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WPA Historical Records
Benton Co., Oregon
Mark Phinney



Information from Elmer Williamson, keeper of Williamson Family records.

August, 1938

Campbell M. VANDERPOOL was born in 1824 in Ray County, Missouri. He came to Oregon by ox-team in 1852. He was married at Fort Hoskins in Benton County in 1860, to Louisa PATTERSON. their children were David W., Abraham L., John J., William W., and Joseph W.. George and David found homes in the Lewiston district of Idaho; Joseph in Oakland, California. Abraham went to Brush Prairie, Washington.

Mrs. VANDERPOOL died in 1874. In 1884 VANDERPOOL married Mrs. Catherine McCLURE, daughter of Drury HODGES of the North Palestine Community, who came to Oregon in 1847. Died in 1927.



Interview Catherine HODGES VANDERPOOL

July 1938

(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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