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Portland Antedated by other Cities on the Willamette and Columbia--Efforts to Find a Commercial Center--William Overton the First Owner--Gen. A. L. Lovejoy--Francis W. Pettygrove--The First Cabin--Name Bestowed--Site Platted--Daniel H. Lownsdale--Stephen Coffin--William W. Chapman--Depletion by the Rush to the Gold Fields--Return of Pioneers--New Corners--Improvements--First Newspaper--Opening of the Plank Road--Purchase of the Steamship Gold Hunter--List of the Business Houses and of Residences Prior to 1851.

IT is to be borne in mind that there was in Oregon an ancient circles of cities whose rise and growth belong to a day earlier than that of Portland. By reference to the chapter upon the earliest times and the provisional government, one will see that Astoria, down near the Ocean, had already been flourishing, amid its gigantic spruce trees and sea breezes, for more than thirty years, and for a part of the time figured as the sole American city on the Pacific Coast. It had furthermore so far attracted the attention as to have become the subject of one of Irving’s historical romances, and was reckoned along with Mexico and Cuzco as one of the great cities of Western exploit and renown.

Vancouver, the most distant seat of the great English fur monopoly, whose proprietors sat in Parliament in London, and had Princes on the list of their business progenitors and patrons, had been in existence twenty years, and the chief factor who sat in its office and looked up and down the broad Columbia for time coming and going of his bateaux and the motley fleet of Indian canoes and pirogues, had grown white-headed in this long expanse of historic time before Portland had its first cabin.

Oregon City, five years later (1829), was selected as a site for a city by Dr. McLaughlin, and he was accustomed to send up thither little squads of Canadians with axes and picks to slash brush and cut trees and to dig among the boulders and gravel, somewhat after the manner of the modern pre-emptor or homesteader, to show that the place was his, even though he were not upon it the whole time. In 1840 a number of Methodist Missionaries looked upon this site by the Falls, [page 78] and concluded, being Americans, that they had as much right to the place as any one, and accordingly began building a city. A year of this occupancy did as much for the growth of the place as had the preceding eleven of a British rule. Indeed McLaughlin was so benevolent as to permit the Americans to use his squared timbers for their own edifices. Oregon City grew to her supremacy long before the first nail was driven in a Portland roof. If any one of these three early emporiums of the primitive times had possessed the position to be the principal places that they once aspired to become, they had abundant opportunity for realizing their hopes.

On the Willamette and the Columbia, numberless other points strove to become the place. It was well enough understood that on this strip of water must somewhere be located the metropolis of the Northwest, and every new settler so fortunate as to own a piece of land on either side of the river hoped to make it the center of the capital. Opposite Oregon City, Robert Moore, from Pennsylvania, found indications of iron in the soil, and here laid off Linn City in 1848, and persisted in living upon his site, although he was well laughed at by one of our naval officers for his extravagant hopes. His city later on became known by the less ambitious but more attractive name of Robin’s Nest. Below Moore’s, Hugh Burns, an Irishman, laid off Multnomah City and started the place by setting up a blacksmith shop. Some years later (1847), Lot Whitcomb, of Illinois, a man of rare enterprise, united with Seth Luelling and later with Captain Joseph Kellogg, to make Milwaukie the New York of the Pacific Coast. Below the present site of Portland, on the right batik of the Willamette, was St. Johns, founded by John Johns, whose brick store is still a conspicuous mark on the green slope of this beautiful little spot. At the head of Sauvies’ Island was Linnton, a most ambitious point, established as early as 1844 by M. M. McCarver, with the assistance of Peter Burnett, both of whom were brainy and stalwart men, famous in early history. The former is said to have declared that his city would beat anything on the coast if they could only get nails enough there. Near the mouth of the Willamette Slough was Milton, founded in 1846 by Captain Nathaniel

Crosby. On the Oregon shore opposite the lower end of [page 79] Sauvies’ Island where the lower mouth of the Willamette unites with the Columbia was set St. Helens on a natural site of great beauty. It was established about 184546 by Captain Knighton and others. The geographical position of all these embryo cities was equal to that of Portland, and the latter had but little advantage over any of them in priority of date of establishment, or in thrift and ability upon which to begin. All these points were energetic and were possessed of unbounded ambition to be first in empire. During those early years before 1850 the whole lower Willamette was in a state of agitation and excitement, striving to find some point, or node, of crystalization for the coming grandeur of population and wealth. This had been going on some years before Portland was thought of, and she seems to have been selected by nature as the outcome of the struggle for survival.

In proceeding with the history of the settlement of this city it may be well to say that more of it has been forgotten than will ever be put on paper. Written data are few and meagre, and what has been prepared for history is in some cases ludicrously erroneous, as when—probably by mistake of the compositor, which the proof reader and editor did not take the trouble to correct—a man in the Rocky Mountains at the time is affirmed to have founded Portland on the Willamette. A considerable number of the original settlers are still living, and in the case of some, recollection is distinct and most interesting; while others find themselves at fault in trying to remember incidents so long past, by them deemed trivial at the time.

But without further explanation the threads of tradition and story as to the most remote times of the city may be joined so as to form as well as possible an historical plexus.

Long before its selection for a city the site was not unnoticed. Travelers now and then stepped off from their canoes or bateaux, even from times so remote as that of Lewis and Clark; one of whom mentions spending a night at a great bend in the Willamette twelve miles from its mouth where he was entertained in the lodge of a very intelligent Indian chief, who told long stories of his own people and the great tribe of Calapooiah, many days toward the mid-day sun. In 1829, one Etienne Lucier, a Frenchman who crossed the plains page 80] with Hunt in 1811 but afterwards took service with the Hudson’s Bay Company, was settled by McLoughlin on the east side of the river opposite Portland, but soon went on to French Prairie.

The very first who set foot on the original site of Portland with a view to assuming ownership was William Overton. It has been almost universally stated that lie took the “claim” in 1843. In the first directory of Portland, published in 1863, there is found an historical sketch, doubtless compiled with care, which has become the basis of almost everything written upon the subject since, that gives the story of beginnings as follows: “During the month of November 1843, Hon. A. L. Lovejoy (at present residing at Oregon City) and a gentleman named Overton, stepped ashore at this point from an Indian canoe, while en route from Vancouver to Oregon City, and having examined the topography of the surrounding country concluded at once that this was the most eligible position for a town site." It goes on to say that during the ensuing winter they made preparations to erect a cabin, but before completing their arrangements for a dwelling, Overton disposed of his interest to Mr. F. W. Pettygrove, who in conjunction with Mr. Lovejoy had the site surveyed and the boundaries established, during the summer of 1844. "During the winter of the same year Messrs. Lovejoy and Pettygrove hired a man to commence clearing off timber and to procure logs suitable for the construction of a dwelling house but a change was made in the location the proprietors deeming it more prudent to commence operations nearer the center of their claim. Immediate preparations were made to clear off the ground adjacent to where the Columbia Hotel at present stands (near the foot of Washington Street) and accordingly a log house was erected on the spot and occupied by their employe during the winter. The building completed and a portion of the land cleared, the proprietors determined upon having a more accurate survey of their claim, and, in the summer of 1845, Thos. A. Brown was employed to do so."

The circumstances as to time are quite different from the account given by Mrs. Lovejoy, wife of the man named above. She herself came to Oregon in 1843 and was soon after married and lived with her husband at Oregon City. According to her memory it was not until [page 81] the autumn of 1844 that Overton set his stakes on the claim, and the story of first occupation runs something as follows:

Though the shore and plateau upon which Portland now stands was at first a dense forest with interminable underbrush, there was along the bank from about Washington street to Jefferson something of an opening, the underwood having been cleared away, perhaps by Indian campers. There were maple and oak trees on the spot. Being a delightfully shady place and about half way between Oregon City and Vancouver, it became convenient as a stopping place for parties on the river to land for a mid-day meal. Lovejoy going upon business in November of ‘44 from his home at Oregon City to Vancouver, fell in, at the latter place, with the young man Overton, and as it suited the convenience of both, the two arranged for making together the return trip to Oregon City. As they were passing up the Willamette and arrived at the grove, the two men went ashore, and Overton was pleased to show his friend about the place, saying that it was his “claim,” taken but a few weeks before. Lovejoy, with a critical eye, noticed the apparent depth of water off shore, and the indications at the bank that ships had made this a stopping place. Overton now disclosed the fact that he had no means to take the legal steps to secure the claim according to law, and offered Lovejoy a half interest in the claim for the expense of recording, and the latter closed the bargain. By this means our city’s site fell into the hands of one of the most intelligent and capable men then in the territory.

Of Overton very little is known. His name does not appear on any list of immigrants from the East, and it is surmised that he drifted in from the sea, or came up in ‘43 from California with the company who journeyed hither with Joseph Gale, a still older pioneer, and his herd of cattle. It has been remarked of him in humorous phrase, " This man Overton stalks through the twilight of these early annuals like a phantom of tradition, so little is known of his history, character and fate.” Col. Nesmith says he “was a desperate, rollicking fellow and sought his fortunes in Texas, where, as I have heard, his career was brought to a sudden termination by a halter.” It is agreed that he came from Tennessee; and that after his short [page 82] residence in Oregon he went to Texas. According to the recollection of Mrs. Lovejoy, he was an agreeable, well appearing young man, and she discredits the report of his hanging in the Lone Star State. From his name and native country it has been conjectured that he was a member of the family of Overtons in Memphis, who were among the founders of that city. But whatever his character or fate, he played only an incidental part in our history.[1] Soon after completing his settlement he was seeking to sell his interest in the claim, on the ground that he must go to his mother who, as he now heard, was sick in Texas. He succeeded in disposing of this to F. W. Pettygrove for an “outfit,” worth perhaps fifty dollars.’

General Lovejoy was, on the other hand, one whose name and history are clear and bright throughout the whole of the old Oregon; a dashing, dauntless sort of a man with many popular and commanding qualities, whose career is closely interwoven with that of the whole Northwest. The most successful of the business men of Portland have come from New England or New York, and it was perhaps as a sort of augury of this fact that the first real owner of soil here should be from the old Bay State. Lovejoy was a native of Groton. He studied at Cambridge, but was an alumnus at Amherst college. He became a lawyer and was among the first of the legal profession that came to this coast. On both sides of his house he was of excellent family, his mother’s people being the Lawrences, of fame on the east coast. Soon after finishing his professional studies he was led by that spirit of romance and adventure, which in men takes the form of action—in women emotion, in poets imagination—to push out to the west and follow the steps of such enthusiasts as Kelly and Wyeth, and other idealists and discoverers, who had set out from the little rocky hills and stern shores of the “down east” to thrid [page 83] the labyrinths of the North American continent. He reached Missouri and began practicing law. Here he came upon Dr. Elijah White, the physician and missionary who had spent several years in Oregon at Chemawa, near Salem, had returned east, and now was on the way west again, with considerable dignity and pomp as United States sub-Indian agent for Oregon; and, better yet, was the leader of a party of above one hundred to this remote region. Joining himself to the company, Lovejoy became an active and daring rover of the plains, and together with Hastings, another scion of a good eastern family, became the subject of a romantic adventure by falling into the hands of the savages at Independence Rock. It was customary to cut one’s name on this conspicuous pile, and he was carving his own in large characters when, stepping back to view his work, having drawn a flourish over the "Y," he was embraced by a very large Indian. A band of Sioux was soon on the spot, and the two young men separated from their train, were threatened with instant massacre. The savages were especially fierce in their demonstrations against Lovejoy, leaving Hastings almost unnoticed. This was attributed by the former to the fact that the latter was of a very dark complexion, and was perhaps supposed to be of kith to the captors. Happily, the guide, Fitzpatrick, saw the affair from the train, which was a few miles distant, and Dr. White came to the rescue with some tobacco and trinkets, which were on the whole more valuable to the strolling Sioux than two white men, dead or alive.

Reaching the Walla Walla Valley in October, Lovejoy found Dr. Whitman, the devoted missionary and intrepid pioneer, at Wailatpu, anxious to go to Washington and Boston. Although having just performed a trip that was most fatiguing, Lovejoy had the courage to join himself to the doctor as a comrade and to ride back across the [page 84] continent ; now, however, making the journey in the dead of winter. Long marches, snow storms, bitter winds, crossing of violent halffrozen streams ; wanderings, bewilderments, frost bites and starvation diet—sometimes eating dog meat—and riding jaded animals this was the order of the exercises from November to February. Their route led by Santa Fe.

In the season of ‘43 he joined the emigrants and made the journey once more across the plains and mountains, reaching Fort Vancouver in the autumn.

Such was Amos Lawrence Lovejoy, a frank-faced, open-hearted man with blue eyes, fair complexion and dark, auburn hair, who stepped ashore with the Tennessean, and laid claim to the site of Portland. The two peered about in the deep woods more or less, but soon went on to Oregon City for their abode, while making ready to hew out a site among the big trees at Portland. By purchase from Overton, F. W. Pettygrove, who had come from the State of Maine, now became a partner of Lovejoy’s. The same year a cabin was built of logs near the foot of Washington street as it now runs.

Francis W. Pettygrove was a representative man of the mercantile class of half a century ago. He was born in Calais, Me., in 1812, received a common school education in his native place, and afterwards engaged in independent business ventures. At the age of thirty he accepted the offer of an eastern mercantile company to bring to Oregon a stock of goods. He shipped his articles and took passage with his wife and child on the bark Victoria, but at the Sandwich Islands was obliged to transfer to the bark Fama, Capt. Nye. Upon this vessel he came to the Columbia river and ascended to Fort Vancouver. To transport his goods to Oregon City, the point for which he was aiming, he was obliged to engage the services of a schooner of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Once at the Falls, after his arduous and somewhat troublesome passage hither, he met with good success in the sale of his merchandise. After disposing of this, he engaged in the fur trade, and erecting a warehouse at Oregon City was enabled to control to quite an extent the wheat trade of French Prairie. His labors in establishing Portland were crowned with success and line became a valued and trusted friend of General [page 85]  Lovejoy, and was universally known throughout the entire territory as a capable man of business and honorable in all the relations of life. Although fortune would have awaited him here, the opening of the forests and breaking of the soil so far induced malarial troubles that he was led to seek the sea coast for the sake of his health. It was in 1851 that he sold out his remaining interests at Portland, and embarking on a schooner sailed away together with several other Portland people to the straits of Fuca, establishing the city of Port Townsend, where he remained until his death in 1887.

The work of these earliest founders may be easily imagined. Lovejoy spent the most of his time in the law office at the Falls wrestling with legal problems with the new arrivals in his profession, or urging on the course of politics, and therefore did not give largely of his time to manual labor. The story is told, however, that he “struck the first blow,” that is, we suppose that he was the first to lay hold of an axe and fell a fir tree—becoming thereby, the first to set in motion the wild music in our woods, which since that day has almost constantly sounded on the Portland site and still rings in the decimated forests on the environs. By the printed accounts it appears that it was a hired man who felled the trees for the cabin, and built the establishment. Undoubtedly, both Pettygrove and Lovejoy did not hesitate to take off their coats, and lift with the crowbar. From the long connection of the former with the “shingle store,” it seems only natural that he did some of the shake-laying on the roof of this first shanty, which the records refer to so respectfully as a “dwelling.” It seems to have been originally intended to put the house on a spot near the ravine where the Portland steam sawmill first stood, at the foot of Jefferson street, but the site near the foot of Washington street was afterward selected. In 1845 the land was surveyed and some four streets were laid off, making a plat of sixteen blocks. The portion east of Front street to the river was not platted, or rather the whole street and shore were left as one broad street and called “Water.” It was perhaps expected that this should always be free for the use of the public, and that the row of blocks between Front street and the river should not be held by [page 86] private parties. For a village, without docks or warehouses, it was, at any rate, a liberal plan. The streets were laid sixty feet wide and the lots stood fifty feet front by one hundred feet deep, with eight in a block. These dimensions, especially as to width of streets are now rather straitened for our compact and busy city, but in the primitive days seemed ample, particularly in consideration of the immense timber to be felled and cleared away.

In due time arose the necessity of naming the place. The christening was done in quite an informal and characteristic manner. Lovejoy and wife, Pettygrove and wife, and a Mr. Wilson being at dinner in their residence at Oregon City a little banter began to flow back and forth about the prospects of the city a dozen miles below. It was soon inquired by what appellation it should be known the world over. Lovejoy, being from Massachusetts, wished to name it Boston; Pettygrove, of Maine, favored Portland. It was jestingly agreed to decide the controversy by tossing a penny. Pettygrove happening to have a copper—a memento of old times “Down East”—gave the skillful flip which secured his pet name for the city of one log cabin. At the first throw he was successful, and to please his antagonist a trial by three throws was made, Pettygrove securing two.

It was comparatively an active time on the river that season. In the autumn arrived a large immigration from across the mountains, and as they passed by in boat loads they stopped to exchange greetings, and to make inquiries. Some of them, as James Field, and James Terwilliger, stopped off to stay, and to help build the city. In the fall also arrived the Toulon, under Capt. Crosby, and the crew of the vessel came ashore to help Terwilliger to erect his cabin.

In 1846 another of the noted men of early times appeared as owner of a part of the site of our city. This was John H. Couch. He had been to Oregon six years before as a ship-master. He was a Yankee, hailing from Newburyport, Mass., and one who had grown up in mercantile and nautical life, having early sailed to the West Indies. In 1839, he was commissioned Captain of the brig Maryland by John and Caleb Cushing, of Newburyport, to take a cargo of merchandise to the Columbia river. It was planned to sell the goods in Oregon, [page 87] load up with salmon in the Columbia river and sail to the Sandwich Islands. There exchanging his cargo of fish for oil, he should return home, doubling his money at each turn. The plan was good and Couch made the trip out in safety. He brought his brig over the Columbia Bar, having no pilot nor chart, and in the summer of 1840 lauded at Oregon City. He met with no success, however, in disposing of his goods, being unable to compete with the Hudson’s Bay Company. He had no better fortune in obtaining salmon and went empty to the Islands, where he sold his brig and secured passage home in a whaler. The Cushings were ready, however, to try the experiment again, and the bark Chenamus was built under the eye of Couch, modeled, it is said, after an Indian canoe and named for Chenamus, a Chinook chieftan. Couch on the second voyage came prepared to stay with his goods, to sell them out on credit and to establish a Yankee store. He met thereby with better success. In passing up and down the lower Willamette, he soon discovered the whereabouts of the Clackamas shoals near Oregon City and the Ross Island Bar just above Portland. He was obliged on one occasion to use batteaux to lighter up his goods to market. He looked, therefore, quite sharply for the place nearest the center of population fit to be the point of transfer of goods from the sea vessels to the river craft, or to land conveyance. He had been advised on his first voyage to drop down from Oregon City below the Ross Island Bar, in order to avoid being caught above the shoals when the water fell, and had, therefore, passed down and come to anchor off Portland. By this circumstance, and by further examination, he decided that Portland was the proper place and took up the claim adjoining that of Lovejoy and Pettygrove on the north. Although returning for a visit to Massachusetts he came again to his possession, bought back the portion claimed by another, and thereafter became eminent in building up the city.

The early settlers of Portland—to use an expression of Judge Tourgee's—"squatted hard" and struggled mightily against the environment of fir trees. Pettygrove built a store, Terwilliger started a blacksmith shop. John Waymire put up a double log cabin and held his oxen in readiness for hauling goods from any chance ship [page 88] that might come to port. Whip-saws that had been brought across the plains were gotten out of the Missouri wagons, scoured tip and made smooth with bacon grease, and with long, lank stroke the backwoodsmen began to worry through the sappy and pitchy fir logs to make boards of divers widths and thickness. To those accustomed to the hard wood, or even the white pine of the East, our fir trees were rude and formidable, and many a raw hand emerged from the forest sore and distressed, and like Noah’s ark pitched inside and out with pitch. Bennett and some other young men set up a shingle camp. D. H. Lownsdale was enticed ashore by the eligibility of the site, took tip a claim west of Pettygrove’s and started a tannery. William Johnson, whose Indian wife is always mentioned in connection with his name, built a cabin on what is now known as the Caruthers place, smuggling his domicile in an opening in the timber where a stream made the spot inimical to the fir trees. Daniel Lunt, off the Chenamus, took up the land next south. James Stephens occupied the claim just across the river. The town got occasional accretions and made little growths, and life rolled on in its toils and perversities, as well as enjoyments and triumphs, toward the year 1849. Public events were few, and the stream of life and incident is so slender that it will be quite impossible to follow it in its details. With the coming of the year of gold there was a great change, and this account of the primitive times from 1845 to 1849 may now be filled out by a resume of the people, the houses and the ships that one would see or meet with in antique Portland. This work being quite largely for reference must be pardoned for adopting a somewhat cyclopediac form, and its pages will be regarded rather as a record of people and works than as a moving panorama of events.

As well worthy to head the list of early residents, after the founders, may be mentioned Mr. D. H. Lownsdale, who arrived in Oregon in 1845, and not long afterwards occupied the section west of the town site, establishing a tannery near the present place of the industrial exposition building. He sold this in 1848 to Messrs. Ebson and Balance. Following these in possession came Mr. A. M. King, who still owns the place, and is now one of Portland’s millionaires. He crossed the plains in 1845, from Missouri, and first [page 89] lived in Benton county, but soon after came down to Portland. Well known in early times as one of her best citizens was Mr. James Field. A Connecticut boy, he started west at the age of twenty-two for Santa Fe, but upon reaching Missouri found himself debarred from further progress by the Mexican war, and at Independence joined Capt. J. R. Riggs’s company for Oregon, working his way by driving oxen. He lived in Portland until '48, when he returned east, but came back in 1850, setting up the Franklin market, the first of importance in the city. Although having now for a number of years made his home in New York, he still makes occasional visits to our city. His reminiscences of early times in our midst are most clear and interesting. He was—and is still—a man of fine physical development, being tall and powerful, and as well provided with nerve as muscle. A most genial and kindly man, his presence at so early a day was a streak of sunshine.

Among the earliest also was James Terwilliger, who now—in the white winter of his age—is living contentedly on his original claim at the south side of the city. Physically he also was a very powerful man, tall and broad shouldered, and a blacksmith by trade. He was born in New York State in 1809. By the bent of his mind he was early borne westward, scouring the plains of Illinois during the era of buffaloes and wild turkeys. In 1845 he made the final plunge into the wilderness, coming out at last somewhat worn, but nevertheless little worse for the wear, on the sunset side of the Cascade mountains. He found the most likely spot for residence by the banks of the Willamette where Lovejoy held his claim. In the shades of the beautiful grove he secured a lot and put up his cabin—according to his own recollection the first in Portland, In this labor, he was assisted by some of the crew of the Toulon, of whom were George Geer—an adventurer whose escapades at the mouth of the Columbia in connection with “Blue Ruin,” would form an interesting chapter by itself—and Fred Ramsey, who laid claim to the tract north of the city, since known as the Blackistone place. Terwilliger also supplied himself with a blacksmith shop, doing the welding and hammering of the hamlet for as much as five years, until removing to his farm in 1850. [page 90]

In March, 1846, came Mr. Job McNemee, of Ohio, who had also crossed the continent the year previous. He brought with him a family of wife and four children, three sons and a daughter, the latter of whom all Portlanders now know as Mrs. E. J. Northrup, one of our most worthy and representative women. Upon the arrival of families began those more refined ways and sprung up those interests which take the edge off of the semi-barbarism of a simple shipping station or stopping point.

John Waymire, a Missourian, an immigrant of 1845, came to Lovejoy’s claim in 1846. He found occupation here in boating goods to Oregon City from the ships that anchored at Portland, In this employment he made use of the oxen which he had brought across the plains; and, in fact, monopolized the express business. He also kept open house at his cabin for travelers, although in those early times those who passed to and fro, either by canoe or by cayuse pony, carried their blankets with them, and were always welcome to eat and sleep at any hut to which they came, particularly if they happened upon that of one whom they had known on the plains. In addition to these labors, Mr. Waymire set up a saw-mill on Front street, the sole machinery being a whip-saw, operated by one man who stood on the log above and did the up stroke, and by another who stood below and did the down stroke and got the dust. This active pioneer, who has for many years been a prominent resident of Polk county, accomplished very much for the early commerce of Portland.

There was, moreover, a camp of shingle makers who preyed upon the beautiful cedar trees that grew among the fir and hemlocks,—bachelor boys; among whom are to be reckoned Win. H. Bennett, a nephew of G. W. Ebbert, the octogenarian of Washington county, who came out to the Rocky mountains with Joseph L. Meek in 1829; and Richard E. Wiley. Both were intelligent, active men.

Dr. Ralph Wilcox of New York, a pioneer of 1845, was the first physician, and also the first school teacher. In a little frame building on Front and Taylor Streets put up by Mr. McNemee he kept a school of about a dozen scholars. Dr. Wilcox was for many years prominent before the public as a citizen of Portland, and afterwards [page 91] as clerk of the State legislature at Salem, and clerk of the United States court at Portland.

Of others that fill out the dreamy picture of that distant past before ‘49, may be mentioned a family by the name of Warren, embracing in its circle two beautiful daughters; the two brothers O’Bryants, Humphrey and Hugh, the latter becoming subsequently the first mayor; Anthony Whittaker; Ennyard; Ross; Cooper; J. L. Morrison, a jolly Scotchman, who had a little lumber and flour depot at the foot of the street now bearing his name, and who had an intimate friend and perhaps partner in Jehu Scrudder; both excellent men. There was a young man, G. W. Bell, clerk for Pettygrove, who also at one time kept the first bakery, located on the north side of Morrison Street, while the blacksmith shop was on the south side nearer the river.

In 1847, L. B. Hastings arrived with his family from Illinois—a man of much business capacity and energy. There was also a married man, Mr. Tallantyre, who arrived, it is thought, the year before. These remained until ‘51 when they sailed away in a schooner of their own together with Mr. Pettygrove, to found Port Townsend, in Washington.

Col. Wm. King was but little later upon the scene. The following characterization of this unusual man is found in an address before the Oregon Pioneer Association by Judge R. P. Boise who became familiarly acquainted with him at the Oregon Legislature in 1851. He says: "Col. King was even then advanced to the prime of life. He was a veteran politician, who had done service as a legislator and lobbyist before he came to Oregon, and knew well the various evolutions of legislative tactics. He was a ready debater and could use with equal earnestness sound argument or sophistry, and could marshal the selfish desires, interests and prejudices of men with consummate skill, and like most men who aim at carrying a point he was not overscrupulous as to the means by which it was attained. He was a firm, and faithful friend, and a bitter enemy. He had faults which caused him much trouble and suffering—but who has not faults? He was ever generous and kind, and possessed a keen and penetrating mind, and much intelligence, which would make him a marked man [page 92] in any community.” After Col. King came to Portland, if there was anything going on he was sure to have a hand in it, and perhaps to he very near the bottom of it.

Captain Nathaniel Crosby was from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In early life he went to sea, rose at length to the position of master and finally owner of a vessel. He was, next after Couch, the first to engage in a regular trade at Portland, and accomplished as much as any one for the establishment of our commerce. After leaving Portland, and not succeeding to his mind in building up a city at the lower mouth of the Willamette, he removed to Puget Sound and engaged in milling at Tumwater, near Olympia. He was one of the pioneers and most prominent citizens of Washington Territory.

Benjamin Stark, a name so well known in Portland and perpetuated in Stark street, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 26, 1822. He was graduated from Union School, New London, Connecticut, in 1835. Here he entered upon a business career, beginning in a counting house in New York City, and became a merchant. In 1845 he came to Oregon as supercargo on the bark Toulon and engaged in trade. He afterwards studied law and was admitted to practice in 1850. He now rapidly rose in public preferment and was elected a member of the Territorial House of the Legislature, and in 1861 was appointed U. S. Senator by Governor Whiteaker to fill out the unexpired term of Col. E. D. Baker. He served to December 1, 1862. He was prominent in politics as a Democrat, acting as delegate from Oregon to the National Convention of the Democratic party at Chicago in 1864, and in 1868 from Connecticut to the Convention in New York. He has for many years been a resident of New London, Connecticut.

From the above enumeration it will be seen that even in the primitive days Portland had a considerable community of intelligent and wideawake people. Being frontiersmen, or at any rate having acquired the frontier habits and manners in coming hither, they were exceptionally sociable and hospitable. They kept the evenings lively around their hearthstones, and had candy pulls and parties and took pleasure rides in their canoes on the river. The coining of a ship, the erection of a new house, or the felling of the immense [page 93] trees, formed items of news and topics of conversation fully as valuable and interesting as the staple of to-day. School was kept up, and religious meetings were by no means neglected. In this latter regard the Methodists were the advanced guard; Rev. J. S. Smith or Father Kelly coming down from their homes at stated times to hold worship in the cooper shop, which was the most commodious building for the purpose.

How it looked at Portland then was about how it looks now at any one of the score of river villages in the woods to be seen on the lower Columbia. The forest was a little notched. Grand trees lay almost three hundred feet long on the ground, and so big and burly that the settler felt grimly after his day’s labor in chopping one down, that he had only made matters worse by getting it in the way. He examined his sore muscles and blistered hands and wondered where the strength was to come from to remove the monster; while his cow lifted up her nose at the shaggy bark and impending boughs, finding the path that she had made through the underbrush at many days’ toil once more hopelessly closed. So much for background. On the river bank was a small wharf; at the foot of Salmon street a fishery. On Front street at the foot of Washington stood Pettygrove's new store, an ambitious building, made of hewn logs and covered with shingles, giving by its peculiar style and ensemble something of a shock to the architectural feelings of the new comer. On the same block stood Pettygrove’s house, also a pretentious structure. The cooper shop stood on the site of the Skidmore drug store, and on Second street was a building which the old timers still speak of with more respect than they now accord to the Hotel Portland. This was Capt. Crosby’s story and half residence with dormer windows; which is the sole dwelling of our antique grandeur, and now stands on Fourth street. There was one cabin put tip by O' Bryant which was covered with a rustic of split cedar boards, but of the ten or fifteen others—not named above—the most were constructed of round logs.

A description by Mr. James Field of the houses in the village in February 1847, is quite explicit, and although to a certain extent a repetition of the foregoing, may be inserted here. Approaching the town from the lower river one noticed about the foot of B street on [page 94] the shore, a log hut; sometimes used by Capt. Couch as a place of storage for goods, and possibly for occupation for himself when off ship. Coming further up, past a stumpy shore, you saw on the northwest corner of Front and Washington streets Pettygrove’s store and house. Near by was Whittaker’s small one-story frame building. On Alder and Front was situated Job McNemee’s two-story residence, and on the same block was a house occupied by Thos. Tallantyre, who had on the river bank in front an establishment for cutting lumber with a whip-saw. On the corner of Taylor and Front streets appeared the double log cabin of John Waymire, in many respects the most important structure in the city. Next south, in the middle of the block, was the house of Dr. Ralph Wilcox. On the north side of Taylor, between Front and First, stood a little cabin 7x9, which for many years led a sort of uncertain and wandering life, such as its exceeding smallness made quite possible. On Main street between First and Second was the blacksmith shop of James Terwilliger and his house stood near. On the south side of Taylor was the cabin of Mr. Doane. There were also one or two houses, or cabins, on the back streets in the gloaming of the fir trees. This baker’s dozen of separate roofs comprised all Portland forty-three years ago.

The streets were, of course, little more than ox paths, and skidways among the stumps; gouged out, tramped, bemired in. the rainy winter weather; and in the dry times raw and dusty. The city was in those days only large enough to grow, but the swift years were on the way to bring it to metropolitan honors. So much for the people and houses; now for the ships.

The river front was, comparatively speaking, lively with crafts during these four or five years. In 1844 Capt. Couch brought the Chenamus up to the mouth of the Willamette, and boated his goods thence to Oregon City. In 1845 Capt. Nathaniel Crosby brought the bark Toulon into the river, unloading her at Portland; and from that time made regular trips. He put up and kept a small storehouse at the city front, but for the most part his goods were boated up to Oregon City. In the summer of 1847, there were three large crafts in the river at Portland; the Toulon, the Whitton, and the Brig Henry. The Whitton was from New York, a swift, trim bark, under [page 95] command of Roland Ghelston. When about to sail away from Portland he took on some cargo of butter, cheese and other produce, and to load these commodities upon the vessel slipped her in close to the steep bank, to which he laid poles from the deck, and planking these over had a platform, or temporary wharf. Those seeing how convenient was the lading of a ship from the Portland shore, predicted that this would be the place of shipping. Ghelston made a second voyage to the Pacific Coast, arriving in San Francisco in 1849 in time to sell his cargo of pans and shovels at an enormous profit. The Henry was under command of Capt. Kilbourne of Massachusetts. He took his brig up to a point on the east side of the river, probably somewhere near U street, and threatened to build a town there as a rival to Portland. Thus early had a spirit of opposition begun to show itself, and so easy was it to go out like Cain and build a city.

Other craft are mentioned as entering the river, as the American bark Parsons, in ‘46; and the brig Eveline, under command of Capt. Goodwin of Newburyport, Massachusetts, which ascended to the landing on J. R. Stephens’ place, on the east side. This vessel and her clever captain were of unusual interest to the Portlanders from the fact that Mrs. Goodwin was also on board. A year or two later, it is mentioned that “A beautiful little vessel that had come up from San Francisco for a load of lumber to be used in constructing government barracks there"[2] lay in the river. This beautiful vessel, whose name is forgotten, may be a symbol of other forgotten splendors and beauties that perhaps clustered about the embryo city, in the mellow, slow days before the gold.

Of those who came in by sea on some of these crafts and became builders of the city, Couch stands first; Crosby next. Following, are Benj. Stark, supercargo on the Toulon; Richard Hoyt, mate on the Whitton; and Daniel Lunt, one of the mates on the Chenamus. Among the marked characters of this early time William Johnson already alluded to was perhaps behind none. Col. Nesmith thus speaks of him “He was, in 1843, the only settler on the river below the Falls; an English sailor. He was a fine specimen of the British tar and had at an early day abandoned his allegiance to the [page 96] British Lion, and taken service on the old frigate Constitution. I have frequently listened to his narrative of the action between the old Ironsides and the Guerriere, on which occasion he served with the boarding party. He used to exhibit an ugly scar on his head made in that memorable action, by a British cutlass, and attributed his escape from death to the fact that he had a couple of pieces of hoop iron crossed in his cap, which arrested the cutlass and saved his life.” Besides such live specimens of Maryatt’s and Cooper’s heroes to afford nights of entertainment, there were occasional excitements and stirring scenes. It appears that the place was some times infested by Indians, who somehow got hold of “blue ruin,” a vile sort of intoxicating liquor, and made night hideous with their carousals. As, upon one occasion, their orgies were becoming unbearable, and Joseph L. Meek, the Marshal of the Territory, happened to be coming in at the time from the country, riding upon a magnificent white horse that would respond to the slightest touch of the rein, the proprietors of the place appealed to him to rid the town of the savages. Providing himself with a long stout rawhide rope, he mounted his horse and charged upon the camp of the Red Men, laying his strap over their shoulders to right and left, and soon dispersed the tribe into the woods, all terror-stricken at his condign punishment of drunkenness.

Here, moreover, may be quoted Judge Boise’s description of the place as lie found it some years later “Then, as now, a place of supply, and containing an abundance of sugar and coffee and some whisky, which latter was often purchased by the hardy pioneer in moderate quantities just to keep out the wet in returning home on his long, slow journey, while he slept by his wagon, often covered by a cloudy sky and exposed to the Oregon mist.” Stories are told also of Madame Cooper and her supply of gin on board a craft off shore.

From the foregoing, the reader may infer that the primitive days were very rude and the early population very intemperate. These incidents, however, are given only as illustrating a certain phase of life to be seen at the time. Situated between the very strict and upright community at Oregon City, and the very decorous and [page 97] perfunctory English society at Vancouver, the renegades of the two, who did not carry their dignity or national preference to a high pitch, used to slip off and together grow hilarious somewhere between the lines. But the men who made Portland maintained a high character even though sometimes under a plain garb of frontiersmen’s buckskin clothing.


As a resume of the foregoing, and for the sake of gaining a clear idea of early movements, the order of acquisition of property is given herewith. Overton laid the first claim, divided with Lovejoy, and sold his interests to Pettygrove. A few streets and blocks were laid off, and the beginnings were made on lots sold at nominal prices or given away for the sake of improvements to be made on them. Couch laid the first claim to the section north, and Ramsay north of him. William Johnson lived on the claim south of the town (Caruthers) and Daniel Lunt south of him, but sold to Terwilliger. South of this was Thos. Stephens. On the southwest,―the heights―the land lay vacant until claimed in 1850 by Thos. Carter, who came to Portland some years before, and with his family was one of the most useful members of the young society. On the east side of the river James B. Stephens and Jacob Wheeler laid claims, covering the water front. These original places were, therefore, in 1849, in about their present shape. But the section upon which the city was started, the Lovejoy claim, was to pass into other hands before the city made a decided growth.

There were three that were usually termed the Portland proprietors, and who so far broadened and deepened the movements of things as to be called with some propriety the founders of the place—not, however, to the exclusion of any honors due to the first trio. Of these proprietors, the first on the scene was D. H. Lownsdale, whose name is most honorably perpetuated among us in the person of his son, J. P. O. Lownsdale. He was one of the representative men of the nation of half a century ago; intelligent, restless, and strongly patriotic, making the needs of his country an active motive in determining his choices. He was sprung from one of the old families of Kentucky, and at an early age moved with his wife to [page 98] Indiana. On this remote frontier he was much distressed by the loss of his companion by death, and returned home, but soon went to Georgia, engaging in the mercantile business. In a few years, owing to failure of health, he traveled abroad, making a prolonged tour of Europe, and spent thus the time from 1842 to 1844. Returning to the United States he found the American public much excited upon the Oregon question, and with no hesitation decided to come to the Pacific shore, and help hold it against the aggressions of the British. Reaching the Columbia in 1845, he looked about for a location, and found none superior to that of Portland. He laid his claim as near the river as he was able, taking the place now owned by A. N. King. This was then a dense woods, much of the timber being hemlock. The presence of these trees and the abundance of hides in the territory, led Mr. Lownsdale to establish, as a means of livelihood, a tannery, upon the small creek which flowed along the eastern side of his claim, and which, from the fact of the business thus established has become known as Tanner’s Creek. This was the first leather making establishment of any importance on the coast and well nigh made Portland. Lownsdale was fully impressed with the value of Portland as a prospectively great city, and sought to gain a holding on the river front. In 1848 he found the opportunity. Lovejoy had sold his interest to Stark, and now Pettygrove was becoming so much shaken by ague as to desire to retreat to the coast. Lownsdale accordingly bought of the latter his whole interest, paying therefor $5000 in leather—specie not then being current in Oregon.

Being now owner of the whole site—afterwards coming to an agreement with Stark by which the latter had the triangular strip now included between Stark and A streets, and the river—Lownsdale set in operation as many plans as he could devise for the increase of the place. He sold lots at small prices, or even gave them away, for the sake of improvements. He saw quite early the need of a partner in this work and found the right man in Stephen Coffin, then of Oregon City, to whom he sold a half interest.

Coffin, who became during the troubled times of 1861-62 Brigadier-General of the Oregon Militia by appointment of Governor Gibbs, was one of those men of noble presence, fine bearing and [page 99] generous feelings, for which the early days of our State were distinguished. He is described as possessing a most benevolent face and in his later years a crown of abundant white hair upon his head. He also was a “Down Easter,” having been born at Bangor, Maine, in 1807. While still young he went to Ohio, and as early as 1847 arrived in Oregon. The first two years of his life in our State were spent in hard work at Oregon City so successfully as to enable him to take advantage of Lownsdale's offer.

In the autumn of the same year the third partner, William W. Chapman, was admitted to the partnership, making a very strong triumvirate. Chapman was a Virginian by birth. Early deprived by death of his father, he was left to make his own way in the world, with what assistance might be rendered him by a kind brother and affectionate mother. He succeeded in gaining a substantial education and a recognized position as a lawyer before the Virginia Bar. While still young he went with his family to Iowa, and soon took the lead among the lawyers of that region—in a day so early that the Hawkeye State was still a part of Michigan. He was soon appointed U. S. District Attorney, and in this office made so good a record that when Iowa was set off as a separate Territory he was chosen delegate. At Washington he made his mark as the defender of Iowa’s claim to the strip of territory on the south border which was also desired and at length contested for by Missouri; and against heavy odds he was entirely successful. In the convention to form a constitution for Iowa upon its admission as a State, he was very influential and became the father of the measure to transfer the gift of public lands from public improvements (roads) to the use of public schools, and to provide for judges by popular election. Both these were new and untried measures, but have now been incorporated into the organic law of the Western and of even some of the Atlantic States. He was also, either in Congress or out of it, the originator of other important legislation, such as the pre-emption law for settlers.

He had come to Oregon in 1847, settling first at Corvallis and later at Salem. He was also munch at Oregon City, and was making a study of the points most likely to rise to commercial importance. He [page 100] was ultimately convinced that as at Portland transportation by water could most conveniently reach that by land, this must be the place for a city.

Of the company thus formed, Coffin was the President, and Chapman, Secretary, and the land was held as an undivided interest. Schemes for the growth of the place began to be elaborated, and all three of the men worked with untiring energy. The section was surveyed and platted, the new streets running north and south were made eighty feet wide. The river was examined, and at Swan Island a large log that was a menace to navigation in the narrow channel was removed.

It must not be supposed that simple natural advantages can ever make a city. It is pre-supposed that as much energy and intelligence are put forth in its interests as in that of some rival point. It is only by making the human factor equal to that in other places that the factor of better natural facilities is ever made preponderating. In the early days of Portland, the proprietors had to work like heroes day and night to hold their city up to its advantages. It had a number of exceedingly strong and pugnacious rivals. Oregon City was rather easily letting go the race for commercial supremacy, holding on confidently to its position as the political capital, but Milwaukie was coming into the race with great vigor. The proprietor, Lot Whitcomb, was a man of as much ambition as ever lived in Oregon, and had staked his last dollar and his whole hope of fortune upon the supremacy of the city that he had laid off on his claim. It was for him a serious matter to miss having the greatest city of the Pacific Coast upon his farm. In 1847 he began his operations, and in ‘48 was greatly strengthened by the arrival at the place of Captain Joseph Kellogg, who at once entered into his purpose to build the city. A sawmill was erected, and soon ships loaded with lumber and produce were dispatched from her wharf down the Coast to San Francisco. The avails of some of these trips were so great that a vessel, the old bark Lausanne, was purchased out of the profits. The transaction was made at San Francisco, and the bark happened to have at that time a pair of engines and all necessary machinery for a steamer, which were included in the bargain. Coming into possession of this [page 101] steam engine, Whitcomb determined to build a river racer to make sure the advantages of his city. By Christmas day, 1850, his task was done, and the steamer Lot Whitcomb, amid the tumultuous rejoicing of the people, slid down the ways into the Willamette. She was a first-class, commodious boat, staunch and moderately swift, and at once began making a trip to Astoria, charging $15 fare, and passing by Portland, as she steamed to and fro, without so much as giving a salute.

St. Helens was also a formidable rival. The Pacific Mail Steamship Company, who first made Astoria their stopping point, soon bought at St. Helens a large land interest and made this the terminus of their line. By the terms of existing navigation in the winter of ’50―’51, Milwaukie was the head of river and St. Helens the head of ocean steam navigation; and Portland was left forlornly in the midst unprovided for. But before seeing how the proprietors extricated themselves from this difficulty it would be more accordant with chronology, and indeed the order of growth, to see what class of citizens and what improvements were being added to the city.

During the summer of 1849 the rush to the gold mines became so general that the city was well nigh depopulated, but three men remaining within its limits. These were Lownsdale, Warren and Col. King. This out-going tide was necessarily calculated to leave Portland high and dry on her alluvium. But there is never an ebb that is not followed by a flow, and the autumn of that year, and the winter following, saw the Portlanders flocking back again. Losses were more than made up, and the 'dust' from California set in motion the wheels of enterprise in a wonderful way. We are told that “the year passed out and 1850 was enthroned with brighter promise. The prices of wheat, flour, lumber, fruit and vegetables, went up to fabulous figures in San Francisco, and Oregon began to reap a splendid harvest from her fertile soil. By and by, too, the miners began to return. They were not much to look at—tanned, tattered, inhabited, maybe, but under their frowsy gaberdines was a complete mail of money belts, and they were just as good as gold. Business revived and enterprise got upon its legs. [page 102]

Besides Chapman and Coffin, there was a considerable number of new men who added force and brain to the little community. Deacon Homan M. Humphrey, who gave name to Humphrey’s Mountain by taking there his claim, settled in 1849. A descendant of an old Eastern family, he had for some years before coming to Oregon been a pioneer of Iowa, and incorporated in his character the inflexible virtues of his ancestry and the added facility and adaptability of mind gained from Western life. Thomas Carter located his claim a little later, and one Jones, farther up the canyon, made his beginning on the land now occupied by the Poor Farm.

Religious societies began to be formed. Rev. George H. Atkinson, whose name will always be known in Oregon as one of the most able and self-denying of her missionaries and pioneers of civilization, had come to Oregon the year before and located at Oregon City. While attending to his own field, he was also seeking to establish churches at other points, and for the work at Portland was urging his society to provide a pastor. Designated for this field was Rev. Horace Lyman, together with his wife, who sailed from New York in November 1848, on the bark Whitton, making the passage around Cape Horn in six months to San Francisco. From that city they voyaged up to the Columbia Bar on the Toulon, which was a month or more on the water, often rocking on the idle swells and lying too, in the murk of a very smoky autumn, waiting for a west wind, and at length running upon a sand flat once inside the breakers. Up the rivers to Portland they were accommodated on the prim little Sarah McFarland, while the brig worked up on the tides so slowly that the passengers had ample time to go ashore and hunt bear, or go fowling for geese and ducks. Mr. Lyman was from Massachusetts, born in 1815 at East Hampton; an alumnus of William’s College, and of Andover Theological Seminary. Arrived in Portland, he found accommodations for himself and wife in a building erected to serve as a stable. The first winter was spent by him in teaching school and in preaching, and making ready for a church organization and a church building. He was exceedingly active in religious, educational, benevolent and temperance enterprises, and soon became known over the whole State as [page 103] among the foremost in these endeavors. He cleared with his own hands the ground occupied by the First Congregational Church at Second and Jefferson streets.

Even more widely known was the first Methodist minister, Father Wilbur, who arrived upon the scene at about the same time. He was a New Yorker, having been born at Lowville in that State in 1811. This was out in the wilderness in those distant days, and as he grew up the boy had the struggle to make with labor and self-denial. By his Presbyterian parents he was rigorously brought up; taught that the chief end of man was not in the trifling pleasures of the world. With this creed he was not, during his younger days, in full accord, but bent himself to the acquisition of fortune and the accomplishment of secular ends. At the age of twenty-nine, however, but a mouth after his marriage, he gave tip wholly his worldly aims and offered himself to preach the Gospel. His services were accepted by the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he was licensed to exhort. Having obtained a fair academic education, he was able to perform satisfactory work, and labored with much zeal and fidelity in the Black River Conference. In 1846 he was sought as a missionary to Oregon. He came by way of Cape Horn, and was accustomed to perform labors on the vessel for the sake of relieving the tedium of physical inaction. Arriving in Oregon, June 27, 1847, he passed by Portland, in its woods, to Salem, and at that place and Oregon City remained two years. After this he was appointed to the Portland circuit. Being a man of great physical force and power, he not only did the work of pastor, but also performed much manual labor. His toils at that early day are well described by Rev. H. K. Hines in the following language: “Stalwart and strong, the great forest that stood where the church (Taylor Street) now stands, fell before his axe. Versatile and resolute, the walls of the old church and academy rose by his saw and hammer, or grew white and beautiful under the sweep of his brush. Tireless and evangelical, Sunday listened with gladness to his earnest preaching of the Gospel. Poverty was fed at his table. Weariness rested on his couch. Sickness was cured by his medicine.” [page 104]

An ambitious man, full of plans and endeavors for the promotion of religious and humane enterprises, Father Wilbur was a central figure in the community in which he acted. He was one of the radical men of the early days.

Another man noted for his urbanity, generosity, and ability was Hiram Smith. He came to Oregon first in 1845, as a sort of scout of civilization, to spy out the new promised land for the restless millions behind. He was sometimes known as “Red Shirt Smith,” to distinguish him from the other Smiths, who bore such pseudonyms as “Chickamin,” “Carving Knife,” “Three Fingered,” or “Blubber Mouth.” Such soubriquets as these were by no means a sign of contempt, but rather a mark of familiarity and good fellowship, and illustrates how the early pioneers enlivened their difficult circumstances by broad humor. In 1849 he dispatched goods by way of Cape Horn, in the care of his brother Isaac, and a store was established at Portland in 1850. Himself with a large company came across the plains in 1851. Captain Smith, as he was frequently called, was a man of much business experience, having been a manufacturer of fanning mills in Ohio, and was wealthy, having acquired a fortune of one hundred thousand dollars. He used much of his money in coining to Oregon, and in assisting immigrants. During one season he went out toward the Snake River with a supply of provisions to meet the incoming train of immigrants, but found so many of them destitute of means, and being unable to refuse any of them, whether rich or poor, the necessaries they so greatly needed, he finally gave away the most of his flour and beef, without money or price. Some of those benefitted finally paid him; as a man who came into town a few years later bringing to his store an enormous dressed hog as principal and interest, and also unburdened himself of a long meditated apology for having cursed him because he had not been allowed more. But many never did. To the poor and unfortunate in the city Hiram Smith was a sort of angel of deliverance, and made a special point of putting broken or dispirited men on their feet once more. Since his death unknown benevolences have come to light, and his gifts during the Oregon Indian wars, for the relief of settlers and wounded soldiers, and his fund placed at [page 105] service in his old home in Ohio for the widows of soldiers of the War of the Rebellion, reflect a world of credit not only upon his own name, but no less upon Portland.

Dr. D. S. Baker, who became the millionaire of Walla Walla, was one of the men of this day in our city.

In 1850 William S. Ladd stepped ashore at the little primitive wharf. He is a Vermonter by birth, although his early life was spent in New Hampshire. He developed his energies upon a farm, bringing into productiveness one of the most stumpy and rocky pieces of land in the Granite State. Engaging early in the work of school teaching, he amplified his academic acquisitions, and as employe at the railroad station in his place of residence gained business habits and breadth of outlook. He became somewhat familiar with the products and resources of the Pacific Coast, and upon the news of the discovery of gold in California, reasoned that not the region of the mines, but that from which provisions came to the mines would ultimately get most wealth. Finding that the Willamette valley sustained this relation to California, he determined to come to our territory. He stopped at San Francisco on the way and conferred there with an old friend of his, C. E. Tilton, but not being able to persuade him to go into the business of selling at retail the goods he was receiving from New York, came on up to Portland, bringing a few articles of merchandise with him, and started a small store on the ground opposite the present site of the Esmond Hotel. Mr. H. W. Corbett also belongs to this era. Of this gentleman, as of the others foregoing, a full account is given in another portion of this volume. H. McDonald, an architect and builder of skill, from Rhode Island, who did some government work and put up an opera house at San Francisco, and A. R. Shipley, now of Oswego, were also “Forty-niners.” W. P. Abrams, a millwright, a man of great intelligence and public spirit, arrived with his family the succeeding year. A native of Grafton, New Hampshire, he always carried his New England thrift and conscientiousness, together with great kindliness and generosity, into his daily life. For a few years before coming to Oregon he had lived in Alabama. While in San Francisco he was sought out and secured [page 106] by Stephen Coffin to come to Portland and build the first steam saw mill. Upon arriving in our city he successfully accomplished this task, and for many years thereafter was engaged in the manufacture of lumber at Portland or The Dalles. In January of 1850 Mr. Cyrus A. Reed, Oregon’s landscape painter, arrived in the city, having made the voyage from San Francisco on the Brig Sequin, under command of Captain Norton. He, also, was a New Englander, a native of Grafton, New Hampshire, and had received there a substantial education. In 1849 he set sail for California, and engaging in his trade, as painter of signs, was very successful financially. With Mr. Abrams, however, he came to Portland, and has been a devoted lover of Oregon from the day of his arrival.

Much interesting and characteristic incident is related as to the building of the old steam sawmill. It was begun in December 1849, and finished in the summer of 1850. The main portion being forty by eighty feet, and the timbers solid fir beams sixteen inches square, it was found impossible to obtain men enough in the city to “raise” it. Coffin set off for Oregon City with a flat boat for help, but even thus could not secure a sufficient force. The very painful and somewhat ridiculous predicament appeared of having a mill too big to be put together by all the available men in Oregon. At this juncture Mr. Reed, who had been employed from the first in all sorts of work about the building, offered to build a derrick, agreeing to forfeit one hundred dollars of his wages if he failed. By means of derrick, blocks and tackle, he enabled the men present to lift every timber to its place, and the work went on swimmingly. In 1852, after teaching a term of school, he became a partner in the mill, which was operated under the firm name of Abrams, Reed & Co. Among the workmen on this structure was J. W. Trutch, afterwards Surveyor-General of British Columbia. In 1852, John Gates, Portland’s great inventor, came up from San Francisco and joined the company, acting as engineer. General Coffin was still a silent partner, dealing much in lumber, shipping it to San Francisco. On one occasion—to show the uncertainty of business—he is said to have consigned two ship loads to Winter & Latimer, of that city, who reported a low market and advised at length that they were compelled [page 107] to sell at a sacrifice. They, moreover, presented a bill of eleven thousand dollars for wharfage, demanding immediate payment. By Mr. A. B. Bonnell, as agent, it was discovered that there were fifteen thousand dollars due Coffin; ajudgment for which was obtained.

The mill was burned in 1853—after Reed had removed to Marion County—entailing a heavy loss upon the owners. It was situated near the foot of Jefferson street, at the mouth of a deep gulch which has long since been filled tip.

Mr. J. A. Strowbridge arrived in Portland in 1852. He was then but a youth, and the early days of his life in our city were much distressed by the death of his father, who had contracted mountain fever in crossing the plains. Being, however, of a courageous spirit, the young man soon addressed himself to business, engaging in the purchase and shipping of fruit to San Francisco. He was one of the first, if not the very first, to consign Oregon apples to dealers in California, and was of much service to the State in going among the farmers and encouraging them to plant orchards, under the promise that he would take all their fruit at remunerative figures. He afterwards engaged in the boot and shoe business, and later in the leather trade, with great success, and is now one of our most wealthy and popular citizens. His brothers were also engaged in business with him at an early day.

Mr. George W. Snell, the pioneer druggist of Portland, a native of Augusta, Maine, arrived at Portland early in the spring of 1851, having spent some ten months previously in California. With him was Dr. J. C. Hooper, also of Maine, and the two formed a partnership, bringing to Portland a stock of drugs. Dr. Hooper died in 1851, and Mr. Snell was soon succeeded by Mr. George L. Story, and the latter in turn by Smith & Davis, In the course of time this firm was consolidated with Hodge, Calef & Co., and under that designation did business for many years. Latterly, however, it is operated under the firm name of Snell, Heitshu & Woodard. This house, with which Mr. Snell has been so long connected, and indeed at the head, is known throughout the Northwest as one of the great wholesale establishments of our city. [page 108]

Mr. Nelson Northrup, long known as a merchant in old Oregon, was born in Auburn, N. Y., and coming to Oregon engaged in business at the Cascades, but soon brought his stock of goods to Portland, where he went into partnership with Montreville Simonds, from Massachusetts. In 1856 he went to Coos Bay, but subsequently returned to Portland, where he died.

Edward James Northrup, the son of the foregoing, was born in Albany, N. V., in 1834. He came to Portland in 1852, and for a few years served with his father as clerk, but in 1856 engaged in business on his own account, opening a hardware store under the name of Northrup & Blossom, which was the beginning of the present extensive establishment of Thompson & DeHart. Mr. Northrup died at Portland in 1883.

Judge P. A. Marquam, whose memory will be perpetuated in the name of the hill at the south of the town, as well as by his public works, arrived in Portland, August 13th, 1851. A man of keen observation and excellent memory it is most delightful to listen to his account of his voyage hither, and of his impressions upon his arrival. Upon crossing the Columbia Bar, he was much attracted by the sight of the verdure of the hills, and of the general appearance of natural exuberance of the soil. Portland, as a city, took the new comer somewhat aback, being vet in the deep woods. The streets were mire holes during the rainy weather, and settlers from below town hauling wood used frequently to be mired on their way through. A striking habit of the place was also the manner in which the country people, having come to town in their wagons and camped over night, used to get up early in the morning to pound on the doors of the stores to wake the still slumbering clerks. The Canton House on the corner of Washington and First streets, built by Stephen Coffin, was the principal hotel. It was a three-story wooden building, and may now be seen in its present position at the foot of Jefferson street. The Columbia Hotel had a famous proprietor in the person of Col. Gordon, properly Gen. Hinton, of Ohio.

J. C. Carson, a man of wealth and influence in Portland for nearly forty years, was born in Center County, Pennsylvania, in 1825. In 1832 he went to Ohio amid there spent his early life, gaining an [page 109] education and studying medicine. In 1850 he came to San Francisco with the intention of aiding his former instructor in medicine in the establishment of a hospital in that city. From considerations of health, however, he decided to come to Oregon, and arrived here in the autumn of ‘51. He operated as contractor and builder until 1857, when he erected at the foot of Jefferson street a sash and door factory, the first in the city. This business, long since removed to a site at the north end of the city near Weidler’s saw mill, has now grown to immense proportions. Mr. Carson has been active in our city in educational, religious and political circles. He is one of our most prominent men.

George L. Story, a pioneer in the drug business of our city, and at present an efficient member of the Fire Commission, was born in Manchester, Mass., in 1833, and received his education at a private school in Salem. In 1847 he entered a wholesale drug store, and thoroughly mastered the subject of pharmacy. In 1850 he came out to California, and in ‘51 came on up the coast to Oregon. With a partner, Devaux Babcock, he bought out the drug store of Hooper, Snell & Co. and carried on the drug business here. He afterwards bought out Babcock and formed a partnership with Story, Redington & Co., of San Francisco. He closed out his interest here, however, to Smith, Davis & Co., and entered into a large wholesale business in San Francisco, but returned to Portland in 1862, and has remained here to the present time. In 1872 he was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Common Council, and was thereafter elected to the same position and served three years. He has also served in the State Legislature from Multnomah County. At present he conducts large fire insurance business, and is a man held in high esteem by all our people. From no one better than from him may we gain an understanding of the old times in Portland, when the old pioneers were young men together, ambitious and eager to succeed, but all equals, and never so much engrossed in their own concerns as to allow one overtaken by bad luck to go by the board.

W. S. Odgen came on the bark Madonna in 1849. Col. Backenstos was also a familiar figure. [page 110]

At the end of this chapter will be found a list of the names of those living in Portland prior to 1852, which it has been attempted to make complete. 


It is recorded that in 1849 the growing population felt the necessity of some building sufficient for public uses, and that in consequence a movement was set on foot for a schoolhouse, which might also serve for religious and other public meetings—the cooper shop now being too small, or too much cumbered with its own proper belongings, or the owner grown tired of having his tubs and buckets turned upside down for seats. Two thousand two hundred dollars were subscribed and out of this the public building was erected, and served at stated times, in addition to the uses indicated above, as a court room. It was near the Ainsworth Block.

Portland had as yet no newspaper. Its rival, Milwaukie, was setting up the Western Star, and at Oregon City the Spectator was growing almost venerable with the weight of years. Plainly such a condition could not be endured. Col. Chapman, with more or less definite purpose to relieve the situation, went down to San Francisco, taking along in the bark on which he sailed a stick of fir timber one hundred and thirty feet long, cut from the woods on the elevation now occupied by W. S. Ladd’s residence. He intended it as a present to the people of the golden city to serve as a flag staff. Finding there one Thomas J. Dryer, a journalist, with the plant of a newspaper, lie engaged his materials and services, agreeing with him that he should come to Portland and publish a journal to be called The Oregonian. To this work Dryer was also urged by H. W. Corbett, at that time in San Francisco. The office was shipped in October 1850, on the bark Keoka. By reason of hard winds and storms the vessel did not reach the Columbia as early as expected. The editor elect was, moreover, stranded financially at Astoria, and had to be relieved by a moderate advance from the pocket of Col. Chapman. On this account the new paper was preceded some weeks by the Western Star. It was not until the 4th of December that the first issue appeared. On the night of its publication all [page 111] hands were busy and the town was illuminated by an immense bon fire in the streets. Various orgies were solemnized in the office, one among them being the initiation of the devil, who was blindfolded and made to perform certain circuits and at stated revolutions to abjure his former occupation by affirming that he would split no more rails. Col. Chapman provided a man to take a bundle of the new issue and start early next morning on horse back, on the west side of the river, and distribute the paper as far up as Corvallis and return by the east side.

In its first issue the Oregonian contained some terse and forcible English, and complimented the people upon the rapid growth of their city, and the neat appearance of their residences, remarking that Portland was a town which had sprung up in an incredibly short time. “The buildings are mostly new, of good style and taste, with their white coats of paint, contrasted with the brown and the dingy appearance of towns generally on the Pacific Coast; giving it a most homelike appearance."

The Western Star, of Milwaukie, after running a few months, was brought down to Portland and published under the name of The Oregon Weekly Times.

The Methodist church, on the corner of Third and Taylor streets, was dedicated in the autumn of 1850; the Congregational-church, on Second and Jefferson, in 1851; the Catholic church on Third and Stark, was begun in 1851, but not dedicated until February, 1852.

A public occasion of much interest was the celebration of St. John’s day, in 1850, by the Masons. The people assembled at the Masonic Hall, which was still surrounded by logs and stumps, and there formed a procession, and preceded by the military band of Fort Vancouver, marched to the Methodist church, where was delivered an address by Rev. H. Lyman, followed by an oration by T. J. Dryer. Officers were then installed, Lieut. F. S. R. Russell, of the United States Army acting as Worthy Grand Master. In the evening public dinner was served at the California House. In 1850 the Sons of Temperance were organized with much enthusiasm and large numbers. [page 112]

In October 1851, a meeting of very great importance was held. This was to ratify publicly the opening of the road to Tualatin Plains. General Coffin performed the ceremony of laying the first plank, and speeches were delivered in which the coming grandeur of the city was quite accurately predicted. Mr. Tilford, a lawyer and fluent speaker, made the oration, using among others the following expressions which elicited hearty applause: “This is the commencement of an era of commercial prosperity which will continue to increase until the iron horse takes the place of the plank road. There are persons now within the sound of my voice that will live to see the day when a main trunk railroad will be extended from sea to sea; from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”

Indeed, this road, which, however, has not to this day been planked, was the factor determining Portland as the site of the principal city. She became thereby most convenient to the farmers of Polk, Yamhill and Washington Counties, who would not haul their produce three to ten miles further to St. Johns or St. Helens. Although for many years very rough, and through woods so deep that the mud dried only by virtue of the longest droughts, it was nevertheless the most popular highway.


Many vessels crossed the bar of the Columbia in 1849 and a number came up to Portland. Of these none was more serviceable than the Madonna, from New York, under Captain Couch. This was his third trip out, and by far the most successful. His cargo of mixed goods was disposed of in part at San Francisco, his lumber selling for $600 per thousand. On board were W. S. Ogden, a prominent merchant of early times, and G. H. Flanders, a sea captain, before this in the employ of John and Caleb Cushing. Capt. Flanders is a man whose energy and enterprise have done much for Portland’s commerce. Reaching the city once more, Couch had his land surveyed and platted. It is said that in laying off a street he gave his half for the use of the public, but Stark refused to meet him half way; thus making A street but half width. It is also reported that upon the surveyor finishing the job, worth about $700, Couch offered him for his [page 113] pay, two blocks on Second and Third streets—which were refused. The Madonna was run on the route to San Francisco by Flanders, and the firm of Couch & Co. were so prosperous as to be able to dispatch in 1850 the brig Emma Preston to China—the first from Oregon to China.

The unfavorable condition of steam navigation, already mentioned, which supplied Milwaukie with a river steamer, and St. Helens with ocean craft, but left Portland to voyage by canoes, or to depend upon uncertain winds, was earnestly examined in order to find a remedy. A general desire and willingness to buy a steamer of their own was freely expressed by the proprietors and leading citizens, and this being rumored abroad, attracted to the northern waters the Gold Hunter. She was a side-wheeler, a staunch little vessel, but as stated by one who knew her well, having such a capacity for consuming fuel that on a week’s voyage so much of the space between decks had to be used for storing wood as seriously to interfere with room for freight, passengers or supplies. Nevertheless, when she appeared in the Willamette and promised steam communication with San Francisco and the outer world, she was deemed acceptable and bought. Sixty thousand dollars was the purchase price, sufficient to give Portlanders a controlling interest, and of this, twenty-one thousand dollars were paid on the spot; eighteen thousand six hundred dollars were furnished by the Portland proprietors and the rest was made tip by the citizens in small shares. Much rejoicing was occasioned by this event, and Portland began to loom tip at once as a seaport. Hall, a seafaring man then a resident of Portland, was made captain, and A. P. Dennison, purser. Each owned a few shares of stock. The jubilation, however, was short lived, and the purchase proved a disastrous failure. Some of the stockholders, contrary to expectation, disposed of their shares to the San Francisco holders, thereby giving to the latter a majority interest. After a few trips the Gold Hunter was ordered off the route and sent to Central America. This was done wholly without the knowledge of the Oregon owners, and they watched and waited in vain for the return of their steamship. She never came back, but was attached, on the southern coast [page 114] for debt and involved her owners in still further expense and loss. Many blocks had to be sold by Coffin and the other proprietors to make good their unprofitable outlay. Although thus unfortunate, they did nevertheless gain their ends. The necessity of steam to accommodate Portland was made apparent, and the ability of her people to supply themselves was proven; and to forestall others from reaping the profits, the Lot Whitcomb, and the Pacific Mail steamers both made Portland their terminal point. It was in March 1851, that the first vessel of the latter company came hither. This was the steamship Columbia, a commodious and fine vessel, which ran uninterruptedly until 1860, doing a most successful business. At the latter date she was drawn off for the China trade, and in the Oriental seas was destroyed by fire.[3]

The establishment of the Oregonian, the opening of steam communication, and the construction of the wagon road to the Tualatin Plains were the things that gave Portland her first, supremacy. Of the three none was more decisive than the wagon road, for it fixed the trade of the farmers, brought down loads of grain and other produce, and the droves of cattle and hogs. It made Portland popular; the occupants of the woods and plains finding here rest and relaxation from the limbo of their self-imposed exile. In April, 1851, at the first city election, which was rather a tame affair, since as yet there were no politics involved, there were cast two hundred and twenty-two votes; indicating a population of six hundred or seven hundred—as a very large proportion of the inhabitants were adult men. Although this is but the figure of a village, it shows that Portland had passed all other Oregon towns, and had assumed [page 115] metropolitan importance. Indeed, whether from their spirit and energy, their cosmopolitan make-up, or their great expectations, the people of Portland have from the earliest times surrounded their city with the air and manner of a great place.

As indicating something of the strength and importance of the city in 1851, the following list of business houses is given, which is believed to be comprehensive.

H. W. Corbett, general store; Josiah Failing, with his two sons, Henry and John, general store; Capt. C. H. Lewis, of the firm of Allen & Lewis, general store; J. H. Couch, general store; Breck & Ogden, general store; A. M. & L. M. Starr, stove and tin store; Capt. Norton, a small store, but did the most of his trading from his vessel; Thos. Pritchard, grocery; A. M. Barnes, general store; G. W. Vaughn, hardware; Mr. Vaughn also built the first flour mill. Northrup & Simonds, general store; Hiram Smith, who had the sign “No. 1 Smith,” to distinguish him from the later arrivals of his name, general store; Lucien Snow, dry goods; G. W. Snell, drug store; Patrick Raleigh, had on hand a stock of goods to be sold out Frazar & Jewett, general store. Mr. Thos. Frazar, so universally known in our city came on the steamer Columbia, arriving at Astoria in March, 1851. From Astoria he found passage to Portland on flat boat run by Capt. O’Neill, since so well known as a purser on the line of steamboats of the O. S. N. Co. Mr. Frazar was from Massachusetts, a native of Duxbury, and is a descendant of John Alden, famous in the history and poetry of New England.[4]

Besides these stores there were vessels lying in the river with stocks of goods for sale. One of these was a schooner from Boston, under Capt. Watson; another, under Capt. Benj. Smith, with A. P. Dennison as partner, or assistant. A French brig under Capt. Trevalliot, lay for some time along the shore, until by reason of improper unloading, and carelessness as to the fall of water, she careened on her side and was sunk. This Trevalliot was a notorious [page 116] character, drunken and profane beyond measure. He gave undue attention to horse racing, having a dark Indian pony, that he called “Siskiyou,” upon which he charged tip and down the streets, defying the town boys and countrymen.

In the latter part of 1851 there were a number of Jewish merchants who made a beginning here in the mercantile line and began to displace their Yankee competitors.

The following is a list of the names of those living at or near Portland prior to 1852. It has been very carefully made up by Mr. John M. Breck, Mr. Geo. L. Story, Mr. Henry Failing, and Mr. T.

B.Trevett, all of whom were living in our city at the time mentioned. They will be recognized as among our most capable business men of the present day and merit the thanks not only of the publishers of this work, but of all interested in Portland, for their interest and efficiency in helping us to make the volume complete.

Geo. L. Story, Capt. Wm. Baker, T. B. Trevett, Col. Wm. M. King, Dr. R. B. Wilson, Dr. L. C. Broy, Frank D. Camp, Rev. Horace Lyman, Rev. C. S. Kingsley, Rev. J. H. Wilbur, Rev. St. Michael Fackler, Knute Peterson, Peter D. Hardenberg, Capt. Molthrop, Samuel R. Holcomb, Nelson Northrup, Mr. Simonds, G. W. Vaughn, Peter Erpelding, Thomas G. Robinson, J. 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, Win. Stephens, Jas. B Stephens, Finice Caruthers. James Terwilliger, Wm. Blackistone, Peter Guild, Col. Loring, Col. Frush, Capt. Richard Williams, Capt. Wells, Hugh D. O'Bryant, Colburn Barrell, Crawford Dobbin, Job McNamee, Richard White, Allen White, Robert Thompson, Shubrick Norris, William H. Barnhart, Thomas J. Hobbs, Nathaniel Brown, Sam E. May, Robt. N. McLaren, Finley McLaren, Henry W. Corbett, Josiah Failing, Henry Failing, John W. Failing, J. J. Lintz, Jos. W. Cleaver, Dr. Salisbury, A. M. Starr, L.M. Starr, Capt. O. H. Hall, Nathaniel Crosby, Thos. H. Smith, L. M. Simpson, Wm. Seton Ogden, John M. Breck, N. H. Owens, Orlando McNight, F. M. Smith, A. L. Francis, I. B. Francis, Otis J. Dimmick, John Orvis Waterman, John Thomas, Charles Lawrence, W. D. M. Carter, Mr. Southmayd (printer), Mr. Berry (printer), C. A. Reed, E. B. Comfort, Harley McDonald, George W. Higgins, Thos. Frazar, Mr. Jewitt T.B. McElroy, Sam A. Clarke, Joseph Durbrow, John Ferguson, Wm. McMillen, David 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. Pettigrove, L. B. Hastings, D. S. Baker, Geo. W. Snell, Dr. Saml. Hooper, Deveaux Babcock, C. B. Pillow, A. V. Wilson, Clark Drew, A. B. Stuart, M. M. Lucas, Peter Fulkerson, John B. Talbot and family, John Donner and family, Mr. Bennett, O. Travalliot, Lucius H. Allen. C. H. Lewis, [page 117] Peter Dewitt, John H. Couch, John P. 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, Hiel Barnes, Capt. B. F. Smith, Thos. Pritchard, Hiram Smith, I. B. Smith, Richard Kissarn Cooke, R. M. Field, James Field. S. S. Slater, A. H. Johnson, A. C. Bonnell, Zacharian Norton, R. P. Boise, Alexander Campbell, W. B. Otway, W. P. Abrams, Mr. Cheney, John Harlow, Moses Abbott, Dr. Isaac A. Davenport, Mr. Skidmore, 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. Hallock, Frank DeWitt, Thos. Carter, Chas. M. Carter, T. Jefferson Carter, A. N. King, George 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, Geo. Kittridge, L. C. Potter, Danforth Balch, Capt. Irving, Gideon Tibbetts, James 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 Louis, Mr. Camp, Samuel Marsh, The Roberts family, Hiram Wilbur, W. B. Doublebower, Elijah B. Davidson, Dr. Perry Prettyman, Edward Long, Lewis Love, Clinton Kelly, William Naylor, James Thompson, Eli Stewart, Dr. Ralph Wilcox, George Loring, John Elliott, George Elliott, Wm. L. Higgins, Wm. S. Caldwell, Richard Wiley, Wm. Bennett.

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[1] The first owner of the Portland land-claim was William Overton, a Tennessean, who came to Oregon about 1843, and presently took possession of the place, where he made shingles for a time, but being of a restless disposition, went to the Sandwich Islands, and returning dissatisfied and out of health, resolved to go to Texas. Meeting with A. L. Lovejoy at Vancouver, and returning with him to Portland in a canoe, he offered to resign the claim to him, but subsequently changed his mind, thinking to remain, yet giving Lovejoy half on condition that he would aid in improving it; for the latter, as he says in his Founding of Portland, MSS 30—34, observed the masts and booms of vessels which had been left there, and it occurred to him that this was the place for a town.

After some clearing preparatory to building a house, Overton again determined to leave Oregon, and sold his half of the claim to F. W. Pettygrove, for a small sum, and went to Texas, where, it has been said, he was hanged. Bancroft’s History of Northwest Coast, Vol. 11. p. 8—9.

Bancroft, however, states in a note further down that Overton came to Portland from the Sandwich Islands on the Toulon in 1846, after his reported removal to Texas.

[2] Probably the U. S. transport Anita, under command of Midshipman Woodworth.

[3] It seems that there were three captains of the name of Hall; T. A. Hall, of the Ocean Bird; O. C. Hall thought to be his son, of the Gold Hunter; and William Hall who married a daughter of Captain Warren, and afterwards went to Washington county, building a flour mill, but was fatally injured by the fall of a burning tree.

Crossing the Willamette in all early day was sometimes dangerous. The story is told of the first ferryman’s being forbidden by the proprietor of the East Side, to land on his premises; the crossing was made in a skiff, in the face of the loaded shot gun of the man on the East shore of the river. When the boat touched the sand, however, the ferryman, upon pretense of shipping his oars, suddenly produced a rifle and under its protection the passengers landed unmolested. The affair was watched from the Portland shore by a number of citizens who feared a bloody issue. 

[4] As men of influence, such as were known to all in the early day, were J. P. Long, a native of New Orleans and a man of intense Southern ideas who kept a small store on Alder street; and Thos. Pritchard, an Englishman by birth, who removed to Victoria as early as 1861.

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