John D. Littlepage
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John D. Littlepage

John D. Littlepage was born in Virginia in 1817, married Mary Jane Porter who was born in Ireland in 1834.

John and Mary Littlepage came to this area in 1875 with 5 children, to homestead 160 acres on what is now known as the Littlepage Road. Their first home was built on about the same spot where the block house built by Jim Pounder now stands.

In the early 80’s this area suffered a severe wind storm, similar to our Columbus Day storm of 1962. This storm blew down trees and damaged many of what few buildings were here. The Littlepage house was not spared as the entire roof was lifted off the frame and landed some distance out in the field. They then moved to a new location to rebuild.

Their new house was built on the north half of the farm where was to be 3 generations of Littlepages live and work the soil.

After getting settled in their new home, John Littlepage sold the south 80 acres to James Howard, who later moved to locate a homestead of his own farther up the canyon which bears his name. Mr. Howard sold the acreage he had bought from the Littlepages to Sam Swirsky and Nathan Weinstein, a couple of young men who built a store about the same spot where the milking parlor of the Windust Dairy now stands.

From this store, the young men would walk throughout the country with a pack sack on their backs, selling such articles as thread, socks, needles, ribbon, neckties, suspenders, etc. We are told they traveled as far as the Willamette Valley and way points with their selling. While the boys were out on one of these selling trips, the store building burned down, so they sold the farm to James Pounder in 1893.

Swirsky and Weinstein then moved to Portland where Sam Swirsky opened a shoe store and Nathan Weinstein opened a clothing store, so these two young men who started out from our neighborhood, walking with a pack to sell their merchandise, later became two very prominent businessmen of Portland.

Sam Swirsky’s shoe store was always a meeting place for residents of this area while shopping in Portland.

John and Mary Littlepage’s children: Eva Littlepage Kelly, Hattie Littlepage Hurlburt, Maude Littlepage Heslin, Charles J. and C. Ed Littlepage. It is claimed that Eva Littlepage was the first girl to be married from this area, marrying Emmerson Kelly.

John D. Littlepage passed away in February, 1888 at the age of 71 years. The farm was taken over by the oldest son, Charles. Charles (or C. J. as he was often called) built a small cottage alongside the family home where Mary Jane lived out most of her life, passing away in 1909 at the age of 75.

In 1885 Charles Littlepage was married to Rosa Crozier who was teaching school in the area before their marriage. C. J. was a leader in the community and continued to work the farm, clearing more land to grow diversified crops.

Around the turn of the century he bought a half interest in a sawmill with Will Maffett who was preparing to log the south side of Pebbler Mountain. This sawmill operation was in addition to the farming of the home place by C. J. The product from the mill was some rough lumber but mostly railroad ties as there was a strong demand for them due to so much railroad building going on across the country. At first the product from the mill had to be sledded out about 2 miles over a skid road to the intersection with the Brower and Palmer roads where it was stacked to be reloaded onto wagons to be hauled to the railroad at Latourell Falls.

I well remember when Mr. Littlepage bought quite a large steam donkey engine in Portland for his logging operation and had it shipped out to Corbett Station on the railroad. It was too heavy to haul with anything in use at that time and it was necessary for the donkey to pull itself by the cable from the drum on the donkey far enough to reach a tree or anything strong enough to pull from and after making the end fast the donkey would rewind the cable back on the drum, thereby pulling itself toward the "tailhold," this being the loggers’ phrase of making the end of the line fast. I remember it took nearly a week to reach the top of Corbett Hill, only 1 mile toward an 8-mile trip to the Littlepage and Maffett mill. The slowness at first was due to so many crooks and curves making it necessary to keep changing the tailhold. There would be many places where a tree would not be in line to tie to so they would have to set a "deadman," which was made by fastening the end of the cable around a short log and then burying it in a gravelike pit, deep enough to hold while a pull was made from it. After the donkey pulled itself up to the deadman, it was necessary to dig up the log so it could be used again when needed. After reaching the top of the hill, the moving went faster as they could make longer pulls without changing.

Mr. Littlepage finally sold his interest in the sawmill to his partner, returning to his farm, taking the donkey engine with him. He then bought land across the road from the home place and used the donkey pulling stumps, clearing the newly acquired land.

After retiring from farming in this area, he moved to Mosier in 1906 to try his luck in the then booming apple industry in that area.

The farm was then taken over by the oldest daughter and her husband, Henry Nelson. The Nelsons farmed the place several years, eventually selling it to Scott Milne who named the farm "Milford Farm," the name a combination of parts of his and his wife’s names. Mr. Milne built the farm into quite an extensive cattle ranch.

Born to Charles and Rosa Littlepage: a son who died in infancy; May Littlepage Nickerson, Fresno, California; Donald Littlepage, deceased 1965; Ruth Littlepage Roberts, Los Gatos, Calif.

--Unsigned

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[SOURCE: From a compendium of biographies hand typed and distributed by the East Multnomah Pioneer Association in about 1972, pp. 110-113.  Submitted by Dorothy Keefe.]