INTERVIEWS -- B
(Richard BALLARD, aged 72, was interviewed on the old home farm about a mile and a half northeast of Wren. He seemed in every way a competent witness of the things which had come within his knowledge.)
My father, George Washington BALLARD, married Adaline WATTS in eastern Tennessee. In 1852 they started for Oregon, but when they reached the Missouri word had come back by scouts and runners that cholera was bad on the plains that year and they waited over one year.
Mother's sister had married a man named Mose MILNER. This MILNER was a teamster and scout. He had several mule teams and carried freight for hire. He had made three trips to the mines of California. In 1853 he brought my father's family through to The Dalles, Oregon. From The Dalles they came by boat to Portland where they stayed the first winter. Then they got a farm on Mill Plain about twelve miles from Vancouver. Here they built a cabin and started to make the place a real home. Then a runner came through with word that Indians were coining. It was at the time of the uprising of Cayuse Indians in Eastern Oregon.
My parents left all their possessions, which included a wagon and two yoke of oxen. They saved only the children and the clothes they wore. When a mile or so away they saw the leaping flames as the Indians fired the cabin. They never returned to that place but came in 1856 to Benton County.
In some way father had fallen in with Johnson MULKEY who had a farm about two miles northwest of Corvallis on Oak Creek. MULKEY was a cattleman and had bought this place where we are now. This place was then called BLAKESLEY Ranch from the man who had taken the first claim here. It is, as you see, a creek three or four miles long and shut in rather closely by high hills. It is about twelve or fifteen miles by automobile road to where Johnson MULKEY'S donation land claim was, but in those days the old Cardwell Hill road from Fort Hoskins to Corvallis cut straight across the hills and the distance was about five miles. MULKEY had bought almost all the land along the little creek and ran cattle in here. Several hundred acres of bottom land along the creek had a heavy growth of fine grass which could be cut for hay, and the hills furnished pasture. Father cut rails to fence much of the place. When MULKEY died father bought this farm at the executor's sale. Here my parents lived and reared their children, who were: Dave, John, and George Washington, born in the east; Ann (Mrs. HALL), born at The Dalles; William, born at Vancouver, Washington; and Mary, Sarah, George, myself, and Emma, born in this community.
MULKEY was a man of business ability and of wide interests. He was always ready to help new comers get a start. Father not only worked for him on the farm but in his freighting business. After the discovery of gold in Idaho supplies had to be freighted in from the Willamette Valley. MULKEY employed men and ox teams to do this work. He would take in flour, meat, apples, anything he could produce or buy, and of course he made a good profit. The pay was in gold dust, and this caused MULKEY'S death. I heard the story from a man named JEFFREYS who lived at McCoy in Polk County when I was a boy. He told it this way:
In the fall or winter of 1861-62 MULKEY, JEFFERYS, and others started from The Dalles for the Willamette Valley through the snow. The snow was deep and JEFFREYS left his belt of gold dust behind. He urged MULKEY to do the same but MULKEY refused. All his fortune, or so he thought, was contained in that belt. Finally MULKEY became exhausted and was left behind, covered up in the snow for warmth. When a rescue party reached him he was alive but his feet were frozen and he was so badly frozen about the waist where the heavy belt weighted him down and the metal chilled him that he did not recover. JEFFREYS' feet were so badly frozen that his toes and parts of his heels had to be cut away. When I knew him he stumped about with the aid of two canes.
One of the dangers to the traders and travelers was from the highwaymen. These were mostly toughs from the Willamette Valley who robbed and killed without mercy. Father never talked of these things except with old timers, but there was a man named Bill IGO, who had worked at freighting at the same time father was in the business and who used to stay at our house for quite a while at times. I have heard them talk about the highwaymen and how they were punished.
There was a man in the Willamette Valley who had taken in a homeless lad and raised him as one of his own. Later this boy went to the mines and fell in with the outlaw gang. Through their confederates in town the gang would learn of some man starting out with a large amount of gold and would then waylay and kill him. This man who had befriended the lad was in the mines. He sold out this holdings and because he had a large sum with him he left on a round-about way, avoiding the main road. In spite of the precaution the highwaymen met him and he recognized the boy he had helped. This boy promised to do his best to save him and finally helped him to escape. He had seen and recognized the whole party and immediately returned to Lewiston and raised a posse. Such law and order as there was then was mostly enforced by the Vigilantes. The criminals were brought in and placed in a wooden building under guard. The tough element in the saloons and gambling halls were in sympathy with the prisoners and immediately started a move to set them free. While the mob were drinking and otherwise working themselves up to the point of making a jail-delivery, the vigilantes took the gang out and hung them on a hurriedly made scaffold. The leaders of the highwaymen were Dave ENGLISH from the Soap Creek district in this county and THREE-FINGERED Pete. There were eight or ten others. Father and Bill IGO knew most of them. IGO was in Lewiston when they were hung but he never admitted having anything to do with the dead.
I was born in 1866. I went to school at Wren in a schoolhouse that stood on the same ground where the present school is. It was a frame building. There had been an earlier building a little further north which may have been a log house. My teachers, so far as I can remember, were Emma REASONER, Mr. GOOD, May LILLY, Margaret KNOTT and Margaret DUNN. We had only three months of school each year at first. This was gradually lengthened to five or six months, but I did not get a great deal of schooling. There was not much in the way of amusement or entertainment when I was growing up. The old United Brethren Church that was first built at Wren had been removed. We used to have preaching and Sunday School at the schoolhouse. Bill DIXON was one of the preachers who came often.
Then there were the neighborhood dances. These were quiet and well behaved. Everybody knew everybody else and there was no rowdyism. After I was a man grown we used to have a baseball club in this community.
I was married at one time, but my wife and I couldn't get along well and we separated. I have no children. I have lived all my life right here and am still on the old farm. However, I am only bossing and letting others do the hard work.
Mrs. BARCHARD was interviewed at her home on Allen Lane in south Corvallis. She said:
"My father, Joseph SKAGGS, was born in Ohio in 1829, and came to California in 1853. He mined there for several years in the neighborhood of Volcano, California, but without much success. I do not know much about his family. "
"My mother, Mary ROBESON, came to California in 1854. Her mother's name was BENSELL and Grandmother BENSELL'S mother was named COTTLE. Through the COTTLE family we are related to Mrs. J. K. WEATHERFORD of Albany and to the PARKER family of Linn County. Grandfather BENSELL for years was the agency doctor at the Siletz Indian Agency. My brother still has the old saddle bags with the original medicine bottles that he used. "
"My mother lost her mother when she was just a little girl. Mother was twelve when the family crossed the plains and she did all the cooking on the trip. "
"My parents were married in California and my three oldest brothers were born there. There are ten living children: Charles, Royal, John, Arthur, Oren, Austin, Jesse, Addie (WILEY), Laura (FOX), and myself. In 1867 my parents came to Benton County and settled about four miles north of Summit. There father built a large one-room log cabin with a lean-to kitchen. In this house we lived until the family had increased to seven children. "
"The first land father got he bought from a man named COFFEY. Times were sometimes pretty hard with us there. Although father managed to get hold of considerable land he was not able to get ahead enough to provide more than the bare necessities for his family. The land would raise good wheat but we were so far from market and from a mill that wheat did not pay well. Father often worked cutting brush and cradling grain for the farmers in Kings Valley and mother was left alone for long periods with her children and no neighbors but the Indians. The Indians were always friendly and mother often was so lonely that she welcomed their visits. "
"Mother used to make all our clothes. She sent the wool out to the mill at Corvallis to be carded and she spun and wove it herself. She got buckskin from the Indians to make breeches for the boys. She made our shoes from leather she got from the Indians. She used to make the pegs to fasten the soles by hand. Her old spinning wheel and heavy home made loom are still on the old farm. Mother used to help earn a living for the family by making buckskin gloves for one dollar a pair. This work was done by hand at first but later years she got a small sewing machine that turned with a hand crank to sew the buckskin. "
"There were many wild cattle in that country when we were children. It was not safe for women and children to go too far from home. These cattle were the off-spring of cattle that had escaped from the farms and gone wild. Cam VANDERPOOL of Tampico, who was a friend of my father, used to find it profitable to hunt these for market. They were considered the property of any one who could take them."
"The schoolhouse at first was on a hill about a half-mile west of Summit. For a time we had only three months of school. When they began having a winter term the roads were so bad we had to go on horseback and sometimes not all of us could go. Some of the teachers in the early days were: Mrs. John DUNCAN and her daughter, Clara; the woman who was later Mrs. Emma GELLATLY; Fred MYERS and W. B. RISLEY, who still lives at Alsea. "
"In later years the district was divided and a new district was formed with the schoolhouse at Fern Ridge near our place. The teachers I remember at Fern Ridge were Mrs. Molly MARKS, Bertha PLUNKETT (THOMPSON), and Mrs. Charles KENNEDY. "
"I used to enjoy horseback riding as a girl. The roads were poor and all the young people rode horses. The girls rode with side-saddle and long, full skirts that covered us to the tips of our toes. These were not only to protect our clothes but for modesty as well. When we had no side-saddle we put on a blanket bound with a surcingle and rode just the same. "
"We had parties, dances, and candy pullings. There was always some sort of services at the schoolhouse on almost every Sunday. The dances were neighborhood gatherings with large crowds, but were well behaved. There was no rowdyism, and especially no girl ever smoked or tasted liquor. "
"In 1898 I married George BARCHARD. We have two children, Percy and Mildred (HALL), who live in California. All my life has been spent on farms in the Summit Community until we came to Corvallis a few months ago."
Mr. BARCLAY lives about twelve miles south of Corvallis and about one-half mile east of the West Side Pacific Highway. He is a prosperous farmer and is interested in the preservation of information about the early days. His knowledge is limited by the fact that, although his father came to Oregon in 1850, Ross was not born until 1878. He said:
"My father, James E. BARKLEY (BARCLAY ?), came with his brother William to Oregon in 1850. They crossed the plains by ox team and suffered no severe hardships. Father and a companion were scouts for the train, picking the camping places and killing meat. Uncle William, who was 22 years older than father, had seven children ranging in age from six months to thirteen years. His wife died on the plains but the thirteen year old girl mothered the rest and the family was kept together. "
"My father and his brother spent the first winter near Monmouth in Polk County, where they worked for a man named STUMP. In 1851 father took a donation land claim here and Uncle took the place adjoining this on the south. I bought my sister's interest after father's death and hold the old place. Uncle's farm was divided after his death. "
"Father was born in 1827, but he was not married until 1876. 1 was born in 1878. My mother's maiden name was Mary NEILL. She married Robert HERRON in Schuyler County, Illinois, and they came to Oregon in 1863 by way of New York City and the Isthmus of Panama. Mother was a widow with five children when my father married her. You can judge of his disposition when I tell you that all these children stayed with him until they were grown, without any unpleasantness. I was born in 1878. I have one sister, Leah (Mrs. Arthur BUCHANAN), who lives a few miles from here. "
"I attended the Barclay School (now the Central School), just west of here on the highway. Among my teachers were Miss DENMAN, whose brother was for a time county superintendent, Mrs. NELMS, a sister of B. W. JOHNSON who was interested in the development of the Oaco Orchards near Monroe, Miss SHIPLEY, of Monroe, Bert PETERSEN, and Mr. NORTON. Then I attended Oregon State College for three years but did not finish the course. "
"There were thirteen children in my Grandfather BARCLAY'S family, but only the two boys came to Oregon. Some of the second generation came later and I have cousins in various places about here. Uncle William's children were Jane (BUCHANAN), Robert, Mary (Mrs. Andrew RICKARD), James, Minnie (LEVAUGH), Margaret (Mrs. Tom HINTON), and William. All are now dead."
"I never got into politics nor held any elective office, except that I have been clerk of the school in this district for thirty-nine years, which I think is some kind of a record. "
"You can learn about the HERRON family from my half-brother, J. H. HERRON, who lives in the Irish Bend district. "
(A very brief interview was had with Clarence BAREINGER at his farm in the Oak Ridge Community, about six miles southwest of Corvallis.)
"My father, Gottleib BOEHRINGER (?), was born in Wurtemburg, Germany, in 1827. When he was three years old the family came to America and settled in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. My grandfather BOEHRINGER became a follower of William KEIL, a Prussian preacher who severed all connection with other churches and founded a communistic sect of his own in western Pennsylvania. When KEIL'S followers had grown to about 500 in numbers they sought a new location at Bethel, Missouri, where they founded a self-sustaining communistic colony. When father was twenty-one years old he joined this colony and was made an apprentice in the blacksmith shop. In a few years he came to be foreman in the shop. "
"In the late 'fifties KEIL sought a new location for his colony, first in Washington and then at Aurora in Marion County, Oregon. Father was left with the parent colony in Missouri, but became a part of the second larger immigration in 1863. As soon as the party reached Aurora father left the colony and went to the farm of his brother who lived near Aurora. All he received for his fifteen years service was property in Missouri worth about a thousand dollars. He left the colony voluntarily and had no share in the division of property when the colony finally disbanded in the 'seventies. "
"After leaving the KEIL Colony father practiced his trade in Portland, Salem, Albany, and finally here on the farm in Benton County. He came here in 1880 and worked as a blacksmith until 1912. He died in 1914. "
"My mother was Catherine CARVEL. She was born in Pennsylvania in 1847. Her children were myself, and my two sister, Ada (Mrs. SCRUGGS), and Mary (Mrs. PURVINE). "
"Father left the KEIL Colony because he was dissatisfied with the management and because he had lost respect for KEIL, who was known to be making himself free of certain women favorites among the colonists."
(Mrs. BAYNE was interviewed at her farm home about three miles east of Corvallis, in Linn County. The interview is included with Benton County material because both Mrs. BAYNE and her husband came from pioneer families of Benton County and lived the greater part of their lives there.)
"My husband's name was George BAYNE, but he commonly signed his name G. A. BAYNE to prevent confusion with his father whose name was also George. Grandfather BAYNE came from Scotland to Wisconsin with his parents when he was twelve years old. He was married in Wisconsin and came to the mines of California in 1862, by way of the Isthmus of Panama. There he remained for some time about Grass Valley in Nevada County, and was at least moderately successful. About 1872 he came to Oregon and settled in Benton County between Wren and Harris. He later bought the MILLER place and part of the George WREN place. He farmed these places until about 1905 and then bought a farm and moved to Linn County a few miles east of Corvallis. He had but two children who lived to maturity, my husband and an older brother, John. Two children died in infancy in California and a boy is buried at Wren. "
"My father, Benjamin Franklin OWEN, came from Missouri to Oregon in 1853. His parents were William OWEN and Matilda BOURLAND. (The "r" in this name was not sounded.) My mother's people came the same year and the two trains met on the plains and came on together. My mother, Jane Curry McCLURE, was twelve years old at the time. "
"My mother's people settled on the prairie in Lane County
near Eugene but father went on to the mines of California. In 1859 he came
back from California, married my mother, and took a homestead near Yoncalla
in Douglas County. My name is Margaret, and I am the tenth of fifteen children.
The following names and birth dates are copied from the old family bible:
Benjamin F. OWEN Nov. 24, 1828
Jane Curry OWEN Dec. 8, 1842
Mary L. OWEN Feb.13,1861
Nancy A. OWEN July 1, 1862
Matilda J. OWEN Dec.10,1864
James F. OWEN Jan.17,1866
William R. OWEN March 11, 1868
Fanny J. OWEN March 19, 1870
Alice E. OWEN Nov 13, 1872
Pickett L. OWEN March 11, 1874
Adrian B. OWEN October 17, 1875
Margaret E. OWEN Dec. 13, 1877
Mabel V. OWEN Feb.13,1879
Robert V. OWEN Sept. 30, 1880
Thomas A. OWEN August 31, 1882
Virginia P. OWEN May 6, 1884
Clarence OWEN Dec. 22, 1886
Father had lived in Bloomfield, Missouri, with an uncle who kept a store and held an office which corresponded to what we know as County Clerk. In addition to helping with this work my father had studied medicine with a local homeopathic physician. Some time after his marriage he moved to Monmouth in Polk County and took up anew his studies under two doctors there. Then he practiced in Monmouth and in Buena Vista and Wheatland. He lived always at Monmouth, but kept an office in one or another of these towns. "
"Some time in the 'seventies father moved to the upper Marys River and had a farm on the East Fork about three miles above Summit. While living there and later on a farm north of Wren he practiced medicine for miles in every direction over the neighboring country, travelling most of the time on horseback. I have heard him tell of having to swim his horse several times over the Yaquina River in making one trip to Elk City."
"Father did not claim to be a surgeon. He would set broken bones, but would call in another doctor when it was necessary to use the knife. But not long before he died he told me of a time when he took another doctor back into the hills to operate on a woman with a tumor. It was a case where the woman was sure to die without the operation and had but a slim chance if operated upon. When the other man saw the case he was afraid to operate, and father went ahead and performed a successful operation. Nobody had ever known who had done the work. "
"Along about 1881, I think it was, a law was passed in Oregon requiring that doctors should attend a medical school for a stated time and pass an examination before being allowed to practice medicine. For father that would have meant three months at Willamette University at Salem, but times were very hard with us then and he could not afford to go to school. After that he depended more on his farming and only answered calls from his neighbors. He could not charge a fee for his services but the neighbors knew the customary charge and commonly made a "donation."
"My sister Mary married Charles HAMAR of Summit. Nancy married T. J. KIRK of Lane County, Matilda married Everett HAMAR and lived in Portland. James died in Seattle. William was employed as foreman of a construction crew building residences for the workmen on the Panama Canal. While there he fell into correspondence with the cousin of a companion of the job, and later went to Kentucky and married the woman. He never came back to Oregon except on visits. Fanny married a Mr. HARRINGTON of Dallas and Olive married C. C. YEATER of Monmouth. Pickett and Adrian were never married. Robert is now living near Monroe and Thomas is at Lebanon. Virginia married D. H. CHAMBERLAIN of Corbett, Oregon. Clarence died at birth."
"I was born on the upper Marys River in 1877, but by the time I was old enough for school father had moved to Wren. My first teacher was Mr. LANPHIER. Others were Jesse WALKER, George WAGNER, Mr. PHILIPS, Mr. FISHER, A. F. COMUTT, my sister Nancy, and William HAYNES. Other teachers at Wren before I went to school were William RIGGS, Mary LILLY, and Margaret KNOTTS. Miss KNOTTS was the sister of William KNOTTS who was a pioneer of North Benton County and the first County Clerk. "
"When I was a girl in Wren the old United Brethren church had been removed but we had reaching more or less regularly at the schoolhouse. The preachers from the Evangelical Church at Kings Valley used to preach for us. "
"I married George BAYNE in 1907. My husband died a few weeks ago. We never had any children of our own. Our adopted son, Darrell BAYNE, lives at Philomath. "
Mr. BELKNAP was interviewed on his farm about two and one half miles southwest of Monroe, Oregon. Although 77 years old, Mr. BELKNAP still runs the farm. When the field worker called he was plowing and the interview had to be postponed until the noon hour. . BELKNAP'S mind is a keen as his body is rugged.
"My father, Ransom BELKNAP, came in 1847 with the first party to settle in the Belknap Community. My Grandfather came in the year following, 1848. They left Iowa largely on account of the severe winters and because they had heard of the mild climate of the Willamette Valley. My mother had been Mahala STARR, sister to Sam STARR of Starr's Point, who was the first sheriff of Benton County. Lorenzo Dow GILBERT and Hawley CHAPMAN who settled near Alpine were married to sisters of my father. My parents and grandparents left no written records. Things just went on from day to day and there seemed nothing worth recording. Five of my fathers children are still living (1936) and our combined ages are more than 400 years. All are over eightly except me and I am 76. The names are: Webster C. and Lewis Franklin BELKNAP, Angie BELKNAP Anderson, Addie BELKNAP KYLE, and myself. My sisters are twins. "
"I attended the old Ebenezer schoolhouse after it was moved from the original l ocation, It was built on a hill just south of Alpine and about 1860 it was moved to a site on S. R. HAWLEY'S farm a mile and a half west. This was a more central location. My first teacher was Enoch TURNER. Another was Champ MANN.(CHAPMAN?) When Alfred NICHOLS taught there were 75 pupils and only one teacher. Mrs. DONNY was a fine teacher and taught several years in succession. My cousin Jesse BELKNAP taught and Mr. ARNOLD, Mr. MARTIN, and Mr. HAUERT. Mr. Martin went with a party prospecting for medicinal herbs and was poisoned in some manner in the Klamath country. Judge EAKIN, who died while a justice of the State Supreme Court, taught and boarded at our house. He read law in the evenings preparing for his bar examination. In addition to the common branches instruction was given in higher arithmetic and algebra. After getting what I could in the district schools I went to Willamette University at Salem and was graduated in 1884 with the B.S. degree. Then I studied law in Portland in the office of WILLIAMS and THAYER. This was W. W. THAYER who was afterward governor of the state and justice of the State Supreme Court. I was admitted to the bar in 1887 but never practiced except to write a will or draw up a legal paper for a neighbor. I had learned so much of the "slippery tricks" practiced by the lawyers that the profession did not appeal to me. One of the men under whom I studied was called "Slippery Dick" WILLIAMS. "
"I was elected to the State Legislature in 1889, and served in all five sessions. In 1889 I married Ida BOOTH, whose parents, Robert and Mary BOOTH, were pioneers of Douglas County. My wife's father was the Methodist preacher who was particularly honored by the monument "The Circuit Rider" at Salem. I have two sons, Harlan C. and Gilbert M. "
"The house built by my father is about the oldest in this community still standing. It was built in 1855 and is a mile south and a mile east of Alpine. My nephew, Foster BELKNAP, lives there now. The lumber for this house and other early houses was sawed at GILBERT'S Mill on Muddy Creek. It was an old style 'jig saw'. The logs came from a pine grove that stood on a hill about a mile and a half southwest of Monroe. (Note - This grove has entirely disappeared.) All the lumber in the house was dressed by hand. The early sawmills were rather crude and the lumber was not all even in width. In siding a house or ceiling the inside the carpenters would work around the room, matching the boards for width so that the cracks would come even. The farm I am now living on was the claim of my uncle. That fir covered ridge about a mile to the south is a long spur of the Coast Mountain foot hills. It is called HOUCK Mountain from an early settler. The old Indian trail used to come around the shoulder of that hill, down past the house and out through the gap to a hill near Alpine where there was an Indian cemetery. They brought their dead from some distance to be buried there. The settlers could tell a funeral party long before it came in sight by the loud wailing of the hired mourners. The dead were buried in the ground and not placed in trees as some of the Coast tribes were said to do. My aunt told of one small babe whose mother had died. It cried so constantly that it was wrapped in the blanket and buried with the mother. "
"The 'lone fir' tree that used to stand on the summit of HOUCKS Mountain was visible as far as Salem. It is still standing but is hidden by the 'second growth' trees that have sprung up since the white man came. The young, close-growing trees grew taller than the old long tree. When I was a youngster there were not so many distractions to take a person's mind off their studies. We had ball games at school and winter sports, skating and coasting. The winters were more severe then and there was sometimes skating or sleighing for weeks at a time. We had parties on different pretexts in the winter months. have never backslidden from either one. I have heard some of my friends confess to having voted for WILSON or ROOSEVELT but I have no such glip on my conscience. . . . I think the world is coming on all right and gradually coming nearer to what it should be. There are periods of apparent recession, "Winters of civilization", but I believe that God works by evolution, not only in the field of living forms but in society, and I believe that in the course of the ages will appear the society that ought to be. "
(When questioned further about the burial of a living infant, Mr. BELKNAP said the Indians concerned were of the Calapooia tribe.) "The Indians in Benton and Polk counties were Klickitats whose original home had been north of the Columbia River. They had forced their way south, displacing the Calapooias who were in Lane County at the time of the immigration of the white men. The Klickitats had horses but the Calapooias were unmounted. The Klickitats were better disposed toward the white men. At the time of the settlement of southern Benton County the tribes were not at war and the Calapooias brought their dead to an old burial place just to the southeast of the hamlet of Alpine. So far as I know the burial of living infants was not an established custom with these Indians. Of course since the Indians had no way of feeding a very small infant, destroying it quickly instead of allowing it to starve slowly might be considered an act of mercy. "
A Bit of History
July 7, 1939
Hannah BELKNAP GILBERT was born in Conesseo County, New York, December 21, 1814, and died at the home of her son Riley near Coulee City, Washington, aged 96 years and six months.
Her great-grandfather, Elisha BELKNAP, died at the battle of Bunker Hill. Her grandfather, Jonas BELKNAP, entered the serviceas a lad of sixteen and fought through the Revolutionary War. His fifth son, Jesse, was the father of Hannah GILBERT, and died in his ninety-eighth year.
In 1817 she moved with her parents to Kentucky, where they remained ten years, and in 1827 went to Ohio and she was united in marriage to L. D. GILBERT, who died in 1882.
They were the parents of nine children: [some of those were] Riley, of Coulee City, Washington; Phineas and Jesse, of Spokane; Jane, wife of Rev. Nelson CLARK, one of the few remaining pioneer members of the Oregon Conference; Mary, wife of Isaac EDWARDS of Junction City, Oregon; Emma, wife of Austin WATTS of Portland.
In the year 1847 Mrs. GILBERT set out with a large company of emigrants who left Iowa with ox teams, being more than six months on the road. She walked nearly the entire distance. She settled with her family in Benton County in what has since been known as the Belknap settlement. Here she reared her family and the privations and hardships of pioneer life and helped lay the foundation of Oregon Methodist. She helped to entertain that memorial (memorable ?) conference of 1854, over which Bishop SIMPSON resided.
(The following is a portion of a letter from J. D. GILBERT of Spokane, Washington.)
Feb. 15, 1926. - Phineas GILBERT, my grandfather on my fathers side, was a son of a revolutionary soldier. He died in Iowa about 1846. Jesse BELKNAP, my grandfather on my mother's side, crossed the plains in 1848 and settled in the famous Belknap settlement in Benton County, Oregon. His father and grandfather were Revolutionary soldiers.
Mrs. BELLl was interviewed at 419 South Sixth Street, Corvallis, where she is living with her son, Roy BELL. Her mind seems unusually alert and she speaks convincingly of early days. She said:
"My great-grandfather, Jacob HENKLE, came to Oregon in 1853 from Iowa. With him came his children and grand-children. Among these were William HINKLE and his wife and only daughter Caroline. Caroline, who was seven years old at the time, lived to be my mother. William Hinkle's wife was Nancy WALKER, daughter of Michael WALKER and sister of Jesse WALKER, who died a few years ago in his nineties. "
Grandfather HINKLE, or HENKLE, as our branch of the family spell the name, settled first on Woods Creek in this county, but after a time went to Jacksonville, in the southern part of the state, where he ran a butcher shop for a time. It was there my mother was married and I was born. "
"My father was James HAYES. He was born in 1838, just after his parents reached America from Ireland. He left home when a boy and by the time he was fourteen he had saved a hundred dollars. He paid this for his board across the plains, and walked and drove stock all the way. He went to Jacksonville, built himself a cabin and went to school, for he had not had any schooling before. He was employed by a man named CAVANAUGH, who sent him out on horse back to round up his stock. When he stopped one time to tighten the saddle girth, his foot slipped in the covering of leaves on the ground and uncovered some quartz specimens. These proved to be very rich in gold, and his employer gave him a half interest in the mine. This was the famous Gold Hill mine of Jackson County. "
"Father sold his interest for four thousand dollars, which was a large sum for a boy in those days. Father took care of his money and let it work for him. During the Civil War times he received as high as fifty per cent. At one time I know he had two thousand dollars invested in a building that returned him fifty dollars a month. Later he loaned money in Corvallis at 12 % and thought he had come upon hard times. "
"I was born in 1862, and in 1864 father went to Independence in Polk County, where he bought 620 acres of land. About 1866 he came to Benton County and bought the Jake MARTIN Claim where the Oak Ridge church now stands. My first schooling was at the Independent school, and John WOOD and James PRUITT were among my teachers. Later John HOMER, who was so long professor of history at Oregon State College, was a teacher there, and also his wife, whose name then was SKIPTON. "
"After a few years at Oak Ridge father moved to Corvallis, where I finished my schooling. I attended the district schools in Corvallis and Corvallis College, but I never completed a course at the college. "
"Father had a part in the organization of the Mr. WOODCOCK and others, but he soon drew out. He said he understood lending money, but the banking business was too deep for him. He seemed to have a keen money sense. Before the failure of the HAMILTON -JOB Bank, which preceded the organization of the First National, he had a feeling that all was not well. He closed out his own account and sent word to two old friends of his who owned the land where Yaquina Head Light now stands, a few miles north of Newport. "
"These men were Thomas BRIGGS and MAGUSSON (?) (I am not sure about that name). These men had Indian wives. It was said they were married on the sidewalk in front of the livery stable in Corvallis. Later they sent their half-breed children to St. Helen's Hall in Portland to school. "
"My father had three brothers, Michael, Dan, and John, but none of them came west. My father's children were Olive (myself), Cora, Belle, John, and Clyde. Cora married Ira HUNTER of Soap Creek, and Belle married a man named PHILLIPS. In 1882 I married Tom BELL of California. We have one son, Roy BELL, with whom I am making my home. "
Mr. BENNETT was interviewed at his office in the village of Monroe, where he has been practising medicine for 43 years.
"My father was Alexander BENNETT. He came in 1852 from Ohio and settled first near Buena Vista in Polk County. He was a preacher and came as a missionary on his own responsibility. The trip was made by way of the Panama and by boat to San Francisco and Portland. "
"Father at first had no connection with the United Brethren missionary party which came west in the same year under the leadership of T. J. CONNOR and Jeremiah KENOYER, but he soon came into contact with them and when the Oregon Conference was organized he joined the United Brethren Church. For the rest of his life he preached for that church, very often on some of the outlying circuits. "
"My mother was Margaret HENDRICKSON of Clarke County, Washington. My parents were married in 1858. They moved first to Yamhill County, Oregon, and a little later to the neighborhood of Philomath in Benton County. My parents had eight children; Frank, Lincoln, Dolly, Martha, Oliver, Viola, Henry, and myself. Mother died at the time of my birth in 1874. Father married a second time and had two more children, John and Marion. "
"After mother died, when I was but two weeks old, I was taken by Mr. and Mrs. Guilford BARNARD who were my parents in all but name from that time on. However, as I grew older I managed to keep more or less in touch with my own family. BARNARD had settled in Linn County in 1852 and had moved to Benton County about 1869. He had a farm about one mile east of Bellfountain. His wife was Catherine WIGLE whose people had come west in 1849. "
"I went to school at Bellfountain to Will TAYLOR, Alwilda DUNN, Heman GRAGG, Isobel GRAY, and Maria STARR. I also attended grade school in Philomath for a year or so and had part of a year at Philomath College. I spent some time at Monmouth, but never taught school. My medical training I received at the California Medical School at San Francisco and the St. Louis College of Physicians and Surgeons. I have the first diploma ever issued in the United States for a course in Railway Surgery. It is signed by one of the professors of the St. Louis College who was also a Railway Surgeon. "
"I was graduated in 1895 and for forty-three years I have practiced medicine here in Monroe and have been the local doctor for the S. P. Railroad. In the early days I used to make trips for long distances back into the hills. There were no doctors there and it was a part of the work. Usually I went on horseback because there was no other way of getting there. All the doctors in that day did the same thing, but we are too old now to do it and the young doctors are too soft. "
"Our government and our civilization are being destroyed by the spreading spirit of "graft". Even the schools are honey-combed. Every great nation in History has perished from internal weakness and corruption rather than from outside foes. Our Nation will go the same way if we do not find a remedy for this corruption. "
Mr. BENNETT was interviewed at his farm on Starr Creek, about twelve miles southwest of Corvallis on Route 2. Although somewhat infirm physically Mr. BENNETT is in full possession of his mental powers. Due to a life of hard work with little education, Mr. BENNETT has accumulated little information about the early days. He said:
"My father, Alexander BENNETT, came to Oregon in 1852. 1 think he had been a Quaker in Ohio, but in Oregon he came in contact first with the United Brethren people and joined that denomination. He spent the rest of his life as an itinerant preacher, preaching over all the country from Clarke County, Washington, to the Rogue River. He was one of the organizers of the Oregon Annual Conference. "
"Father's donation land claim was on Baldy Hill west of Corvallis and included the present site of grazing land and was never farmed. About 1855 father bought out the rights of a man named MULSICK (?) and took a homestead just south of Marys River adjoining the present town of Philomath. He added to this from time to time until he had a sizable farm. The place was at the foot and on the north slope of what is now known as Bennett's Hill. "
"In 1858 my father married my mother, Margaret HENDRICKSON, in Clarke County, Washington. I was born in 1859 while mother was visiting her folks, but I have lived practically all my life in Benton County. "
"I attended school in the Primary Department Of Philomath College. Irene SMITH, Miss LAURENCE, Miss EDWARDS, and Mr. MERRYMAN were among my teachers. When I became of age I spent a time as manager of Grandmother HENDRICKSON'S place in Clarke County. Then I came back to Philomath and went to school again. I had not finished the common school subjects, but Prof. KEEZEL made a place for me in the school. "
"In 1899 I married Retta Eleanor LeMASTER. We had two children but both died in infancy. I never had any time for social affairs or play, but have spent my life holding on to a saw, an axe, grubbing hoe or plow. Father never got a living from his preaching but had to depend on the farm. One year they made him Presiding Elder of the whole conference, both north and south districts. He was supposed to get $400.00 but actually he received forty dollars less than his travelling expenses and had to make it up from the earnings of his farm. "
"I think the world is going to the dogs."
These ladies were interviewed at the home of Mrs. BENNETT near the head of the South Fork of Marys River (Greasy Creek). Their recollections of early days are vivid, but their memories seem at fault at times and there is perhaps a bit of unconscious exaggeration. Mrs. BENNETT was the chief speaker. She said:
"Nettie and I are twins. Our father was Solomon MULKEY, one of the MULKEY clan that settled north of Corvallis. Five of father's uncles came before him. They were Johnson, the first-comer, (1845), Luke, Elijah, Charles, and Walker. Father's brothers, Dave, Luke and John, came in 1852. One of mother's brothers died on the plains in 1852. Father started west in that year but turned back on account of the report of the ravages of cholera and of Indian activities. He came west in 1853, but did not escape sickness and Indian fighting. Halts were made several times on account of sickness, but they did not suffer as some trains. On one occasion a band of mounted Indians charged the train with drawn bows. Father's uncle who had come to meet the train and guide the latter part of the way kept the men from firing as the Indians swerved and circled the train. There was a large camp of Indians near by, and he feared that if fighting started the whole train would be massacred. "
"Mother's name was Mary Emmaline ASBURY. Our parents were married in Missouri. Their children were: Martha, William, Mary Ellen, Nancy Lovilla, Chris who was born on the plains, Emma, James, Fannie (Mrs. CAMP), Alice (Mrs. GEORGE), Margaret, ourselves, Belle, Rachel (Mrs. HYDE), and John. "
"Father took a claim on Oak Creek west of Corvallis, where he engaged in cattle raising. He had some money and made more but lost it all. Then he moved further west and took a homestead on Little Elk, a tributary of the Yaquina River in what is now Lincoln County. His homestead was four or five miles above the mouth of the Little Elk. There we two were born and grew up. The country was much wilder than on Oak Creek. Deer and elk were common and were often shot from the dooryard. Cougar and bear gave us much trouble. Father had to have tight log buildings to protect sheep, calves and colts. The cougars did not commonly attack humans and we children used to herd the sheep without fear of harm. "
"I remember one time, however, when a cougar did make an unprovoked attack on a man. It happened near the head of Woods Creek at the east foot of Marys Peak. The Aliens who lived thereabout were entertaining visitors from town, a preacher and his son. A hunt was planned in the country about Marys Peak. Since the visitors were not hardened to the rough climbing in prospect it was arranged for them to ride the horses that carried the camp equipment. The party was proceeding with Marshall and Ed ALLEN and their dog following behind the horses. Warned by an outburst from the dog they spied two cougars on a bank above the horses, but before they could do anything one of the cougars leaped to the young man's back. The dog closed in and the cougar was shaken off, but not before he had clawed the boy so badly the hunt had to be abandoned. Frequently there were cases of hunters being treed or mauled by wounded bears. "
"Our schooling took place at a schoolhouse on Little Elk on what is now the WAKEFIELD place. We walked two and one half miles to school. Our first teacher was "Grandpa" OGILSBY, many of whose descendants are now living in the Alsea Valley. Others were Mr. MILNAR, Florence PORTER who lived on the Yaquina below Bryant's, Ella LEWIS, and Nellie YANTIS. We studied just the fundamentals. "
"In a new country we all had to work hard, but we had good times and were happy. Our first work was to guard the sheep as they grazed and to pick up the brush and chips as the men cleared the land. Everybody seemed happy, , They had an abundance of necessities and almost always good health. There were no pests then like those that cause so much trouble now. I was a girl twelve years old when one of my brothers who had been working in Polk County by Dallas reported finding a worm in an apple there. We wondered if they would ever bother us. I was a good many years older before I actually saw one myself. "
"We used to have a croquet set and enjoyed playing. When winter came we had a table croquet set which father had contrived by spreading a blanket over a table and making miniature balls, mallets, and wickets. As we grew older there were dances and play parties, but all was quiet and well behaved. I think its terrible the way young folks do now. There were spelling matches at the schoolhouse, and singing schools. Brother Will was a fine singer and used to teach singing school, and Dave SHIPLEY also. "There was preaching at the schoolhouse by Preacher ALLEN. I don't remember his first name. One time when he was denouncing some common sins he said, "If any of you people catch me telling anything that is not true I want you to tell me about it". There was in the community an odd character name Jake PYBURN. He was good hearted but wicked and rough talking. Jake thought he had something on the preacher and proceeded to challenge him right out in the meeting. Preacher ALLEN was not embarrassed but freely admitted he had been guilty of an unconscious and unintentional misstatement. "
"In 1887 I married Hiram A. BENNETT, who was born some time about 1860 or earlier in Michigan. My husband's father and grandfather were wealthy men for the time. They owned a factory where they did fine cabinet work and manufactured among other things a widely used dump car. When my husband's father died his mother came under the influence of an unworthy man whom she followed to the Puyallup River region of Washington, were she married him. With the money she brought this man bought a saw mill, timber holdings, and extensive logging equipment. Then the wife died and soon he married another widow with several children. Father was in the way and he was cast out on the road at the age of seven. Although his mother's money had bought everything he was allowed to take only the clothes he had on, which were out at the knee and elbow. "
"Father walked until he was tired out and his feet were sore, not knowing where to go. A stage driver named WOOLERY saw his condition, picked him up, questioned him, and found him a home. He stayed first with an old lady who was on the stage and heard his story from WOOLERY. When he was about nine he came to work for a farmer who worked long hours and kept him doing the same. Even when his grandfather got track of him he was unwilling to go back to Michigan. The farmer kept him working and give him nothing but his board and rough clothes even after he was able to do a man's work. He also kept the frequent sums of money the grandfather sent. "
When father was about sixteen, a neighbor who knew the circumstances suggested to him that he leave the farmer and go to Oregon. This man had a son living in Polk County. He suggested that my father go with his own younger son to this man in Polk County, and gave them fifteen dollars each for the trip. Being boys and not used to handling money they spent everything in Portland and had to walk the rest of the way. He found the way prepared for him in Dallas and friends who gave him work so that he was able to repay the fifteen dollars. He worked for 'Grandpa' BALL, Dr. JACKSON, Mrs. HARRIS, and others until he was twenty five years old. "
"Our home after my marriage was between Dallas and Monmouth in Polk County. Our house was on the north side of the hill called Mt. Pisgah, the most beautiful place I ever saw. Here I raised my children, A. A. BENNETT and Solomon BENNETT. So far as I know we were not related to any other BENNETTS in this part of the country. I am alone now and living on this little place, waiting for my time. "
"Sister Nettie married Eli SPENCER about 1880. They lived for a time in Pleasant Valley here, then in Washington, and later in Central Oregon. SPENCER was in the cattle business. He said if a man could get a good deep well in that country his fortune was made. He drilled and got a well that flowed a six-inch stream. Cattle came for miles for water. But sister's heart failed her and she could not live in the high altitude. They had to leave all just when they were beginning to prosper. Her children, most of whom are still in Central Oregon, are Lottie (Mrs. HINKLE), Frank, Annie (Mrs. Van CLEAVE), Billy, Tressie (Mrs. SMORL), Mamie (Mrs. WEBER), Virgil, and Bertha (Mrs. BILLIDEAU). Sister is now a widow and lives a great part of the time with me. "
"This is how father lost money while he lived on Oak Creek. Father was buying cattle and having them driven to eastern Oregon where they brought good prices. His agent there was his uncle, Johnson MULKEY, to whom father was paying wages. Father bought and sent cattle until his own money was gone and then borrowed more. It was understood that Uncle Johnson would not try to send the proceeds back but would bring all when he came in the fall. They were late in starting and were overtaken by storms in the mountains. Partly because of the heavy weight of money he carried Uncle Johnson perished. There was no written record or memorandum of the business between father and his uncle, but by his death father lost everything. "
"Senator DOLPH, was a son-in-law of Johnson MULKEY. "
Mr. and Mrs. George Bennett are retired and living at their home on North F. Street in Philomath. Mr. BENNETT is comparatively recent comer to Oregon. Mrs. BENNETT is the daughter and granddaughter of pioneers of the 'fifties'. As she talked she refreshed her memory for dates by reference to the family Bible. She said:
"My maiden name was Susann (accent last syllable) WOOD, but I have always been called Ann or Annie. My father, Abraham WOOD, was born in Iowa in 1845 and came to Benton County with his father, Jesse WOOD in 1852. They came in the HENKLE train. Grandmother WOOD was a HENKLE, but of another branch of the family than the leader of the HENKLE train. Grandfather settled west of here on Woods Creek which was named for him. "
"The trip across the plains was not an easy one. Six months were spent on the road. There was much sickness and some deaths as well as births. At one time the Indians stampeded the horses which were recovered. The slower oxen could not be stampeded so easily. At another time when an attack was threatened the wagons were drawn up into a circular corral for defense and the Indians withdrew. "
"One day, when the train was near the mountains, my Aunt Susann and another girl were riding horseback for a rest and were helping drive the loose stock. They rode on together for a distance ahead of the train. When they were missed riders were sent after them and they were overtaken as they rode carelessly along admiring the country. Later, scouts reported that Indians had been following the course of the girls and were ambushed just over the next hill, expecting to make them captives. The girls didn't need scolding they got to make them more careful afterwards. "
"My mother, Elizabeth Jane CLEMENS, was born in Missouri in 1850. Grandfather CLEMENS first came west along in the gold rush to California in 1849. Then he went back for his family which he brought to Benton County. Grandfather was a wagon maker and for years he made wagons by hand labor in Corvallis. A blacksmith named PURDY worked with him on the iron work. Grandmother CLEMENS died when mother was just a girl and the three girls were given to Mrs. BENNETT to raise. This family went to the Rogue River valley. Grandfather went east and worked at different things in different places, but returned to Oregon to die. "
"My father was a half-brother to Roy BETHER'S grandfather. Roy was a nephew to George BETHERS who was one of the founders of Philomath College. As a young man, father for several years carried the mail between Corvallis and Roseburg. He went on horseback with an extra horse for the mail. Some times the mail was so heavy that a third horse was required. The mail carriers stayed all night and changed horses at the stage stations. In this way father became acquainted with my mother who worked at the stage station in Roseburg. They were married in 1865 and made their home in Benton County while father continued to carry the mail. Later the stages were shortened and father was given the route from Dallas to Corvallis. "
"My parents had eight children who grew to maturity. They were Mary Ann (Mrs. John SPAULDING) Marion, myself, William L., Alvin, John, Tracy and Charles . Marion was a school teacher and later turned to farming. John taught school all over Benton County. Like his grandfather, Jesse WOOD, he was a local preacher in the Methodist Church, and he is said to have given away more bibles than any other man in Benton County. Uncle Joe, father's half brother, was a driver on the stage route to Southern Oregon. "
"I was born on a farm west of Summit in what is now Lincoln County, where I lived until I was about four years old. The Indians used to hunt all over the hills in that region. They became very familiar and sometimes impudent. One day when mother was in the house with the children a group of Indians came in. Soon they got 'sassy' and began to make unreasonable demands. Mother whispered to me to get Uncle Henry, who was working near by. Uncle Henry had served in the Indian wars and had learned to despise all Indians. As he came to the house he picked up a heavy shovel and drove the Indians out in short order. "
"There was one Indian scare while we lived there. As I remember the occasion it was like this. A white man living on the Reservation had traded wives with an Indian. When the Indian became dissatisfied with his bargain and wanted to trade back, they quarreled and the white man killed the other. This aroused the Indians and there was great excitement which quieted down after a time. My parents often hired the Indians to do work on the farm or about the house. The Indians were good workers for short periods but did not fully understand the white man's idea of property. Father allowed the Indians to camp on his farm at will. One morning he went out early to find a group had camped by the barn and a squaw was busy digging his potatoes with a sharp stick and tossing them into a basket on her back. Mother would often trade different articles for berries which the Indians picked. "
"My first school was at Beaver Creek about the site of the present schoolhouse. Mr. HAYS was the teacher. Then my parents moved to Alsea. Here I got the rest of my schooling except for one year when my parents came back over the mountains and I attended the Mount Union school at Plymouth. At Alsea the school house was about three miles above the present site, just above the road on Marion HAYDEN'S farm. Among the teachers were Ben ELLIS, my Uncle John, Madge DUNN and Isabelle GRAY. At the Mount Union school Lige BENNETT was my teacher. "
"The WOOD family were generally Methodist. My grandfather and one Uncle were preachers. None of the family ever mixed in politics or was elected to office. When I married I joined the Baptist church to be with my husband. Now I am a member of the College United Brethren Church here in Philomath. "
"I was married in 1893 to William BRADY. We lived on a farm for a time. Then my husband's folks in West Virginia persuaded us to visit them and we stayed six years until my husband's health was broken by work in a glass factory. We came back to Oregon where my husband died in 1913. Our children were Virgil, William, Glenn and Francis. William is in Seattle, Francis in Portland and Virgil in California. Glenn is Presiding Elder of the Oregon Conference of the United Brethren Church (old constitution). "
"In 1926 I married George BENNETT and we are passing the last days of our lives in this little home. Mr. BENNETT is not of a pioneer family. "
"In spite of the way things have been going I believe the world will straighten out and times become better. I don't believe the world is all going to the bad. The younger generation are about such folks as their parents were, and the world is on the up grade. "
Mr. Elmer BETHERS was interviewed at his home at 862 Jackson Street, Corvallis. Mr. BETHERS recently suffered an apoplectic stroke and is badly crippled. His mind seems not to be affected. However his memory is not good and he seems a bit inclined to ramble in his reminiscences. He said:
"My father, George BETHERS, came to Benton County in 1855. He took a claim by Bellfountain but gave that up and moved near Corvallis. His claim of about 600 acres was about two miles southwest of town on the low hills just west of the Plymouth church. It is now largely covered by apple orchards. "
"Father raised stock, sheep, cattle and horses. He did not till the land to any great extent, but managed to have something to sell every time he went to town, and so he prospered. The soil in those days would produce 75 bushels of wheat. About fifteen acres were planted to apples. I remember especially the Greenings and Grindstone apples. Father used to bury them in pits and they would keep and be good for a year. "
"Father had two children born in Ohio. They were Malissa and Simeon. My mother was Keziah NEWTON, of the NEWTON clan settled about the Plymouth neighborhood. I remember the SCOTTS, NEWTONS, BETHERS, and DAVIS' in the old Mt. Union school. Some years almost the whole school was made up of the NEWTONS and their cousins. Reuben SHIPLEY, negro, lived near the schoolhouse. His children got on well with everybody except the SCOTT boys who bullied them shamefully. Among the teachers at the Mt. Union school I recall Mrs. FULLER, the DUNN sister, Mr. NOSKER - a mean old devil, and Willis RAYBORN. "
"My father was a loyal member of the United Brethren 'missionaries', Rev. T. J. CONNOR and Rev. Jerry KENOYER. These men were at home with us and often stayed for a week at a time. A church was organized at Bethel, about a mile west of our place. This congregation moved to Philomath when the college was started there. "
"Father had a part in the organization of Philomath College and I went there after I got through at Mt. Vernon. President WALKER and Prof. SHEAK were my teachers. President WALKER was strict. You had either to learn or to get off the job. There were strict rules about the students engaging in dancing. One Saturday night there was a dance at Keyser's (sp?) Hall. Many of the students broke rules and were there. In stalked President WALKER with his top hat and side whiskers, and looked about to see who was guilty. On Monday at chapel he gave us a good lecture. He could not expel so large a part of the student body, but he gave us to understand that such a thing was not to happen again. Then Billy STILL built a new house on a hill west of the LIGGETT place. He said we could dance there and we did. "
"My father bought and owned for years a thousand acres near Nashville in what is now Lincoln County. Here he planned to make a fortune with cattle and goats. But goats did not do well. They would get hung up in the brush, hung up in the fences, hung up by the horns, hung up by the fleece. After father's death mother sold the place for $3,000.00 and the buyer later sold 100 acres of it for $2,500.00. That made the net cost to him of the remaining 900 acres a bit more than fifty cents an acre but he could not make enough on it to pay taxes. There were some good timothy meadows along the creeks but the native grasses quickly choked them out. The country had been burned over in the 'big fire', and much of it was covered with grass, but the brush kept crowding in. "
"I married Anna WELLS, daughter of Red WELLS whose people settled north of Corvallis. We have one son, Raymond, who is art director for the advertising firm of LORD & THOMAS of San Francisco. "
"This is a pretty good world and I am going to stay here as long as I can. But men were better and happier and got on better in the early days."
Mr. BEVENS was interviewed in the home to which he and his wife have retired, at the comer of Twelfth and Polk Sts., Corvallis. He spoke freely of early days and his mind was keen and memory good.
"My father's father was born in South Carolina in 1778. He was Truman BEVENS. His father and mother were massacred by Indians and earlier records of the family were lost. Father's mother was Annie MOORE, the daughter of David D. MOORE, who was born in South Wales about 1745. He, David MOORE, came to America before the Revolution and served seven years in the revolutionary army under WASHINGTON, attaining the rank of captain. After the war he went to Virginia and married a Miss DePRIEST who had been born in France. "
"My father was Hudson J. BEVENS. I do not know much about his folks who did not come to Oregon, but I have heard him speak of brothers David and Walker. "
"My mother was Nancy S. WILSON. She was born in Kentucky in 1821 and moved to Missouri in 1832. Mother's father, David WILSON, was born in Virginia in 1791. Her mother's maiden name was SEARS. Grandfather's father was also named David WILSON and he married a Miss Jocey OWNES. Both mother's grandfathers served in the Revolutionary army. "
"My parents were married in Missouri and had seven children when they crossed the plains in 1854. My father was a modest man and not given to talking about his deeds, but I learned from an older sister that he was captain of the wagon train. He had three wagons in the train, each drawn by three yoke of oxen. My two older brothers were old enough to drive teams. It cost father $1,800. to make the trip. "
"The party had one brush with the Indians somewhere near the Snake River in Idaho. When the Indians were not strong enough to attack a train they would try to stampede the cattle in the hope of being able to cut off one or two in the confusion. One day as they neared the Snake River my brother, who was fifteen years old, was riding a mule and driving the loose stock. He saw an Indian show himself in the brush along the way, wearing a red blanket. When the cattle saw the man and began to show alarm he began waving the blanket and all the stock stampeded, including the oxen drawing the wagons. Mother was in one of the wagons with the young children and she got them to the back of the wagon and dropped them one by one into the dust of the road. One wheel of the wagon was smashed against a boulder and the weight of the dragging axle slowed down the runaways. "
"My brother on the mule was near the Indian when he stampeded the cattle. Although he was only a boy he gave chase and forced the Indian to drop the blanket and flee naked. My brother lashed him with the heavy stock whip and he said that at every blow he could see the man's skin whiten and crack under the lash like it had been burned with a hot iron. "
"As soon as father could get the cattle stopped and gathered up he hastened to corral the wagons. The Indian who had been flogged told his story to his friends and soon a crowd of hostile savages was threatening the party. A trader at a nearby post appeared and finally persuaded the Indians to withdraw. The next day when they were swimming the stock over the Snake River the trader in a canoe struck one of the mules with his paddle, causing it to drown. The body drifted down to an Island below the ferry and soon the Indians were seen dressing it for food. Afterward, my parents concluded that the trader had promised to secure food for the Indians if they would not attack the immigrants. There seemed no other way to explain his act. This happened near where the Ward party was massacred two days later. The Indians overpowered a weak party and killed all but two boys who were bounded and escaped into the brush, and succeeded in making their way to another train. A runner passed father's party on his way to report the massacre to the soldiers stationed at The Dalles. Later they met a detachment of soldiers going to investigate. After father settled in Kings Valley he became acquainted, some years later, with Chris ROGERS who had been one of those soldiers. . He said the detachment arrested four or five Indians who were most under suspicion of having part in the killing and hanged them as an example. "
"Father took a preemption claim in Gopher Hollow in Yamhill County in the fall of 1854. Next spring the fern came up so thick and heavy that it discouraged him and he moved to Polk County and settled on the Luckiamute near Airlie. Here he lived for some years, dividing his attention between grain farming and the raising of cattle and sheep. After a time he sold this farm to a Mr. TARTAR, father of Nicholas TARTAR who became professor of Mathematics at Oregon State College. Nicholas TARTAR II, is now a well know physician of Corvallis."
"About this time father bought a herd of the best cows he could get, picking them up here and there, and drove them to California. Cows had been in demand in California and the prices good. However prices were down when father got there, and the venture was not a success. After selling out his farm at Airlie he bought the Amon PYBUM donation land claim on Soap Creek near the Benton-Polk County line. He lived on Soap Creek Until 1880, when he sold to the ALLINGHAMS, father and son, and moved to Elk City in Lincoln County, There he died in 1902. "
"My father's children who were born in Missouri were: George M., Truman O., Joicey A. (married Marshall SIMPSON). Willard P. (married Mary S. WELLS), John S. (married Corinthia SHELTON), Hudson Jr. (died at age of nineteen), and Frances A (married R. P. HALL, whose father founded Buena Vista.). Those born in Oregon were: Walker W. (married Martha CROWLEY), Commodore P. (married Vernie PARKS), Commodore's twin, Theodore P. (married Lizzie WEST), Jefferson D. (married Josie MORRISON), and myself. "
"I was born in 1864. I attended school first at GINGLES School house in Benton County, but we had far to walk and I was little and attended but little there. The teachers I remember there were Mr. ARMSTRONG, Mr. GRANT, and Ernie BLACKWOOD. My real schooling was at the FLICKINGER Schoolhouse near where Suver, Polk County, now is. The teachers I remember there were John FLETCHER of Buena Vista, Amy WATERHOUSE of Monmouth, Mr. PARKER, John C. LEASURE, and Ward BRAYTON. "In 1880 I married Sarah LONG, daughter of Gabriel LONG, who had a claim in Kings Valley. She was the only living child of her parents and we lived on the old place for some years and then moved to Corvallis. Here I engaged in various kinds of work until age forced me to take it easier. We still own the farm in Kings Valley. "
"Our two daughters are Mrs. Elsie MITCHELL and Mrs. Hazel NIEDEWITSCH. "
Mrs. BEVENS was interviewed at her home on the comer of Twelfth and Polk Sts. in Corvallis. She is a woman of perhaps more than average intelligence and the years have dealt kindly with her. She not only has a keen memory but is interested in the preservation of a knowledge of the old days. She said:
"My father, Gabriel LONG, who was born in 1825, came from Iowa in 1852 and took a donation land claim in Kings Valley. The first settlers had taken all the claims along the river and father's claim was up the course of one of the creeks that come down from the hills to the east. Father had two daughters by his first wife. Two died in childhood and the other, Mrs. COOPER, died at the age of twenty- four. "
"My mother, Ellen Jane CARLAND, was born in 1836. Grandfather CARLAND brought his family to Oregon in 1852, the same year in which my father came. He first took a donation land claim on Oak Creek west of Corvallis, but soon sold out his right and moved to Roseburg. Mother was married first in 1854 to Samuel FULLER, son of A. FULLER who took one of the very early claims about five miles north of Corvallis. It was on his claim that the Fuller schoolhouse was built about 1848, and in the Fuller Schoolhouse the County Court of Benton County held its first meeting when the new county was organized. At that time there was no town in the county to be the county seat. "
"There are two living children of my mother's first marriage. One is Mrs. W. E. BRIEN who lives just north of Corvallis on the Pacific Highway, and the other is Arnold FULLER. Mother and father were both widowed. They married each other in 1866. I was the only one of my parents' children to outlive them. My name is Sarah Ann, and I was born in 1868. All the schooling I ever got was at the Kings Valley school. My first teacher was James CHAMBERS, son of Rowland CHAMBERS, a pioneer of 1846. It was Rowland CHAMBERS who built the grist mill in Kings Valley. I just loved James CHAMBERS as a teacher. He was so kind and good and such a good teacher. Other teachers were Mrs. SCRAFFORD, John MARKS, Frank HOOPER, and Mr. BRISTOW. When we had a good teacher they used to stay several years. "
"In 1890 I married Freeman BEVENS. His father had been one of the early settlers near Kings Valley, but in Polk County. We lived for years on the old place my father took. Then we moved to Corvallis. Here I kept boarders while my husband worked at various kinds of work. "
"When I was a girl I used to attend the dances that were held at the neighbors homes, but when I was eighteen I was converted and joined the church and stopped dancing. Members of the church at that time looked upon dancing as wicked. But the dances I attended were just neighborhood dances and everybody was well behaved. If anyone came who showed he had been drinking he was not allowed to take part. I always tried to act the lady and be on my best behavior at the dances, and I do not feel that I ever was the worse for attending. Ever since I was converted I have been a member of the Evangelical Church, first at Kings Valley and then here in Corvallis. I have always tried to be faithful to its teachings and to bring my girls up to be good women. "
"Our two daughters are Mrs. Elsie MITCHELL, who lives in Amity, and Mrs. Hazel WIEDEWITSCH. "
The country in Kings Valley was far better when I was a girl than is now. The farms and buildings were well kept up, and the farmers prospered. Father always made a good living for his family. Isaac KING and others were well-to-do and Rowland CHAMBERS, who owned the grist mill, was wealthy. They all made their money from the land. Now the men who are farming can't seem to make a living. The soil has been allowed to run down, the wild growth is crowding in on the fields, and the buildings are in bad repair. There are no more than two or three good houses now like the old homesteads used to be. The fine old houses are all gone except the James WATSON house where Jim PRICE lives. That is about as it was first built in 1853. I sometimes get homesick for the old neighborhood, but when I do get to go it makes me heart-sick to see how things are run down."
Mr. BEVENS was interviewed at the home of his son at 'B' and Main Sts., Philomath. He has lived most of his life on his farm just across the Polk County line from Airlie, but as a result of a paralytic stroke he is no longer allowed to live alone. He is still keen in mind and his memory seems dependable. Mr. BEVENS said:
"My father, Hudson J. BEVENS, came in 1854 from Missouri, for the adventure and advantages of a new country. My mother's maiden name was Mary WILSON. Father took 320 acres as a homestead and 320 acres as a preemption claim, on the Luckiamute River in Polk County but near to Kings Valley. Father's children were George, Truman, Dorothy, Willard, Speed, Hudson Jr., Frances, Walker, myself, and Commodore my twin, Jefferson, and Freeman. Dorothy married a man named SIMPSON and her son Tom was twice elected sheriff of Lincoln County. Frances married a Mr. HALL and they founded a clan about Buena Vista in southern Polk County, Jefferson was born during the war of 1861-5 and was named for the president of the Confederacy. He now lives in Dallas and Freeman lives in Corvallis. Only we three are left. "
"As a young man I worked at various things. At one time I drove a freight wagon hauling supplies to the construction camp of the W.V. 7 C. R. R. at Summit. Then I got the farm near Airlie and ran stock. I kept cattle, sheep, and goats. I would buy when I could buy right, sell what was ready for market, and keep the poorer stuff on my place until it was ready for market. For years I conducted a butchering business with one and sometimes two wagons. We covered the territory from Dallas to Kings Valley and east to the Willamette River in both counties. I used to trust everybody and lost little money. Money was freer in the old days. After the automobile became common men never had any ready money left. "
"In 1894 I married Elizabeth WOOD at Kings Valley. She came from a pioneer family. We had two sons, Dorval and Archie, who are both interested in lumbering, rather than farming. "I went to school first at the Gingle Schoolhouse near Wells and then at the Suver Schoolhouse further north in Polk County. Mr. WOODWARD, who was later County Judge of Benton County was a teacher there. Mr. ARMSTRONG taught several years at Suver. He used to get $20.00 to $30.00 per month and "board round". There were no women teachers then. We studied the three R's, Geography and Spelling. History and Algebra were for those who had finished the Eighth Reader. "
"After the second big fire in 1866 there was hardly a green tree from Summit to Newport. All the timber has grown up since. Game was very plentiful in the early days. A man could shoot more grouse in a day than he could carry. The grouse were about as large as a medium sized hen. Native pheasants and mountain quail were very plentiful. There were no 'Bob White' quail, no China pheasants nor Hungarian partridge then. Geese and mallard ducks came in immense flocks. Bears and cougars were frequently killed. There were salmon in the Yaquina River but none in the Luckiamute because salmon will not head in the direction of the sea when ascending a steam to spawn. "
"The grist mill that Rowland CHAMBERS built was the supply point for a large district. There were no other mills near for sometime. I have heard it told that Old Man EDDY for whom Eddyville was named planned a mill at Pioneer below Chitwood. There was no road to the mill site and the stone could not be secured to horse or mule. Finally a big squaw called TU-TAH-NEE (sp. ?) Jenny volunteered to carry it. It was placed on her back and held by the strap around her forehead. She carried the stone for a considerable distance but the tremendous exertion affected her so much that she only lived a few months."
"Captain HORNY' was the "big bug" among the Siletz Indians. He was a clean and intelligent Indian and was a welcome visitor at the homes of the whites. He made the trip to Washington City when a treaty was being arranged. "
"My brother-in-law, Marsh SIMPSON, mined for coal at Elk City. He went quite a distance into the hill but never found coal in paying quantities. His son Tom was elected sheriff on Lincoln County as a democrat when the county was normally two thirds Republican. Tom used to referee the ball games when the Indians played against a white team and his fairness won the friendship of the Indians. Their influence and the votes of those who were citizens elected my nephew twice. Many white men married Indian women and there was a considerable number of mixed bloods. At one time during the Indian war there was a 'scare' in Kings Valley. Some squaws came through the valley and said the Indians on the Siletz Reservation were about to break out. There was some excitement but the settlers were well armed and stayed by their homes. I remember one time father was away when seven Indians came to our home, crowded about the fireplace and ordered my mother to prepare food. When father came in and they told him they were going to sleep about the fireplace he told them they must sleep in the barn. When they refused to go, father, who weighed more than two hundred pounds, literally kicked them out. Mother was afraid they would take revenge, but they did not seem to take serious offense. There was a good deal of crime, mostly theft and killing, but the offenders were commonly outsiders. "
"I never knew anything about Fort Hoskins except that there were soldiers stationed there. The Fort was abandoned while I was still a small boy. I have heard the soldiers spoken of as a decent lot of men. Many of then were recruited from the surrounding country. "
"There were many southern sympathizers during the Civil War and clashes were frequent, but generally these were not very serious. The southern men were organized into groups or circles. My father was leader of the group in our locality, Elijah McDANIEL at Independence and another man at Soap Creek. McDANIEL was badly beaten up at one time. At another time my father, carrying the Confederate flag, led a horseback parade through the streets of Corvallis. Green Berry SMITH brought his boy John to the gathering. My father had the only horse that would carry double so he took the boy behind him. In later years John told me that was the proudest moment of his life. "
"My father-in-law, (Britt ?) Brick WOOD, was especially violent in his talk. One time the captain from Fort Hoskins came with a detachment looking for him. He proposed to take him to the fort and compel him to take an oath of allegiance. My father was spokesman for the group. WOODS' friends replied that if the captain did this they would make kindlin wood of the fort. The southern men in the community so far outnumbered the small garrison that the boast or threat was not altogether vain. During the discussion Old Man ENGLISH jumped up and began whetting his bowie knife on the stove pipe, but father made him sit down. Finally the captain left with the promise by WOODS' friends that they would restrain his violence. Many of the first settlers had left Missouri because their southern sympathies had gotten them into trouble there. "
"Nigger Lew (Lewis SOUTHWORTH) was a fine nigger. He was a fine blacksmith and lived last on Alsea Bay where his stepson still lives. He prospered and used to dress well and drive a fine black team. He was respected by all and treated almost as an equal even by the Southerners. "
"I used to take an interest in politics but never ran for office. I was too free handed for that. I was until a few years ago a member of the school board in our district. Then I had a stroke a couple of years ago and now instead of helping to run things I have to submit to being more or less 'run' by others. "
Mrs. BLANCHARD was interviewed at her home in Philomath. She seemed not well informed about the early lives of her parents, and their activities in Oregon. She said:
"My parents were both born in England. My father, Ashby WEST, came to Oregon first about 1850. Then he returned and brought his parents over in 1852. It is my understanding that they came to Oregon by water, but I do not know whether they came around the Horn, or by way of the Isthmus of Panama. "
"At that time in England children of the poorer people were often bound out at a very tender age. My mother, Anna SCOTT, was bound to her future mother-in-law as a traveling companion. She was nine years old at the time. Later she grew up and married the son of her mistress. "
"With my father came his brother William WEST who was a preacher and doctor. He rode on horseback and preached all over Marion County. Later he had a drug store at Jefferson. The site of the town then was a mile or so below the present location. Because the old townsite was on the lower river bottoms and overflowed frequently the new location was chosen on higher ground. "
"Father took a claim about one mile north of Jefferson. This was covered by timber and brush and had to be cleared. Father raised grain on this farm. "
"My parents had five children: Albert, Edna, myself, Homer and Alice. Edna is dead but the others are all living within forty miles of the old home place. "
"I went to school at Jefferson and remember among the teachers there, Mrs. PEEL and Mr. BARZEE. I studied only reading, arithmetic, writing and geography. I did not get much education. "
"I married - BLANCHARD and we lived on farms in different parts of the upper Willamette Valley. My husband died a few years ago. Our children were Gilbert, Elma (Mrs. YORK) and Warren. "
This information about William BLODGETT was compiled from various sources, an item from this old timer, another from some other source. M.P.)
William BLODGETT was the first settler of the little valley eighteen miles west of Corvallis and tributary to Marys River which bears his name. His children are all dead or scattered and the third generation are unable to give much information.
William BLODGETT was born in New York and crossed the plains to the mines of California in 1849. His descendants have no record of his life in California nor of family in New York. It is known that he was married in the east and lost two or three children while crossing the plains.
It is reported that he had no schooling in his youth and could not read at the age of twenty-one. After that he gained an education. He attended Oberlin College, for how long is not known, and was said to have graduated from another university. He could speak seven languages.
In 1852 he took a donation land claim of 640 acres which included the best of the little Blodgett Valley. The names of his children who grew to maturity are: Rufus, James, Mary, and Rose. These, except possibly Rufus were born and reared in Benton County.
In his later years he was overtaken by the liquor habit which he is said to have acquired in the mines of California. Because of the lapses from this habit he ceased to prosper and his valuable farm had passed from the family. Died in 1902.
BLODGETT studied law but never took the bar examinations.
Pamela FULLER BRIEN
William E. BRIEN
Mr. and Mrs. W. E. BRIEN (pronounced as if spelled Brinn) live on Route 1 from Corvallis. Their home is at the corner of the Pacific Highway and the first crossroad north of the Corvallis city limits. Here the couple live in retirement since Mr. BRIEN'S health will not permit him to follow active pursuits. Said Mrs. BRIEN:
"My father was Sam FULLER and my grandfather was Arnold FULLER, who took a Donation Land Claim near Lewisburg (Mountain View) in this county. It was in the Fuller Schoolhouse on my grandfather's place that the County Court of Benton County held its first meeting.
"One of father's sisters is Mrs. Lucy FULLER THOMAS of Portland, Oregon. Father's oldest sister was married to Amos M. KING whose homestead was in the neighborhood of Washington Park, Portland. The FULLERS came to Oregon in the same train with the CHAMBERS-KING party of Kings Valley.
"My mother was Ellen CARLIN, whose people came to Benton County in 1852. I was born in 1859. My parents were in Roseburg for a short time, but it is my understanding that I was not born until after their return to Benton County. What little schooling I had was received at Kings Valley where my parents lived after my birth. I attended a little red school-house which stood on the site of an earlier log school. I remember two of my teachers especially, one of them was Wilson RAYBORN. Another was Charles CROSNO who later became collector of customs at Newport, Oregon. The FULLERS and the KING party came to Oregon in 1845, but stayed the first winter south of Portland. In the spring of 1846 the one group went up the Luckiamute to Kings Valley and the other kept in the main valley. The families remained friendly and in 1873, when I was sixteen, I married Stephen KING. My husband was the son of Isaac KING and the nephew of Sol KING who was one of the early sheriffs of Benton County.
"We had four children, all of whom are living. They are Mrs. Artilia PITMAN, Mrs. Arminta COLE, and Mrs. Ella CLARK, all of Corvallis, and Arnold KING of Yakima, Washington. My husband died and I was married to William E. BRIEN in 1883. We have no children. We lived in Kings Valley for a year, then moved to a farm at Wren, and a few years later to this neighborhood. For thirty-five years we have lived on this farm.
"In the early days there was not much social life. People worked too hard. About the only thing that brought the whole neighborhood together was the Sunday preaching services at the schoolhouse. Occasionally a whole family would be loaded into a farm wagon and go to spend the whole day with a neighbor. In due time the visit would be returned.
Mr. BRIEN said:
"My father was John McPherson BRIEN. He was born of wealthy parents in New York City and was well educated and a good musician. When he was 20 and his brother was 22 they ran away to the newly discovered gold mines in California. They were entirely unfit for the life of a miner and failed to make a strike, but they were disinherited and father never went back to New York. After a time in California he came to Oregon. He tried his hand at farming and storekeeping, but without much success.
"My mother was Mrs. Elizabeth WILLIAMS, a widow with three children, when she married my father. I do not know her maiden name. I was born in 1862. In 1865 when I was three years old my father moved to Rock Creek near Condon in what was then Umatilla County. When we had been there about a year we were caught by a cloudburst. I remember waking in the night and seeing the dog swimming by my bed. Father carried all the children to the heavy farm wagon which he chained to a firmly set hitching post. In the morning he carried us out to dry ground and kindled a fire to warm us. I can clearly recall watching the smoke curl up the face of the rimrock lining the canyon. Mother never recovered from the effects of the exposure and after giving birth to a baby girl she died and was buried there.
"Father brought his family back to Kings Valley and I and my sisters were cared for in the homes of friends for a time. Then father arranged to have the older children with him. Neither of my sisters lived beyond childhood. I had but little schooling and that I got at the Wren schoolhouse. School terms were only about three months long and were held in the spring. There was little money from the county and the farmers were too poor to support the school for a longer term.
"Not long after mother's death my father, driven by the need for some one to care for his family, married again. When I was eleven my father died. My step-mother put me in a Catholic school in Vancouver for several months while she was in Eastern Washington, but I received little schooling there. Then my step-mother married again and conditions were not pleasant for me at home. I have looked out for myself since I was twelve. I worked first for James KEYS on what is now the RICKARD farm between Wren and Philomath. I have always lived and worked on a farm, and worked hard, too. When I was a boy all grain was cut with a cradle and trampled out with horses. Many times I have ridden the horse to keep the herd moving on the threshing floor.
"The old days were better. Men were freer-hearted and more generous. Travelers always stopped at the first house when night fell. Every family had a spare bed and even strangers were made welcome without charge. A man's word was as good as his bond, and there was no need of written agreements between neighbors, for each one was fair with the other. If there was any meanness it could be traced usually to an outsider or transient.
"I remember before my father married the second time he was keeping me and my brother with him, but my baby sister was with a neighbor. My sister became very sick and he had to help care for her at night. As he was going one evening he met two men who asked for a place to stay. He did not want to send them to his own small house with only two small boys there, so he directed them to a vacant house on a place rented by Sol KING. It was too dark for father to see the men's faces but one of them wore the blue army overcoat and cap common at that time. They said they had been down by Yaquina Bay looking for land. When KING visited the vacant house a day or so later they found the man in the army overcoat with his brains beaten out, lying on a pile of straw which had been burned on all sides up to the body. A hole was burned through the floor. The second man had disappeared.
"Now there had been living with Mr. HILL, a blacksmith near Wren, a man named PAINTER who was generally looked upon as a tough character. He was suspected by many of the crime but there was no evidence. Years later word came back that PAINTER, just before he was hanged for murder in California, had confessed to the killing here in Oregon. He had killed the men for the money they were supposed to have and had thrown one from a high bluff into Marys River so that his disappearance might cause people to think he had killed his companion.
"We had one Indian scare during the Rogue River war. Many Rogue River Indians were on the Siletz Reservation. They were reported restless, and an outbreak was feared. People gathered two or three families to a house for protection and a watch was kept for signal fires or anything that would give notice of the approach of the Indians, but nothing came of it.
"We have never been able to get ahead much on account
of sickness. There has been a good deal of trouble and a good many hard knocks.
There is getting to be more and more trouble in the world. I wouldn't want
to have to live life over again."
"Our Trip Across The Plains"
J. W. BROADWELL
(as told to and written by Josephine GARDNER, July, 1933.)
"I was in my sixteenth year when we left Mt. Pleasant, Henry County, Iowa, on March 10, 1864. We had been twelve years getting ready to cross the plains. In 1852 Grandfather MacMURPHY'S oldest son went by way of the Isthmus of Panama to San Francisco. He had written back what a wonderful place California was and the rest of the family immediately began making preparations to follow him.
"But there was much to be done. Each of the MacMURPHYS, my grandfather, his youngest son, his three daughters and sons-in-law, and his widowed daughter, my mother, had farms in Iowa. These had to be sold. We had to get our wagons and equipment ready. We had nothing but spring wagons over which we built bows and stretched a heavy sheet cover. These wagons could carry 300 (3000 ?) pounds and were drawn by two horses.
"And now for loading up. Our train, all the MacMURPHYS except one family - that of Adam LUDY, his wife and three children - was made up of thirteen wagons, seventy head of oxen and forty head of horses and mules. Every wagon had children. The youngest child was only two weeks old, "Iowa" a girl. Each family had a spring wagon and their provisions hauled by an ox team. We had plenty, bacon, flour, sugar. The sugar was in big cans, like our ten gallon milk cans today except that they sat flat. These cans had been taken to the maple sap mills in the woods and the sap from the cooking of the sugar run right into the cans. There was a can for each wagon. I used to sit in the wagon during our trip, take a butcher knife and dig into the can until I didn't want to see any more syrup. It was soft enough so it wouldn't crumble, not too hard. We brought no furniture with us except a paper wash tub and two rocking chairs from which the rockers had been removed. They were for grandfather and grandmother MACMURPHY to sit in. When we wanted to sit down we piled up ox yokes and they served as chairs. My personal property in the train was one yoke of oxen. I had broken them when they were one year old. They were only three years old when we started and my folks didn't want me to bring them across the plains, but I did. I called them "Tip" for Tippecanoe, and "Tyler". But more of that later.
Each ox team had two drivers; one drove one day, one the next. When we started my older brother was driving our team. He was supposed to drive all the way but was taken sick at Omaha, so I drove the rest of the way, while my brother rode in the wagon. I drove the ox team every other day, that is; walked one day beside the wagon, rode the next. Well, it was a tough job but it didn't bother me. I was only sixteen. I could go to bed and sleep.
The women all wore very short brown or black dresses with ankle length buttoned bloomers, made of denim, a very heavy material something like sateen today, which did not let the dust go through. The dress didn't come to the knees.
We stopped and camped somewhere every day. Generally we found pretty good feed. At night we would form a circle of our wagon, then fasten a chain, - perhaps to a hind wheel of the wagon - run it straight out into the open, and attach as many smaller chains as required to make room for ten. Each wagon had ten oxen. Horses weren't tied so short as the oxen. Occasionally a saddle horse was picketed outside, sometimes two or three at once. In our thirteen wagons we'd have about three for four men who walked a beat on the outside of the wagons. I walked the beat one-half the night, twice a week. They put me on the fore part of the night. I always stayed up until one o'clock. The rest of the folks would not go to bed before nine or ten, so I wouldn't get so lonesome. The latter part of the night was the more dangerous. The Indians usually stampeded just before daylight when we would be hitching up.
"Maybe you'd like to know how the Indians stampeded. They would tie a piece of dried skin to their horse's tail, then dash among the stock, shouting as they went, the dried skin making an awful flapping sound on the ground and scattering the horses and stock in every direction.
"We came within a mile and a half of Council Bluffs. We camped here for two weeks and fed corn to the stock to recruit them. Moving on, we found that at the ferry crossing the Missouri River into Omaha, Nebraska, the wagons waiting to be ferried across numbered 900, and would take four or five days to ferry them across. We learned that eight miles down the river was what was called a scow - a large flat-bottomed boat having broad, square ends, - taking one wagon and one team at a time across the river, so we went there. The loose stock, horses and cattle, were swum across the river.
"Now we're in Nebraska, I guess, when we got across the river. Our course was up the north fork of the Platte. After leaving Omaha, Nebraska, we fell in with a man by the name of ROBINSON who had about twenty wagons. ROBINSON had crossed the plains before so he was put in as captain of the entire train. He was the "runner". He would go ahead and see where there was a good place to camp. He had all horses, no stock. My grandfather said to him, "You can go faster than we can, since you have no cattle. How about our cattle? They can't travel very fast." "I'll drive no faster nor farther than the cattle can go in one day," ROBINSON replied. He and his train stayed with us until we crossed the Rocky Mountains so we got safely by the Sioux Indians.
"It was very scarce timber from Omaha; some cottonwood.
We had to use buffalo chips (dung) for firewood. As we headed the cattle
out to feed at night each man would take a gunny sack and fill it with buffalo
chips. They made a hot fire and baked good biscuits. We had hot
bread all the time except where we layed over for a week or so, then we would
have cold biscuits. We couldn't make butter along the road, so our
syrup came in handy. Nearly every ox team had a yoke of cows so we had fresh
milk all the way across the plains.
"After leaving Omaha we met the Pawnee Indians. They were a quiet, small tribe. We had a neighbor in Mt. Pleasant, Mr. GILLIS, who was appointed by the Government to go out among the Pawnees during the latter part of the summer and take with him blankets for the Indians. In his stay during two or three different summers with them he had taught them pretty good English.
"Well, I'll give you a little incident in our travels. Somewhere near Fort Laramie, along in the afternoon one day, the mule and horse drawn carry-alls in which the women were riding - they always were in the lead in the train, the stock and ox-team provision wagons behind - turned and came trotting back towards the rest of the train. They had sighted trouble ahead. The men immediately got their guns ready and hastily began circling the ox teams and wagons to the left, each team pulling inside the wagon ahead until they made a corral large enough to include all the stock and the carryalls. The wagon tongues were dropped, horses unhitched, and guns drawn ready to shoot when we discovered coming toward us, dust rolling up in clouds, a band of Indians. As they came within a few hundred yards of our corral some went to the right, some to the left, until they had formed a complete circle around us. Then four Indians came riding up close to our wagons. Among them was one Indian who had visited us for two weeks every two or three days. His custom was to call "How-ee, How-ee", meaning "How do you do", whenever he came to our train. He always got a square meal in return. As the four Indians came riding up this one called, "How-ee, How-ee", and laughed. Well, we talked awhile and finally the whole band, numbering about three or four hundred, dispersed and went on. They had planned the scare as a joke, but after that we never let the women and children ride in front of the train. The ox teams went first.
Some time later I saw four men ride in from the hillside, come into the road, lift a man - shot with an arrow by the Indians - off a horse, put him into one of our light wagons, drive a short distance and turn off where there was another immigrant train. On this morning their stock numbering 75 head of horses and mules were stampeded and run off by the Indians. They made chase after them and got their horses all back except one which broke a leg and they had to kill it. One of the men in that train had a span of big gray horses. He tied their halters together and held on to them tightly, hoping to save them. An Indian rode up close to him with a bow and arrow drawn, ready to shoot him if he refused to let go, so the white man chose to save his life rather than his horses.
"Now then, that about ends anything exciting about the Indians. Lots of people think the Indians are dull, but they are pretty smart. An Indian lady said to me once, "If you'll give me a piece of meat I'll tell you something that will last you all the days of your life. Put a knot in the end of your thread and save the first stitch."
"Later on we passed Fort Hamey. United States soldiers and their families were stationed at these forts along the way. We had an uncle taken sick with what they called "mountain fever". On some small stream of the north fork of the Platte River he was so sick that we had to lay up for two weeks.
"Then came our journey across the ridge, the Rocky Mountains, near where Cheyenne stands today. We had crossed the head waters of the Green River, passed the Chimney Rock, passed the one-thousand -mile - tree from Omaha, the Stillwater, and some other small streams. I think ninety miles north- west (northeast ?) of Ogden we left the Oregon Trail, coming down the Echo Canyon and the wonderful Devil's Gap into Salt Lake, where we stayed two weeks and pastured our stock so as to get them into condition to cross the Utah and Nevada deserts.
"At Salt Lake we got our first green eats, vegetables and fresh bacon. The bacon sure tasted good to us. The uncle who had been laid up with mountain fever was still riding in the wagon when we got to Salt Lake, although he was able to walk about a little. One night while we were sitting around the camp fire he went to the back of the wagon, got a head of cabbage, ate it and almost died. We had to get a Salt Lake doctor for him, and the doctor stayed up all night, working to save his life. We never saw Brigham YOUNG while we were in the city. He would not show himself. Leaving Salt Lake, we went north and then left and came by where Ogden now stands. One wagon was turned over in crossing the Bear River at the north end of Salt Lake and emptied the whole contents into the river. There were four or five feet of water in the river there. We fetched up a sack of flour. It wasn't hurt very much, except that some of it stuck to the side of the sack. My grandfather had one horse that he fed on flour because it got poor and weak. That horse and its mate grandfather sold for $400 after we got through to Lassen County.
"Somewhere on the desert we had a man riding a shod horse follow us for two days, trying to persuade us to turn off and go through the white pine country, - well, I might say in the direction of Carson City. Now then that black horse and his rider will come in again after a bit, for I am satisfied it was the same man. But we will leave him for the present, since we came at that time by a little valley with a name on a shingle, "One Thousand Springs Valley", and he no longer followed us.
"From there we dropped onto the head of the Humboldt River and made camp. It had been a hot summer all the way, - dusty, dirty, - but as we drew near California the nights began to get cool. The first night at that camp the horses and mules were all tied up as usual, but for the first time since our crossing of the desert the stock, which heretofore were always tied up, too, were left to roam free on the creek bottom. We thought we had gotten into good country and were safe in acting thus. Now we had a surprise that next morning when we drove our stock into the corral to yoke up, twenty-one head of our cattle were missing. Yes, quite a little loss, too. Those cattle were worth $150 a head after we got through to Lassen Country.
"Investigation showed that our oxen had been driven off by one shod horse and three ponies bare-footed, while along the trail were moccasin tracks. While the other men were getting their guns, horses and food ready to follow in search of our oxen, I followed the trail afoot for about two miles, for among the stolen oxen was one of mine, "Tip". Four of our men went on the trail and followed the tracks way into the night and through a deep dark canyon. They finally gave up the chase and let the oxen go. That was the first and only night our oxen weren't tied up.
"At that time we had along in our train a man and his small family, with one span of horses and three yoke of cattle. He had three oxen left out of his six after the Indians drove off, twenty-one that night. He said he could pull his wagon along if grandfather would sell him one ox. Grandfather said, "I can't spare an ox, but I'll buy your three", which he did. Right there we left one wagon standing by the roadside.
"The next day we moved about a mile and a half down the river so as to change camp. But before I go on, there was one ox that came back. I might say something about that. Four days afterward a horse train picked up one of our oxen - or rather mine, since it was "Tip" - which had gotten away from the Indians and was starting back to our camp. My grandfather gave the man five dollars for fetching it back. My other ox, "Tyler", became so lame I traded him at a station for a steer called "Jeff Davis", because he kicked so.
"Well now, you see we are going down the Humboldt River. Near Lovelock, Nevada, we left the river, then came by the Granite Creek - Snake Creek route into Lassen County, short of six months from the time we started. That's pretty near the end of the road. We had a few quarrels along the way, even the relatives.
"It was just 1,800 miles from Omaha to Lassen. It has been sixty-nine years since our wagon train landed in Lassen County. In 1922 we celebrated the 58th anniversary of our arrival. There were just five who crossed in the MacMurphy train left, but there were sixty-five kin there so you see how we'd grown.
"That first winter in Lassen County folks ground wheat in a coffee grinder and made their bread of it. Flour sold for sixteen dollars a hundred pounds. We would go two or three months before we could get an answer from a letter. We sent three ox teams - four yoke of oxen on a wagon - across the mountains to Battle Creek Mills and laid in our flour, sugar, coffee, tea, dried fruit.
"One time three ox teams of us - four yoke on a wagon
- went to Virginia City with barley. We were paid four cents a pound
to haul it down there. It ran anywhere from twelve to thirteen dollars
a hundred. One of my uncles and I were traveling out of Virginia City
down the Gygar grade after dark so as not to meet hauling teams. When we
got down toward Steamboat stream we heard horses galloping behind us.
We believed they were trying to overtake us to hold us up. My uncle
kept saying, "Shall I throw it?", "Shall I throw it?" - meaning the
sack of money we had gotten for our load of barley. I said: "No, they
may not stop us, and we'd never find it again if we
threw it out into this darkness." He said, "Let's hide it, then." We had a can of axle grease half full, so we took out the axle grease, put the money into the bottom of the can, then put the grease back on top of it.
"I started in business with one heifer calf, "High Hom", which I traded for my ox. "Jeff Davis", and I kept increasing until I had 140 to 150 head of cattle and 450 acres of land.
"I have been back and forth across the continent seventeen times, but I always say the first time I came afoot. I never saw a president nor an ex-president, and I've been in Washington, D.C. But when I was five years old I saw a man come walking out to the roadside to my grandfather's wagon - tall dark complexioned, broad mouth - a man who came from his work of splitting rails. He afterward became president of the United States. Lots of people wonder and say, "Did Abe LINCOLN ever split rails?" I saw him. Why I remember him and this incident so well is this: I sat in the little, low-bed wagon. He reached over and grabbed my big toe. When he came up for president and I saw his picture, I said, "That the man who pulled my toe." I came near running down to Reno when General GRANT was there but something kept me from going.
"In 1863 I wanted to be a drummer boy. During that summer there was formed the "Boy Home Guards". My brother was seventeen and I was fifteen. I was drummer boy for the guards, some twenty-five or thirty. We formed a company and practiced once a week, every Saturday evening. We never registered with the Government, otherwise I might be a Civil War veteran now. One of the company played the fife, another the violin. The violinist taught me to handle the drum sticks.
"We left Iowa in the spring of 1864, by ox team. After
six month's travel we came to Honey Lake Valley, camping awhile at what is
now Mapes Ranch, and settling later in Elysian Valley.
[Publishers Note: Honey Lake Valley is southeast of Susanville, California.]
Mrs. Annie BROWN
Mrs. BROWN was interviewed at her home by Suver, near the Benton-Polk County line. She is much interested in early times and her memory is excellent. Her address is Route 2, Monmouth.
"My father, Henry FLICKINGER, came from Pennsylvania around the Horn to the mines of California in 1852. He remained there for a year or so and, although he made no rich strike, he prospered -then he came north to Benton County. For a while he was a partner of Joseph SUVER, and together they drove cattle and then hogs to the mines at Yreka, California. The hogs were rangy animals of the razor back type, could stand the trip and were not hard to drive, but so many were lost by "cutting their throats" with their sharp fore hoofs while swimming the streams that they changed their plans. They slaughtered and cured the animals in Benton County and freighted the bacon to the mines.
"From the proceeds of this work and the money he had made
in the mines father bought and paid cash for 210 acres of land here at Suver.
I am still living on the place. Father could have taken claim back next to
the hills but he did not like the soil there.
"The only kind of fencing practical then was the rail fence and there was no timber near for rails. Father bought an acre of timber several miles away on the east side of the river. He would drive to the river in the morning, row across in a boat, split rails and ferry them across the river, and each evening bring home the rails he had split that day. Working in this way, he fenced his whole farm with an eight-rail, stake-and-rider fence. What man would do that today?
"My mother was Martha Ann PYBURN. Her mother had died in the East and her father started west with the eight children ranging in age from nineteen years to three. Their names were: Benjamin, Melissa, Selina, Martha (my mother,), Elizabeth, Amon, Edwin, and Jacob. Grandfather died of the cholera on the plains. When a person died of the cholera his clothes, instead of being burned, were tossed aside, and these clothes hanging on the brush long the way spread the infection among following trains. Sometimes the cholera would kill its victims within two or three hours after the first seizure. I have heard father say that he believed many people were buried in a coma, before they were really dead Of course there was no means of adequate medical care.
"Grandfather PYBURN had an outfit of three wagons, each drawn by four yoke of oxen, and he had provisions enough to last his family for a year. After his death whenever any member of the train lost an ox or ran short of provisions they would "borrow" of the children. When the family finally arrived in Oregon they were broke. An uncle on Soap Creek took them in the first winter. Provisions were short and they lived mostly on boiled wheat and game. Because they had no salt for the meat they were sick a great deal. After the first winter the older children were able to look out for themselves and the younger ones found homes where they could. Mother lived with David STUMP on the Luckiamute River.
"When the party started west they expected there might be deaths and they provided material for shrouds and coffins. The first death was my mother's cousin and they buried her in a long white shroud. Two or three days later they saw an Indian riding by with my cousin's shroud. A brother of the dead girl got his rifle to shoot the Indian but he was restrained for fear the train might be attacked and many lives lost. After that when any one died they always built a fire over the grave and when they broke camp drove all the wagons over the graves to wipe out every trace.
"The train had some horses, but they
were used only for riding. Horses could out-travel the oxen at the
beginning of the trip but they failed quicker under the long grind with scanty
feed and water. Often the girls when riding some of the horses would
loiter by the streams and play. One time they loitered longer than
common and were surprised by the appearance of some Indians on the trail.
They raced after the train on their horses but would probably have been overtaken
if they had not been met by some of the men who had become alarmed at their
along absence. After that experience there was no more loitering.
"I saw the play, "The Covered Wagon", It was not at all true to conditions as my mother told them to me. The picture showed the loaded wagons crossing the streams safely. But mother told how sometimes the wagon would begin to sink in deep water or quicksand and goods would have to be thrown out in the middle of the stream, to float away and be lost. Attacks were never made by blanketed Indians, as the picture shows. And when the trains reached Oregon the wagon covers were no longer white and clean, but dirty and torn and patched.
"My parents were married in 1855. Their children were: Alfred, Caroline, Lillie, myself, and Elizabeth. I was born in 1863. I went to school first at Gingles Schoolhouse. My teachers were Robert ARMSTRONG, Alonzo WILLIAMSON and Mr. GRANT. Then there was a schoolhouse built on my fathers place and called the Flickinger schoolhouse. The present Suver Schoolhouse is not far from the same spot. Here my teachers were Robert ARMSTRONG, John FLETCHER, Otis HUDSON, - BRAYTON, Rollie HUDSON and Amy WATERHOUSE. Amy WATERHOUSE was the only woman teacher I ever had. She and the HUDSON brothers were from Monmouth. I still have a book that Rollie HUDSON gave me as a prize for getting the most headmarks. We had only three months school each year and a change of teachers almost every term. Pupils did not make much headway unless they gave some attention to their books during vacation.
"Tampico was a great place for recreation and amusement. People would come there from all directions on Saturday to hear the news. Some would have letters from the East and any bit of news was passed around. Then some diversion was always planned, or at least something diverting happened. One day there would be a horse race. Another time there would be a shooting match with, perhaps, a pig for a prize. Sometimes when men had a serious difference of opinion they would arrange to settle it at Tampico on a Saturday afternoon.
"I remember the story of one famous fight my father had before he was married. We had a neighbor, Jim WHEELER. This man had the habit of saying false and slanderous things about anybody and everybody. He told some falsehood about my father and refused to make the demanded retraction and apology. They agreed to fight it out at Tampico. On the appointed day the men present formed a large ring and the two combatants were placed inside. They were both strong, husky young men and very evenly matched. They fought until they could not stand and then fought lying on the ground. Finally WHEELER said he had enough. WHEELER later wanted to be friends and I remember when he was an old man he used to visit us. Father would treat him civilly but he always disliked and distrusted him because "if he lied once he will lie again". I remember one time he asked father, "How did you feel the next morning after our fight?" "All right, I guess", said father, for he never liked to talk about the matter. "Well", said WHEELER, "I was so stiff and sore I could hardly walk. I went out to the barn and called my hogs as loud as I could so that the neighbors would know I was alive."
"WHEELER was an honest man in money matters and would keep his promise but he would never tell the truth if a lie would serve. He would lie about his own family. One time his own son was being repeatedly bullied and mistreated by another young man. Finally he warned the fellow, "If you ever jump on me again, I'll kill you." At the next dance the fellow caught him outside and began nagging him. He was prepared and proceeded to carve the bully up. So prompt and thorough was he that the dancers in the nearby house had no inkling that a fight was going on. Those who knew young WHEELER considered him a fine fellow and thought he was in some measure justified, but his father refused to help him. In talking about the matter the father said, "I always knew that boy had a mean streak in him. WHEELER's boys are all gone now.
"There was very little in the way of social diversion when I was a girl. Of course there was usually church and Sunday School. I attended one picnic, a big fourth of July celebration, up to the time I was eleven. About once in two months through the winter there would be a dance at one of the homes. On these occasions the horses we rode or drove were put in the barn and fed for the night. We never started home before daylight because it was dangerous to travel over the bad roads in the dark. When my young granddaughter feels oppressed by having to be home at a reasonable hour she likes to refer to what grandmother did. But I went only once in two months or so. Now the young people can dance once a week or oftener.
"In the old days many folks considered that the dances and the violin were of the devil. Once when my grandfather was a boy in Pennsylvania he saved money and bought a violin. Some of the neighbor lads came in to hear him play. They were gathered in an outbuilding but his father heard the sound and came out. When he found what was going on he broke the instrument over father's head and put an end to his musical aspirations.
"My father's brother for years conducted a saddlery shop in Corvallis.
"Uncle" Joe SUVER in 1845 built the first cabin between the Luckiamute River and the California line. He had started west with a large outfit but his animals all died but one. With what that one could draw on a cart he forded the Luckiamute, liked the looks of the country, and staked out his claim. Others followed where he had forced a trail through the high grass on the river bottom and a ford was established at the place.
"When he first came over the country was lonely and very
quiet. One morning he heard an ax and said to himself, "Now I have
a neighbor". He followed up the sound and five or six miles away on
the Willamette River bottom he found Bob RUSSELL cutting logs for a cabin.
SUVER was my father's partner for a time and married my cousin, Delilah PYBURN.
Their children were Caroline, Carolena, Greenberry and Marshall.
William C. BROWN
William C. BROWN was interviewed in his dental office in the Masonic Building in Corvallis. Mr. BROWN'S memory appeared to be excellent, but he refreshed it from time to time by referring to records in his possession. He said:
"My grandfather, Solomon K. BROWN, was married first to Mary RALSTON. They had two children, William B. and my father, Andrew R. After my grandmother's death, grandfather married a widow, Mrs. Ann RAWLINS. Their children were Jonathan R., S. K. (Ess Kay), L. Wellington and Alfred R. My father's half-brother is now living in Philomath.
"Grandfather was raising garden truck and selling to the construction camps on the Miami Canal in Paulding County, Ohio when he got the Oregon fever. He floated his goods to the Ohio River on barges and went by steamer on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to St. Joe., Missouri. He reached this place early in 1847. At St. Joe he purchased wagon and equipment for the trip across the plains. He bought one yoke of oxen in southern Missouri and one in northern Arkansas. There was a large train from St. Joseph and I do not know who was captain. The Indians gave them no trouble, but there were some deaths from sickness. Grandfather buried his only daughter, a little girl, on the plains.
"When the train got to Idaho the rumors of a gold strike that were already coming from California caused a split. One party went through Nevada in a direct line to California and the mines. Grandfather's party came to Oregon by an unusual route. They crossed southern Idaho and Oregon by way of Goose Lake to northern California and reentered Oregon by way of the Rogue River valley. A few years ago Goose Lake, which is a broad shallow lake in eastern Oregon, became dry after several years of drought and marks of a wagon train were found crossing its bed. I believe the tracks might very possibly have been made by the train with which grandfather came.
"By the time the party reached Rogue River the rains had set in and the company was dwindling rapidly. On one pretext or another families would drop out here and there along the way. Uncle Will, fourteen years of age, was sent ahead with others to scout the way. Grandfather finally reached Winkles Buttes (Wagner Buttes) about ten miles south of Corvallis on November 8, 1847, and built a cabin where the family stayed for about two years.
"In the spring of 1849 grandfather joined with a neighbor named RIDENOUR for a trip to the Feather River in California for gold. With a yoke of oxen and two sons each, they made the trip in a wagon. The venture was highly successful. My father returned to Oregon on horseback in the fall. Grandfather and Uncle Will stayed until mid-December and came up the coast by boat. The boat was held outside the Columbia River bar by a storm for several days. Here they spent Christmas. The fresh water gave out and the good supplies were down to salt pork. Four tried to make land in a small boat. Months later the body of one was found and identified by a gold watch he carried. The rest were never seen again. Finally the bar was crossed and the party got to Astoria. Grandfather and Uncle Will started up the river on foot through continuous rains. Somewhere about Rainier while taking a short cut across a bend of the river they found shelter with a party of Indians in an old shed. Here they obtained a canoe which brought them to Oregon City. There they bought a white pony and finally got their gold home, although the heavy rains and swollen streams kept them on the way until sometime in January 1850.
"By this time grandfather had decided that the white land this side of Winkle Buttes was no good for farming and he left his claim there and bough the relinquishment of Adam WIMPLE's claim at Brown's Bridge on Marys's River. Adam WIMPLE went to Polk County were he was later hanged for the murder of his wife. He was the first man to be legally executed in Polk County.
"My mother was Jeanette GALBREATH, whose people crossed the plains to Benton County in 1865. My parents were married in 1869. They had but two children to grow to maturity, myself and Ralph. I was born in 1873.
"Father was a school teacher most of his adult life. About 1855 he taught in a log cabin in what was called the DAVIS' pasture about midway between the sites of the present Beaver Creek and Independent schoolhouses. There Jesse WALKER, Jim WALKER and Uncle Will were among his pupils. In 1873 Judge WOODWARD was County Superintendent but wished to give up the office. He persuaded father to be a candidate for the place and father was elected. He served for two years. In 1874 Dr. John B. HORNER received his first certificate to teach school from my father.
"In 1875 father went to Salem and took up the study of Pharmacy. At that time there were no schools of Pharmacy and the only way to learn was by working in a drug store. Father was still following this when he died suddenly, a year later, at the age of forty. I have always felt that my father, in the short time he lived, accomplished a great deal for the cause of education in Benton County. Mother, with the help of relatives, kept the family together until she died twelve years later.
"My first schooling was at Buena Vista in Polk County. My first teacher was George BEELER. The second was George RIGLER, who for years was superintendent of the Portland Schools. RIGLER was the author of a mathematic text book, 'Step by Step' Another teacher was Anna BENMAN, whose brother George was for years Superintendent of Schools in Benton County. I attended three months at Burns in Harney County and then went for a while to the College at McMinnville but did not graduate.
"As a young man I rode the range in the cattle country in eastern Oregon for several years. I worked for a while for Peter FRENCH, the cattle king. In 1894 I went into the dental office of G. S. WRIGHT of McMinnville, where I worked and studied for three years. I also studied with Dr. John WEBB, in the Dekum Building in Portland. While there I was associated with Dr. W. A. WISE. In 1898 I began to practice dentistry in Independence. From 1903 to 1928 I was in Burns, Oregon, and since then I have had an office here in Corvallis.
"In 1904 I married Arminda SIMMONS. My wife's people were not pioneers. Our children are Ray R. , Lois (Mrs. KEARNS), and Dan M. The boys own and run the two drug stores in Junction City in Lane County. Daughter's husband is a teacher in the school of forestry at Oregon State College."
"Fern Post office was situated about one and one half
miles south of Independence Schoolhouse on Sec. 1, Tp. 13 S, Range 16 W.
of the Willamette Meridian. This office was continued for only a few
years, I think. It was in operation about 1900."
Mr. BROWN is a dentist of Corvallis, son of Andrew R. BROWN and grandson of Solomon K. BROWN, pioneer of 1847.
"My grandfather, Solomon Kelly BROWN, came with the family, then had to go to Benton County in 1847. He took first a claim near Winkle Buttes, but relinquished this and chose another southwest of Corvallis, which bears his name. My grandfather was married a second time and reared a considerable family after he came to Oregon.
"Grandfather Brown helped J. C. AVERY build the first dam in Marys River in 1851. It was built at the site of the present dam and furnished power for a mill at the site of the present flour mill that was so long operated by the FISHER family.
"Father taught school in several places in the county in the 'fifties' and later, and was for a time Superintendent of Schools for the county. Father was teaching a school which was attended by Uncle Wil, and Jessie and Jim WALKER when the call for the Indian War of 1856 came. Father, with some of his pupils who were old as he was, left the school with out a teacher and went to fight the Indians. Uncle Will was one of the party that captured Chief PIU-MOX-MOX.
"The school my father was teaching when he left to fight
the Indians was held in a log cabin south of the point where the road south
from the Independent School intercepts the road running west past the Jesse
WALKER place (NW 1/2, Sec. 1, T 12, R 6 W).
Judge E. L. BRYAN
August 23, 1938
Judge BRYAN was interviewed at his farm in the McFARLAND Community about thirteen miles south of Corvallis, were he is now living in retirement.
"My father, William T. BRYAN, was born in 1833. In 1850, when he was but seventeen years old, he came from Missouri to the mines of California. He spent nine years in California, chiefly in the American River and Sutter Creek regions. I have heard him say that for three years in succession he never saw a woman.
"He returned to Missouri in 1859, was married in 1860, and began planning to come west again. In 1863 he came to Boise, Idaho, and the first winter he got a job as keeper of the toll gate leading from Boise in to the mines. In the spring of 1864 he went over on to the Upper Payette River, took up a farm, and started to raise garden truck for the miners. When his first load was ready he took it to the mines and sold it at fabulous prices, but about that time the black crickets invaded his garden and made an end of the project.
"He went to Walla Walla, Washington, in the fall of 1864, and in 1865 came with Bill MACKEY to Western Oregon. They located near Elk City at the head of tide on the Yaquina River, which district was then a part of Benton County. (Mrs. J. B. BOOTH, wife of the Corvallis banker, is a granddaughter of this Bill MACKEY.)
"Along the Yaquina River the bottoms are so narrow and winding that they do not lend themselves to successful wheat farming. Father's best crop in the early days was potatoes, which grew remarkably well and were readily sold in the Willamette Valley.
"Father planted one of the first orchards on the Yaquina. In connection with this mother used to tell the following story at his expense. 'When the agent for the nursery company came in to get father's order for the trees they drew up a table and spread out the agents literature to make the selection of varieties. Father had a special liking for the Baldwin apples and soon said to the agent, "Put down fifty Baldwins". After they had spent some time looking over the lists, reading the descriptions and discussing the merits of different varieties, father said, "Make it seventy-five Baldwins". More discussion and father said "Add fifteen more Baldwins". And so it went until out of the hundred trees father had decided to plant all were Baidwins but two or three.'
"Father remained on the Yaquina River until 1875, when he came out to Philomath. Among our neighbors on the Yaquina were the DIXON Brothers, Mr. BLAIR, and Dr. CARTER. Dr. CARTER taught our school in his younger days. My parents' children were: Joseph , William Henry, and myself. At Philomath father followed the carpentering and contracting business for a time and later was postmaster.
"My first schooling for a year or so was at Elk City, I remember that Jim GALBRAITH and Britt WILLIAMS were teachers there. Then a man named BLAKE was hired, but he took every opportunity to go to a nearby saloon for liquid reenforcements and his employment as a teacher was soon terminated. I finished in the grade school at Philomath and then attended and was graduated from Philomath College. W. S. WALKER was president of the College when I enrolled and he was succeeded by G. M. MILLER. Prof. SHEAK had already begun his long term of service.
"After I was graduated I taught school at Auxiliary and at Philomath. Then, while still a very young man, I was elected County Superintendent of Schools, which position I held from 1892 to 1894. (Brother Joe was Superintendent from 1886 to 1890.) At that time it was the duty of the Superintendent to visit the schools and look wise, to conduct the annual teachers' institute and arrange where possible for some distinguished outside speaker, to apportion the county school funds to the districts, and to hold teachers' examinations twice a year at stated times.
"I had already been reading law a little and at the close of my term as Superintendent I entered Judge KELSAY'S office and studied with him, and later with Wilson RAYBURN. After some years I was able to pass my bar examinations and began the practice of law.
"In 1903 I went to Ontario, Oregon to a promising opening, but after nine months I accepted what seemed a much better offer in Payette, Idaho. In 1906, because I was the least known lawyer in that district, I was elected District Judge. I then moved to Caldwell, which was the county seat. There were six counties in my district and I was expected to hold two terms of court a year in each county. For the first ten years I was kept very busy and usually traveled from county to county on trains with poor accommodations that traveled in the wee hours of the night. So I carried on until the legislature provided an additional judge for the district. I served for twenty-four years continuously and retired on my own choice, in 1930.
"I was always very decided in my opposition to the liquor business. Several times in my work on the bench I had occasion to construe and interpret liquor and local option laws passed in the years when prohibition was spreading. Two or three such decisions of mine were carried to the United States Supreme Court and there upheld. The liquor interests had at their disposal large funds to fight prohibition and they would appeal every case "on the doctrine of chances", hoping there might be a reversal and aiming to make the litigation so costly as to discourage the efforts of their opponents.
"One of the most important cases, as well as most noted, with which I had to do, was the trial arising out of the murder of Governor STUNENBERG. Just before I was elected judge I had been appointed to look after the interests of Harry ORCHARD, the confessed killer of STUNENBERG. Then after my election MOYER, HAYWOOD, and PETTIBONE were arraigned in my court and I made arrangements for the trial. Because the Governments' case depended so much on the testimony of Harry ORCHARD, and because I had represented ORCHARD and knew what his testimony would be, in order to preserve ethical standards and avoid objections of the other side I called another judge to conduct the trial.
"I attended the trial throughout. The defendants were represented by Clarence DARROW. Although it seemed to me that the men were guilty they were acquitted. Representatives of the defense in the guise of machinery salesmen and the like had covered the whole country and had tried to contact every available juryman. Without anyone suspecting what their plan was they had largely succeeded in finding each man's attitude on the case. When the case came on to trial the defense attorneys had a card file of information on practically every man who was eligible to serve on the jury. It seemed to me that the state failed to win a conviction because at least a part of the jury were in fear of harm. Harry ORCHARD confessed to having had part in the "bumping off" of twenty-six men at various times and the country was full of potential killers who were in sympathy with the defendants.
"In 1902 I married Ina I. BARCLAY who was born on the spot where we are now living. My wife was so attached to the place where she was born that a few years before her fathers death I bought it, and in 1931 we came here to make our home and pass our declining years. We have no children.
"In spite of the difficult times we are experiencing just
now I have faith that the American Government will weather the storm and
win through to stable times again. I have been a Democrat and a friend of
the new deal in general, but I do not like some of the recent developments.
I do not believe the Federal Government should meddle in local politics.
That is not consistent with the American plan of government.
Mrs. Ed L. BRYAN
Mrs. BRYAN, wife of Judge E. L. BRYAN, was interviewed at the family home about one-half mile west of the McFarland Church in southern Benton County. Her memory was not of the best.
"My grandfather, William BARCLAY, came from Missouri to Oregon in 1850. Grandmother BARCLAY, whose maiden name was Nancy Ann BROWN, died of the cholera on the plains and was buried near Green River, Wyoming. Their children were Eliza Jane, Robert S., Lucy Ann, Mary Elizabeth, James Richard, Margaret, Rebecca Winifred, and William D. Elizabeth, who was oldest, was thirteen when grandmother died and William, who was my father, was about three months. Grandfather took as a donation land claim the place where we are now living which is about four miles north of Monroe. He kept the family together. They wintered near Amity, Oregon, and came to Benton County in the spring of 1851. Grandfather never held any public office except that he served as justice-of-the-peace for several years.
"My mother was Eliza REEVES. My aunt, Mrs. STARR, who is here can tell you about the REEVES family better than I can. Father went to school at Monroe and then farmed the home place.
"My husband is Judge BRYAN whom you have already interviewed.
We never had any children."
Mrs. Arthur BUCHANAN (Leah)
Mrs. BUCHANAN was interviewed at the family home on Muddy Creek, about 8 miles south of Corvallis. Although Mrs. Buchanan is the daughter of a pioneer, she was born at so late a date that her personal recollections are of little value historically. She is a woman of more than average ability and culture, her word is dependable. She said:
"My father, James E. BARCLAY, came from Booneville, Missouri, in 1850, and took a donation land claim in the McFarland community in 1851. He was unmarried and could take only 320 acres. His brother William came at the same time. William's wife died on the plains and his daughter Jane, then about fifteen, mothered the family. The children were: Jane, Mary, Robert, James, Margaret, Winnie, and William. Jane married Marr RICHARDSON. Robert and James took homesteads at Tidewater in what is now Lincoln County. James married a daughter of Thomas REEVES, who was one of two settlers known to have been in Benton County throughout the winter of 1845-6. William married another daughter of REEVES. Margaret married T. D. HINTON whose father took a claim near Monroe about 1846. Winnie married a man named LeVAUGH . William BARCLAY, father of this family, was one of the first constables appointed or elected in Benton County. Mrs. E. L. BRYAN of the McFarland Community is a granddaughter. She is the wife of Judge BRYAN who went from this county, after serving two years as superintendent of county schools, and had a distinguished career as a judge of the circuit courts of Idaho.
"My mother was the widow of James HERRON. Her maiden name was Mary NEILL. She had five children when her first husband died, and my father's children were Ross Derett, myself, and my sister Gertrude. Mother was born in Illinois. In 1861 James HERRON went back to Illinois and married my mother. To avoid the hardships of the plains they came by water, crossing the Isthmus of Panama. This was in 1861, during the civil war, and the boat traveled without light at night to avoid the Confederate privateers. Mother was seasick all the way to Panama. When she recovered crossing the Isthmus she thought she would not be sick on the Pacific. But she was just as sick as before.
"I have heard mother say that when she first came to Oregon and to Irish Bend, where the Herron home was, that Indians were numerous, and were about the place most of the time. They never molested anyone, but mother used to become nervous and worried, thinking what they might do.
"Father was a veteran of the Mexican War and of the Rogue River Indian war. At one time in the Indian war the unit he was attached to, was surrounded in a cove, and father barely escaped with his life. I have heard this anecdote of James HERRON. As a young fellow in England he was sent to deliver a horse his father had sold, but when he collected the money he used it to pay his way to this country. After he had been here a time he sent for his father. James HERRON died in 1876 and father married my mother in 1877. I was born in 1880, and have lived all my life in Benton County. I attended school at what was called the Barclay school but is now known as the Central school, in the McFarland Community. My husband, Arthur BUCHANAN, is dead and I am living on part of the original Buchanan farm with my son.
"My husband's father, Robert BUCHANAN, came with a friend, John HARRIS, from England to New York about 1847. He had been apprenticed to a merchant in youth, and when he came to New York he worked for two years for A. T. STEWART's store. In 1849 he came west to the gold mines of California. He had gone there with the idea of cleaning up ten thousand dollars and buying a partnership in A. T STEWART's, in New York. Two or three times he had holdings worth that much, but he tied in company with others as a last venture to dam the American River. High water destroyed the dam and his earnings. He came to Oregon after about two years in California.
"Robert BUCHANAN's friend, HARRIS had a wife in England and when he came to Benton County and located he sent to England for his wife. Robert BUCHANAN went back to England to find a wife for himself, and he quickly succeeded, for girls then seemed anxious to marry. His wife was related to the STUART family of English kings and was used to an easy life. She came to Oregon, to the frontier and all the hardships that implied. When Robert came back to the United States he remained about Portland for a time and was connected with the LADD interests in a store there, but he came back to Benton County and bought the donation land claim of - BOONE, nephew of the great Daniel BOONE. This house is in part the house he built about 1860. This room is a part of the old house, but it has been remodeled and added to.
"Robert BUCHANAN'S wife had been Jane GALBREATH.
The children were Mary, Andrew, Jennie, Robert, John, Arthur, and Kate."
Mr. BUCHANAN was interviewed at his country home in the Beaver Creek community, Corvallis, Route 3. He said:
"My father, Robert L. BUCHANAN, came from Liverpool, England, to New York in 1845. He had been born on a farm but apprenticed to a merchant, and he clerked for the firm of Lord and Taylor for two or three years. He spent the winter of 1848-9 in Cincinnati and came with the gold seekers to California in 1849. In California he did not spend much time hunting gold, but traded in cattle and supplied the miners with meat. He was in the mountain regions of Northern California and he used to range his cattle north into Oregon. In this way he came to know the state and in 1852 he came north to stay.
"My parents had the following children: William, Mary, Andrew, Jennie, Robert, myself, Arthur and Katy. Will, who died a few weeks ago, was treasurer of Benton County from 1896 to 1921. Jennie is the widow of W. H. CURRIN. Katy is Mrs. H. H. VEATCH.
"When I started to school it was at the Lakeside school below Winkle (Wagner) Buttes. William TAYLOR taught there two terms. Then I was sent to the Auxiliary schoolhouse, two or three miles southwest of here. There I remember Lizzie HAMILTON, Marion PARKER, and Jennie FULLER taught. Then I went to the Prep Department of the Agricultural College under Prof. McELROY and Prof. BRISTOW. I took agricultural courses at the college and was graduated in 1889. I taught the country school at Auxiliary for a year or so and clerked in the J. H. HARRIS store in Corvallis for a time before I came back to the farm where I have remained ever since. In 1907 I married Edna FINLEY. We have had no children.
"It seems to me the greatest change in the country in my recollection has been in the character of the winter weather. There has been a change in the season of the heavy rains. The springs used to be more open and we would get all farming done by the middle of April. There was very little fall grain then, except when some one would let a field lie fallow to get rid of the wild oats, and would sow in the fall. Wild oats was about the only pest we had to contend with then. Now there is so much rain in the spring that if we had to depend on spring grain we would never get it planted.
"There has been a change, too, in the crops. In
the early days great acreages of wheat were raised. Warehouses at the
railroads and along the river would be bulging, and long lines of teams would
be waiting turns to unload. Now much attention is paid to raising various
forage crops for seed production, -grasses, vetches, and clovers. Another
place where there had been a great change is in the roads. It was not
until after 1900 that a regular road tax was levied and a systematic plan
of improving the country roads begun. The first paved highways came about
Mrs. BUCHANAN added the following information about her own family history.
"My father was Hugh McNary FINLEY. He was born in Kentucky and came from Missouri to California about 1860. His mother died on the plains and his father died in California. His Uncle, Will FINLEY, was the first president of Corvallis College and Joseph EMERY, who taught for years in the College, was married to an aunt. This was the influence that brought him to Corvallis. He lived at Joseph EMERY's house while taking a course in the College. He graduated with the second class from Oregon State College in 1871.
"After graduation, father taught for a time in the Prep Department of the college and in the rural schools. He was married in 1873 and soon thereafter bought the HAMILTON farm and warehouse on the Willamette River in the Irish Bend district. There was a great deal of wheat shipped in those days and regular lines of boats on the river as far up as Harrisburg. The children were Ross, myself, Ada (Mc CALLISTER), and Percy, who is still on the home place. We all attended school at the Irish Bend school and later were graduated from the Oregon State College. Among my teachers in the country school I remember Miss GREFFOV, Sarah BUSHNELL, Sarah J. EVANS, Miss MACKEY, and Jennie LILLY. Miss EVANS was afterwards teacher for years in the art department of the Chicago school system. The schools began to be graded while I was attending. I finished the Home Ec. course at the State College in 1895.
"I remember the roads were terrible in the winter time. When my brother was going to college in 1890 my father would go to bring him home on weekends. We were 17 miles from Corvallis and it was a five hour drive for a team pulling only a hack. Father would take a whole day for the trip, starting before daylight and not reaching home until after dark. People began gravelling the back roads in a hap hazard fashion about 1893-5. A few loads of gravel would be hauled onto the worst places. It took the farmers a long time to be thoroughly aroused and educated to the importance of good roads.
"My mother was Emma CAUTHORN, whose folks came to
Oregon in 1865.
Mrs. Ruth GARDNER BUCHANAN
Mrs. BUCHANAN was interviewed at her home on South Fourth Street in Corvallis, near the intersection with "A" Street. She was in full possession of all her faculties and has a remarkably keen mind, but because of frailness the interview had to be terminated before all the desired information could be gained. Mrs. BUCHANAN said:
"My father, Isaac GARDNER, was born in Maryland, but went to Ohio where he married my mother Hannah KREWSON. I was born in Illinois in 1852. My parents came to Oregon in 1853. I spent my first birthday on the way. My parents stopped in Lane County, this side of the Calapooia Mountains, for six years and then moved to Douglas County. They had a farm four miles down Elk Creek from where Drain is now located. Father raised grain only for our needs. Beef or bacon were our cash crop. We lived from the farm and garden, and probably spent no more cash than $100 a year to supply a family of ten. We never had coffee but raised a kind of bean which we roasted in its place. Our sweetening was syrup made at home from sorghum cane- Sugar was a delicacy for special occasions. Mother used to dry pumpkins for winter use. We children picked gallons upon gallons of the wild blackberries for drying. Wild strawberries were very plentiful until they were ruined by the sheep.
"Father grafted the trees in our orchard. I remember that he paid seventy-five cents for a cutting from a gooseberry bush. Then he dug wild gooseberry roots in the woods and grafted them from this cutting. When father first began farming he used his oxen. By the time we went to Douglas County he had two poorly matched horses, - an old plug and a young mare colt. From this mare he raised what he needed.
"Father had been apprenticed to a hatter when he was a boy, and he used to make beaver hats for his neighbors. He did this entirely by hand. He would buy beaver skin, (for he couldn't catch enough to supply the demand), and would pluck out the course guard hairs. Then he would remove the fur from the skin with a tool much like a kitchen chopping knife. The hair he would spread upon a big table and would fluff it up and get it into an even layer with the twanging string of a six-foot bow. When he had the hair fixed just right he would spread a soft leather over it and rub and work it with his hands through the leather until he had it matted enough to hold while he dipped it into the boiling water in his big kettle. The hair was shrunk and the felt tightened by the hot water and then the whole thing was shaped by stretching and pressing over a block and by much rubbing and working. Such a hat would wear for years. When one became somewhat worn father would clean it thoroughly and give it a new nap. The nap was made from the fur of the otter. Father used also to make hats in much the same way from wool These were less expensive, but would wear for years.
"In Lane County where we lived one of the neighbors was "Uncle" Johnny CROW. He had a large family of children and they all settled near. Another man was Mr. BARLOW, I do not know whether he had any connection with the road called, the Barlow Trail. BARLOW's wife was a daughter of Gen. Joseph LANE, the first governor of Oregon Territory. People didn't like BARLOW, but his wife was a fine woman.
"I went to school two terms in Lane County at what is now Lorraine. A Mr. BABB taught one term; the other term it was a woman I didn't like. I cannot recall her name. The schools were entirely ungraded. The whole school, big and little, would stand up to spell at one time and the words would be pronounced from Webster's dictionary. The teacher kept order with a good sized hazel rod. The little folks all sat on one bench. When there was disorder there the master would suddenly strike with the rod upon the back of the bench and frighten us into being good. When the boys fought and had to be disciplined, it was done when the little ones were absent.
"Most of my schooling was in Douglas County We had only a three-month term each year. We always forgot so much that we had to start again in the beginning of the book and spent much of the term in reviewing. Finally one teacher, J. H. SKIDMORE, taught me the multiplication table so that I never forgot it. He said, "You are going to learn this right and you are going to stand on the floor until you do". The branches taught were the three R's and geography and grammar. Sometimes there would be a class in algebra.
"I went to Wilbur Academy (a Methodist school) for one year and then began teaching school in my eighteenth year. I taught three terms. For the first three months I was paid sixty dollars.
"My father's children were Thomas Henry , Isaac, myself, Susan, Lucy, Caroline, and Emma.
"In the early days, after the Oregon State Fair was started people from all parts of the state used to go to Salem and camp for the whole week of the fair. There was only one building then. All livestock except horses was kept in open pens. There were Percheron and Clyde horses and there came to be fine Jersey and Holstein cattle. The agricultural exhibits were considered fine, but of course could not compare in quality and variety with those of today. Half the fair was in the sideshows and the races.
"It was at the State Fair that I first met my husband, William BUCHANAN."
NOTE: At this point Mrs. BUCHANAN
became wearied and the conclusion of the interview was postponed. It
is known that two sons, Claude and John, live in the county, and it
is hoped that information may be gained from them.
William A. BUCHANAN
Mr. BUCHANAN was interviewed at 418 South Fourth Streets, Corvallis, where he lives with his sister, Mrs. CURRIN. Mr. BUCHANAN is in good health, sound in mind and body except for the loss of one arm, and is still taking an active part in the affairs of his community. The interview follows:
"My father, Robert BUCHANAN, came from England as a boy of eighteen or twenty and clerked for some years in a business in New York City. He crossed the plains to California in 1849 and came to Oregon in 1852. He returned to England for a visit and came back with a wife, my mother, in 1856. Mother's name had been Jane GALBRAITH. Father located ten miles south of Corvallis on Muddy Creek where he bought a half section of land. There he farmed until he retired in 1885.
"My father's children were myself (born in 1858), Andrew, Robert, John who is now living on the old place, Arthur, Mary, Jennie (Mrs. CURRIN), and Kate (Mrs. VEATCH) who is now a widow and house mother at one of the living organizations at Oregon State College.
"In 1882 I married Nettie WILLBANKS who died in 1893. We had no children.
"My first schooling was in what is now the Auxiliary District. The schoolhouse was then about a mile south of the present location and on the opposite side of the road. There had been a house on my father's farm, a residence known as the Palmer house, that was used as a schoolhouse. Among my teachers were Eli HINKLE, Marion PARKER, Mr. PAYNE, Jonathan BROWN, and Willis RAYBURN. In addition to the three 'R's' we were taught U. S. History and the beginnings of Grammer. PARKER had a class in Algebra.
"I came to the Agricultural College from 1878 to 1881 but did not graduate. I took a course in agriculture. Then I was married and began farming. I lost my right arm when I was 29, but farmed for three years longer. Then I came to Corvallis and operated a dairy for some years. I was appointed deputy recorder in 1894 and elected County Treasurer in 1896. I served as treasurer continuously until 1921. I am now retired and living with my sister. I am clerk of the local lodge of the Woodmen of the World and active in the work of the Methodist Church, South.
"Life in my boyhood was much simpler and with fewer luxuries than now. Men's clothing was homemade and women's heavier clothing was often homespun. The prints and ginghams were not the delicate fabrics we see today. As a great treat we children used to have an orange on the Fourth of July.
"There would be social gatherings in our neighborhood every two weeks or so in the winter time. We would play "weevily wheat" and other like games. . . . Warren STARR used to hold singing schools on Sunday P. M. Then there were the camp meetings at the Bellfountain Park and Campground. Dances were common on the Long Tom and in the Soap Creek neighborhood. There was more or less drunkenness and rough conduct at these affairs. They were not approved by the more strict people.
"I have hauled grain to the warehouse at Booneville. Much grain was shipped from there. There was no town there. The grain was shipped by steamer to Portland. I have heard father tell that the Indians used to burn off the old grass in the valley every year
"I am an optimist, and have always believed that our country
would come out right in the end. I have been interested in public affairs
and have had a part in them. But I will tell you, I fear for the future
of our country. We can't go as we are now going for very long without
George R. BUCKINGHAM
Mr. BUCKINGHAM was interviewed at his home about one and one-half miles southwest of Belfountain, where he farms a part of his grandfather's donation land claim. Being of the third generation he knew little directly of the early days but was able to supply valuable and interesting items.
"My grandfather, Heman C. BUCKINGHAM, came from Illinois to Oregon in 1846. He left New York State in 1845 but was too late to make the train and so stayed in Missouri until the next year. He came first to Oregon City where he conducted some sort of a store until 1850. He then came to this community and took a donation land claim. This is how he located here.
"Grandfather and his partner had driven a wagon to Eugene looking for a location. They were not satisfied with the prospect there and sold their team, but loaded their wagon on two canoes and started down the river to Oregon City again. Some where about east of here they were wrecked and swam out to the west bank of the Willamette. When they got on to higher ground they saw a light and tramped some miles across country to reach shelter. The light was at the home of Thomas REEVES who had the claim about two miles northeast of Bellfountain. The REEVES had been kept up with a sick child. They took in the unfortunate men, and furnished them with a horse to get back to Oregon City. Then grandfather moved here.
"Grandfather had first married in New York but his wife
died with their first child. Later he married Betsy TRUMBULL and moved
to Illinois, and later to Oregon. This second wife died soon after
coming to this state, leaving two children, Lavina, and George W. Lavina
married a man named GRAGG and her descendants are living north of Bellfountain.
After coming to Bellfountain grandfather married my grandmother, Matilda STARR, daughter of John STARR. Their children were Precious (PRUETT), Augustus H. (my father), Deete S., John, Edith (RAYBURN), Winifred (WOODCOCK). Grandfather lived the rest of his life on the farm here. He was a staunch Republican and served one term as state representative at Salem. I do not know the date but think it was before the Civil War.
"Father was not rugged enough, physically, to do the heavy work of farming. He had a grocery store at Pendleton in Eastern Oregon for a few years after 1885 and then moved to Bandon in Coos County and ran a store there. Grandfather was then dead and father was looking after grandmother's interests in the farm. He alternated somewhat between Bandon and Bellfountain, and finally left Bandon altogether and bought the store in Bellfountain.
"Father first married Lillian FRINK, sister of Guy FRINK who now has a farm near Philomath. After her death he married my mother, Henrietta DYER of Coos County, in 1886. Mother was born in Coos County in 1863. Grandfather DYER had come west to look over the country in the late 'fifties'. Then he went back to Iowa, married the girl who had been waiting for him, and started west again. In San Francisco he ran out of money. He went to a bank, told them he was broke and asked for money to get to Port Orford, Oregon. After sizing him up they let him have the money. Grandfather was a man of considerable force. He was chosen as County Judge of Coos County and laid out the town of Bandon. His children were my mother, Florence (RADLEY), Alice (BIGGS), and Elbert.
"My parents were married in 1886. Their children were myself, Lela (CHEESMAN), Velma (RICKARD), Elbert and Harlan.
"My wife was Elsie Grace PHILPOTS, whose people came to Coos County in 1906. We belong to this century and know nothing directly of pioneering.
"I have heard my parents talk of the fun and social diversions of the early days. One great sport, as well as convenience, was horseback riding. The young men used to get great pleasure out of breaking and riding horses. It was also a social event, when groups got together to compete in breaking untamed animals. The two sexes got together at dances and spelling bees as well as at church. Mother used dance although her folks were Methodists. Father had to hide out to play cards, but he didn't make that necessary for his children.
"Father never ran for office, but he was active in the
local affairs of the Republican party, and often acted as precinct committeeman."
Mrs. Mary BURGE
Mrs. BURGE was interviewed at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Fred ELLIOTT, about four miles north of Corvallis in the Mountain View community. Her information was limited but her memory seemed dependable. She said:
"My father, Abram ENGLES, came from Arkansas in 1852. He stopped at Salem one winter and then settled in Douglas County. My mother was Mary MACDONALD. Grandfather MACDONALD brought his family from Scotland, almost directly to Oregon, in 1848. His wife died in Missouri, on the way west. Grandfather settled with his motherless children near Wheatland in Polk County.
"There was a bit of romance in the meeting of my parents. Father and a pal were crossing the plains with a train in 1852. There were two deaths in the train, a man and a woman. Each was left a widowed companion short of help. Father said to his chum, 'If you will drive the extra team for the man I will help the woman', So he drove the team for the woman until they reached their destination in Polk County. The next year father went to Douglas County where he married. His wife soon died, leaving a small son. In the meantime the woman whom he had aided married my grandfather, becoming my mother's step-mother. When this woman heard that father was left with a motherless babe she sent word to bring it to her and she would take care of it in return for his kindness to her on the plains. In this way my parents met. They were married in 1862. They had two children, Lucy and myself. I was born in 1865, at which time my mother died. Father kept the family together by hiring help. I attended a school in Douglas County at a place called Oak Creek, twelve miles east of Roseburg. Among my teachers I can recall Perry DUNCAN, James HARPHAN, Mrs. GILLIAN (?), Sampson ADAMS, James FLETT, J. J. THORNTON, William KERNAN, and Joseph CORNWALL. We had two terms of school each year, spring and fall, and commonly had a new teacher each term.
"Father followed farming and stock raising, which was
generally a part of farming in the early days. In 1883 I married John
W. BURGE who had come from Missouri in 1878. We farmed in Douglas County.
Our children are Stephen, Laura, Effie, Guy, Edith, Ada, Lemuel. All
of then but Effie are still living in the northwest but none of them ever
attained great success. Laura married Fred ELLIOTT, Edith married a
Mr. GEOTTER and lives at Hillsboro and Ada is Mrs. LAIRD of Enterprise. Stephen
lives at Portland, Guy near Astoria, and Lemuel near Hillsboro."
Mrs. Howard BUSH
Mrs. BUSH was interviewed at the country home about one mile east of the village of Hoskins, in Kings Valley. Mrs. BUSH is an intelligent woman, in full possession of all her faculties, but her family kept no personal records and her knowledge of early times is limited. She said:
"My grandfather was Charles W. ALLEN who took a donation land claim about 1846 on the Luckiamute River. Although the claim was patented to him I have always understood that another man took it first and grandfather bought his right. Grandfather ALLEN'S children were: Dave ALLEN; Emily, who married Bill PITTMAN, first, and then Wilson BUMP; Joseph, my father; Morris, who married Nancy COOPER first, and after her death, Lizzie MILLER; Eva (Mrs. WEST); Lilly (Mrs. CHRISTENSEN); Arlo; and Rose (Mrs. SIMPSON). I have written a few pages. I do not know so much of the ALLEN family for my father went away when the youngest children were little and we were not so much interested in his family after that. I know the ALLEN claim went west across the river to the Van PEER claim, from which the military reservation of Fort Hoskins was taken. I have heard my father tell of selling apples at ten cents apiece to the soldiers at the Fort. The saloon which ministered to the thirst of the soldiers was just off the reservation on the ALLEN claim. The saloon-keeper prayed on the soldiers to such an extent that finally a group of them became aroused and locked him in the cellar of the saloon and then set the building on fire. Neighbors rescued the man but the building was totally destroyed. We are now living on a part of the old place and my husband has frequently plowed up burned fragments of bottles and dishes.
"Some years ago my husband plowed up an old military stirrup that had been connected with Lieutenant Phil SHERIDAN. The story was told by an old timer who has since died that once SHERIDAN was tricked in trying to ride a bucking mule. The mule threw him and ran down around the hill on this place. When he was recaptured he had shed the saddle in pieces all over the pasture and had only the headstall of the bridle left. It would be too bad to spoil the story by supposing that the stirrup we found was not the one from SHERIDAN's outlaw mule.
"Grandmother ALLEN died in 1864 and grandfather soon left the place and moved to the Walla Walla country in Washington. Rowland CHAMBERS bought the place and my husband bought the part inside the loop of the Luckiamute River from James CHAMBERS, son of Rowland.
"My mother was Julia Ann RITNER, a sister of Lew RITNER who lives just north of Kings Valley. Grandmother RITNER's husband, John RITNER, was killed while on the way across the plains. They had come so far that grandmother could not go back to her folks in Missouri and she was forced to come on west. As a widow with a family she was entitled to 640 acres of land and she took the claim her husband's brother, Sebastian RITNER, had already staked out for John RITNER. Soon she married Sebastian RITNER and they built a cabin on both claims with grandmother's room on her side of the line. My mother was a daughter of this second marriage.
"My brothers and sisters are Lincoln ALLEN, a farmer of
Kings Valley; Mrs. Ollie ALCOM of Corvallis; Lilly and Reitha SIMPSON both
dead; and Tom ALLEN, who runs the Beaver Pool Hall in Corvallis.