Collection: History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington 1889

Biography of Alfred A. Plummer, Sr.

ALFRED A. PLUMMER, Sr. – This pioneer of the port of entry was born at Alfred, Maine, March 3, 1822. He was the son of John and Eliza Adams Plummer, of an old family of the Pine Tree state. In early life young Plummer removed to Boston and learned the saddlery and harness trade, thereby acquiring practical ideas, and the facile use of his hands, which fitted him for the varied work of the pioneer on our coat. In 1849 he left for the Pacific shores, coming with the argonauts who steered their way across the seas of grass, and the deserts of the West, – one of those hardy, keen characters that find a world of resources within their own hearts and minds sufficient for any demand to be made upon a human being; and he most fully justified this confidence in his after career. At San Francisco he engaged for a time in the hotel business, but, feeling the drift of destiny still farther up the coast, boarded in 1850 the brig Emory, Captain Balch, and arrived in the Strait April 24th. The present site of the Port was then wholly uninhabited; but, seeing its great natural advantages as the first really practicable landing at the entrance of the Sound waters, he laid there his Donation claim, and with Charles Batchelder became the first settler of the...

Read More

Biography of Daniel O. Pearson

DANIEL O. PEARSON. – One of the most respected and honored of all of Washington’s citizens is the pioneer of Stanwood whose face looks at us from the opposite page. He is one of those whose integrity and universal kindness, as well as public spirit and business enterprise, are of the truest need in laying the foundations of a community. Mr. Pearson was born at Lowell, Massachusetts, April 11, 1846. His parents were Daniel and Susan (Brown) Pearson, who now reside near Coupville, Washington. The first removal of the family was to Salmon Falls, while Daniel was yet an infant. There they remained till he was twelve years old. Returning to Lowell, they gave the son the best of educational advantages at the High School of that city. Having a collegiate education in hope, he was already well on in the preparatory course, when the tempest of the Civil war in 1861 called him, with so many of the other boys of the nation, to her defense. Mr. Pearson was one of the one-hundred day men, enlisting as a volunteer in Company G, Sixth Massachusetts Infantry. At the expiration of his term of service, he returned home and spent his time at the painter’s trade, which he had previously learned. Soon after the close of the war, Mercer’s Colony scheme, which created so much interest on this coast, and...

Read More

Biography of Z. C. Mills

Z.C. MILLS. – Z.C. Mills of Seattle, Washington is a native of the Empire state, and was born in 1834. While yet in his boyhood, his parents moved to Illinois, where he grew to manhood and received his education. After he had reached his majority, he engaged in business with his father. He was successful; but, when an American has once felt the excitement of moving, it is almost impossible for him to be contented, so long as there are new countries to be found beyond the Western horizon. Accordingly, in 1859, when the Pike’s Peak gold excitement reached his home, young Mills started for the new El Dorado, and settled in the new town of Denver, where he opened a tin store. That country, not proving as productive as expected, Mr. Mills, with others, pulled up stakes in 1862, and started for the Salmon river diggings, which were then just reaching their fame as the richest strike yet. The party crossed the Rocky Mountains, the Bitter Creek Desert, Green River, the Wasatch Range, went down the Bear River past the famed soda springs, and had reached a point above Fort Hall, when news reached that the Salmon river gold bubble has burst reached them. They retraced their steps to Fort Hall, and there joined a train bound for Oregon. In the eastern part of that state they stopped,...

Read More

Biographical Sketch of Michael McNamara

MICHAEL McNAMARA. – This prominent resident of Skagit county was born in Woodstock, Canada, in 1848. His early years, however, were spent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and at Chicago, where he completed his growth and education at Chatham, Canada. In 1865 he came overland to California, and the next year reached Puget Sound, finding employment ten years in the logging camps. In 1876 he was able to set up a business of his own, keeping a hotel at Stanwood, and three years later building his present commodious hotel, the Ruby House, which is first class in every respect. His own residence at Mount Vernon, Washington, built in 1887, is one of the finest on the Sound outside of Seattle. Mr. McNamara is married and has three...

Read More

Biography of Thomas Mercer

THOMAS MERCER. – This well-known and highly respected resident of Seattle, Washington, whose portrait, together with a view of his beautiful home, is appropriately placed in this volume, was born in Harrison County, Ohio, March 11, 1813, and was the eldest son of Aaron and Jane Dickerson Mercer, – the latter a native of Pennsylvania and the former from an old Virginia family. Thomas resided at his birthplace until twenty-one years of age, and after his school days entered his father’s woolen factory and learned the trade thoroughly. In 1834 he moved with his parents to Bureau County, Illinois, and located on a farm near Princeton. April 20, 1852, with his wife and four children, he left the Illinois home, and with horse-teams crossed the plains to Oregon, being captain of the Mercer train. On arriving at the Cascades, Oregon, he buried his wife, who had been stricken with disease at The Dalles. His first winter in Oregon was passed at Salem; and in the spring of 1853, with one of his companions of the plains, Mr. Dextor Horton, now a well-known banker of Seattle, he came to the present site of that city. He took up a claim of one hundred and sixty acres adjoining that of D.T. Denny, – now having all undergone the wonderful transformation from a tract of wooded, rugged hillside to lots graded and...

Read More

Biography of C. K. Merriam, M.D.

C.K. MERRIAM, M.D. – Mr. Merriam was born June 29, 1848, in Houlton, Aroostook County, Maine, being the eighth child in a family of ten children, the third and fourth being girls. His father, Lewis Merriam, when a young man, went from New Salem, Massachusetts, to Maine, in 1832, and married and settled in Houlton in 1833. He is now eighty-two years old, and is coming West this summer. The parents were poor, and lived on a farm two miles from the village. In early childhood he was taught to pick wool, quill yarn, etc., as the wool of the farm was manufactured into garments in the family mill, the motive power of which was supplied principally by his mother; and with boyish impatience he watched his father make his first pair of shoes by candle light. If a book, slate, or pocket money for a Fourth of July celebration were needed, the wild strawberry patch frequently contributed the means. If a handsled, cart or miniature mill were desired, it was found in the workshop over the woodshed after a few days’ work with the lumber and tools; while the yearly sugar camp in the maple grove furnished amusement for the boys as well as syrup for the family. The farm was sold; and the family moved about two miles to a sawmill which the father built on the...

Read More

Biography of Daniel G. McKenzie

DANIEL G. McKENZIE. – This is also a pioneer who found all the lands surrounding Pullman, Washington Territory, a sea of bunch-grass. He was born in Illinois in 1842. His father, Henry McKenzie was one of the early settlers of that state, and served in the Black Hawk war, and he came afterwards a pioneer of Iowa, building the town of Winterset. As county commissioner he conceived the idea of building a county-seat, and with the two other commissioners bought one hundred and sixty-acres of land near the center of the county, sold enough lots off from it to pay the purchase price, and deeded the tract to the county, naming the place after his old home. The town flourished; and the sale of lots has been sufficient to obtain all the money for county buildings without taxation. There the subject of this sketch grew up, and in 1855 was married to Miss Sarah A. Bell, and removed to Texas, but the next year returned to Iowa, and afterwards made his home in Kansas. He was in the old West until 1877, when he came to his present locality, taking a claim on the sight of Pullman. There he began living and improving; and the country has settled up and the town grown around him. He is very hopeful of the future of the city and county, believing this...

Read More

Biography of Hon. Peter G. Stewart

HON. PETER G. STEWART. – Peter Grant Stewart was born on the 6th of September, 1809, in Stanford, Delaware County, New York. When eight years of age he moved to Jefferson, Scohane County, where he received a common-school education, and learned the trade of a watchmaker. He followed the occupation of watchmaker and jeweler in Middlebury until the spring of 1838, when, with a selected stock of watches, jewelry, etc., he started for the West, going by way of Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Toledo and Fort Wayne to Mount Vernon, Indiana, and from there to Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky, where he located, working at his trade until fall. From Morganfield he traveled down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, stopping at the principal points for the purpose of trade, arriving in due time at New Orleans. From there his route took him to Mobile, Mariawa, Jackson County, Florida, Columbus, Georgia, Clarksville and Pendleton, South Carolina. There he was taken sick, and returned to New York. Having recovered his health, in January, 1840, he went to Kentucky, and in the spring to Springfield, Missouri. On the 1st of September, 1842, he was married to Miss Rebecca R. Cason. During the year 1842 he was appointed brigade paymaster by General Smith. Having made the necessary preparations during the winter, on or about the 17th of April, 1843, he left Springfield, Missouri, in company...

Read More

Biography of Gen. John H. Stevens

GEN. JOHN H. STEVENS. – This hero of a hundred Western adventures, and a pioneer of the great Inland Empire, was born on a town line in Windham County, Vermont. The son of Asa Stevens, a miller and farmer, he learned to use his hands and brain in practical affairs, and at the village school obtained a good working education. In his youth he followed business in Boston, and was engaged in lumbering in Pennsylvania. In 1832 he came west to Michigan, and at Coldwater, Branch County, kept a hotel, advancing his business also by taking mail contracts, and in such early ventures as the conditions of life in the Wolverine state afforded at that early day. He became a colonel in the state militia, and succeeded also to a generalship. Eight years he served as sheriff of Branch county, and during that time made many notable arrests. In 1852 he prepared for the journey to Oregon, rigging up a large team of mules and horses, and with his daughter Mary C., who subsequently became the wife of the famous lawyer of Eugene, Oregon, Stukeley Ellsworth, and with thirteen young men, among whom was Green Arnold, now of LaGrande, made the journey across the plains. Although in the midst of the pestilential cholera, he lost but one man. He made a speedy trip, covering the distance from the Missouri...

Read More

Biography of Hon. John Stewart

HON. JOHN STEWART. – This gentleman was born February 12, 1800, in Virginia, that grand old state which has given birth to heroes and cradled the world’s best since the white man first took possession of this fair land of ours. There our subject was nurtured through all his infancy and until his fifteenth year, when his parents moved to Terre Haute, Indiana. He resided in that state until 1837, learning the blacksmith trade, which calling so nearly broke down his health that he abandoned it and engaged in trading cattle. He first earned his title of captain in the Black Hawk war, through which he served from beginning to end. In 1837 he left Indiana and moved to Holt County, Missouri, where he was elected county judge for four successive terms. On January 7, 1842, Captain Stewart was united in Marriage to Miss Mary Scott; and the happy couple lived in all peace and mutual esteem for three years, when they started on May 12, 1845, to journey across the plains to Oregon. Mr. Stewart was elected the captain of a company of five hundred wagons and about twenty-five hundred souls. The company also drove an immense herd of cattle and horses, but had the misfortune to lose so many that on arriving at the journey’s end they had comparatively few. Just after leaving Fort Laramie the train...

Read More

Biography of James P. Stephens

JAMES P. STEPHENS. – This original owner of a large portion of the townsite of East Portland, Oregon, was born in 1806 in Virginia, and removed to Indiana when but a boy of eight, and came still farther west to Hancock County, Illinois, in1832. In 1830 he married Miss Elizabeth Walker of Ohio, and passed on to Missouri, and in 1843 made preparations to come to Oregon. Failing, however, to reach the rendezvous in time, the journey was postponed until the next year. Crossing the plains in 1844, he endured the hardships of that toilsome year, and reached Oregon City as late as December 24th. The year following he bought a squatters right to the site of East Portland, which was held by Doctor McLoughlin as administrator of one Porier, a Frenchman. Living there and working at cooperage for the Hudson’s Bay Company, Mr. Stephens availed himself of the Donation land law to secure his claim, thereby acquiring a property which stood him in stead during all his vicissitudes. As early as 1846 he established a ferry between East and West Portland, using a simple flatboat propelled with oars, and with this passed the few horsemen and occasional teams that traveled in those days to and fro. In that year he also laid out the city of East Portland. In 1848 he, with all the rest of the Oregonians,...

Read More

Biographical Sketch of Sewall M. Knapp

SEWELL M. KNAPP. – Mr. Knapp is a native of Penobscot County, Maine, where he was born July 19, 1853. He was raised on a farm, and remained at home until he was twenty-three years of age. In August, 1875, he came to California, where he remained but a short time, when he left for Puget Sound, coming direct to Snohomish, finding employment at first in driving a team. Next he worked for about six years in the general merchandise stores of Blackman Brothers, after which he entered into the teaming business on his own account, starting a livery stable at the same time, which business he still owns and runs. In the fall of 1876 he was nominated and elected on the Democratic ticket to the office of county treasurer, and in May, 1888, was appointed city treasurer, which office he now fills. He owns a farm of one hundred and sixty acres one and one-half miles from Snohomish, Washington, and also city property in that thriving town. Mr. Knapp was united in marriage in Snohomish to Miss Florence Scotney, where he still resides in a happy home, surrounded by many friends, and enjoying the confidence and respect of all who know...

Read More

Biography of Capt. Pleasent Calvin Noland

CAPT. PLEASENT CALVIN NOLAND. – Captain Noland, one of the most substantial farmers of Lane County, and for nearly forty years a resident of Oregon, was born in Missouri in 1830. His ancestry extends to Ireland and Wales; and his grandfather, Leadstone Noland, was a soldier in the war of the Revolution. His father, Smallwood V. Noland, became a pioneer of Missouri, and a very conspicuous man in that region, and as commissioner of Jackson County was concerned in the removal of the Mormons, by whom he nearly lost his life. In 1846, entering the service of the United States army, Captain Noland, our subject, was sent to Indian Territory instead of Mexico, and in 1849 crossed the plains to the mines of California. Returning East in 1851, he drove the next year a team to Santa Fé, and in 1853 came to Oregon. The journey terminated in a manner as difficult and severe as that of 1845 in Meek’s cutoff; for at Matthews the immigrants were met by a man from the Willamette valley who was coming to meet his family and conduct the train by a new route to the latter place. This was to cross the Cascades by the middle fork of the Willamette River. Nearing the mountains, eight men, including Captain Noland, went ahead with ten days’ rations intending to cross the chain of the...

Read More

Biography of Hon. James Willis Nesmith

HON. JAMES WILLIS NESMITH. – Oregon has given a few men to the nation; and the luster of their memory still shines in the galaxy of her heroes. Colonel Baker, one of the most brilliant men ever at Washington, District of Columbia, has coupled with his title that of senator from Oregon. Yet he was in no sense an Oregon-made man, but rather made use of Oregon to elevate him to a seat which it was impossible for him to attain from Illinois. With Colonel Nesmith, however, the case was the reverse. He was as truly an Oregon man as one of his age could be, not only coming to our state with the first immigration, but gaining largely here his education, principles and manners. As a commanding historical figure, it will be proper here to notice the circumstances of his life, his political career, and his mental and moral characteristics. We do not often find distinguished ability without finding also antecedent capacity in the ancestry. The family to which our senator belonged is remotely of Scotch Presbyterian blood, but as early as 1690 removed to the north of Ireland, becoming thereafter of the Scotch-Irish race, who have made themselves famous on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1718 the family removed to America; and William Morrison Nesmith, the father of our subject, connected himself by marriage, about 1814,...

Read More

Biography of S. F. Newhard

S.F. NEWHARD. – At the southern end of the beautiful Grande Ronde valley, on the line of the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company, and at the foot of a high, bald hill, is situated Hot Lake, – or White Sulphur Lake. This is a circular body of water of about two and a half acres, with an average depth of three feet, and is fed by two boiling springs, which appear near together at the southern edge where the water is deepest. These springs are in shape of a basin twenty feet across and ten feet deep; and the water coming up perfectly clear form the bottom is the best agent that has been found for allaying pain and curing all the ills that the human family is heir to. In one of these springs the temperature reaches an average of from one hundred and seventy-five to one hundred and eighty degrees. Chemical analyses show it to contain free sulphureted hydrogen gas, carbonate and sulphate of calcium, sulphate of soda, sulphate of potash, alumina and silica, together with organic matter. This lake is declared by knowing ones to equal the famed hot springs of Arkansas, and has already effected relief or cures in many classes of disease. Samuel F. Newhard was born in Pennsylvania in 1830. His parents emigrated to Ohio in 1837, where he received a common-school education...

Read More


Free Genealogy Archives

It takes a village to grow a family tree!
Genealogy Update - Keeping you up-to-date!
101 Best Websites 2016

Pin It on Pinterest