G.W. OZMENT. – This gentleman is a veteran of the Indian wars, a survivor of many a bloody fight in Southern Oregon, and a pioneer of 1852.
Born at Greensborough, North Carolina, in 1833, he became an orphan at the age of ten, and at fifteen went to Western Virginia with an uncle, and somewhat later was in Tennessee, working on his own account.
The far West, however, was the land of his dreams; and he saved his earnings to go to Paducah, and from that point to St. Louis. Three months later he was on his way to St. Joseph by steamer. But ice in the river delayed progress at the Kansas river; and there he was glad to join the train of Mr. William McCown, who was on the way to Oregon.
The journey, begun May 7, 1852, was favorable, meeting with only the usual hardships of the way until reaching the Cascade Mountains. There the train met with snow; and the teams were too much exhausted to draw the loaded wagons farther. Mr. McCown pushed on to Oregon City for help, leaving Mr. Ozment two weeks in the mountains to look after the goods. The first months of Oregon life were spent in Clackamas county erecting buildings for Mr. McCown, the winter with Mr. Case on Butte creek, and the following spring with Reverend A.F. Waller in Polk county. During the summer and second winter he was at the Belknap settlement in Benton county. In 1854 he moved to the Siuslaw, making his home with Mr. Cartwright, and was engaged by Moses Miliner in packing to Yreka.
Mr. Ozment was among the first to volunteer his services to suppress the Indian outbreak in 1855, and participated in the savage fight at Hungry hill and at the big bend of Cow creek. At the former place he was one of the squad to attempt a flank movement, and was in the ravine when Thomas Hudson (Aubrey?) fell wounded. It was terrible work getting him out; and, as night closed, the soldiers gathered together at a spring with the dead and wounded about them. The hours were passed with the constant dread of an attack by the savages. The accidental discharge of a gun or pistol in their midst produced a momentary panic; for the over-wrought men supposed that the attack had commenced with the Indians from the very closest proximity. The real attack came early in the morning, but was easily repulsed. The Indians could have been followed up; but the soldiers had been fasting for twenty-four hours, and were in no condition to give chase. On Cow creek he also saw hard service, and was at the scene of the night attack in which John Gardiner and Thomas gage were killed.
After being mustered out of the service, he returned to the Suislaw and took up a Donation claim. In 1868 he made a visit to his old home in North Carolina, and, persuading three of his brothers to make their home on this coast, conducted their train of wagons to Oregon. For some fifteen years he has been engaged in the sheep business on his farm of two thousand acres near Cartwright, Lane county, Oregon. While these liberally provide for himself, he is equally liberal minded to others, giving especial attention and care to public schools, and contributing largely to churches and all public enterprises. He is a man of wide influence, and an eminently useful citizen.