Joseph Neely
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Joseph Neely

Joseph Neely was born in Clarion County, PA., September 20, 1863, the son of Rebecca (Phillips) and David Neely. Some years later the family moved to Nebraska and settled near Atkinson.

Frances Arminna Ginder was born near Ackworth, Warren County, Iowa, July 13, 1870, the daughter of Martha (Lacy) and Jacob Ginder. Her family, too, moved to Nebraska where she and Mr. Neely both spent their growing-up years. They were married at Kent, Loup County on November 3, 1887.

The eldest of their children, a daughter Alice, was born in Kent and before she was two years old this little family moved to an area near Gresham, Oregon in March, 1890. Mrs. Neely had relatives who had come here previously. They finally settled at Andy Hoyt’s mill somewhere east of Gresham, exact location not known but believed to have been below the old Alm and Nelson store on Powell Valley Road toward Lusted. Here a son, Harold, was born.

The folks then moved to Pleasant Home (now Orient) where Mr. Neely had a shingle mill. From this location they moved to just above Donahue’s camp upon this side of Larch Mountain. A son Joseph was born here.

The logging train to Bridal Veil and wagon road to Brower were the only means of getting in and out. Mr. Neely worked here and there for farmers and for Gould’s mill, driving oxen to haul logs. The family later moved to a farm at the top of Loudon Hill (now known as the Knapp place). Here three more children were born: Vernon, William and Helen. They attended the old "Egypt" school at first but later transferred to Hurlburt.

Mr. Neely was gone much of the time working, walking of course, coming and going, no matter how great the distance. Many times during his absence the summer forest fires burned their way through that country. Mrs. Neely used to tell of herself and the children putting the grain and hay out of the barn into the field to save it if the barn should burn. Then she stationed the boys on the roof with buckets of water to put out any sparks. Mrs. Neely baked bread for neighbors and sometimes sewed for them to help with her family budget. She told of preserving green beans from the garden by putting them down in salt brine in open creeks.

To go into Portland was a real project. They would hitch up the team and wagon, take feed for the horses and drive to Montavilla. There the team was left at the livery stable and then the streetcar was used to go into town. After a day of shopping they would drive home by lantern light. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed these "excursions."

The Neelys lived here about 14 years. A short time before they moved, their daughter Alice was married to Wilber E. Evans in August, 1907. Then the rest of the family moved and settled briefly in several locations until they bought lots and built a home on the outskirts of Oregon City. They lived there for quite a number of years. During this time all four boys were called to service in World War I. In the late 1920s Mr. And Mrs. Neely moved to a larger farm near Sherwood where Mr. Neely farmed with one of his sons until failing health forced him to retire. They both spent their last years visiting back and forth with some of their children and grandchildren.

Mr. Neely passed away June 2, 1941 in Portland and Mrs. Neely in January, 1947 in Gresham. Both are buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, which is very close to the first home they had in this area.

Four of the children survive: Harold at Sherwood, Joseph at South Beach, Vernon at Eagle Creek, and Helen Mero [or Moro] at South Beach, Oregon. Alice Neely Willis died in Portland in 1947 and William in San Luis Obispo, California in July, 1959.  --unsigned

[Source: Submitted by Dorothy Keefe, from a compendium of biographies hand typed and distributed by the East Multnomah Pioneer Association in about 1972, pp.129-131.]

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