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Biographies of the Pacific Northwest

This collection details 671 biographies of the Pacific Northwest: Early leading citizens of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington are all encompassed by this manuscript. Many of the people traveled to the area via the large and small wagon trains. Some came for gold, some for land, some for opportunity… whatever their reason, they settled in the area claimed by many Native American tribes, and their lives are often woven into the lives of the tribes of the area.

Biography of Hon. James B. Reavis

Much interest attaches to the life and work of an attorney such as Mr. Reavis, whose chief endeavor both privately and professionally has been to realize a high degree of public justice. He is a man whom the people feel safe in having by; for they can trust his sagacity and integrity, knowing that he is thoroughly incorruptible by any influence, corporate or otherwise. He is one of the men of whom both unscrupulous politicians and monopolies have a wholesome fear. Glancing at his ancestry, we observe that he came honestly by these rugged qualities, being in lineal descent from among those who have subdued and civilized America. He was born in Boone county, Missouri, in 1848. His parents were Kentuckians, his grandparents Virginians, and on the maternal side were descended from the colonial Lee family of Revolutionary fame. Mr. Reavis received his education at Lexington, Kentucky, and studying law was admitted to practice at Hannibal, Missouri, in 1872. He also began to exert a wide influence in that state as the editor of the Appeal, at Monroe; but his prospects in journalism were voluntarily relinquished in view of his removal to California in 1874. In that state he engaged in the practice of his profession, making his home at Chico. His characteristic and hereditary restlessness, however, led him to seek a new field, and in 1880 he came to Washington Territory, making his first home at Goldendale, where he formed a partnership with Hon. R.O. Dunbar. This was a strong combination; and for two years a very active business was conducted. In 1882 he removed to Yakima, and...

Biography of Olney N. Morse

The subject of this sketch, who was one of the argonauts of 1849, was born in Westfield, Chautauqua county, New York, December 4, 1826, and is the son of William and Lydia Ford Morse. During his early years he resided on his father’s farm, and received his education at the common schools until the spring of 1849. In that year he organized a company with nine other young men to cross the plains to the gold fields of California. Being elected secretary and treasurer of the party, he was sent to St. Louis in advance, and purchased the outfit and provisions, being soon joined by his associates. Having come to Council Bluffs, this little band started on foot or horseback across the plains, their company being known as the Westfield train. They arrived in Sacramento October 17, 1849, and still maintained their organization as they proceeded to the Amador mines, where they met with good success. January 1, 1850, Mr. Morse returned to Sacramento and opened a restaurant and hotel, which he conducted until the disastrous floods in the following March, which swept away his building. He then engaged in driving freight teams to the mines at a salary of eleven dollars per day. He followed that occupation until the company intimated a cut of one dollar per day, when Mr. Morse severed his connection with the company and embarked for himself in the general merchandise trade in El Dorado county, where he conducted a very successful business for about one year, making over one thousand dollars per month. He then closed out and determined to return East, but...

Biography of Simon Edward Josephi, M.D.

Simeon Edward Josephi was born in the city of New York on December 3, 1849. His father, Edward Josephi, was a native of St. Petersburg, Russia, but left that country with his parents for England when a boy. He afterwards came to New York, where he embarked in the jewelry business, becoming a prominent wholesale jeweler of that city and San Francisco. Returning to New York from a trip to the latter city, he was lost in the burning of the ill-fated steamer Golden Gate in 1862. The mother of Doctor Josephi is a native of England. She is one of the Spanish Mandoza family, her father having emigrated from his native country prior to her birth. Doctor Josephi spent his early life in the city of his birth, and there received his literary education, chiefly in the public school. In 1863 he graduated from the grammar school. In 1863 he graduated from the grammar school and entered what was then known as the Free Academy (now the New York College) on Lexington avenue. After pursuing his studies there for a year, he accepted a clerkship in a mercantile house. Possessed with a desire to see the great West, he embarked for San Francisco on the steamer, Santiago de Cuba, via the Nicaragua route, arriving in California in September, 1866. In January, 1867, he came to Portland, Oregon, to accept the position of book-keeper at the Oregon Hospital for the Insane, at that time conducted by Doctors Hawthorne and Loryea. There he commenced his medical studies under peculiar advantages. At that time the only hospital in Multnomah county was...

Biography of Gay Hayden

MR. AND MRS. GAY HAYDEN. – Prominent among the many pioneers of the Pacific Northwest who deserve an enduring place in its history are Mr. and Mrs. Hayden of Vancouver, Washington, whose heroism under the many difficulties that beset the emigrants who broke the way for advancing civilization on this far frontier will seem to generations yet unborn, who are destined to read these pages, more like the dream of the novelist than a recital of fact. Mrs. Mary J. Hayden, who at this writing is a handsome, well-preserved and charmingly vivacious woman, as ready-witted, graceful and gentle as though border life had never been her portion, was born in the year 1830 in Athens, Maine, and spent her early childhood with her grandparents in the town of Cornville in that state. At the age of fifteen Miss Bean emigrated with her parents to the wilds of Wisconsin, where she was married in 1847 to Gay Hayden, one of the well-known pioneers of the Pacific Northwest, with whom her lot was cast; and, in the year 1850, they emigrated to that part of Oregon Territory to be known in future as the State of Washington. In recounting her experiences in crossing the plains with teams of oxen, Mrs. Hayden says; “We traveled leisurely at first, but wearily, as the roads were bad in early spring, and accommodation for ourselves and teams could be had at night in the spare settlements, through which we thought it safer not to hurry. But, when we launched out in the open prairie beyond the settlements, we enjoyed a sense of freedom and exhilaration...

Biography of Heman J. Gerr

The name of Geer is so well known in our state that the following account of the father of T.T. Geer of the Waldo hills will be of interest to all. This now venerable pioneer was born in Ohio in 1828, removing with his parents to Illinois in 1840. In 1847 he crossed the plains to Oregon with General Palmer’s train. The large company forestalled trouble with the Indians. Peter Hall, who stopped with Whitman at Walla Walla was the only one who experienced any disaster. The crossing of the Cascade Mountains by the Barlow Road proved the worst of their trials. After reaching Oregon, Heman stopped at Oregon City, and engaged in the boot and shoe business; while the father located at Butteville, Marion County. In 1848 he young man abandoned “city” life and located a claim in the Waldo hills, marrying Miss Cynthia Eoff. In 1849 he was prevented from completing the journey to California, by men returning with the report that the mines were “worked out.” From 1854 to 1861 he was in the nursery business at Silverton, and the next year in business at Salem, going thence to the Caribou mines in 1862, thence to Auburn, Oregon, and from this point with his goods to Bannack City. In 1864 he mined on the John Day river. Having separated from his first wife he made Union county his home, serving as deputy sheriff under his brother Isaiah Geer, of the newly organized Union county. In 1867 he located a fruit farm at the Cove, and formed the acquaintance of and married Miss Annie E. Duncan. He...

Biography of Jacob Frazier

This pioneer of the wool business in Eastern Oregon, and owner of some of the best buildings in Pendleton, is a native of the Buckeye state (1820), and while but a boy of ten went with his father to Indiana, and as a youth of sixteen to Iowa. In this state, then known locally as the Black Hawk purchase, his father died at the advanced age of eighty-three. In 1850 Mr. Frazer crossed the plains to California with horses, being one of a party of five. This company was made to pay a toll of sugar, flour, etc., by the Sioux, and near Salt Lake had eight of their eleven horses stolen. Frazer himself was sick at the time; but two of the company gave chase and recaptured the animals, arriving at Hangtown (more euphoniously Placerville), our pioneer began gold digging. One of the first men he met in the country was his brother Montgomery, who had been out a year, and who had been very successful, insomuch tat he returned East soon after and bought the farm in Iowa which Jacob had first purchased with the avails of a big job of wood-chopping that he had undertaken for the brother of Jefferson Davis. Four years of mining life proved hazardous. Indeed, the list of casualties to which Mr. Frazer was subject suggest some sort of protecting agency that does not guard everyone. Once he had been setting a blast in a deep mine. Hastening up the shaft to be out of the way, the windlass crank broke, dropping him back and leaving him to take the explosion, which...

Biography of Hon. Charles Eisebeis

This wealthy resident of Port of Washington gained his eminence by sturdy industry and sagacious investment during the pioneer days. He is a native of Prussia, was born in 1832, and the fifth in a family of ten children. Of his father he learned the trade of a baker, and was prepared upon his arrival in America in 1856 to earn thereby, in company with his brother, an independent livelihood at Rochester, New York. In 1858 he came via Panama to San Francisco, and in the fall of the same year arrived at Port Townsend. He here opened a shop and prepared for the market the first baker’s goods in the town, and probably the first in the territory, except at Vancouver. He was under engagement with the firm of Priest & Peterson, becoming a partner within a few months. The site was the same as that now occupied by his present fine building. Two years later he removed to Steilacoom, and after a sojourn of five years at this point, during which he engaged successfully in his former business and in brewing, returned to the city of his first choice, continuing a remunerative management of his shop, and investing his saving in real estate. by this means he has acquired some of the finest property in the city, and at Seattle has been very successful in that line. Mr. Eisenbeis has served the city as mayor three terms, being the first to hold that office. He was also the first city treasurer. Three terms he has been a member of the Washington board of health. He was married...

Biographical Sketch of Otis Patterson

OTIS PATTERSON. – Mr. Patterson, editor of the Heppner Gazette, at Heppner, Oregon, and one of the representative men of common sense and energy in the Inland Empire, was born at Danville, Indiana, September 4, 1858. He remained in that city until the age of eighteen, receiving a good common-school education. He also improved himself by a scientific course, graduating as B.S. from the Centeral Normal College of Danville. In 1876 he acted upon the advice of a celebrated father of his profession, and came to Emporia, Kansas, where he engaged in educational work. In 1882 he performed the rest of the journey across the continent, stopping in California. Remaining there only a short time, however, he came by way of Portland, Oregon to Walla Walla, where he once more became a teacher of schools, following that occupation in various schools in Walla Walla county until 1885. In that year he became principal of the Heppner Public School, and conducted that institution with great success. The following spring he entered into business, successfully establishing a store in the hardware line. Seeing the opportunity and feeling the desire to occupy a somewhat more advanced position as educator, not simply of children but of men and of the people at large, he purchased in 1888 the Heppner Gazette and has conducted that periodical to the present time with very marked success, now owning one of the best-appointed newspaper offices in Eastern Oregon, and every week issuing a clean, honest and able paper, of which the county is justly proud. In 1884, he was married to Miss Mary Gregg of Walla Walla,...

Biography of Capt. Henry Roeder

CAPT. HENRY ROEDER. – In this veteran of the early times, as well as of the war of 1856, we have a representative of the men who first opened business on the Sound. As such he merits somewhat extended notice. He was born in Germany on July 4, 1824, his parents being John and Martha Roeder. He is connected by family ties with the great European events of the early part of the century, his father having been a soldier under Napoleon, and having fought in the battle of Waterloo. Not wishing to bear arms for Louis, nor rear his son to fight his battles, he with his family came to America when Henry was but seven years of age, and settled at Vermilion, Ohio. The nautical experience of the young man began on Lake Erie; and before he was twenty he was master of a schooner. In 1849 the gold fever of California reached his locality; and he made up his mind to take a run out to the mines, and be back in a year’s time and take charge of a fine vessel in process of construction on the Vermilion river. It was twenty-two years before he had seen enough of the West to think of looking back again to life on the lake. The journey was begun February 23, 1850. The two six-mules teams, two wagons and camp outfit were secured at St. Louis; and the party of adventurers to which he belonged reached Salt Lake in time to hear Brigham Young deliver his first Fourth of July oration, in which he stated that the Saints...
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