J. C. Moreland was born in the State of Tennessee, June 10, 1844, and is the youngest of nine children of Rev. Jesse and Susan (Robertson) Moreland. His father, a well known and highly respected pioneer of Oregon, was a native of North Carolina, while his grandfather, on the maternal side, fought in the war of the Revolution; and two of his mother’s brothers took part in the war of 1812, the elder of whom rose to the rank of a Brigadier-General under Jackson in the Creek war.
In 1848, in view of the baleful influence of slavery, his father moved to Illinois with his family. Here they remained four years, at the end of which time they started westward for Oregon. After six months of weary journeying amid the perils and dangers incident to crossing the plains with ox-teams, they reached the Willamette Valley, toil worn and well nigh destitute. Settling on a donation land claim in the southern part of Clackamas County, the father began with brave heart to make a home in the then wilds of Oregon. Here the youth of our subject was passed, until the death of his mother in 1859, when the family removed to Needy. Shortly there-after, in April, 1860, he commenced to learn the printer’s trade in the office of the Oregon Farmer, at Portland. After serving three years and a half he secured a position as printer on the Oregonian. While employed at his trade in Portland he attended, at intervals, the Portland Academy, supporting himself with the money he had earned at the case. His studies were, however, interrupted in 1864, by accepting the position of foreman under Henry L. Pittock, state printer at Salem. He nevertheless managed to devote a part of his time to acquiring an education and later on after a further term at school, graduated at the Portland Academy in July, 1865. He soon thereafter began the study of the law under the direction of David Logan, and part of the time in Logan’s office. For some ten months, while reading law, he served as foreman on the Vancouver Register, supporting himself by this labor. In April, 1867, he was admitted to the bar in Washington Territory. He began practice in Boise City, Idaho, where, in July, of 1867, he was married to Miss Abbie B. Kline. Finding it impossible to gain a livelihood at his profession in Boise City, he secured a position at his trade on the Idaho Statesman, and was thus employed for a year. In July, 1868, he returned to Portland and for a few months served as foreman of the Oregonian. He then formed a partnership with Hon. John F. Caples, attorney-at-law, and from that time has devoted himself to his profession acquiring as the years have gone by a constantly increasing practice, and an enviable reputation as a lawyer.
He has always been an enthusiastic Republican in politics, and from the time he took up his permanent residence in Portland has been a prominent factor in local political affairs. In 1872 he was elected a member of the Common Council, and served for three years. In 1877 he was appointed City Attorney, a position he held for five years, when he resigned. In 1885 he was appointed County Judge of Multnomah County, by Gov. Moody, to serve an unexpired term. In this position he served for five months, discharging the duties of the position with great fairness and to the satisfaction of both bar and people.
Mr. Moreland is quite an ardent Mason of the degree of Knight Templar, and has accepted various positions of prominence in the order, at present being Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Oregon. In 1887 he was Grand Orator, and his oration at the annual meeting received flattering notices of commendation from the correspondents of the craft all over the United States.
In all the relations of life Mr. Moreland is a true and worthy man. Under difficulties that would have discouraged or daunted many, he has achieved success. He is one of the best of our citizens, and is a high type of the professional man.