Copyright 1999 - 2003 - Janine M. Bork
This page is part of the Union County, OR AHGP
place in the suburbs of Walla Walla, an honored and popular citizen. After his many years of wild mountaineering, the restraints and conventionalities of settled life seemed, as he says, at first irksome, but he is now one of the most contented of men.
THE REV.JAMES R.W. SELLWOOD. - The Reverend James R.W. Sellwood was born in the Parish of St. Keverne, county of Cornwall, England, June 21, 1808. His father died shortly before he was born; so that he and his older and only brother, the Reverend John Sellwood of Milwaukee, Oregon, were brought up and educated by their mother.
In 1833, the three, mother and two sons, emigrated to America, first residing for a time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and afterwards going to the then new State of Ohio, and afterwards going to the then new State of Illinois. Mr. Sellwood was married in 1837 to Miss Elizabeth H. Dawe, by whom he had four sons and one daughter, all of whom are still living. This lady died in Milwaukee, Oregon, January 18, 1871, aged sixty-seven years, and eight months. She was greatly beloved by all who knew her.
Mr. Sellwood moved to South Carolina in 1854, where he engaged in work as a lay missionary among the poor white people in the prairies of that state. On the 31st of March, 1856, he was ordained a deacon by Bishop Davis in old St. Michael's church, Charleston. He was then on his way with his family and brother to Oregon, he and his brother having been appointed missionaries to our state. They came hither by the way of the Isthmus of Panama, and had a pleasant trip, except for the delay and loss and danger to which they were exposed at Panama on the never-to-be-forgotten 15th of April. While they were detained at that place waiting for the tide to rise so that they could be taken out to the steamer which lay at anchor in the bay, a fearful riot broke out among the natives, which resulted in great destruction of life and property. The whole Sellwood family were placed in the most imminent peril, and narrowly escaped with their lives. They were robbed of all their earthly possessions. One son was wounded on the head; and the Reverend John Sellwood received wounds from which he has never entirely recovered. His nose was broken in with a club, one hand was burnt with powder, the other grazed with a ball, and through his body a bullet passed so near his heart that but for its contraction just at that instant would have touched it.
After some delay at Panama because of this terrible affair, they set sail for Oregon. On the 27th of May, 1856, the subject of this sketch and his family arrived in Portland, then a small and uninviting place. He met with a cordial welcome from Bishop Scott. After remaining n Portland but a short time, he moved to Salem, and took charge of St. Paul's church, remaining in charge a little over nine years. He was advanced to the priesthood by Bishop Scott, October 7, 1860.
In 1865 he moved to Milwaukee, and in1875 to East Portland, where he still resides, though very feeble with years. From the time of his removal to Milwaukee, up to within a little more than a year ago, he has been engaged as a missionary at large, going to such places and doing such work as he was able and as the bishop might designate.
HON. EUGENE SEMPLE. - Eugene Semple was born June 12, 1840, at Bogota, South America, his father being at the time the Minister of the United States at new Granada. Coming with his parents to Illinois, his youth was spent in Madison and Jersey counties of that State. Attending the common schools of the latter county, he finished his education at the St. Louis University in 1858. Commencing the study of law in the office of Krum & Harding, in St. Louis, he afterwards attended the Law School of the Cincinnati College, where he graduated in 1863, taking the degree of LL.B.
General James Semple, of Illinois, father of Eugene Semple, took a prominent part in the movement that caused the Oregon country to be settled by Americans, and thus saved to the Unite States. He made speeches at Springfield, Illinois, in 1842, and at Cincinnati in1843, taking strong grounds in favor of "fifty-four forty or fight." Afterwards, when a United States Senator from Illinois, he was an ardent supporter of the same policy, and introduced a resolution to terminate the treaty of joint occupation with Great Britain.
The speeches and conversations of his father, and the accounts of the Oregon country given by the fur traders of St. Louis, awakened in young Semple a strong desire to go to the far West and it was with difficulty his friends persuaded him to wait until his education was finished. Immediately after graduating at the law school, however, he set out for Portland, Oregon, and upon his arrival opened a law office. He practiced his profession until 1870,when he became the editor of the Daily Oregon Herald, then the leading organ of the Democratic party in the Pacific Northwest. The motto of the Herald, formulated by Mr. Semple was, "In all Discussions of American Policy with Us, Liberty Goes First."
Mr. Semple has been state printer of Oregon, clerk of the circuit court, police commissioner of the city of Portland, and is an attorney of the supreme court of the United States. In 1882 he removed to Vancouver, Washington Territory, and engaged in the manufacture of lumber, and is at present operating extensive sawmills in that city.
He was appointed governor of Washington Territory, and ably administered the duties of that high office, with universal satisfaction, until relieved by his successor in 1889. He was the candidate of the Democratic party of Washington for state governor, but was defeated, the Republicans electing their entire ticket. During his career as a lawyer, editor, legislator, governor or in private life he has borne an unsullied reputation, and well merits the confidence reposed in him by the public at large. Being just in the meridian of life, he has many years of usefulness to the Pacific Northwest before him.
Mr. Semple was married in 1870 to Miss Ruth A. Lownsdale, a daughter of Daniel H. Lownsdale, a pioneer of 1845. The fruits of the union are four children, Maud, Zoe, Ethel, and one son Eugene.
J.H. SETTLEMIER. - Mr.
Settlemier was born on the 5th of February, 1840, in Jersey county, Illinois.
In 1849 his parents, George and Elizabeth
Settlemier, becoming imbued with the restless spirit that possessed all the pioneers of the Pacific coast, and, selling their home, turned their faces towards the setting sun. The family at that time consisted of eleven persons, father, mother, eight boys and one girl. They crossed the Missouri river at St. Joseph, and bade long farewell to civilization; for at that time there was not a settler's house from the Missouri to the Sacramento, which was reached early in September of the same year. The mountain fever raged fearfully that year among the emigrants; and many died with none to wait upon them. The mother and one brother of our subject were laid to rest in California soil after having endured the privations and hardships of the American desert; and the father with the remainder of the family started for Oregon in December. Arriving in the Willamette valley, they settled on a land claim near Mount Angel, - where the aged father still resides, surmounted by four-score years and three, - and embarked in the farm and nursery business. It was there young Settlemier drank in the love of the latter branch of the business which was, in after life, to distinguish him as one of the foremost horticulturists of the valley.
In 1857, he with two of his brothers, William F. and Henry W., started a nursery in Linn county where the town of Tangent now stands. The venture proved unremunerative; and the place finally passed into the hands of H.W. Settlemier, who now conducts it as the Tangent Nursery.
Our subject was married in 1862 to Miss Eleanor E. Cochran. In 1863 they moved upon the homestead where he still resides and engaged in farming and the nursery business. In the latter line, the love of his life, he made a great success, and has reached the proud distinction of having the largest, best and most successful in the Pacific Northwest, - the Woodburn Nursery.
The Oregon & California Railroad was built across his farm in 1870; and he laid out the town of Woodburn, being named after the place of his birth, - Woodburn, Illinois. The Oregonian Railway System was built later, crossing the Oregon & California Road at right angles at this point.
In 1879 his wife died under very sad circumstances, which misfortune was followed by the loss of his farm and home through a defective title. Suit was brought against him by Sullivan and Green Davidson, through their attorneys, Hill, Durham and Thompson. The case was tried in the United States supreme court at Washington, where final judgement was rendered against Mr. Settlemier, who being thus defeated was compelled to lose the fruits of sixteen years of hard labor. He bought the farm over again, together with all its improvements, and was again married to Miss C.S. Gray of East Portland, who in ten days was stricken down with typhoid fever; and in twenty-one days more her soul winged its flight to the great beyond, thus filling to the brim the bitter cup of adversity that had been pressed to his lips by a fate as grim as death itself.
Thus hampered by death and the loss of his home, he struggled on with indomitable courage to the success that has at last crowned his efforts, where weaker spirits would have sunk under the load. Later on he was married again to Miss Mary C. Woodworth, who survives him to walk down the pathway of life as the shadows of time approach.
Mr. Settlemier feels proud of the success he has made in the nursery business, and is now enjoying the reward of his labors surrounded by his family of wife and children, six girls and two boys, upon his beautiful farm in the suburbs of Woodburn.
THOMAS J. SHADDEN. - The subject of our sketch has reached the age of eighty years. He is a pioneer of 1842, and has seen, and had a part in, the changes of nearly half a century upon the Northwest Coast. During this time Oregon has passed from a region of savages and a few scattered settlements to a great and productive state, - one of the most promising in the Union.
As the memory of this venerable pioneer passes back over his life, and traverses his many experiences, it lingers longest upon the "crossing of the plains." It is only a dim and shadowy picture that we can reproduce of that now historic period. It is little less than bringing to life one of the old heroes of the Revolutionary war, to sit for an hour and listen to the accounts which come from the lips of the early heroes of Oregon. the crossing of the plains seems scarcely less distant than the war of Independence. Both alike belong to a period and a phase of life that have passed away, and have become foreign to our methods of existence and activity. It is amazing how quickly the rush of American life buries the acts and manners of yesterday. It was then an ox-team, or even a pack-saddle, and six months. Now it is a railroad and scarcely six days. But, if the honest hearts and strong hands of yesterday do not pass away, we need not repine.
Mr. Shadden is a native of Pulaski, Giles county, Tennessee, and was born in 1809. His wife was born in Mississippi in 1814. Fortune dealt roughly with the pair. First it was fire. Their house was consumed with all the contents except a bed; and the young farmer himself was turned out-of-doors in his shirt-sleeves. The ox-team and the cow were the sole nucleus for a new home and fortune. But, no sooner was a point reached nearly up to the old mark, than flood, a water spout, dropped out of the sky immediately above the Shadden farm, washing away buildings and drowning stock. Feeling now that he owed nothing to a country that thus demolished the results of his labor, the Tennesseean listened tot he advice of one Owen Sumner, who had made a study of Lewis & Clarke's explorations, and Irving's Bonneville, and never ceased to speak of the greatness and wonders of Oregon.
With the frontiersman's sublime
boldness, Sumner and Shadden were canvassing the project of coming to the
Columbia, when the news that Doctor White's party was to go through decided
them to be ready and meet the Doctor at Independence, Missouri, about May
1st. On the last day of March, 1842, Sumner and Shadden, with their families,
and with two recruits, Joseph Gibbs and Alexander Copeland, set
out from Sumner's farm, twenty-five miles north of Van Buren, Arkansas, to cross mountains and plains of which they knew comparatively nothing.
They found eight persons in Doctor White's party, among them Medorem Crawford of Dayton, Oregon, Mr. Robb, of East Portland, and a Mrs. Brown and her daughter. Hastings' party soon arrived, consisting of some twenty-five persons, prominent among them being S.W. Moss and A.L. Lovejoy.
Here is the beginning for a most interesting history of six months of adventures. But this is only a sketch. We are forbidden by narrow limits to tell in detail of the formal and decorous organization of the party; of the killing of the dogs; of a "heroic woman" who started alone on horseback to join the little cavalcade, but who was thrown from her horse on the way; and the wretched beast ran away, carrying off with him, in the saddle-pockets, all her money. Nor can we linger upon the march; nor speak of the death of Bailey, who was accidentally shot; nor relate at length the capture of Hastings and Lovejoy at Independence Rock by the Sioux; nor tell how, upon the halt of the company and arrangement for battle, at the command of the guide, Fitz Patrick, the two hundred or three hundred savages, armed heavily with bow and arrows, long shining spears and fusees, came forward amicably and delivered their captives up for a present of a blanket and two shirts.
F.X. Matthieu, a mountain man, had joined the emigrants on the Platte, and in this emergency acted as interpreter, speaking firmly and authoritatively to the chiefs, and assuring them that his company was ready to fight if necessary. The Sioux thereupon grew friendly, visited the camp, offered to buy a married woman, and the next day set off upon a raid against the Crows. It is in truth a striking picture, - the forty-two Americans on the immense plain utterly alone in the wilderness, confronting six times their number of irresponsible savages, and by simple force of will turning them from their purpose. they had previously learned from Buisnett, at Fort Laramie, that the intention of the Sioux was to kill all of the men and make captives of the women. Fitz Patrick himself, and F.X. Matthieu, who appear prominently in this scene, deserve lengthy mention; but all this matter, together with the account of the final abandonment of the wagons at the rendezvous, and at Fort Hall, is all of such historical value as to find a place in the main body of the history. To this we must refer the reader.
On the west slope of the Rocky Mountains Mr. Shadden became very much interested in many of the ways of the Indians, who were friendly, particularly their manner of capturing antelope by forming a great circle, and closing in upon them until within shooting distance. At Whitman's the exhausted stores were replenished; and at The Dalles the thieving Wasco plan of driving off horses and bringing them back for a reward was successfully worked, - Mr. Shadden's bell mare being the subject.
Upon reaching Oregon City, October 3, 1842, and meeting with the Methodist missionary at Salem, and finding employment with Sidney Smith, at Chehalem, our pioneer felt the most keen and bitter disappointment. Oregon seemed to him wild, lonesome and dreary. After an uncomfortable winter, much exposed to the storms, and living much on boiled wheat, Mr. Shadden embraced the first opportunity to leave the country. this appeared in June, a party leaving form George Gay's place on the Willamette for California. There were nineteen in the company capable of bearing arms; and at the end of their march on the Sacramento river, they had a battle with the Indians, laying twenty-seven of the hostiles dead upon the field. Not one of their number was either killed or wounded.
Seven years did Mr. Shadden remain in California, returning finally to the state of his first choice, and settling in Yamhill county, near McMinnville, Oregon, where he still lives. The changes and improvements which he has witnessed upon this coast seem to him wonderful, as indeed they are. There were not a thousand Whites on the whole coast, and but a little over one hundred Americans, in1842. There are now a million. Well may this pioneer take pride in his state, and in his own part in making it what it is.
GEORGE D. SHANNON. - This well-known contractor, banker and successful farmer is a man whom Nature fitted with qualities that inevitably guide their possessor to success. He was born in what is now Schuyler county, New York, December 20, 1832, and is the son of Thomas and Mehitable (Corwin) Shannon. At the age of sixteen he entered upon business for himself, and with an abundance of self-reliance began railroading, following that and other employments until 1854. Soon afterwards he came to St. Paul, Minnesota, accepting employment for a large lumber company. In 1858 he was appointed superintendent of construction of its first train, which, in 1860, he was conductor of its first train, - the first passenger train ever run west of the Mississippi in Minnesota. He followed railroading in that state until 1868, and subsequently engaged in railroad contracting in New York, Indiana and Wisconsin, completing large works on different roads in many of the Eastern states.
In 1870 he came to Olympia and accepted the position of superintendent of construction for the Northern Pacific on their line from Kalama to Tacoma. In 1873 he purchased his present valuable farm containing eleven hundred acres, ten miles from Olympia, Washington Territory, all of which he maintains in a high state of cultivation, and has improved with a beautiful home, in which he is glad to entertain in his most genial way his numerous acquaintances from among the leading citizens of the Sound country, and indeed from more remote regions.
In his capacity as member of
the building committee to which he was appointed by Governor Ferry, he
has been of essential service to the state; and it is due to him and his
associate, Mr. A.F. Tullis, that the state possesses such a commodious
and handsome building for the insane asylum. He has for the past two years
been chairman of
the board of trustees of the asylum. He is also vice-president of the First National Bank of Olympia, an institution of which he was one of the incorporators. He is a gentlemen of large means, and is engaged in various enterprises that tend to improve and develop his county and community. In politics he is a Democrat. Personally he is a most genial gentleman; and his friends are only limited by the number of his acquaintances.
Mr. Shannon was married in the centennial year of 1876 at Cleveland, Ohio to Miss Mary A. Kennedy. An excellent portrait appears in this history.
HON. E.D. SHATTUCK, - Judge Shattuck has been prominently connected with the public affairs of our state for more than thirty years, and is so closely identified with our interests and society as to be a distinctively representative man among us.
His mental strength and clearness, combined with remarkable accuracy and absence of personal bias, have made his services of the highest value. He has ever maintained a peculiar coolness of judgement, and neither has been swayed by popular excitement nor has resorted to sensational methods to advance his own views or interests. He has ever been above suspicion of corruption or entanglement with corrupt rings, and has therefore been relied upon as a guardian of justice, and to prick the ambitions or corrupt designs of those who would trench upon the popular rights.
For this reason he has been sought continuously to fill the office of judge; and it is a credit to our people that they prefer such men for their high positions. With peculiar plainness of manner and address, he has ever refused to cultivate popularity, yet has been frequently named by leading journals as a satisfactory candidate for governor of the state, - suggestions which have only lacked his own cooperation to meet with realization. The remarkable success of Judge Shattuck both in business, in his profession, and in public capacities, commends to young men his integrity and fidelity and honorable views of life. He has ever been an ornament to the legal profession, by his practice condemning extortion, and carrying honesty into every detail.
E.D. Shattuck was born at Bakersfield, Vermont, December 31, 1824, spending his childhood and youth on a farm. Fitting himself for college at the academy in his native village, he entered Vermont University at Burlington in 1844, and finished the course within the prescribed four years. During college days he assisted himself by teaching school in the neighborhood. Upon graduating he was employed as assistant in Bakersfield Academy, and in 1849 obtained a situation in the Newman Seminary, within some twenty-five miles of Atlanta, Georgia, and the next year was likewise engaged at Laurel, Maryland. He devoted his leasure to the study of law, and upon his return north in 1851 entered the law office of Parmelee & Fitch of Malone, New York, and finished his preparation for admission to the bar in the office of Abner Benedict in New York city. being admitted to the bar of New York in 1852, and casting about for a permanent location, he decided upon Oregon as his field, - then an almost unknown region. In December of the same year he was married to Miss Sarah A. Armstrong of Fletcher, Vermont.
The couple made immediate preparations for the journey to their new home, leaving New York January 5, 1852 by steamer via Panama, arriving at Portland February 15, 1853. For about four years after his arrival Mr. Shattuck engaged in teaching, being for a part of the time professor of ancient languages at Tualatin Academy and Pacific University.
While in Washington county, he served on year as superintendent of public schools, and in 1856 was elected probate judge. That was the beginning of the public life from which he has been but little absent ever since. In 1857 he was chosen delegate from Washington county to the constitutional convention of Oregon. After finishing his work at the convention, he located at Portland, forming a partnership with David Logan, at that time a brilliant lawyer and a man of great promise, son of Judge Logan of Illinois. Judge Shattuck entered earnestly upon the practice of his profession, and in 1858 became the choice of Washington and Multnomah counties as joint representative to the last territorial legislature of Oregon. In 1861 he was appointed United States district attorney, and held the office about one year. In 1862 he was elected judge of the supreme and circuit court for the fourth judicial district, and served in that office until November, 1867 when he resigned the position. In 1874 he was again elected judge of the supreme and circuit court, and served until the act of 1878 reorganizing the judiciary of the state. In 1886 he was elected judge of the circuit court, and at present holds this office. Since his removal to Portland in 1857, he has continuously resided in that city, and at various times has served as member of the city council and as school director, and is known as one of the founders of the Portland Library.
In 1881 he followed a course which might be recommended to half or more of our business men. Finding his health impaired by severe mental labor and confinement at his office, he purchased a farm a little distance from Portland, and for about three years devoted himself to agriculture. The experiment was a complete success, and restored health enabled him to enter again upon public life; and he feels himself able for many years of activity, although now in his sixty-fifth year.
In politics judge Shattuck passed from the Whig to the Republican party; with which he acted until 1872, when he favored the election of Greeley, and ran as elector on the Independent ticket. Since 1872 he has acted for the most part with the Democratic party, but is regarded as an Independent rather than as a partizan.
Judge Shattuck is one whose career
has been marred by no reverses or great misfortunes, who has kept up a
life of activity, and whose success in any field which he might wish to
enter was a foregone conclusion. He is at present industriously discharging
the duties of his office, and anticipates at the end of his present term
that retirement and rest which ought to be the reward that old age receives
for a life of labor and activity.
HON. T.C. SHAW. - This honored pioneer of 1844 was born in Clay county, Missouri, near Liberty, the county-seat, February 23, 1823. On his father's side the stock was Scotch-Irish, and on his mother's Welsh and English. His father, Captain William Shaw, was born in Eastern Tennessee, and belonged to a large family of that name who settled in Maryland at an early date, whence they removed into Tennessee, North Carolina and Missouri; and from the latter state the Oregon branch of the family came in the year 1844. His mother, whose maiden name was Sarah Gilliam, was the sister of General Cornelius Gilliam, of fame in our early history.
When T.C. Shaw, the subject of this sketch, was about ten years of age, he move to Clinton county, in the northern part of Missouri, with his father, who settled on Grindstone creek and engaged in farming and stock-raising. Here the boy also learned to be a farmer and stock-raiser, an occupation which he has never entirely abandoned. In the year 1838 the family moved into what was then called the Platte purchase, and took up their residence near the west fork of the Platte river, about seven miles south of Savannah, the county-seat. In the absence of schools in the new county, it was not possible for young Shaw to get even a common English education; and in consequence he has had the laboring oar all through life; and his present large information has been acquired wholly by his own later efforts. indeed, all his early disadvantages have been more than made up by his own native good judgment and force of will. In the winter of 1843-44 the Shaw family, naturally rovers, felt the great excitement then prevalent in all the western part of Missouri about the far-away territory of Oregon, and especially the great Willamette valley, and as might have been expected prepared to make their great journey hither. They expected to acquire both land and health upon this far-off western shore, in the realization of which they were not disappointed when they actually reached Oregon.
About the 10th of May they left camp with the train, comprising something like one hundred wagons, and moved west. The company was commanded at first by General Cornelius Gilliam, but afterwards broke up into smaller parties and came across the plains with comparative safety, arriving at The Dalles about the 15th of November. About the time the mission was reached, Mr. Shaw was taken with mountain or typhoid fever; and in consequence the family remained there all winter, and were treated with the greatest kindness by Rev. A.F. Waller, in the way of favors to the sick and hospitality to the family in their hard trials. It was late in the spring of 1845 when the son was fully recovered; but as soon as the weather would permit the family moved down the Columbia river, performing the journey in boats and driving the stock down the obscure Indian trail. Provisions being all exhausted they were easily persuaded to stop at the mouth of the Washougal river to make shingles and cut and raft sawlogs for the Hudson's Bay Company. Some eight or ten families spent the summer at that point, but about the last of September came the time for separation. Some moved to Olympia, some to the Willamette Valley. Among the latter was the Shaw family, who moved on to the mission farm some twelve miles north of Salem, then owned by Alanson Beers. T.C. Shaw rented the south half of this farm. They spent the winter in chopping wood, and in hewing and getting out timbers for a large barn which Mr. Beers was constructing, and a part of which is now standing as a fit monument of the past.
In the spring of 1846 there was much interest among the Americans about a wagon road across the Cascade Range of mountains. The construction of such a highway was thought to be a most important measure; and there were two companies organized for the purpose. One of these was headed by Mr. Jesse Applegate, which took the southern route, which was comparatively smooth with the exception of the cañon on the South Umpqua. The other company was headed by General Cornelius Gilliam and Colonel James Waters, who sought to built the road up the Santiam river or its branches. To this company Mr. Shaw belonged. It also had six Hudson's Bay men besides the five Americans. They understood that there was an easy pass over the Cascade Range of mountains up the dividing ridge between the north and south Santiam. They started from Salem the 3d of July, 1846; but, after much hard work and a travel of nearly a week into the mountains, they found themselves baffled at Shell Mountain, along whose side on the east was a small trail sufficient for the trappers and for deer and elk, but impassable for wagons, and incapable of improvement by any means then at hand.
Returning from this useless work, Mr. Shaw moved over into Polk county, and made his home wit his uncle, Mitchel Gilliam, near Dalles, and was there when the startling news reached the valley of the murder of Doctor Whitman and wife and some twelve or fourteen other American citizens at Waiilatpu. Mr. Shaw was one of the first to respond to the call of the government, and enlisting at Portland entered the service January 8,1 848, being elected second lieutenant of the company of which John C. Owen was captain. He performed a most gallant part in the campaign, the particulars of which are given elsewhere. Returning to Polk county after the war was over, he pursued his business of farming until in the spring of 1849 he, as well as many others, was taken with the gold fever and went to California. After a year in the mines he returned to Oregon and made his home with his parents on Howell Prairie, and the following November, on Thanksgiving day, was married to Miss Josephine Headrick, Elder G.O. Burnett of the Christian church officiating.
Mr. Shaw now took a claim on
the east side of Howell Prairie, near Salem, Oregon, where he made a delightful
home and good living and reared his family of five children, named as follows:
Mary Jane, now the wife of Dr. S.C. Stone of Milton, Oregon; Elizabeth
E., the wife of J.C. Lewis, who resides five miles northwest of Salem in
Polk county; Thurston T., who married Miss Lulu Lowe and resides at Salem;
Grandison B. (deceased); and Minnie N., who was recently left a widow by
death of her husband, Leon W. Smith, and lives with her parents.
Mr. Shaw is a man endowed with large popular qualities, and has been continuously sought to fill public positions. In the year 1864 he was elected commissioner of Marion county, and in 1866 re-elected to the same office. In 1870 he was elected assessor, and was re-elected to the same position in 1872. Upon the expiration of his term he was chosen sheriff. Retiring to his farm he succeeded in living a private life until in 1882, he was chosen to fill the office of county judge, and in 1886 was re-elected and is now filling this important position with his usual ability and popularity. In his official capacity Judge Shaw is firm in his own opinions, and in his decisions acts without bias, seeking chiefly for the facts in the premises, and being satisfied only with the ends of justice and equity.
JOHN F. SHEEHAN. - The gentleman whose name heads this brief memoir, an excellent portrait of whom appears in this history, has been a leading business man and resident of Port Townsend, Washington for almost thirty years. Mr. Sheehan is a native of the Sunny south, and was born in Baltimore Maryland, in 1840. When but an infant he suffered the irreparable loss of his father by death. His widowed mother then, with her two sons, our subject being but eighteen months old, paid a visit to Ireland, and at the end of one year returned to Baltimore.
John F. was then taken by an uncle to New Orleans, where he received his education and resided until fifteen years of age. He then started out to do for himself, still being but a mere boy. He started for the Pacific coast, coming via the Nicaragua route, and arrived in San Francisco in the summer of 1856. The first two years in the Golden state were spent in the mines and at different occupations until the breaking out of the ever-memorable Frazer river excitement, when Mr. Sheehan joined the gold-seekers and came north, only to find on arriving at the mines that "All is not gold that glitters," and also to find that the great excitement which had lured thousands was a humbug. On leaving the mines Mr. Sheehan came to Port Townsend and embarked in the stove and tinware business, in which he is still engaged. For the past twenty-nine years he has done a lucrative and very successful business, and in 1888 built the beautiful building in which his store is now located. Mr. Sheehan was a member of the city council of Port Townsend, and in 1882 was elected sheriff of Jefferson county, an office he held to the entire satisfaction of the citizens of the county, and with credit to himself for three successive terms.
Mr. Sheehan, coming as a boy to the Pacific coast, has through energy, perseverance and "pluck," after many years, secured for himself a competency in the shape of a successful business, together with a large amount of valuable real estate in the city of the Port of entry, and enjoys the confidence and esteem, not only of the residents of Jefferson county, but the entire Sound. He is a man of fine physique; and in his official capacity was a man of Sterling integrity. Socially he is genial, and a gentleman whom it is a pleasure to meet.
Mr. Sheehan was married in Port Townsend the 8th of September, 1864, to Miss Mary Loftus, a native of St. Louis, Missouri. By this union he had a family of nine children, two of whom are deceased.
HON. DAVID SHELTON - Mr. Shelton, one of the very earliest of the pioneers of Washington Territory, who with Mr. L.B. Hastings and F.W. Pettigrove became a founder of Port Townsend, was born in Buncombe county, North Carolina, September 15, 1812. His father, Lewis Shelton, emigrated to the territory of Missouri in the year 1819, and settled in Saline county but kept on the advance wave of settlement, ever moving westward as the state settled up, and died in Andrew county in 1847. In this frontier life young David came to maturity, and on May 30, 1837, was married to Miss Frances Wilson. This was a young lad whose native place was Whitley county, Kentucky, and the date of her birth March 16, 1817. She had moved from Kentucky after the death of her father, David Wilson, with her mother to Missouri in 1829, and in 1835 had settled in Clinton county.
After marriage this young couple moved into Buchanan county and settled near St. Joseph in 1838. In 1847, feeling their pioneer blood stirred by reports of the great West and of Oregon they gathered together all their household goods and effects, and on the 9th of May crossed the Missouri river about three miles above St. Joseph on their way to Oregon. They found the journey long and tedious, as it was accomplished wholly by ox-teams; and from the time of the crossing of the Missouri the way lay through an Indian country. They found the Pawnee Indians disposed to be saucy; for at the mouth of Plum creek on the Platte river the savages caught a couple of men that were hunting and stole their clothing and guns, and left them to return with only hats and boots to the camp. After this they also tried to stampede the stock; but the immigrants, not suffering any such foolishness, determined to fight them off; and something of a battle followed. On account of their arrows not having the range of the white men's guns, the savages failed to come near enough to do much damage; and the white men could not determine whether their shots took effect. After this the emigrants were quite careful to allow only a small company of two or three Indians to enter the camp at once.
On reaching The Dalles they passed
down the shore nine miles, and built a large scow to bring the families
and wagons and other goods down the river. The cattle and horses were driven
along the shore; and it was found necessary to swim them across the river
several times in order to avoid the jutting cliffs. At the Cascades all
the goods and things had to be taken out of the scow, and a portage made
of about six hundred yards. The scow was then turned loose to drift over
the Cascades; and a lot of Indians were ready to catch her and bring her
ashore. By this time the measles, which had been following along with the
train, reached Mr. Shelton's family; and both of his children were very
Hiring four Indians with a canoe, he left for Fort Vancouver and reached that post on the 29th of November at about eight o'clock P.M. So reduced were his finances that he had but one dollar in his pocket; and the next morning, when the gate opened, he went into the fort and gave half of that do9llar for syrup, and the other half for flour. Before night of that day he was gladdened by the appearance of an old acquaintance of his, Mr. Joseph Caples, who at once inquired where he was going. And upon learning that the house of Mr. Alexander McQuinn was his objective point, Caples replied that he was himself on his way thither, and kindly insisted that in his canoe there was room for the family of Mr. Shelton, with their household goods and all. But this friendly provision Mr. Shelton and his family were accordingly taken up safely to Mr. McQuinn's on Sauvie's Island; and they reached that place of temporary rest, and ended their march of three thousand miles on the 30th of November, 1847.
Since coming to the West, Mr. Shelton has been one of the best citizens of the Pacific coast, ever forward in public matters, and industrious and enterprising in private business. He early became a founder of Port Townsend and of the Lower Sound country, and is now living in hale age at the town which has been named for him.
JOSEPH M. SHELTON. - "Present misfortune is our future weal," wrote the old homilist; and in human experience it has been well enough proved that in adversity is the power of a man's character developed.
Joseph M. Shelton, the subject of this sketch, had lived in comfort and prosperity on the family plantation in Caswell county, in North Carolina; but, in common with so many of the foremost Southern families, the Sheltons sustained heavy losses in the war, and by the liberation of the slaves of which Joseph's father was a large owner. It was then that Joseph showed the force of character and sturdy determination which, in later years, have made him one of the leading men of the Northwest. He determined to be no longer dependent on his father, and, leaving the old plantation, crossed the plains with an ox-team, arriving in Denver, Colorado, in 1865. The Godfrey train, with which he traveled, was several times attacked by hostile Indians; and Mr. Shelton distinguished himself during these skirmishes by his bravery and ability as a leader of men.
In Colorado he engaged in stock-raising in Boulder county, where he remained for seventeen years. it was during his residence there that he found his lifelong companion. In March, 1866, he was united in marriage to Miss Missouri C. Jones. Mrs. Shelton is one of those women who in ancient times were accounted the mothers of heroes. With the sweetness and gentleness of the truly refined lady, she combines the nobility of mind and the force of character that distinguish the typical women of the West. She was born in Missouri in 1845. She is of the true pioneer strain. Her father, John Jones, of Virginia, having come to Missouri in 1840, - also became a citizen of Colorado in 1873, whither he took the largest band of cattle hitherto driven there.
Having heard much of the wonders of Washington Territory, Mr. Shelton, in 1882, disposed of his interests in Colorado, and early in the same year arrived at Walla Walla. After devoting some weeks to an examination of the country, he finally fixed upon the Kittitas valley as the spot where he could make his home; and accordingly he located on the farm where he now resides, situated about five and one-half miles due west of Ellensburgh.
When Mr. Shelton arrived in the Kittitass valley, there was not a road laid out in the section; but with his characteristic energy he circulated petitions to remedy this, and soon had the country opened up with good roads in all directions. His farm embraces four hundred and forty acres under cultivation, wit a fine house and commodious barn capable of accommodating some thirty-five he3ad of stock. On the farm he raises wheat, barley and oats, reckoning thirty, sixty and sixty bushels of each cereal, respectively, a good yield. In October, 1885, Mr. Shelton imported some fine Hereford stock, the first brought into the territory, believing them to be the cattle best adapted tot he country, as they are beefy and good mothers, and can weather the rigorous winters. Raising fine stock, particularly Herefords, and buying, and shipping cattle, have been his chief occupation since that time.
In public matters Mr. Shelton has always taken a deep interest, though he has never been a politician; and in 1884 his neighbors elected him to the office of county commissioner for a term of two years on the Democratic ticket with almost no opposition. During his term of office Mr. Shelton assisted materially in the building of the new courthouse, the bonds for which were placed upon the market at the remarkably high figure of eighty-seven and one-half per cent.
Mr. Shelton has now a family of five children. Four, Joseph Lee, Dulcena May, Minnie Eva and Bertha Bell, were born in Boulder county, Colorado; while the youngest, Pearl Sarah, was born at the home in Kittitass valley. He resides at the farm with his family, and is one of the leading citizens of the county. His sagacity in business affairs, his careful and methodical habits, and his uniform justice, have won for him the respect and esteem of all his fellow-citizens.
JOHN H. SHIELDS. - The reader of this sketch can find elsewhere within these pages an excellent view of the mill and lumber yard of the gentleman named above, and upon glancing at its proportions will not dispute the assertion that Mr. Shields stands well to the fore among the more prominent of the lumber merchants of the Pacific Northwest.
Being attracted with the location of Sprague, Washington Territory, he established himself there in 1882. His business grew to such proportions that in 1885 he found it necessary to add to his equipment a large planing-mill. His enterprise occupies one block on the corner of G and First streets and the Railroad avenue. Some idea of his business can be gleaned from the fact that he keeps in stock about a million feet of dry and Oregon dressed lumber.
Mr. Shields was born in Lockport,
April 6, 1855, and came to the Pacific coast in 1873. He is one of the most active business men of the Columbia basin.
SIGMUND SICHEL. - America is made up of the most intelligent and energetic people from all parts of the world. It is those who are alert and keen in the pursuit of information who learn of the advantages to be found in this country. And it is those who feel the impulse to stretch their limbs and operate upon a larger scale of life than the opportunities the old world afford who undergo the labors and take the risks involved in a removal across the Atlantic. This rule, which is not without its exception, is exemplified in the career of the man whose name appears at the head of this sketch. He is at present one of the active business men of Portland, Oregon, and while at Goldendale, Washington Territory, enjoyed the reputation of being the youngest man ever elected to the office of mayor in any city in the Northwest.
He was born in Bavaria in 1857, and prior to his fifteenth birthday was at school in a commercial college acquiring the information and training which have made him so efficient in his line in our state. He came to America at that age, and the second day after his arrival engaged as a salesman in a New York store; but, learning of Oregon and the opportunities here for independence and competence, he determined to seek his fortune on the Pacific coast. He made the trip with his uncle, Solomon Hirsch, of the firm of Fleischner, Meyer & Co., and spent the three following years at Portland. Looking northward he spent six months at Nanaimo, but, returning to Oregon, found employment eighteen months in our metropolis.
In 1880 he went to Goldendale and engaged in the mercantile business in the firm of Lowengart & Sichel, doing a very thriving business. In 1887 he became sole proprietor; and his operations were quite extensive, his annual sales amounting to one hundred thousand dollars.
On May 13, 1888, Goldendale was destroyed by fire, Mr. Sichel being a heavy loser. Still he at once started again in business, but sold out his interest there and removed to Portland, and is the senior partner of Sichel and Mayer, who are engaged in the wholesale and retail tobacco and cigar trade. This last venture reaps a golden harvest; and such is due to the patronage of the numerous friends Mr. Sichel has made through courtesy and fair dealing.
MICHAEL T. SIMMONS. - Michael T. Simmons, the leader of an American colony, who established the pioneer American settlement upon the shores of Puget Sound, was born August 5, 1814, in Bullitt county, Kentucky, three miles south of Sheppardsville. In 1840 he removed with his family to Missouri, and located and built a mill on a branch of the Missouri river, which mill he sold to procure his outfit to migrate to Oregon. In 1844 he joined the Independent Oregon Colony, consisting of several separate companies or parties, who joined together in a quasi military organization, and elected Cornelius Gilliam General, and Michael T. Simmons Colonel.
It would prove profitable and interesting to accompany those several trains in that voyage across the plains; but those incidents have been graphically and faithfully narrated by others. Arrived upon the banks of the Columbia, the particular company with whom Colonel Simmons was directly associated halted at Washougal, on the north side of the Columbia, about twenty-five miles east of the Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Vancouver, and there established quarters for the winter. Colonel Simmons, however, soon proceeded to Fort Vancouver, and endeavored to secure room, - accommodations for himself and family, but for a long time was unsuccessful. Later he did succeed in renting, for one month, a room in an outhouse occupied by a Kanaka servant of the company. Doctor John McLoughlin treated him with that generous hospitality for which he was so noted, a hospitality never denied to the American immigrant, for which all ancient Oregonians hold the good doctor in deserved and grateful remembrance. But the Hudson's Bay Company officials were reliant at that period that the Columbia river would ultimately be established as the boundary line between the United States and Great Britain, and that the territory north of the Columbia river would become British territory. Hence they discouraged American occupancy, or any acts which would tend to strengthen the United States claim. Strenuously they dissuaded Americans from settling north of the river; and with equal persistency they set forth the inducements of the Willamette valley, and counseled immigrants to select their homes in that favored region. Colonel Simmons has told the writer that before leaving Missouri his predilections were for the Rogue river country; that this effort of the Hudson's Bay officials to head off American settlement north of the Columbia first direct his inclinations toward Puget Sound. Nor is there any doubt, that with his sturdy Americanism and rather combative make-up, such British interference or counsel was most likely thus to have changed his resolution. Other influences, however, quite a strongly, perhaps involuntarily, operated; and that he should have been so influenced is quite as creditable to his humanity as though his patriotic resentment of the territorial scheming of the Hudson's Bay Company had been the sole cause.
In the same company with Colonel
Simmons was George Bush, one of the most prominent and justly respected
of the Western Washington pioneers. He was a colored man of competent means,
shrewd sagacity and great liberality. Several of the white families who
had accompanied the train of 1844 had been assisted by him to procure their
outfits. Without his aid they could not have then come to Oregon; and he
had also ministered to their necessities during that tedious journey across
the Great American desert and the Rocky Mountains. He was a man of mark,
an old veteran, a soldier who had fought the "British red coats" (as he
claimed with great gusto and pride) side by side with General Jackson at
New Orleans. Indeed, he asserted with the utmost confidence, and surely
believed it, that
much of the glory of that immortal field was due to him for suggestions made. Be that as it may, George Bush was deservedly, one of the leading spirits which prompted at that date, and thereafter promoted and aided, Puget Sound settlement. None more than he did the full measure of duty to every newcomer, who, after that long, wearisome journey, needed rest or assistance. Simmons, whose broad humanity was not restricted by color of race-prejudice, a characteristic which was so thoroughly illustrated by his uniformly humane treatment and justice to the aborigines, estimated George Bush by his true merits and real manhood. They were intimate friends, relying upon each other; and insensibly George could, and did, control the more impulsive Simmons. Bush had acquired a competency in Missouri; but he was a liberty-loving man, and restless under the oppression and restrictions of his race in a slave state. He sought Oregon, thinking to live in a free territory. The writer has heard him claim his right therein by his service for the Republican in the war of 1812. But the legislative committee of the Oregon Provisional government, in their Organic law of 1844, declaring that "slavery and involuntary servitude shall be forever prohibited in Oregon," had also adopted a singularly offensive law excluding from the territory all free negroes and mulattoes. That same pro-slavery feeling which had dictated this odious provision might gain sufficient ascendency in the Willamette valley to attempt to enforce such provision. George Bush wisely concluded that the territory north of the river, at least so long as British claim was asserted, was likely to afford to him the protection of British institutions, and recognize his manhood. This circumstance had influenced George Bush's location of a home. There is no doubt that such resolution by Bush was the incentive, mainly, which prompted Simmons and part of the train of 1844 to change their minds from Rogue river valley to the shores of Puget Sound. it is equally a matter of satisfaction to write of the Puget Sound pioneer, who himself regarded Puget Sound as part of Oregon, without shadow of British claim thereto, that he believed that its soil should be open to settlement by George Bush as much as to any other American. Colonel Simmons labored to secure, and did secure, from the Oregon Provisional legislature, the passage of an act in which removed George Bush's race-disabilities. That regard and respect which Simmons entertained for Bush, and the belief by him and his neighbors that Bush's desire to be recognized as a free man was the real stimulus to Puget Sound settlement at that date, are attested in the fact that the site of the first American settlement was then, is now and ever will be known as Bush Prairie.
The digression was excusable, if not necessary. It showed why Colonel Simmons and party stopped at Washougal, instead of crossing into the Willamette valley, or journeying southward to the Rogue river. It explained why they tarried in the vicinity of Fort Vancouver. It accounts for the expeditions by Simmons to explore the country northward to Puget Sound.
During the winter of 1844, Colonel Simmons had been selected to examine that country. In December, 1844, he started in company with Messrs. Loomis, John, Henry and James Owens and Henry Williamson. the party reached the forks of the Cowlitz river, when their stock of provisions became low; and the further ascent of that rapid stream was extremely discouraging. Those circumstances induced the party to return to Washougal. Other reasons influenced that turning back. Many an old settler has heard the Colonel tell about a "vision" he had in Missouri, about the time of starting West, which really caused him to turn back. He had in his great manly nature a deal of superstition; and he used to say that "that vision indicated to him that he would find just such a place as the forks of the Cowlitz, and that at such place he would be compelled to abandon his enterprise." He claimed to have beheld at Cowlitz Forks, the identical place depicted in his dreams. Old settlers may take no stock in the "vision;" but the many thousands who have traveled that hard road up the Cowlitz in ante-railroad days will commend the retreat of Simmons and his party. None of them will think it required a vision to dictate that turn-back in December by any party who had no excuse for traveling but to see the country.
In April, 1845, the wife of Colonel
Simmons gave birth to a son, Christopher Columbus Simmons, the first American
child born north of the Columbia river, or in the region now known as Western
Washington. In the summer following Colonel Simmons again started on an
exploring expedition to Puget Sound, accompanied by William Shaw George
Wanch, David Crawford, Ninian Everman, Selburn, Thornton, David Parker,
Michael Moore and John Hunt. The party reached the Sound in August. At
Cowlitz Farms they learned that John R. Jackson, the old American pioneer
of Cowlitz Prairie, Lewis county, had just been there, examined the country
in that vicinity, and had selected a location and returned to the Willamette
for his family. The Simmons expedition continued exploration, fully examined
the country to the head of the Sound, made a trip its full length, passing
around northward of Whidby Island, and returning through Deception Pass
and the eastern channel. Peter Bercier, of the Cowlitz Farms, acted as
guide of the party from the Cowlitz to the head of Puget Sound. Colonel
Simmons having returned to the Columbia, a party was made up, which started
in October for the Sound. The little colony consisted of Colonel Simmons
and family, James McAllister and family, David Kindred and family, Gabriel
Jones and family, George Bush and family, Jesse Ferguson and Samuel B.
Crockett. Having ascended the Cowlitz river to the old Cowlitz Landing,
fifteen days were occupied in cutting a road through from the Cowlitz Landing
to Tumwater, at the head of Budd's Inlet, Puget Sound, a distance of about
fifty-eight miles. The claim of Tumwater or Falls of the Des Chutes was
taken by Colonel Simmons, who called the site New Market. The remaining
families settled on prairie claims all within a circuit of six miles from
New Market. To the prairie they gave the name "Bush Prairie," after Bush,
who occupied the most
remote section of land, the outpost of the little colony. On the formation by the Provisional government in 1846, of Vancouver district, embracing all the territory subsequently divided and respectively named Clarke, Lewis and Pacific counties, and extending northward to fifty-four degrees, forty minutes, north latitude, colonel Simmons was one of the county judges. One of his colleagues was Governor James Douglas, then chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver, afterwards Sir James Douglas, the first governor of British Columbia.
While the Puget Sound region was part of Oregon, Colonel Simmons was elected to the legislature from Lewis county, and, under the territorial organizations of both Oregon and Washington, acted in some public and official capacity during the remainder of his active, busy life. Emphatically a self-made man, without education, unable to read or write, he was a leader among men, inspiring all with respect for his native force of character and genuine ability and practical sense. Just, generous, liberal to a fault, impulsive, strong in his attachments, with excess of geniality; which would, perhaps have been fettered or restrained by education, he may have betrayed at times into errors. When such was the case, he alone was the sufferer; to no fellow-being did he ever intentionally commit a wrong. All the early comers to Puget Sound will ever treasure the remembrance of his unstinted hospitality, his ever ready and active zeal in contributing to the comfort of every settler. To the extent of his means, none more than he contributed to the establishment of schools, churches and roads and other public benefits. He was a pioneer in every sense of the word in every location in which he made his home. He died poor, at his residence in Lewis county, on Friday, November 15, 1867, leaving a widow and large family. He was universally known in the early days of Washington Territory; and by the early settlers his name and many good deeds are held in just remembrance.
N.K. SITTON. - This pioneer of 1843 was born in Calway county, Missouri, in 1825. As a boy in school he read Lewis & Clarke's travels, and being an active and intelligent youth seventeen years old, at the time of the great interest that prevailed in the border states respecting Oregon, was moved to join the party of Applegate Or Burnett, and made the journey with these noted men across the plains. he remembers meeting with Whitman on the Sweetwater, and recalls his services in guiding the emigrants from Fort Hall.
Arriving in Oregon he found employment on various farms and at at a mill, but in 1846 took his Donation claim on the rich lands five miles north of McMinnville. he was married soon afterwards to Miss Percilla Rogers of Chehalem valley. There the young pair began life, and made a happy home in which they lived many years. In 1848 Mr. Sitton made the trip to California for his pot of gold, and got it. After his return he made rapid improvements upon his farm, developing grain and stock.
By his first wife, who died in 1869, he reared a family of nine children: C.E., Caroline (Mrs. Rogers), Ora (Mrs. McColough, deceased), H.W., N.H., Fred D., Elbridge D., and two who died in infancy. He was married secondly to Mrs. Mary M. Laughlin, a daughter of Michael Shelly, an immigrant of 1848. Her two children, Lesly G. and Effie Rose were thereby brought into his family; and the home has been further blessed by the birth of five others: Frank W., Pratt K., Minnie G., Jennie G. and Lena S.
Mr. Sitton retains in memory many pleasant incidents of the early times, and of kind deeds performed in the midst of hardships. As for instance, how his comrade Brown, being taken sick at Fort Hall, was brought through only by being put on and taken off his horse morning and night, and carried down from The Dalles; and how McLaughlin had him sent to Doctor Barkley, who nursed and tended him back to life and strength, dismissing him with his blessing and the remark, "When you are able, you can pay me twenty dollars." another reminiscence is of a dark night on the plains, when Sitton was handling his gun carelessly and the piece was discharged. Fearing that some damage had been done, he followed in the direction of the shot, feeling his way in the dark, and at length discovered a fine mule whose body had been pierced through by the ball. A horse a little farther on, lying so fast asleep as to be roused only by a kick, greatly relieved his mind by standing up unhurt; but he always felt bad about the mule. He also regrets the sickness in his family in 1856, by which, after raising a company of volunteers for the Indian war, he was obliged to relinquish his position, and turn over his command to Captain Ankeny.
Thus having the scenes of the past still fresh, but busy with the affairs of the present, our old pioneer of nearly half a century is happily passing at his home the hours described of old as the "cool of the day."
EUGENE F. SKINNER. - Eugene F. Skinner, whose name is a household word throughout the length and breadth of Lane county, located in June, 1846, the Donation claim on which Eugene City, named for him, now stands. He was born at Essex, Essex county, New York, September 13, 1809, and is the youngest son of Major John Joseph Skinner of East Windsor, Connecticut, and a brother of St. John B.L. Skinner of New York, who was an influential officer in the Postoffice Department at Washington City, District of Columbia, under President Lincoln, and first assistant postmaster-general under President Johnson.
Having lost his mother when but
three months old, Eugene was favored with particular attention by his father,
and when he attained the age of fourteen years was taken to Albany, Green
county, Wisconsin, among relatives who were all interested in his welfare.
While yet in early life, however, he went back to his native state, and
to Plattsburg, the home of his childhood. Soon after this he turned his
face westward and settled at Hennepin, Putnam county, Illinois. In youth
he was of a most industrious disposition, and by diligent application obtained
a good education, which fitted him
in after life for many positions of trust and honor. Having lived on a farm, he naturally learned the intricacies of agriculture, and drank in of the spirit of adventure that subsequently developed in him the desire to assume the arduous undertakings of a life on the frontier.
He married in Illinois, November 28, 1839, Mary Cook, who was born in Augusta, Oneida county, New York, February 7, 1816. While a resident of Illinois, he was elected to several official positions, among them being sheriff of Putnam county. Owing to certain inducements held out to him, and hoping to regain his lost health, in May, 1845, he and his wife, joined a large company who were going to California, among the number being Felix Scott, Wesley Shannon and Elijah Bristow. They arrived at the hospitable portals of Sutter's fort in September, 1845. There they wintered, and in the spring of 1846 journeyed to Oregon. Mr. Skinner stopped in Dallas, Polk county, until in May, 1847, he turned his face southward and took up his residence on the claim which he had previously located, erecting a log cabin at the west side of Skinner Butte, where Mrs. Skinner reigned as the first and only lady in Lane county. Theirs was certainly far from being a bed of roses. The Indians in the vicinity took umbrage at the white man thus locating in their midst; and several times they sought to destroy the family. Mr. Skinner kept watch and ward with an old musket, while Mrs. Skinner made bullets. Nevertheless, after many days of fear and anxiety, no dire deed of vengeance was perpetrated.
Mr. Skinner's family at that time consisted of only himself, wife and one little daughter, Mary Elizabeth, who was born in Dallas, Polk county, Oregon, December 2, 1846, who in time was presented with three sisters and one brother. Leanora, the first white child to see the light of day in Lane county, was born September 2, 1848; Phoebe B., born March 29, 1850; St. John B.L., born November 17, 1851; Amelia R., born April 16, 1855. Of these, the first-named, Mary Elizabeth, died at Eugene City, October 4, 1860; Leanora died at Portland, Oregon, August 29, 1862. Phoebe B. married, August 30, 1868, John D. Rinsey, a native of New Jersey, who was born in Plainfield, October 12, 1835, and died March 13, 1881, leaving a family of two daughters, Maggie Clara and Mary Louis. St. John married, November 23, 1871, Amanda J. Walton. Amelia R. married August 24, 1871, Byron Van Houten, but is now Mrs. Combs, having married in Kansas City, Missouri, February 1, 1883, Chester D. Combs, a native of New York. Eugene F. Skinner, the subject of our writing, died at Eugene City, December 15, 1864, aged fifty-five years, three months and two days. His memory will long be cherished and honored by the inhabitants of the town that bears his name, and by the people of the beautiful valley in which he was one of the first settlers.
In early times Eugene F. Skinner was clerk of the courts, and was for many years postmaster at Eugene City. He also attended to law business for a large number of the settlers of Lane county. He was industrious and honest, was a first-class business man, and enjoyed the esteem and confidence of everybody. Mr. Skinner was a good man in the true sense of the word. he was a most estimable, public-spirited citizen, a kind husband, a fond and indulgent parent, and a dear and prized friend to a large number of state and county residents. Hundreds of needy, destitute emigrants, from the time of his first settlement in Oregon, until the last few weeks of his life, found in him a provider and friend; and his charities were freely extended wherever he knew that want prevailed. All in all, he was a man of noble impulses and most modest demeanor. His death was a calamity to the community of Eugene City; and he was deeply mourned by all. a cold which he had contracted little heeded at the time, was in four days the cause of his sudden death. The Masons and Odd Fellows of both of which orders he was a worthy member, conducted his obsequies on the 17th of December, 1864. Peace to the ashes of Eugene F. Skinner.
Mrs. Mary (Skinner) Packard, widow of Eugene F. Skinner, was married February 7, 1867, to Captain N.L. Packard, a native of Maine, with whom she lived until her death, which occurred at Eugene City, Oregon, June 4, 1881.
When the town was first laid out, she was awarded the honor of giving a name to the place; and she christened the embryo town Eugene, her former husband's first name. She was a lady of many virtues, kind and charitable, ever ready to assist the needy and alleviate the sufferings of the unfortunate. Unaffected in her manners, and caring very little for distinction of personages, all who came in contact with her were treated with that gentle courtesy that marks the true woman and lady. In character she was amiable to a fault, patient, anxious for the comfort of all about her, speaking no ill of anyone. Schooled in the dangers and hardships of pioneer life, that seemed to quicken the symptoms of a heart naturally gentle and charitable, she lived respected by all who knew her, beloved by her associates, and died mourned by the entire community.
HON. JAMES HARVEY SLATER. - Mr. Slater has ever borne a conspicuous part in the public affairs of Oregon; and no one has preserved a more honorable name. His mental qualities are solid rather than brilliant, and his operations weighty rather than keen. He is a man whose integrity has never been impeached; and he has ever been relied upon as a friend of the people. In his two terms at Washington, once as congressman, once as senator, he has performed some very effective work for our state; and all Oregonians hold him in high esteem. The following brief sketch will furnish the data of his life, and be eagerly read by all.
He was born in Sangamon county,
Illinois, in 1826, and remained there until 1849. He received a common-school
education, and prepared himself for college; but, abandoning further advance
in that line he concluded to try his fortunes in California, coming to
the Pacific coast in 1849. After a year in California he came up the coast
to Oregon, and located near Corvallis in Benton county, where he put to
good use his former education by teaching public school for two years.
In 1853 he made a venturesome trip to California, and was at Yreka during
the Indian troubles in which General Joseph Lane took so prominent a part. he returned to Oregon the same fall. In 1854 he married Miss Elizabeth E. Grey, a daughter of Reverend R.D. Grey. Having pursued legal studies, he was admitted to the bar in the same year, and continued his occupation as clerk of the Untied States district court, to which he had been appointed in 1853. In 1862 he came to Baker county, where he engaged in mining and also in the practice of law until 1866, when he removed to La Grande, where he has since resided.
The political history of Senator Slater may be briefly told as follows: He was elected to the territorial legislature in 1857 as an independent Democrat, and was re-elected in 1858 and at the same time elected to the first Oregon state legislature. He served in the first special sessions of that body after the admission of the state in 1859. In February of that year he began the publication of the old well-known Oregon Weekly Union at Corvallis, and continued this until the latter part of 1861, when it went into the hands of P.J. Malone. In 1855 Mr. Slater was appointed postmaster of Corvallis, and served about three years.
In 1866 he was elected district attorney of the fourth judicial district of Oregon, and in 1868, as presidential elector on the Democratic ticket cast his vote for Seymour and Blair. In 1870 he was elected a member of the Forty-second Congress. After his return from the duties thus imposed, he resumed the practice of law at La Grande, and engaged somewhat in agriculture and stock-raising until 1878. In that year he was again called to serve his state at Washington, being elected to the United States Senate, and served the whole term of six years. In1885 he again resumed his law practice in La Grande. In 1887 he was appointed one of the railroad commissioners for the state of Oregon, and served until 1889. He is at present practicing law at his home. Mr. Slater has a family of five sons and five daughters.
While a member of the United States Senate, Mr. Slater took an active part in the discussion of the Chinese, tariff and other public questions. His speeches on the tariff attracted attention throughout the Untied States and England; and as a result he was elected an honorary member of the Cobden Club, England, in 1883. Mr. Slater is not, however, a free-trader, as that term is used, but is opposed to a tariff levied for protective purposes.
D.W. SMALL. - The career of this gentleman and his brothers, who have been associated with him in most of his enterprises, well illustrates the fact that Western life peculiarly develops versatility and adaptability. The Western man must encounter sudden and unexpected obstacles. He must adapt himself to unusual conditions. Precedent is of little use to him. He has to make his own precedents. Hence the population of the Pacific slope is peculiarly noted for a variety of talents. The people learn to go across lots to conclusions. In the fierce struggle for existence which comes in a new country, the man who cannot shift for himself to meet almost anything that comes along is bund, in slang parlance, to "get left." Our towns have been built up, our resources developed, our hidden wealth revealed, in its manifold phases, by the bold, keen-eyed pioneers, who wait for no favorable fortune to turn up, but simply go themselves and turn something up. One of the types of these restless, versatile spirits is Mr. Small. He was born in 1838 in New Brunswick, whence his father and family went to Maine seven years later.
The outbreak of the great war fund our subject prompt to array himself in the army of the Union. He enlisted in the First Maine Cavalry, where he spent a year, and was then discharged on account of sickness. During the interval of rest which ensued he was married, his wife being Martha F. Bradbury. The war still continuing and Mr. Small's health being restored, he re-enlisted in October, 1863, in the Second Maine Cavalry Veteran Volunteers. The regiment saw service under General Banks on the Red river, and subsequently took part in the Selma and Mobile campaigns. Mr. Small was several times a non-commissioned officer, and was finally discharged in December, 1865.
The great conflict ended, he returned to his home, which was, however, soon sadly shattered by the death of his wife and infant child. Taking his two other children, Dora and Schuyler, with him, he now turned his face towards the setting sun, and in the fall of 1871 came to Montana, where his parents were living. In the following spring, with his brother, Ira, he came to Walla Walla, Washington Territory. His father died soon afterwards. This was just at the time that Doctor Baker was putting his energies to the construction of his narrow-guage railroad between Wallula and Walla Walla. The Doctor had just ended a third unsuccessful attempt to get ties, the first on the Grande Ronde, then on the Clearwater, then on the Yakima, having lost over $40,000 in experimenting. But Dr. Baker was a man who never gave up anything; and he went to work, undismayed by his losses, to try again. This time he found the men who could hang onto the job with a tenacity which never let go till it was done. He employed the Small brothers to superintend the arduous undertaking; and in due time, amid obstacles that would have discouraged many men, they pushed the work to a successful conclusion, having the Yakima as the route for their supply. Thus was built the first railroad in the Inland Empire, one whose results were of much moment to the Walla Walla country, and brought a vast fortune to its projector.
In the year 1874 a third brother, Albert joined the two already in Walla Walla. He brought with him the children of D.W., and the aged mother of the brothers, the latter dying within six weeks after her arrival. Together the three brothers went into the livery business. In 1876 they added to their already large interests by taking charge of the Stine House, which they so administered as to well please the traveling public of those days. At about the same time, as if not having enough to do, the began to take large contracts for transportation and supplies for the government. During three years they furnished one thousand horses to the government.
In 1879 Mr. Small was united
in marriage to Miss
Ella Dawson who still presides over his elegant home in Walla Walla.
We must not forget to say that in 1877-78, in addition to their other almost multifarious enterprises, the Small brothers put a steamer the Northwest, on the Snake river route. they found this very profitable.
In 1880 Mr. Small, at first with his brother Ira, and then with I.C. Ellis of Olympia, took an immense contract to furnish timber for the Northern Pacific Railroad. they furnished the timber and ties for two hundred and fifty miles of road, between Sprague and the second crossing of Clark's Fork in Montana. In addition to the lumber contract, the firm cleared the right of way for a hundred miles. After finishing this contract, they supplied the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company with a large amount of material for the Palouse branch.
In 1884, as Mr. Small was looking
forward to the enjoyment of the results of all this hard work, he met with
a great series of disappointments and losses. Fire attacked his mills in
the Coeur d'Alene, and in one swoop deprived him of $50,000. During the
same year he built the opera house in Walla Walla; and before it was fairly
completed a defect of construction caused the building to fall in. All
above the first story had to be entirely rebuilt. This entailed a loss
of ten thousand dollars more on the owner. In spite of this most inopportune
misfortune, Mr. small pushed the opera house to completion. It is among
the illustrations of this volume, and is one of the institutions
of Walla Walla. It is
without doubt the finest building of the kind in the Upper Columbia region.
The severe losses of 1884 did not cause Mr. Small to retire from railroad work. In 1886 he furnished timber for the Spokane & Palouse railroad. He is now just as active as ever, engaged in real estate, the livery business, and in executing government contracts. In the variety and magnitude of his undertakings, Mr. Small is one of the marked men of the Northwest. Few citizens of the "east of the Mountains" have been in situations to know more of our varied resources, and of few can the stranger obtain more reliable or cheerful information.
MRS. ARETHUSA E. SMITH. - Arethusa E., the daughter of Daniel Lynn, was born near Warsaw, Benton county, Missouri, June 12, 1834. As a child of six years she removed with her parents to Platte county, in the same state, remaining until 1844, the year memorable for the great flood. Mr. Lynn, being very fond of a pioneer life, determined to settle in Texas, but was unable to proceed farther than the White river country, and, being ill suited with that country, returned to Platte county. He had long heard of Oregon, and decided to cross the plains thither and in the spring of 1850 made the start. But this proved a fatal step for the hardy pioneer; for cholera attacked him on the Platte plains, and terminated his useful life. The bereaved wife and mother, Mrs. Ann Lynn, continued with the train, and arrived at Portland, almost the first of October. Soon after her arrival her daughters made homes of their own, with the exception of Miss Arethusa, who in 1851 accompanied her mother to the Umpqua valley, and lived with her at the new home near Yoncalla, where also resided Jessie Applegate, a friend of the family.
On the 21st of October, 1852, she was united in marriage to Mr. Thomas Smith of Winchester, and in that delightful spot of the Umpqua has lived for nearly forty years, making a home for her husband and rearing twelve children, four of whom are girls. Two of the sons are deceased. Their home bespeaks the comfort and refinement of a well-regulated family, under the guidance of a careful and kind mother.
EDWARD S. SMITH. - The death of Edward Slade Smith, at San Francisco, California, on December 31, 1885, and incidents relating to his life gathered from recollections of Judge Charles H. Berry, Honorable John A. Mathews and Doctor James M. Cole.
Edward Slade Smith was born in what was then Chemung, now Schuyler county, in the State of New York, February 28, 1827; and hence at his decease he was nearly fifty-nine years old. His parents were Joel and Anna Smith, both early settlers in Winona, Minnesota, and both of whom are now dead. There were born to them six sons and four daughters. Edward Slade Smith, the second son, gave early promise of those traits of character of that enterprise, activity, and great perseverance, which were the leading features of his life. His school advantages were not adequate to his ambitious needs in after life; but his native genius and inherent judgment seldom failed him. After a reverse in his early business career, his experiences became his best educators; and they afforded him knowledge not attainable in colleges. However, his common-school acquirements were sufficient for his business purposes; and his mind was enlightened, and his views of life broadened, by extensive reading and intercourse with the able men of the West.
In 1852 he came to Minnesota. Having been previously engaged with his eldest brother, Lorenzo D. Smith, in the lumber business at Gibson, New York, he very naturally saw the advantages that the site of the Falls of St. Anthony afforded for an immense water-power and manufacturing city. There had been a small mill put up somewhere in the neighborhood of the falls by the military authorities of Fort Snelling; but its use had long been abandoned. Seeing an unoccupied location, and conceiving it to be a grand opportunity, he built the first sawmill erected by a civilian at what is now Minneapolis. Finding his squatter right contested by what he regarded as political favoritism, and to avoid what he supposed would be a legal or a military ejectment from the premises, he sold out his interest in the mill and its location, and in 1853 established himself in Winona, Minnesota. Soon after his arrival there, he joined William Ashley Jones in the purchase of an undivided interest in what was known as the west half of the Stevens' claim (eighty acres), which extended along and back of the river front, and on which the Porter Flouring Mill and others are now situated.
On the 14th of December, 1854,
he was married
at Winona by Reverend Hiram S. Hamilton, of the Congregational church to Miss Mary Frances Burns, daughter of John Burns. It was not long before he became a prominent factor in the building up of the city of Winona.
Together with his brother, L.D. Smith, Abraham M. Fridley, William Ashley Jones, C.H. Berry, H.H. Johnson, H.D. Huff, and other prominent and well-known charter members of the Old Transit Railroad, now the Winona & St. Peter, he invested largely in an attempt to build the road by obtaining congressional and state aid. After a very large expenditure of money and labor by his brother, himself, and his associates, Congress, on March 3,1857, passed an act by which the Transit Railroad was to receive through the state one million, two hundred thousand acres of land to aid them in constructing the road. In 1858, also, the legislature, at its first session, afterwards confirmed by the people of Minnesota, authorized a loan of five million dollars to aid in general construction of railroads; and after an amendment of its charter, and a change of its name, ground was broken on the line of the Transit road on June 9, 1858.
The work was pushed with vigor by the contractors, De Graff & Co.,; and five hundred thousand dollars of state bonds had been received by them, when the financial crash of 1858-59 came; and all work was suspended. The state bonds soon became almost worthless in the market, and the railroad finally bankrupt. The deceased was in New York with some of his associates endeavoring to raise money for construction when the news reached them of the repudiation of the state bonds. They had been in Wall street; but no bonds could be placed there. They met in conference upon the situation; and the prospects seemed gloomy enough, when a smile was seen spreading over Smith's jovial face. He was asked by one in a nervous tone, "What do you see in the situation to amuse you?" He replied, "I was just thinking that if the bonds could not be used here in Yew York, I can use them at home; for I have enough to paper a room." The remark of the deceased was characteristic of the man; for he could not be suppressed; and, discharging their hotel bills, the party started for their Western homes.
On returning to Winona, the deceased soon realized that the Transit road, with all its franchises, would pass into other hands; and he at once turned his attention to other fields of labor. Having a good water-power upon his property at Glen Mary, in Burns' valley, he constructed a flouring-mill of good capacity, that yielded a fair income to its owners. As a means of drawing trade to Winona, he was active in the construction of good roads into the city, and subscribed liberally for that purpose. The long and permanent embankment across the low-lands at the foot of Lake Winona, usually called "The Dyke," the foundations of which he helped to lay, contributing the first five hundred dollars expended in that work, is a monument to his sagacity and liberality. He followed that contribution from time to time with very much more, and in all matters of public interest was always active.
In the somewhat turbulent state of early society in Winona, Edward S. Smith could ever be relied on as upon the side of law, harmony and good order, and very many were the rough places which it was his province to make smooth. These kindly acts are retained in the memories of those who survive him.
In railroad construction, and in the use of mechanical appliances, he had but few superiors in the wide West. When the line of the North-Western Railroad coming into Winona across the Mississippi river was changed, an attempt was made by its management to pull up the oak piles driven by the old contractors, as they were needed for immediate use. After a vain attempt had been made made, in which the costly machinery of the company was pulled to pieces, the deceased offered to pull and deliver them when needed, for a reasonable consideration. Mr. Smith was told by the engineer-in-chief and the contractors that three machines at least would be required to draw the piles as fast as needed, and that fifteen hundred dollars would scarcely build them. Smith replied, "Very well, you will pay me then all the more willingly." An agreement was made, and the piles were rapidly pulled and delivered from three machines made on the ground from the capping of the old bridges at a cost of fifteen dollars for each extractor.
It was the practical ingenuity of the man that in 1871 led to his selection by General J.W. Sprague to assist operations as manager of the interests of the Northern Pacific Railroad on the Pacific coast. The selection and purchase of the Kalama site was influenced by his judgment; and the purchase of the site of the city of Tacoma was intrusted entirely to his tact and judgment. How well and faithfully his duties were performed, let the magnificent city overlooking Commencement Bay attest.
When, in the autumn of 1873, Jay Cook failed, and the contractors on the road from Kalama to Tacoma were unable to pay the men, and it was necessary to meet the requirements of Congress to complete the road to Tacoma before the close of the year, the railroad company, through the individual efforts of Captain Ainsworth, put the work into his hands. Sixteen miles of road remained unfinished; and it was necessary to construct them within a few weeks. A force of three hundred men were encamped under arms at the end of the work refusing to work until paid, and threatening to fire on anyone else who should attempt to work on the road. Mr. Smith went out with others to the men, and was principally instrumental in inducing the men to return to work. Under his direction, the railroad was completed within the time required by the charter. The authority for that important work was contained in a letter from Captain Ainsworth of a few lines, and which was a veritable carte blanche as to mode of work.
The Wilkeson coal mines were
discovered by him from information received from one of the United States
surveyors, who had seem some float coal in a ravine near the mines. Several
vain attempts at exploration with others were made, his companions giving
up the search. When, taking a pack upon his back, he pursued his way through
fallen timber and vine maple, camping with a single companion (W.C. Wallace)
in the forest until success crowned
their efforts. After testing the coal in Portland, San Francisco, and in domestic use, he hastened to secure title to the mines that yielded the first coking coal found in Washington Territory. Coke ovens had been established by his enterprise, and the mines are now quite extensively worked by the Tacoma Coal Company, a large interest in which is held by the heirs to his estate.
It was largely through his discoveries that faith was inspired in the practicability of the present line of railroad to Wilkeson. Mr. C.B. Wright reposed great trust in his judgement; and Mr. Wright's influence in the board of directors decided the building of the road up the Puyallup valley to the Wilkeson coal mines in 1877. This thirty miles of road was afterwards a potent factor in anchoring the terminus of the Cascade division at Tacoma, and in stimulating the work of counteraction when hostile influences were at work endeavoring to divert the terminal point, and to defeat the construction of the road across the Cascade Mountains. Mr. Smith acquired large interests in Tacoma real estate; and from the time of the location of the railroad terminus at Tacoma in 1873, he never lost heart or faith in the ultimate future of the city, but exerted every effort for its settlement and development. In the first few years of this early period he built and carried on the sawmill near the railroad wharf, in which Mr. M.F. Hatch subsequently became an owner, beside opening his coal mine at Wilkeson, already mentioned.
Mr. Smith had a high sense of honor, and was a great lover of justice. He suffered no man to deal unfairly with him, and in resisting any such attempt was uncompromising. His charities were many ad unostentatious. They were not done in the face of the public, and were generally made known by him only to the recipient. He aided many to help themselves and their inclinations to do so was with him a test of their worthiness. And yet, if anyone was really helpless, within his observation and means, he helped them so quietly that his hand was not seen by others. Knowing from his character what he would have done if living, his executors have made a large donation of land in aid of the Methodist University in course of construction at Tacoma.
In Politics, through his life, he was a Democrat; though he had no taste nor desire for office. He had a great admiration for Senators Ben Wade and Thurman of Ohio; and when in Washington, District of Columbia, during their senatorship and that of his personal friend, Senator Daniel S. Norton, Democratic senator from Minnesota, they were all to be found together during adjournment in one or another of their rooms, the most jolly in their fund of anecdotes of any brainy men in the nation. Mr. Smith's jovial but self-poised nature, his humor and ready wit, his sterling qualities of strong sense, truth and firmness, made his host of friends; and he was at once recognized as the peer of any of his associates. He was a man cast in no common mold, and attached to him warmly those who came much in contact with him.
At the time of his death, which resulted from blood-poisoning, he had just completed a fine residence in Tacoma, and was intending other improvements that would have made his residence and grounds as desirable as any in the city. These he had to leave, though not unprepared; for his views of life and death were based upon the firm belief in a just and merciful God, and a philosophical existence beyond the tomb. His widow still survives him, together with their children, Frank, Fred, Harry, Fanny, Nora and Maud. May his memory be preserved and honored as one of the noblest types of a Western pioneer.
HON. E.L. SMITH - Although these sketches deal mainly with men who came hither in the forties and fifties, we are yet occasionally reminded of the fact that length of residence does not constitute the only just claim to recognition in our annals. Every decade has its pioneers. Nearly every year has seen added to our number someone who by force of character, intelligence and industry has made himself a place in the esteem of the people, and in the business fabric of the country. The subject of the present subject was a pioneer of 1861. Though thus not f especially early residence here, there is scarcely a man in our history who has touched more of the experiences of life on this coast than he, or who has a larger circle of friends and acquaintances, or who has a greater general knowledge of this country, in all its many unfolding phases.
Mr. Smith was born in Orleans county, Vermont, in 1837. Removing to Illinois in 1857, he became for a time a teacher in Tazewell county. In 1858 he entered Lombard University at Galesburg. In 1860 he found his life's partner - a most happy "find" for both - in the person of Miss Georgia Slocum, of Woodstock, Illinois. During that same period of his life, too, though so young, he became by reason of his natural powers of oratory, a prominent member of the new Republican party, and gained the personal acquaintance of Abraham Lincoln and other giants of that great epoch. Many are his present reminiscences of that soul-stirring time.
Early in 1861 he went to California, and engaged n mining in El Dorado county. In 1865 he became a member of the California legislature, being with one exception the youngest member. In 1866 he received, through the influence of William H. Seward, the appointment of secretary of Washington Territory, and accordingly made his home at Olympia. During part of his term he was acting governor. In 1874 he was chosen to the legislative council of Washington.
While in Olympia he formed a partnership with G.A. Barnes and William Avery in establishing the first bank of that place. His business and public prospects at Olympia were very bright; but a tendency to pulmonary trouble threatening serious results, he was compelled to drop all his plans and seek a dry climate. His first move was a long outdoor engagement in surveying. In company with R.J. Reeves he took a contract for running the boundary line between Idaho and Washington Territory.
With health regained by the exercise
and freedom of this experience, he next sought a permanent location in
the dry climate of the Inland Empire. The beauty and healthfulness of Hood
river appealed so strongly to him that, though it was
somewhat isolated, he resolved to establish himself there. He accordingly went into the mercantile business there in 1876, adding to the store the care of a large ranch. In that most attractive of mountain resorts of Oregon he has since made his home, with one period of absence. That was during the three years from 1881 to 1884, when he was registrar of the United States land-office at The Dalles.
Since his return to Hood river, Mr. Smith has resumed on a larger scale his former business, besides devoting much attention to matters of public interest in his section and in the state. He has been for three successive years president of the Columbia River Water-way Association; and with his broad comprehension of the commercial needs of the country, and his persuasive manner of speaking, he has done much to impress upon the popular mind the need of an open river. He is at the present time grand master of the A.O.U.W. for Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.
He has been many times spoken of for the highest position in the state, as well as for that of United States senator; but his political independence is so great, and his contempt for the arts of the politician so complete, that the "managers" have been a little afraid to give him the prominence which the people would gladly bestow. In the year 1888, however, he was nominated by acclamation by the Republicans of Wasco county for the lower house of the legislature, and after a very lively canvass was elected by a large majority. At the assembling of the legislature in the following January, he was chosen speaker of the house, which important position he held with satisfaction to all.
It is deemed a great privilege to be able to claim the personal acquaintance of Mr. Smith; for his beautiful home, his peculiar enthusiasm of disposition, and his boundless hospitality, amply sustained by that of his wife and daughters, together with his rare literary taste and love of art, legend, Indian tradition and pioneer stories, make Hood river a veritable Mecca. To this must be added the effect of the majestic scenery of the place, a panorama of scenic attractions, ever varying and ever new, such as even this land, fruitful in natural wonders and beauties, does not elsewhere equal. In politics Mr. Smith, though an ardent Republican, is a devoted advocate of temperance and every other great moral reform. In religion he and his wife are earnest adherents of that denomination, small in numbers but great in intellect and influence, the Unitarian.
Six children, five girls and one boy, have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Smith. They have lost the only son and one of the daughters. The living children are Jessie (Mrs. Doctor Watt of Pullman, Washington), Avis (Mrs. William M. Stewart of The Dalles), Georgia and Anne.
HON. EUGENE D. SMITH. - This pioneer of the logging business of the Snohomish river, a portrait of whom is placed in this history, is a representative man of the Puget Sound country, and almost a typical American. Of large and fine proportions physically, self-reliant, capable of taking a hand at any business, even at politics or war, or, with a little brushing up, at almost any profession, he at present contents himself with being proprietor and patron of the handsome town of Lowell, Washington, and conducting large logging operations, on his own estate of four thousand acres in Snohomish county. He was born in Maine on April 30, 1837.
While but a child of eight he suffered the loss of his father at Marshfield, Maine, and two years later began the battle of life for himself. Six years a sailor on the high seas, at the age of twenty-one he was commander of a brig. In 1858 he left that situation and came via the Isthmus to San Francisco, sailing on the well-known old steamer Oriflamme and Golden Gate; and by the autumn of that year he had drifted up to the haven of all Maine men, Puget Sound. At Port Gamble he found employment in a logging camp, but in 1862 tried his luck in the Caribou mines. This venture was quickly found non-productive; and in 1863 he began logging on the Snohomish. His original claim was on the site of Lowell. There he has since remained with but few breaks, such as going to Idaho for a time to repair his health in the sixties, and in 1869 to San Francisco to meet his bride, Miss Margaret B. Getchell, whom he had known long before at Marshfield.
Coming back to the Sound with a home in his mind, he bought back his old claim at Lowell and began securing lots and pre-empting, homesteading and purchasing ,until he owns a baronial estate. he has been active in improving his home, in creating a mercantile business, building a hotel, in securing the growth of the town about him, and in bringing in all the comforts and advantages that can be obtained for his family. He has three children living; and one has passed beyond. Not a politician, he nevertheless has pronounced political views, and has held such offices as postmaster, justice of the peace and county commissioner.
GREEN B. SMITH. - There are few names more widely known among the pioneers of Western Oregon than that which stands at the head of this sketch. Few lives have been more full of adventure. After a long life actively spent among the trials and vicissitudes incident to a frontier life, he finally yielded to the fiat of nature; and, in obedience to the summons that must come to all, he passed over the dark river. His death, which leaves but a comparatively small number of that old pioneer's phalanx of 1845, who marched two thousand miles across a trackless desert to found a home in the far West, occurred on the 7th of May, 1886.
Mr. G.B. Smith was born in Grayson
county, West Virginia, September 10, 1820, and was the son of George and
Nancy (Hamilton) Smith. At the age of sixteen years, his parents removing
to St. Joseph county, Indiana, he accompanied them thither, assiting in
the cultivation of the farm until 1840, when he emigrated to Platte county,
Missouri, and there remained until the spring of 1845.At this period, accompanied
by his brother Alexander (who died at the Sandwich Islands in 1850), Mr.
Smith joined a train composed of sixty-six wagons at St. Joseph, Missouri,
under the command of Captain T'Vault, and commenced the long journey across
After successive changes in the leaders of the party, that well-known veteran, Stephen Meek, undertook to conduct them into the Willamette valley by the old Columbia route; but unfortunately, when at the place since called Silver lake, located west of the Blue Mountains, the guide found himself at fault, and declared himself to be absolutely lost; upon which the emigrants became so incensed that they affirmed that Meek must hang, a determination which so alarmed him that he made his escape at dead of night, leaving his wife behind under the care of the late Nathan Olney.
It now forced itself upon their minds that he Columbia route lay to the northward; but such was their distress for lack of water that this knowledge availed them little. Scouring the desert to the east of the present Prineville for five days, they found none; therefore they turned to the northward, and, after one day and night's travel, discovered that with which to slake their parched throats. Their supplies too had given out; and they were compelled to kill some of their cattle, and eat their flesh without salt. After traveling some days, the waters of the Des Chutes river were reached; and there the party were met by Black Harris, a mountaineer, who had learned from the Indians that there were emigrants lost in the country. Harris led them to the river opposite what is now known as Tygh valley, Wasco county.
It now became necessary to cross the Des Chutes; but the Indians had given them to understand that it was a difficult feat either for man or beast. Undeterred, however, the wagons were unshipped from the wheels and tightly caulked; but yet another difficulty presented itself. How was a guy rope to be conveyed to the opposite bank? Happily there was a young man in their midst whose courage was equal to the hazardous task. In him we find that worthy pioneer, Prier Scott (now living near Corvallis), who volunteered to swim the stream, an exploit he accomplished; and their wagons and supplies were ferried over. The beasts were made to swim; and not a thing was lost. Not long after that, they arrived at The Dalles, where they obtained a supply of provisions from the Methodist Mission, then under the charge of Reverend A.F. Waller; and there, building a raft and shipping their wagons and goods upon it, they went with the current down the Columbia to the Upper Cascades; while the cattle were driving along the southern shore of the river to the same point. There the Indians were hired to assist in swimming the cattle across the river, which being successfully accomplished the route was again taken to the Lower Cascades. There they were assisted by men and boats from the Hudson's Bay Company's fort at Vancouver, where they were furnished with clothing and provisions by Doctor McLoughlin.
Having wintered at the mouth of the Washougal, some fifteen miles above Fort Vancouver, in the month of March, 1846, Mr. Smith and his brother moved to Benton county; and he took up his residence about twelve miles north of Corvallis and engaged in farming and stock-raising, his original Donation claim being still owned by his family. By industry, economy and the exercise of good judgment, Mr. Smith soon became one of the most prosperous men and the largest taxpayer in the county. He was a man of superior intelligence and marked individuality of character. He represented his county in the territorial legislature in 1849, and although he took an active interest in public affairs, and an open stand on questions of public interest, he had no ambition for political promotion, but was as true as steel to his friends. He was twice married, in the first instance in 1848 to Miss Eliza Huggard, a native of Missouri, who died one year after. By that union he had one son, Alexander. He was married secondly, in 1830, to Miss Mary Baker, a native of Tennessee, who survives him. The issue of this last marriage is one son, John, who now resides in Corvallis.
The emigration of 1845 contained large numbers of the best specimens of true manhood that can be found in the history of any country in the civilized world; and the subject of this sketch was not inferior to any in that whole band of pioneers. In all the elements of character that constitute the true citizen and representative of the highest type of an American, he was the peer of any. He was public spirited, and gave liberally to the various public enterprises and charitable institutions in his county; and there were no schemes for the improvement of his city or county, or for the betterment of the condition of his fellowmen, that were properly presented to him, but that received his encouragement and liberal aid and assistance.
His life-work is done; and his character stands out as grand and as simple as the colossal pillar of chiseled granite that marks his last resting place.
DR. HENRY A. SMITH. - Doctor Smith was born in Wooster, Ohio, April 11, 1830, and is the son of Nicholas and Abagail (Teaff) Smith. His father, who was a Baptist minister, died when he wa but nine years of age, and left his mother a widow with eleven children, Henry being the youngest son. When he was about sixteen years old he moved with his mother and one sister to Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Soon afterwards he entered Alleghany College, Pennsylvania, and studied medicine.
In the spring of 1852, in company with his mother and one sister, he started west in Doctor Miller's train, arriving in Portland October 26th of that year. He came on to Seattle, Washington Territory, the following January, and in that year, 1853, took up one hundred and sixty acres in what is now known as Smith's Avenue, a suburb of Seattle. In 1855 he spent nine months as surgeon in the Indian war, and was afterwards elected the first school superintendent of King County.
He has represented King county two terms in the legislature, Snohomish county, one term in the house and two terms in the council, at the last session of which he was president.
He conducted a hospital in Snohomish for eight years, and in 1866 sold most of his property to the Seattle & Lake Shore Railroad.
The Doctor has a family of eight
children, seven daughters and one son.
CAPT. HIRAM SMITH. - Capacity for business may make a man a miser or a shark. Generosity may make him a pauper. In the one case he may so use his talent as to over-reach and distress his neighbors; and in the other he may impoverish himself and become a burden rather than a benefit to society. The benevolent heart is best when joined to a sagacious head. No man seems so happy, and certainly none so useful, as he who is able to gratify his love of doing good by having the means for its accomplishment ever at hand. Such man was Father Wilbur. Such man also was Captain Smith. Oregon may well boast of both of them.
Hiram Smith was born in Danville, New York, in 1810. That was about the time that many of the American princes were born; - when the American youth realized that the continent wa to be conquered from nature, as it had been in the last generation from tyranny. West of the Alleghanies a man might have about as much land as he could ride over. There was the opportunity to repeat the life which the world has most deeply cherished in its songs, and stories, - of making new homes, building new towns and constructing new states. the dross, the slag, of the old incrusted past was to be left behind, and the pure metal to be pushed to the western bounds. In the presence of such ideas, and embodying them largely himself, he went out to Cleveland, Ohio, where his life was made complete by his marriage to Miss Hannah M. Stone n 1835. This young lady was a pioneer herself, a native of Rutland county, Vermont, and had been since her fourth year living at Cook's Corners, Ohio, her mother being a sister of the father of Mr. Jay Cook, the celebrated financier. When she experienced the real pioneer life of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific slope, she was able to accompany her husband on his longest expeditions, sharing his hardships, his exploits and his success.
Soon after their marriage they moved to Findlay, Ohio, the place which has become so famous for natural gas. At Waterville he engaged in the manufacture of fanning mills, the first in Western Ohio and at Findlay he continued the same business with his brother-in-law, J.E. Stone. In 1845 he came out to Oregon in company with Colonel Risley and Colonel Taylor. He made a thorough survey of Oregon and of the Puget Sound region, and upon his return in 1846 was able to give accurate information which led many to set forth for our state. In 1850 he himself organized a party, bringing his wife with him, and intending to make his home upon the Pacific. Reaching Portland he engaged in a mercantile business; - Portland, even in its infancy was a great place for "stores;" and in 1852 he drove out on to the plains with provisions and beef cattle to meet the immigration of that year. This was a business enterprise undertaken, nevertheless, with the purpose of supplying a large body of persons who would be nearly destitute at that stage of their journey. Those of the company who had money paid for their provisions; and those who had no money got their flour and beef just the same. Many of those promised to pay as soon as they were able; but it is not known that the Captain ever accepted any such remuneration. So large a number were impecunious that the enterprise was not a success financially.
The next year saw him on the plains once more. His wife was with him; and they were both on horseback. They were going on a visit home to Ohio. They stopped three weeks for rest at Salt Lake, and were but sixty days traveling. This was a simple frontier pleasure trip, the eighteenth celebration of their honeymoon. The couple, thus rejuvenated, completed their tour by a voyage back to the Pacific via Panama.
Resuming business at the old place in Portland, he experienced in 1855 a shrewd brush with the Indians of the Umpqua, which illustrates the perils of a merchant's life in the early days. He was taking two large wagon loads of goods to the Southern Oregon mines; and as usual his wife was accompanying him. On Cow creek a band of savages burst out upon the wagons, killing one of the drivers, Charlie Jonsen, while the other, his nephew, Mr. Stone, made good his escape to a log cabin near by, where in company with other refugees the enemy was fought off. Jonsen's body was shockingly mutilated; and the oxen were killed and packed off for beef. The stores were plundered, the goods stolen or destroyed, and the wagons burned. Fortunately, Mr. Smith and his wife were some two days behind traveling on horseback. earning of the outbreak, they took shelter in a log cabin, an incipient blockhouse, belonging to Mr. D. Barnes, who was then at the front. This was about half way between Roseburg and Winchester, near the place occupied by Colonel Martin. There he made himself comfortable, laying in provisions and buying some milch cows. But in a short time wounded soldiers were brought down from Martin's headquarters; and the place became a hospital. Captain Smith supplied the commissary with milk and butter, and with caned fruit and other delicacies acceptable to wounded men, and very difficult to obtain. He also employed two Indian boys, and undertook to keep clean the hospital linen, in short, doing the washing for the establishment. Mrs. Smith also busied herself among the soldiers, mending their torn clothing and ministering to their mental as well as physical wants. For this service the captain received pay in government scrip, which his wife thinks he never cared to redeem. It was with him a work of humanity. He stayed at his post until the war was over in 1865, moving on then to California. In 1859 he and his wife returned again to Findlay, Ohio, remaining until 1862, when they crossed the plains once more, with a considerable company, and reaching their home in Portland entered upon life here with new zest and zeal for our glorious state.
In 1865 Captain Smith made his
sixth trip across the plains, - all before the era of railroads, - and
sold out his property interests in Hancock county, Ohio. One thousand dollars
of the avails he set aside and gave to the trustees of Findlay, to use
as a permanent fund to buy coal for the widows or children of soldiers,
should circumstances make such assistance acceptable. This fund has since
greatly increased. After thirty years, when the need of the soldier's
widow would be likely to cease, the fund is to be used for a like service to any poor woman who gained their livelihood by the use of the needle. Besides these benevolences, over which we naturally linger wit much pleasure, our pioneer was constantly performing private benefactions. he sought to do his good deeds in the dark in order to hide himself, and to avoid being thanked. His is peculiarly that disposition which let his neighbors know of a good thing around the corner; and he made opportunities for the deserving, and was ever ready to lend a helping hand to any fallen person trying to rise. His own business has prospered; and upon his death, in 1870,he left a comfortable fortune.
Mrs. Smith still resides in Portland, occupying her handsome residence, and continuing the works of benevolence in which her husband found his chief satisfaction. There is nothing like a living public spirit to cement the different classes of society, to prevent the rot of sordidness and vice, and thus to make a hopeful and progressive state.
SOLOMON HOWARD SMITH. - Mr. Smith, a most generous and public-spirited citizen, and a pioneer of so early a day as 1832, was born at Lebanon, New Hampshire, December 26, 1809. He came of Revolutionary stock, his maternal grandfather having been a soldier in the war for Independence, and a relative of the Greeley family. His father was an assistant surgeon in the war of 1812, and died at Plattsburgh, New York, in 1813.
The boy Solomon was afforded good advantages, receiving his academic education at Norwich, Vermont; and he studied medicine with his uncle, Doctor Haven Foster, not, however, taking a diploma. In 1831, with a number of other adventurous spirits, he went fishing for cod on the Newfoundland banks, and met with good fortune, except that upon the return the schooner was run over by an English packet ship and sunk with cargo and all. Smith and the others were picked up and left at Boston bankrupt, as they were staking their fortune upon the sale of their fish, which they shared alike. At the city in which he found himself, Smith obtained employment as clerk, but in 1832 was moved to cast in his fortune with Captain Wyeth, and build up a great business upon the Pacific coast.
The severe journey across the plains and mountains he endured as well as the best, bidding adieu to one after another of the scions of the first Boston families who were in the party, as they turned back, meeting with William Sublette at the rendezvous on Green river, at Pierre's Hole. On the trip from that point to the Columbia, this side of the Salmon River Mountains, he endured seven days' fasting, eating nothing but the buds, or pome, of roses. Being at the head of one of the little parties into which Wyeth had divided his company he descried, on coming out of the mountains, an Indian tent with smoke in the distance, and making his way thither at the top of his horse's speed discovered upon arrival that the Indian had but shortly returned from the hunt, - a buffalo lying at the side of the tent; while the heart of the animal was boiling in the pot over the fire. To his eloquent gestures indicating his hunger, the Indian replied by immediately tendering the whole morsel; and the feast was royal and just completed as the other members of the party arrived. Their hunger was soon relieved, however, by recourse to the buffalo.
Reaching Vancouver, Mr. Smith soon found employment to succeed Mr. Ball as teacher of the school at the fort, filling out the term of which but two weeks had been taught, and following the first with a second term. The year following he married Celiast (see biography of Mrs. Helen Smith), and went to Gervais, making a settlement and teaching school at Chemawa. Afterwards he went to the mouth of the Chehalem creek, and assisted Ewing Young to build a mill, and made that point his home until 1840. Suffering, however, from ague, and hearing his wife tell of the excellent climate at her old home by the ocean, and conferring with McLoughlin, who advised the making of settlements only in communities large enough for protection, he with Daniel Lee went down the river in May, 1840, meeting at the mouth of the Columbia the ship Lausanne, with the reinforcements for the Methodist Mission. In August of the same year he made a removal to Clatsop, advising the missionaries also to establish a station there. From that time he made his home upon the beautiful Clatsop Plains.
He became the real agricultural pioneer of Clatsop county, as the fort of Astoria was simply for purposes of trade. In his capacity of pioneer he was the first to bring horses in the spring of 1841 to the mouth of the river, making a ferry-boat by means of two canoes lashed side by side. The horses were Spanish animals obtained from the place of Ewing Young and were put aboard the craft at St. Helens. With Mr. Frost he went to the Willamette valley and brought cattle via the Grande Ronde, Salmon river and Tillamook, and made subsequent trips. He opened out a farm, and, upon the great revival of business and trade consequent upon the opening of the gold mines in 1848, sold butter and beef to great profit, getting two dollars per pound for the former. He also had supplied beef to the wrecked crew of the Peacock in 1841, and for the Shark in 1846.
In 1849 he opened a store at Skipanon, Oregon, doing a large business and at one time carrying a stock worth twelve thousand dollars. In 1851 he went into the lumber business, leasing the old Harrall mill on the Lewis and Clarke river, and operating it successfully. From 1852 onwards he confined himself more strictly to conducting his farm. From the earliest years he was a friend of good order and progress. He was especially interested in schools, and with the few settlers in that region kept a teacher at a salary of twelve hundred dollars a year. He held school offices constantly, and in 1874 was chosen by the people of the counties of Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook as senator to the state legislature. It was while serving in that office that he died, in August, 1876. Sol H. Smith will always be remembered as a pioneer of great enterprise and generosity, opening out a new country and extending every possible assistance to those who came after him.
He had a family of seven children,
three of whom
are living: Silas Smith, born in Chehalem valley September 22, 1839, was brought up with his father, and at the age of majority went East to study law, reading with W.N. Blair, a county solicitor, and a cousin of Senator Blair of New Hampshire. Mr. Smith is a thorough lawyer and a very effective speaker, a man indeed of much culture and broad ideas. He resides upon the old place of his father near Skipanon. His wife, Mary H., daughter of Deacon G.W. Swain, of Laconia, New Hampshire, is a lady of culture and attractive social qualities. They have five children. Mrs. Josephine Ketchum, Sol Smith's elder daughter, resides in San Luis Obispo county, California; Mrs. Charlotte Braillier, the younger, resides near Skipanon.
MRS. HELEN SMITH. - There survives within the limits of the old Oregon no person whose life possesses more universal interest than the lady whose name appears above, and of whom we present an excellent portrait. The widow of a pioneer whose first operations upon this coast belong to the antique days of Wyeth and Kelly, her own memory extends to the remote times of the Astor expedition of 1811; and her infant life was contemporary with the explorations of Lewis and Clarke in 1805. The entire panorama of the occupation and settlement of our state has therefore passed before her eyes. She has been no careless observer of these great events; and her mind, still clear and active, retains a surprisingly vivid recollection of our early Oregon history. As thus pictured in her mind, this possesses a peculiar interest from the fact that it has been drawn exclusively from personal observation from the standpoint of the native owners of our state.
Celiast, whose christian name is Helen, is the daughter of Coboway (incorrectly written Commowool by Bancroft), and dates her birth in the year 1804. Her father was the chief of the Clatsops, a tribe whose boundaries extended from the mouth of the Columbia river southward to Ecahni Mountain (Carni), eastward thence to Swallalahost or Saddle Mountain, and thence by Young's river back to the Columbia. The Clatsops were a quite and peaceable people, having the same language as the more numerous tribe of the Chinooks. They were possessed of many arts and accomplishments, which, although of a different order from our own, betrayed no less the inventive genius and predominance of the human mind. Their houses, often sixty feet in length, and made of split cedar planks sometimes twenty feet long and three feet wide, the canoes hollowed from cedar trees by means of chisels and mallets, and steamed and strained to a greater width by means of a fire kindled in the hollow after the process of chipping out was nearly completed; the salmon seines made of wild flax threaded and twisted into chords; and lastly the clothing made of the skins of wild animals and of frizzled cedar bark, with elaborate ornamentations of shells, pebbles, quills, feathers, and later of beads, - were all specimens of industry, and o f ingenuity which would tax the skill and patience of the European. For some years before the birth of Celiast, the Clatsop Indians had carried on a trade with the passing ships fro strap and scrap iron, of which they made their chisels and knives and for beads. The traders of Astoria still later supplied them with cloths, and to some extend with firearms.
Coboway, chief of this people, held his title as did the chiefs of the most of the native races, - by virtue of his intelligence and activity. He was a faithful and honest man, of much service to Lewis and Clarke, and was intrusted by them with the certificate announcing their arrival and wintering at the mouth of the Columbia; and this document, as by request the chief delivered to the captain of the first vessel entering the harbor. Among other duties of the Indian chief was the delivering of the stories, legends and beliefs of the tribe to his successors; and from her father the young Indian girl learned all the myths of Ecahni, Tallapus and Old Thunder with the faiths and maxims of the tribe delivered as they were in rhythmic language with vivid narratives. From the regular and clearly carved features, the lofty brow and large expressive eyes of this now venerable woman of more than eighty years, we may suppose that in her youth she was of unusual beauty. Soon after reaching womanhood, in accordance with the custom of the Hudson's Bay Company, she was sought and married by one of the employés of the organization, a Frenchman by the name of Porier, the baker at Fort George or Astoria. She bore him three children, and in the removal to Vancouver in 1824 accompanied him thither.
It was during her residence at
the latter point that there occurred an event which must have been exceedingly
distressing to her feelings. This was the bombardment of the Indian
village at Tansy Point by a British schooner. The sanguinary affair was
brought about as a result of the wreck of the bark William and Ann
at the Columbia bar, and a difficulty in obtaining the wreckage. This was
one of the few occasions upon which McLoughlin showed severity; and his
course has been justified on the ground that the Indians had murdered the
crews of the vessel. This charge has, however, ever been earnestly denied
by the remnants of the Clatsop Indians; and it seems hardly just to let
it stand without their protest and explanation. By their account, and indeed
by all authentic records, the William and Ann, in company with the
American schooner Convoy, Captain Thompson, sought to enter the
river late in the day, in the month of February or early in March (the
month of smelt). The schooner was in the lead, and passed safely into Baker's
Bay; but the bark missed the channel and struck on the middle sands, holding
fast. A boat from the schooner, as appears from the accounts of a sailor
of the Convoy, attempted to go to the relief of the unfortunate
crew; but the wind rising brought them into peril, and compelled them to
return without reaching the bark. During the night the William and Ann
went to pieces; and, as the Indians said, the crew were drowned. The Convoy
went up the river bearing the tidings; and in due time a boat party came
from Vancouver to investigate the wreck. They found no trace of the crew;
but much of the cargo was in possession of the Indians. among other effects
of the ship was a boat with the oars,