Oregon Pioneer Biographies


 

Jonathan Wassom

   JONATHAN WASSOM

One of the most prominent and successful farmers of Linn County, was born in East Tennessee, August 6, 1825. In 1835 his father removed to the state of Illinois, where he remained till 1844, when he again started westward and settled near Burlington, Iowa, where he lived till his death in 1861. Jonathan at the age of 21 caught the western fever, and with an ox team crossed the great desert and landed at Oregon City, Oregon, on the 25th day of October, 1846.

He located near Lebanon in 1846, being among the first pioneers to settle in this part of the valley, and his close observation enabled him to make a choice of the best land. He immediately began improving his farm, which he still owns, until the present time, when it is recognized to be one of the best in the County. In 1851 he married Ruth E. Kees, daughter of another old pioneer [Jacob Kees]. The fruits of the marriage were two boys and two girls, three of whom are still living, the youngest daughter, Olive, having died the 4th of July, 1890. The home of Mr. Wassom has ever been one of comfort and happiness. For forty years of married life, with the deprivations of early settlers as well as with the march of civilization and prosperity, together they have pursued the even tenor of their ways, earning the good will and respect of all their acquaintances.

Mr. Wassom is truly a self-made man. Without the training of the schools, his own keen sense of observation, together with reading and high sense of right, has made him a man whose judgment and counsel in the practical affairs of life are of great weight and value. He has never sought official position, in fact time and again his many friends have urged him to allow the use of his name for different positions, but he has with one exception positively refused. In 1874 the demand was so urgent that he finally consented to allow his name to go before the people as a candidate for the legislature. He was elected member of the lower house, where he served with credit to himself and honor to his County. He is a man of generous feeling. The poor and the needy deserving ones have ever found a true friend and helper in him. The cause of religion and the maintenance of his Church (the Cumberland Presbyterian) find in him a strong supporter. For years he has been the leading and Master Mason of Lebanon Lodge. The East in the estimation of the brethren, is his true position. Take him as a neighbor, friend, Christian and lover of his country, and he will take high rank among that noble class who without the grace of learning, have risen to honorable eminence.

 

Jonathan Wassom House

Jonathan Wassom House

1870 Census, taken July 25, Lebanon Precinct:
Wassam, Jonathon, 44, born TN, farmer. DLC 1171, Linn County, OR
Wassam, Ruth E. (Kees), 43, born PA, married Oct. 26, 1851, Linn Co., OR
Wassam, Mary E., 17, born OR
Wassam, Joseph, 14, born OR
Wassam, Morgan, 13, born OR
Wassam, Olive, 10, born OR
Kees, Mary (Morgan), 57, born VA, married 1841 in IA, DLC 1583, Linn Co., OR.

1880 Census of Linn County
Joseph Wasom is living in the household of William Rilea. Joseph is listed as being age 25, a boarder, born in OR, parents' birth information not given, store clerk. Jonathon Wassom is in household 176, age 55, born in TN, both parents born in TN, listed as a farmer and head of the household. Also listed is Ruth E. Wassom, age 53, wife, living at home, born in PA, both parents born in PA. Son M. R. Wassom, 23, farmer, born OR. Son O. A. (sic), 20, born OR. Also listed in the household is Mary Kees, age 67, sister-in-law, born in VA, father born in MD, mother born in VA; and Philip Linebarger, age 28, boarder, farm laborer, born in New York.

Joseph, M., and Jonathan Wassom are listed on the 1892 Tax List for Lebanon. Morgan Wassom is on the 1874 Linn County Militia List. The WPA History of Linn County mentions a good flouring mill (in 1878), owned by Jonathan Wassam, John Little, Richard Cheadle and James L. Cowen, with a capacity of 160 barrels of flour per day.

DLC #1171 - Jonathan Wassom, OC, 639.88 acres, Township 11S, Range 2W, Sections 14, 15, 22, 23.

Jacob Kees was born August 24, 1784, and died Oct. 8, 1850 (buried in Lebanon Pioneer Cemetery). He was married to Mary __, about 1805, possibly in PA; who was born March 25, 1792. She died November 25, 1850, age 58y 6m and is also buried in Lebanon Pioneer Cemetery. Their children were:
Sarah Amy born Dec. 10, 1810 in PA; married William Crawford Gallaher
Elmore D. born about August 28, 1812 in Washington Co., PA; married Mary Jane (Courtney) Rogers
Morgan born May 25, 1814 in Washington Co., PA; married Mary Banning
Lucinda born 1815 in Washington Co., PA; married Joseph Tague
Andrew F. born December 9, 1817 in Washington Co., PA; married #1 Zerelda Rebecca Fry, and married #2 Nancy Ann Osborne
Mary born 1818 in Washington Co., PA; married Jackson Hillary
Jacob Jr. born January 26, 1820 in Washington Co., PA; married Jane Greer
Ruth Ellen born January 15, 1827 in Washington Co., PA; married Jonathan Wassom
Isaac D. born May 2, 1829 in Washington Co., PA; married Catharine R. [Wilson] Lambert
Sarah born 1831 in Washington Co., PA; married Benjamin King
Owen born May 10, 1832 in Marshall Co., IL; married Mary Elizabeth Jones
Samuel M. born February 21, 1836 in IL; married Elizabeth M. Coyle.

DLC #1583 - Morgan Kees, Linn County, Township 12S, Range 2W, Sections 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11. 616.72 acres. Born 1814 Washington Co., PA; died March 7, 1866, Linn Co., OR. Married March 21, 1841, Henry Co., IA, Mary Banning; she born April 18, 1813 in VA, and died January 2, 1882 in Linn Co., OR.

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Sources:
Genealogical Material in Oregon Donation Land Claims, Supplement to Volume 1, Volume V, Lottie L. Gurley, 1975, published by the Genealogical Forum of Oregon.
Lebanon Pioneer Cemetery, Linn County, Oregon, compiled by Patricia Dunn and Jeanne Gentry, 1995 Revision, published by the City of Lebanon, Oregon.
1870 Census of Linn County
1880 Census of Linn County
City of Lebanon 1892, presented by Lebanon Museum Committee, printed by C. Ramsey Graphics, 1992.
Lebanon City Directory 1881 and Tax List 1892, typed by Patricia A. Dunn, 1994.
History of Linn County, Oregon, Work Projects Administration


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