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Biography of Joseph K. Gill

Joseph K. Gill, one of Portland’s well known business men, was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1841, and is the eldest of eleven children of Mark and Amelia Gill. In 1854 he accompanied his parents to America, locating in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he attended the city schools until he had reached the age of eighteen, when he entered Worcester Academy, continuing at this institution but spending most of his time at work to assist in the support of the family, until he had attained his majority. He then entered Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham, a preparatory school, with the idea of fitting himself for a collegiate course. While pursuing his studies, however, his eyes failed him, and he was forced for a time to abandon his plan. At Wilbraham he boarded with the wife of Dr. W. H. Wilson, one of the earlier missionaries in Oregon. From her, and also from J. S. Smith and Joseph Holman, of Oregon, whom he met at her home, he learned much of our then young State, which fact added to his having been advised by his physician that a sea voyage might be beneficial to his eyes, led him in 1864, to come to Oregon by steamer. He located at Salem, where he continued his studies at the Willamette University, and also acted as assistant teacher, under Prof. Gatch, then President of that institution. At the end of a year his eyes had become so much improved that he returned to Wilbraham and resumed his studies at Wesleyan Academy. His eyes, however, soon after again failed him, and he was advised by his...

Biography of Rockey P. Earhart

The subject of this sketch was born in Franklin County, Ohio, on the 23td day of June, 1837, and came to Oregon by way of the Isthmus of Panama, in 1855. Educational advantages were offered him in select schools in his native State, where he gained a thoroughly practical business training. Upon arriving in Oregon, and incidentally meeting with some of the public officials of the day, his superior clerical abilities were very soon recognized, and he received the appointment of clerk under Captain (now General), Robert McFeely, U. S. A., and Quartermaster P. H. Sheridan, then a comparatively unknown soldier. Mr. Earhart remained in the service of the military department until Quartermaster Sheridan left this coast, in 1861, to take part in the war of the rebellion. During this period occurred the Yakima Indian war, in which he rendered valuable aid to the officials under whom he served. In 1861 he engaged in general mercantile business in Yamhill and Polk counties, in which he continued until he was appointed United States Indian Agent at the Warm Springs Agency, to succeed Colonel Logan, where he remained until the appointment of Captain John Smith, 1865. For some time thereafter he served as chief clerk and special Indian agent under Superintendent Huntington, and was Secretary of the Board of Commissioners appointed by the General Government to treat with the Klamath and Modoc Indians. In 1878 he again engaged in the mercantile business in Salem, in which he continued until 1872. In conjunction with other citizens Mr. Earhart was active in maintaining peace and quiet at the capital during the troublesome times...

Biography of William C. Noon

William C. Noon was born in Leicester, England, in 1835. At the age of nine years he came with his parents to America, settling in Andover, Massachusetts, where his father found employment at his trade in a woolen mill. He received the benefits of a common school education until thirteen years old when he began to work in a woolen mill at Andover. He was employed for several years thereafter in similar mills at Lawrence and Worcester, Massachusetts, and for some three or four years in the State of Maine. During this period he acquired a very thorough knowledge of the business and became very proficient, especially in carding and spinning. The memorable financial depression of 1857 was particularly severe on the eastern woolen manufacturers and all of them were either forced to suspend operation or continue their business on the most limited scale. Nearly all the weavers in the Eastern States were thrown out of employment. Mr. Noon not being able to secure work at his trade sought new avenues in which he might gain a livelihood. At this time the discoveries of gold in California were attracting immigration from all parts of the country, and in the spring of 1858 Mr. Noon started for the Pacific Coast, at the time having only sufficient money to pay his fare. He arrived in California via Isthmus of Panama, in the spring of 1858, and from that time until the spring of 1861, was engaged in mining and ranching, on the American River. In the latter business he was particularly unfortunate, the great flood in the spring of 1861 destroying...

Biography of William Wallace Spaulding

William Wallace Spaulding was born at Chalmsford, Massachusetts, near the city of Lowell, in 1839. He is of English descent, his ancestors having emigrated from England and settled in Chalmsford several generations ago. His early life was spent at home on a farm, during which period he received a good common school education which was supplemented by one year’s course of instruction at an academy in Mount Vernon, New Hampshire. After leaving school he went to Boston, where for four years he was employed in a butcher shop. He then purchased his employer’s business and conducted it for a year, when, his health failing, he was forced to abandon it. With the hope of finding a climate more congenial to his health -and where he might better his worldly fortune, he and his wife started for the Pacific slope by the way of the Isthmus of Panama, arriving in San Pranscico in the spring of 1862. In the following fall he came to Portland, at the time of his arrival not possessing a dollar in the world. Among strangers and without money, with himself and wife to support, his prospects were anything but encouraging, but with a disposition not easily discouraged and a willingness to labor at any honest work which would promise a livelihood, he soon found employment. For one year he was employed by the firm of Allen & Lewis. He then secured a situation in the meat store of A. H. Johnson and at the end of a few years became a partner in the business under the firm name of Johnson & Spaulding. At the...

Biography of Charles Adolph Alisky

Charles Adolph Alisky was born near Frankfort-on-the-Main, Germany, October 6, 1840, and is a descendant of an old and highly honorable German family which for several generations has resided at or in the immediate vicinity of the place of his nativity. His father, William Alisky, was a native of Mayence, and early in life exhibited rare musical talent, at the age of seven years playing a flute solo at a concert in Mayence. His genius for music attracted the attention of the Grand Duke of Hessia under whose protection he was sent to the Conservatory of Music at Paris. Here he became a classmate and intimate friend of Richard Wagner, the celebrated composer, and Karl Maria Von Weber, who at that time were pursuing their musical studies at Paris. After completing his musical education at Paris he became musical director of the Theatre at Darmstadt at that time one of the largest and finest in Germany. While thus engaged and giving promise of a brilliant future in music, the Grand Duke of Hessia died. With the death of his protector and. benefactor, his professional career came to an end and he was obliged to seek new means of gaining employment. He thereupon embarked in the music printing business, which he carried on only for a brief time, when he sold out and established a summer resort at Bergen, near Frankfort-on-the-Main-known as Bellevue-a place celebrated for the beauty of its scenery. The latter venture was in advance of the demands of the times and was not particularly successful. He continued in this line of work but a short time when...

Biography of Frank Zan

Frank Zan, the subject of this sketch, is of Slavonic descent and was born in 1851 in Stavigrard, Dalmatia, while that county was under Austrian rule. After completing his education in the public school of his native town, he was admitted to the Convent of the Dominican Fathers, with the intention of becoming one of their order. After studying theology for nearly two years at that school, he concluded to abandon the idea of devoting his life to ministerial work; and- not wishing to be drafted into military service, to which duty every young man is subject in that country, but desiring to become a sea faring man, he accordingly arranged matters with a sea captain to ship with him for nautical instruction. For nearly a year he followed the sea, but finding such vocation too monotonous for his naturally energetic nature, upon reaching the port of New York he bid farewell to the life of a sailor and started out to try his fortune in the “land of the free.” From New York shortly after landing, he came to San Francisco where his older brother, M. Zan, his present partner, was then located engaged in business. After living in San Francisco a short time he came to Portland in 1870, at that time being but nineteen years of age, to take charge of a branch house in the broom manufacturing business, started in this city a year prior by two brothers, Vincent and George Zan. Business at this time was not very encouraging and the two brothers named sold out the Portland branch to the present firm of...

Biography of George B. Markle

Among the young business men of Portland none have exerted a more powerful influence toward advancing the material progress of the city during the past few years than George B. Markle. The various projects he has been largely instrumental in creating and successfully carrying out, have been far reaching in their wholesome effect upon the prosperity of Portland, and justly entitle him to a prominent place in the commercial and financial history of the city. He is a native of Pennsylvania, having been born in Hazleton, Lucerne county, on the 7th of October, 1857. Until the age of twelve he received the educational advantages of the private and public schools of Hazelton. He then passed four years in a boarding school at White Plains, New York. His parents removed to Philadelphia, in 1874, and after one year’s attendance in a preparatory school in this city he entered Lafayette college, graduating from this institution in 1878. After graduation he was employed in the Anthracite coal mines at Geddo, Pennsylvania, which were owned by the firm of G. B. Markle & Co., his father being the senior member of the firm. In 1880, his father’s health having failed, young Markle entered the employ of the banking house of Pardee, Markle & Grier, of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and also continued with their successors, Pardee & Markle, as representative of his father’s interests. In 1882, the older members of the firm retired and the firm of Markle Bros. & Co. was formed, of which Mr. Markle was the managing partner until 1886. Mr. Markle’s desire to locate in the west led him, in the...

Biography of A. H. Johnson

Few American cities can furnish so many instances where men have accumulated large fortunes simply by well directed labor, however adverse the circumstances which surrounded their early struggles, than Portland. The subject of this sketch is a striking example of the truth of this statement. Arriving in Portland some thirty odd years ago, without friends or money, but possessed of good health and plenty of pluck and energy, he has steadily pushed onward and upward until today he occupies a prominent place among the leading business men of the city. He was born in London, in 1830, and is the third among eleven sons and daughters of Richard and Mercy Johnson. His father was a butcher, but on coming to America, in 1843, settled on a farm in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, where, with his family, he continued to live until 1869, when he came to Portland, and resided with the subject of this sketch until his death in 1871. Young Johnson had but little chance for gaining an education, a short period of instruction in the public schools of London completing his opportunities in this direction. Although he was but thirteen years old when he left London, he had become very familiar with that great city and he still retains the most vivid recollections of his early home. After the family came to Wisconsin, he assisted his father in the labors upon the farm, being thus employed until after he had passed his twentieth year. He then went to Milwaukee and secured work in the pork packing establishment of John Plankington. Here he remained about a year, when he...

Biography of Tyler Woodward

Tyler Woodward was born in Hartland, Windsor county, Vermont, in 1835, and is of Puritan descent. His grandfather fought in the war of the revolution, while his father, Erastus Woodward, participated in the war of 1812. He was educated in the common schools and the academies at Kimball, Union and Meriden, New Hampshire, and Thilford, Vermont. When he reached his majority, he taught school in his native town for one term during the winter. He lived at home until 1860, when he came to Marysville, California, and for one year served as clerk in a hotel of which his brother was proprietor. In the summer of 1861, he went to Washoe county, at the time the gold excitement had broken out in that region. Here for some months he was interested in a saw mill, located on the Truckee river, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where the Central Pacific railroad starts up the mountains. In the spring of 1862, he sold out and came to Oregon, spending the summer prospecting and mining in the vicinity of the Florence mines. The following winter he clerked in a store in John Day’s mines, where Canyon City is now located. He then located at Umatilla and for several months was engaged in stock feeding. In the spring of 1864, he purchased a stock of goods consisting of general merchandising and miners’ supplies; chartered a train and started for Stinking Water mines in Montana. He joined forces with a train in which L. H. Wakefield was interested, and together they started on the long and toilsome journey which was beset...

Biography of Parker Farnsworth Morey

Parker Farnsworth Morey, without great wealth, is one of the most successful men of Portland. As an organizer and conductor of successful enterprises he has no superior in this busy city. A man of untiring energy he possesses the patience to attend to the smallest details provided success depends on them. He has the ability and the courage to make successful those undertakings which a timid, a less confident or a richer man might not dare attempt. He has a genius for inventing. As a manager of men he has few superiors. Mr. Morey comes of old New England stock. The energy repressed through several generations by the severe quiet of Maine has appeared in all the greater force in this later son. He was born October 16, 1847, at Calais, Maine. While yet a child his parents moved to Machias, Maine, where his early boyhood was passed. At an early age he began to learn the trade of a machinist. He worked at Bangor and Portland, Maine, and at Boston, Massachusetts, until he was a competent machinist and mechanical engineer. In 1866, he moved to Placerville, California, where he lived until 1870, being employed most of the time as mechanical engineer. But Placerville was too small a place for such an energetic nature as Mr. Morey’s, so in 1870 he moved to Sacramento and obtained employment there in the shops of the Central Pacific Railroad. There is no better illustration of his inventive genius, and his ability to meet emergencies than his short experience at these railroad shops. In the year 1870 the C. P. R. R. Co....
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