at Roseburg; and for nearly ten years it was in charge of Mr. Owens.
He gained the entire confidence of the city and county in a business way; and when, in 1886, he entered into the wool business, he was heartily supported and accredited by the whole community. His operations were bold and well designed. His former business methods, however, proved inadequate for his present large dealings. Trusting solely to his memory, - hitherto a safe and ready recorder, - his affairs began to pass from his control. Transactions and promises upon which he relied had no written proof of their existence, and their failure threw him into distress. Buying wool very heavily for a Boston company on a margin, the market began falling, and he was called upon to make up the deficiency. He was led into this large deal by the advice of the house at Boston. The failure of the market and the drafts upon his credit exhausted his own means; and his numerous friends were doubting as to making further advances.
With a sensitiveness born of integrity, and the final belief that he had not only ruined himself but entangled his friends, and fearing that he had no written proof by which to clear himself from the suspicion of delinquency or even of dishonesty which some would be sure to indulge, the burden of such a prospect for the time darkened his mind and clouded his reason; and in that despairing state he took his own life, - as a terrible protest of his innocence of wrong.
His honor has since been perfectly vindicated, although for a time it was viciously assailed; and there is no man whose loss has been more deeply deplored. In politics he was ever on the progressive side, examining public questions with reference to their bearing upon the welfare of the masses, and their furtherance of public morals. He was the principal originator of the Prohibition party in Oregon, and the founder of and a large contributor in the Prohibition Star, or more recently the Pacific Express.
His family of a wife and four children are living at Roseburg, and are comfortably provided for.
THOMAS OWENS, - Thomas Owens, a pioneer of 1843, was born in Tazewell county, Virginia, in 1808. His father, Thomas Owens, was born in Wyeth county, Virginia, in 1757, and with his family came to Floyd county, Kentucky, in 1814, where he lived to the age of ninety-four. Father Owens, as his Kentucky neighbors called him, was we are told, "A valued citizen, known as a good husband, affectionate father and kind master."
Thomas Owens, the subject of this sketch, was a born pioneer, having the courage to bring his wife and three children across the plains with the immigration of 1843. All those who crossed to Oregon in that year will remember the familiar, tall, raw-boned, athletic Kentuckian as Thomas Owens might be said to be. He was the man who knew so well how to meet and overcome every difficulty, that it became a common saying among his comrades, "only give Tom Owens a piece of wet moss, and he will make a rousing camp fire."
The immigration of 1843 was the
first to bring wagons west of Fort Hall; and Thomas Owens, John Hobson
(the present collector at Astoria), George Summers and Mr. Holly were the
first immigrants to bring wagons into Oregon. Our sturdy pioneers were
obliged, owing to the near approach of winter, to leave their wagons and
stock at Walla Walla in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company in the fall
of 1843. They came on their westward way
upon a raft to Vancouver, where they left their families, continuing their journey down the Columbia in a canoe in search of suitable homes. All went well until they reached Chinook Point, where a gale of wind wrecked their canoe and left them at the mercy of the many Indians who then possessed the land. Fortunately the Indians proved kindly, and were induced to ferry them across to Astoria, where they found Mr. James Birnie in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's fort, and Colonel McClure, as the only white men at the town or station. By their advice, Owens and party went down to Clatsop Plains, and there found land to suit their wishes.
They immediately started back to Vancouver after their families. On their way up the Columbia in the canoe they met Gustavus Hines, Jason Lee and Robert Shortess coming down the river. We can easily imagine that those hardy adventurers had a merry night together as they camped where Columbia City now stands. In those days there was not a single white man between Fort Vancouver and Astoria. Arriving at Vancouver, Doctor McLoughlin very kindly furnished them with a full winter's supply, and a bateau in which to carry their families and produce to their new homes on the verge of the Pacific Ocean. Christmas day, 1843, they landed on Point Adams, and in one day they built houses with which to accommodate their families.
In June, 1844, Messrs. Owens, Hobson, Summers and Holly started back to Walla Walla after their wagons and stock. Early in July they reached Walla Walla and found all their stock cattle, horses and a span of mules in fine condition. They hauled their wagons to The Dalles, where Hobson and Holly took charge of the stock and drove them across the Cascade Mountains and by the way of Tillamook to Clatsop Plains; while Owens and Summers made a raft and with their four wagons, goods, and Miss Ann Hobson as the only passenger, boldly pushed out into the Columbia for their destination. At the Cascades, they were obliged to carry everything around the rapids and to allow their raft to drift over. It went to pieces in running the Cascades; and again Mr. Owens had to depend upon the Indians for transportation. He obtained two large canoes, and by laying a platform between them (catamaran style) again had a boat. Upon this catamaran these dauntless men brought their wagons and lady passenger safely to Clatsop Point.
Thomas Owens located about the middle of Clatsop Plains upon the farm now occupied by Mrs. Goodwin. There he soon made a comfortable home and valuable far; and there several children were born. His eldest daughter, Diana, was married to John Hobson; and no man ever obtained a more grandly beautiful bride.
When Mr. Owens located on Clatsop Plains, there were only four other white settlers and two missionaries, Reverend Josiah L. Parrish and William Raymond. The white settlers were Trask and Perry, Solomon Smith and Tibbets, the last two being pioneers of 1832. Colonel John McClure was at that time the only American resident of Astoria. Indians were numerous both on Clatsop Plains and Indians were numerous both on Clatsop Plains and north of the Columbia river about Chinook Point and Shoalwater Bay. The early settlers of Clatsop were supplied with seed potatoes in 1843 by James Birnie of the Hudson's Bay Company, who kindly furnished them with ten bushels each, they promised to return twenty bushes in 1844. Unfortunately, the crop of that year failed; and Mr. Birnie must wait until 1845. Mr. Owens, undertaking to return his potatoes in the fall of that year, was unlucky enough to lose his canoe as well as potatoes, in a storm that caught him on Young's Bay. Nevertheless he was not to be discouraged nor turned aside by an obstacle, but pressed on with the improvement of his farm, and gradually found himself surrounded with neighbors.
As an evidence of his interest in education, we copy a notice found among his old papers, viz., "In pursuance of public notice, the citizens of Clatsop Plains met at the dwelling house of Thomas Owens on the 25th of February, 1851, for the purpose of organizing two school districts," etc., - describing the boundaries of both districts, and being signed by John Robinson, Chairman, and J.P. Powers, Secretary. This action formally established the first two school districts in Clatsop county.
From 1843 to 1850, the Indians of Clatsop Plains were occasionally aroused against the Whites; and many times the latter were exposed to great danger from bands upon the war path. Mr. Owens had many dangerous encounters with these lawless bands; and one incident may be mentioned which illustrates his cool, determined charact3er. In 1847 an Indian known as Spuckum was known to have killed several cattle belonging to Mr. Owens and his neighbors. A warrant for the arrest of this Indian was put into Mr. Owens hands; and he accordingly went down near the spot where the Seaside House now stands to apprehend his man. He found the thief near a clump of bushes, which served as a retreat to hid his skulking form. Riding around to the other side, so as to be in the open land, Owens met the Indian, now grown bold and savage, coming out of the willow covert with a long, ugly knife carried bare and held aloft threateningly. Spuckum's evident intention was to attack and destroy his pursuer. Owens, however, sat coolly on his horse holding his trusty Kentucky rifle across the pommel of his saddle, and began to warn the savage off. This did not check his advance, and was perhaps misunderstood as a sign of fear. As many as twenty paces had now been closed; and only ten more remained. Another moment would bring him within striking distance. But this Owens prevented by firing; and Spuckum fell, having received the bullet at the elbow and thence through his body. Had Owen's rifle failed him, he would probably had been murdered. This cool, determined courage caused him to be held in high respect ever thereafter by the Clatsop Indians.
Mr. Owens continued to live at
his ocean home until 1853, when he determined to remove to the Umpqua valley
in order that his growing herds might have larger pastures. With his true
pioneer independence, he built a large flatboat, upon which he carried
more than one hundred head of cattle with his family and goods as far up
the Columbia as St. Helens. From that point he made his way by land to
the spot where Roseburg, Oregon, now stands.
In the charming Umpqua valley he gain very soon made himself a comfortable home, which he enjoyed for sixteen years. There he had an extensive and splendid range for his stock. He was a great lover of fine horses, and as early as 1855 his grand old horse Jeff was known throughout the Willamette valley. For this animal Mr. Owens refused eighteen hundred dollars in cash.
In 1869 Mr. Owen's health began to fail; and, hoping that sunny California might restore his usual vigor, he went to Shasta county, of that state. Unfortunately he obtained little relief, but lingered on until death came to give his restless spirit repose. He died at Piety Hill, California, July 23, 1873. His faithful wife and nine children remained to mourn his loss. Three of his children who crossed the plains with their parents have been well and honorably known in Oregon. The eldest, Diana, already referred to as the first Mrs. John Hobson, was justly styled in her girlhood as the Beauty of the Plains. Mrs. Dr. Owens-Adair, who is still highly esteemed by a host of friends throughout our state, and the late Hon. W.F. Owens of Roseburg, receive due mention elsewhere in our pages.
How wonderful and mysterious are the workings of Providence! The defeat of Charles, called the Pretender of England, at Culloden, caused one of his followers, Sir Thomas Owens, to take refuge with his family in American, and so to make it possible for his great-grandson, our pioneer, to lay down his life in our far away Western land.
MRS. DR. OWENS-ADAIR. - Berthina Angelina, the second daughter of Thomas and Sarah Owens, was born February 7,1840, in Van Buren county, Missouri. She saw her fourth birthday in her father's Western home on Clatsop Plains, Clatsop county, Oregon, her parents having made the then dangerous and tedious journey across the then dangerous and tedious journey across the plains with ox-teams in the summer and fall of 1843. At this time Berthina was a small child, delicate in stature for her age, and having a highly nervous and sensitive nature, but with a strong, vigorous constitution, thus early showing a good physical foundation for great perseverance and endurance. The country reached by her parents was new to them, and virtually unoccupied, save by Indians. It was a wilderness unbroken by the means and appliances of our civilization, with no visible evidence of its immediate settlement and development. If it were a nice thing to do for these elder people to leave their old established homes, social relations and open markets, thousands of miles away, and come into this new land, from which they could not return, their experience at the end of the journey taught them that they had retraced their steps in their lives to what appeared to be a childish adventure, and to a place where a child might lead them. This young girl was now as old as were her parents in all of their new surroundings. And we offer this beautiful thought here, that seems like a mirror, as it were; for it reflected the impression of the future of this household:
"The gloomiest day hath gleams of light.
The darkest wave hath bright foam near it.
And twinkles through the cloudiest night
Some solitary star to cheer it."
In plain view, where the sensible horizon receives the sun's dip at eventide, beyond the moaning sea, and on the beautiful Clatsop Plains, this young girl took the first step in her life, with that small band of pioneers, and with them began her hopeful march towards a higher civilization, which in all similar cases ahs been attended with trial, privation and suffering. In the little to encourage them she was an equal partaker. In all that brought success she had a joint interest. Domestic duties or confinement to the house had but little favor with her. The long, open-air journey had prepared her, as a bird, for a more open or outdoor life; and, as she was fond of domestic animals, especially the horse, she found full flow for her animated spirits in assisting her father in his pursuits. She was of a precocious and hopeful disposition, and looked, as her days increased in number, for a better time to come to herself and family, with its rewards for making so many unfortunate sacrifices. And thus she spent her time until she was thirteen years of age, with no school to attend until she was eleven years old, when a teacher came into the neighborhood to teach the traditional three months' school each year. Under that arrangement Berthina received the benefit of that school for three months.
At that period her father moved to the Umpqua valley and settled near Roseburg. On that trip, as on other occasions, Berthina was of great help to her father in looking after and driving stock; and if, in consequence of her excellent health and vigor, she was enabled to run and jump well, and do a boy's work, it was her father's pleasure to call her his "boy," it but bespoke the character we accord to her at her age in frontier experience, which should exist in a youth to secure in time proper strength in mental development. Hardly had her family become settled in the Umpqua valley before this uneducated and inconsiderate child followed the wretched custom then in vogue, - early marriage, - by marrying Mr. Legrand Hill May 4, 1854. As might have been expected, that marriage did not prove a happy one. At the expiration of four years a separation took place; and the unfortunate wife found herself, at the age of eighteen years, broken in health, penniless, and with a two-year-old baby boy in her arms. Those four years of trial and hardship had developed the thoughtless child into a thoughtful, self-reliant woman.
She found a home in her father's
house, where she, with returning health and strength, was determined to
educate herself and fit herself for the duties now resting upon her. At
that time she could scarcely read and write; for she had not been to school
but one summer in her life. To aid her in her purposes she sought all manner
of work, even washing; but her father and protested and said: "No, why
not stay at home and be satisfied. I am able and willing to support you."
At that time, the spring of 1858, there was as good a school in Roseburg
as there was in Oregon. Arising at five a.m., she helped milk, assisted
in house-work, and by half past eight was ready for school. On Saturdays,
despite her father's wish, she did her washing, and out of school hours
did her ironing, thus realizing from three to five dollars per week, and
keeping up with her classes all the while. At the end of three months she found her way through the third reader.
In September she returned to Clatsop Plains with her sister, Mrs. Hobson, who resided there. As she had applied for a divorce, and a change of her name to that before her marriage, with the custody of her child, she returned to Roseburg the following spring to attend court. This suit was hotly contested on account of the custody of the child. S.F. Chadwick was counsel for Mrs. Hill, and B.F. Dowell for Mr. Hill. Mr. Chadwick succeeded in getter her the divorce, the child, and in changing the name of his client to her maiden name, Owens. Mrs. Owens always has a kind word for Mr. Chadwick for his cheering words in her early troubles and trials. After this success she renewed her efforts to sustain herself by sewing and for a year and a half was very successful. She grew discontented, and wanted to return to her studies. Though attractive in appearance, she would not listen to offers of marriage, certainly not until she had education enough to make an intelligent wife, if she married at all.
With this feeling she returned to Clatsop, and late in the fall of 1860 visited an old friend, Mrs. Munson of Oysterville. They were playmates in early life, and ever afterwards devoted friends. Mrs. Munson suggested that Mrs. Owens remain with her and go to school; and this offer the lonely widow accepted. She took in washing to pay for the schooling, and for three months, with assistance evenings, made great proficiency in reading and grammar, and returning to her sister at Clatsop Plains said: "I am determined to go to school until I get at least a good common education. I do not wish to make my living over the washtub, nor at any other form of drudgery. Nor am I willing to live with any relative for merely board and clothes; for I know that I can educate both myself and child, which shall be accomplished." Mrs. Hobson approved of this determination, and consented that her sister should spend six months with them; and they would pay her board six months in Astoria, thereby enabling Mrs. Owens to attend school for that time.
She was to live with Mrs. Hobson during the summer and in Astoria in the winter. This plan was carried out. Now Mrs. Owens needed a little money, which she proposed making by teaching a little country school. So she said to her sister: "By getting up at five A.M., I can get through with all the farm work by eight or half-past eight; and then I could be ready to teach at nine o'clock. Do you think Mr. Hobson could get me a few scholars?" She asked Mr. Hobson; and he told her to take the horse herself and get them, which she did, and received the promise of sixteen children at two dollars per quarter. This was her first effort in teaching; and it was made in the old Presbyterian church of Clatsop Plains, where of her sixteen pupils three were further advanced than herself, and ranged in age from five to fourteen years. She was an earnest and devoted teacher, and frequently borrowed the books of the advanced scholars, and, with the aid of her brother-in-law in the evenings, managed to keep ahead of her work. The advanced scholars did not know that this teacher was not entirely competent to instruct them.
From this school her first fortune was realized. It amounted to twenty-five dollars. She added to this treasure by picking blackberries on Saturdays in their season; and in this way her summer time was occupied. But when winter came around she found herself, son and nephew in Astoria ready to go to school again. Her courage never faltered; and she renewed her washing on Saturdays in order to provide necessities for herself and boy. Here was a trial indeed, - an examination in arithmetic to fix her class. Arithmetic she had scarcely studied at all, and had found it extremely difficult. A kind teacher seeing her trouble allowed her to go into both the first and second classes, and after school hours helped her forward. She felt her situation fully when she found herself reciting with children from eight to fourteen years old. This condition was of short duration; for in a few weeks, by extra hours of study, she found herself rapidly advancing, and at the end of the first term was in most of the leading classes.
Many were watching her progress; and, as the teacher's young wife was prevented by ill health from longer assisting in the school, the directors for the second term, mindful of the industry of Mrs. Owens, appointed her assistant at a salary of twenty-five dollars per month. This offer was gladly accepted. She asked for and received permission to recite in two classes, arithmetic and algebra. In addition to this she joined a reading class, also a sewing class, each meeting twice a week. She paid her board by doing the housework of six or eight rooms, which, compared with former labors, was an easy task. A young lady from Oysterville, who had been in an advanced class the preceding term, was now a pupil of Mrs. Owens in most studies. The wife of the teacher having resumed her place later on, Mrs. Owens did the washing for two large families at one dollar and a half each per week, and another at two dollars per week. This was done by beginning at three o'clock A.M. Mondays and Wednesdays, and being at her school desk by ten a.m. at the latest on those days. To get her ironing done she might be found many nights late, with her book before her, studying hard her lesson while pushing the iron. With her school, as assistant teacher, she had saved a little money; but with the greatest economy she had hard work to make ends meet during the winter of 1862 and 1863.
In the spring Captain Farnsworth,
a worthy man and pilot on the Columbia river bar, having noticed the spirit
and determination of Mrs. Owens to succeed, offered her ample assistance
to enable her to obtain a thorough, collegiate education, which generous
offer was declined, this strong, self-willed, earnest woman preferring
to rely solely upon her own exertions for advancement rather than incur
an obligation from even so sincere and honorable a friend. She took a school
at Bruce Point at twenty-five dollars per month, at which great satisfaction
was given, in view of which the term was continued. When she applied to
Judge Olney, school superintendent, for a certificate to teach, he said:
" I know you are
competent to teach that school; for I have had my eyes on you for several years, and am well convinced that you will do your duty." This was a tonic to her energies; and she pushed forward in her work. From that school she received a call to Oysterville to take charge of the school there, not forgotten by her old friend Mrs. Munson, a school in which three years before Mrs. Owens was an ignorant but a willing scholar. This was accepted; and but a short time before the term ended she was offered the school on Clatsop Plains at forty dollars per month. This being better than any offer yet made, it was accepted.
Having saved all she could of her earnings, she concluded to build a little home. Being an expert with a sewing machine, and with crochet needles and crochet work, then in fashion, she had in nine months, above all expenses, saved two hundred and twenty-five dollars. With part of this money she purchased the ground on which now stands the residence of Mr. I.W. Case, of Astoria, and contracted with a carpenter to build a house thereon. She moved into an old building at Lexington, now called Skipanon, and pursued her school and needle work. This was a healthful place for the young widow and her son; and by persistent industry she had saved one hundred and sixty dollars by July 1, 1864, at which time she was enabled to move into her own little home in Astoria. There she spent her time in improving herself and boy, doing such work as offered, occasionally teaching, but residing in her own home, and at the end of three years found herself out of debt, with a neatly furnished home, and having the respect and confidence of the community to cheer her on her way.
In the fall of 1867 she went to Roseburg to visit her parents. They urged her to remain; and she did so. In the spring, by the aid of a brother-in-law, she established herself in the millinery business in Roseburg. For two and a half years she had uninterrupted success, when opposition appeared in the form of an expert milliner, who at once became the attraction, and left the pioneer milliner without business; and she even laughed at Mrs. Owens for having no better claim to the trade than that she had picked up the business. Mrs. Owens' power to overcome obstacles was quickened by this treatment; and she went to San Francisco late in the fall of 1870, and received instructions from the best milliner in that city. Her son was left with Reverend McGadden. She returned to Roseburg in the spring with a fine stock of goods suited to the season. With this she succeeded beyond hope, and realized a yearly profit of fifteen hundred dollars. Her business increased from year to year. In 1871 her son was placed in the University of California.
Her desire to receive a scientific, medical education now began to grow upon her. Her experience in the sickroom increased this determination to improve her mind in the study of materia medica; and after witnessing, through the ignorance of a physician, an unpardonable case of malpractice upon a little child, she at once procured from Doctor Hamilton of Roseburg such medical books as in his opinion she should study. He handed her first "Gay's Anatomy," and at the same time gave her some instructions. Hon. S.F. Chadwick, being present and hearing the conversation, went up and said to Mrs. Owens, "Go ahead, you will win." The other friend who encouraged her in this study was Uncle Jesse Applegate, whose excellent advice caused her to respect him as a father. His encouraging words were always an incentive to greater efforts. Pursuing her studies until she felt that her intention to go abroad and take a regular course in medicine should be known by her parents, she announced it to them, only to receive in return a storm of objections from every quarter, but which ere repelled with a pleasant reference to them.
A lady friend remarked to her: "Well, I always gave you credit for being a very smart woman; but indeed you must be crazy to undertake the study of medicine." Mrs. Owens observed, with an assuring smile: "You will change your mind when I come home a physician and charge you more for doctoring you than I now get for your hats and ribbons." Her friend replied: "Not much. You are a good milliner; but I don't want any woman doctor around me." Mrs. Owens said: "Tim will tell; and people sometimes change their minds." As a matter of fact, in less than three years this same lady applied to Mrs. Owens for medical treatment. During her last year's business at Roseburg, Mrs. Owens gave much attention to temperance matters, and received the highest office in the Good Templar lodge. She also was an earnest advocate of women's suffrage, and wrote often on those subjects.
In 1872 she went to Philadelphia to begin a regular course of medicine. Reaching Philadelphia, she at once matriculated in the Eclectic Medical University, and employed a private tutor; and then one hundred dollars secured her the assistance of the dean for one hour each day. Twice each week her afternoons were devoted to lectures and clinics at the Pennsylvania Hospital with the lady students from all the city schools. After attending two terms of lectures, she receive her degree, returned to Portland, forming a partnership with Dr. W.I. Adams. They opened out on First street near Taylor, one part of their store being assigned to millinery, the other to drugs and medicines. The millinery store was attended to by her sister. At the end of a year this partnership ended; and, as Mrs. Owens had been successful, the millinery store was no longer needed as a reserve. Her son graduated at the Willamette University in 1877, being then a little over twenty-one years of age.
Although prospering in her profession,
she felt that she should have a more thorough training in that science,
and a degree from an old or regular school of medicine, as she intended
to be second to no physician in the state. When her purpose in this respect
was made known, her friends again made strong objections, saying, "Why
not leave well enough alone." Strange to say, her old, esteemed friend
Jesse Applegate was strongly opposed to her going to college. He went to
Portland to plead with Mrs. Owens against a second collegiate course. He
said, "Now that you have the foundation of a medical education, close application
to your profession will increase your knowledge and power." She
established her son at Goldendale, Washington Territory, and on the 2d of September, 1878, was a passenger for California en route for Philadelphia. She went prepared with valuable letters from governors, United States senators, and eminent doctors, by which aids she hoped to be admitted into the renowned Jefferson College of Philadelphia, or the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York.
At Philadelphia Mrs. Owens called upon Doctor Hannah Long Shore, a member of the first class of women graduates from the Philadelphia Woman's Medical College, and received very flattering attentions from the lady physicians. She had a cordial welcome when she called on the justly celebrated Professor Gross of Jefferson College, and an invitation to breakfast with him. Among other things he said: "I would gladly open the doors of Jefferson to you my dear little woman; but I have not the power to do so. That power rests with the board of regents; and they are an age behind the times, and would be enraged and shocked at the mere suggestion of admitting a lady student." He further said; "Why not enter the Woman's college? It is just as good as the Jefferson. There students are subjected to the same board of examiners, and obtain just as high a standing." While Mrs. Owens acknowledged this to be true, she stated that graduating from a woman's college did not stand at par out west, and that her diploma must place her in the front rank out there. Doctor Gross then remarked: "The University of Michigan is the school for you. It is a long-term school, and stands second to none in America."
After trying New York, where she found the same conditions as at Jefferson, she went to Ann Harbor, Michigan, where she at once matriculated. A week later the lectures began, and with them hard and incessant work for Mrs. Owens. For nine months she averaged sixteen hours per day, and even in vacation gave ten hours to this study and answering in writing questions in anatomy. When her professor learned this he said, "You have done more than any student of the university ever did, and more than I ever expected any student would do." Her college custom was to rise at four A.M., take a cold bath, use the brush freely, exercise vigorously for ten minutes, then study till breakfast at seven, and work regularly during the day. She rested a half hour after dinner and supper, and continued studying till nine P.M., when she retired, to sleep soundly. She was always in perfect health, and ready for work. Mrs. Owens at the end of the second term, graduated in a class of ninety-nine, many of whom were literary graduates before taking a medical course. Having arranged to spend three years away from practice in study and in improving herself in her profession, she now devoted herself to hospital work in Chicago during the summer of 1880. There her son Doctor Hill joined her, and gave his time to hospital work until October, where with his mother he returned to Ann Harbor, where he entered the senior medical class for a past graduate degree.
Mrs. Owens, now a full-fledged M.D., as resident physician attended all advanced lectures in medicine, surgery, therapeutics and practice in the homeopathic department. In addition she took two chairs in the literary department, history and English literature. She was given free access to the hospital, and the opportunity of seeing all operations. Thus for another six months she was occupied from eight A.M. to six P.M., excepting an hour for dinner, either with lectures or clinics. At the end of that time, Doctor Hill having passed an satisfactory examination, Mrs. Owens and Doctor Hill, accompanied by two lady physicians left for Europe in April, 1881. She visited Glasgow, Edinburgh and Hamburg. They were entertained by a former classmate and graduate of Ann Harbor, Mrs. Doctor Fulgraff, who had located at Hamburg to practice her profession of dentistry.
From Hamburg they went to Dresden, taking in Berlin and Potsdam, and seeing everything of interest. Before leaving Dresden, Doctor Hill became homesick and declared that he would rather see his Western sweetheart than all the cities of the old world, and soon turned his steps homeward. The lady M.D's. continued on through Austria, Prussia, Switzerland and France, giving special attention to hospitals and medical laboratories. While in Paris, Mrs. Owens learned by letter that urgent matters of business required her early presence in Portland by July 1st following; and, being anxious to return to practice again, she returned home. At New York Mrs. Owens had some trouble with the custom-house officials in reference to instruments purchased in Paris, and on which a duty was claimed of seventy-five dollars; but, as they were for her own use in her profession, and as she was equal to any emergency, she came off first best.
She was cordially received by friends at Portland on her arrival, the 28th of June, and on the twenty-ninth patients came to her for treatment. Her neat and commodious rooms were located on the corner of First and Main streets, over the drug store of her old friend, Dr. O.P.S. Plummer, which rooms were occupied until Mrs. Owens removed from Portland in July, 1887. There she obtained a rapidly growing and lucrative practice, her receipts after the first year averaging five hundred dollars per month. Mrs. Owens was extremely gratified that, no sooner had she announced her readiness to receive patients, that her parlors were filled by old acquaintances, who were her friends in the days of her trials and hardships; and even her enemies, if such they could be called, came also, all bearing evidence of their confidence in her, and the respect in which they held her as a physician. With all of this combination of poverty, ignorance and efforts made for work, the promised day of rewards to compensate her for the struggles and sacrifices made to enable her to reach the goal of her ambition was now dawning upon her. Many incidents might be given of deep interest; but we will refer to only one.
One morning a woman entered her
office pale and trembling from pain and long suffering. She said: "I have
been ill for years; and the doctors say I can never be cured. But I hear
so much of your skill that I have come to see if you can give me any relief."
Who should this be but Doctor Owen's old rival in the millinery business
at Roseberg in former years, Mrs. Jackson, who went on to say:
"We have paid out nearly everything for doctors' bills; and I know if you cannot help me you will tell me so." Doctor Owens examined her case and said to her: "I not only think you can expect relief, but believe your disease may be cured. I will treat you for two or three weeks, and then teach you to treat yourself; and if you will follow my advice for one year I believe you will recover your health." With tears in her eyes she said: "No one will be more faithful than I will be. What time shall I come to your office?" The Doctor replied: "You are not able to come to my office; but I will now take you home in my carriage, and then treat you every day until you are better." Mrs. Jackson remarked one day; "You are heaping coals of fire on my head by all this kindness; but I do want to tell you that I always did have the greatest respect for you." Doctor Owens replied: "I do not look at it in that way; for really I owe you a great debt of gratitude. Had you not gone out there to Roseburg and goaded me on, by showing me how little I knew about the millinery business, I might still be out there plodding along making common hats and poorer bonnets. You proved the truth of what a friend of mine once said to me, namely: "If I wished to make you grow two inches taller, I would endeavor to press you down; and you would grow out of sheer resentment. So you see after all, Mrs. Jackson, you have been my good angel in disguise." This was one of many similar incidents in Doctor Owens' professional experience. Mrs. Jackson was in a year entirely restored.
Dr. Owen's skill became known and acknowledged far and near, which soon brought fortune and, better than that, great satisfaction; for the Doctor really loved her profession, and received much pleasure from her ability to relieve suffering of all kinds.
After three years of constant and hard but extremely gratifying work, and in the glow of her prosperity, she met a friend of her childhood days in Colonel John Adair. Very soon after this meeting "by chance, in the usual way," Colonel Adair prevailed upon the successful Doctor to add his name to that of Owens; and the friends of both were surprised and pleased by receiving their wedding tokens of remembrance and respect. The event was solemnized in the First Congregational church of Portland on the eve of July 24, 1884; and a happier couple, we think, never plighted their troth in that or any other church. This is an interesting sequel to the early pioneer days of the little child that, on the beautiful Clatsop Plains, showed such great promise of future worth and usefulness.
"A noble ambition for excellence is the motive power of the soul, and lies at the foundation of all that is heroic and good and great."
G.W. OZMENT. - This gentleman is a veteran of the Indian wars, a survivor of many a bloody fight in Southern Oregon, and a pioneer of 1852.
Born at Greensborough, North Carolina, in 1833, he became an orphan at the age of ten, and at fifteen went to Western Virginia with an uncle, and somewhat later was in Tennessee, working on his own account.
The far West, however, was the land of his dreams; and he saved his earnings to go to Paducah, and from that point to St. Louis. Three months later he was on his way to St. Joseph by steamer. But ice in the river delayed progress at the Kansas river; and there he was glad to join the train of Mr. William McCown, who was on the way to Oregon.
The journey, begun May 7, 1852, was favorable, meeting with only the usual hardships of the way until reaching the Cascade Mountains. There the train met with snow; and the teams were too much exhausted to draw the loaded wagons farther. Mr. McCown pushed on to Oregon City for help, leaving Mr. Ozment two weeks in the mountains to look after the goods. The first months of Oregon life were spent in Clackamas county erecting buildings for Mr. McCown, the winter with Mr. Case on Butte creek, and the following spring with Reverend A.F. Waller in Polk county. During the summer and second winter he was at the Belknap settlement in Benton county. In 1854 he moved to the Siuslaw, making his home with Mr. Cartwright, and was engaged by Moses Miliner in packing to Yreka.
Mr. Ozment was among the first to volunteer his services to suppress the Indian outbreak in 1855, and participated in the savage fight at Hungry hill and at the big bend of Cow creek. At the former place he was one of the squad to attempt a flank movement, and was in the ravine when Thomas Hudson (Aubrey?) fell wounded. It was terrible work getting him out; and, as night closed, the soldiers gathered together at a spring with the dead and wounded about them. The hours were passed with the constant dread of an attack by the savages. The accidental discharge of a gun or pistol in their midst produced a momentary panic; for the over-wrought men supposed that the attack had commenced with the Indians from the very closest proximity. The real attack came early in the morning, but was easily repulsed. The Indians could have been followed up; but the soldiers had been fasting for twenty-four hours, and were in no condition to give chase. On Cow creek he also saw hard service, and was at the scene of the night attack in which John Gardiner and Thomas gage were killed.
After being mustered out of the
service, he returned to the Suislaw and took up a Donation claim. In 1868
he made a visit to his old home in North Carolina, and, persuading three
of his brothers to make their home on this coast, conducted their train
of wagons to Oregon. For some fifteen years he has been engaged in the
sheep business on his farm of two thousand acres near Cartwright, Lane
county, Oregon. While these liberally provide for himself, he is equally
liberal minded to others, giving especial attention and care to public
schools, and contributing largely to churches and all public enterprises.
He is a man of wide influence, and an eminently useful citizen.
MYRON W. PACKARD. - This leading citizen of the lower Sound was born in Madrid, St. Lawrence county, New York, in 1830. At the age of twenty-three he left his native place, where he was in the mercantile business, coming as far west as Illinois, and in the same year journeyed on to River Falls, Wisconsin. That was his home for seventeen years, three of which were spent in the Union army, from which he was mustered out as a quartermaster-sergeant.
In 1870 he came to Washington Territory, bringing his wife and family of five children, and located on White river, engaging in the mercantile business. Regarding Snohomish a more eligible business point, he removed thither in the summer of 1871, and engaged in the same business until 1879, when he returned to Wisconsin, but was detained no longer than till the year 1882. Returning to our coast he found a location on Skagit river. There he remained until 1885, when he once more went to Snohomish, and with his son in 1887, by purchase and building, opened his present fine store, where he is doing a successful business.
Mr. Packard has secured the confidence of the people, and has served the county as probate judge, auditor and treasurer. He was also a member of the first board of trustees of Snohomish, and still holds that position. He is a Republican, and the father of the editor of the well-known journal, The Eye.
WILLIAM C. PAINTER. - William C. Painter was born in St. Genevieve county, Missouri, April 18, 1830. His parents, Philip and Jean, lived on a farm; and the early years of William's life were passed in that home. In 1850 his father started for Oregon with his family of wife and seven children, but died of cholera on the Little blue river. Two of his sons had been buried as they camped by that stream two days before; and only the mother, with her two daughters, Margaret A. and Sara J., and three sons, William C., Joseph C. and Robert M. were left to continue their sorrowful journey to the Pacific coast. Upon the family's arrival in the Willamette valley, they took up several Donation claims in Washington county; and the one taken by William was retained by him until his removal to Washington Territory in 1862.
When the Indian war of 1855 broke out, he was one of those who enlisted for that campaign as a member of Company D, First Regiment, Oregon Mounted Volunteers, continuing to follow the fortunes of his company until it was mustered out of service late in 1856. It was the opportune arrival of this command upon the scene of action that caused the Indians at the battle of Walla Walla, in December, 1855, to give up the struggle and retreat into the Palouse country. He participated with credit to himself in all the battles and skirmishes of that war east of the Cascades, prior to the disbandment of his company.
Mr. Painter was chosen by his comrades as the bearer of a flag made by young ladies at the Forest Grove academy, and still retains the colors, after having borne them through the Indian wars of 1855-56 and 1878. Mr. Painter's services in the latter war were important, and may be mentioned here. When the hostile Bannacks and Piute Indians were being pursued into Washington Territory by General O.O. Howard, a company of men enlisted in Walla Walla under W.C. Painter for active service; and their brief campaign on the Columbia river received the following mention by Captain John A. Kress, which was made a part of General Howard's official report of that war.
"Small bands of Indians, with large numbers of horses passed to north side Columbia simultaneously, at daylight this morning, at point near North Willow creek, at Coyote Station at head of Long Island, and just above Umatilla. I caught one band in the act at Long Island, as reported this morning. Have attacked and dispersed these bands at different points during the day. Had two very lively skirmishes, landing after firing form steamer, and charging Indians successfully up steep hills; no casualties known except wounding one Indian, killing five horses in the attack on one of the bands. Captain Charles Painter and the forty-two volunteers from Walla Walla deserve praise for good conduct and bravery, not excepting my Vancouver regulars and Captain Gray with officers and crew of steamer Spokane, who stood firmly at the posts under fire."
A week after the close of service on the river, he was made aid-de-camp on the staff of Governor E.P. Ferry, with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and immediately took charge of fifty-two men, who crossed over to assist the people of Eastern Oregon in defending that region against the onslaught of the hostile savages, recently defeated by General Howard. He passed south of the retreating bands to Camas Prairie with his little force to intercept their retreat; but the hostiles, learning his position, avoided a collision by a circuitous route; and the Colonel returned to Walla Walla with captured horses as his only visible trophy of that campaign. These horses were sold at auction; and money enough was received by this means to pay the entire expense of his command. Although no battle was fought in this last expedition, it was considered so hazardous that ten dollars per day was offered for guides without its inducing anyone to undertake the duty.
But let us return to the more
ordinary pursuits of his life, and pick up again the thread in Oregon.
In 1861 and 1862 he left the farm in the Willamette valley and became a
miner in the mountains east of Snake river, and in 1863 came to Wallula,
and clerked for Flanders & Felton for four years. When the senior member
of the firm was elected to Congress in 1867, Mr. Painter took charge of
their business, and became postmaster and agent for Wells, Fargo &
Co. at that place. While there, he was appointed deputy collector of Internal
revenue for Eastern Washington Territory. On receiving this last appointment,
he removed to Walla Walla City, and has lived in that place since. He resigned
as deputy in November 1870; but the resignation was
not accepted until the following May. He then made an unfortunate investment in some mill property that proved his financial Waterloo, and was forced to commence at the foot of the ladder for a business climb. He then went to work for wages, and continued this until 1876, when the wheel of fortune turned in his favor again; and he received the appointment of receiver in the United States land-office. This position was held by him until September, 1878; and he was elected auditor of Walla Walla county in November of that year, and re-elected in November, 1880.
In 1864, January 7, he was married to Carrie Mitchell, the daughter of Israel and Mary Mitchell, of Washington county, Oregon. Their children's names are as follows: Philip M. (deceased), Joseph E., Mary Maud, B. Jean, Roy R., Carrie M., Chas. F.S., Harry M., Daisy M., Rex M., Bruce I.
Of Mr. Painter it may be said truthfully, that in his active life no private or public transaction of his has left a shadow or taint of dishonorable motive or dishonest act; and those who know him best esteem him most.
GEN. JOEL PALMER. - There have been few men in Oregon more universally respected, or whom the people have more delighted to honor, than General Palmer. A plain, unpretentious man, who assumed absolutely nothing, he was nevertheless conscious of his superior abilities, and had no hesitancy in assuming commensurate responsibilities. For natural capacity and sagacity in great affairs, he ranks with the first men of our state, such as General Lane, Colonel Cornelius, Judge Kelly or Governor Gibbs.
He reckoned himself as a New Yorker, both parents having been natives and residents of that state, although at the time of his birth they were on a temporary sojourn in Canada. His boyhood and youth were spent at the old home in the Empire state; and he early assumed the responsibilities of life, marrying, when but nineteen, Miss Catherine Caffey. Of their two children, Miss Sarah subsequently came to Oregon with her father and became the wife of Mr. Andrew Smith; and the other died in infancy, the mother not long surviving.
Mr. Palmer was married again to Miss Sarah A. Derbyshire of Bucks county, Pennsylvania. That was in 1836. Soon afterwards he moved to Indiana, and, having become accustomed to the management of large works, took a contract to build portions of the White Water canal, and to complete the locks at Cedar Grove. During his stay in Indiana he became widely known, and was twice elected to the state legislature, filling the place with signal ability.
The great excitement about Oregon, beginning in 1844, led him in 1845 to cross the plains with a companion, Mr. Buckley, to investigate the practical value of the Northwest Pacific, and to discover the practical measures for holding it, if it should be held. He made a thorough survey of the country; and his Western pre-possessions in its favor were so far strengthened as to determine him to bring his family to this utmost West and make it his home. Returning accordingly in 1846 he agitated for a company, and confirmed the purposes of those who had Western inclinations; and by May, 1847, he was at the head of a large emigration. Indeed the number of teams and loose stock was so great as to necessitate a division; but this was accomplished with great difficulty, since all parties wished to travel with Palmer.
Reaching the Willamette valley in October, he located a claim on the Willamette river six miles south of the present town of Dayton. Later in the season he started on a trip to Vancouver for provisions for his family, but before reaching Oregon City was met by a messenger from Governor Abernethy informing him of the Whitman massacre, and desiring to see him immediately. Upon reaching the city the Governor tendered him the rank of quartermaster-general; and he filled the position with fidelity and ability throughout the Cayuse war, the particulars of which are given in the general history of this work.
After the Indians were quieted, General Palmer led a company to California in 1848, being the first to take wagons through to the gold mines. He operated on the Feather and Yuba rivers, and returned the next year, and was secured as a pilot by Lew Hawkins to cross the plains. At Fort Hall, however, they met Governor Wilson coming westward to California; and, as he had no guide, and as Hawkins believed he could finish the journey without further help, the Governor was glad to accept the services of Palmer, and with him went to the gold mines. In California the General made a tentative bargain with Wilson for a large tract of land, and returned to Oregon for his family. but, just before going, he went to the present site of Dayton, and seeing the great advantages there for a sawmill, and the opportunities for a town, and feeling perhaps a pang at the thought of quitting our lovely valley, gave up the land tract in California; and, securing a water-power at Dayton, he began building his mill, and with his son-in-law Andrew Smith, laid off the town. The profits of the fruit and grain raising, together with the avails of his mill, fully justified his expectations; although he suffered the loss of the latter property through the carelessness of an Indian. This man, being employed to remove slabs, in the absence of the other hands fired the pile too near the mill, causing the conflagration not only of the slabs, but of the lumber and the mill itself. More than ten years later the General with Samuel Brown of Gervais, erected on the same site the Merchant Flour Mills, which was also burned.
In 1853 General Palmer accepted the position of superintendent of Indian affairs, and in 1856 accomplished the great work of fathering and centering all the Indian tribes of Western and Southern Oregon on the Grande Ronde and Silitz Reservation. These tribes had just come out of the Indian war, and were not only sullen but broken-spirited, - thoroughly whipped, but still obstinate, or rather too much overcome to feel any ambition or interest in improvement. Nevertheless, the General was able to assimilate them and assign them homes, and engage their attention in agriculture, until they are now one of the most peaceable and thrifty communities in the sate.
After many years spent in this humane work of
reconstruction, he felt the desire to return to his home at Dayton, and there resumed an active interest in white men's affairs. In 1874 he was selected as the candidate on the Republican ticket for governor of Oregon. His party was at that time in a reactionary condition, many having become greatly dissatisfied with the former administration; and Palmer was chosen as the most popular Republican in the state. Despite his able canvass, and his confessed fitness, the count went against him. The people were in that mood when they were willing to inflict a punishment on the party; and of course the candidate suffered. In all that campaign there was not a breath of reproach nor slander cast at Palmer; and if any man could have brought victory, he could.
It was in 1881 that he died. His wife, Mrs. Sarah A. Palmer, who was born in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, April 11, 1815, is still living at the old home with her daughter.
FRANCIS X. PAQUET. - Francis Xavier Paquet, son of Joseph Paquet and Marie Madaline Godant, was born in the parish of Saint John, about thirty miles west of Quebec, at the junction of the Jacquarka river with the St. Lawrence. Joseph Paquet was a stonemason by trade, but lived on a farm and took jobs of stonework. He was the father of eighteen children, nine boys and nine girls. F.X. Paquet, the sixteenth child in order, was born on the fifteenth day of January, 1811. He learned the trade of shipbuilding at Quebec, being apprenticed to Peter Labbe when not quite fourteen years of age.
When seventeen years of age, he emigrated to the Untied States, engaging himself to the American Fur Company, to go to Mackinaw and construct a schooner for said company. After the schooner was completed he took charge of her and engaged in boating wood from Linwood Island and Round Island, and also made a trip to Chicago to get oak timber for staves and for building small boats called Mackinaw boats. This schooner was named Eliza Stewart, after the wife of Robert Stewart, who was the head man of the American Fur Company at Mackinaw at that time. That was in 1828. Old man Beaubien was then head man at what was afterwards Chicago, and which then consisted of three or four small log houses, one being a storehouse, and another being occupied by men who were employed getting out staves and making lumber with ship-saws. These staves were for making five-gallon kegs to hold and transport alcohol, out of which whisky was made by adding sixteen gallons of water to each gallon of alcohol.
In the fall of 1828 he left Mackinaw and came to Prairie du Chien. The route taken by the traders in these journeys, which were made regularly every year, was by way of Green Bay, thence up Fox river to Fort Winnebago, then making a portage to the Wisconsin, river, down the Wisconsin to the Mississippi, and up the Mississippi to Prairie du Chien. It was a long, tedious journey, beset with dangers, and required about three months' time. There were generally about seven or eight bateaux with seven or eight men to each boat; and at the great falls of Fox river they were obliged to transport both boats and goods overland for some distance. F.X. Paquet spent the winter of 1828 at Prairie du Chien, building boats and repairing wagons, and other work about the trading post. Joseph Roullette was head man at Prairie du Chien, which was a principal trading station, and around which some fifteen or twenty French settlers had made their homes.
During the summer of 1829 he made a trip to Mackinaw with furs, and continued in the employ of the fur company, making these yearly excursions from Mackinaw to Prairie du Chien, until the spring of 1832, when he left Prairie du Chien, and the employ of the American Fur Company, and went to Galena to work in the lead mines. He worked in the lead mines of Galena and Dubuque until 1835, a part of the time being manager of furnaces for Langweather Bros., and also for Major Roundtree. In May, 1832, the Black Hawk war broke out, about sixty families being massacred on Rock river. Volunteers were called for to suppress the Indians, and he joined Company A, the first company organized, and which was under the command of David G. Bates. Company A followed the Indians to Fort Lake, and from there to Pictollick, thence to Blue river, where there was an engagement, and from there to Bad Ax, where the Indians were surrounded. Black Hawk and about twenty warriors made their escape, crossing the Mississippi river; but they were afterwards captured by a band of Sioux Indians and brought back and taken to Galena.
It was during the Black Hawk war that the subject of this sketch had one of the most thrilling experiences of his life. It was necessary to send dispatches from Galena, where General Dodge was in charge of the volunteers, to General Scott, who had arrived at Rock Island. To F.X. Paquet was intrusted this responsible duty. To travel on horseback a distance of two hundred miles alone, without roads, with rivers to cross, through a country where might be met bands of hostile savages on the warpath, is certainly no everyday experience; and it required a man of more than ordinary nerve to undertake the journey. It was successfully accomplished however; and so pleased was General Scott with young Paquet that, after a day's rest, he intrusted him with dispatches to General Dodge to return, not, however, until he had praised him for his skill and bravery, and had made him a present of a brace of army pistols as a reward for his fidelity, and to show his appreciation of the service performed.
In September, 1835, he left the
lead mines and went to St. Louis, and followed his trade of boatbuilding
and contracting. From 1846 to 1848 he was superintendent of construction
of water works. On the 12th day of January, 1836, he was married to Marie
Louise Lannadier de Langdeau. On the 1st day of May, 1852, he left St.
Louis with his wife for Oregon. He went up to St. Joseph by steamboat,
being eight days on the trip. He stayed at St. Joseph three or four days,
and then started with four ox-teams and some loose cattle. He arrived at
The Dalles on the 22d day of September. After stopping at The Dalles about
a week he started down the Columbia in boats made of wagon-beds, and came
as far as the Cascades. He then took passage on the steamer
Multnomah, arriving at Portland on the 10th day of October, 1852, and found that Jupiter Pluvius had gone into the mist business for the winter.
About the 1st of May, 1853, he moved to Canemah. In August or September, 1854, he moved onto the Paquet Donation claim. In the spring of 1863 he move back to Canemah, in 1865 to Stringtown, and in 1876 to Oak Grove in Wasco county, where he now resides. Marie Louise Paquet, wife of F.X. Paquet, was the daughter of Lawrence Lannadier De Langdeau and Theotiste de Tugas de la Violet, and was born in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, July 7, 1818. Mr. and Mrs. Paquet are the heads of one of the most extensive and best-known families in the state and besides their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, they are loved, honored and respected by a large number of friends and acquaintances scattered over the state.
The following is a list of the twelve children, and the present residence of those living: Mary Delema (Mrs. J.K. Bingman), deceased; Peter, Oregon City; Joseph, East Portland; John F., deceased; Louis, East Portland; Louise Elizabeth, deceased; Emma Adaline ( Mrs. G.G. Smith), East Portland; George W., deceased; Francis X., deceased; Edward, deceased; Oliver L., Wapinitia; Ida (Mrs. J.W. Dozier), deceased. In addition to the children, the family consists of the following connections, all living in Oregon. Three sons-in-law, all living, eight grandsons, nine grand-daughters, four great-grandsons, and two great-grand-daughters.
HON. PETER PAQUET. - This pioneer of 1852, who is the son of F.X. Paquet and Marie Louise Lannadier de Langdeau, was born in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, on the 13th of January, 1839. He received an education in the private and public schools of St. Louis. In the spring of 1852 he left the city of St. Louis with his parents, who had determined to emigrate to Oregon, the family then consisting of father, mother and six children. They came up the Missouri river on the old steamer Timour No. 2, and in eight days reached the town of St. Joseph, where they completed the outfit.
Sometime in the month of May, with their ox-teams and wagons laden with the provisions for the trip, they took their lives and fortunes in their hands, and started to cross the great American desert, known as the plains. They pursued their journey without particular incident or accident, barring the usual sickness and privations which were the lot of most of the emigrants of that year, until they reached the crossing of Snake river. Here some rascally traders had established themselves for the purpose of swindling the tired emigrant, and buying the running gear of his wagons, after persuading him that he could get into a boat, conjured out of an old wagon-bed caulked up tight with rags, and that he could float down the Snake river into the Columbia, and down the Columbia to the mouth of the Willamette, and up the Willamette directly into the settlements, without any obstruction whatever. To the weary and travel-worn emigrant, who had inhaled the usual amount of alkali dust, this was indeed an alluring prospect.
The Paquets, with several others, concluded to try this river route. a busy scene followed. The running gear of the wagons was sold to the traders, who were there for that purpose, at their own price. Nine wagon-beds were speedily converted into nine little flatboats; and these nine little flats were lashed together three abreast and three deep, making a craft about eleven feet wide, and about thirty feet long. Into this frail craft all the household goods of these sturdy pioneers was placed, oars were rigged, and the command given to start; and this novel craft, with its living freight, consisting of eight men, five women, and about one dozen children, glided gracefully down the stream, the voyagers little thinking of the troubles in store for them. The first afternoon was all that could be desired, and justified the assertions of the traders, about fifteen miles being made. The next day, however, they began to encounter rapids and a rough, rocky bottom; and on the fourth day the great falls were reached, where it became necessary to unlash and detach the wagon-beds, and, taking each one separately, to carry it on the shoulders of men over steep, rough mountains for over half a mile, before it could be placed in the water again. It requir3ed three days of almost superhuman effort to accomplish this result; but it was done successfully, and the journey resumed. Every day brought its new troubles; and such were the difficulties to overcome that it required twelve days to accomplish the journey to the crossing of Snake river near old Fort Boise, a distance that can be traveled by land in about four days.
There our voyagers were informed that it was impossible to reach the settlements in that way, and the journey was given up. The wagon-bed flatboat was sold to some parties for a ferry-boat, and our travelers compelled to resort to ox-teams and wagons again. The weary journey was resumed; and without further incidents, except the usual ones, of stock stampedes, losses of stock, Indian scares, and such trifles, the party reached The Dalles in October. Making the voyage by water to the Upper Cascades and overland to the Lower Cascades, they took passage on the old steamer Multnomah, and arrived in the little village of Portland in November, having been about six months on the journey. The Paquets resided in Portland during the winter of 1852, and in the spring of 1853 moved to Canemah, and in the fall of 1854 moved out on the plains now known as the Paquet Donation claim. The subject of our sketch spent the next seven years of his life on that place, much of the time having charge of the farm, his father being absent working at his trade of boatbuilding.
From 1861 to 1866 he followed
the trade of boatbuilding, and then went into the sawmill business till
1869. In 1870 Peter Paquet was elected a member of the legislature from
Clackamas county, and served with such satisfaction to his constituents,
that he was nominated in 1872 for the office of county clerk, but failed
of election by a few votes. In 1874 he was nominated for state senator,
and in 1882 for county judge, but shared the fate of most of the Republican
ticket, and was unsuccessful. In 1888 he was again nominated by the Republican
party of Clackamas county for the legislature, and