"William Hatchett Vaughan,"

An Illustrated History of the State of Oregon,1893.  By Rev. H.K. Hines, DD. 

David Vaughan davaughan@wasco.k12.ca.us



William Hatchett Vaughan, an honored Oregon pioneer of 1843, now residing on his donation claim on the Mollala river in Clackamus county, is descended from Scoth-Irish ancestors, who emigrated to the colony of Virginia at an early period in the history of America, where they were people of wealth and influence. His father, James Vaughan, was born in Virginia, and there married Miss Nancy Hatchett, also daughter of the Old Dominion, and one of the nine children of Thomas Hatchett and his wife (nee) Chatin.

The Hatchetts were of English descent. Mr. Hatchett served in the late Colonial army during the Revolution. He died in the seventy-fourth year of his age, and his wife passed away at the age of ninety-six. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Vaughan removed to Tennessee and settled in Rutherford county, where they reared a family of thirteen children, seven sons and six daughters. Of this numerous family only five are living, three sons and two daughters.

In 1842 the family moved to Missouri, where the parents resided up to the time of their death. William H., the fifth son in the family, was born in the middle of Tennessee, January 17, 1822. At the age of sixteen, through an elder brother, and the Congressman from the district, arrangements were made for him toattend the military school at West Point, but his father said "No," and that was a cut deep and wide, as his only aspiration was blasted. This was the cause of his crossing the Rocky mountains. Being an expert rifleman and filled with the spirit of adventure, April 20, 1843 , he left his father' home, in southwestern Missouri, to cross the plains to Oregon. He was the first wagon train that ever came all the way through to Oregon. They cut their own roads through the Blue mountains, surmounting every obstacle that presented itself. They came by what was called the Mechan route. The way they scaled the steeps, forded the rivers and made their way over the new country, can never be fully appreciated by the uninitiated. They came by way of Walla Walla and then down the Columbia River, arriving at Oregon City about November 10, 1843. For a time Mr. Vaughan was employed at fencing and barn building by the Hudson's Bay Company. In May, 1844, he came to his donation claim, sixteen miles southeast of Oregon City, and was the first permanent settler in this part of the county. Here, in his primitive cabin, he kept "bach" for several years. In building his log house he made it, as far as possible, a stronghold against the Indians, with whom he frequently had trouble. At one time he was attacked by sixteen of them, but by his dauntless courage he succeeded in overawing them, and a miraculous escape.

In the fall of 1847, after the murder of Dr. Whitman, he volunteered and served in the Cayuse war, under Captain Maxim, furnishing his own horse and equipments. He was in the battle of Umatilla, which engagaement lasted from nine o'clock in the morning until night, when the Indians withdrew.

Mrs. Vaughan's father was also a participant in this war. August 27, 1847, Mr. Vaughan married Miss Susan Mary Officer, a native of Missouri, born March 3, 1833. Her father, James Officer, a native of Tennessee, came to Oregon with his family of seven children in 1845, and settled on a donation claim, twelve miles south of Oregon City, where he resided for a number of years. Her mother died June 14, 1878, and her father, now ninety-one years of age, makes his home with them. Following are the names of Mr. and Mrs. Vaughan's children:

Frank White, who is married and had eleven children, resides in Big Ben county , of Washington, where he is engaged in the stock business;

Isom C., a farmer in Clackamus county, is married and has five children;

Nancy Virginia, wife of Oren Cutting, Clackamus county, has two children;

Mary Tennessee, wife of George Frazier, Clackamus county, has one child;

Viola E., wife of John Stubbs, and they reside on the home farm;

Stonewall Jackson, a merchant at Mollala; Hardy Longstreet, a farmer in Clackamus county;

Susan Florida,

John C.,

Cora K.,

William Officer, all at home.

Mr. and Mrs. Vaughan have been industrious people all of their lives. They have a fine home and other substantial buildings on their farm, and their landed estate comprises 960 acres. Both he and his wife were reared in the faith of the Baptist de- nomination, and for ten years he served as Clerk of the church. Politically, he is a Democrat. Several times he was nominated for both the Legislature and the Senate. His party, however, was in the minority and he was defeated. Mr. Vaughan brought with him from his home in Tennessee a fine old Kentucky rifle, and with it, after his arrival in Oregon, he distinguished himself as an expert hunter, being known far and wide as the "King of the Hunters."

For many years he made himself very useful in killing off the wolves and mountain lions that had made havoc among his stock and the stock of his neighbors. His hounds and his guns were his delight, and even yet, at the age of seventy, his choice hounds and his rifle afford him great pleasure, Mr Vaughan brought with him from the Sunny South home the warm- hearted friendship and genial hospitality of the true Southern gentleman. He is one of the most widely known and highly esteemed of that band of brave young men and women who came to Oregon in 1843.