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John A. Hurlburt
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John A. Hurlburt

John A. Hurlburt was born December 13, 1833, in Monceytown, an Indian village in Ontario, Canada. From his birth until he was 10 years of age he seldom saw any white people, except his father and mother and the Indian language was practically his mother tongue.

In 1844 Mr. Hurlburt moved from Canada with parents to the Indian Territory now called Kansas and Oklahoma. Mr. Hurlburt spent one summer with the Cherokees and until he was 12 years of age, had never been inside a school room. His mother taught him limited courses. He attended a mission school and later 2-1/2 years in a college, beginning in 1852.

In 1855 Mr. Hurlburt joined a surveying party ending up in Monroe Country, Iowa, where he engaged in surveying and served one term as county surveyor.

In 1863 he enlisted in the Union army and shortly afterwards was mustered in as 1st Sergeant of Company K, 36th Iowa Vol. Inf. He was mustered out as Captain in 1865.

After the war Mr. Hurlburt returned to Monroe County, Iowa, and soon afterwards obtained employment in the civil engineering department of an eastern railroad, continuing in their employ until 1870 when he came to Oregon to assist in the surveying of the Oregon and California Railroad. He remained in this work until 1873, and during this time he explored the larger part of the mountains of southern Oregon for railroad routes. He also did considerable work for the Oregon Railroad Navigation Company, in charge of locating parties, and had been engaged on several contracts for surveying public lands for the government.

In 1898 he was elected County Surveyor from Multnomah County and was re-elected in 1900 and 1902.

In about 1900 the first post office, serving the area east of Springdale, then known as Gage, was established at the Hurlburt home and was known as Hurlburt. The mail was carried from the Terry Post Office, now known as Twelve Mile, to Hurlburt, by Elihu Rickert. The transportation was furnished by a team of horses hitched to a hack and continued until the rural route from Troutdale started in 1903.

In 1857 Mr. Hurlburt was united in marriage with Mary Adams, a native of Indiana. Of this union there were nine children born, three of whom died young. Those living to maturity were Thomas Hurlburt, formerly county surveyor, and a County Sheriff several terms; Deady, a barber in Portland; John, a surveyor in Portland; George, a surveyor; Mrs. Isabella Sill, Spokane; and Dottie Seton, Portland.

Mr. Hurlburt was born in 1833 and passed away in 1908. Mrs. Hurlburt was born in 1836 and died in 1907.

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[SOURCE: From a compendium of biographies hand typed and distributed by the East Multnomah Pioneer Association in about 1972, pp. 102-103.  Submitted by Dorothy Keefe.]