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Location: Thurston County WA

Biography of Hon. Charles H. Mason

HON. CHARLES H. MASON. – Mr. Mason was born at Fort Washington, on the Potomac river, Maryland, in 1830. At the age of seven, with his widowed mother, he removed to Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated in 1850 with distinguished honors at Brown University, and was admitted to the bar of Rhode Island in 1851. On the election of President Pierce, he was recommended by the Rhode Island bar for the office of United States district attorney for that state. On the declination of the secretaryship of Washington Territory by Major Farquaharson, in September, 1853, Mr. Mason received the appointment and arrived in the territory in October, and continued in office until his death. It was, however, as acting governor of the territory through several critical periods that he distinguished himself, and endeared himself to our people. His first gubernatorial services were from March 26, 1854, to December 1st of that year. Again, when Governor Stevens went to the Blackfoot Council at Fort Benton, from May 12, 1855, he acted as governor until January 19, 1856. It was during this time that the Indian war was inaugurated; and his administration during the trying months of October, November and December was marked with energy, decision and wisdom. He immediately called for volunteers. He wisely and promptly separated the friendly from the hostile, humanely treating all Indians as friendly who were...

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Biographical Sketch of Alexander C. McClelland

ALEXANDER C. McCLELLAND. – The present registrar of the United States land-office at La Grande, Oregon, is a native of Indiana, having been born there in 1842. He received his education at the Berlin High School, Wisconsin, and in 1863 came west to Montana as a gold-seeker. He found the employment of his intellectual acquisition more profitable, however, and for a number of years engaged in school-teaching and educational work in the Willamette valley. In 1867 we find him in the mines at Baker City, looking after “lodes” and “leads,” and also in 1870 engaged in the stock business with his present partner, B.W. Bartholomew. In 1874 he was married to Miss Mary, the only daughter of the pioneer David J. Chambers, of Chambers Prairie. Engaging in business at Olympia with A.H. Chambers, three years were spent until a change to the dryer climate of Baker county became necessary from considerations of health. In 1879 he sold his stock ranch, and located the next year at Island City, following such pursuits as were suited to the condition of his health. He is at present residing at La Grande, having been appointed as head of the land-office of that district by President...

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Biography of Hon. Robert C. Hill

HON. ROBERT C. HILL. – Mr. Hill, one of the most responsible men of Washington, and a pioneer of an early day, was born in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, September 14, 1829, the son of Doctor John Hill, his mother’s maiden name having been Eliza L. Davis. At the age of seven he moved with his parents to Philadelphia, and received his education at the excellent grammar and high schools of that city. He entered upon a business career as clerk in a wholesale dry-goods store in the city, and followed that occupation four years. In 1848 he removed with his parents to New Jersey. In 1850, with his father and two brothers, he came to the new empire on the Pacific shore, making the trip via Panama, and arriving in San Francisco on board the steamer New World in July. In partnership with his father he opened a lumber yard at that city, and a year later tried the fortunes and vicissitudes of life in the mines, but shortly afterwards accepted a position as manager of the ranch of his brother in Sonoma valley. Seeking for something better to the north, he arrived at Whidby Island in February, 1853, and found located there his brothers Nathaniel D. and Humphrey, who had located in the fall of 1852. He took an adjoining place, and with them went to the Indian war....

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Biography of A. B. Rabbeson

A.B. RABBESON. – Mr. Rabbeson, who observes that “he was born of rich but honest parents” at New York in 1824, was devoted from his youth to the most interesting and desperate adventures. Nevertheless, he was always delivered from his perils just at the right time, and lives to-day in hale age at Olympia. His boyish adventures began not many years after the death of his father in 1833. His step-father he did not like, and consequently left home. We find him out in Canada, soon at New York City with his grandparents and attending school, but within a few months on a coasting ship to Florida, where, with two mutinous sailors, he left ship and wandered through Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky to Cincinnati, where his companions left him to shift for himself. Making his way to Columbus, Ohio, he obtained steady work, but also found and read the biography of a Rocky Mountain man, which fired his mind with a burning youthful desire to go West and try it for himself. Nevertheless, it was not until after more wanderings in Canada, a short period at buffalo, a trip on the lakes, and a few years in the old West, – Ohio and Illinois, – that he finally got his feet on the Oregon trail; for it was mythic Oregon which was his lure. The autumn of...

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Biography of Elisha H. Lewis

ELISHA H. LEWIS. – This well-known gentlemen was born in New York in 1824. He was raised on a farm, and received a common-school education at his home on the slopes of the Catskill Mountains. In 1845 he went to Chicago and thence to Wisconsin, where he worked as millwright until 1849. Coming in that year by the Isthmus to California, he was mining in several camps with the usual checkered luck of those days, making a return to the “States” for a visit. In the spring of 1852 he returned by water to California, and in the fall of the same year came on to Oregon, locating at Portland and engaging as carpenter with Porter & Carson. In 1853 he removed to Rainier, continuing in his work as carpenter and builder. In January, 1855, he was married to Miss Harriet L. Barlow of Cowlitz county, Washington Territory, who crossed the plains from Michigan in1852. In 1854 they removed to Vancouver, where he operated as contractor for six years. In 1862 he sought a new and more permanent location in Eastern Oregon, and laid the claim where the town of North Union now stands. In 1863 he moved his family and effects to the new location, and together they have seen the town of Union grow from one log cabin, constructed by themselves, into a beautiful town embowered with...

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Biography of Theodore C. Van Epps

THEODORE C. VAN EPPS. – Mr. Van Epps, a portrait of whom is placed among the illustrations of this work, is one of the best known men in Washington’s capital city. He was born in New Scotland, eight miles west of Albany, New York, February 15, 1847, and is the son of Charles and Angelica (Vedder) Van Epps, both of whom were born in New York of Holland parentage, his mother being a cousin of ex-President Martin Van Buren. His great-grandfather was from Holland, and founded the town of Amsterdam in New York State. At the age of six Theodore moved with his parents to Davenport, Iowa, and in that city received his education. In 1867, having spent one year at St. Louis, he found employment as a school-teacher in Muscatine, Iowa. In the autumn of 1868 he moved to Cass county, Nebraska, and located a homestead on which he lived until 1875. In that year he crossed the mountains to Washington, selecting Olympia as his future home, and purchasing with S.C. Woodruff as partner the stationery store of A.J. Burr & Co. In 1881 Mr. Van Epps purchased his partner’s interest, and continued the business, conducting one of the largest and most successful book, stationery and notion stores to be found on the Sound. In February, 1889, he sold his store to is son, W.A. Van Epps, for...

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Biography of Conrad G. Saylor

CONRAD G. SAYLOR – Among the pioneers to the Pacific Northwest, and especially to the “classic shades” of Yamhill county, Oregon, none enjoyed a greater measure of esteem than the gentleman whose name is the title to this memoir. He was born in Martinsville, Indiana, October 6, 1818, and in that state resided until he was twenty-two years of age, when he came west to Iowa. In the latter state he learned the brickmaking and brick-laying trades, which he followed in various sections, first as employe’, then as contractor and builder. Among the numerous buildings which were constructed under his supervision, and which attest his skill as a master mechanic, might be named the county courthouse at Council Bluffs, Iowa, which has been for forty years the special pride of the citizens of that place. He was united in marriage to Miss Mary A. Black at Iowaville, November 3, 1842, the fruits of their union being five children, three of whom survive. Influenced by the reports concerning the Pacific Northwest, he resolved in 1852 to start for the Occident, beginning the journey in the spring of that year. Among the many who left their Eastern homes for far-off Oregon, there are but few whose experience on the plains was much more fraught with sadness than his. The family, at starting, was unbroken save by the death of a son...

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Biography of George D. Shannon

GEORGE D. SHANNON. – This well-known contractor, banker and successful farmer is a man whom Nature fitted with qualities that inevitably guide their possessor to success. He was born in what is now Schuyler county, New York, December 20, 1832, and is the son of Thomas and Mehitable (Corwin) Shannon. At the age of sixteen he entered upon business for himself, and with an abundance of self-reliance began railroading, following that and other employments until 1854. Soon afterwards he came to St. Paul, Minnesota, accepting employment for a large lumber company. In 1858 he was appointed superintendent of construction of its first train, which, in 1860, he was conductor of its first train, – the first passenger train ever run west of the Mississippi in Minnesota. He followed railroading in that state until 1868, and subsequently engaged in railroad contracting in New York, Indiana and Wisconsin, completing large works on different roads in many of the Eastern states. In 1870 he came to Olympia and accepted the position of superintendent of construction for the Northern Pacific on their line from Kalama to Tacoma. In 1873 he purchased his present valuable farm containing eleven hundred acres, ten miles from Olympia, Washington Territory, all of which he maintains in a high state of cultivation, and has improved with a beautiful home, in which he is glad to entertain in his most...

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Biography of Edward Thomas Young

EDWARD THOMAS YOUNG. – Young’s Hotel, at the capital of Washington Territory, is a conspicuous building, well known to the traveling public and to the members of the legislature, and is the pride of the city. Its proprietor, whose name it bears, is a native of London, England. He was born in 1846. At an early age he crossed the water and lived with his parents at Newcastle, Canada. Subsequently he went to Bruce county, near Lake Huron, where he worked at the carpenter’s trade and general building, and acquired the means to cross the continent. He came with a brother, William, to Santa Barbara, and there still further increased his capital by strict attention to contracting and building. Sickness, however, set him afloat once more; and in Oregon he found employment as bridge builder on the Oregon and California Railroad. Advancing northward, he reached Olympia in 1869. He still continued his trade of house and general building, and in 1872, after a brief sojourn in Old Tacoma, started the restaurant and bakery at Olympia, afterwards known as the New England Bakery and Restaurant, conducting it with such satisfactory results as to warrant him in enlarging his business by the lease of the Tacoma Hotel. Three years and eight months of operating that house enabled him to make the building his own by purchase; and he has since kept...

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Biography of William H. Saylor, M.D.

William H. Saylor, M. D., was born in Wapello County, Iowa, August 17, 1843. His parents were Conrad G. and Mary A. (Black) Saylor. In 1852 he was brought by his parents across the plains to Oregon, and in the fall of that year arrived in Portland. In the succeeding spring the family went to Olympia, Washington Territory, remaining there until the summer of 1854 when they removed to a farm which his father had purchased in Rock Prairie. Here our subject lived until the breaking out of the Indian war of 1855 when the family, removed for protection to Fort Henness, on Grand Mound Prairie, residing there until hostilities were practically at an end in the fall of 1.856, when they returned to Oregon, settling at McMinnville. During the first years of his life here he performed the duties of clerk in his father’s store, meanwhile attending school at the old college building, within whose walls so many of the prominent men of Oregon have obtained the greater portion of their education. During the summers of 1861-2-3 he was engaged in mining at Oro Fino, Salmon River and Boise mines, and the remaining portions of these years attended school at the Willamette University. Even at this time he had resolved to become a physician. The life he was leading and the prospects it held out to him by...

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Biography of Samuel Coulter

Samuel Coulter was born in Tyler county, Virginia, August 20, 1832, and is a son of Samuel and Sarah (Rodes) Coulter. His father’s parents were natives of Wales and at an early day settled in Virginia, while his maternal ancestors came from England. At the age of four years he lost his father and soon thereafter the family moved to Van Buren county, Iowa. When be reached the age of twelve his mother died, after which he went to live with his half brother, Capt. B. L. Henness, who now resides near Mt. Tabor, Oregon, who kindly offered him a home and such educational advantages as the place afforded. In 1850 he drove an ox team across the plains to Oregon, arriving at Oregon City on the 12th of September, 1850, his entire possession at the time outside of a scanty wardrobe being two dollars in money. But he was not discouraged and soon after his arrival he secured employment and in April, 1851, was able with six others to purchase a wagon and six yoke of oxen and complete outfit for the mines, it being reported at the time that good mines had been discovered near Yreka, California. The excitement caused by the discovery of gold in California was then most intense, and young Coulter determined to try his fortune in this direction. His mining venture was rewarded...

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