WPA Historical Records
Benton Co., Oregon
Mark Phinney
 

INTERVIEWS -- C

Mrs. L. M. KENOYER CALVERT
Grandma CARTER: Mrs. Angeline BELEAU CARTER
Virgil CARTER
Mrs. Clara BAXTER CHAPMAN
William CLARK
(Isabel Mac MURPHY) Mrs. William CLARK
Alfred CLEMENS
Mrs. Laura PORTER COFFEE
Mrs. Eva GIBBS COON
Mrs. George COOPER (Margaret NEWTON COOPER)
Mrs. Margaret NEWTON COOPER
Thomas COX
Elizabeth CURRIER
Cecile J. CUMMINGS

 

Mrs. L. M. KENOYER CALVERT

 

Albion, Washington
Autumn of 1939
 

Mr. Mark PHINNEY:

Dear Sir; I received the Diary you sent. Was sure glad to get it. Thank you very much for the same. I have read it through and loaned it to other relatives and friends. Shall preserve it for future reference.

I have written a few pages. Hope you can get something out of them that will be profitable.

Mrs. L. M. CALVERT

P.O. Box 66

Albion, Washington

 

(The Diary referred to is the diary of Basil LONGWORTH who was a member of the immigrant party led by Mrs. CALVERT's father and the Rev. T. J. CONNOR.) This page taken from the records of my husband, L. M. CALVERT. (Refers, however, to Mrs. CALVERT's father and grandfather.)

 
"My father was born in Harrison County, Indiana, November 1819. My maternal grandfather was J. G. PFRIMMER, whose name appears in the History of the United Brethren Church.

"My father, the Rev. F. KENOYER, entered the ministry when I was nine years old. When I was eleven years old he moved to his circuit in Dubois County in Indiana, where we lived five years. We then moved to Lancaster County, Indiana, where I was converted and joined the United Brethren Church. Five years later we moved to what was then Jasper County. Here I commenced preaching and joined the Illinois Conference.

"My first mission was on the Kankakee River. Sickness prevented my travelling the next year. I was then sent to Wisconsin Territory; was ordained and elected Presiding Elder, which place I held until I accepted an appointment to a mission in Oregon"

(F. KENOYER was father of J. KENOYER and grandfather of Mrs. L. M. CALVERT.)

Recollections of Mrs. CALVERT
 
"I was born in Wisconsin, March 8, 1853. Near that time father went to Conference. T. J. CONNOR was appointed Missionary to Oregon. He said he wanted another minister to go with him. Father said if the Church would pay him $200 to defray his expenses he would go, which they promised to do. They gave him $150. He came home, bought two yoke of oxen and a heavy wagon, loaded it with feed for the cattle and provisions for the family, which consisted of seven children and the father and mother. Had a light wagon for the family to ride in, drawn by one yoke of oxen.

"When I was two weeks old they went down to Grandfather's in Indiana, stayed a few days. Sister Mahala BRIDGMAN said she was there and helped cook for the company as there were several families. I think about the first of April they bid farewell and started on their journey.

"The first day they camped near a farmhouse. The man took father to one side and said he had better go back, as mother would never live to get to Oregon. Father asked mother if she would like to go back. She said if he ever intended to go to Oregon she wanted to go, as they had good company.

"They started with three yoke of oxen and a cow to give the children milk. When they got almost through three of the oxen got alkali and died. Father hitched three oxen and the cow to the small wagon, left the large wagon standing by the roadside, and traveled on. About this time he had spent what money he had. The older children were walking. A man overtook them, asked a few questions, and gave each of them fifty cents, which father took and bought bread. A man in the train offered to give father money to defray his expenses through. Father said if he would loan him some he would accept. He loaned him $15.00. I think his name was CLEMENS. He landed near Salem at Jess HARIOT'S, a cousin of my father. They treated us very kindly - told father he had a cabin in the woods he could have for the winter. They were glad to get any kind of a shelter. Father made rails and cut wood, preached Sundays, walked to his appointments. One time he left his Bible with the ferryman to get him to take him across the river. He redeemed it when he came home Monday.

"One time he had rheumatism in his knee and sat down to rest under a tree. A neighbor, supposing him to be a bear, came near shooting him.

"In the spring of 1854 he moved into Yamhill County near an Indian village called Grande Ronde. There he took a claim a man had built a cabin on and deserted and went East. There was a log house about twenty feet square. Father built a shed on one side for a kitchen, had a loft overhead for the boys' bed-room, a ladder to get there, stick chimney, floor split out of logs.

"The Indians bothered us all the time. One night when father and the boys were away from home, about a half dozen came to our home after dark and were hohooing. Mother knew they were drinking, so she fastened the door the best she could. She also put some furniture against it as there was only a latch and a Wooden pin to fasten it. She loaded two guns, gave one to my older sister, and kept the other herself. They stood guard all night. About daylight they got quiet. The cows were bawling. She slipped out to see if they were gone. They were asleep at the corral. She came back, stayed until about noon, and went out. They were gone. Sister found $1.50, also a silk handkerchief. They had been fighting and torn some of their shirts off. They were bloody. Phil Sheridan was captain of a company of soldiers stationed there to protect the white settlers.

"About 1857 father sold his place and moved to Sublimity in Marion County, where he had been preaching and working to build a church school. He had succeeded in building a new schoolhouse about thirty by sixty feet, two stories, upper and lower rooms, with a hall in front and a stairway, two small rooms over the hall on the upper floor. He wrote East for a teacher. They sent Milton WRIGHT, then a United Brethren preacher, later a Bishop and father of the inventor of the air plane. He taught the first year in the new schoolhouse. Had a fine school, about forty scholars and one teacher. The next year a teacher by the name of CLINGMAN, one year; third year, CHANDLER; fourth, W. H. DAUGHERTY, a Brethren preacher.

"They sold the building to the District as Brother CONNOR wished to move the Church School to Philomath. He said there were more United Brethren people and better chance for support. Father said he wouldn't object if they built on this plan.

"I was ten years old when Brother DAUGHERTY taught. He named my little sister who was ten years younger than I. He named her Lillie May and bought her a new dress. I think about 1864 Brother DAUGHERTY was sent to Washington Territory as a missionary. He traveled on foot, - he was a large, Fleshy man - and came home with typhoid fever, died soon after he got home. He asked father to look after the Walla Walla District as he thought it a fine opening for our church. Father promised he would. The next spring father came up to Washington. With the help of a son-in-law and some others he established a church school at Huntsville. Father HUNT donated forty acres of land. At the division of the church the Liberals took this property. Then father moved to the Palouse Country and worked to establish a church school at Albion, Washington. With the help of three sons and some others he succeeded. Had a fine school there for some years. Prof. L. B. BALDWIN (now of Oregon State College) and his sister-in-law taught the first three years. Miss METCALF got married, so left Professor alone. He taught some time after. Then Bishop HOSKINS with the help of students; my son and daughter assisted.

"This didn't end our school, as the District hired a professor from Salem, T. H. CRAWFORD, with W. W. BEACH, assistant. CRAWFORD taught here five years. He was a fine teacher. He said our school was far ahead of the Salem school. This ended my school privileges, as we moved near Walla Walla in Washington.

"When father moved to Sublimity he bought eighty acres of land which had the frame for a good house but not finished. So he bought the old school building, and moved into that for the winter, finished the new house, built two stone fireplaces, one upstairs and one down. There were fifty apple trees on the place when he bought it. He planted more orchard, built a new barn and also a stone dryhouse.

"The first winter in our new house there were fifteen of us as we had some boarders for the school. We all had the measles. My oldest sister took cold and was bedfast three months. We all lived through the winter and had better health in the Spring.

"As for myself, I have never done anything worthy of History. If I live until March 8, 1940, I will be eighty-seven years old, the mother of twelve children, eight of them living, all married and have families.

"My oldest son, Charles Edward, is a mechanic and also a musician. He has a wife and two adopted boys. He plays the pipe organ for the Methodist and the Presbyterian Churches in Twin Falls, Idaho. "My second son, George Frederic, is a preacher. He has a wife and two sons. He has been very successful. Has preached, I think, more funerals and served at more marriages than any other minister in the United Conference.

"Asa MERRITT is a school teacher. He is teaching in Idaho, has been teaching about fifteen years. He has two children, a daughter married and a son in high school. My oldest daughter married E. L. GALLAHER, a nephew of the preacher. Mary Elizabeth married P. L. TAYLOR. They have six children, one son a school teacher, also a preacher.

"Father was a very successful physician. His last years were spent treating cancers. He cured a great many. The sad things of our home was the death of my little sister, three and one half years old. She died of the flux. Then my oldest brother in the Santiam River, where he took a homestead. He and a neighbor started to cross the river to go hunting. The current was too swift and took their canoe over some falls, and they were drowned. After eight days they found the bodies. They were buried near Sublimity and their graves are marked with a marble slab.

"My husband's name was George CALVERT. He was born in St. Johns, New Brunswick, of English descent. He came to Walla Walla in 1864 and we were married in 1868. After five years we moved to Eastern Oregon; were there ten years, then back to Washington. Lost three children with diphtheria, also an infant babe. While there my husband farmed and ran a thrashing machine. Was converted and joined the United Brethren church. Had a paralytic stroke after forty-four years and died in 1909.

"The preachers in my father's family was: three sons, two sons-in-law, five grandsons, and two great grandsons.

"Bishop Fuhrinan L. HOSKINS (son-in-law) was born in the Willamette Valley. When three years old he moved with his parents near Walla Walla. He was educated in the public schools and finished at Huntsville Academy. He taught at the Normal School near Weston, Oregon, also taught near Albion, Washington. He was converted at Huntsville and began to preach at the time of the division of the church. (Note: that would be in the middle 'eighties.) Served in Idaho, was elected Presiding Elder, later Bishop. He served the United Brethren Church for twenty-eight years as Bishop, in the East and also the West. Bishop JOHNSON said of him, "He was the best Bishop I ever knew. I never expect to measure up to the stature of Bishop Hoskins." He also lectured on the prophecies of the Bible. He was a great reader and had nine thousand volumes in his library. He died about five years ago, at about the age of seventy.

"My brothers, Antrim and George KENOYER, got their education at Sublimity, Oregon. Antrim joined the army in 1864 and served one year. He preached as long as his health would permit, and was Presiding Elder. He was paralyzed for about thirty-five years. "George joined the Army and served one year in the War against the Indians. He preached in Washington and California; went to the Legislature twice in Washington and once in California. He is now eighty-three years, not able to preach, has very poor health.

"My brother, John Pfrimmer KENOYER, was educated at Huntsville, preached some and farmed some. Has been dead about twenty years.

"J. M. Marlatt (son-in-law of J. KENOYER) was converted at Albion; also J. A. KENOYER and F. B KENOYER, and George F. CALVERT (grandsons of J KENOYER), all good preachers in good standing in the United Brethren Church. All have been elected to General Conference twice. Two great grandsons, George D. CALVERT and Wendell TAYLOR.

"My children are all Christians. Have about thirty grand children and thirty six great grand children.

"As my journey is almost ended I am striving to enter in at the strait gate. The road is narrow and few there be that find it. I find Jesus near to comfort and cheer, just when I need him most."

 

 

Grandma CARTER: Mrs. Angeline BELEAU CARTER

 

Mrs. CARTER, who was born in December, 1834, is remarkably active in body, age considered. She lives alone in her old home, and does all the house work but building fires, carrying water and washing. Her mind is keen, memory good, sight and hearing but slightly impaired. Unlike many old people, her outlook is toward the future. One would say from her appearance that she might live another ten years.

"My parents, whose name was BELEAU (correct spelling), came from Ray Co. Missouri to Oregon and settled at Dallas in 1845. My father was a Methodist preacher and preached the first sermon ever preached Benton County. He walked from Dallas to the Stewart home near Corvallis, had dinner after preaching, and then walked home again. He had to take off his shoes and socks to wade the sloughs. The only way of traveling, other than on foot was by ox team and that would have been slower. The first Methodist church of Corvallis was organized at the Stewart home in 1848.

"We were six months on the way from Missouri. We had no trouble with the Indians on the way nor at any time since. There were two tribes of Indians in this part: the Klickitats and the Calapooias. They were both friendly to the settlers but disliked and despised one another. As a little girl I sometimes pretended to take an Indian of one tribe for the other just to hear his indignant denials. (Here Mrs. CARTER broke into a rapid flow of words in 'Chinook jargon').

"In 1850, when I was not yet 16 and my husband was 22, I was married and came to live on this place. (About two miles and a mile south of Wells station.) I have lived here ever since. This is the third house, but all were built within a few feet of the same place. For eighty years I carried water for the household from the spring there.

"People today about hard times. They don't know what the words mean. We had to live in a house with a dirt floor. There was no timber near here then except now and then an oak or a lone fir. Even after sawmills came it was a task to transport the lumber by ox teams without roads. The first houses were built of logs. We had to sleep on the floor at first because there were no beds. My grandchildren ask 'How could you bear to have folks visit you and see how you lived?' The early settlers all started alike.

"Our nearest trading point at first was at Portland. Women used to save their butter through the summer. The whole valley in this part was covered with grass that grew higher than a man's waist. Cows feeding on it gave rich milk and the butter was yellow and firm and could be kept well. In the fall before the rains began a trip was made to town to exchange the store of butter for sugar and other necessities we could not secure from the fields or woods.

"Everybody seemed to have good health in the early days. We had hardships but people were cheerful and never grumbled. The country has changed wonderfully since I first saw it but people have changed more. They have more comforts, but they want more and worry more. They are always in a hurry. People have said to me, 'You have traveled by ox cart, by wagon, by horse and buggy, and by automobile. Now take a ride in an airplane. We will come here to the farm for you and it won't cost you cent.' I told them, 'It would be a feather in your cap to carry a woman a hundred years old on her first trip in the air, but all I would get would be a big scare. I'll stay on the ground.'

"My husband, Tolbert CARTER, was a great lover of books. He was for years a member of the County Court. Later he was elected to the State Legislature and he was State Senator when he died in 1899. I have had 8 children - 5 boys and 3 girls. They are all gone but two. My son who died in July, 1936, was for 47 years postmaster and storekeeper at Wells. The Wells post office has only recently been discontinued for a rural route.

"Coffin Butte, just west of Wells, was so-named because of its fancied resemblance to a coffin, and because, according to Hudson Bay Co. employees, an Indian had been buried on its summit."

 

 

Virgil CARTER

 

Mr. CARTER was interviewed at his farm home in the North Palestine Community. His farm is a part of the donation land claim taken by his father, Tolbert CARTER, in 1846.

"My father, Tolbert CARTER, was born in Illinois and came from Missouri to Oregon in 1846. He came by ox team, lured by the promise of free land, but I have heard him say the land was far from free if one counted the expenses and sacrifices involved in the trip. With father came one brother, Smiley CARTER, who died unmarried.

"Father took a donation land claim, 640 acres, of which this farm is a part. The North Palestine Church and Cemetery was partly on father's claim and partly on the claim of Drury HODGES, which joins this on the east. On this claim father raised wheat. From the first he raised but few sheep and cattle enough to furnish milk for home needs. This land was rich and would raise immense yields of wheat, but it was worn out with years of continuous cropping with no fertilizing until now it will not produce half the original yield.

"My mother's name was Martha Angeline BELIEU. (Note: Spelling of this name vary. This is Mr. CARTER's spelling.) Her father, a Methodist preacher, settled in Dallas, Polk County. He is said to have preached the first sermon ever delivered in Benton County. This was at the Stewart home near Corvallis in 1846 or 1847.

"My parents were married in 1850 when mother was not yet sixteen years old. The wedding was hastened by the fact that my father was in danger of losing half his land. Only a man with a family was entitled to a full square mile.

"My father's children were Clara, Elvin, John, Henry, Perry, myself, Mary, and Ella. Clara married Robert TAYLOR who had a place about two miles east of here. Elvin, the only one beside myself who is still living, went in 1882 to Bickleton, Washington. John was for 49 years storekeeper and postmaster at Wells Station. He died in 1936. Mary was the wife of Robert HODGES, son of Drury HODGES, whose claim adjoined father's on the east. Ella married Robert WILLIAMSON, son of another pioneer of this community.

"My schooling was all in the GINGLES school house, about one mile north of here. The teachers, as I recall their names, were Kate CARLYLE, William YATES. Mr. BRISTOW, William HOLMAN, Frank HOLMAN, Mary HECKER, Inez ROBINSON, James TOMLINSON, Fanny BRYANT, Alonzo WILLIAMSON and Alonzo LOCKE.

"When I was a young fellow there was no social diversion except what the neighborhood itself furnished. There was no convenient mode of travel to go elsewhere, even if there had been anything to go to. In the winter time the roads were practically impassable for any vehicle except the lightest. Even a light buggy was a load for two horses. Young people commonly rode on horse back.

"There was no baseball until later years. Every body went to church, either for worship or for social contact and excitement. There were dances, which the church condemned. But the dances were much better conducted then than now. Many young people danced in defiance of the church, and sometimes members of the church yielded to the lure and had to be disciplined.

"In 1896 I married Nora BELIEU of Polk County. In spite of the name she was not related to me. We have three children, Kenneth, Greeta, and Vincent. Vincent is helping me run the farm. Kenneth is in business in Santa Rosa, California.

"Beginning in 1905, I served two terms in the State Legislator as my father had done before me. Otherwise I have kept out of politics and public service, and have devoted my time to farming.

"My mother died in 1937 at the age of 102 years. I have heard her tell of the early hardships, of living on boiled wheat and wild game, of association with the Indians, but I was one of the younger children and do not remember well enough to retell the incidents. I do know that my parents were prominent members and loyal supporters of the North Palestine Church. I followed their example and was, for years before it closed, Church Clerk of this organization. I still have the old records books dating from the organization in 1856.

 

 

Mrs. Clara BAXTER CHAPMAN

June,1938

 

Mrs. CHAPMAN was interviewed at the home of her daughter, Mrs. HASTIE, who lives near the Lincoln School in South Corvallis. She spoke clearly and convincingly of the early days and of the experiences of her parents and grandparents, as well as the things that came within her own memory.

My father, William T. BAXTER, came to Oregon with his older brother Sam, in 1852. Sam located at Dayton, Oregon. Father took a donation land claim in the Beaverton country near Portland. Father was a carpenter. Uncle Sam was a blacksmith in Dayton for thirty or forty years.

My mother was Margaret HICKLEN. Her father John HICKLEN came to Oregon in 1851. Grandmother HICKLEN, Martha HICKLEN, and mother followed him the next year. On the way they met my father. My parents were married in 1853.

Father soon traded his place for a place in the Bethel Hills in Polk County. Here he raised wheat. My brothers and sisters were: Malissa and Martha Ellen, who married brothers named PIKE; Albert, Mary (SCOVELL), Emma (LAMPITT),Sadie VAUGHN; Fannie and Lucy, who died in youth; Eva (SEAMAN) and Olive (MOORSE). Father's parents came west in 1881.

About 1870 or 1871 father moved to Tillamook County, There he took a homestead at the

mouth of Kilchis River on Tillamook Bay. Mother died when I was ten and when I was thirteen the home was broken up. Father went to Alaska in the 'nineties and discovered a coal mine on the Yukon River. He thought it was too far away from any possible market to be worth claiming. A little later, when the gold rush came, he went back to Alaska with his son-in-law, Dan PIKE, to locate the coal mine, but another was there first. Father died in Alaska.

Grandfather HICKLEN had nine children. I can recall the following names: Susan (BURRIS), William, Henry, Martha (Mrs. James CONNOR), Jane (CONNOR), Lucy (TROWBRIDGE), and John. Martha and Jane both married men named CONNOR, but they were not related.

I was born in 1867, and was four years old when we moved to Tillamook County, Father built the first sawmill on Tillamook Bay; it may have been the first in the whole county. Some of the lumber he cut was used locally and some was shipped to Portland in small coasting schooners. These schooners were our only connection with the outside world and one time there was a famine in flour when the schooner failed to get in on account of a storm. My sister, Sarah VAUGHN, was among the earliest settlers in Tillamook County. In the early days they shipped butter in tubs by schooner to Portland. As the country grew up the dairy business grew with it and they kept at it all their lives.

Mr. VAUGHN'S mother, whose name was TRASK, was born in Tillamook County. Her family gave name to the Trask River. They were in the country as trappers long before there was any real settlement there.

I went to a school house on Tillamook Bay that was called the "Jaw Bone" school, locally. Some of my teachers were Clara MATTICKS (sp ?), and John POWELL. Then I went to the Red Prairie school in Polk County. Mattie KIRKWOOD (or KIRKLAND) was the teacher there for several years. I attended the preparatory department of McMinnville College for a time. I lived in Tillamook County for the nine years before I was thirteen. There was commonly Sunday school in the schoolhouse and frequently preaching. Mr. BUTTS, a Methodist preacher, used to come there.

In 1889, I was married to John CHAPMAN who crossed the plains in 1845. I was 22 years old then.

John CHAPMAN's mother, Esther Lorinda BULEY, was eighteen and her brother Crockett was fifteen when the family crossed the plains in 1847. Crockett was sick on the way and was left with his sister Esther under the care of Dr. WHITMAN at the WHITMAN Mission. They were there when the massacre occurred. None of the women and girls were killed except Mrs. WHITMAN. Crockett and another boy who was sick were spared at first. Later they were killed on suspicion of plotting an escape.

William CHAPMAN was among the volunteers who went from the Willamette Valley to rescue the captives. In this way he met Esther BULEY, and the attachment was started that ended in an early marriage. There were nine or ten children in the Buley family and many of their descendants are now living about Sheridan.

[Publishers note: In Bancroft's History of Oregon, Vol. 1, this name is spelled BEWLEY.]

William CHAPMAN had eleven children. I remember names: Catherine (MORGAN), Mary (SAVAGE), Nora (MORGAN), Frank, Nettie (BIBEE), Fred, Charles, and Isabel. Charles and Isabel died in childhood.

My husband was a furniture dealer in Sheridan. A part of the business of a furniture house was to supply coffins, so my husband came to be an under taker, though he never practiced embalming. As a result of his being an undertaker he was elected as coroner. We lived in Sheridan until his death in 1926. For the past five years my home has been in California, though I visit in Oregon during the summer months.

 

 

William CLARK
 

Mr. CLARK was interviewed at his home near the old DEVITT station, about midway of the railroad between Blodgett and Summit. Here Mr. CLARK and his wife live in retirement, and Mr. CLARK hastens the passing days by tending a gasoline filling station and a small store. Mr. CLARK's memory was only fair.

I was born in Iowa in 1854. My parents, Robert CLARK and Sarah CONNOR CLARK, came by ox team to Idaho in 1864, and settled sixteen miles west of Boise on the Boise River, at the place where Star post office was afterward established. I have never heard of any special difficulties or incidents on the trip.

The settlements were all along the narrow river bottoms, just a single row of farms. Father raised grain by irrigation. It was not until years later that anybody thought the bench land could be farmed.

I had had but little schooling before coming west, and about 1865 or '66 a neighborhood school was built, the first in our part of the country. This school, which was supported by rates paid by the parents of the pupils, had about fifteen to twenty pupils. My oldest brother was the first school teacher. A public school was established about 1869 or '70 and Mr. CURTIS, afterward Judge CURTIS, of Boise, was the first teacher.

The schoolhouse was on our place. We had only three months school each year. My sister Jane (Mrs. PALMER), and my brothers, George and Walter were all older than I. Spelling schools and literary societies were often held in our part of the country, not only for entertainment but also for self-improvement. Dances were frequent. Church services were held in our school house and in neighboring districts by the Methodists, Baptist, and Christian Church. Mr. NEWTON from the Willamette Valley often preached for the Methodists. Mr. MORROW, the Baptist preacher, lived there. Mr. CALLOWAY was the Christian preacher.

I lived in the home neighborhood until 1889, when I went to Nampa and worked in the store of A. FOUCH & Brothers. Nampa was a new town of about 500 inhabitants and the store was a general store. I had a homestead on the bench land, but in 1895 I left Idaho and came to the Willamette Valley on the account of the health of my wife, who had been Miss Isabel MACMURPHY. I settled on a farm on Marys River about two miles below Summit.

When a sawmill was built at Devitt and a station established on the railroad I opened a store and became first postmaster. After a time I sold the store and moved up in the Cascade Mountains on the Mackenzie River above Eugene. Here I bought a store and was postmaster again at Leaburg. This was about 1927. After about two and one half years I sold out at Leaburg and bought back the store here at Devitt. My wife became postmaster here. We continued in business until the mill was burned out and the post office discontinued.

Our children are Alfred, Morris, Wright, Charles, Virgil, Grover, and Sarah. The boys all live

near here, farming or working in the Woods. Sarah is married to a Mr. STEVENS who is in business in Eugene.

 

(Isabel Mac MURPHY) Mrs. William CLARK

 
Mrs. CLARK is the wife of the former speaker, Mr. William CLARK.

My grandfather, Abner MACMURPHY, came from Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, to California in 1864. With him came all his living children except the oldest son who had come twelve years earlier. The members of the party were Grandfather and grandmother; Miranda HART, husband and children; Cynthia BROADWELL, widow, and her children; Mary DAILEY, husband, and children; and my parents and their children. I have four living cousins who were of that party. They are Im BAILEY of Oakland, California, George BAILEY of Honey Lake, California; J. W. BROADWELL of Pacific Grove, California; and Mrs. RICKETSON of Sequim, Washington. I never learned much of the trip across the plains, nor of my grandparents history, although as a girl I spent much time with them.

My sister was two weeks old when the party started and she was named Ida Iowa. The party came by ox team and were almost six months on the way. We stopped at Honey Lake Valley in Lassen County and then settled in Elysian Valley.

My parents were Silas Wright MACMURPHY and Elizabeth Kelly MACMURPHY. I was born in 1866 and in 1882 my parents moved to eastern Oregon and settled about twelve miles from Burns toward Silver Creek, at a place we called "Sage Hen Valley". I got all my schooling in California. After we came to Oregon we were twelve miles from school. That was too far for me to go even though we had saddle-horses. Our nearest neighbors were four miles away. That was a great cattle country, but father raised horses.

On a visit to Idaho I met Mr. CLARK and became acquainted with him. Later I went back and married him. In 1895 we came to Benton County. My parents came later and passed their last days not far from us.

 

 

 

Alfred CLEMENS
 

Mr. Alfred CLEMENS was interviewed at his home on East College Street in Philomath. His statements seemed entirely reliable but his information about early days was limited. He said:

"My grandfather, Anthony CLEMENS, came from Missouri. He was a brother of Mark Twain's father, making my father a first cousin and me a second cousin of the noted humorist. Grandfather CLEMENS brought his family to Lane County in the 'forties. My father's name was Thomas and he had a brother, Henry. Both took part in the expedition against the Indians following the WHITMAN massacre. Henry was a scout. With two companions he was surprised by a stronger party of Indians, somewhere in the country beyond Pendleton. Uncle Henry's horse was killed under him, but he saved himself by using it for a breastwork. His two friends were killed but he killed so many of the Indians that the rest withdrew. He secured his saddle from the dead horse and escaped on foot back to the regiment.

"My mother was Mary EDMUNDSON. Grandfather EDMUNDSON had a claim at Bleven's Bridge, near Tangent in Linn County. Father was carrying the mail from Eugene to Albany when he became acquainted with the mother's family. Grandfather EDMUNDSON was a raiser of race horses. As Eugene was more of a sporting town then and there was more interest there in horse-racing, the two traded farms. The EDMUNDSONs came to own a thousand acres where Eugene now stands. I have been told that this was never deeded away, and that the heirs now have a claim on it. However, that sounds most unlikely.

"My parents' children were Albert, John, Samuel, Thomas, Ella, and myself. I am the youngest and was born in 1871. Sam died at Shaniko, in eastern Oregon. Thomas is still living in the Yakima district of Washington. Ella married a man named SMITH and after his death married a Mr. BAILEY, and now lives at Valley Ford, Washington.

"I lived with a family named ARMSTRONG, and went to school near Pine Grove Cemetery about three and one half miles south of Peoria. This was from the time I was nine until I was thirteen. Among my teachers were a Mr. ARCHIBALD and a Mr. GIBSON. I have made my own way in the world since I was thirteen. I have spent my life mostly on the farm and mostly in Linn County.

"In 1899 I married Lillian JONES. Her folks came to Oregon in 1889. Our children are Rex, Wayne, and Anne. The two boys are engaged in the logging and lumbering industry and Anne is a nurse in Salem. For some years Rex has been engaged in logging by contract, and has also run his own sawmill. Wayne works with him. Wife and I have gotten past our working days and are living a retired life here in Philomath, where we can be near our children.

 

 

Mrs. Laura PORTER COFFEE

September, 1939

 
Mrs. COFFEE was interviewed at the home of her daughter, Mrs. HOMER, who lives on the old donation land claim of Billy PORTER, Mrs. COFFEE's grandfather.

My father was Isaac PORTER. He was born in Missouri in 1847 and was about four years old when his father, William PORTER, came to Benton County. Grandfather took this claim which is on Muddy Creek about twelve miles south of Corvallis. William PORTER had two brothers, McCauley and John, who also came to Oregon. William PORTER's wife was Elizabeth WINKLE and McCauley's wife was Martha WINKLE. These women were daughters of Adam WINKLE who took a claim east of here and gave his name to WINKLE Buttes about ten miles south of Corvallis. William PORTER's children were my father, Mary Jane, Nancy Ann (JOLLEY), and George.

My mother was Geneva HILL. She was born in 1847 in Missouri and came to Oregon in 1865 with a sister, Mrs. STURGILL. They met only the usual hardships on the road.

Grandfather PORTER bought land adjoining his claim until he held more than 1200 acres here. This he devoted to cattle raising. He also bought other land in the county and was able to help his sons to the ownership of farms.

My mother was a niece of Mrs. WINKLE, for whom she worked for a while after coming to Oregon. Thus, my father and mother were second cousins. My parents were married in 1866 and I was born in 1867. My father at first owned and farmed a place on the Peoria Road about ten miles south of Corvallis. This place overflowed almost every year and father finally got tired of collecting the rails and rebuilding the fences after every freshet and moved back to higher ground. This was on Beaver Creek.

My first schooling was on Beaver Creek and my first teacher was Sam HENDERSON. Another teacher was Ida DUNN, sister of Madge and Alwilda, who taught school so long in this county. Another was sister HAYES. Then I went to school in Philomath. My first school there was in a private dwelling and Miss BOWEN was the teacher. This was shortly after the grade school had been separated from Philomath College. (For about ten years after its founding the grade school had been a part of the college.) The students at the College called us swamp angels and we called them Brighamites. This is because President WALKER was said to be rather fresh with young women.

Then father moved down by Monroe. I was about sixteen then. We lived for a while at the old stage station at STARRs Point, about a mile north of Monroe. Later father ran a livery stable in Monroe and mother had a boarding house. She had no rooms or lodgers or transients, but served meals, family style, to all who came.

There were dances when I was a girl but my grandparents were very strict about dancing and their influence kept my parents from allowing me to attend. I used to go to play parties where we played, "Happy is the Miller Boy", Old Dan Tucker, and Pop Goes the Weasel. - My father's children were myself, Lee, and Carrie.

In 1882 I married B. M. JOLLEY, brother-in-law to my father's sister. We farmed for years on Grandfather's old place and then in the Bellfountain Community. We had no children. After Mr. JOLLEY's death I married Mr. COFFEE in 1901. Our children are Cleo A. (Mrs. HOMER), Geneva M. (MUELLER), Isabel A. (MATTHEWS), Carrie E., and George L. My husband is dead and I make my home with my son in Eugene. I am just here on a visit.

 

 

 

Mrs. Eva GIBBS COON

 
Mrs. COON was interviewed in her home in the village of Bellfountain (Route 1, Monroe). Like so many of the descendants of the first settlers she had neglected the stories of the early times until it was too late to get information. She said:

"My parents were Winfield SCOTT GIBBS and Keziah HENDERSON. They came from Missouri in 1853. Grandfather Perman HENDERSON was captain of the train of sixty-three wagons. There was no actual fighting with the Indians, but often they were in danger. The cholera hit the train and an Uncle and Aunt of mine died.

"My parents were married in 1863, and lived on a claim adjoining HENDERSON's, a few miles south of Philomath. I was born in 1864. My brothers and sisters were, Hattie (Mrs. BAUMGARTNER), Rachel (Mrs. COON), Marrow, Cate, William, Laura, Cordelia and Perman, who was named for his grandfather HENDERSON. Father served for a time with the volunteers in the Rogue River Indian War.

"I first went to school at the Independent schoolhouse when John B. HORNER was teacher. Belle SKIPTON, who afterward became Mrs. John B. HORNER, was one of the pupils. I remember one time Mr. HORNER had to discipline her. He had her by the arm trying to shake her and she was crying. She was a big girl then. There was one boy who was especially unruly. John HORNER used to string him up by the thumbs. He would tie strings to his thumbs, turn his face to the wall, draw his spread arms up until he had to stand on tip-toe, and keep him there for a considerable time. The boy was a brother of Ed L. SHARPE who used to write rhymed prose for the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

"After the first year I went to school at Beaver Creek. The teachers I remember there were Mr. RANDALLS, Belle SKIPTON who was now Mrs. HORNER, Mr. FULLER and Mr. REASONER.

"In 1888 I married Thomas M. COON, who died in 1929. Our children were Bertha (Mrs. DAMEILLE), Dora (Mrs. THOMPSON), Emma (Mrs. HINTON), Maud (Mrs. LAMB), Marvin, Minnie who died young. Pearl (Mrs. ROUNDSTONE), Elsie (Mrs. PIERCE), and Fannie (Mrs. ELLES). My son Marvin was for years engaged in the saw mill business in Benton County.

"My husband's people came from Missouri in 1862 to escape military service. They were sympathizers of the South, and were in danger of being drafted into the Federal army. There were restrictions on taking guns and powder out of the states and some times the trains were unable to smuggle enough for their own protection but my husband's folks were able to get away with some guns. The family consisted of George Kelly COON, his wife Catherine, and their children, Abram, Thomas, George, Martin, Mary (Mrs. HERBERT), and Lydia (Mrs. DAVIS). They settled on a donation land claim a few miles south of Philomath near Beaver Creek.

"The chief social diversions when I was a girl were preaching at the schoolhouses, dancing, and singing schools. Different denominations used to hold services from time to time. Andy WILLIAMS used to teach the singing schools.

"The dances I attended were always well behaved. If there was any sign of drinking or rowdyism father would say, "Girls get your cloaks; we're going home". And we knew there was no appeal from that decision.

"I have enjoyed living, and enjoy it still".

 

 

Mrs. George COOPER (Margaret NEWTON COOPER)

June 1, 1939

 
Mrs. COOPER, born from a union of the WOOD and NEWTON families, had given information about her own family at a previous interview. From records and clippings she was able to furnish the following information about the COOPER family.

The head of the COOPER clan in Benton County was James COOPER, who was born in Virginia in 1824. He came to Missouri where he was married in 1850 to Sena Ann EVANS, daughter of Thomas H. and Nancy EVANS. James COOPER came to Oregon in 1852 with what was known as the EVANS train. The first winter was passed near Oregon City. The family was without money. The father worked six days for a bushel of wheat. Wheat and wild meat made up most of their bill of fare.

In the spring of 1853 Thomas EVANS, Mrs. COOPER's father, found a place of 320 acres near Sublimity, and the COOPERS lived there for a year. From 1854 to 1858 they lived in Kings Valley. Then they moved to a place not far from Wren, about three miles west of the present site of Philomath. In 1866 James COOPER and his growing family moved to a farm about mid-way between Corvallis and Philomath and here he reared his family and passed the remainder of his life.

The children of James and Sena COOPER were: Thomas H., Nancy Ann, Francis Marion, George W., Mary Frances, and Robert E. All were born in Oregon except Thomas, who was born in Missouri.

Thomas H. COOPER was married in 1875 to Mary Louisa SCOTT, daughter of Prior SCOTT who had a donation land claim a few miles southwest of Corvallis. Their children were Lewis E. who died just as he reached manhood, Minnie E. (Mrs. Emery J. NEWTON), Fred R., and George E. Fred married Kate JANUARY and George married Kate WHITESIDE.

Nancy Ann COOPER married Morris ALLEN in Benton County in 1869. ALLEN was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Charles ALLEN who had taken a donation land claim in Kings Valley in 1846. The children of Morris ALLEN and Nancy Ann COOPER ALLEN were James Otto who was born in 1870 and died at Waitsburg, Washington in 1899, Charles T. who died unmarried, Orley M. who married Caroline JAMES in Polk County and Arthur G. ALLEN who married Lelia M. TUCKER.

Francis Marion COOPER married Rachel BETHERS, daughter of George BETHERS and Keziah NEWTON. BETHERS took a donation land claim about two miles southwest of Corvallis, near where the Country Club is now located. It was BETHERS who was responsible for the coming of the CONNOR-KENOYER missionary party, and thus for the establishment of the United Brethren Church in Oregon and the founding of Philomath College. The children of Francis and Rachel COOPER were Cora H., James A. who married Grace E. STARR, Ida B. who married Walter N. LOCKE, Roy F. who married Ada DeLide, and Etta A. who married George E. CHAPMAN.

George W. COOPER married Margaret NEWTON, daughter of Gamaliel NEWTON. Gamaliel was the son of Abiathar NEWTON, head of the NEWTON Clan in Benton County. The NEWTONs came to Benton County in 1847 and settled west of Corvallis in what has been known ever since as "the NEWTON neighborhood". George and Margaret NEWTON had one child, a daughter, who is now Mrs. Altha Opal FIRESTONE.

Mary Frances COOPER married Russell LOWELL. Their children were Grace (McARTHUR) and Georgia (CORRELL).

Thomas Harmon COOPER was born in Missouri in 1851 and came to Oregon in 1852 and to Benton County in 1854. He attended Corvallis College, enrolling in 1870 and receiving most of his instruction from Rev. Joseph EMERY, who was later president of the college. - He served two years in the Oregon Legislature and served for eighteen years on the Corvallis City Council.

 

 

Mrs. Margaret NEWTON COOPER

 
Mrs. Margaret COOPER was interviewed at her home at 824 South Eleventh Street, Corvallis. Mrs. COOPER has a keen interest in the early days and her memory seems thoroughly reliable. She gave the following information.

"My mother was Susanna WOOD, the daughter of Jesse WOOD and Margaret HINKLE WOOD. She came with her parents to Oregon with the HINKLE train in 1853. Jesse WOOD's children were John, Susanna, Abe, William, Mahala (Mrs. Will KISER), Jesse and Charles. My father was Gamaliel NEWTON, son of Abiathar NEWTON and Rachel GARLINGHOUSE NEWTON. Abiathar NEWTON's children were Keziah (Mrs. Geo. BETHERS), Isaac, Norris, Cynthia (who was Mrs. PFEISTER and then Mrs. JOHNSON), Gamaliel, Jasper, and Mahala (Mrs. BOHANNON). Norris NEWTON's children were Walter, Abiathar and Laura. Isaac NEWTON's children are Mrs. Dora PARKER of Philomath and Elvin who lives in California. Mrs. PARKER is the widow of James R. PARKER who was at one time president of Philomath College.

"My parents were married in 1862, and settled on a farm in Plymouth Community where many of the NEWTONs were their neighbors. Their children were Diana (Mrs. McCOY), myself, Mary (Mrs. STAYTON), Emery and Alva (twins), Cora (Mrs. HERRON), and June. Emery was County Sheriff of Benton County for several years.

"I attended school at Mt. Union School in the old building which stood on the hilltop just west of the cemetery. Among the teachers there I remember Margaret KNOX and John GALBRAITH (or CALBREATH). The schoolhouse was a good building but small, and was in an exposed position on the hill. All the water had to be carried up the hill. I remember there was a steep clay bank west of the schoolhouse that the boys called the "slick". After the rains started the boys had great sport here sliding in the mud. There was seldom snow for coasting. Early in the 'seventies the present Mt. Union schoolhouse was built.

"The Misses Alwilda and Madge DUNN taught at this new building. There were spinsters, sisters, and veteran teachers. They were very successful. I remember also Willis PYBURN, Mr. EDDY, and my uncle, John WOOD.

"I was married in 1894 to George W. COOPER. We had one daughter who is now Mrs. FIRESTONE of Vancouver, Washington. My husband was a farmer but in later life he came to town and clerked in a store and at the Courthouse. My husband has been gone some years and I am living on here.

"I remember as a girl going to picnics at the old Mt. Union Schoolhouse, but I do not remember the occasion of the picnics. There was also a church called Bethel less than a half mile south of the old schoolhouse. The church was built by the United Brethren. When the college was built at Philomath, Bethel Church was sold. It was used as a Methodist meeting place for a time. Later it was called 'the Grange Hall'. It is now gone but the place where it stood is marked by a small oak grove on the north-east corner of the George GELLATLY place. The young people had a chance to get together in the singing schools and the school entertainments. The dances held about were sometimes rough and were not approved by most of our neighbors.

"I can remember that mother once pointed out to me where a log schoolhouse stood in which she used to teach. It was across Mary's River west from FOLGER's Mill and as I remember it now, was on the ROSS place. My two sisters used to teach school.

"In addition to the regular subjects, Algebra and Physiology were sometimes taught to advanced pupils at the Mt. Union School."

 

Thomas COX

(merchant, manufacturer, farmer)
 

Written by J. Henry BROWN, grandson of Thomas COX. Copied by permission of Mrs. R. M. PEFFER. The part which tells of his doings before coming to Oregon has been slightly abridged.

Thomas COX was born in Virginia, October 22, 1770. His early life was spent upon a farm and when in his teens his father and family moved to Ross County, Ohio, where he attended school during the winter when he could be spared from the farm work, in the then sparsely settled country. During the summer he worked on the farm until he became of age, when he married Miss Martha COX, with whom he lived for thirty-eight years, as she died in Oregon in 1849. Although of the same family name they were not related.

. . .The outfit to commence married life was a small iron bake oven, three tin plates and cups,

some iron spoons, a pair of flax hackles ... with his wife mounted behind him on the only mare they had, (he) started for his place in the timber to make a farm.

In 1825 he sold his farm and moved with his family of three children to Indiana and settled on

the Flatrock river in Bartholomew county, where he built a grist and carding mill, the first in that country. Being naturally an ingenious mechanic, he built this establishment almost wholly himself. He remained at this place a few years, then selling out to good advantage. He moved to the Wabash river country in the same state, and erected a fine grist mill and carding factory at the mouth of the Shawnee river. During the winter of 1833 he sold out his property at an enhanced value ... While he resided in Indiana he manufactured guns, gunpowder, and did general blacksmithing.

During the spring of 1834 he moved with his family and settled on the Kankakee river, Will County Illinois, and laid out a town which he named Winchester but afterward changed to Wilmington. Wilmington is now a thriving little city of several thousand inhabitants, through which several railroads lead, and the river is spanned by a splendid iron bridge. Shortly after his settlement and laying out of the town he commenced the erection of saw, grist, and carding mills, which proved of great benefit to the surrounding country and financially profitable to the projector. He also established a store, thus increasing his business very much. . . . (avoided involvement in the "wildcat banking" craze). . .

In the fall of 1846 Mr. COX and my father, Elias BROWN, and Peter POLLEY, sons-in-law, and Joseph COX, a married son, determined to emigrate to Oregon the following year. (Mr. POLLEY and Joseph COX then resided in Missouri.) Mr. COX sold his property and in the spring started with ox-teams for the then almost unknown and distant Oregon . . . Mr. COX had made up his mind to go to Oregon, and when that was once settled no common event could deter him. But the attempt to do so was made by the men who purchased his property, by throwing obstacles in his way and compelling him to take part payment in goods and refusing to purchase his store. But they did not know the man; he simply took the goods, purchased wagons in Chicago, oxen of his old neighbors, loaded up and on the day he had designated started the teams, leaving them discomfited and astonished and discomfited at the energy displayed on the occasion. With these same goods he established the first store in Salem, Oregon, and south of Champoeg, during the following fall.

In due time the train arrived at the rendezvous at St. Joseph, Missouri, where the final preparations were made for the great undertaking, and with his usual punctuality, started on the day appointed, traveling steadily, amid toil and hardships, until the journey was completed. I will here mention one rule that he invariably carried out while on the plains, and that was to camp on the opposite side of the stream, if toward night, as a stream is liable to become swollen and impassable during the night, thereby losing valuable time. It became evident that the teams would not be able to haul all the wagons through the Cascade mountains, and Mr. COX directed that the wagons that contained the goods should be parked at Summit Prairie, and those containing the families should proceed while he went ahead on horseback to obtain pack animals to pack out the goods. We were sixteen days in the mountains; when in the valley a short distance we met a large train of Indian ponies accompanied by Indians and some whites, on their way to bring in the merchandise left behind.

Oregon City was then the capital of the Provisional Government of Oregon and the emporium

of the western slope of this continent - Salem only an educational mission, although the town had been laid out - Portland unknown, still in the womb of time. Mr. COX determined to establish himself in Salem, and within a week after his arrival was selling goods to the people; goods hauled from Illinois over three thousand miles of distance, and taking for pay wheat, the only currency, at one dollar per bushel.

Within a few days after becoming settled he went to Oregon City to purchase the necessary

groceries, such as then could be procured, Sandwich Island sugar in mats of 50 to 100 pounds each and black as maple sugar, while the molasses would ooze out through the matting, salt in similar mats, fit only for stock, and in lumps as large as walnuts. When Mr. COX called on Dr. McLAUGHLIN and informed that good gentleman that he wished to purchase groceries for his store in Salem, the doctor asked where he had obtained his present stock and on being informed that he had hauled them across the plains, the doctor held up his hands and exclaimed in his brisk manner, "Well I believe you Yankees could drive an ox-team over Mt. Hood!" Mr. COX replied that if it had been necessary to do so in reaching the Willamette Valley, he would have attempted it. Dr. McLAUGHLIN then replied, "Mr. COX, you can have anything you wish." Thus commenced an acquaintance that lasted for several years, and afterward, when the Doctor was being persecuted by the Hudson Bay Company - whom he had so faithfully served and given the best part of his life - and maligned and swindled by those to whom he had proved an unselfish friend in time of need, he had a firm defender in Thomas COX, an man who never received anything at his hands aside from business courtesies, who always paid for all articles purchased, but could appreciate worth, and dared to say that a good man was being wronged, although at the time to do so was unpopular with a large class.

In the fall of 1847 the massacre of Dr. Marcus WHITMAN and family occurred, and the Cayuse War vigorously prosecuted, but there was a great scarcity of powder, lead, and gun caps, of which Mr. COX had a considerable quantity. This he freely donated to the volunteers, making no charge to the infant territory in its struggle for existence.

During the winter of 1847 and the next spring he erected a two story frame building on the comer of Commercial and Ferry streets, for a dwelling house and store. He also this winter purchased a land claim of Mr. Walter HELM, and employed Mr. Peter PULLEY to move on the same and make Improvements, plowing, fencing, etc.

In 1848 gold was discovered in California and as a consequence everything rose to fabulous prices, and the country was nearly depleted of its male population, and among those who were seized with the gold fever was William COX, who went to the mines and was quite successful, and on his return home in 1849, through San Francisco, purchased a large stock of goods at quite reasonable prices, as the market at that time was quite overstocked. He also assumed entire control of the mercantile business in conjunction with Mr. Turner CRUMP. Mr. Thomas COX now spent most of his time upon his farm and set energetically to work improving the same, but one of his first acts was to set out an orchard of apples and peaches from his own nursery, as he had brought the seeds with him to this country. He propagated and successfully cultivated what is now known as "COX's Golden Cling", the finest yellow peach upon this coast. This orchard proved to be very remunerative, as apples readily sold at $6.00 and peaches at $10.00 to $12.00 per bushel.

In 1851 he became connected with Joseph WATT, Wm. H. RECTOR, John MINTO, Joseph C. WILSON, John D. BOON, and others in erecting the Willamette Woolen Mills, the pioneer establishment on the Coast, and was appointed to superintend the erection of the dam across Mill Creek in North Salem, and so well was it performed that it successfully resisted the floods for over twenty years. In 1860 he sold his shares to Hon. Joseph SMITH. In the Spring he removed to Salem and resided with Hon. B. F. HARDING, his son-in-law, with whom resided the remainder of his life. During the summer he met with an accident caused by his horse backing off the Pudding River bridge, in which the buggy and horse fell fifteen feet, entirely destroying the buggy, but in the fall Mr. COX fell to one side, thus escaping instant death although greatly jarred, but undoubtedly never fully recovered from the shock.

Mr. COX died in Salem, October 3, 1862, lacking only sixteen days of being seventy-two years

of age. In physical development he was small, and probably never weighed over 150 pounds, but wiry and energetic, possessing good perceptive faculties, and successful in all business enterprises. He was a man of considerable ingenuity and could make most anything he wished. Strictly honest in all his dealings, he exacted the same from others. He possessed very great musical talent and the writer has listened on many a winter's evening to the tones of the violin in his hands, an accomplishment that he acquired in his younger days. Although his educational opportunities had been limited, he acquired considerable information as he was a great reader. Always a frontiersman, he was of that class who, with rifle on the shoulder and ax in hand, was capable of defending himself and family, at the same time making a home in a new country and establishing civilization - a fit representative of an Oregon pioneer. He belonged to a class that is rapidly disappearing. They have fulfilled their mission and are being gathered from the earth.

(The William COX, mentioned above is a son of Thomas COX, subject of this sketch.)

(This paper bears no date. It seems to have been written several years before the present date, June 20, 1939. - M.P.)

[Publisher's note: The following letter was attached to this interview.]

 
Dear Friends;

This is a very fine article on Uncle Tommy but does exaggerate a wee bit. We do not know that his parents ever lived in Ohio. In fact I rather doubt it but Thomas did. In Indiana he was in partners with his father Joseph COX on his grist mill. His troubles in Illinois when he sold out seem to have stemmed from his inability to read or write. I also doubt that he was as good a business man as his grandson felt he was, (My reason is their is still a note for 43 dollars he gave when passing through the Barlow Toll gate). He did bring 11 wagon loads of merchandise and 2 wagons of family. He seems to be referred to by all, some not related, as Uncle Tommy so I'd say he was a wholly lovable character and if like the rest of my wonderful family he was a character.

I also have pride in this man who accomplished all that he did but as I said I think they got a little carried away. Also the year of his birth was 1794 in Grayson Co., Virginia.

Frances GRIFFEN

 

Elizabeth CURRIER

 
Miss CURRIER was interviewed at the ancestral home where she lives, together with her sister and brother-in-law, Mrs. and Mrs. Richard W. SCOTT. The farm is about ten miles south west of Corvallis on Route 2. Miss CURRIER is a woman of keen mind and of more than average culture. She said:

"My father was Jacob Manley CURRIER who came to Oregon in 1846. He was nineteen years old at the time and came in the train captained by A. L. HUMPHREY. Father's sister Sarah was HUMPHREY's wife and another sister, Elizabeth, who was fourteen, came with them. Elizabeth later married John FOSTER. Mr. HUMPHREY represented Benton County in the first Provisional Legislature.

"Father joined the volunteers enlisted to fight the Indians in eastern Oregon following the WHITMAN Massacre and was one of the party to bury the victims. Later he was a member of the detachment that guarded Joe MEEK to the summit of the Blue Mountains. After father returned from the Indian campaign he went to the mines in California. In 1850 he took a donation land claim on Beaver Creek, this place where we are now living.

"In the same year, 1850, father married Maria FOSTER, daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth SMITH FOSTER, whose donation land claim lies a little north of here. Maria had a sister Elizabeth who died in childhood and three brothers, James, John, and Isaac. John FOSTER married Mary LLOYD and after her death, Elizabeth BUCHANAN. This Mary LLOYD was one of the persons named in traditions about the origin of the name of Marys River.

"My father's children by Maria FOSTER were: William Andrew, born in 1851; Laurena (BELKNAP), born in 1854; Manley C., born in 1856; and Anna Maria, born in 1859. After the death of this first wife father married my mother, Helena Sarah BUCHANAN, in 1863. My mother's children were myself, Sarah Angeline, and Evelyn, who married Richard W. SCOTT.

"My sisters and I attended the Auxiliary schoolhouse at the old location about a mile south of the present site. Among my teachers I remember William BROWN, Alwilda DUNN, Alonzo LOCKE, Emma REEASONER, John BRYSON who was afterward County Judge, and Jane FULLER. After finishing at the district school I attended Philomath College for a time. The College faculty then consisted of President WALKER, Prof. SHEAK, and Miss FLETCHER. Miss FLETCHER had oversight of the girls deportment and used to give us advice and admonition at stated times. On one such occasion she expressed her disapproval at having overheard some girt in the hall use "The unladylike word, 'Hello' ". My sisters, Evelyn and Sarah, attended O.S.A.C., took Home Economic course under Miss SNELL, and were duly graduated.

"There was not much in the way of social diversion or amusement in my younger days, except

the neighborhood gatherings. My parents were Methodists and did not approve of dancing. It seemed to us the dances were attended by rowdy crowds. Camp meetings were held in the summertime at Bellfountain and Philomath. We did not go and camp, but were close enough to attend at least on Sundays. Preaching was held more or less regularly at the schoolhouse. On occasion of big meetings public baptizing were held. These were commonly in Marys River. A favorite place was at the bridge just south of Philomath. These meetings were largely attended. Spelling bees and singing schools were frequently held. We youngsters who were not allowed to dance sometimes had "Play parties" at which we played such games as "Weevilly Wheat", "Old Dan Tucker", and the Virginia Reel. Nobody seemed to think these games were inconsistent for those who looked upon dancing as the Devil's pastime. I remember one spring the children at school got the notion of going some distance to a big bridge out of sight of the schoolhouse and there playing these games at the noon hour. We became so much taken up with this sport that one day we forgot the flight of time and were late to school. The teacher investigated and we were forbidden to go to the bridge any more.

"I have lived practically all my life on this farm, and there has always been lots of hard work. It seems that nothing important or out of the ordinary has ever happened here. It has been a good world to me and I think if we give it time all the difficulties will be straightened out. God didn't make such a world as this to go to the dogs.

 

 

Cecile J. CUMMINGS

 
[Publisher's note: The following interview was not written up so only the interview form and the responses are recorded in this book.]
 

1. Name, correctly and legibly spelled:

Cecile J. CUMMINGS

2. Address, town and street or box number:

458 Madison St., Corvallis, Oregon

3. Born where and when:

Monroe, Oregon, April 20, 1882

4. Name of parents, including mother's maiden name:

Theodore H. WELLSHER & Minerva Josephine INGRAM

5. Early Home Life: a) Any significant customs or traditions in the home such as holiday observance feast days, religious observance or special games and occupations:

No information

b) Costume:

No information

c) Tall tales or anecdotes of heroes from life or literature told him as a child.

No information

6. Schooling: a) where:

Monroe, Eugene & O.S.C. Corvallis

b) subjects studied:

No information

c) Teacher or teachers recalled:

No information

7. Early occupations:

Teaching

8. Associates in work:

No information

9. Social diversions, such as singing schools, spelling bees, house-warmings, dances and parties:

a) Words or songs sung at social affairs:

b) General description of dances:

No information

10. Married to whom? When? Where?

Edward A. CUMMINGS, 1901, Monroe

11. Children: Born where? Names? Present occupations?

No children born

12. Later occupations:

No information

13. Associates in business:

No information

14. Any participation in community affairs:

a) Clubs, b) Churches, c) Community welfare,

d) Politics

No information

15. Resident of what early towns or pioneer settlements with special reference to ghost towns:

Monroe near Belknap settlement

16. Resident in or neighbor to what old Oregon houses of historical significance:

No information

17. Philosophy - general attitude toward people and toward life:

"Ceasing to give we cease to have such is the law of love" by Mary Baker EDDY.


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