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WPA Historical Records
Benton Co., Oregon
Mark Phinney


Mrs. John LEMON
Hettie LILLY
Mrs. Homer LILLY
Mrs. Ida LOCKE



June 91 1937

Mrs. LANE, widow, was interviewed at her home just outside the west limits of the town of Philomath, on June 91 1937. Her health is unbroken and she is keen in mind. Her memory is a bit short but she is well aware of this and her reminiscences are dependable. Mrs. LANE said:

"My mother, Eliza Ann WYATT, came with her parents to Oregon in 1847. Her father was William WYATT who took a claim two miles north of where Philomath now is. My father, Andrew Jackson WILLIAMS, was born in Pennsylvania in 1835 and came around the Cape Horn to Oregon in 1856. Father was a farmer but for some years he ran the sawmill on the FELGER place. Of the eight children of my parents only three lived to maturity myself, Ella (Mrs. Wilson SCOTT), and Frank. I was born in 1859 and am the only one left. My parents died in 1921.

"In 1881 I married C. S. "Tom" FELGER. My father-in-law, Jacob FELGER, was born in Ohio in 1825 and came to Lane County, Oregon in 1852. In 1867 he came to Benton County and bought the donation land claim of William MATZGER on Marys River about two miles west of the site of Philomath. On this place there was a sawmill, a grit mill, and a tannery. Jacob FELGER's children were C. G. "Toni", Mary, Elizabeth, Benjamin, Oliver and Emma.

"My husband ran the tannery on his father's place and employed three men in addition to his own labor. He bought hides from all the surrounding country and sold his leather in San Francisco. There had been a tannery in Corvallis but it was not a great success and did not continue in business long. When the market for leather became dull my husband used to dress rawhide to make chair bottoms for the Albany Furniture Factory. However his pet project came to be dressing deerskins. He took a special pride and interest in this work and turned out a high grade product which found a good market in San Francisco. He had a special formula, using salt and alum, which I have lost. He used to drive all over the country west to the Ocean, buying deerskins. When he died in 1907 he had 200 deerskins in the tannery left waiting to be tanned. In the earlier days there were no restrictions on the tanning and selling of deerskins, but in later years all had to be tagged as an evidence that they had been taken legally. When my husband died I could not manage the business and sold it. It was never operated again.

"In 1912 I married Frank LANE who died about two years ago. I have lived all my life here except about five years spent with Mr. Lane in Portland. I have never had any children.

"When I was young, there was not a town of Philomath. At FELGER'S Mill (formerly MATZGER'S Mill) there was a sawmill, a grist mill, a tannery, an old schoolhouse used for religious services and public gatherings, and six or eight residences. While construction work was going on on the Yaquina Bay railroad there was a saloon at the mill. 'Grandpa' HODGES ran this at first. He also kept a few groceries at times. Among the workers on the railroad were many wild characters. These would sometimes lock 'Grandpa' HODGES in the cellar and hold a celebration.

"I attended school four years at Alsea where my father had moved to care for his mother. Then I attended the primary department of Philomath College. At Alsea we had only three months school each year and the only teacher I remember is Mr. GREER. At Philomath College I remember Mr. HENDERSON and Miss LAWRENCE who had charge of the primary department. When I had finished the grades I was taught by Prof. SHEAK and Prof. WALKER. Father was a justice of the peace for many years. He was president of the Philomath Bank and lost all his money when the bank was broke by a dishonest cashier.

"My people were all members of the church and active in its support, but I never took any interest until I was converted last year. I have long been an active member of the Rebekah Lodge.

"My people were all members of the Old Constitution (Radical) branch of the United Brethren Church and I cannot altogether forget the bitterness of the fight over the possession of the College. Now that College is finally closed the bitterness is passing away."






May 9, 1939

Mrs. LARKIN and her daughter, Edith, were interviewed in the hamlet of Bellfountain. The memory of one re-enforced the memory of the other, and the result should be entirely trustworthy. Mrs. LARKIN said:

"My father was Joseph Boone SCHOLL, a relative of Daniel BOONE, the Kentucky frontiersman. My mother was Sarah E. FLOYD before her marriage. They were married in Missouri or Iowa and came to Oregon in 1853. They settled first on the Tualatin plains. SCHOLL'S Ferry on the Tualatin River was named for my uncle, Peter SCHOLL. After five or six years in the Tualatin country father moved to Polk County and settled near Rickreall. Father had a farm and also worked sometimes as a carpenter.

"I attended school at the Oak Grove School, eight miles west of Salem. The only teacher I remember clearly is Miss Lizzie HARRIS, who taught several terms. She afterwards married a man named HEISE and her daughter is the wife of Roy HEWITT who is prominent in legal circles and in the politics of Oregon.

"My husband was Abel LARKIN. He did not like the name and commonly used only the initials, and is better known as A. LARKIN. His father, Horace LARKIN, died of cholera on the way across the country and was buried at Willow Creek in eastern Oregon.

"Abel LARKIN'S half-brother and sisters were Ben, Susan (Mrs. McFadden) and Eleanor (Mrs. Syron). He had also two brothers, Perry and Matthew. Perry lives in Washington and Matthew at Medford, Oregon.

"After Abel LARKIN'S mother had been for a time in Oregon she married a man named McCLURE, and in 1860 Abel married Mary McCLURE, his step-sister. They settled on a farm in the northern part of Lane County not far from the Benton County line. LARKIN was a minister of the United Brethren church and preached at many places south of here. His children by this first marriage were Orleana, James and Edward.

"His second wife was Rachel M. KELSEY of a pioneer family of Benton County. Their children were Charles, Joseph and Mary. Mary is the wife of Doctor Bennett of Monroe. James, of the first family, lives about a mile north of Monroe on the Pacific Highway.

"In 1891, after Rachells death, I married Mr. LARKIN. We have one child, Edith, who is at home with me. Soon after that my husband's health became too poor for him to farm or follow the work of the ministry aggressively and we retired to Bellfountain. Here my husband preached occasionally until his death, and here I am awaiting my own time. My husband, at the time of the schism in the United Brethren church, held with the Old Constitution group, commonly called the Radicals."




May 23, 1939

Mr. LARKIN was interviewed at his farm home about two and one half miles north of Motiri-je on the west side of Pacific Highway. The address is on Route 3, from Junction City. Mr. LARKIN has but limited information about his family and was unr-ertaiti about dates. He said:

"My father, Abel LARKIN, and his brothers, Perry and Matthew, came from Iowa to Oregon sometime in the 'fifties and settled near Sheridan in Polk County. Some time before 1890 Perry went to the Palouse country in eastern Washington and was a pioneer there. After coming West father became a preacher of the United Brethren Church and preached at various places in Polk County. The United Brethren Church then operated chiefly in rural districts and father preached at many places and received little salary. He had to work on a farm to make a living. He preached more or less all over the Willamette Valley. One time when he had been on a circuit in Linn County, at the end of three years they were more than a thousand dollars behind in his salary.

"My mother was Mary McCURE. Two of her brothers, John and Charles, were among the first settlers in the Hood River - The Dalles section of eastern Oregon. My mother's children were Orleana, myself, and Ed. After mother's death, father was married twice and his children by these marriages were Molly, Charles, Edith and Winnie. (Note- This interview should be compared with that given by Mrs. A. LARKIN of Bellfountain, last wife of Abel LARKIN.)

"In 1875, when I was about twelve years old, my father left Polk County and came to this part of the state. He took a homestead in the vicinity of Houck Mountain, just over the line from Benton County in the northern part of Lane County. After that he did not travel so much but preached at places that could be reached from home. After he got too old for farming he retired to Bellfountain, where he died.

"I received my first schooling at a country school this side of Sheridan. The instructions there was little and poor. When we came to this county I attended school at the Alpine and Bellfountain districts. The only teachers I recall clearly are Dick NICHOLS and his older brother Alfred. The NICHOLS were fine people. Dick is still living on the old place.

"In 1832 when I was nineteen I went to my Uncle who was living near Garfield, Washington, and I stayed in eastern Washington and Idaho until 1910. I helped build the first hotel in Garfield. I was getting two dollars and a half a day on that job, when I gave it up and started working in Joe KENT'S blacksmith shop for ten dollars a month, to learn the trade.

"In 1884, with Martin JACKSON and Hezekiah BROWN, I went prospecting on the Coeur D'Alene River in Idaho. We were totally inexperienced in mining and when we found some rich quartz samples we did not appreciate their worth. We had but little money to start with and that was about gone. We debated whether to file on the mine or give it up. Two young fellows, the WARD boys from Montana, were camped near us. They told us the discovery did not amount to anything, and that our samples were worthless, but at the same time by careless inquiries learned about the location of our find. We finally decided not to file and as soon as we had taken our tools from the prospect and it was open to others the WARDS filed on it. The claim later sold for $125,000. Hezekiah BROWN came back to the Willamette Valley and became a Methodist preacher.

"After I had been in eastern Washington a few years I came back to the Valley for a wife and married Ida M. STARR, whom I had known when I was a boy here. She was the daughter of Leander STARR and Fannie COYLE. Her grandfather STARR had settled about a mile north on Monroe in 1846, and the COYLEs had settled just east of Monroe in 1852. Grandfather Samuel STARR was the first sheriff of Benton County. Our children were Josie, Artis, Emil, Avery, Chris, Harold and Delmar. They are all living about here.

"After I married I farmed on Rock Creek in the southern part of Spokane County, Washington. My house was in Washington and the wood shed was over the line in Idaho. That was on the border of the Indian Reservation. In that same country was a George HARRIS, the son of my mother's sister. He was married to the daughter of one MASTERS. MASTERS and HARRIS were members of a gang of horse and cattle thieves. They would run stock off and drive them to Montana where they could be sold. Luke RAWLS, who lived in the 'Hole-in-the ground' on Rick Creek just above Rock Lake was the deputy sheriff who finally arrested Ed HARRIS and brought him to Spokane. When RAWLS took his prisoner to a hotel in Spokane he was met at the head of the stairs by MASTERS and HARRIS' wife armed with revolvers. I do not know whether anyone was killed in the affair, but RAWLS shot it out with them and held his prisoner.

"In 1910, under the urging of our aging parents, wife and I came back to the Willamette Valley, where we have since lived. I have chiefly followed dairying. I find the Valley a pleasanter place to live but not so good a place to make money in.




Mrs. John LEMON

Mrs. LEMON was interviewed on the farm on the outskirts of the town of Monroe. Her memory of the early times was a bit slack and she had little information about her parents. She said:

"My father, William D. KAY, was born in Kentucky in 1835. I am not sure when he came to Oregon, but it was very early. He came to San Francisco and started north to Portland by boat. I think the name of the boat was either JOHNSON or NORTHERNER. Near Crescent City the ship was wrecked. There were only lifeboats enough for the women and children and the rest of the two hundred passengers were told to jump overboard and swim for it. Many were lost. Father threw his trunk over, hoping it would drift on shore. Then he jumped, and guided by fires kindled on the beach, he finally reached the shore. People on shore joined hand to hand and extended the lines as far into the breakers as they dared. Father's sharpest recollection of the adventure was the answer he got when he called for help. When he got into the breakers and could see the people on shore he called for help but the answer was, "Shut you mouth." Doubtless his anger at this seeming heartlessness helped him through, and he afterwards found that the advice was meant to keep him from being strangled by the breaking waves.

"Father was a blacksmith and had a shop first east of Long Tom Creek in the low lands. About 1877 he moved to the higher ground here to escape the ague, and opened a shop in Monroe. He prospered and came to own considerable land about here.

"My mother, Arminda WINN, was born in 1839 in Tennessee. She married John Davis who died from wounds received in battle. Davis was a northerner but he must have been in some irregular force for mother could never get a pension. In 1865 mother and her three children, in company with brothers and other relatives, crossed the plains. They were driven to this journey by the hardships and confusion resulting from the war. I have heard mother say that in all the years of the fighting she never heard a gunshot but with the thought it was fired at a human target.

"My parents were married in 1866. Their children were Ed, Mary (Mrs. Evans of Eugene, OR), Hugh of Salem and myself.

"I got all my schooling at the Monroe school. I cannot remember the names of most of my teachers. I remember Dick NICHOLS, Ida BOOTH who later married Ed BELKNAP, and John DAVIS. The terms were short, usually three months in the fall and then three months again in the spring. Mud and high water made it impossible to have school in the winter. We studied only the foundation branches, though I believe there was sometimes a class in algebra. Discipline, for the boys at least, was severe or even brutal. Sometimes a teacher in a fit of temper would bang a boy's head repeatedly against a wall or beat him with a stick of stove wood.

"We had little in the way of amusement in those days, but we got along well and never lacked for food or clothing. Everybody had to work. The big occasion for the children was a picnic held now and then. If my memory is right, Monroe in the 'seventies had only a grist mill, sawmill, two stores, one or more saloons, and less than a dozen residences. It grew slowly until after 1900."






The following is from a newspaper clipping in a scrapbook at the Ft. Dalles Historical Society, Volume 7, page 11, columns 1 and 2.

"First male child born of white parents in Benton, County tells of joys and troubles of pioneer times. Mr. LEWIS' father and mother came across the plains with an emigrant train in 1845. The elder Mr. LEWIS was born in New York state and his wife in Missouri and both were southern sympathizers who stood out valiantly for state rights. The LEWISes settled on a donation land claim of 640 acres in Benton County two and a half miles from Corvallis.

"Here the husband built, first a log cabin without windows and made it strong to resist attack, for the Indians were none to friendly. November 29, 1847, took place the WHITMAN massacre and everywhere settlers were on the alert for more trouble. Shortly before Haman LEWIS was born, a party of Calapooya Indians raided the LEWIS ranch, led by chief Ringnose. Their interpreter demanded what he called a 'beef.' Two Indians thrust their guns into holes they made in the log cabin but did not fire. The elder LEWIS's gun was not in working order, but one defender ran for a hatchet. One Indian entered the LEWIS home and moved toward Mrs. LEWIS, but she beat him with her fists. The hatchet was getting into action when the Indian, accompanied by his fellows, ran off to their reservation in Yamhill County. Jan. 21, 1847, Haman LEWIS was born on the ranch stormed by the Indians and when he was a baby, he says men workers were hired at 25 cents a day and wheat rose from 25 cents a bushel to $4.00. B. B. SMITH, a neighbor of the LEWISES, had a drove of cattle which he bought for $12 a head and shortly afterward sold for $75 a head.

"Men then wore buckskin pants.

"Like a dream, Haman LEWIS remembers the Indian wars of 1854-56 and saw volunteers with guns on their shoulders leaving for the fighting in eastern and southern Oregon. Oregon City, in the 1850s was the most important town in Oregon and baby Portland was spoken of as "that village."

"In 1859, says Mr. LEWIS, my father drove to Portland to collect $3000 for beef which he had sold and I went with him. Portland was then only a small place. We got the $3000 in gold coin.

"Did you put the money in the bank" asked the reporter. 'No' replied the veteran, there wasn't any bank in our country in those days. We dumped the $3000 into a sack, the same as we would handle potatoes, threw the sack into our wagon and drove home.

"When the Civil War raged in 1861, supporters of the union and those who favored the south were sharply divided in Oregon and especially in Benton County were southern people had settled.

"And about 1863 I remember things got hot out our way. We thought the south was right and said so. We met on the quiet and talked about what might happen to us. Folks said we might be attacked. About 150 of us men formed what we called the Knights of the Golden Circlet a secret organization. Oh, yes, we had guns and ammunition, but were never attacked and nothing ever came out of it."

Haman LEWIS and Mrs. Mary L. CONROW were married in Corvallis in 1885, before Justice of the Peace QUIVEY. Three children were born to the couple three boys, all living today David H. LEWIS, who lives in Canada; Ralph C. LEWIS of Portland and Ross W. LEWIS, a member of the editorial staff of the Albany Evening News, Albany, N.Y. Mrs. LEWIS died at St. Marys hospital, Astoria, in August 1919.






Mrs. Ella LILLY, a widow, was interviewed at her home at 328 S. 6th Street. Mrs. LILLY is active in mind and body, interested in the work of her church and keenly alive to what is going on about her. Her husband was a cousin of Miss Hattie LILLY, who was interviewed previously. Mrs. LILLY said:

"I was born near Des Moines, Iowa, in 1862 and crossed the plains in 1865 in a mule train. The captain would allow no oxen in the train for they would slow up travel. There were some horses. My father, Thomas CUSTER, was a cousin and boyhood companion of General CUSTER, the Indian fighter. My mother's name was Zilpha EDDY. I was the second in a family of four girls. My sisters are Addie SMITH EDDY of Monrovia, California, Susie RAYBURN of Pendleton, and Minnie COOPER of Salem. My oldest sister was married the second time to a distant cousin.

"My mother crossed the plains with four girls, the oldest not yet five. When the Indians stampeded our horses and seemed about to attack the train, my mother, who had been called the 'coward' of the party, put us in our beds and took her stand at the open end of the wagon with the ax in her hands, ready to defend her babies.

"Father was in poor health and died a year or two after reaching Oregon. Mother's burden was doubtless lightened by the presence of her parents and other relatives who came with her. Our first home was at Blodgett Valley, where mother taught school for five years and cared for her family. Mother then married Henry McCULLOUGH, a farmer of the Blodgett community. My first schooling was with my mother at Blodgett before I was really of school age. The Blodgett school held for only three months of the year, and my sisters and I got most of our schooling at Philomath College. Mother kept a diary of the trip west and of her later experiences, but the records were taken with other valuables by burglars.

"I began teaching school when I was sixteen and taught for three years. I was married in 1881 to George LILLY. My husband had to take care of the farm of his father, who had just died, and wanted me to stop in the middle of the school term and begin housekeeping, but I finished the school first. We carried on the farm until my husband's younger brothers were old enough to take over and then we moved to Corvallis and my husband joined the organization of the First National Bank. Mr. WOODCOCK, who was at the head of the bank, said he had my husband marked for a job in the bank ever since his school days. The two, with Walter MILLS, carried on the bank for years. My husband died in 1917 but he left enough to care for me and provide for the rearing and education of the children.

"Our children are: Robert Custer LILLY, who is in the insurance business at Klamath Falls, Gertrude Estelle FLANNERY, who with her husband owns and operates a drug store in Springfield; and Ralph LILLY, a druggist in Klamath Falls. I guess I would have been a doctor if such a thing had been possible to a girl in my time. Perhaps that is why two of my children turned to a profession closely connected with healing.

"After my youngest son finished college and went out for himself I was unbearably lonely for a time. I prayed about it one day, and that very evening the suggestion came through a friend to take a girl from the Children's Farm Home near Corvallis. Arrangements were soon made and the girl has been with me for about seven year. She will be in Junior High next year. At my age they would not let me adopt her, but she is to be with me so long as I can give her a home. She is like one of my own, and I believe God's hand was in it.

"My husband was mayor of Corvallis for one term and a member of the council for several terms. He never had time for public service in a wider field. I have never been interested in any clubs or social organizations except for church. I have long been a member of the Corvallis Methodist Church, and have been for more than twenty years teacher of the Older Women's Bible Class.

"This is my Father's world and I love it. It has been a good world and I have enjoyed it, but I expect to enjoy the next one more.''




Hettie LILLY 

Miss LILLY is living at 633 Washington Street, Corvallis ' as a companion to Mrs. Winters. She is of unstated age, but vigorous in mind and body and of more than average intelligence. She said:

"My mother was Lucinda Ann HARDIE. She came as a child from Illinois in a train of which her father, Hiram HARDIE, was captain, and she arrived in Oregon in the spring of 1852. She was nine years old at the time. My father, Silas Norman LILLY, came the same year but by a different train. He was fourteen at the time. They were married in 1862 and had eight children. My brother Leslie is a farmer near Corvallis. My sister Ora (Mrs. CORBETT) is dead. Clara (Mrs. HALL) is living in Portland and Frank is in the hardware business in the same city. Mary (Mrs. CARVER) who is next younger than I is in Portland also. Arthur is a member of the firm of SPURLIN and LILLY Hardware, of Corvallis, and Ruth (Mrs. PRATT) is in Corvallis.

"Grandfather HARDIE, who was captain of the train, died near the end of the journey and his body was brought on to 'the promised land' to be buried. My folks lost all their goods when the boat capsized in the Columbia River. Mother's sister died on the way and was wrapped in a blanket and buried by the roadside. When the grave had been filled the whole train drove their wagons over the spot to conceal it from the Indians and to destroy the scent and lessen the danger of wild animals digging into the grave.

"Father and his brother had a pony, and rode and walked turnabout. Father arrived in Oregon with fifty cents. He worked first for Eldridge HARTLESS by Philomath, and for Mr. SKIPTON whose daughter became the wife of Dr. John B. HORNER of Oregon State Agricultural College. Father followed farming all his life.

"I first attended school at a private school in Corvallis. Mrs. STEVENS, who was the regular teacher in the North District School at Fifth and Harrison Streets, held a private term after the close of the regular term for the benefit of certain girls who wanted to prepare for teaching. My older sister was one of these girls and I was permitted to go with her for a time. School was held for only half of each day.

"I belonged and regularly attended school in the South District School at Fifth and "B" Streets. After the districts were united, in 1887, and before the new central schoolhouse was finished, the South School burned. For a long time I mourned the fire because it destroyed the Honor Roll, which carried by name. Classes were continued in the churches of the town. I remember going to school in the Presbyterian Church. We younger children sat on soap boxes and used the sets for desks. Each pupil had to furnish her own soap box.

"I did not like to hear about the hardships and seldom listened when mother was telling of the early days. For the same reason I failed to keep papers and letters my parents had left. I wish now I had saved them. Grandfather HARDIE was always at special pains to be fair and friendly with the Indians and the train was never molested. It seemed that word must have gone ahead of the train, for Indians would sometimes appear, dash by the train on their horses, and go away without attacking.

"I remember one incident mother told of his care to avoid offending the Indians. A sixteen year old boy of the train had boasted that he would kill the first Indian that he saw. He was warned that if he did so the captain would not endanger the lives of other members of the train by protecting him. In spite of this warning he made good his boast by shooting a squaw who was dipping water form a stream or water hole near the route. Soon the Indians appeared to demand justice. The captain, the second in command, and their wives took the children on a walk, and when they returned the boy had disappeared. He was never mentioned again by the elders and when the children spoke of him the talk was turned to some other topic. Mother came to know later what had happened.

"I have taken what life brought to me, for there was nothing else to do. When I hear people say they would like to live life over again because they could do so much better, I thing 'Nonsense,' it is all determined by our destiny. I have had narrow escapes from death but I am alive because my time has not yet come."




Mrs. Homer LILLY

Mrs. LILLY was interviewed at her home on grandfather ROBNETT'S claim near the Oak Creek Schoolhouse. Like so many of the children of the pioneers, she gave little thought to the stories of the early days until those who might have told them were gone. The information which follows was given while she was at work waiting upon a carpenter engaged in the erection of a farm building.

"My father, William HENDERSON, came to Oregon in 1852 with his father, Perman HENDERSON. He was about twenty years old at the time. The children of Perman HENDERSON were; James, who lived and died hear the Independent Schoolhouse; Lewis, Martin, William, Addie, Ethel, Mary, Rachel, and Jessie. My fattier was one of the first men to establish a freight wagon service between Corvallis and Portland. Grandfather HENDERSON settled first near Wren, but in 1856 bought the place in the Independent neighborhood about three and one half miles south of Philomath, where he and his son, James, lived and died.

"My mother was Louisa ROBNETT. Her father, Stephen ROBNETT, came to Oregon when mother was about twelve years old. Stephen's children were: James, Joseph, David, Rachel, and Louisa. Grandfather ROBNETT took his claim here on Oak Creek. This farm is a part of his holdings. His home was less than a quarter of a mile from here. He chose the site with a stock ranch in mind, but he did some farming or tilling of the ground. He had about a thousand acres and in the narrow bottoms along Oak Creek he had great success in raising onions. It is said that in some years he raised hundred of bushels of the finest onions.

"I went to school at the Independent Schoolhouse. The teachers I remember were Mrs. ARMSTRONG, Martha SKIPTON, and Lizzie BRAY. Miss SKIPTON was a cousin of the Miss SKIPTON who married Prof. John B. HORNER of Oregon Agricultural College. We had three months term of school in the spring, if the rains stopped early enough, and usually another three months term in the fall. Then I went school at Wren, where Mr. CORNUTT (sp.?) and Lew HAINES were teachers. I did not get much education. We were taught just the common subjects - arithmetic, reading, writing, history and geography.

"We worked hard as children and did not have much time for amusement. There was preaching and Sunday School at the schoolhouse. There were dances sometimes, and play parties where we played 'Weevily Wheat' and 'Pop Goes The Weasel.' I started working out when I was fifteen and have been working ever since. I learned to card wool and spin yarn for stockings, and can still do it. Mother used to make all our stockings, but no homespun.

"I married Homer LILLY, a farmer of Benton County. Our children are Albert, Cecil and Dorothy. I have been too busy working to think much about how the world is going.





Mrs. LILLY was interviewed at the farm home in south Corvallis, on Route Three. Her information seemed in every way thoroughly dependable. She said:

"My father, Jerry G. Clarke, came on a sailing vessel around Cape Horn to Oregon in 1856. He had been to California in the gold rush of 1849, and had gone back to Illinois for his relatives. His brother, Moses, and wife and brother, Henry, and wife and two children came with him. They settled in Polk County not far from Salem. Father had a family of six children in Illinois but none of them ever came west. I never saw any of them.

"Mother's maiden name was Sarah J. RUBLE. She was married to a man named TOM, who died in Missouri. She had one son, Washington "Dick." TOM. In 1856 grandfather, Thomas RUBLE, and his wife, my mother, and a sister, Mrs. ROSE, came to Oregon and settled in the Eola Hills district in Polk County. Mother's brothers, William and David, had come several years previously.

"Some time before 1860 my parents were married and went to the Alsea Valley where father bought a homestead right about two miles up the South Fork from the present village of Alsea. My father taught the first school in the valley at a log cabin. I do not know its exact location. Silas HOWELL taught in the same building later. There was never any Indian trouble in the Alsea Valley after the settlers first came, but I have heard about one serious scare when all the settlers gathered at one house at night and were ready to take the women and children out to safety the next day. They found that the Indians were not really bent on making trouble.

"My parents' children were Alice (Mrs. SLATE), Jerry, Sarah (Mrs. SCHLOEMAN), A. L. "Abe", Lou "Henry", and myself. I was born in 1870. When I came to go to school the district has been divided into three and I attended the South District School. Among the teachers there were Jane FULLER, Belle SKIPTON (later the wife of Prof. John HORNER of Oregon State College), Marion MAYS, Bob BROWN, Dick NICHOLS, Nels WHEELER and Lillie GLASS.

"My father had what we considered a very fine orchard in the Alsea Valley. I remember we were very proud of the fine quality of the apples. When I went back there a few years ago to visit the old home and tried to approach through the orchard I found the way barred by an impenetrable thicket of Evergreen blackberries. I think my uncle, David RUBLE, was responsible for the introduction of these berries into the Alsea Valley. David RUBLE was induced by the settlers to build a sawmill and grist mill in the valley some time in the 'seventies. He was interested in horticulture and had somewhere gotten hold of some plants or cuttings of the Evergreen blackberry. He gave one of these to mother and I remember she nursed it very --carefully through the summer to keep it alive and get it started. Now they have been scattered by the birds until every neglected fence-row and every open space in the woods is a thicket of brambles. Tons of them have been shipped out to canneries in recent summers and many farm women and children depend upon the harvest of these berries, growing wild all about, for substantial earnings each summer.

"When I was about sixteen I came out to Corvallis to do housework in private homes. When I was twenty I went to the Eugene public school for a year and finished the eighth grade. After that I taught school for one term at Lobster, which is a tributary to the Alsea country. Then I was in Pullman, Washington for a time. In 1894 I married Leslie LILLY. We farmed in Benton County for about six years and then we lived for 25 years about seventeen miles east of Roseburg. Our children are Clifford, Marie and Marion. We are now living on this farm and working it with the help of our son, Clifford.

"My husband's father was Norman LILLY. With a brother, Jerry, he came to Kings Valley sometime in the 'fifties. There they became acquainted with the HARDIE family. Norman married Lucinda HARDIE and Jerry married Mary. Norman and Lucinda were married at the HARTLESS place south of Philomath. Their children were Leslie, Ora Belle (Mrs. CORBETT), Clara (Mrs. HALL), Frank, Hetty, Mary (Mrs. CASON ?), Arthur and Ruth (Mrs. PRATT). Arthur is a partner in the SPURLIN & LILLY Hardware Company of Corvallis. Ruth is the widow of the Mr. PRATT who was a jeweler for years in Corvallis.

"Jerry LILLY's children were Ada (Mrs. ELLIOTT), Mary, George, Anna (Mrs. ROBBINS), Jennie (Mrs. MASON), Homer, Horace and Edith (Mrs. CASTO)."




August 20, 1837

Mrs. LINCK was interviewed at her home, 612 South Sixteenth St., Corvallis' Oregon, where her memory for dates is faulty, her recollections of early days seemed cleat. She said:

"My father was John ERVIN. My mother's name was Mary Ann. They came from Iowa to Oregon about 1866. They had heard much about Oregon and wanted to see the country. They traveled with mules and horses instead of oxen. Although the Indians were active and gave them trouble there was no loss of life or of stock. Father started with a small party but because of the dangers from the Indians the immigrants were not allowed to cross the plains in small groups but were held until a large train was ready to start. At least once on the trip they came to a place where a whole train had been wiped out just ahead of them. Nothing was left but the charred remains of the wagons. They had always to keep a close guard on their stock at night.

"My folks settled about seven miles south of Philomath and not far from Beaver Creek. Father bought out a settler's homestead rights and had about 300 acres. Here he engaged in mixed farming. He kept his horses but sold the mules and bought some sheep. Later he kept cattle but no sheep. Cattle seemed to be more profitable. There was free range then and many of the hills that are now heavily wooded had almost no timber at all.

"My father's children were Matthew, Andrew Jackson and myself. Jack is dead but Matt is living near Portland. His son is the Captain ERVIN of the Portland Police Department.

"I attended school sometimes at the Beaver Creek and sometimes at the Independent Schoolhouse. Each was about three miles from our place and I had to walk all the time. I think if some of the youngsters today had to walk to school, or in some other way work for their schooling, they would appreciate their opportunities more. I do not remember the names of any of my teachers. We had only about three months school each year, in the spring and summer, and we only studied the common branches arithmetic ' reading and spelling, writing, geography and history.

"There was preaching and Sunday School at the schoolhouse. There was no organized church but preachers of different denominations came to preach whenever it was convenient.

"We had just as much good times, I think, as the young people have today. There were singing schools and spelling matches, and social gatherings at the homes. Andy Williams used to lead the singing schools. My people did not approve of dancing.

"After I was through school I worked about some, here and there. I was in no hurry to get married. I think a lot of the young people make a mistake by rushing into marriage before they know what they are doing or are ready to settle down.

"My husband was George LINCK, who came to this country from Germany when he was about fifteen years old. He lived at different places in the United States and finally came to the Willamette Valley. Our children were Tillie, Alva, Florence, Goldie and John.

"This is not a bad world. I think it would be a very good world if the people in it didn't make so much trouble for themselves and one another. "

Mrs. Ida LOCKE

April 27, 1939

Mrs. LOCKE was interviewed primarily about the history of the LOCKE Cemetery. Although she is of the third generation from the pioneers she was able to give a little information about the first settlers.

"My father was Marion COOPER and his father was one of the early settlers in the Plymouth Community west of Corvallis. The site of the COOPER donation land claim is about three miles west of Corvallis and about one-half mile north of State Highway No. 26. The site of the house is marked by a fir tree planted there and by some fruit trees that still bloom every spring. My mother was Rachel BETHERS, daughter of George BETHERS. The BETHERS homestead was about two and one-half miles southwest of Corvallis in the Plymouth Community. The place was on the low hills not far from the golf links.

"My husband, who is now dead, was Walter LOCKE, son of Alfred LOCKE and grandson of A. N. LOCKE who came to Oregon in 1847. He came by ox team and the train had to fight off the Indians on the way west. The LOCKE family settled on this place five miles north of Corvallis. The farm had been continuously owned and farmed by the LOCKE family, and is now being farmed by my son, Nelson, who is of the fourth generation. If he should fail to have a son there would be no one of that name to take over.

"A. N. LOCKE was elected Probate Judge of Benton County in 1853, and was I think the first to be chosen to that position. He was county commissioner in 1853, 1854, and again in 1856. He was also sheriff in 1860 to 1861.

"The children of A. N. LOCKE were Abram, William, Alfred, Laura, Jennie and Alonzo. Alonzo was a school teacher but the other sons were farmers. I think they are all buried in the cemetery of this place. Jennie, or Jane, Carried S. H. Borland. "A. N. LOCKE dedicated the two acres on top of the hill at the west end of his place and about one-quarter mile west of the highway as a cemetery. Two of his own children were buried there as early as 1858. Others were perhaps buried earlier. The earliest date on a stone is 1846, but is known that this body was moved here from an earlier burying place. The cemetery is now owned by the county and managed by a local group, The LOCKE Cemetery Association."


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