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Biography of Hon. John M. Bacon

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HON. JOHN M. BACON. – There are three places in the Northwest that have almost antique associations. These are Astoria, Vancouver and Oregon City. Of none of them is the flavor of old times more pronounced than amid the rocks and bluffs and by the falls and the old buildings of the latter place. Here one of the old pioneers may be found in the person of a gentleman whose portrait appears on the opposite page.

It was as to the last place to go that Mr. Bacon came to Oregon. A native of Buffalo, New York, born in 1822, he lost his father two years later, and lived with his grandfather until fourteen years old. He kept himself in America three years longer, working in a store, but at the age of seventeen shipped before the mast from New Bedford in a whaler. He was two years in China, and in 1844, going out to Bombay, took service as second mate on an English ship. This took him to London. Returning to the United States by the Atlantic, having seen the bigness of the world, he came out to Illinois with his brother Francis, now a resident on the Sandy. In 1845, he came to Independence, Missouri, and, joining the Barlow train, came to Oregon, being one of the number to hunt out the Barlow road across the Cascades. Of course, he went to California in 1849; but, ill health bringing him back to Oregon, he located on Elliott’s prairie, fourteen miles from Oregon City. In 1856, looking for a somewhat more eligible home, where he might have church and educational privileges for his family, he removed to the town itself, finding employment in the store of Charman & Warner and of Charman & Son. Six years later he tried his luck at running a store, and stock ranch at Lewiston, but soon returned. Being intrusted with political honors, he was elected county clerk, and four years later city recorder and overseer. Being appointed postmaster in1868, he has never left the old city of the falls. He has been postmaster twenty years.

Mr. Bacon has been a prominent mason, joining Multnomah Lodge, No. 1, the first in the state, in 1850. In 1856, he joined the Odd Fellows, and has held the office of Grand Scribe since 1873. His property interests in the city are quite considerable; and he runs a book and stationery store in connection with the post office. The wife of Mr. Bacon, Rachael w. Newman, daughter of Reverend Samuel Newman, is also a pioneer of 1845. They have had twelve children, seven of whom are living. They were married in 1857.


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