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Biography of Hiram W. Oliver

Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Illinois,Indiana,Iowa,Oregon | No Comments

HIRAM W. OLIVER. – It is with pleasure that we are enabled to grant to the esteemed pioneer and capable citizen whose name is at the head of this article a representation in the history of the county of Union, where he has labored long and faithfully, both for its advancement and development and for the successful culmination of his various business enterprises, wherein he has demonstrated a consummate wisdom in handling the raw resources of the wild country and in subduing it and bringing forth the wealth that lay wrapped in its coffers of natural stores, while also he has manifested a stanch and upright character, unswerving integrity, and capabilities of the best order.

Hiram W. was born on December 29, 1827, in Rush county, Indiana, being the son of Elijah T. and Catherine (Boone) Oliver. Catherine Oliver was a granddaughter of a brother of the famous Daniel Boone. He came to Kentucky with Daniel and brought his family there. Another brother, Isaac Boone, was killed in the battle on the Raisin river. With his parents, our subject removed to Cass county, thence to Pulaski county and in the spring of 1849 to Morgan county, the latter being in Illinois. Soon after, they went thence to Marion county,Iowa. In January, 1855, Mr. Oliver returned to Scott county, Illinois, to marry the lady of his choice, Miss Julia A. McCaleb, a native of Tennessee. Her grandfather, a Scotchman, was a Continental soldier in the time of the Revolution. In the spring of 1864, he gathered his worldly possessions together and undertook the journey across the plains, his two brothers with their families and his parents also accompanying him, they going to the Willamette valley, but our subject stopping in this county. He selected land in the vicinity of his present home, three miles north from Summerville, entered a government right, and settled down to work of developing the country. He soon started a sawmill and did a good business in that line for years. He now owns five hundred and twenty acres of good land, well improved, with good house, barn, and out buildings, and he is giving his attention to general farming and fruit raising, having rented his mill in 1887. He has one of the finest orchards anywhere in this vicinity, being fifteen acres of well selected bearing stock, of all kinds adapted to this section. It is of note that the wheat had to be ground in a coffe mill when they first came to the valley. The nearest flour mill was in Walla Walla, and the snow was too deep on the mountains to cross. The first real flour they had cost Mr. Oliver fourteen dollars per hundred weight.

To Mr. Oliver and his wife there were born the following children: Elijah, married to Miss Margaret Walsinger; Turner, a lawyer of Lagrande and married to Anna McDonald; John R., married to Winnie Blakeslee, of Union; Marshall, married to Ida Gerhardt; Arthur, married to Rosa Brown; Charles W., married to Martha Cook; Catherine, wife of Edgar Marvin, of Wallowa. Mrs. Oliver died in 1875, being beloved by all and sincerely mourned. Mr. Oliver contracted a second marriage in December, 1879, the lady then becoming his wife, being Maria L. Burt, and three children have been born to them. H. Perry, who married Edna Robinson, of Des Moines, Iowa; Frank H., and Burt M. Mrs. Oliver is a native of Mount Morris, New York, and is a descendant of James Fisk and Genera Hathven. The former was of Greenwich, Massachusetts, and joined the Continental army before he was sixteen and fought through the entire struggle until victory crowned their efforts. The latter acted on General Washington’s staff during the same war. Mr. Oliver is a member of the A.F.&A.M. and has been since 1868, while in political affiliations he is allied with the democratic party. Mr. and Mrs. Oliver are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, South, and they are consistent supporters of the faith. In pioneer work and labors, Mr. Oliver has taken a comendable part and is deserving of much credit for the faithfulness and ability that he has manifested and he is one of the substantial citizens of the county to-day, highly esteemed and respected by all.

Mr. Oliver hauled lumber over the mountains to Walla Walla in 1860. In 1865, or thereabouts, Mr. Oliver was the moving spirit to form a company of several leading men, which was incorporated and had for its object the rebuilding of the old road over the mountains. It was known as the Summerville and Western Wagon Road Company. The company completed the work in good shape and just as it was done, a terrific storm came and washed out all the bridges, slid down the cuts of the mountains, and filled the roadway with timber and boulders, and wrought havoc generally. The damage was beyond repair and so the company dissolved after expending about thirty thousand dollars in the enterprise.


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