INTERVIEWS -- H (part 1)
Mr. and Mrs. Jasper HAMAR
Mrs. Jasper HAMAR (Leona PARKER)
Mr. Ellis HAMMER
Hulda TAYLOR HAMMERSLEY
Joseph HAMILTON, Old Timer
Clara M. THAYER HARDING
Mrs. Della BENNETT HATHAWAY
Robert 0. HAWKS
Mrs. A. W. (Sarah M PRICE) HAWLEY
Mrs. Henry (Emma ROWLAND) HAWLEY
Mrs. Joy HAWORTH
Mrs. James P. G. HENDERSON
Mrs. Ella HERRON
Josiah H. HERRON
Robert C. HERRON
J. E. HINKLE
Catherine HODGES VANDERPOOL
and Mrs. Jasper HAMAR
Jasper HAMAR and his wife were interviewed at the home in the village of Summit, where they are living in retirement. They had little information of early days, but their recollections seemed to be dependable.
My grandfather, Oliver HAMAR, came west by railroad to San Francisco and then north to Oregon. He took a homestead on upper Marys River, on the east fork above where BOTTGER now lives. At that time Preacher BAUGHMAN lived on BOTTGER'S place and Dr. OWENS lived on the adjoining place. Unlike the country nearer to Summit there was timber there except on the small meadows of the river bottoms.
My mother was Mary McLAUGHLIN. Her children were Rhoda, Julia (Mrs. FRANTZ), Amelia (Mrs. STONE), Emma (Mrs. McGALLEY), David, Newton, myself, Andrew, and Esther (Mrs. CARLSON, Mrs. CUSICK). I was born in 1873.
I had all my schooling in the Summit schoolhouse, which was then about a mile north of the present location. I went only part of two terms. My teachers were Nettie PITTMAN and Etta WOOD. I spent most of my time as a boy working on the ranch. After I was fifteen I used to work in harvest time in Kings Valley. That was the only cash work to be had, for lumbering had not yet developed. One of the few mills in the country was at Hoskins. This mill cut much of the timber for the first building of the State College plant at Corvallis. They used to deliver lumber by wagon as far away as Independence.
Most of Kings Valley then raised grain and hay. The yields were good but
the methods of farming were bad. The fields came to be very foul
with weeds and especially with wild oats. The old horse power thrashing
machines were in use then. I remember MORGAN SAVAGE, one of the first
settlers on the upper Marys River, had an old tread mill thrasher.
The motive power was furnished by a team on a treadmill.
The dances and parties meant a great deal to us then, for there was little chance for the young people to meet and enjoy themselves. Baseball was not known and our only outdoor sports were hunting and fishing. Trout were plentiful in the river then, many of them being twelve to fourteen inches long.
The elk were gone when we came but deer were still plentiful. The country was simply lousy with panthers and bob cats. Raccoons and bears were common and the beaver had their dams all along the streams. Matthew KELLY, one of the very first settlers, spent most of his time trapping. His pal, Joe WOOD, had a ranch. Neither of the two were ever married and they left no heirs. They were buried in the May's, now called the Strouts', burying ground about a mile west of Summit.
When I was about twenty-eight I got the notion to homestead a quarter section of timber. Timber land was open to homestead entry then. I went up to Bend in the pine country but found all the desirable timber located. The same things was true at Siletz. Finally I bought a relinquishment from a man on the East Fork of Marys River. I proved up after seven years. We always took the full time allowed to make final proof, for as soon as the Government gave us a patent we had to begin paying taxes on the land, I paid taxes for twenty years but finally sold the place for ten thousand dollars.
I have been a timber faller most of my life, and have seen the logging business develop and adopt new methods. We used oxen at first to get the logs out of the woods, because they could get around on the brushy hillsides better. We did not have to spend so much time and effort cutting the brush as if we had used horses. This clearing away of the brush is what we called 'swamping'. Later horses came into use more, for they are faster. Dave SIMPSON and his brother used the first donkey engine ever seen in this vicinity. PRESCOTT and Van NESS logged off the timber on MORGAN SAVAGE'S place to be used in the construction of the Yaquina railroad. SAVAGE had one of the few tracts of old growth fir left in the upper Marys River country. Most of the timber had been destroyed in the big burn of 1840.
MORGAN SAVAGE ran a blacksmith shop. He used to keep a stallion for public service. He bought a MORGAN horse, the first pure bred horse ever brought to this section. There were no purebred cattle until much later.
In my younger days I spent most of twenty years away from here, working
the Willamette Valley, in eastern Oregon, and once as far north as Seattle.
In 1907 I married LEONA PARKER at Brownsville We have one son, Oliver Perl,
who lives here with us.
Mrs. Jasper HAMAR (Leona PARKER)
My mother was Elizabeth KEYS. She crossed the plains with her parents in 1864 when there was but one log cabin where Portland now is, and settled in Salem. There Grandfather KEYS ran a hotel for years.
Father was born in Washougal, Washington, in the 'forties. His parents, David and Anna PARKER, were Scotch. Grandfather had a donation land claim of 640 acres at a place that came to be called Parker's Landing. It was on the Columbia River twenty-five miles above Vancouver. Grandfather was the first settler there. The next man to come, HOWE, was a squaw man. Father had no playmates except the half-breed and Indians, and he gained a much more thorough knowledge of the Indian language than was common among the whites. At one time he was employed as an interpreter at Vancouver. Means of transport were lacking and as father grew older he often carried a sack of flour from Vancouver to Parker's Landing.
When the railroad was being built south from Portland through Salem, father
was boss of a gang of men. He boarded at Grandfather KEYS hotel in
Salem and became acquainted with my mother. Mother was only sixteen but
her parents thought she was old enough to get married. She was not
entirely pleased with the idea at the time. After the railroad was
finished my parents moved back to Parker's Landing. Their children,
beside myself, were Hattie, Ella, Maud, and George. When I was four
years old my father died and mother took her children back to Oregon and
got a job in the BROWNsville Woolen Mills. Here she lived until her family
were grown. I went to school at BROWNsville, but I cannot recall
the names of my teachers. Then I went four years to the Sisters'
at Albany. After that I worked in different places at
house work. There was nothing else for a girl to do. In 1907 I married Jasper HAMAR.
Mr. Otis HAMAR was interviewed at his farm by Nashville Station. He appears in every way to be a competent witness, and his information can be depended upon. His account follows.
My father was Charles, son of James HAMAR. James HAMAR came to Oregon in 1862. He had been living in Kansas and wanted to join the army, but his wife objected on account of the growing family. Then he said if she would not let him get in the struggle he would move out west and get away from it. When he finally immigrated he determined to find a place where he would not be bothered by the ague, which punished them so much in Kansas in those days. He settled first near Fort Hoskins in Kings Valley. His first job was splitting rails, for which he was paid 50 cents per hundred.
Grandfather had one son, Henry, who was married and remained in Kansas. His other children were John, Dave, Everett, my father, Jane (DIXON), Sarah (DIXON), and another whose name I can not recall, but who married a man named RIGGS.
In 1864 grandfather homesteaded on the upper Yaquina River at what became Nashville Station when the railroad was built to Yaquina Bay. The homestead was largely on the rather narrow river bottom and good farming land, except that it was covered with the dead trees left by the "big burn". A fire had passed through before the settlers came and killed all the timber, but the trees were still standing with their tops and limbs still unfallen. It was as much work to clear the land as if the trees were living.
There were some patches of timber that escaped the fire, - some further
up the Yaquina and
on the Luckiamute River below Fort Hoskins, and a good piece on MORGAN SAVAGE's claim on the West Fork of Marys River.
Grandfather had to cut a trail down the hill from Summit and move in with pack horses. Willis NASH, his neighbor up the river who had so much to do with the building of the railroad and the founding of Oregon Agricultural College, came a little later. Because of the difficulty of clearing the land and the lack of a road to market grandfather did not try to raise grain but gave his attention to cattle raising. He used to buy hay in Blodgett Valley.
My father took a preemption claim about two miles up the Yaquina River. A preemption is different from a homestead. You had to pay for the land, a dollar and a quarter an acre, and did not have to live on it so long to get title. Later father homesteaded in eastern Oregon. In 1887, while he was still east of the mountains, a landslide destroyed his buildings here and made a lake several acres in extent. In more recent times this lake, called HAMAR Lake, has become quite a resort and picnic ground for the near-by communities. It is thirty feet deep in places and well stocked with trout.
It was in 1885 that father took his homestead at Roberts post office, about
thirty miles from
Prineville. After he had proved up on his homestead, about 1890, he came back here. Uncle Dave went to eastern Oregon before father and stayed there longer. When he came back he settled in Philomath.
John HAMAR's children were Martha (VANCE), Annie, Ora (REEDER), Marie (CHAMBERS),
Alice, Nellie, Nettie, Julia, James, George, Dow, and Henry. Most
of them are living about Hillsboro.
Everett HAMAR married Matilda OWENS, my mothers sister. Their children were Bruce and Clyde who now live in Portland, and Maud, who married Frank HAWKINS.
My father married Mary OWENS. Their children were Roy, Edwin, Ralph, Lewis, and myself. Aunt Sarah DIXON's children were Nora and Claude. Aunt Jane DIXON's children were Chester, Ernest, Sadie, and Lulu. Aunt Sarah and Aunt Jane had married brothers.
Grandfather had suffered a broken leg after he came west and it had been set in such a way that it was a good bit shorter than the other. He always walked with a cane. He had a gift for rhyming and was always making up poems about neighborhood happenings.
My mother was Mary OWENS. Her folks came from Missouri. Her father, Benjamin Franklin OWENS, was a doctor. He did not have to pass an examination in those days to practice and I do not know where he got his medical training, but I suppose he had worked and studied with some doctor. Dr. OWEN's wife had been Jane MCCLURE. Their children were Mary, Annie, Fannie, Matilda, Nellie, Margaret, Mabel, Virginia, William, Adrian, Pickett, Vessie (a boy), Albert, and James. In the midst of raising her children grandmother found time to teach school. She died with her fifteenth baby. Mother also taught school for a time.
I have heard dad tell of going up the hill to school in Summit when the dust in the road would be thick with tracks of wolves made the night before.
I have married and am raising a family here on the old place. but we are
not a part of the old times and our doings are of no importance.
Mr. Ellis HAMMER
Mr. HAMMER was interviewed at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Carrie REINHEIMER, who lives at 624 South Eleventh Street, Corvallis, Oregon. Although seventy-five years old, Mr. HAMMER is erect in body and keen in mind. He said:
"My father was Jacob HAMMER and my mother was Hannah COX. With their three older children they came from Ohio to Oregon in 1844. Father's train was one of the first ox trains to cross the plains. They had no difficulty with the Indians and suffered no unusual hardships. From The Dalles the men folks came by the Barlow Pass, but mother and the three children came down the river to Portland in an Indian canoe.
"My parents lived for the first three years near Beaverton, a little west of Portland, In 1847 they came to Benton County and took a donation land claim just a little southwest of what is now the village of Alpine, where he passed the rest of his life. His children were: Ai, Malissa, Goldsmith, Josephus, Narcissa, Amos, Lorenzo, Eudosia, Noah, Hiram, Jeremiah, Ilias, myself and Alvah.
"My parents had a hard time at first. Meat was easy to get as deer were plentiful and tame. For flour they had to carry the wheat by ox-team to Oregon City, and the trip took about ten days. This adventure was undertaken only once a year, just after harvest in the fall. Their first house was of logs. This was well built and was still standing when I was a man grown. It was used for a shop and storehouse. Goods were so hard to come by that for one whole summer father went barefooted. Later when he could get lumber he built a tan vat, got tan bark from the woods, and tanned leather for himself and for the neighbors. From that time he made the shoes for the family.
"From the first father raised and prepared flax and mother spun and wove linen cloth for clothing and household use. The linen shirts and "jeans" trousers lasted for a long time indeed. Mother's old spinning wheel and loom were kept and went to one of my brothers. Mother also spun and wove wool. from our sheep and knitted our stockings.
"I was born in 1862. I attended school in a schoolhouse just south of Alpine. I lived near the old Ebenezer schoolhouse, but that was no longer used when I was old enough to go to school. Among the teachers I recall - Mr. PRUETT and Eli HENKLE. Algebra was taught in the schools for those who cared to take it.
"When I was a youngster we found our recreation in work. We had parties
not nearly so often as young people think they must have them today. We played the old games, Old Dan Tucker, Pop Goes the Weasel, etc., but dancing was frowned upon in our community. In the winter we had singing schools and spelling bees.
"In 1884 1 married Nora HAWLEY, a cousin of Oregon's Congressman HAWLEY. Our children were Pearl (Mrs. ROSE), Carrie (Mrs. REINHEIMER), and Leetta (Mrs. HEULAND).
"I have lived on a farm all my life until the last few years but I worked
a great deal as a carpenter and painter. I have never held a public
office, This has been a good world, but it seems to me to be getting worse."
Hulda TAYLOR HAMMERSLEY
Mrs. HAMMERSLEY is a widow who owns a home in Philomath. She speaks FREELy and with interest of the early days, and one is impressed that she is giving a true picture. She said:
"My parents were William C and Charlotte TRIMBLE. William TAYLOR came with his father, James TAYLOR, from Missouri to Benton County in 1848 (1851 ?). Father was 21 at the time. He took a claim about four miles below Corvallis. Father said little about the early days but I know they did not have unusual hardships on the way.
"James TAYLOR had a farm in Benton County above Corvallis. His children, besides my husband were James, who settled in Eastern Oregon; Polly, who married a Mr. MORGAN, and after his death, a man named SYLYESTER; and a daughter who was drowned in Marys River. She was coming to visit my father's folks when her horse got off the ford into deep water and threw her.
"My mother came to Oregon in 1848 when she was twelve years old. Her father was Ben TRIMBLE. One brother died on the plains and the mother died leaving a baby six months old. The children were Ben, Edward, Jack, Robert, Charlotte (my mother), and Mary, the baby. There was no trouble with the Indians, and no unusual amount of sickness on the train. In Eastern Oregon the train divided and one part headed for California. An Aunt who was caring for mother and her baby sister went with the California party. After they had gone a little way mother decided that she wanted to stay with her father. She was left by the roadside about mid-forenoon in the expectation that the other train would come along in an hour or so. There she played and waited until night, exposed to the capture by Indians, when her father's train finally appeared.
"At Dalles, Oregon, they traded their worn out oxen for horses and finished the trip. The Aunt who went to California later brought Aunt Mary to Oregon. Grandfather TRIMBLE lived on Kiger Island and various other places in Benton County.
"My parents were married in 1850. Their three oldest children died in childhood. They were Elizabeth, Nancy, and Martha. Those who lived to maturity were Margaret (Mrs. George PEEK), Emma (Mrs. Dave TOM), Mary Ellen (Mrs. Ed KIGER), myself, William, John, Edward, and Orvilla (Mrs. LICHTENTHALER).
"In 1867 father moved to the Alsea Valley where I was born. Our place was about three miles west of the present hamlet of Alsea, where I first went to school. I was eight years old then and walked the three miles each way every day. The schoolhouse was a rough box affair not far from the junction of the two forks of the Alsea River. Clarence PRUETT was my teacher there. Soon the district was divided and a school built about half a mile west of our house. Mr. ELLIS was one of the teachers here. We had only three months of school each year. I went regularly until I was fifteen, but with only three months of school and nine months in which I never opened by books I got little education.
"We lived at Lobster Creek for a while. Father had got a place there for my brother. When brother moved in he rode a mare with colt. The wolves killed the colt the first night and my brother was afraid to stay alone. Father had to move there to hold the place. The wolves were bad there for a long time and they were very destructive, but they were finally hunted out. The last one grew very wary and followed his range from Lobster to Alsea and over the divide to Monroe for years before he was finally killed.
The first settlers in the Alsea Valley raised only wheat enough for local needs and depended on cattle and hogs to bring in a needed supply of cash. There were many Indians there when I was a small girl and father used to hire them to bind and shock the wheat which he cut with a cradle. The first thrashing machine I ever saw was run by horses on a treadmill. I used to wonder what would happen if one of the horses stopped walking.
"Father had the first store in Alsea Valley. I remember it clearly because I used to swipe BROWN sugar from the barrel. Father did not do well in the store because he lost so much giving credit to the Indians. Father had no schooling and could not read or write, but he could keep every man's account straight in his head.
"The Indians were taken away to the reservation while I was still a small girl. I remember one Indian Woman who was brought by a man she didn't like, one KLICKITAT GEORGE. She sought the influence of the medicine man to get free from her husband and it is said the medicine man furnished her the rope with which she hung herself. She was buried on our farm and a Fir three which sprang up by her grave grew to a considerable size and is there to this day.
"We used to have Church and Sunday School at the schoolhouse. Andy ROBERTS used to conduct the Sunday School and sometimes he would preach, but he was not a regular preacher.
"In 1880 I married Henry HAMMERSLEY. Our children were Agnes, Roy, and Lessie. We farmed at various places, but we had no adventures and no special success.
"The world is the "bunk". I have had nothing but hard work all my
life and now I have nothing to show for it."
HAMILTON, Old Timer
Manuscript in possession of the HORNER Museum at Oregon State Agricultural College.
Honorable Joseph HAMILTON was born in Londonderry, Ireland, on March 25, 1819, and came to America with his parents in 1836, settling in Ohio, where he grew to manhood. He became very interested in the slave trade and bartered back and forth in this business and in time became quite well off financially before discontinuing it. While on one of his trips south he met Miss Caroline OWENS, who was born near Richmond, North Carolina, and after a very short courtship the young couple eloped and were married. This was in the spring of 1846. Mrs. HAMILTON was then only a young girl of eighteen, the daughter of wealthy parents and had never been taught the responsibilities of a household as maids were present to attend to everything; therefore this girl had no idea of the future ahead of her. As time went on and the many trials came upon her, what a brave, courageous woman she proved to be during the pioneer times.
Before the HAMILTONs were married Mr. HAMILTON had moved to Iowa and was following the occupation of threshing. They returned there until the following spring when they decided to come to Oregon. When their Oregon trip was decided upon they spent the winter making preparations. Among the many things that were prepared was a barrel of soft lye soap, which proved instrumental in saving the train from destruction. In the spring of 1847 they joined a train which is thought to have been the Joel PALMER train, and started on their six-months trip to Oregon. While on the Platte River, Mrs. HAMILTON presented her husband with a two-pound baby girl, which they named Aneline HAMILTON. In spite of her small beginning she seemed to thrive and lived to be a very old lady.
Before the train reached Fort Hall they were attacked by Indians and for a while thought that the whole train would be murdered. Finally, as the Indians were running from wagon to wagon to pilfer things, one found the barrel of lye soap and, thinking of course it was a barrel of molasses, gave a yell of glee and ran his entire arm into the barrel of soap. He then proceeded to lick it off his arm. In no time the lye took effect and of all the performances he went through with! This made the Indians take notice and in drawing their attention to the action of this Indian their minds were changed, and in that way the wagon train was saved although all their food was taken by the Indians. The train was in a bad way by the time they reached Fort Hall on account of no food and sickness among them.
In Fort Hall they rested for a few days and then proceeded on their way. The train divided, some going by the APPLEGATE route. Among these was the HAMILTON family. After reaching the Rogue River country they found the Indians very treacherous and orders were given to each and every one to stay by the wagons. Especially the women were warned but like the others they wandered too far. It was in the fall of the year and the evergreen blackberries were ripe, and in spite of the many warnings, young Mrs. HAMILTON and another young woman went a short distance to pick berries.
They had wandered farther than they thought when they heard a disturbance in the direction of the wagons. In no time they were assured that there was an Indian attack on the train. They were very frightened and dared not go near the wagons, proceeded to find a hiding place. They crawled in back of a large log which was heavily covered with berry vines and there were too frightened to move, so they lay still and waited. The noise came closer still and the girls realized that their hiding place was the scene of battle, and many times the fighting surged back and forth over the log where they lay. Even after the fighting stopped and all was quiet again the girls were too frightened to leave their hiding place.
They waited until night came so as not to take a chance of being seen by the Indians. They were also worried for fear the wagon train would leave them and they would be left behind. In the meantime the girls had been missed and the camp was all astir as to their whereabouts. Finally they decided that the Indians had taken the girls and either killed them or held them captive. You can imagine their surprise when the girls finally slipped into camp, still very much frightened from their experience. Mrs. HAMILLTON'S husband rushed to her and in his excitement grabbed her and violently shook her for the cause of all the worry. From that time on every woman stayed close as was ordered. The train finally arrived in the Willamette Valley. The HAMILTONS took up a donation land claim near where the community of Oakville now is, and raised their family of six children.
In 1849 Joseph HAMILTON went with the gold rush to California, leaving a neighbor girl to stay with his wife and children. For a while all went well, then one day an Indian walked into the house and after looking around made Mrs. HAMILTON understand that her man was gone and he would stay, and she would be his squaw. She knew she dared show no fear so she smiled and made signs to him to go to the cot and she would prepare him something to eat.
He watched her very closely at first but as she went around in her quiet way he felt assured that everything was alright. She put plenty of water over the fire and in stirring the fire left the poker in the fireplace and continued preparing the meal.
Finally when the water was boiling and the poker was red hot she decided the time had come to make a move. Quick as a flash she grabbed the boiling water and hurled it on the Indian and then grabbed the poker and chased him from the house and quickly barred the door. She and the neighbor girl got their guns ready and set themselves to watch, not retiring that night at all as they knew the Indians would be back. Next day they saw Indians approaching and watching the house. They were ready and waited. The Indians crept closer and closer and then seemed to stop and parley. Finally one fellow seemed to advance alone and crept close to the gun-hole. The women were ready with hot water and when he prepared to look inside the house the boiling water was hurled at him. In agony he ran from the house and soon the Indians departed. From that time on the family was not molested and shortly after that Mr. HAMILTON returned. Some time after Mr. HAMILTONS return the Indian that had received the scalding came to Mr. HAMILTON and told him what a good, brave white squaw he had. From that time on this Indian was a friend and admirer of the HAMILTON family.
When the bed sides were no longer needed on the wagon they were taken apart and made into a cradle, and each of the six children used the same cradle. It is now in the Portland Museum.
Mr. HAMILTON and his brother brought with them in 1847 the castings for
the first thrashing machine ever operated in the Willamette Valley.
A grandchild of the HAMILTONS is Mrs. Mable Riddell LAGE, of Hood River,
Oregon. She was a visitor at the museum (at O.S.A.C.) during home
M. THAYER HARDING
June 28, 1939
From papers in possession of Mrs. R. M. PEFFER, Winema Chapter, D.A.R.
My father and mother, Andrew Jackson and Melissa D. THAYER, left New York bound for the "far west" in May 1853. The real cause of their leaving the east was the death of their only child, a boy of six, William Agustine by name. After his death they were so unhappy that my father welcomed any change.
When they started they had not decided whether to go to California or Oregon. At that time California was called a paradise for lawyers, as the old Spanish land grants caused much litigation. On the other hand, the donation land law then in operation in Oregon, allowing a man and wife up a half section of land (320 acres) and a single man 160 acres was very alluring. The question were they should go had not been decided until they came to the forks of the road, one leading to Oregon and the other to California. The call of the land was great and Oregon won.
After leaving Buffalo, New York, they went as far as St. Joe on the steamboat. There they were outfitted, buying a covered wagon, an ox-team, and supplies necessary for a trip of six months. They had a team of eight of which the leading yoke was two milch cows. My mother also had a saddle horse. They were among the first immigrants for that year, which was fortunate, as the grass was good for the oxen and other stock. The later trains found the grass eaten out; their teams grew weaker and weaker and finally died. The loss of the teams caused much suffering as there was no way to replace them on the plains. They simply had to throw away what surplus baggage they had and do the best they could with what was left. The early trains of that year had little trouble with the Indians, but the later trains were continually harassed and many were massacred.
It was either on the Snake River or the Platte that the following incident occurred. One of the company had a whip from which the lash was continually coming off. A man in the train took the whip and fastened the lash securely to the stock. He had just returned it to the owner when he fell into the river, which was very turbulent and had a swift current. He most certainly would have drowned except that the man, who still had the whip in his hand, threw him the lash and so drew him to the shore.
Perhaps I had best explain that the whip used to drive an ox-team consists of a stock about a yard long and a lash of braided buckskin with a cracker at the end. The lash was as long as the driver was able to crack over the backs of the oxen. The words used to direct the team were: "Gee", meaning 'turn to the right'; "Haw" to the left; and "Whoa", stop. The tone of the voice indicated more than the words what the driver wished them to do.
You can easily imagine what a task my father had set for himself, who, although an expert horseman, had never driven an ox-team. In this dilemma he hired for a teamster a "Yankee" who was always getting his "foolin" wet. He was, however, a successful fisherman, and when they stopped at night he would fish until he had caught three fish, one for each of them, and would fish no more. My mother was greatly annoyed at this as she was so hungry that she could easily have eaten a dozen.
When they arrived at the foot of the Rockies they were informed, at a trading post situated there, that they had best trade their oxen for mules and pack in, leaving their wagons and extra baggage to be brought in later by these sharpers. These traders represented that the roads were bad and the trip could hardly be made at that time with wagons and ox teams, but could easily be made with pack trains. My father left his wagon and much baggage, which was sorely needed on their arrival, with a man who agreed to bring them in later, and my father agreed to pay him for the services. Needless to say the man brought the things in but did not deliver them to my father. The wagon had my father's initials painted on the axle, and St. Joe the starting point, and was seen by people who knew my father, so there was no question the wagon was brought in, but by whom they never knew.
My father was always much annoyed by the fact that what he had been told by the trader was utterly false, as he could have driven with an ox team and wagon as easily and much more comfortably than on mule back. Also, the oxen and cows would have brought a big PRICE, as cattle were high in the valley. I have also heard my father say if he had known as much when he started as he did when he arrived he would have driven horses and not oxen.
They reached their destination in October, having made the six months trip in five. October of 1853 was a beautiful month. I have heard my mother say that the country seemed more lovely than any she had ever seen and that the song of the meadow lark seemed a greeting and a welcome to a new and happy future. The contrast must have been great - Oregon in her happiest mood, and the dry and dusty trip over the plains.
Their journey ended at a small town, then called Marysville, now Corvallis. The name Marysville was changed to Corvallis because there was another Marysville in California which caused some confusion. Personally I think Corvallis much the better name, and the meaning is so apt: the core or heart of the valley.
I can hardly express the kindness with which newcomers, then called "pilgrims", were received by those who had preceded them. My father and mother were taken to the home of Mr. CAMPBELL (a perfect stranger) and treated like old and valued friends. Mr. CAMPBELL was a photographer and also ran a general store in which you could buy almost anything from food to calico. My father first settled on a fractional claim and with the help of his neighbor built a log cabin. I have heard mother describe this cabin and say how happy she was to move in. It had a mud fireplace and a mud and stick chimney. They built a framework of boards the shape of the fireplace and filled the space with mud. The chimney was laid of sticks, laid log cabin fashion, well plastered with mud. My mother helped build this chimney.
Just as soon as the fireplace was built they moved in. They had not yet made the hearth and the first night they sat in front with their feet and legs where the hearth would eventually be and were as happy as kings. The fire had to be very slow at first to properly dry the mud fireplace. The boards which encased it gradually burned away, leaving the mud jams. They built the hearth later of mud which had to be well hammered down and dried gradually. They had no furniture except what they made themselves. The bedsteads were called bachelor bedsteads, and were built in this way. Two holes were bored in the wall of the house. Two pieces of timber of the length desired for the length of the bed were fitted into these holes for the sides of the bed. Two bed posts and one piece the width of the bed completed the structure. The support for the mattress was of rope drawn back and forth across the bed. The mattress was filled with straw. Mother's featherbed which she had used on the trip, was left with the wagon. I have heard my mother say she never cared to sleep on a soft bed after sleeping on the ground with her saddle for a pillow.
The seats consisting of stools and benches, and a table completed the furnishings. The table ware was in the tin dishes used in camping and were so few that when they had company my mother had frequently to wait until someone had finished eating. This was something of a trial as she was blessed with a good appetite. That company was frequent goes without saying. When a stranger rode up the common greeting was, "Hello stranger. Light and look at your saddle". This at first seemed very strange to my mother who was unused to the free and easy manners of the west, which just suited my father. He, to use a modem term, was a much better mixer than my mother.
The cabins were usually built without windows. The only light during the day was admitted through the door or where a section of log had been sawed out, over which, in cold weather, a piece of waxed paper was fastened. The gloom was partially mitigated by the roaring fires they kept, which were never intentionally allowed to go out. Few had cook stoves and the cooking was done at the fireplace. Kettles were hung on the crane and bread baked in a Dutch oven. Even in my time I have cooked many a supper by the fireplace, roasting potatoes in the ashes, cooking meat in a long handled frying pan.
My mode of procedure was this: I first drew out some coals and hot ashes and carefully baked the bottom of the bread. After it was sufficiently stiff to stand on a slant, I inserted a stick in the handle of the pan as a brace. As the bread baked I kept turning it in the pan in order to have it baked evenly. Potatoes roasted in the ashes and bread baked by an open fire have a flavor all their own which I have never seen equaled. Too bad I could not have been a real pioneer as I should have loved even the hardships.
In the early says the women made their own soap, leaching the lye from hardwood ashes. They also made their own candles, either dipped or molded, from beef or mutton tallow. The mutton tallow made the whitest and hardest candies.
The first winter in Oregon was a hard one for our "Pilgrims", as PRICEs were high and money scarce. My father, being a lawyer, was not trained to do any manual labor, and in fact he was not fitted for it in any way. He could manage a team and could plow, but was no mechanic. I have heard him say that he made a bootjack and a three legged milking stool, and that was the extent of his accomplishments in that direction. Anything mechanical which my brother and I have was inherited from my mother. I have often heard her say that they would have starved that first winter if she had not been able to sew.
Mr. CAMPBELL had a family of five girls and one boy, and in such a family there was much sewing to be done. This my mother was glad to do. There were no sewing machines in those days and all sewing was done by hand. To sew, it was necessary that there should be a window with glass in it. This, a two-sash, six-pane window, my mother was able to get at the general store on credit. In fact all their necessities for the winter were procured in that way and paid for in sewing. To show that my mother gave value received they "jumped their accounts" in the spring, and each party was perfectly satisfied. The bookkeeping was very crude in those days.
My mother was able to add many little things to the house to make it attractive. She bought a quantity of curtain calico which she used to put a valance around the lower part of the bed, and for curtains to the window. I have seen some of this. It was somewhat like our cretonne. This particular pattern had a light blue background with large pink roses and green leaves scattered over it. I had a yard of this which she had not used. This was lost when the house burned in 1905.
In the early days hardware was expensive and hard to get, so the door fastenings were often wooden latch which could be lifted from the inside; but to enable one to open the door from the outside, you fastened a piece of buckskin to the latch and bored a hole in the door to pass the string through. Hence the saying, "The latch string is out", and it was usually out in those days. Should you wish to fasten the door, all you had to do was to pull the string inside.
There was a fine piece of land, 309 acres, adjoining the fraction held by my father and mother. This was held by Mrs. SYLVESTER (formerly the widow of MORGAN) for the MORGAN heirs. In the spring while my father with some of the neighbors were working on the public road, it was mentioned that MORGAN had died at a certain time. My father, being a lawyer, was conversant with the Donation Land Law. He said, it is a fact that if MORGAN died at that time, it was before the passage of the law under which she is holding, and they have no claim. He went to see Mrs. Sylvester, and found that MORGAN had died before the law was passed. Mr. SYLVESTER had exhausted his right and Mrs. SYLVESTER was holding 320 acres as the widow of MORGAN, so she could not hold this 309 acres. Father told her he would go to Oregon City, where the Land Office was located, and look over the records, and if it was clear he would file on it. He told her if there should be any future law passed by which the heirs could hold it, he would move off and give quiet possession. Mrs. SYLVESTER said if the children could not hold it, she had rather my father had it than any one else.
Oregon City was about eighty miles from the ranch, and my father made this trip on horseback, looked up the records, and returned the following day. He did not reach home until the middle of the night. and when mother was going to light a candle to give him his supper, he said, "Don't make a light, I can eat in the dark." In the morning when he appeared on the land to set up his stakes, he was met by the most surprised set of neighbors. He had told them before leaving that if he could take up the land he would come home the following night, otherwise he would not return so soon, as it was a hard trip. They had been watching his cabin for a light, intending, if they saw one, to move on the land at once, and so get the start of him. My mother never forgave this breach of trust, but my father said, "It is human nature", and apparently forgot it.
They had been in Oregon six months when they wrote to have the goods they had packed sent to them. These had to be shipped in a "Windjammer" around the Horn. When the goods arrived, some one, previous to sending, had opened the boxes and taken out numerous things and replaced the rest so poorly that many of the dishes were broken. Mother always mourned the loss of a fine washbowl and pitcher that was either taken out or broken, and father grieved over the loss of an old book that he had studied while in school, called "The English Reader". This book was intact when he packed it, but the one substituted for it was only half there, and was only an aggravation. Of course the relatives left in New York were dreadfully worried about them, and imagined all sorts of dire happenings. I have heard father and mother say they would never have written home had it not been that they wanted their goods. I think human nature was about the same them as now. However, my father forgot his peeve but my mother never did.
To show that the life of the pioneers was not all sunshine, I will mention two incidents that seem quite funny, looking back, but were tragic at the time. Before the spaces between the logs were chinked with mud and moss, my father hung his shirt, which he removed at night, against the wall near the bed. The wild cattle roving around licked the shirt through the openings in the logs and practically ate it up. This did not happen to be his only shirt, as some of his friends, desiring to make a good story, declared, but it surely was missed. My father had a pair of buckskin breeches which were much used at this time. While wearing these breeches he got caught in a rainstorm, and the buckskin stretched so that father cut off the legs, while wet, to the desired length. When dry they had drawn up so as to be unwearable. These two stories were told on him in his political canvasses.
They built a bigger and better cabin on this land, and sold their improvements and squatter's rights to the fractional claim. I should have mentioned the fact that previous to 1853 a man and his wife could take up a section (640) and a single man a half section, but in 1853 it had been reduced one-half in each case. By this time my father had begun to make a little money practicing law, and it was not necessary for mother to sew for outsiders anymore. I well remember the cabin where my sister and I were born. The main part was built of logs and consisted of two rooms, a living room and a kitchen. Each of these rooms had a glass window. The living room had a brick fireplace and hearth. Two bedrooms built lean-to fashion, were on the west side, and a woodshed built in the same fashion was built on the north. These 'lean-tos" were of sawed lumber. The roof was of three foot boards, rived out. They had acquired furniture, not home-made. Among these pieces were a bookcase, not very well filled, but to which they were continually adding.
When I was born, which interesting event occurred on the 29 of May 1855, they had no rocking chair. I must have been a spoiled youngster and very much attached to my mother, as I would howl after her and the only way my father could get me to stay with him was to hold me inside his coat and rock back and forth in an ordinary straight chair, singing at the top of his voice, "Rock-a-by baby in the tree top", which seemed to interest me and quiet my nerves. I might mention that my father could not tell one tune from another, but what he lacked in time and tune he made up in volume. He claimed that he could tell "Yankee Doodle" when he heard it, but I doubt that he could.
My sister, Emma Adelia, was born July 2, 1857. She was a very good baby and my mother was determined that she should not be spoiled as I had been. I also unconsciously helped to make her a good baby by being very jealous of any attention my mother gave her. However, this is only hearsay, as my earliest recollection is that I loved my little sister very much.
When Emma was about two she had a severe illness. When she was taken sick she could walk, but when she recovered she had to learn all over again. When she was just able to totter around mother had a visitor who had an infant son about three. He was a lusty chap who delighted in pushing Emma over when she tried to walk. She was still half sick and would cry when he did this. Mother was at her wit's end, but father, happening in, took in the situation at a glance. He drew me outside and told me that when Johnnie pushed Emma over again to give him a good thrashing. This apparently was what I had been aching to do all the time, but was deterred from doing by the fact that I had been instructed to treat other children kindly. Mother said I watched Johnny like a hawk until he pushed her over once more, when I sprang on him and gave him a good thrashing before his mother could interfere. I have told this to illustrate father's resourcefulness.
The second log cabin, as I remember it, was very attractive. After building it they went into the woods and dug a vine maple which had three shoots. This was planted in front of the sitting room window. They also procured two locust trees. The locust tree is indigenous to Oregon, but my father was very partial to locust trees, so he had them. They died down, but one of them sprouted on the day I was born and was always called Clara's tree. The other tree died, but later mother got another locust which she called my sister's tree.
Mother also managed to get some rose slips. These were what were called June roses from the fact that they bloom so profusely in that month. Through my mother's care these roses grew and prospered. They had wonderful name, too: "The Queen of the Belgians", "The Duchess", "The Mission Rose", so called because it was brought to Oregon by the early missionaries, and the "Damask Rose". This last was my father's favorite. It was a large single rose of a bright red color. I do not recall the name of the rest. My favorite, as I think it was my mother's was the Mission rose. It was a delicate pink in color and was very fragrant. If I have not misplaced the name, the "Queen of the Belgians" was a white cluster, vine rose, and was planted by the house and ran all over it, making it a veritable bower in summer.
After my parents were settled in this home my mother wished to name it "Rose Cottage", but my father insisted that nothing so inane as that could be tolerated. He called it "Bearskin Lodge". This name seemed quite appropriate, as from my earliest recollections he always had a huge bearskin which he would throw on the floor in front of the fireplace, with a chair tipped down to support the pillow, and lie there with his feet to the fire and take his afternoon siesta, my sister and I playing around him, combing his hair until he would fall asleep. After he was asleep we were rather careful not to waken him, as he always said, "It is dangerous to rouse a sleeping lion." He was away from home so much of the time that we greatly enjoyed these afternoons when he was with us, even though he was asleep most of the time.
When I was four and my sister was two years old, my parents rented the farm and moved to Corvallis to live. This house also was soon overgrown with the white cluster roses. Here my brother, Edwin Alden, was born November 19, 1860. Previous to this my father became interested in politics. He was elected prosecuting attorney, but later resigned as he had much rather defend a man than prosecute him. My mother thought he was quite foolish to resign as he was sure of a fee as prosecuting attorney, but when he defended he frequently could collect nothing.
My father was elected a member to the thirty-seventh Congress and served from March 4, 1861 to July 30, 1861. George H. SHIEL, whom he defeated, contested the election. My father had every reason to believe he would have won the suit and been able to retain his seat in Congress had not Smith ELY, his attorney, gone out with a lot of other curious individuals to see the battle of Bull Run and was among those who were taken prisoners after that disastrous battle. Smith ELY had the papers by which my father expected to establish his claim in his pocket, and these were lost when he was captured and put in prison.
My father was what was called a "Douglas Democrat" after the Civil War. He was State District Attorney for the Second District from 1862 to 1864. He was elected Circuit Judge of the Second Judicial District of Oregon and served from 1870 until his death in Corvallis. Oregon, April 28, 1873. His death was caused by typhoid fever contracted while serving as Supreme Judge at Salem, Oregon. At that time the Supreme Court was composed of five Circuit Judges.
The Second Judicial District was a very hard one on the Judge, as at that time there was no way of reaching the counties of Coos and Curry except by private conveyance. My father used to drive as far as he could in his buggy and then go the rest of the way on horse or mule back. I remember at one time he had a span of mules which made a fine team for a long, hard trip. They stood the trip much better than horses and as a saddle animal were superior in that they had more endurance.
My father was a heavy man, weighing more then 200 pounds. His height was five feet, seven inches, eyes blue, hair, what there was of it, was light BROWN. My father was, I believe, a conscientious lawyer and a just judge, his dissenting opinions standing as law in Oregon to this day, so I have been informed by lawyers who ought to know.
Shortly after my father's death my mother returned to the farm, where she lived until October 1879, when she moved to Portland, Oregon, living there until her death, April 23, 1894. She outlived my father twenty-one years. They were born in the same month, my father the 27 of November 1818, my mother the 13 of November, 1821, and by a strange coincidence, both died in April.
Looking back to my childhood and early youth I can truly say I had a happy life. When we were young we had saddle horses, and later when we could be trusted to drive, good horses and what in those days were reasonably good vehicles. I might mention that the vehicles were in the Ford class but the driving horses in the Cadillac. Very few could pass us when my sister or I held the reins.
I believe our happiness was largely due to the kindness of our parents
and the comfortable home they provided for us.
Finished, February 8, 1930
Clara M. THAYER HARDING
June 29, 1939
Andrew Jackson THAYER, a Representative from Oregon; Born in Lima, New
York, November 27, 1818; completed preparatory studies, studied law, was
admitted to the bar in 1849, and began practice in Lima; crossed the continent
in 1853 and located upon a farm near Corvallis, Oregon; practiced law and
engaged in agricultural pursuits, moved to Corvallis, Benton County, Oregon,
and continued in practice; appointed by President Buchanan, United States
Attorney for the District of Oregon, March 2, 1859, and resigned after
six months' service; presented credentials as a member-elect of the thirty-seventh
Congress, and served from March 4, 1861 to July 30, 1861, when he was succeeded
by George K. SHIEL, who contested his election; State District Attorney
for the Second District, 1862-1864; Circuit Judge of the Second Judicial
District from 1870 until his death in Corvallis, Oregon, April 28, 1873.
Clara M. THAYER HARDING
Mrs. Della BENNETT HATHAWAY
Mrs. HATHAWAY, widow, was interviewed at her country home about a mile southeast of Philomath. She is an intelligent and well informed person, but because she was orphaned early and lived much with strangers she has not a great deal of information about her own family. She said:
"My father, Alexander BENNETT, was born in Pennsylvania in 1824, moved to Ohio, and came from there to Oregon in 1852. The trip was made by way of the Isthmus of Panama and by boat to San Francisco and on to Portland. My mother, Margaret HENDRICKSON, was born in 1840 and came from Iowa to Clarke County, Washington, in 1850. Her parents were William and Sophia HENDRICKSON. There was one son, Oliver. Grandfather HENDRICKSON was a local preacher, blacksmith, and farrier.
"My parents were married in Clarke County, Washington, in 1858, by the Rev. Jeremiah KENOYER, United Brethren missionary. They moved soon after to Yamhill County and in the early 'sixties came to Benton County. Father bought a farm across Marys River south of Philomath, on the north side of what has come to be known as Bennett's Hill. From time to time he made additions to his holdings until they included the little place where I am now living.
"Father was a United Brethren preacher and traveled circuits all over Southern Oregon. For a time he was presiding elder in charge of the whole district and once he represented Oregon Conference in the quadrennial General Conference of the denomination.
"My mother died in 1874. Father kept the family together at first, but later was obliged to find homes for us girls. I stayed one year with Mr. EDWARDS near Bellfountain and two years with Mr. BARNARD. In 1879 I went to stay with a brother in Washington.
"Father married Mrs. Sarah KEENEY CLARK, a widow in 1879. My brothers and sisters were Frank, Oliver, Viola, Lincoln, Martha, Henry and Edward. Edward has been for years and still is a practicing physician in Monroe, Oregon. I have two half brothers, John and Marion.
"In 1883 I married George MILLER of Clarke County, Washington. Mr. MILLER'S family were pioneers in Washington, and came from Iowa where the town of Millersburg had been named for the family. Mr. MILLER died in 1891 and I married Jeremiah HATHAWAY, member of a pioneer family from Michigan. My children were George MILLER, and Lloyd, Melvin, Ida, Lee, Margaret, Erma, and Ernest HATHAWAY.
"My first teachers was Mary LAWRENCE of the Primary Department of the Philomath College. When I attended Bellfountain school where Mr. SMITH, Mr. HOWERT, and Will McCOY were teachers.
"I am alone now and living here on this little place because I like to
be independent, and do not want to cause inconvenience to my children."
Robert 0. HAWKS
Mr. HAWKS, aged 81, was interviewed in Philomath at the home of his sister, Mrs. Jerry HINKLE, with whom he was visiting. His life has been spent in pursuits demanding mental rather than physical activities and he may be presumed to give a true picture of the early times. He has a tendency to be subjective rather than objective in his reminiscence. His story follows.
"My mother was Margaret FIELDS HAWKS. My father died a few days before my birth and when I was about two and one half years old my mother married Mr. HUNT. In 1869, when I was thirteen years old, my folks crossed the plains from the neighborhood of Ames, Iowa. We started on May 3, with three teams. One team of heavy mules drew the first wagon, a four-mule team followed, and my mother rode in a hack drawn by two mules. My step-brother Ben, drove the first wagon and my brother William and I drove the four-mule team. With us were Nathaniel DENNY who married my sister Priscilla, with a four-mule team; Joe DENNY, with a two-mule team; and James A. PICKARD who had two wagons drawn by horses.
"We crossed the Missouri River at Omaha by a steam ferry. This was the first steamboat I had ever seen. There we joined with others, making a train of 55 vehicles. Indians were troublesome and immigrants were not safe in small parties. The wagons were assigned to a fixed order in the train and led in rotation. The wagon leading one day would go to the rear of the line the next day. Many immigrants started with wagons not fit for so hard a trip. One day about twenty wagons were delayed by loose wheels and fell behind. While they were making repairs they noticed what appeared to be an antelope on top of a ridge near the trail. One man started to stalk it armed only with a revolver. The supposed antelope diSAPPeared and the hunter followed it over the ridge. As soon as he was out of sight a volley of shots was heard and about twenty mounted Indians appeared from over the ridge and charged the train. About half a dozen men were on foot some distance in advance of the wagons and the Indians attempted to cut these off. Some of them were armed and held the Indians off by gunfire until they regained the wagons. The Indians circled the wagons three times at full speed and withdrew, waving the bloody scalp of the hunter. The men of the party dared not make an attempt to find and bury the body.
"As we got further west the DENNY boys became impatient and wanted to travel faster. Finally our party and two German families went on ahead. As we drew near Antelope Station about two days travel east of Cheyenne we saw numbers of Indian scouts on the ridges along the trail. At Antelope we met the first soldiers we had seen. They stopped us and said it was unsafe for us to go on. A train ahead of us had been massacred. We were held up for two weeks until a party had assembled large enough to travel safely.
"We kept with the train until we reached Green River and then divided. The DENNY brothers and PICKARD went on to the Willamette Valley and turned aside to the Walla Walla country in Washington. At Green River $5.00 per wagon was demanded by owners of the ferry. A ford was found a little ways down the river and many of the wagons crossed by this. At the Snake River the same toll was demanded and the store would sell only to those who crossed the river. The DENNY brothers had been west in 1859 and were acquainted with roads and distances so we did not cross there. We skirted the Snake River bluffs where it was impossible to get the wagons down. On one occasion my brother and another member of the party took the stock down to the river to water and stayed there until morning. When one of them rolled out of his blanket in the morning he found a large rattlesnake coiled by his head.
"By the time we got to Green River trains were running that far west on the railroad. The DENNY Brothers, after they crossed the river found a man who had broken from the sheriff and jumped from a moving train, breaking a leg. Nathaniel took the man, who was wanted for murder, back to the sheriff and claimed the reward.
"Our folks found a place north of Walla Walla near Waitsburg on the Touchet River. On my step- father's farm grew up the little village of Huntsville. Only the land along the river was taken then. The hills which today produce such heavy crops of wheat were untouched. Waitsburg was named Delta at first by J. W. SMITH who first settled there, but the name was changed to honor a popular citizen named WAITE.
"There was not much chance for schooling in Iowa on account of the Civil War and the resulting confusion. At the age of thirteen I had reached only the second grade. At Huntsville my first teacher was Miss STOTT. She could not do fractions and my brother William used to work them for her at night. She taught arithmetic, reading, writing, and geography, but no grammar. Then there were Mr. BUFF and Mr. Charles DAVIS, both of whom came from Silverton, Oregon, and Mr. REMINGTON. These were all ood teachers. After I was fifteen I made my home with Nathaniel DENNY, my brother-in-law.
"In 1874, when I was eighteen, Ernest HOPKINS and I decided to go to the Willamette Valley where we could get more education. We started in July. We missed the stage at Walla Walla and walked all the way to Wallula. There we got a boat and reached Portland in two days, travelling on three boats and two short stretches of railroad which carried passengers past the rapids. From Portland we traveled to Albany by rail. Immediately we got a job with a thrashing machine south of Albany and finished up the run at Shedds. My chum got sick and I nursed him for a time and kept on working. Afterwards he gave up and went back home.
"I got a job hauling lumber to David PORTER's new house at Shedds.
We hauled from a mill in the hills back of Sweet Home. There was
no timber closer on that side of the river. I worked for PORTER until
it was time to time to start school.
"During the summer I had come into the possession of a pamphlet telling about Philomath College. This booklet emphasized that students could live very cheaply. This interested me and I came to Philomath and entered school with sixty dollars. I got room and board at a private home for $10.00 per month, as good as could be had now for $35.00. I managed to get a little work now and then to help out. By March my money was gone, and I got a school to teach. This school was about six miles east of Scio on the Santiam River. The people there were the finest people in the world. They were mostly from Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri. Among their virtues was this that they all chewed tobacco. Except in one family the women all smoked pipes. I received $100.00 for three months school and was "boarded 'round". There was one childless couple who wanted me to stay with them for a week just for company. When I got up the first morning the wife wanted me to sit by and talk to her while she prepared breakfast. She was cooking over the open fire in the fireplace and had two or three skillets on the coals. As she cooked she chewed tobacco and spat as straight as a rifle shot, over the skillet and into the coals. I was fascinated at her accuracy and watched to see if she cleared the skillet every time. Her record was prefect but the suspense was too much for me and I did not stay there the second night. I was unanimously requested to return the next year and they put off the school term until June to accommodate me. This second year I did not "board, round", but stayed with the chairman of the board.
"In the spring of 1878, just before I finished the course at Philomath College, I was called home by an Indian outbreak. The Bannocks and Snakes were on the war-path. When I reached Umatilla I found the place in great excitement. A man rode in on horseback, shouting "The Indians are coming". In the preparations to receive them one would-be defender wounded a little girl in the leg with a Winchester rifle. The Indian attack did not materialize. I went on to Walla Walla by the celebrated railroad with wooden rails. Straps of iron were laid on the rails to take the wear of the wheels. The Indian outbreak did not reach our section, but several whites were killed near Pendleton. - By correspondence with President WALKER I finished my college work and was graduated without returning.
"After the Indian trouble was over I went to Whitman County and took a preemption claim on the Palouse River, east of Step-toe Butte. In 1879, when I had made final proof on my claim, I was called to take charge of the Huntsville Academy. While I was in Whitman County they wanted me to teach and I took the examination. Whitman County was just organized and "Father" EELS, the missionary had been appointed County Superintendent. This was the first examination given and only three of us passed, - John LAWRENCE, Harvey, and myself.
"In 1884, I was elected County Superintendent of Columbia County which at that time included what is now Garfield and Asotin Counties. I held this position for two terms. - In 1881, I had married Mary DUGGER, one of my pupils. She died in 1887 leaving three children. I came back to Philomath and kept books for Jerry HINKLE who had married my sister, Nancy and was conducting a general store in Philomath. After that I was Superintendent of Schools at Athena, Oregon for a time.
"From 1899 to 1909 I was bookkeeper for the Byers Flouring Mills of Pendleton. I was deputy assessor of Umatilla County under C. P. STRAIN from 1913 to 1921. I was elected Mr. STRAIN'S successor and reelected without opposition, serving until 1932, when I retired.
" I have been a life-long Republican and a member of the church. I have found the world good, and I am enjoying my declining years.
"My children are: Myrtle (Mrs. LIEUALLEN), Byron ( a druggist at Bonners
Ferry, Idaho), Grace (Mrs. CRONIN), Glenn, Charles, Harold, Rhea
(Mrs. ROYER), and Bruce. The first three were by my first wife, Mary
DUGGER. The others by Pearl CHARLES whom I married at Philomath in
1890, and who died in Pendleton in 1934.
"My mother's children were, by my father: Thomas, Priscilla (Mrs. DENNY), William, and myself. Her children by Hunt were Nancy (Mrs. HINKLE), and twins, Sherman and Sheridan.
Mrs. A. W. (Sarah M PRICE) HAWLEY
May 24, 1939
Mrs. HAWLEY was interviewed at her home at 504 South Fourth Street in Corvallis, Oregon. In spite of her eighty years her memory is good and all her faculties keen. She said:
"My grandfather, Reuben PRICE, came in 1852 from Indiana to Marion County, Oregon. They met the usual hardships by the way. Their children were Levi (my father), Isaac, Anne, Charles, Abner, Rebecca (twin of Abner), Samuel, Andrew, Benjamin, Martha and Elizabeth. I think there was one more but I cannot recall the name. I am not sure of the order. Several of them were born in Oregon. Grandfather was a farmer but he had a saw mill a few miles south of Salem.
"My mother was Elizabeth Jane APPLEGATE. Her father was a cousin of Jesse APPLEGATE who was well known in pioneer times in the Willamette Valley and Western Oregon. My parents were married in 1857 when my mother was fifteen years old.
"Father farmed mostly, but he moved about a great deal. For a time he packed in supplies to the mines in Southern Oregon. He had a farm near Oakland in Douglas County, and also lived for a time near Roseburg. At on time he farmed near Salem and at another he rented a farm in Polk County.
"I was born in 1858 and have a brother who is younger than I. My first schooling was in a district school called "Brush College" in Polk County. I cannot recall the names of my teachers there. We had to walk a mile and a half to school, but the folks usually took us if the weather was bad. Next I went to school near Alpine in the southern part of Benton County. My teacher there was Alfred NICHOLS. He is gone now, but his brother, Richard NICHOLS, who was also a teacher, is still living in the Alpine Community. I also attended the primary department of Philomath College when Prof. WALKER and Prof. SHEAK were there, and later went to the preparatory department of Corvallis College.
"When I was a girl I had to work hard and had little time for pleasure. My parents were far from wealthy and were hard working. They were always staunch church people. Mother was a Baptist.
"I married Arthur HAWLEY who lived near Alpine. He was a member of the HAWLEY family which was a part of the STARR-BELKNAP clan that came to the Bellfountain-Alpine district in 1847-8, built the Ebenezer schoolhouse and founded the Methodist class that later built Simpson chapel. My husband is also related to Congressman HAWLEY who for many years represented Oregon in the lower House of the Federal Congress. My husband followed farming all his life until he became too old for work. He has at different time served three terms as County Commissioner.
"When we were young and first married we worked hard to get ahead.
We seldom took a vacation except a trip to the beach now and then, but
saved all we could for our old age. I think we made a mistake. We
should not have worked less, but we should have taken a little more of
pleasure as we went along. Now we have enough to keep us for the
rest of our lives but we are too old to enjoy it to the full. My
husband is in very poor health and has to be taken care of. I am
in better health than he, but have to be careful over exertion. If
we had taken more vacations we might be better able to enjoy our old age.
Mr. HAWLEY was interviewed at his home in Alpine (Monroe, Route 1). He is quite badly crippled by rheumatism, but is still alert and active in mind. He said:
"My father, David HAWLEY, came from Iowa to Benton County in 1848 with his parents Chatman HAWLEY and Keziah BELKNAP HAWLEY. Grandmother HAWLEY was a sister of Ransom BELKNAP. The strongest reason for their coming was their desire to swell the American immigration and make the Northwest secure in possession of the United States. They were fortunate in having no trouble with the Indians and no serious sickness.
"Chatman HAWLEY'S children were David, Jesse, Sewell, Alonzo, and Sarah. Sarah married Squire RYCRAFT, one of the first settlers of the Alsea Valley. Grandfather's donation land claim extended west from what is now the site of the village of Alpine and father's claim joined it.
"My mother, Martha E. FREEL, was eleven years old when she came to Benton
County in 1852. Their train was hard hit by cholera and mother lost
her parents and five brothers and sisters. There was no trouble with
the Indians except for one incident. There was one man in the train who
believed himself to be quite a joker. When the Indians wanted to
trade horses for a certain little girl this man readily agreed. When the
Indians came to fulfill the agreement they could not see the humor of the
situation and trouble was averted only with difficulty. Grandfather
FREEL had fourteen children but I never knew much about them. The
names I remember besides my mother are Will, Ann, Sophia, Sula, and Lizzie.
They spent the first winter in Portland and then came to the BELKNAP settlement in Benton County.
"My parents were married in 1855. Their children were Warren, Nora (Mrs. HAMMER), Lucetta (Mrs. MIERS), myself, Iola (Mrs. GRAVES), Jessie (Mrs. POWELL), and Sylvia (Mrs. BUCKINGHAM). W. C. HAWLEY who had been Oregon's representative at Washington for so many years, was the son of my father's brother, Sewell.
"I was born in 1867, and in 1871 my folks moved to the Alsea Valley where father had a place on the South Fork. All my schooling was at Alsea. We had a three months term in the spring and in the fall but my health was so uncertain I scarcely ever attended a full term. The schoolhouse was a log building on the first slope of the hill just above the road where the village of Alsea now stands. Among the teachers were Clarence WALLER, Robert BROWN, Belle SKIPTON, Lillian GLASS, Marion MAYS, and Jennie FULLER.
"In 1880 I married Anna ROWLAND . Our children were Crystal, Neil, Greeta (Mrs. TOMPKINS), and May. "Among our social amusements in Alsea were dancing and singing school. Andy WILLIAMS and Silas HOWELLS taught the singing schools. Then there were spelling schools and play parties. We would play charades and such games as "Old Dan Tucker", Weevily Wheat", and "Pop goes the Weasel". There was frequently Sunday School and preaching services by the United Brethren, Baptist, and other denominations. These meetings were held at the school-house. When Peter HOOVER moved into the valley he had two houses on his place. The use of one of these he gave to the community for religious services.
"The Alsea Valley was a rich valley but we had trouble in getting our produce to market. In 1880 there were not more than 300 whites in the valley and I have seen as many as 1,000 Indians at one time. There was an Indian camp ground at the "narrows" about three miles below Alsea and the Indians used to come and go. During the Rogue River War the Indians got "sassy" and the settlers came together and were ready to take the women and children out to a place of safety. However, the trouble passed and the people returned to their homes.
"The Indians of the Alsea Valley were of a low order of intelligence and filthy habits. I remember cattle were sometimes killed by eating poisonous plants. Whenever this happened all we had to do was to notify the Indians and they would cut up and remove the carcasses, including the offal.
"This has been a good world and I have enjoyed it. I have never prospered
greatly and much of my life I worked for wages. I have tried to do no harm
and to do what good I could."
Henry (Emma ROWLAND) HAWLEY
My grandparents, Obadiah and Margaret THARP, came to Oregon about 1865 and settled at Brownsville in Linn County. In 1867 my parents, Dr. William H. ROWLAND and Sarah THARP ROWLAND, came after them. Father bought a farm by Harrisburg and town property in Brownsville. Mother was an only child. My parents' children were Albert, Mary, Rufus, Elizabeth, Charles, Eddy, Melissa, and Emma (myself). Mary married M. W. CHESSMAN; Elizabeth was Mrs. HEADRICK; and Melissa's husband was Mr. McCRARY. I am the only one of the family left in this part of the country. I was born in 1870.
Father practiced medicine all over this part of the Willamette Valley.
In the early days doctors were few and had to make long trips. No doctor
ever refused to go when called. At different times father practiced at
Brownsville, Harrisburg, and Salem. Dr. L. L. ROWLAND at Salem was
not related to father, but they often consulted with one another.
Epidemics of diphtheria and typhoid were common in those days. Very often several members of one family would be taken in a short time. Very often at the critical stage of these diseases the outcome depended on doing just the right thing at the right time. There were no trained nurses to carry out the doctor's instructions and when the crisis approached the doctor would stay by the patient's side for 24 to 48 hours, and the patient might be brought safely through. But if the doctor had too many cases he could not be by all of them, the family could not carry out the directions properly, and death frequently resulted. Of course doctors have learned better methods of treatment in these days.
I went to school at Brownsville. Then I had my high school work at Salem and Brownsville I had three years schooling at Spokane Falls, Washington. After father ceased his medical work he went to Spokane for a time. He and his brother started the first soda pop bottling works in Spokane. That was in the early 'eighties. I cannot now recall the names of my teachers. My brothers and sisters went to Monmouth College. - Father was very bitterly opposed to the traffic in alcoholic liquor. He said in his work he had such opportunity to see the effects of liquor, -- the mothers and children who were hungry and poorly clad because the father wasted his money on drink. Father used to take every opportunity to lecture in churches and other places against the saloon.
I married Henry HAWLEY
in 1888. Our children are Crystal, Neil, Greta (THOMPKINS), and May (DUNAVEN).
Mrs. Joy HAWORTH
Mrs. HAWORTH was for years a school teacher. "My grandfather, John Wesley STARR, came to Benton County in 1848. The tradition was that three brothers, a doctor, a lawyer and a preacher, came to America on the Speedwell, the first ship to follow the Mayflower. Our people claim descent from the preacher. My grandfather was an ardent Methodist as were his parents. Names of Bishops were commonly given to the sons. Families were large in those days. Grandfather was twice married. His first wife was Hannah McWILLIAMS. They had five children: Nancy, James M., John Wesley, Jr., Philip McWilliams and Moses F.
"After the death of Hannah he married Mrs. LUCAS, a widow with several
children. To them were born: William Nelson, Precious, Matilda Jane, Samuel
Emory, Milton Lees, Levi Lucas, Jesse Belknap, Leroy Hamline, Eliza Ann,
Silas Chambers, Asbury Pearne and Mary Emeline. I copied this information
from an old diary handed down in the family."
September 18, 1936
Marion HAYDEN lives at Alsea and operates the farm taken by his father about 1854. This farm is about three miles above the village of Alsea on the north fork of the Alsea River. Mr. HAYDEN was born on the place in 1862, and is still in full and active possession of all his faculties. He said:
"My father crossed the plains in 1853. He traded an ox-team for a squatter's right to the 320 acres on which we are now standing. Mr. KELLAM, who first took the place, chose a new location farther down the river. The KELLAM brothers, the RYCRAFTS, and perhaps one or two other families were here then.
"The only outlet to the valley for years was an Indian trail over the divide to the Willamette Valley. The first settlers depended on game for meat and on the produce of their gardens. Cattle were soon introduced, and as soon as passable roads were built immense crops of wheat and oats were raised on the rich bottom lands. Each fall there was a rush to get the wheat out before the rains made the roads impassable for a loaded wagon. The thirty mile trip to Corvallis took two days and twenty bushels was a load for two horses. Sometimes the farmers would haul the wheat over the mountain and store it to be hauled when the mountain road was impassable.
"Dan RUBLE built a sawmill on the North Fork in 1872 and a flour mill soon after. These were a great boon to the settlers.
"There was one Indian scare and the settlers all left the valley. When they returned the Indians said they had only been holding one of their regular dances and had not planned to harm the settlers.
"The first school in the Alsea valley was taught in 1856. It was held in an unoccupied log house on Judge KELLAM's place on the North Fork. There were about fifteen pupils, mostly of the RYCRAFT, KELLAM, HOLGATE, and HAYDEN families. All families were large in those days.
"The first church in the valley was built by the Presbyterians in 1888.
The present Methodist Church was built by the Baptists and later acquired
by the Methodists.
Mr. Elijah HENDERSON was interviewed at his home at the north end of A Street in Philomath on June 7, 1937. Mr. HENDERSON has worked much of his life as a logger and his experiences make him a competent relater of conditions in the "backwoods". He was certain about dates. Mr. HENDERSON said:
"My father, John HENDERSON, came to Jackson County, Oregon some time in the 'sixties, I think. My mother, Susan MULKEY, was among the earlier settlers of Benton County. She was the daughter of Elijah MULKEY who took a donation land claim on Little Elk Creek, and was related to the MULKEY clan that settled near Corvallis.
"I was born in Jackson County in 1864. Soon after that father came to Benton County and located on a place at Burnt Woods. This is now in Lincoln County. Father's children were: Hood, Mary (Mrs. HOFFMAN), myself, Orin, and Mahala (Mrs. HINES). Father raised cattle which pastured on the free range of the hills. He aimed to cut enough hay each year to help the stock through any severe weather that might come. He tried to have good cattle and was partial to the Red Durham breed. He used to come out to Corvallis each year when he had sold his fat cattle and take in a wagon load of provisions to last through the winter. I've worked as a logger most of my life. I began when logging was done with ox teams, saw horses used, and then steam and gasoline donkeys.
"What little education I have, I got in the Burnt Woods school. The schoolhouse was built of split cedar planks placed up and down and battened on the outside. There were puncheon benches and the desks about eight feet long. This was made of smoothly dressed lumber painted black. The building could not have been more than 20' by 30'.
"I'll always remember Mr. WARDLOW who taught there because he often used to lash my bare legs with long hazel switches. Other teachers were John FLICKINGER, and Nellie YANTIS, who was a neighbor girl. Usually the teachers were outsiders.
"I married Fidelia McVAY. Her people came to Oregon considerably later than my folks. Our children are Olive (Mrs. January), George, Billy, Hood, and Frank.
"I am familiar with most of the country west of here to the coast, having hunted over it often. I still get my deer each fall. In the early days there were lots of elk, deer and bear. I once helped kill eight elk in one bunch. We built racks of poles about 40 feet long to cure the meat into long strips, dipped the strips in the boiling brine, and strung them on the rack to dry over a slow fire of green vine maple wood. Meat treated in this way was called 'jerked' meat. It was hardened on the outside and kept well. The creek where we did this was afterward called Rack Creek.
"I have often heard that story how other streams west of Mary's Peak were
named. It was said that they were named by the first party to hunt
there, of which Jerry HINKLE of Philomath was a member. The hunters
killed an unusually large elk on one stream which became Big Elk Creek.
When they came out across the divide to a tributary of Marys River on the
northwest side of Marys Peak they stopped to drink. One man laid
down his shot pouch and went some distance before he missed it. The
steam has ever since been called Shot Pouch Creek. A smaller tributary
of Shot Pouch Creek had miry banks and the party made a bridge of the heavy
bark of some fallen trees. This stream became Bark Creek.
"The early settlers are often blamed for slaughtering the game. The charge is in part true, but there was much excuse. The supply of game seemed unlimited. A man could go into the hills in the winter and earn more money having a good time than he could get by working if he had a job. Deer skins sold at from 75 cents to $1.50, depending upon size. One or two deer a day would make wages which were between one and two dollars a day. If a man preferred he would tan the hides and his wife would make gloves. With the little hand power sewing machines in use a woman could in a day make a pair of gloves which sold readily at $1.25 to $1.50. The Indians way of tanning was practiced. The Indians would soak the hide until the hair would slip and then "Grain" it by scraping with some blunt tool. The back of a draw knife was often used. In this operation the skin was spread over a smooth pole six or eight inches in diameter. This took off the hair and the "grain" on the hair side, making both sides alike and rendered the skins more flexible. Then the hide was soaked for a day or two in a brew made from the brains of the animal that first wore the skin. Next it was stretched and rubbed by hand before the fire until it was dry. Sometimes the skins were given a rich yellow tint by being stretched, several hides deep, over a wicker frame beneath which was a smoldering fire of rotten wood.
"It seems to me that the old days were better than now. We lived
as comfortably, worked no harder and felt more secure. The young
folks enjoy themselves more. I am worried about the condition of
our country seems to be getting into."
James P. G. HENDERSON
(Emma Frances BAUMGARTEN)
Mrs. HENDERSON was interviewed at the home farm about three and one half miles south of Philomath, Oregon. She is very deaf and her recollection of early happenings is not very clear. She gave the following information:
"My parents, Christian BAUMGARTEN and Mary GRETNER, were married in Germany. They left there because of the threat of war and the danger of military service. They came to America and crossed the plains by ox team to Oregon in 1853. Father took a claim east of the Long Tom River near Monroe. His children were: Mina, Catherine, Christina, Caroline, Elizabeth, Malinda, Fred, William, Henry, Milton, John and myself. My name is Emma Frances. Grandfather BAUMGARTEN and one child died of measles while crossing the plains.
"I went to school at the Auxiliary schoolhouse. Among my teachers were Mr. PARKER, Joe BRYAN, and Lizzie HAMILTON.
"My husband, James P. C. HENDERSON, was about twenty years older than I. He was born in Missouri in 1848. His parents were Perman HENDERSON and Sarah TRAPP HENDERSON. They started west in 1852 but were turned back by an outbreak of cholera. They came the next year by ox team and had no special difficulties. The Indians did not bother them. Relatives had been holding what is now called the Cooper place, west of Corvallis for them, but when they failed to come in 1852, others got the place. The HENDERSONs took a claim near Wren. About four years later Perman HENDERSON came by this place, took a fancy to it and bought it. This room was the whole house then (1857), but it has been added to from time to time until it is all covered up. The farm was added to, also. As fast as the mortgage was cleared on one piece another was bargained for until there was at one time 1300 acres. The farm has been divided until there are only 270 acres left in the home place.
"Perman HENDERSON was at one time County Commissioner, and all his life
he was a loyal supporter of the Christian Church. His children were
Lewis, Martin, W. J., L. M., Keziah (Mrs. Gibbs), and my husband,
James P. G. HENDERSON. My husband was about twenty years older than
I and died recently at the age of 93. We lived and farmed on this
place since we were married. Our children are Earl B., Mary F., Esther
P., Catherine L., and Grace W."
Interview -- Mrs. Della KING TURNER
Mrs. TURNER was able to give a bit of information about the HERNDON family, pioneers who are no longer represented in the community. W.F.HERNDON and wife are buried in the Wren Cemetery.
Ollie married Scott KING's youngest son, Scott. Ollie and Scott ran the
store in Wren about 1905. Another daughter, Mary, married Hiram WOOD, son
of Abner WOOD of Blodgett.
Mrs. Ella HERRON
Mrs. HERRON, widowed, is living with a sister for a companion and is managing the old home farm.
"I am not myself one of the old timers of Benton County, but my husband's
among the first settlers. My husband's brother, Hugh HERRON, was for years County Commissioner, and Hugh's son, H. C. HERRON, is now County Judge. I cannot tell what the country was like at first, but it was still raw when I came as a bride in 1894. The roads were unimproved and we seldom went to Corvallis, 14 miles away, in the winter time. After the fall rains were well begun the roads became almost impassable. Our two seated hack with four passengers was a load for a heavy farm team. Whenever a man mired down he marked the place with a stake to warn other drivers. By spring the whole course of the road was marked with stakes.
"The beginning of improved roads was due to J. H. HARRIS, manager of Harris's
Department Store. He once said to me, 'Mrs. HERRON, why don't you
come to town oftener?' 'If you had to travel the roads I do', I replied,
'you wouldn't come either.' So to make it possible for the farm women more
easily to get to market, he persuaded the business men to make a beginning
of improved roads. They bought rails from the old fences on both
sides of the road, laid them crossways and close together, and spread gravel
on them. Three miles next to town were fixed in this way. With
this for a beginning and an example the County Court was soon persuaded
to spend money grading and gravelling the roads. Some of the farmers
objected to the improvement saying, "If the road bed is raised and ditches
made at the side, if we once get into the ditch we will never be able to
get out again". It took some time to convince them that the improvement
was really a good thing."
May 6, 1939
Mr. HERRON was interviewed at his farm in the Irish Bend district of Benton
County. He said:
"My father, Robert HERRON, was born in Ireland in 1822 and came to the United States in 1841. With him came his brother, Tom, and a friend James MARTIN. Each of them took a claim of 160 acres, which was a single man was allowed at that date, and built their cabin within a few rods of this spot. The cabin was so built that each man's bedroom was on his own land. Father did not cross the plains but came around the Horn. In 1861 he went back to New York and married my mother, Mary W. NEILL, making the trip both ways by water. Father bought his brother's claim and Uncle Tom went back to Illinois where he spent most of his life. At the end he came again to Oregon to die.
"My parents had six children, James, Robert C., Mary Jane, Josiah H. (myself), John W. and Laura May. My father died in 1876 when I was but six years old and most of what I know about him is from what others have told me. James MARTIN lived near here until I was a man, and I have often heard him tell about my father. Father is said to have been a natural leader, and others respected his opinion and judgements. He was always on good terms with the Indians. The Indians about here were the Calapooias and were more given to drunken fighting among themselves than to fighting the whites.
"I have heard how my father won the lasting respect of the Indians. In a drunken fight a squaw was stabbed in the abdomen and her intestines were escaping. They came for father who sewed up the wound with a darning needle and the woman lived. After that no Indian would harm my father. They called him "Doctor Bob".
"This story is told of how this neighborhood came to be called Irish Bend. Soon after my father came here they were shipping some wheat from a landing on the Willamette near their claims. The captain of the steamboat asked the name of the place to enter it on the bill of lading. MARTIN answered. "Bejabers. I don't care what you call it." "Very well" said the captain, "I'll call it Irish Bend" and it has been Irish Bend ever since.
"I married Lettie EDWARDS, daughter of Isaac EDWARDS and granddaughter of James EDWARDS. Our children are Cleland, who is now helping me run the ancestral farm, Vemeits (Gill), and Raymond.
"Father had another brother, Hugh, who came to this country some time in
the 'sixties, I think it was. It is Hugh's son, Clayton, who is now
county judge of Benton County."
May 23, 1939
Mr. HERRON was interviewed at his farm home in the Irish Bend district in Benton County. The address is Junction City, Route 4. The information gained was scant, but dependable, He said:
"Grandmother HERRON, a widow, brought her sons from Ireland to the United States and settled in Illinois. Uncle Robert was the first to come to Oregon. He took a donation land claim a few miles from here where my cousin, J. H. HERRON now lives. My father, Hugh HERRON, came about ten years later, in 1864. He came by a horse train to Portland, and came up the river to his brothers place, riding one horse and leading two. I do not know what he had done with his wagon.
"Father rented farms for five or six years before he bought land. The first land he bought was 215 acres just north of here where my brother Clayton now lives. He kept adding to this until at the time of his death he had about 800 acres. He was always content with moderate success and stayed by the things he started. For this reason he was able to prosper when many of his neighbors failed, or made a bare living.
"My mother was Nicy WINN. She came with her older brother, Morgan WINN, and settled just south of here near the Lane County line. There are none of Morgan WINN's family left. Another brother, Jesse WINN, settled near Weston, Oregon, in Umatilla County. Among his children are Iley and George WINN who are still farming in the vicinity of Weston.
"I attended school at the Irish Bend district school. My first teacher was Agnes HOUCK, of the family that gave name to Houck Mountain southwest of Monroe. Other teachers I remember were Sarah EVANS and Rilla PETERS. I attended Monmouth Normal School for one year, but never taught. I have spent all my life on the farm. I never held any public office except that I have been school clerk for more than twenty years. My brother was elected County Commissioner for a term or so and is now County Judge. My father was also County Commissioner for years.
"My wife was Cora NEWTON. Her father was Gamaliel G. NEWTON, and
his father was Abiathar NEWTON. Grandfather NEWTON came with his
family to Oregon in 1847 and settled in the Plymouth Community just west
of Corvallis. Among his children were Isaac, Norris, Jasper, Keziah
(BETHERS), Mahala(BOHANNON), and Cynthia (JOHNSON). My wife's mother
was Susann WOOD, of the family which gave name to Woods Creek. Her
brothers and sisters were Emory, Alva, Diana (McCOY), and Margie (COOPER)."
"Concerning Slaves in Benton County"
Reuben SHIPLEY had been a slave in Missouri. His Master, Robert SHIPLEY, trusted to him a large share in the training of his sons, whose mother had died, and he was regarded almost as one of the family. When Mr. SHIPLEY decided to come to Oregon he promised Reuben his freedom if he would drive a team of oxen on the road. Reuben left a wife in Missouri, who died before he could earn money to send for her. After he received his freedom he was employed by Eldridge HARTLESS, who settled one mile south of Philomath in 1846. Hartless was quite well-to-do and had many cattle. In a few years Reuben had saved $1500 and with a part of this he bought a farm where Mt. Union Cemetery and the Mt. Union School are now located.
Now the FORD family, who settled in Rickreall Creek in Polk County in 1844, had a young negro girl named Mary Jane. FORD allowed Reuben to marry this girl and take her to his farm. Then, having learned that Reuben had money, he came without the knowledge of Reuben's white friends and made him believe that he must purchase his wife's freedom, which he did for $700.
Reuben and Mary Jane reared a large family on the farm. Reuben was industrious and Mary Jane was a splendid housekeeper and the family entered into the life of Church and the community without too much consideration of the question of social equality.
When William WYATT, another pioneer, spoke of the hill on Reuben's farm
as a likely place for a cemetery, Reuben agreed to give two acres for that
purpose if he might be buried there. This two acres, donated in 1861,
was the beginning of Mt. Union Cemetery where many of the pioneers of Benton
County are buried. Reuben is there among them. Of his
family only one son is left. Mary Jane died a few years ago in Portland
at an advanced age.*
Some records say that FORD compelled Reuben to pay for his wife before
he took her home. See Sunday Oregonian, 27 Jan. 1924. There
are different opinions as to the sum he paid. Since Mr. HINKLE was
for some years a business partner of Robert SHIPLEY, a son of Reuben's
master and his intimate friend, it seems reasonably certain that Mr. HINKLE
is correct. Mr. HINKLE was decidedly of the opinion that Mary Jane
was not as old as reported in the Oregonian article referred to above.
Inventory of Benton County Archives
page 18, Corvallis Library
Under a black locust tree planted in the 1850's stood the Reuben SHIPLEY cabin until crushed by snow about 1918. Reuben SHIPLEY came to Oregon from Missouri as the slave of Robert SHIPLEY in 1853. Shortly after arrival he was given his freedom by his master.
After his release from bondage Reuben SHIPLEY located on a donation land claim 4 miles west of Corvallis and near the town of Philomath. In 1857 he married Mary Jane FORD, who was the slave of a Mr. FORD, who lived near Dallas in Polk County. The morning after the wedding when the couple were preparing to leave for their homestead Reuben SHIPLEY was informed that while Mary was his wife, she was still the property of Mr. FORD, who had paid for her and that the husband must pay for her also before she would be allowed to leave the premises. Contrary to the advice of Eldridge HARTLESS, Rev. T. J. CONNOR and other citizens of Benton County, Reuben SHIPLEY, who himself had been a slave, and had already lost a wife in slavery, paid the ransom Price and that evening the couple arrived at their home in the shade of Mary's Peak.
On an 80 acre farm 4 miles west of Corvallis the industrious family reared a family of 6 children, Wallace, Ella, Thomas, Martha, Nellie, and Edward. The SHIPLEYS were highly respected by their white neighbors.
Mr. SHIPLEY died in 1873 at the age of 74. Mrs. SHIPLEY lived in
Benton County until 1880. In
After years she married a Mr. DRAKE and lived well into the third decade of the present century.
When interviewed by Prof. J. B. HORNER, of Oregon State College in
1924 she lacked just 10 months of being 100 years of age. She was
the last person to be sold as property in Oregon, where "slavery was occasionally
practiced, though not authorized by law."
Catherine HODGES VANDERPOOL
(Mrs. VANDERPOOL was interviewed at her home at Wells Station. Although she is almost ninety years old she is active in mind and body and her memory seems dependable. She lives alone, keeps her house neat and clean, and tends a small garden.)
My parents, Drury and Mahala HODGES, were married in Missouri in 1847. Three weeks after the wedding they started for Oregon. Mother left all re relatives behind, but father's folks came with them. Father's parents were Monroe and Catherine HODGES. The children were my father (the oldest), Monroe, Harrison, Alexander, Elizabeth (Frost), and Jane (Michael). Father's brothers stayed in the Willamette Valley a short time and then went to Prineville and stayed there. Monroe VANDERPOOL kept the hotel in Prineville for a long time.
There was no unusual hardship or difficulty in the trip across the plains. Indians were numerous and threatening and the immigrants had to be continually on guard, but they were not attacked. Mother made most of the way on horseback.
In 1854 mother's parents, Abner and Susan FICKLE came to Benton County. With them came mother's sisters, Lydia and Jane. Lydia married a Mr. TAYLOR and Jane married John WALTON. They lived east of the Willamette Valley in the Cascades. Their place, still called Walton Ranch, is on the South Santiam Highway. Grandfather FICKLE bought a place on the Willamette River in the northeast corner of Benton County but soon sold it and moved to Buena Vista in Polk County. For years he ran a store there with a partner whose name I have forgotten.
Father's donation land claim was near the North Palestine Church and he gave part of the land for the church and cemetery. Tolbert CARTER was our nearest neighbor. As a girl I used to visit often with Mrs. CARTER who was much younger than her husband and only thirteen years older than I. She died not long ago at the age of 102.
Times were hard for my folks at first. All supplies had to be brought from Oregon City by ox team. Boiled wheat was our main article of diet for the first winter. We used parched wheat as a substitute for coffee. In 1849 father, grandfather, and one of my uncles went with an ox-team to the mines in California. They found gold enough to give them a start and make things much easier here. While they were gone mother stayed alone in her cabin with her two babies. The door could not be fastened so as to keep out intruders and bands of Indians used to camp about the place digging camas roots, but they were friendly and did not harm us.
Mother was the bravest woman I ever knew, and a hard worker. When I was twelve years old, in addition to caring for seven children, including twin babies, she cooked all summer for the three carpenters who were building our new house and for the men hired at harvest time. All this was in the old log cabin with the scanty equipment. It was my job that summer to carry all the water from the spring. It was a hard job for a small girl carrying two buckets at a time.
Our people were Missourians and the Missourians never did have anything handy. Instead of clearing a place below the spring house and having water piped in, the house was set on a knoll and we had always to carry the water by hand. When there were no more children at home to carry the water father had a well dug by the house.
Of course there were no sawmills at first and all the houses were of logs. The only timber near us was along the Willamette River bottoms. This land was not desired for farming but one man in a group would take a claim on the bottom and the others would trade parts of their prairie farms for sections of timber. In this way each one had a suitable wood lot.
Father kept a few sheep and mother spun the wool for our stockings and clothing. I always had to work hard all my life and it never hurt me. Folks were happier in the old days when they had nothing and desires only simple pleasures.
I went to school first in the old GINGLES Schoolhouse. It was a log house, not very large, with a puncheon floor and puncheon benches without backs. I used to get so tired sitting on those benches. The schoolhouse was heated by a stone fireplace in one end. My first teacher was Jesse STUMP. Another was Martha HALE, a girl from Monmouth. I can't remember the others. They were usually men. One was a cross-eyed man who was afterwards County Superintendent. Soon after I started to school the old log house was replaced with a larger frame building.
Father's children were myself, Mary Emmeline (HUGHES). Elizabeth Caroline (HOLMAN), Robert, Daniel Webster, Georgiann, the twins Theodore Eugene and Commodore Perry. Florence Edith (READ), Andrew Jackson, Marcus, and William who died in childhood. Only Jackson, Georgia and myself are now left.
We three older girls had side-saddles and used to ride the farm horses. Father would say "Don't race those horses for they have to work", and we always remembered his words while we were in sight of home. Sometimes to escape the attention of a boy we didn't like, or to keep an admirer uncertain we would feel obligated to race the horses home from church.
Although mother did not approve of dancing we occasionally went to the neighborhood dances. These were always well-behaved and none of the girls drank liquor or smoked. If the boys drank they kept it out of sight. The dancing then was real dancing and not skipping around like a bunch of crickets.
Spelling schools, singing schools and writing schools were common in the winter months. I used to be a champion speller and once I took the prize in writing school. The Evangelicals and Baptist used to preach at the GINGLES Schoolhouse. My people held more with the Baptists. Joab POWELL and Dr. HILL were the best known preachers. One time in one of POWELL's meetings Josie WRIGHTSMAN who had come for a good time was laughing and making considerable disturbance. POWELL leveled his finger at her and shouted, "Young lady, you'll go to Hell!". The house was very quiet for the rest of the meeting.
Joab POWELL was an uneducated man and exceedingly homely. He looked more like a monkey than a man. But he had lots of friends and made lots of converts. ?? MILLER, a brother-in-law of GINGLES, used to preach sometimes for the Methodists.
In 1870 I married Peter GROUNDS
of Polk County. We had one daughter who now lives in Canada. After Mr.
Grounds died I married Campbell VANDERPOOL in 1882. We never had any children.
We farmed until we were too old and then bought this little place and retired
from hard work. My husband died in 1928 at the age of ninety-three.
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