Location: Washington Territory

Biographical Sketch of I. L. Scammon

Another Chehalis County pioneer is I. L. Scammon, who was born in Maine in 1822, came to California in 1849-50, making the voyage on the 63-ton schooner Little Traveler. In the autumn of 1850 he took passage for the Columbia River, which was passed by mistake, the vessel making Shoalwater bay. Making his way overland to the Columbia, he went to Salem, Oregon, and to the southern mines, but returning to Washington Territory took a donation claim on the Chehalis River, where the old town of Montesano, now known as Wynoochee, grew up about him. He married Miss Lorinda Hopkins in 1844, who rejoined him in Washington Territory in 1859. The first sermon preached in the region of Montesano was delivered by Rev. J. W. Goodell at Scammon’s house, and the second school in the county was on his place, in 1859. The children of this pioneer are: Harriet, married Edward Campbell. George, m. Clara Nye. Cornelia Jane, who died. Eva, who m. I. R. Edwards. Edith, who m. P. B. Briscoe. Elli, who m. Charles H. Finmet, County Surveyor. Norman, who accidentally shot himself when about 17 years of...

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Biography of Charles Biles

Charles Biles was born in Warren County, Tennessee, in Aug. 1809, and reared on a farm in North Carolina, removing when 19 years old to Christian County, Kentucky. In 1832 he married, and in 1835 removed to Illinois, soon returning to Hopkins County, Kentucky, where he resided until 1853, when he emigrated to Washington Territory in company with his brother James, their families, and C. B. Baker, Elijah Baker, and William Downing, and their families, being a part of the first direct immigration to the territory, via the wagon road through the Nachess pass. Mr Biles settled upon Grand Mound Prairie in Thurston County, farming, and sometimes preaching as a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He died Feb. 26, 1869, leaving two sons (one having died after emigrating) and two daughters, namely, David F., Charles N., Mrs M. Z. Goodell, and Mrs I. B. Ward. David F. Biles was born in Kentucky in 1833, coming with his parents to Washington Territory. In 1851 he took a claim in Thurston County, and in 1855 became a deputy U. S. Surveyor, but the Indian war coming on interrupted work, and he took to soldiering in defense of the settlements, resuming his surveying when peace was restored. From 1838 to 1862 he resided in Cosmopolis, Chehalis County, but then removed to a homestead claim near Elma, on the line of the...

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Indian Grievances and Camp Stevens Treaty

Long before the Indian buried his tomahawk and ceased to make war upon the white man, the government adopted the policy of inquiring into the causes of his grievances and in cases where such grievances could be conciliated without jeopardizing the interests of the government or of bonafide citizens, that step was usually attempted. In the investigation of these matters it was found that in some instances the difficulty grew out of some act of the government itself, interpreted by the Indians to be detrimental to their interests; in some, from the wanton encroachment of irresponsible citizens; and yet...

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History of Steptoe Butte

The line of longitude 117 degrees and 8 minutes W. crosses the line of latitude 47 degrees and 2 minutes N. very near the summit of Steptoe butte. It is beautifully and symmetrically proportioned, being cone-like in shape; its north and east faces, however, fall away with greater abruptness than either the south or west elevations, the west being elongated by a ridge sloping from near its mid-side to the general level of its base. The steepness of the north and east sides is such as to render ascent from those directions laborious and difficult, even to the footman....

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Tradition of Steptoe Butte

In the fall of 1878 the family of which the writer, then a boy of twelve years, was a member, arrived in the Palouse country, Washington Territory, and secured temporary quarters on the Palouse River where the town of Elberton has since been built. At that time it was the site of a sawmill owned and operated by the well-known and highly respected pioneer, G. D. Wilber. One night during the winter that followed, in company with an older brother, we were driving the horses in from the hills to be stabled and fed. It was a most beautiful night. A full moon, high in the heavens, flooded the landscape with a mellow light of such transparency that one could almost have read common print in the open. The temperature stood at about fifteen above zero, and the winds, halted in their course, rested upon the land motionless and silent. A coating of snow about a foot in depth enveloped the country, and the accumulated frost clinging to the needles of the pine and to the twigs of the aspen glistened like tinseled drapings. The picturesque grandeur of the scene as it appeared at that hour of the night, duplicated on countless other nights, is still vivid in memory. Objects could be plainly discerned at a great distance; the outlines of the hills, each of which sat among the...

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Biographical Sketch of Gilmore Hays

Gilmore Hays was a native of Kentucky, but resided in Missouri, where he was district judge, when the gold discovery drew him to California. Returning to Missouri, he led a train of immigrants to Oregon in 1852, and in 1833 settled on Des Chutes River near the head of Budd Inlet. The year 1852 was the time of the cholera on the plains, and Hays lost his wife and two children, who were buried near Salmon Falls of Snake River, together with the wife of B. F. Yantis. There remained to him three sons, James H., Charles, and Robert, and one daughter, who married J. G. Parker, all of whom reside in Olympia. In the same company were John P. and Isaac Hays, his brothers, N. Ostrander, Hilary Butler, James Scott, and their families, Thomas Prather, George Fry, and others. When the Indian war threatened, he was first to volunteer, his was the first company raised, and throughout he was of much service to the territory. After the termination of the war, he returned to Mo., but in 1863 removed to Idaho, and was useful to the supt of Ind. affairs for Washington in arranging treaties with the natives. Failing health caused him to return to Puget Sound, where he died October 10, 1880. Olympia Transcript, Oct. 30, 1880; Olympia Standard, Oct. 29, 1880; Olympia Courier, Oct. 29,...

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Cowles, Ada – Obituary

Baker City, Baker County, Oregon Ada M. Cowles, 83, a former Baker City resident, died January 9, 1999, at St. Louis, Mo. Private vault interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. Mrs. Cowles was born Feb. 13, 1915, at High Valley to Frank Leslie and Elva Virgie Ross Burford. She married Charles C. Cowles in Cove on December 31, 1936, and moved to Baker City in 1949. Mrs. Cowles was a homemaker and had lived in Missouri for the past 15 years. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband and a son. Survivors include her niece, Margaret Shinoki of California: a nephew, Leslie Connell of Portland; and a great-niece, Amy Fae Shinoki. Memorial Contributions ay be made to a charity of one’s choice through the Coles-Strommer-Monroe Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814. Contributed by: Margaret...

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Cropp, James – Obituary

James Silas Cropp, 76, died in Richland, Oreg, Thursday morning a the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Oran [Orin] Clemons. He was born Nov. 1, 1876 in Whitman County, Washington Territory, the son of W. F. And Margaret Cropp. He moved to Eagle Valley as a young man with his parents in 1894 and settled. He was married to Anna Jane Simonis Feb. 21, 1900. They moved to 2425 Balm street where they resided t the time of his death. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary here in 1950, with all seven of their children attending. Survivors are the widow, Anna Jane, Baker; five daughters, Mrs. Agenes [Agnes] Willett, Rock Creek; Mrs. Norma [Norna] Sullivan, Hermiston; Mrs. Mary Clemons, Richland; Mrs. Adelene George, Baker; Mrs. Margaret Beard, Vancouver, Wash.; two sons, Wilbur Cropp, Summerville, and Marvin Cropp, North Powder; three sisters, Mrs. Fannie Motley, Halfway; Mrs. Catherine Alexander Independence, Mo.; Mrs. Prudence See, Tonkawa, Okla.; one brother, Warner Cropp, Portland; 24 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be Monday at 2 p.m. in West and company with the Rev. Joe Jewett officiating. Interment will be in Mt. Hope Cemetery. The Baker Democrat-Herald, Saturday 3/7/1953; Baker City,...

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Our 1938 Mission in Alaska

We have undertaken to establish a mission school among the Arctic Eskimo Indians of Alaska. The location is to be at Point Prince of Wales at Behrings Strait, the westernmost point of the mainland of America and nearest to Asia. Its distance from the North Pole has not yet been ascertained. The inhabitants are described by Capt. Charles H. Stockton, of the United States Navy, as “the boldest and most aggressive people of all the Arctic coast. They are such a turbulent crowd that the whalers are afraid to visit them and consequently give them a wide berth. It is both the worst people and the most prosperous settlement in that region. They ought to have a mission station.” Dr. Sheldon Jackson, the Secretary of the Territorial Board of Education, says: “On account of the character of the people, I think it would not be safe to send a woman there, at least the first year. I favor the sending of two men at first. If difficulties arise, they will be a mutual strength, and if the teacher gets sick, there will be some one to attend him. From the time that the revenue cutter passes south in August and the whalers in September, these men will be shut up with the natives and thrown upon their own resources and God’s protection until the following June or July. I...

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Biography of Hon. William Strong

HON. WILLIAM STRONG. – There is no name more thoroughly associated with Oregon and Washington judicature than that of William Strong. His marked characteristics are indelibly impressed upon the system of law of both states, especially that of the latter. To long and distinguished service as associate justice of the supreme court, and in the ex-officio character of judge of the district courts in both states while they were territorial governments, must be added his connection with their legislation, and also his brilliant career as a law practitioner, for over a generation, in all the courts of both states. He was born at St. Albans, Vermont, on the 15th of July, 1817. His youth was spent in the vicinity of Rushville, new York, where he received his preparatory education. At the age of seventeen he entered Yale College, from which he graduated with distinguished honors in the class of 1838. Having selected the law for his profession, he engaged in teaching the ensuing two years, whereby he earned those means, which contributed largely to enable him to gratify his desire. So ambitious was he that, by industry and close application to study in the intervals from teaching, he had made sufficient progress in his studies to secure a license in 1840 to practice law. Admitted to the bar, he immediately removed to Cleveland, Ohio, and at once entered upon...

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Biography of William Ranck

WILLIAM RANCK. – This representative citizen of Clarke county was born at East Waterford, Pennsylvania, in 1829. At the age of five years his parents moved to Huntington county in the same state, one and one-half miles from Shade Gap postoffice, where he received the common-school education of that early time which consisted chiefly of the “three R’s.” At the age of seventeen he went to Shirleysburg to learn the trade of a wagon and carriage maker. After some years of employment at Germantown, and at other points in Pennsylvania and Virginia, on the 1st day of April, 1852,he left his father’s home for the West, going via Pittsburg and the Ohio river through Illinois to Dixon on Rock river. He spent the winter at Petersburg, and from that place, having concluded to go to California in company with Albert Simons and James Davis, fitted out a wagon with three yoke of oxen to cross the plains. Early in March, 1853, they struck out across the prairies, crossing the Mississippi at Burlington, and the Des Moines river at Martin’s ferry, twenty miles below Fort Des Moines. There he found Mr. Harrison B. Oatman, now a resident of Portland, Oregon, and his wife, with his brother Harvey and his wife. Waiting there, as it was yet too early in the season to make the start, the company was organized. After...

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Biography of George Benson Kuykendall, M.D.

GEORGE BENSON KUYKENDALL, M.D. – This gentleman, one of the foremost physicians of Eastern Washington, was born near Terre Haute, Indiana, in the year 1843. When three years old he was taken by his father’s family to Wisconsin. In 1852 the family set out on the long, hard journey to the Pacific slope. That was the sad year of cholera and pestilence. Being somewhat late in starting, the Kuykendall family followed in the wake of sickness and death, the mournful evidences of which were most vividly impressed on the mind of the boy who afterwards became the man here described. many an abandoned wagon, many a dying animal, and many a hastily hollowed grave, did they pass. They themselves plodded wearily on, keeping double vigil, – on the sick and dying within, and the prowling savages without. When the train reached Snake river, they crossed in the hope of finding better grass. Here the father was taken sick with typhoid fever; and for many weeks he was dragged helpless and seemingly at the point of death, over the dusty and dismal wastes of Southern, Idaho. Finally, nearly all the family stock having died, the wagon was abandoned; and the family was put into the wagon belonging to a brother, who was sharing with them the difficult journey. Reaching at last the welcome Dalles, they gladly exchanged their broken-down wagon...

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Biography of Hon. Frederick W. Lander

HON. FREDERICK W. LANDER. – This gentleman, who was a civil engineer, first chief justice of the supreme court of Washington Territory, and brigadier-general of United States volunteers, 1861-62, was born at Salem, Massachusetts, December 17, 1822, and received his education at Dummer Academy, Byfield, Vermont, and studied civil engineering at the military academy, Norwich, Vermont. Having practiced for several years his profession in his native state, in 1853 Governor Stevens appointed him estimating engineer on the Northern Pacific Railroad survey. After having crossed the continent, he formed the opinion that the first practical and economical solution of the problem of transcontinental railway communication would be found in a grand trunk line westward from the Mississippi river to and through the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains, thence diverging by two lines in the form of the letter Y, one by the valley of the Columbia to Puget Sound, and the other to San Francisco. To determine the feasibility of such routes, he employed, at his private expense, the necessary parties and made the surveys. He afterwards surveyed the route for the great overland wagon road, and acted as superintendent in its construction. His party, consisting of seventy men, was attacked in 1858 by a large war party of Pah Ute Indians, who were repulsed with considerable slaughter. Upon the breaking out of the Rebellion in 1861, he visited...

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Biography of David J. Schnebly

DAVID J. SCHNEBLY. – Among all the editors whose lives are sketched in this volume, Mr. Schnebly yields to none the priority, since in 1850 he was conducting the only newspaper then in Oregon. He was born near Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1818, and from that state drew the physical completeness and mental energy for which her people have been distinguished. As a youth of seventeen he removed with his parents to Illinois, but there was greatly afflicted by the loss of his father by death. In 1840 he returned to his native state in order to pursue a course of literary study, and spent some years thereafter at Marshall College. In 1850 he felt the impulse to give his life to the establishment of a new state on the Pacific coast, and arriving in Oregon found scope for his native abilities and for his literary acquirements as editor of the Spectator. That was the first paper established on the Pacific coast, and the only one published in Oregon in 1850. In the year following Mr. Schnebly, having gained the confidence of the people, and being well assured by all of his fitness for the position of publisher and censor of the ideas and opinions of the people of the state, purchased the establishment, and was editor and proprietor until 1854. reference to the old files of that journal show...

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Biography of Marcellus Marcus Pietrzycki, M.D.

MARCELLUS MARCUS PIETRZYCKI, M.D. – Doctor Pietrzycki, the well-known surgeon, was born April 25, 1843, in Horodyszeze, Sambor District, Galicia, Austria, and was educated as an apothecary and chemist. He came to the United States in 1866, before the Austro-Prussian war. He engaged, soon after his arrival in the United States, as assistant and prescription clerk with Doctor Arnold of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, who had a very extensive coal-mining practice, and remained with him for one year studying medicine. He emigrated to California in the fall of 1867, and settled in San Francisco, receiving the appointment as an apothecary in the German Hospital, where he remained for five years, during part of which time he attended the Pacific (now Cooper) Medical College, from which he graduated in 1872. The next spring he went to Stockton, California, to practice his profession, and in November, 1873, remove to Rio Vista in Solano county, California. We quote from the history of Solano county, California: “Doctor Pietrzycki came to this county in November, 1873, and settled in Rio Vista, where he now resides and practices medicine. He always took an active part in enterprises pertaining to the welfare of the town. He was twice elected school trustee, and also clerk of the board. He took a very active part, and, in fact was one of the prime movers in establishing the Montezuma telegraph line...

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