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Joseph Gaston. Portland, Oregon It's History and Builders. Chicago : The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.

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The Townsite — Proprietors Map of the Claims — First Preachers — Gold Discovered in California — Teachers, Doctors and Lawyers — First Steamboats and Builders — First Stores and Shops — First Saw Mill — List of Those Persons Living Here in 1852 — List of Old Pioneers Now Living (Nov. 10th, 1910).

The original proprietors, and their land claims, will be better understood by reference to the drawing here given. William Johnson, the first settler within the present limits of old Portland, took the land south of the Overton tract claimed by Lovejoy and Pettygrove, for the reason probably that the river bottom south of the line of Caruthers street was open grass land, and furnished pasturage for cattle and horses. Etienne Lucier, one of the total Canadian French Catholics that stood up to be counted for American institutions at Champoeg, was the first settler within the boundaries of East Portland, and the first man to open a farm in Oregon, which he did on East Portland townsite in that year 1829; but he made no claim on the land, and before Portland was claimed for a townsite, he removed to the open prairie lands called "French Prairie" (because so many Frenchmen settled there) in Marion county, and made his home there. Lovejoy and Pettygrove were the next settlers filing claims on the Overton tract. And before any others came in they laid out sixteen blocks into lots, blocks and streets, making the block at the southwest corner of Front and Washington streets "Block No. 1." James Terwilliger claimed the land south of the Johnson tract. Daniel Lunt claimed the land south of the Terwilliger tract. Daniel H. Lownsdale claimed the land west of Lovejoy and Pettygrove, and Captain Couch claimed the laud north of Lovejov and Pettygrove. Then Johnson sold out to Finice Caruthers; Lunt sold to Thomas Stevens; Lownsdale sold to Amos N. King; Lovejoy sold out his interest to Benjamin Stark, and Pettygrove sold out to Lownsdale in 1848 for $5,000 worth of leather, and Lownsdale agreed to a segregation of the lands so that Stark got the sole title to the triangular tract hounded by the river on the east, Stark street on the south, and the Couch claim (line of A street) on the north.

Daniel H. Lownsdale was the first man to get into the townsite who fully comprehended the great future of the place. He had considerable experience as a merchant and business man, and had traveled much, not only in the United States, but also in Europe; and not only appreciated the advantages of the position, but possessed the confidence and enthusiasm so necessary to succeed with a new enterprise. Born in Kentucky, moved to Indiana, from Indiana to Georgia, traveled in Europe, then to Oregon, he gave all his thoughts, time and [207] energy to every possible plan to build up the new town. He sold lots at nominal prices, or gave them away to secure improvements. He did not get very far along until he felt the need of assistance, and soon found the right man in he person of Stephen Coffin, then living at Oregon City, to whom he sold a half interest in the townsite. Coffin was a man of great push and energy, and quite as much of an optimist as Lownsdale. The two men made a team that settled the future of Portland. But they did not get very far into the depths of the speculation until they ran up against so many legal snags and obstructions that they felt the need of a legal adviser. And for that man, the man who fully believed in Portland and most heartily and harmoniously worked with and approved the efforts of Lownsdale and Coffin, was William W. Chapman; and to Chapman, Lownsdale and Coffin united in selling and conveying an undivided one-third interest. So far as the town on the east side of the river is concerned, the water front and lands back of it for a mile were covered by the claims of James B. Stevens and Jacob Wheeler. But neither of these men ever contributed anything whatever to the success of locating or building a city at this point. Lownsdale, Coffin and Chapman soon put their affairs in shape for aggressive and continuous work for the town, by organizing a townsite company, of which Coffin was president and Chapman was secretary; and thus making Portland the strongest and most active townsite interest on the Pacific coast north of San Francisco. Lot Whitcomb, as the representative and principal owner of the Milwaukee townsite had been giving the Portlanders a hot fight for supremacy. In this he was ably supported by Captain Joseph Kellog, the father of all the Kellogs, and all the Free Masons in Oregon. With their saw mill and little schooner they were earning money in making and tarrying lumber down to San Francisco. And just when the race appeared to be about even between the two rival cities, Whitcomb got hold of a steam engine at San Francisco, brought it up here, and with the aid of Jacob Kamm, built and equipped a steamboat, launching her on Christmas day, 1850. Whit-comb soon had her going, a first-class commodious boat for those days, and put her on the route between Milwaukee and Astoria, fifteen dollars for a single passage either way, steaming past Portland without stopping or even saluting with a blast from the steam whistle. At the same time that Whitcomb and Kellog were waging their active opposition to Portland, the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, which had at first made Astoria the end of their trip, suddenly abandoned Astoria, and came up and purchased a large interest at St. Helens, and erected a wharf and warehouse there, and made St. Helens the Oregon terminus of their San Francisco steamship voyages. Whitcomb and Kellog at once united in this arrangement, and as it was a shorter run for their steamboat, it could be and was used effectively to cut off trade from Portland by running the boat to Vancouver and Oregon City, as well as to all points on the Columbia river. Up to this period, Captain John H. Couch had been the most efficient support that Portland had received in concentrating trade, especially the ocean going sailing vessels. Couch’s influence was never fully comprehended in this contest. He had made the acquaintance of hundreds of sea captains, and was favorably known wherever these captains sailed their ships; and the fact that he had always discharged his own ship here influenced all his acquaintances on the seas to also "sail for Portland, Oregon."

nt now the townsite proprietors Coffin, Chapman and Lownsdale must bestir themselves. They were compelled to meet the opposition of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, and destroy it one way or another, or be ruined. And by this time (1850) although growing slowly, Portland had gathered in quite a village population of active earnest men, who not only had their own property interests at stake, but had a genuine friendship for the townsite proprietors. And altogether, it was decided that a long pull, and a strong pull, and a pull altogether was the thing to do, and get in a steamship in the interest of [page 208] Portland. This sentiment being conveyed down to San Francisco, the side wheel steamer Gold Hunter took in a cargo for Portland, Oregon, and came up to see how the town looked. This was the first ocean going steamship that ever tied up at Portland wharf. It was in fact a gold hunter, and was for sale. Immediately every friend of Portland got busy. Hope and enthusiasm took the place of anxiety and fear in the faces of the townspeople, and courage once more filled up the shrinking purse. The price and terms for the ship were ascertained. Sixty thousand dollars would purchase a controlling interest in the ship, and run her between Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco. Twenty-one thousand dollars of this was raised and paid in an hour, of which sum Coffin, Chapman and Lownsdale put up eighteen thousand, six hundred dollars.

And while this transaction revived the hopes and confidence of many, and strengthened the courage of all, it did not end the contest. The Mail Steamship Company with ample capital, set to work to undermine the bulwarks, put up by the Portlanders, and bought out some of the interests of Portland stockholders in the Gold Hunter, again giving San Francisco the whip-hand. And after a few trips to Portland, the Gold Hunter was treacherously sent down to South America, mortgaged and sold for a trifle of her value to get rid of all the Portland stockholders. It was a bitter lesson to Portland, and withal most dishonorable on the part of pretended friends and open enemies. But it had proved one thing, and that was that Portland would fight for the rights of the town; and that the town was a force that was not to be despised for weakness or want of courage. In the meantime, Portland had been making allies on the land side. A fairly passable wagon road had been opened out to Tualitin Plains and on up the valley to Yamhill and Polk counties, by which the farmers of all that region could haul their products to Portland. Although the money was gone, the investment in the steamship had not been wholly lost. It had been proved that an ocean going steamship could safely and successfully come to Portland with full cargoes, and could get full cargoes of produce and safely go out to sea again. The steamships were not getting cargoes at St. Helens as Whitcomb’s steamboat carried the produce to them, and it did not get enough to load them. Whitcomb could get nothing at Milwaukee but lumber, and that could not be shipped on the steamer. The farmers could not, and would not haul produce to St. Helens, and the Whitcomb would not stop at Portland to get it, and so the St. Helens ships were sailing away with little or nothing of freight. And so it was soon made plain to the steamship owners that they were gnawing a file; and that sooner or later some other steamship would sail into Portland harbor and appropriate a profitable trade that they never could get by staying at St. Helens. And thus forced, in March, 1851, the Pacific Mail Steamship Company abandoned its opposition, ran up the Portland flag and sent all its ships to the docks and wharves of this city. And from that day on, the supremacy of Portland, as against all other points on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, was acknowledged everywhere.

Of the three men who made good the project of Amos Lawrence Lovejoy, in the establishment of a city, at this location, Daniel H. Lownsdale comes first in order for notice. Mr. Lownsdale was born in Mason county, Kentucky, in 1803. At the age of twenty-three, he married Ruth, youngest daughter of Paul Overfield, Esq., and moved to Gibson county, Indiana. In 1830, his wife died, leaving three children, two daughters and a son. That son was J. P. O. Lownsdale, who for many years was an active and influential citizen of this city, passing away in July, 1910, at the age of 80 years. After losing his wife, Mr. Lownsdale moved to the state of Georgia, and engaged in mercantile pursuits. And there, losing his health, he took a trip to Europe, and traveled through many countries. Returning to the United States in 1844, he found the southwest agitated over the "Oregon Question," and immediately made up his mind to come out to this unsettled region and grow up with the country. Joining an emigrant train in the spring of 1845, he crossed the plains with the [page 209] usual luck and labor of other emigrants, and reached the Portland townsite late in 1845; and soon after, as has been stated, claimed the King Donation Claim, west of the city, and started the first tannery north of California and west of the Rocky mountains. He died in May, 1862, and is buried in Lone Fir cemetery on the east side of the river. Of General Stephen Coffin much can be said in his praise, as a public spirited man, and a most energetic and successful builder of the city of Portland. General Coffin was born at Bangor, Maine, in 1807, moved west to the state of Ohio early in life, and crossed the plains and reached Oregon City in October, 1847. Here he went to work with the industry and energy that characterized his whole life, and at the end of two years he had accumulated enough to enable him to purchase a half interest in the Portland townsite claim, as has already been stated. When the tug of war came up with the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, Coffin was in the forefront of the battle. His whole being rebelled at anything like injustice. It was said of him, that when the immigrants reached Oregon, of which party he was a member, some of those already here attempted to extort unreasonable prices for food and accommodations, and Coffin rebelled. To assuage his wrath, he was told that his treatment was the usual custom, and that when he got settled in the country, he could recoup his losses by fleecing other immigrants in like manner. This only made matters worse, and the newcomer so bitterly denounced such conduct as to make that never forgave him. But he was not the man to shape his conduct to placate enemies or please wrongdoers. Fearless and courageous, he pushed his way over all opposition, serving the public faithfully in every act of his life, and often at the sacrifice of personal interest. He was liberal to the public, and his friends, to a fault. He is the only man that ever gave grounds for the public schools of the city; he gave the first bell to a church in the city, which still sends out its call from the old Taylor street church every Sunday morning, inviting in the faithful. He organized the company to build the wagon road to Washington county; he organized the Peoples Transportation Company to reduce freight charges on the Willamette and Columbia rivers; he helped start the Oregon Central Railroad, and many other enterprises. (For further notice see biographical sketches.)

The third man to join the Portland Townsite Company was William W. Chapman, Esq., who for distinguished services in the Oregon Indian wars, was commissioned a Colonel of the Volunteers, and ever afterwards retained that title. Colonel Chapman, was born in old Virginia, early in 1800. His father was a brick mason, and contractor, and built the first brick building in Washington city. By dint of great personal efforts and private study, he picked up an education, studied law and attained a good position in the practice of the law in Virginia. But thinking the new western states offered the best opportunities for advancement, removed to Iowa, while that region was yet a part of Michigan. There he was appointed United States district attorney, and when Iowa was set off as a separate territory, Chapman was elected the first delegate to congress from Iowa. He made a fine impression in congress in his efforts to reclaim to Iowa a strip of territory, in dispute with Missouri, and in which he was entirely successful, giving him great credit in the new state. He was a member of the convention to form a constitution for Iowa, and was the father of the measure to transfer the gifts of public lands to the states for internal improvements from such purpose to the endowment of public schools, and which after that became the settled policy of the United States. And while in congress, he was to a great extent the author of the legislation to provide the right to preempt public lands, which then led to the homestead act, which has made millions of people happy and independent. Colonel Chapman came Oregon in 1847, settling first at Corvallis, and later at Salem. He was at Oregon City on legal business, and there made the acquaintance of Coffin, and Lownsdale, and got into the Portland Townsite Company. He held [page 210] many positions of honor and trust, discharging every duty with scrupulous integrity, an honor to the city and the state, and passed away with the universal respect of all citizens. The battle to make Portland the land terminus of all ocean commerce was the first and greatest question to be settled. That settled in favor of Portland, the people would come fast enough. But before it was settled, the settlers and little businesses were slowly coming in.

The ferry across the river was started as early as 1845 consisting of one canoe. The first blacksmith shop was opened by Terwilliger at the corner of First and Morrison streets, in 1846. Henderson Luelling brought in the first grafted fruit trees in 1847. In this same year, Captain Crosby built the first frame house in the town bringing the materials for it from the eastern states in his ship around Cape Horn. Talk about carrying "coals to Newcastle," but don’t forget Crosby’s house, carried twenty thousand miles to build alongside the finest timber in the world.

In 1848, the first Methodist church was organized in Portland, and the erection of the church building commenced by Rev. J. H. Wilbur.

In 1855 the First Congregational Church was erected at the corner of Second and Jefferson streets. The Rev. Horace Lyman, first pastor, clearing the ground of trees himself. In 1849, Colonel Wm. King built a sawmill to run by water power, but it burned down before it could be made to do anything.

In 1850, W. P. Abrams, and Cyrus A. Reed erected a steam saw mill near the foot of Jefferson street. The main building was forty feet wide, and eighty feet longs the timbers being hewed out of the giant firs growing alongside the mill site, and being sixteen inches square were so heavy that all the men in town were unable to put the timbers in place or "raise" the building, and General Coffin had to go up to Oregon City, to get men to help. But even with this assistance, they could not handle the timbers, and Reed was forced to rig a derrick and with block and tackle, and all the men to pull on the ropes, they hoisted the timbers to place, and erected the first saw mill at Portland, Oregon, a mill that would cut about ten thousand feet a day. Quite a change since 1850 to the town sixty years later, that cuts and ships more lumber than any of the city in the world.

In those days, everybody worked and labored hard in building houses. In describing the work of J. H. Wilbur, (Father Wilbur) of the first Methodist church, a contemporary said of him: "Stalwart and strong, the great forest that stood where Taylor street church now stands, fell before his axe. The walls of the old church rose by his saw and hammer, and grew white and beautiful under his paint brush, tired bodies rested and listened to his powerful preaching on Sunday, poverty was fed at his table, and sickness cured by his medicines." And now we reach the first business excitement at the new town. On the first of August, 1848, a little schooner from San Francisco pulled into the wharf at the little town of Portland, Oregon, and after unloading a lot Mexican produce and goods began to load up not only with Oregon produce. but with all the shovels, picks, and pans that could he secured at the two stores in town. And after making a clean up of all these necessary tools to mine placer gold, the captain made known the discovery of gold in California by J. W. Marshall. Marshall had come to Oregon as an immigrant, across the plains in 1844. And not getting anything to do here at Portland, went down to California in 1846, and was employed by General Sutter at his mill near where the city of Sacramento now stands. Marshall was followed in 1847 by Charles Bennett and Stephen Staats, and they were there at the mill when Marshall found the first gold. And thus we see, that it was an Oregonian going from Portland and Oregon City, to California that made the discovery that gave to the world four [page 211] hundred million dollars in gold, and which revolutionized the currents and conditions of trade, commerce and living expense in every civilized land.

The rush to the gold discoveries nearly depopulated the town. And while it carried off many good workers, there were compensations for their absence. Lumber, wheat, potatoes and everything fit to eat, ran up to enormous prices and the Oregon farmer was soon digging as much gold out of his land as the miners were getting in California. The gold discoveries helped in another way. Very soon gold dust and states money was rolling back into Oregon for the produce sent down and surplus dust sent back to families and friends; so that wheat was no longer the circulating legal tender medium, but gold dust, and finally "beaver money" made from dust by the Oregon City mint, became the circulating medium and greatly stimulated trade in all its branches.

About this time Hiram Smith and his brother, Isaac, reached Portland, the plains across, but sending a stock of merchandise around Cape Horn, with which they started the next store after Pettygrove. Hiram Smith had made a of of money in Ohio manufacturing fanning mills wind mills to clean grain from the chaff and dirt and brought it to Oregon to push things. He was an active pushing man, well informed in business, and also a very generous, kind hearted man. He started out the next year with a pack train load of groceries, flour and meat to sell to the incoming emigrants. But on meeting the train east f the Blue mountains found them all so poor and famishing that instead of selling anything, gave it all away to the starving people, trusting them to pay him sometime in the future if they could. Some of them did pay afterwards, and many did not; but Hiram Smith never lost any sleep over the matter. He accumulated a large fortune by honest fair means, and left it all to his wife, Hannah, who in turn gave most of it to deserving charities at her death. About the same time with Smith, Thomas Carter and wife came in from Georgia, and located the land claim south of the King claim, and which covered what is now known as Portland Heights. Carter built the first old style Southern states mansion house out in the region, for a long time demeaned by the name of ‘Goose Hollow", but subsequently changed into "Paradise Valley"; the region bounded by Jefferson street on the north, Chapman street on the west, Lownsdale street on the east, and Market street on the south. Carter lived on the claim for many years, hut finally sold out to his two sons, Charles M. Carter, and Thomas Jefferson Carter, both forceful and public spirited men. "Goose Hollow" was for a long time a sort of "no man’ s land" being too far out to be saleable for city lots, and not worth grubbing out to put in potatoes. In consequence of which, a miscellaneous lot of people got in there who did not really go in the "upper ten" class of 1862. And while the good husbands were busy digging stumps or catering to the thirst of the sturdy yeomen on Front street, their good wives were adding to family comforts by raising geese and plucking their feathers as far out as the Carter mansion in 1862. In consequence of this goose industry it soon got to be that every woman in the little valley had a flock of geese. And in consequence of the numbers of them they all mixed up together, and every good woman in the whole neighborhood claimed all the geese. And from pulling feathers they got to pulling other things, and some twenty more or less goose owners were cited to appear before Police Judge, J. F. McCoy, to receive justice at the August forum of Portland’s first police court. McCoy had a worse job of it than the judge who decided the case between the two women who claimed the same baby, two thousand years ago. But he was equal to the occasion, and his decision was, that Marshall Lappeus and his two deputies should repair to the seat of war and round up every flock of geese they could find, count them, and then divide them equally among the contending owners; and that thereafter the first woman who complained about geese should be incarcerated in the city bastile. For that trip, Lappeus named it "goose hollow," and the name stuck. [page 212]

A careful review of the facts, and the men will show that the future of the city, and its permanent and substantial success dates back to this period, and practically to a group of about a dozen leading men, who were compelled, from the very nature of the case to pull together for self-preservation. Much has been said and written from time to time about the want of unanimity and harmonious enterprise among the rich men of Portland. And while there has been often outward manifestations of a want of harmony if not secret opposition to each other, yet altogether the evolutionary progress of the city has compelled inharmonious elements to work and labor for the common good. Incoming business men were loth to open their purses to make improvements which they thought added more to the prosperity of the townsite owners than their own. And some of these same business men were so stiff upon this point that they would not buy town lots at a low price which would have made them wealthy while they waited for profits from other sources. But altogether the logic of events compelled all of them, in one way or the other, to contribute their time, energies, and money to indirectly built a city which made all of them rich. Counting in the original townsite proprietors, Coffin, Chapman, and Lownsdale, we can add to their efforts, those of Captain J. C. Airisworth, Jacob Kamm, Henry W. Corbett, W. S. Ladd, Henry Failing, C. H. Lewis, Captain John H. Couch, Captain George H. Flanders, Simeon G. Reed and R. R. Thompson, to whose brains and energy Portland is indebted for its present masterful position in the commerce and general prosperity of the country. And it can be easily seen from time to time in the history of the city, how these men co-operated, even when apparently acting independent of each other, to bring about great results in building up the city and securing its great future. Captain Ainsworth had settled first at Oregon city, and with his brother-in-law, Dierdorif, had been carrying on a general store and trading establishment at that point. But seeing the natural advantages of Portland, and early getting into the steamboat business, so shaped his affairs as to transfer all his interests to this point, and as the transportation on the Columbia river developed, became the executive head of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company the first large transportation company of the north Pacific coast. Ainsworth’s last work on behalf of the city, was in extending transportation to eastern Oregon, building the portage railways at the Cascades and the Dalles, and in exploring the Columbia to its headwaters and into Kootenai lake, where vast mineral wealth has followed the discoveries made by Ainsworth’s exploring parties. And while Ainsworth added vastly to the fortune of himself, Reed and Thompson by the sale of the property of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company to the Northern Pacific Railway Company, that transaction enabled Henry Villard to get such control of the railroads leading to the great Columbia basin, as to hold the transcontinental business to Portland long enough to demonstrate its superior and exclusive advantages as the gateway to the Pacific; and thus eventually, as has now been established, control the heavy transportation between the coast of Oregon, and Washington and the Atlantic states.

Of this group of men, Jacob Kamm is entitled to be ranked the first in steamboat development. Before Lot Whitcomb could build the first steamboat, he was compelled to bring Mr. Kamm from California to superintend the construction. In this pioneer work, a great work for this city, Mr. Kamm, with his own hands put all the machinery together even down to riveting the boiler sheets. From this beginning, Jacob Kamm went on with work on other steamers, and had supervision as master mechanic, chief engineer and part owner, of the steamboats Jennie Clark, Carrie Ladd, Mountain Buck, Senorita, the Mary, Hassalo, Rival, Surprise and Elk. Mr. Kamm was the first and only man to put steamboat transportation on the upper Snake river. He was the sole owner of the ocean steamer, George S. Wright, which he ran from Portland to Victoria, Sitka and Alaska, being the only capitalist Portland had that would make a fight [page 213] to hold that trade to this city. In later years, he organized the Vancouver Transportation Company, and put on the steamers Lurline and Undine. His work in building up the city is incalculable. Mr. Kamm was born in Switzerland, in 1823, and is yet a citizen of Portland, with all his faculties unimpaired at the age of 87. He learned the steamboat business from engineer’s assistant up to owner of ocean steamships; commencing at the engine room on a Mississippi steamboat another splendid example of what a poor boy can do with patient work and honest endeavor. Henry W. Corbett, born in Westborough, Mass., in 1827, commenced at the foot of the ladder of fortune and fame, in a wholesale dry goods store in New York city, where he spent seven years in hard work. At the end of that time his employers had so much confidence in him that they sold him a stock of goods on credit which he brought around Cape Horn in a ship that landed at this town on March 4, 1851. There were 400 people here then, with five little stores in town. Corbett rented an unfinished building at the corner of Front and Oak streets, paying $125 a month rent for it. He worked hard being proprietor, clerk, salesman, and bookkeeper, all in one, and at the end of fourteen months, had sold out his whole stock, cleared $20,000, and started back to New York to get another cargo of merchandise. He remained in New York, one year, but continued to ship goods to Portland for sale. He then determined to make Portland his home, and returned in 1853, with a larger stock of general merchandise, and in 1860 converted his store into an exclusive hardware business, and in 1871, consolidated with Henry Failing, forming the firm of Corbett, Failing & Company, making it the largest hardware establishment on the Pacific coast. Mr. Corbett’s activities in business life have been more extensive and varied than that of any other citizen of Portland, which, with his service in the United States senate, has made him one of the most useful, if not the most conspicuous, citizen of the state of Oregon. William S. Ladd reached Portland about a year after Mr. Corbett. He, too, came to make his fortune in selling merchandise. He had but little to bring with him, and had not the good fortune that favored Corbett in getting a large stock on credit. On his way here he fell in with Charles E. Tilton at San Francisco, where Tilton was selling goods on consignment, and endeavored to induce Tilton, who was an old schoolmate, to come up to Portland with him and start a store. Tilton did not agree to the proposition, and without going to the gold mines, Mr. Ladd came to Portland with a mere handful of goods, and made his way as best he could. The first lift Ladd got was in selling out a cargo of goods brought here by a man named W. D. Gookin, who, however, never became a citizen of Portland. Gookin had known Ladd’s father, and so he trusted the young man. In this transaction, Ladd cleared his first thousand dollars, and to a man of his shrewdness, push, enterprise and persistence in business, a thousand dollars insured his success. He continued in business, either with Gookin, or starting a new store under the name of Ladd, Reed & Co., until he engaged in banking with the aforesaid C. E. Tilton; and by pushing and pulling all the advantages the only bank possessed, and getting hold of large tracts of land at nominal prices, he amassed the largest fortune in the state. Cicero H. Lewis is the typical merchant in all comparisons. among men who have followed the business of merchandising in the city of Portland. He is the only man among the many distinguished business men that Portland has developed that has been "the merchant" from first to last. Mr. Corbett, Failing. Ladd, Ainsworth, and others might be named who commenced as merchants, but switched off into some other pursuit, before ending their career. Mr. Lewis commenced his career as a merchant in 1851, and remained steadfast in the harness until death called him, January 5, He founded and built up the great wholesale grocery house of Allen & Lewis, until now its patrons cover the whole country from Ashland, Oregon, up to the farthest limits of Alaska. Many a distressed country retail man he has helped along for years until farms and [page 214] business grew up to help him out. Like Henry Failing, C. H. Lewis never pressed a customer, and his word was as good as government bonds throughout the whole northwest. Aside from his business, nearly all the educational and charitable institutions especially the Good Samaritan hospital and the Protestant Episcopal church owe much to his wise guidance and financial support, or that of his family.

Henry Failing came to Portland in 1851, in a subordinate position with his father, Josiah Failing, of blessed memory, and became a partner in the firm of J. Failing & Co. The business prospered, and in 1864, Failing, Sr., retired, leaving the hardware business to his sons, Henry, Edward and James. This business was carried on with success and profit until it was consolidated with that of Mr. Corbett, in 1871. In 1869 Mr. Corbett and Henry Failing purchased a controlling interest in the First National Bank, which had been organized by the Starr Brothers; it being the first national bank on the Pacific coast. Mr. Failing became president of the bank and from that day on it has been the great hank success of the Pacific coast. As mayor of the city. as president of the board of commissioners that constructed the water works to bring water from Mt. Hood, and in every trust reposed in him, Henry Failing, is the man against whom there never was a doubt but that the public and every private citizen no matter how poor or humble, would get absolute and unqualified justice in the discharge of every duty. The great bank is a monument to his business sagacity and fidelity to the interests of its patrons; and not a single dollar ever passed into its treasury that was made by the foreclosure of any mortgage or the pressure of any debtor. With a brusque exterior, Henry Failing possessed one of the kindest and most sympathetic hearts in existence. And with generosity to all he was the absolute standard of honesty, justice and fair dealing in all his ways. With justifiable pride, his children have placed over his mortal remains the epitaph:


With long personal acquaintance, the author of this history can testify that no man ever deserved the above tribute more than Henry Failing.

Captains Couch and Flanders have been already referred to, but not as they deserve to be. Captain John H. Couch most assuredly drove down the first stake to fasten the city at this point when he tied up his ship at the foot of Washington street, before there was a house here, and said, "to this point I can bring any ship that can get into the mouth of the great Columbia river." Like most men developed on the high seas, when he knew anything, he was sure and confident of his knowledge. When others were trembling and temporizing for fear Portland would fail like the dozen other places, Captain Couch lost no sleep over their fears. He knew just as well that the city had to be built here as the experienced locomotive engineer can tell how many loaded cars his engine can pull from Portland to Dalles City. That confidence was worth millions to Portland, because it converted all other sea captains to the idea that Portland was the seaport of the Columbia river. In this view Captain George H. Flanders fully concurred. These two men practically made the Pacific ocean contribute to the success and prosperity of the city. This was their great contribution to the building of Portland, although their help in other ways would fill a book. When railroad development was proposed, these two men John H. Couch and George H. Flanders placed their names at the top of the roll of Portland men who aided in starting railroad construction by donating ten city blocks in the north end of the city for depot and terminal grounds. The Union depot stands on land which they gave to the old Oregon Central Railroad Company when the author of this book was its president and manager forty-two years ago. But in every other way, and especially to the religious and charitable institutions of the city, they and their families have taken a leading [page 215] part in making not only a rich and prosperous city, but also a moral, peaceful, healthful and clean place to raise families in.

The work of R. R. Thompson in building the city was wholly allied with and a part of the work of Captain Ainsworth. Thompson went into the transportation business in a small way on the upper Columbia before The Dalles Portage Railway was constructed, and it was necessary to Ainsworth’s plans in concentrating all the river traffic in one company to prevent any opposition from Thompson’s boats. And so Thompson’s boats were brought into the Oregon Steam Navigation Company by giving Thompson a large block of the original capital stock of that company. From that time on, Thompson’s fortunes rose with the prosperity of that company, and in the final sale of the property to Henry Villard as trustee of the Transcontinental Company, Thompson received over a million dollars for his share of the proceeds. Thompson was the pioneer in transportation on the upper river, and had in that way aided in developing territory which contributed to the upbuilding of Portland. But outside of this and his co-operation with Ainsworth, his services to this city were not conspicuous. R. R. Thompson was born in Harrison county, Ohio, not far from the birthplace of David P. Thompson, another prominent capitalist of this city, but they were in no way related to each other. As the life and growth of the city goes on, and for generations upon generations hereafter, the name of Simeon G. Reed is likely to be more in the minds of men and women in this city than the names of all the other men above combined. Like Mr. R. R. Thompson, for the greater part of his career in Portland, Mr. Reed shone by the reflected light of J. C. Ainsworth. Reed was a closer friend of Ainsworth than any other man, although Ainsworth, Reed and Thompson, were always spoken of as "The Triumvirate." Mr. Reed was always a very charitable man, kind-hearted and gentle with lucky fortune dogging his steps throughout his life. He put a price on some mining stock in Nevada once, and then went off hunting sage hens in Umatilla county. A great body of rich ore was uncovered in the mine, and before the San Francisco "mining sharps" could locate Reed with telegrams, that stock advanced a hundred thousand dollars in value, and Reed got back to the old town of Umatilla in time to cancel his offer before it could be taken up by his pursuers. S. G. Reed never lost any sleep or worried about matters he could not prevent. He was always ready to help any man that deserved his help if they did not ask too much. He finally came to regard his great fortune as a trust in his hands for the benefit of his fellow men. And having no children, and but few relatives when he passed away, he requested his life-long helpmeet, Mrs. Amanda Reed, to devote their wealth to the benefit of the people of the city of Portland. In pursuance of that wish, Mrs. Reed in her last will and testament, provided that after paying some legacies to relatives, the Reed millions should be devoted to the founding of a great institution for the teaching of practical and scientific knowledge to the youth of this city. And that great bequest is now being administered to carry out the wishes of the large-hearted donors.

Of other notable men who have made their impress on the city and aided largely in establishing the useful institutions of the pioneer town, Judge P. A. Marquam is entitled to a high position. While he never made a million dollars, he did make enough, and made it honestly, to attract the wolves of finance and banking to rend him to pieces and rob him of what he had. The "Marquam case," wherein the supreme court of Oregon held that a trust deed was not a trust but a mortgage, will go down to future courts and judges as an anomaly in jurisprudence that is a disgrace to any state. But Judge Marquam’s claim to honorable recognition in the history of Portland does not depend on either property or business. While in California, he served with distinction in the wars to subdue the Indians and protect the gold miners. He was elected county judge twice before coming to Oregon. On reaching Portland he engaged in law practice and soon secured a large business. Soon after he was elected county judge [page 216] and reelected, serving in all eight years. Under his administration nearly all the roads in the county were located and opened to travel. He was always an active friend of the public schools, and in every way labored to promote the public welfare, and now at the age of 87, enjoys the homage and respect of every good citizen, spending the evening of life in a quiet, restful home on Portland Heights.

Another man influential in starting useful enterprises was Joseph A. Strowbridge. Coming here while yet a boy, and while but recently having lost his father by mountain fever, contracted on the plains, the young man resolutely addressed himself to the very serious task of making his own way in a new country without friends, experience or assistance of any kind. He was the first person to engage in shipping apples from Oregon to the miners in California, and in that respect he was the father of the Oregon apple exporting business. He afterward engaged in the wholesale shoe and leather business, finally cutting out the boots and shoes, and confining his business to wholesale leather and findings. A more complete statement of his career will be found in the biographical volume. Edward James Northrup, born in Albany, New York, in 1834, came to Portland in 1852, and served as a clerk in the store of his father, Nelson Northrup, and Montreville Simonds, for three years. He then opened a hardware store in the town in partnership with R. H. Blossom. This was the foundation of the great hardware establishment of "The Honeyman Hardware Company" at the corner of Fourth and Alder streets. Northrup was one of the best citizens, taking a very active part in educational and church work.

George W. Snell, a native of Augusta, Maine, and George L. Story, from Manchester, Mass., were the pioneer dealers in drugs, medicines and paints. Snell arrived first, coming early in the spring of 1851, and bringing with him Dr. J. C. Hooper, also of Maine, from San Francisco with a stock of drugs. Dr. Hooper died in the same year, and was succeeded in the business by Mr. Story, and Story by Smith & Davis, In a few years Smith & Davis were succeeded by Hodge, Calef & Co., and them by Snell, Heitshu & Woodard. This firm greatly enlarged the business and erected the handsome stone building at the intersection of Sixth and Burnside streets. Charles Woodard started a drug store on Front street at the foot of Alder street. which, being moved first to First and Alder under the Odd Fellows Temple, and then to Fourth and Washington, has grown to be the greatest retail "department" drug store in the United States, and the father of the wholesale drug house of Clarke, Woodward & Company at Ninth and Hoyt streets. But to return to Mr. Story, we find that after closing out his interest in the firm of Smith & Davis, he returned to San Francisco, and formed the partnership of Story, Redington & Company in the wholesale drug trade of that city, and again sold out there and returned to Portland in 1862, and has resided here ever since. Mr. Story has been active and influential in business and public affairs in Portland for nearly sixty years, and is still, at the age of 77, in good health, attending to a large, fine insurance business as if he were a young man. There were, of course, many other men in the town hard at work at the date when these more prominent leaders located here who are entitled to recognition, and would not be overlooked here if the facts of their lives were now accessible. To reproduce the daily life of the little town now, after the passing of sixty years has carried away forever the lives and incidents of that day, is a difficult if not impossible task, and if enough is furnished to enable the discriminating reader to guess at what has been lost by time, it is the best that can be done.

At the close of this period of the city’s growth, the following business houses were well established: H. W. Corbett, general store; Josiah Failing and two sons, hardware; J. H. Couch, general store; Breck & Ogden, general store; C. H. Lewis of Allen & Lewis, general store; S. M. & L. M. Starr, store and [page 217] tin store; Captain Norton, a small store, but with a ship at the river bank with a large stock of general merchandise; Thomas Pritchard, grocery store; A. M. Barnes, general store; G. W. Vaughn, hardware store; Northrup & Simonds, hardware; Hiram Smith (with a sign over his door "No. 1 Smith" to distinguish him from twenty other Smiths), a general store; Lucier Snow, dry goods exclusively; G. W. Snell, drugs and paints; Patrick Raleigh, a stock of goods on commission; Frazer & Jewett, a general store; James Terwilliger, blacksmith and machine work; John Waymire, hotel. Besides these stores there were always two or more ships lying in the river with stocks of goods for sale. There were at that time located here the following physicians: Dr. Ralph Wilcox, Dr. R. B. Wilson, Dr. Isaac A. Davenport, Dr. Samuel Hooper, Dr. Perry Prettyman, Dr. Salsbury, and Dr. E. H. Griffin, the first dentist in the city. There were also the following ministers of the gospel: Rev. Horace Lyman, Rev. C. S. Kingsley, Rev. J. H. Wilbur, Rev. St. Michael Fackler and Rev. Father Croke.

The legal fraternity was represented by Col. William King, Col. W. W. Chapman, Joseph S. Smith and Frank Tilford.

The following is a list of those living here, or in this immediate vicinity prior to 1852. The list was prepared twenty years ago by John M. Breck, George L. Story, Henry Failing and T. B. Trevett, and they have all passed on but Mr. Story, A. B. Stuart, Jacob Kamm, John C. Carson and Charles W. Parrish: George L. Story, Capt. Wm. Baker, T. B. Trevett, Cal. Wm. M. King, Dr. R. B. Wilson, Dr. L. C. Bray, Frank D. Camp, Rev. Horace Lyman, Rev. C. S. Kingsley, Rev. J. H. Wilbur, Rev. St. Michael Fackler, Knute Peterson. Peter D. Hardenberg, Captain Molthrop, Samuel R. Holcomb, Nelson Northrup, Mr. Simonds, G. W. Vaughn, Peter Erpelding, Thomas G. Robinson. Kohn, Levi Anderson, David Weil, Uriah Harris, Jack Harris, Major Tucker, Nathaniel Coe, Lawrence W. Coe, Eugene F. Coe, Henry Coe, Mr. Tallentire, Thomas Gladwell, Capt. Ayres, A. D. Fitch, Wm. Fitch, John Thompson, Thomas Stephens, Wm. Stephens, Jas. B. Stephens, Finice Caruthers, Jas. Terwilliger, Wm. Blackistone, Peter Guild, Col. Loring, Cal. Frush. Capt. Richard Williams, Capt. Wells, Hugh D. O’Bryant, Colburn Barrell, Crawford Dobbin, Job McNamee, Richard White, Allen White, Robert Thompson, Shubrick Norris. Wm. H. Barnhart, Thos. J. Hobbs, Sam E. May, Robt. N. McLaren, Finley McLaren, Henry W. Corbett, Josiah Failing, Henry Failing, John W. Failing. J. J. Lintz, Jos. W. Cleayer Dr. Salisbury, A. M. Starr, L. M. Starr, Capt. O. H. Hall, Nathaniel Crosby, Thos. H. Smith, L. M. Simpson, W. M. Seaton Ogden, John M. Breck, N. H. Owens, Orlando McKnight, F. M. Smith, A. L. Francis, I. B. Francis, Otis J. Dimick; John Orvis Waterman, John Thomas, Chas. Lawrence, W. D. M. Carter, Mr. Southmayed (printer), Mr. Berry (printer), C. A. Reed, E. B. Comfort, Harley McDonald. Geo. W. Higgins, Thos. Frazar, Mr. Jewett, T. B. McElroy, Sam A. Clark, Jos. Durbrow, John Ferguson, Wm. McMillan, Dave Lewis, Frank Matthias, Lewis Day, Mr. Adams, Richard Hoyt, Zenas Webber, Anthony L. Davis. Jas. Warren Davis, Thomas A. Davis, Lucien Snow, Herman Wasserman, Fleming family, John M. Murphy, Dr. E. H. Griffin, Mr. Ettlinger, Mr. Simonsfield, A. L. Lovejoy, F. W. Pettygrove, L. B. Hastings, D. S. Baker, Geo. W. Snell, Dr. Samuel Hooper. Deveaux Babcock, C. B. Pillow, A. V. Wilson, Clark Drew, M. N. Lucas, Peter Fulkerson, John B. Talbot and family, John Donnel and family, Mr. Bennett, O. Travalliot, Lucius H. Allen, C. H. Lewis, Peter DeWitt, John H. Couch, George Sherman, P. Hibert, M. Chappellier, Mr. Daulne, John Ricketson, John Mears, Frank E. Webster, Dan Stewart, Jas. Fruit, R. R. Reese, Thos. J. Dryer, Benj. Stark, Nehemiah Northrup, Mr. Northrup, Thos. J. Holmes, D. H. Hendee, Thos. A. Savier, John D. Walker, D. C. Coleman, W. S. Ladd, Sam Bell, Lewis May, Geo. A. Barnes, Mr. Barnes, Heil Barnes. Capt. B. F. Smith, Thos. Pritchard, Hiram Smith, I. B. Smith, Richard Kissarn [page 218] Cooke, R. M. Field, Jas. Field, S. S. Slater, A. H. Johnson, A. C. Bonnell, Zachariah Norton, R. P. Boise, Alexander Campbell, W. B. Otway, W. P. Abrams, Mr. Sheney, John Harlow, Moses Abbett, Dr. Isaac A. Davenport, Stephen G. Skidmore, A. P. Dennison, G. C. Robbins, C. G. Birdseye, W. B. Marye, J. Blumauer, W. W. Chapman, D. H. Lownsdale, Stephen Coffin, Thos. Hartness, J. B. Backenstos, E. D. Backenstos, Rev. Father Croke, A. B. Hal-lock, Frank DeWitt, Thos. Carter, Chas. M. Carter, T. Jefferson Carter, A. N. King, Geo. H. Flanders, R. C. Baldra, Wm. Grooms, C. C. Redman, John W. W. McKay, Frank Tilford, Sherry Ross, Mr. Ross, E. L. Goldstein, Nelson Ham, John C. Carson, Joseph S. Smith, J. B. V. Butler, Mr. McBride, Mrs. Apperson and family, C. S. Silver, Jacob Kamm, Sargent, of Sargent & Ricketson, John C. Markly, Ed. Chambreau, Samuel D. Smith, George Kittridge, L. C. Potter, Danforth Balch, Captain Irving, Gideon Tibbetts, Jas. Wheeler, David N. Birdseye, Mr. Clinkenbeard, Mr. Wimple, Chas. P. Bacon, Wm. Sherlock, Mr. Henderson, David Fuller, J. L. Parrish, Norman Parrish, Samuel B. Parrish, Chas. W. Parrish, French Lewis, Mr. Camp, Samuel Marsh, the Hoberts family, Hiram Wilbur, W. B. Doublebower, Elijah B. Davidson, Dr. Perry Prettyman, Edw. Long, Louis Love, Clinton Kelly, Wm. Naylor, Jas. Thompson, Eli Stewart, Dr. Ralph Wilcox, Geo. Loring, John Elliott, Geo. Elliott, Wm. L. Higgins, Wm. S. Coldwell, Richard Wiley, Wm. Bennett.

The following is a list of those now living (November 20, 1910) who have been continuous residents of Portland from the date of their arrival up to the present time (list furnished by Mr. George H. Himes, secretary of Oregon Pioneer Association)

1845. Hiram Terwilliger, Mrs. Charlotte M. Cartwright, Adam McNamee.

1846. Mrs. Eva Bartenstein, sister of Adam McNamee, born in Portland.

1847. H. W. Prettyman, Mrs. S. J. Perry, Mrs. Otelia DeWitt (this lady lived a few years in the valley), John W. Cullen, Mrs. D. S. Stimson, Mrs. W. S. Powell.

1848. Penumbra Kelly, James W. King.

1849. James S. Backenstos, Mrs. Alice T. Bird, A. B. Stuart.

1850. J. C. Carson, Mrs. William Grooms, I. H. Gove.

1851. George L. Story.

The following are now residents of Portland, but who have not lived here continuously:

1840. Mrs. Jacob Kamm (born in Oregon).

1841. Capt. Thomas Mountain, Mrs. C. J. Hood, Mrs. Maria Smith, born in Salem, Mrs. Mary Elliott. 1842. F. X. Matthieu.

1843. Mrs. John G. Baker, Mrs. Isabel Bertrand, Mrs. S. G. Foster. Mrs. Rebecca Griffiths, Mrs. L. H. Patterson, Mrs. L. E. Wright (Lents).

1844. Mrs. P. G. Baker, Mrs. J. H. Adams (born in Oregon), Mrs. Ann Bain, Mrs. Mary Cline, Mrs. Elizabeth Sager Helm, Mrs. M. J. Jarnot (born in Oregon), F. Lee Lewes, John Minto, T. M. Ramsdell, Mrs. L. E. Reynolds (born in Oregon), Mrs. M. P. Sax.

1845. J. W. A. Belieu, Mrs. L. J. Bennett, Charles Bolds, Mrs. Minerva Bowles, Mrs. A. R. Capps, Mrs. M. J. Comstock, Mrs. C. Cornelius, Mrs. Rachel Cornelius, Mrs. Lydia Crandall, Mrs. Sarah A. I. Hawk, Mrs. Adeline Gore, William F. Helm, Mrs. Sarah J. Henderson, Mrs. F. Henshaw, C. O. Hosford, W. Carey Johnson, Mrs. M. O. Moore, Mrs. A. H. Morgan, W. H. H. Morgan, G. L. Parker, Mrs. D. P. Thompson, Mrs. Julia H. Wilcox. Thomas Stephens (born in Portland).

1846. N. H. Bird (born in Yamhill county), Mrs. John Catlin, Mrs. Mary Clymer, Mrs. Matthew P. Deady, Mrs. Edna Failing (born in California), Mrs. Oliva H. Failing (born on the plains), Miss Frances Holman, Mrs. Prudence [page 219] Hoiston (born in Oregon), Mrs. Kate Lewis, Mrs. O. G. Marks, Mrs. Clementine McEwan, Mrs. N. E. Poppleton.

1847. J. T. Apperson (lived here two or three years before going to Clackamas county), Mrs. S. J. Apperson, Mrs. R. Barber, Mrs. Nancy Capps, Mrs. C. W. Cottel (born in Oregon), John W. Cullen, Mrs. Gertrude Hall Denny, Mrs. E. Everest, William E. Jolly, Mrs. Elizabeth Kent, W. T. Legg, Mrs. E. J. Landess, William Morfitt, Mrs. Virginia McDaniel, Mrs. N. J. McPherson, Mrs. Phebe M. McGrew, Mrs. Mary Shelton, Mrs. Emma Ross Slavin, Seneca Smith, Mrs. S. L. Veazie, F. A. Watts, Mrs. J. W. Whalley, Mrs. Eliza Elliott White Mrs. E. J. Woolley, Mrs. M. Wright.

1848. Mrs. Aurora W. Bowman, Mrs. M. A. Chance, Mrs. J. K. Gill (born in Oregon), Mrs. H. E. Hinton, D. J. Holmes, Mrs. A. A. Kellogg, Mrs. Catherine Hutton (Mt. Tabor), Mrs. Harriett Hoover Killin (born in Oregon), John W. Minto (born in Oregon), Mrs. E. E. Morgan, Mrs. Clara Watt Morton, Mrs. Inez E. Parker, S. E. Starr, Mrs. G. A. Thomas, Mrs. Louise Walker, Mrs. Roxana Watt White.

1849. S. D. Adair, Mrs. E. M. Wait, Reuben Weeks, Mrs. R. Wicks, Mrs. Louise Bowie, H. B. Campbell, Mrs. J. M. Freeman, Jardin Jereleman, G. C. Love, Mrs. M. B. Quivey, John McCraken (Mrs. McCraken was born some time before 1837), Mrs. Martha M. Taylor, Mrs. Sarah A. Thompson.

1850. O. J. Bales, Mrs. C. L. Belieu, Charles Hutchins, W. S. Chapman (born in Oregon), I. G. Davidson, Mrs. M. E. Dixon (born in Oregon), Robert Earl, Mrs. H. C. Exon, Jacob Kamm, Mrs. Jane Ferguson, Rev. John Flinn, M. J. Gleason, Mrs. R. L. Henness (Mt. Tabor), Mrs. Sarah Heulat, Mrs. S. J. Hoopengarner, J. J. Hoskins, Mrs. M. C. Howard, H. S. Gile, Mrs. Louisa A. Jones, Mrs. B. B. Kucasy (a niece of George Donner, head of the Donner party of Donner lake, winter of 1846-47), Mrs. S. J. Lucas, Mrs. J. N. T. Miller, Mrs. Thomas Moffett, Wm. H. Musgrove, Mrs. L. A. McDonald, J. M. McIntyre, George A. Pease, Mrs. M. E. Ryan, G. D. Robinson, J. S. Simmons, Mrs. T. W. Spencer, Mrs. L. C. Weatherford, Edwin Wilcox.

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