Collection: History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington 1889

Biography of Bethina Angelina Owens-Adair

MRS. DR. OWENS-ADAIR. – Berthina Angelina, the second daughter of Thomas and Sarah Owens, was born February 7,1840, in Van Buren county, Missouri. She saw her fourth birthday in her father’s Western home on Clatsop Plains, Clatsop county, Oregon, her parents having made the then dangerous and tedious journey across the then dangerous and tedious journey across the plains with ox-teams in the summer and fall of 1843. At this time Berthina was a small child, delicate in stature for her age, and having a highly nervous and sensitive nature, but with a strong, vigorous constitution, thus early showing a good physical foundation for great perseverance and endurance. The country reached by her parents was new to them, and virtually unoccupied, save by Indians. It was a wilderness unbroken by the means and appliances of our civilization, with no visible evidence of its immediate settlement and development. If it were a nice thing to do for these elder people to leave their old established homes, social relations and open markets, thousands of miles away, and come into this new land, from which they could not return, their experience at the end of the journey taught them that they had retraced their steps in their lives to what appeared to be a childish adventure, and to a place where a child might lead them. This young girl was now as...

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Biography of A. W. Patterson, M.D.

A.W. PATTERSON, M.D. – Doctor Patterson was born in Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, October 14, 1814. He received his scholastic education in the village of Freeport, of his native state, and afterwards entered the Western University, at Pittsburgh. He subsequently studied medicine in the office of Doctor J.P. Gazzam, an old and prominent physician of that city, and in 1841 graduated with high honors from the Pennsylvania College of Medicine, of Philadelphia. Coming westward, he located at Greenfield, Indiana, and there practiced his profession until 1852, when he concluded to come to Oregon, and began the long and tedious journey known only to the pioneer. After his arrival he went to Lane county and there settled upon a Donation claim near the present site of the flourishing town of Eugene. The settlers in those days being few and far between, there was but little call for those skilled in his profession; and, being conversant with civil engineering, he engaged in the surveying business for a time. Among the contracts taken were several for the government, they being both in Oregon and Washington. The reports of surveys to be found in the surveyor-general’s office, submitted by him, will attest the guidance of a master hand. He also laid off the townsite of Eugene City. On the outbreak of the Indian war of 1855-56 in Southern Oregon, he at once offered his...

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Biography of Gen. Joel Palmer

GEN. JOEL PALMER. – There have been few men in Oregon more universally respected, or whom the people have more delighted to honor, than General Palmer. A plain, unpretentious man, who assumed absolutely nothing, he was nevertheless conscious of his superior abilities, and had no hesitancy in assuming commensurate responsibilities. For natural capacity and sagacity in great affairs, he ranks with the first men of our state, such as General Lane, Colonel Cornelius, Judge Kelly or Governor Gibbs. He reckoned himself as a New Yorker, both parents having been natives and residents of that state, although at the time of his birth they were on a temporary sojourn in Canada. His boyhood and youth were spent at the old home in the Empire state; and he early assumed the responsibilities of life, marrying, when but nineteen, Miss Catherine Caffey. Of their two children, Miss Sarah subsequently came to Oregon with her father and became the wife of Mr. Andrew Smith; and the other died in infancy, the mother not long surviving. Mr. Palmer was married again to Miss Sarah A. Derbyshire of Bucks county, Pennsylvania. That was in 1836. Soon afterwards he moved to Indiana, and, having become accustomed to the management of large works, took a contract to build portions of the White Water canal, and to complete the locks at Cedar Grove. During his stay in Indiana...

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Biography of Rev. Samuel Parker

REV. SAMUEL PARKER. – Mr. Parker was not a pioneer to settle in this country, nor to engage in missionary work, but was a pioneer of pioneers, a “John The Baptist,” to prepare the way for missionaries and emigrants. He was born at Ashfield, Massachusetts, April 23, 1779, and was the son of Elisha and Thankful M. Parker. In 1806 he graduated from Williams College, and from Andover Theological Seminary in the first class that left that institution. He immediately went west to New York, and engaged in home missionary work. He was ordained as a Congregational minister at Danby, New York, November 12, 1812, and was married first to Miss H. Sears shortly afterwards. But she soon died; and in 1815 he was married to Miss Jerusha Lord, who was the mother of his three children, – Mrs. J. Van Kirk and Doctor S.J. Parker of Ithaca, New York, and Professor H.W. Parker of Grinnell College, Iowa. He labored most of the time at Danby, Ithaca and Apulia, New York, and Middlefield, Massachusetts until 1833. At that time the request of the four Nez Perces who went to St. Louis in search of the white man’s bible was made public; and on April 10, 1833, he offered himself to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions as an explorer or missionary. Having begun life as a home...

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Biography of Hon. Peter Paquet

HON. PETER PAQUET – This pioneer of 1852, who is the son of F.X. Paquet and Marie Louise Lannadier de Langdeau, was born in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, on the 13th of January, 1839. He received an education in the private and public schools of St. Louis. In the spring of 1852 he left the city of St. Louis with his parents, who had determined to emigrate to Oregon, the family then consisting of father, mother and six children. They came up the Missouri river on the old steamer Timour No. 2, and in eight days reached the town of St. Joseph, where they completed the outfit. Sometime in the month of May, with their ox-teams and wagons laden with the provisions for the trip, they took their lives and fortunes in their hands, and started to cross the great American desert, known as the plains. They pursued their journey without particular incident or accident, barring the usual sickness and privations which were the lot of most of the emigrants of that year, until they reached the crossing of Snake river. Here some rascally traders had established themselves for the purpose of swindling the tired emigrant, and buying the running gear of his wagons, after persuading him that he could get into a boat, conjured out of an old wagon-bed caulked up tight with rags, and that...

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Biography of Hon. Wilder W. Parker

HON. W.W. PARKER – There is no name in the city at the mouth of the Columbia better known in the business and social circles than that of Parker; and of those bearing it Wilder W. Parker wields an influence perhaps the most extended. A pioneer not only in name but also in fact, he ha brought to bear upon public affairs a mind keen, quick and powerful, and has been able to give the people the benefit of opinions carefully elaborated and lucidly stated, and held by himself with conscientious firmness. In intellect and character he is the ideal New Englander, and has found his life interest in the great political and moral development of the nation. He was born at Orange, Vermont, October 19, 1824, but removed as a child to Washington in the same state; and that town became his own until he attained his majority. Being ambitious and fond of study, he sought an education in advance of that afforded at the common schools; and for this purpose selected Newberry Seminary, an institution under the control of the Methodist denomination and deemed at the time the best equipped in Vermont. Assisting himself by teaching school in the winters, he graduated from the academic department of that seminary, and completed his course at Norwich University, an institution which had grown out of the military school of...

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Biography of Mrs. Hannah J. Olmstead

MRS. HANNAH J. OLMSTEAD. – Life upon the Pacific coast brings out the heroic qualities in women as well as in men. It is a social and conventional form which keeps them in the shadow of their husbands’ names. But everybody knows that the greater part of the incentive which a man has to win a position or a fortune comes from his wife. It has long been remarked that the women in the immigrant trains showed more pluck than the men; and many a dispirited husband was cheered up and almost carried through by his brave better half. Delicate women, not used to severe work, would wield the axe or the ox-whip when it fell from stronger hands, and in case of the loss of their companions could take care of their children. Mrs. Olmstead is one of these women, – a lady who can run a farm, transact her own business, and provide for and educate her children. She lives at Walla Walla, Washington, and owns her home. She is a native of South Salem, New York, was born in 1835, and is the daughter of Lewis and Eliza Keeler, well-to-do farmers, who, by the way, are still living, and are now eighty-one and seventy-six years old, respectively. In 1851 Miss Hannah was married to Daniel H. Olmstead, of Port Huron. Soon after their nuptials he was...

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Biography of Francis Xavier Paquet

FRANCIS X. PAQUET. – Francis Xavier Paquet, son of Joseph Paquet and Marie Madaline Godant, was born in the parish of Saint John, about thirty miles west of Quebec, at the junction of the Jacquarka river with the St. Lawrence. Joseph Paquet was a stonemason by trade, but lived on a farm and took jobs of stonework. He was the father of eighteen children, nine boys and nine girls. F.X. Paquet, the sixteenth child in order, was born on the fifteenth day of January, 1811. He learned the trade of shipbuilding at Quebec, being apprenticed to Peter Labbe when not quite fourteen years of age. When seventeen years of age, he emigrated to the Untied States, engaging himself to the American Fur Company, to go to Mackinaw and construct a schooner for said company. After the schooner was completed he took charge of her and engaged in boating wood from Linwood Island and Round Island, and also made a trip to Chicago to get oak timber for staves and for building small boats called Mackinaw boats. This schooner was named Eliza Stewart, after the wife of Robert Stewart, who was the head man of the American Fur Company at Mackinaw at that time. That was in 1828. Old man Beaubien was then head man at what was afterwards Chicago, and which then consisted of three or four small log...

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Biography of Turner Oliver

TURNER OLIVER. – This wide-awake citizen of Union county is the son of Hiram W. Oliver, a biographical sketch of whom is also included in this work. He was born on May 7, 1860, in Iowa; and, although but four years old when crossing the plains, he remembers distinctly some of the exciting incidents of the journey to the Grande Ronde, particularly the pursuit of a band of Indians who were making off with the horses of the train, but upon close pressure were obliged to let go all except those belonging to two Dutchmen, who were in ill odor with the train for shirking their duty as guardsmen. That day three young men were sent to a fort some miles distant for government aid, which they failed to get, and on their return to the train were fired upon by a scouting party of soldiers and had two of their horses killed. He also remembers how the following winter all his father’s family were obliged to subsist upon boiled wheat, mashed wheat, and wheat straight, without salt or other seasoning. Turned obtained the most of his primary education by a systematic course of study at home, working at his father’s mill during the day, and studying by the light of a fire of pine knots at night. By this assiduous application he fitted himself to teach school, and...

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Biography of Rev. Josiah Lamberson Parrish

REV. JOSIAH LAMBERSON PARRISH. – This well-known pioneer, one of the few survivors of the early missionary force of Oregon, was born in Onondaga county, New York, on the 14th of October, 1806. From his father he learned the trades of blacksmithing and farming; and to them he devoted most of his time till he reached the age of twenty-four. At that time failure of his health from overwork caused him to turn his attention to the harness and saddlery trade. At about the same time he began preaching as a local preacher in the Methodist church. His field of labor was at Pike, Alleghany county, New York. In 1833 he was married to Elizabeth Winn. Two years later he closed out his business as a saddle and harness dealer, and devoted his time mainly to preaching until 1839. He was then appointed blacksmith to the Methodist Mission of Oregon by the New York board. In company with Jason Lee he came to Oregon in the ship Lausanne. The course was via Cape Horn. After reaching Oregon, MR. Parrish spent two years in blacksmithing for various missionary stations and settlers in the Willamette valley. In 1843 he was appointed missionary to the Indians at the mouth of the Columbia river. He remained there until the Mission was closed in 1846. After a short stay at Oregon City, he was...

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Biography of John H. Mitchell

JOHN H. MITCHELL. – Honorable John H. Mitchell, United States senator from the State of Oregon, was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, to which locality his parents had removed when he was two years old. Bright and apt, and giving signs of marked intelligence, his parents determined that he should be given an opportunity to gratify his thirst for knowledge. So he was sent to the Witherspoon Institute, an establishment ranking high among the educational institutions of the State of Pennsylvania. Diligent in his studies, and ambitious to take advantage of the opportunities thus afforded him, young Mitchell became, as was to be expected, the leader of his class, and in due time graduated with high honors. Choosing law as the profession to which he desired to devote himself, he entered the office of Honorable Samuel A. Purviance, then the leading attorney of that portion of Pennsylvania of which in those days Butler was the center. Mr. Purviance, who was subsequently attorney-general of the state, was at the time Mitchell entered his office a member of Congress, and was a man of national reputation. Under the instruction of Purviance, who took a great interest in his pupil, the young student made rapid progress in overcoming the intricate windings of the subtle law. To read law is one thing, to read and understand it another. Young Mitchell was not satisfied...

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Biography of Marion Francis Mulkey

MARION FRANCIS MULKEY.- This gentleman, the eldest son of Johnson Mulkey, and who took up, and conducted in the spirit, and to some extent in the method, the pioneer activities of his father, was born in Johnson county, Missouri, November 14, 1836. He was therefore but a boy of ten when, in 1847, he accompanied his father across the continent to Oregon. His, however, was one of those old heads on young shoulders; and so responsible was he, and so capable of affairs, that he was intrusted with the driving of oxen, and all work adapted to his strength, with the same confidence as a grown man. Upon arriving in Oregon and beginning life anew on the Donation claim in Benton county, he played his part in felling timber, breaking and fencing land, and erecting the frontiersman’s temporary buildings as vigorously as anyone in the family. He early drew from his parents a desire for education, and after his first essays in learning at the log schoolhouse, under the tuition of such men as Senator J.H. Slater, and Honorable Philip Ritz, was eager to take advantage of the assistance furnished by his father to pursue higher studies at Forest Grove, under the guidance of the late Doctor S.H. Marsh. This assistance he supplemented by labor of his own, following the traditional method of the youth ambitious of self-improvement, -teaching...

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Biography of Walter J. Reed

WALTER J. REED. – A view of this gentleman’s residence in North Yakima, Washington, his hotel (the Reed House in Cle-Elum), together with portraits of himself and his estimable wife, is placed among the illustrations of this work. Although not a pioneer of Washington Territory, he has been a great factor in the development of Yakima and Kittitass counties. He built the first two-story business house in North Yakima, and is the founder of the town of Cle-Elum, in Kittitas county. He has also advanced a great many matters of substantial interest in both counties, and is one of the best-known citizens of Kittitas and Yakima counties. He is a native of “Scotland’s fair land,” was born near Edinburgh, April 3, 1842, and is the eldest son of John and Isabella (Craig) Reed. When our subject was six years of age, his parents emigrated to American, first locating near Logan, Hocking County, Ohio. Four years later they moved to Cumberland, Alleghany County, Maryland, where his father, being a thorough miner, found employment as superintendent of mines; and Walter attended school. In 1856 they again returned to Ohio, this time locating in Cambridge, and in 1859 took up their residence in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, his father in all the different places being superintendent of mines. August 1, 1861, our subject, then being but nineteen years of age, enlisted in Company...

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Biography of Frederick Proebstel

FREDERICK PROEBSTEL. – This pioneer of the Wallowa valley was born in Germany in 1829, and with his parents emigrated to America in 1842 and located in Missouri. In 1852 he made the crossing of the plains to Lewis County, Washington Territory, locating on Fourth Plain. Mr. Proebstel, belonging to the family of this name, a number of whose biographies are found in this volume, shared many experiences in common with others, and was one of the Indian fighters of 1855-56, and wishes to bear special testimony to the liberality of the Hudson’s Bay Company during the hard winter of 1852, when many must have suffered without their assistance. Of the many stories which he tells with feeling and humor in regard to the early settlement of the Wallowa valley, the following are specimens. His niece, returning home from the log schoolhouse one evening met face to face by a panther. Being near home, she called out to her father, and meantime struck the animal with one of her school books. The stroke and the scream caused the panther to slink away; and the father, coming quickly with his gun, secured a fine skin. In 1879 Mr. Proebstel drove his herds to the Imnaha, a portion of the Wallowa country, in order to obtain open range. There he stayed for four years, and while there was much annoyed by...

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Biography of Col. William F. Prosser

COL. WILLIAM F. PROSSER. – This gentleman was born near Williamsport, on the west branch of the Susquehanna River, in the State of Pennsylvania, of Welsh parentage, on the 16th of March, 1834. Shortly after his birth, his father removed with his family to Cambria County in the same state, where most of his earlier years were passed in occupations usual to boys whose parents are in moderate circumstances. His early educational opportunities were limited, and were only such as were afforded by a winter attendance upon the public schools of that day, and three terms of five months each at an academy in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in the years 1850 and 1851. Teaching in the public schools, surveying and reading law, occupied his time and attention until he was twenty years of age, when, impelled by that spirit of enterprise which actuates so many of the youth of the country, he left his home in Cambria County for California. In 1854 the journey across the plains was long, tedious and laborious; and the party with which he traveled drove ox-teams, or rode on horseback, from the city of St. Charles, Missouri, to the new El Dorado of the West, nearly five months being required for the trip. He first engaged in mining on the American River, but in the spring of 1855 went to Trinity County, California, where he...

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