Location: San Metao County CA

Biography of James Wilson

A man who has fought his country’s battles in two wars, manifesting in it all a courage never excelled and rarely equaled, constant in all kinds of frontier and seafaring life for many years, a pioneer to this valley and one of the most intrepid and daring men in Wallowa County, facing the bloodthirsty savages in the time of their war here, the subject of this sketch is eminently fitted to appear in honorable mention in any history of the county or of the northwest, and it is with pleasure that we grant him space in our volume. James Wilson was born in Schenectady, New York, on February 14, 1824, where he was left an orphan at an early age. At the tender age of ten years he went aboard a ship, took up a seafaring life, and during this career he visited most of the islands in the Pacific, doubled Cape Horn five times, each time consuming six months, and was familiar with the eastern coast of the United States. He served on a whaling ship and was in the United States navy for some time. He was in San Francisco when the city comprised one blacksmith shop, one grocery store, one saloon and one boarding house. At the time of the Mexican war he enlisted in the navy and served three years, being honorably discharged at Norfolk,...

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Biography of Thomas J. Holmes

Well remembered by all of the older citizens of Portland and prominently identified with the earlier political and commercial history of the city was Thomas J. Holmes. He was born in Diss, county of Norfolk, England, March 3, 1819, and was a son of William and Mary A. Holmes. His father was a mechanic, who, with the hope of improving his fortunes, migrated to the United States with his family in 1830, and settled in New York City. At this time, Thomas, a bright, robust lad of eleven years, began life’s battle for himself. He secured a position with a physician on Staten Island and for some time thereafter not only supported himself by his labors, but also acquired much valuable knowledge from his employer, who took a kindly interest in his welfare. Had he desired it he might have become a member of the medical profession, but the bent of his mind was toward practical affairs and at the end of a few years’ service, he began an apprentice-ship at the shoemaker’s trade. After acquiring his trade and arriving at the age of manhood he engaged in business in Jersey City, starting with no capital other than his mechanical knowledge, native shrewdness and good character. He married soon after and for some years prospered in business. Later on, having lost his wife and met with reverses in business...

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