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Biography of Col. T. R. Cornelius

COL. T.R. CORNELIUS. – In view of the prominent part sustained by Colonel Cornelius in the Indian wars of our early history, as well as in our political history since, it seems best to give at length the interesting picture of his connection with those wars. This is done mainly in his own language, and hence preserves the vividness of his own recollections. T.R. Cornelius was born November 16, 1827, in Howard county, Missouri. At an early age he moved with his parents to Arkansas, and in 1845, then a youth of nineteen, came with them to Oregon. The company of thirty wagons, to which his father, Benjamin Cornelius, with his family, belonged, was organized on the frontier under Captain Hall. At the Malheur river some forty wagons of the train followed Stephen Meek, who, for a consideration of three hundred dollars, agreed to pilot them by a shorter and better route to The Dalles. Meek, however, proved wholly ignorant of the country; and the journey hence was most disastrous. He led them into sage-brush plains and alkali deserts, to spend twenty-four hours at a time without grass or water, and once nearly two days. Many died from exposure to heat, and from other hardships. Cattle sank down, and were left to perish. Game, except jack-rabbits and sage-hens, altogether failed. At length, at a place called Last Hollow, a council was held, and amid various opinions to go south, north, to continue west, to go back the way they came, or to stay where they were, fearing to leave the water, it was decided by the Cornelius party to...

Biography of Solomon Emerick

SOLOMON EMERICK, – Some time before Horace Greeley gave his advice, “Go West, young man, go West,” there were hardy young Americans making tracks across the Rocky Mountains, and pushing into the fastnesses towards the pacific Ocean. “Ribs of brass and hearts of steel” had these young fellows; and they were without fear or even caution. One of these was Solomon Emerick, who was born in Ohio in 1820. He moved to Buchanan county, Missouri, in 1830, and in 1843 was on the way to the rendezvous on the border. Falling in with the pioneer Gilmore, he accepted of him an outfit and took the job of driving oxen to Oregon, writing to his father that he was going to the pacific coast with Burnett’s expedition, as the emigration of 1843 was frequently called. When the one hundred and twenty-five wagons and loose stock were well under way, a division was made to accommodate all the hands; and Emerick was in the company that was under Captain Martin, with Gilmore, James Hayes, T. Reeves and others. Upon their arrival, after the arduous trip fully described elsewhere, at Walla Walla, they disposed of their oxen to McKinley at the fort, taking an order for an equal number in the Willamette valley from the Hudson’s Bay Company, and, embarking in canoes, completed their journey by the swift waters of the Columbia. Unlike the most of navigators, they took no guide or pilot here, but went at their own sweet will past rocks and over rapids. Arriving at Celilo, they deemed the water bad enough to send the women and children and...

Biography of Mrs. Sarah Zachary

MRS. SARAH ZACHARY. – This pioneer of 1843 is not only one of the first settlers of Oregon, but among the oldest persons in the Northwest. She has attained her eighty-sixth year, and is still in firm health and of sound mind. Eleven children were born to her, eight of whom are now living. She has seventy-six grandchildren, and sixty-five great-grandchildren. She is a Kentuckian, born in 1804, and was married at Nineteen to Alex Zachary, with whom she moved to Arkansas in1824, and to Texas in1836, coming out to Oregon five years later. They were in the famous company Applegate, Burnett, Nesmith and Shively, which was piloted by Doctor Whitman. They shared the usual hardships and pleasures of the company, experiencing nothing peculiar but a serious and almost fatal accident at the Kaw river. The ferry-bat with which the crossing wa made was overloaded and perhaps badly managed. At all events it sank in midstream, drawing down the goods and provisions, and scattering Mrs. Zachary and the nine children amid the waves and strong current. Quite a party of Indians were along he shore, who showed their goodwill by immediately diving into the water and bringing all the children safely to the land. Mrs. Zachary caught hold of an ox-yoke and was thus kept afloat, but not without being drifted far down stream before her rescue. As their entire outfit was thus lost, the distressed mother begged her husband to return and to temp the dangers of the way no more. But the other emigrants were ale each to spare a little of their provisions, and insisted upon...

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