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Marcus Neff

Sec. 30-- Map 7B

Marcus Neff was born in 1826 in Lake County, Ohio. He settled this claim in September of 1850.(1) He signed for his claim with a mark.(1)

He married Margaret Jane Fischer on February 25, 1854 in Washington County, Oregon. They had four children.(3) Early in the 1860s, he and his family moved to California.

Neff left in Portland, an unpaid bill due to a Portland lawyer, John H. Mitchell, in the amount of $253, plus accrued interest, which brought it to a total of $341. Mitchell obtained a judgment in the Circuit Court for the amount. Having no other property in Oregon, Neff's claim was seized by the sheriff, and auctioned to the highest bidder, which happened to be the attorney Mitchell. The amount of the winning bid was $341. Mitchell then turned around and on the same day conveyed the property to Sylvester Pennoyer--a future mayor of Portland and Governor of Oregon--for the like amount.

A few years following this transaction, Marcus Neff, his wife and two of his children returned to Portland. Finding his property seized, and sold at bargain rates, he brought suit against Pennoyer to reclaim his land. The court found for Mr. Neff, and declared him to be the owner of the property. Mr. Pennoyer appealed the verdict, and the case went before Judge Matthew Deady, of the Oregon Supreme Court. On March 9, 1875 the lower court's verdict was upheld. Still dissatisfied with the decision, Mr. Pennoyer took it to the U. S. Supreme court, which also found for Mr. Neff. Mr. Neff then sold a one-third interest to his three lawyers, for $6,000. The remaining two-thirds were transferred to the Neff's children.(2)

Marcus Neff died on February 20, 1896 and is buried beside his wife and four children in Scappoose.(3)

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1. DLC, vol. 1, p.57 #1416 Marcus Neff.

2. Snyder, pp.197-200.

3. DLC, vol. 5, p.90 #1416 Marcus Neff.