Collection: History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington 1889

Biographical Sketch of Hon. John W. Norval

HON. JOHN W. NORVAL. – Mr. Norval, at present state senator from Union and Wallowa counties, was born in Knox County, Illinois, June 5, 1840, and is the son of James and Mahala Applewhite Norval. He resided upon a farm at his native place until the age of twenty, having while a mere boy suffered the loss of his father, and being a member of a family of four brothers and one sister. In April, 1860, he came west to Alexandria, Missouri, where he joined an emigrant train and came across the plains to California, arriving at Stockton November 6, 1860. He first found employment in teaching school until August, 1861, after which he came to the Northern mines in British Columbia, and for five years followed mining in Idaho, Washington and British Columbia, meeting with varying success. In the fall of 1866, he located a farm near Summerville, Oregon, and resided there for two years. In 1868 he located upon his present place, three and a half miles east of Summerville, where he has five hundred and sixty acres of choice land in Wallowa county. During the Bannack war he enlisted in a volunteer company, and was elected captain. In 1878 he was appointed, by Governor Thayer, major of the Third Brigade of the Oregon militia. Mr. Norval was candidate three times for the state legislature, but, from...

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Biographical Sketch of Matthew Neeves

MATTHEW NEEVES. – Mr. Neeves, a prominent citizen of Pendleton, Oregon, was born near Syracuse, New York, in 1830. He there received a common-school education and remained until he was twenty years old. Going west to Galesburg, Illinois, he made his way in that new section in the capacity of a Yankee school-master. After one year in that place he went to Platt county, and remained another year as teacher. In 1852 he was induced to join the company of the veteran pioneer Joab Powell, and arrived at Portland in October of the same year. He first turned his attention to mining on Rogue River, and remained one year. After this he made his home in Douglas county until 1862, and went thence to the Florence mines, and was engaged in mining and freighting until 1867. At that date he returned to Douglas county, and remained in that delightful region more than ten years. After this long rest he was ready again for a new settlement, and, coming to Umatilla county, located a claim on Butter creek, and remained engaged in stock-raising and farming until 1880. The attractions of Pendleton, however, which was now becoming a point of interest and importance, led him to make his home within her borders and enjoy the remaining years of his life. He has one daughter and a stepson. After many reverses he...

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Biographical Sketch of Robert Newell

ROBERT NEWELL. – “Doc” Newell, as he was commonly called, was one of the same breed of pioneers as Jo Meek. He was, in fact, associated with the latter for many years in the wild, trapping life on the border; and when that was given up he went with the rest of the little company of trappers to Oregon and became one of the state-builders there. He was born near Zanesville, Ohio, on the 30th of March, 1807. After having spent some time in Cincinnati, in learning the saddler’s trade, he was led by his adventurous disposition to go with a trapping party, in his eighteenth year, to the Rocky Mountains. It was there that he became acquainted with Joe Meek. Te friendship of the two rough but warm-hearted trappers deepened into the closest intimacy; and in after years they stood by each other through thick and thin. Newell went with Meek, Doty, Walker, Wilkins, Ebberts and Larison, in 1840, to the Tualatin Plains, where most of the number became permanent residents. Newell himself bore an honorable part in the affairs of the growing state; and, although he had had few advantages of early education, he possessed a natural intelligence and force of character which gave him due recognition among the strong-headed men of our early epoch. He was married in 1846 to Rebecca Newman, of Marion county. In...

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Biographical Sketch of H. A. Myers

H.A. MYERS. – Mr. Myers, for twenty-five years one of the “pillars of the community” in the beautiful north end of the Grande Ronde, was born in Kentucky in 1820, and nine years later removed with his parents to Missouri, where he grew to manhood and received what education might be obtained at the common schools of that state. In 1864 he made the journey across the plains immediately to the Grande Ronde, Oregon, and located a claim three miles west of Summerville. For six years he was engaged in farming and stock-raising, and afterwards for six years lived in the village to enjoy the advantages of education and society. Purchasing, however, a farm a short distance below town, he again engaged in agriculture, and two years later returned to Summerville, establishing a livery stable. He still pursues that occupation, although retaining his ranches, which aggregate six hundred and fifty acres of excellent land. His wife, Louisa Speaks, to whom he was married in1845, is no less prominent than himself in a public way. Their home has been blessed with three girls, Catherine, Sarah and Jeannette, and two boys, James and Franklin, all of whom have ranches of their own in that...

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Biographical Sketch of John H. Shields

JOHN H. SHIELDS. – The reader of this sketch can find elsewhere within these pages an excellent view of the mill and lumber yard of the gentleman named above, and upon glancing at its proportions will not dispute the assertion that Mr. Shields stands well to the fore among the more prominent of the lumber merchants of the Pacific Northwest. Being attracted with the location of Sprague, Washington Territory, he established himself there in 1882. His business grew to such proportions that in 1885 he found it necessary to add to his equipment a large planing-mill. His enterprise occupies one block on the corner of G and First streets and the Railroad avenue. Some idea of his business can be gleaned from the fact that he keeps in stock about a million feet of dry and Oregon dressed lumber. Mr. Shields was born in Lockport, New York, April 6, 1855, and came to the Pacific coast in 1873. He is one of the most active business men of the Columbia...

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Biography of Hon. James H. Koontz

HON. JAMES H. KOONTZ. – It is a mistake to suppose that all the fortunes are made in the large places. Many of the most considerable competences on the coast have been gained from trade in the small towns. The career of Mr. Koontz is to the point. Born in Belmont County, Ohio, in 1830, young James, upon coming to his physical strength, learned the trade of a carpenter and joiner, thereby acquiring a foundation for a life of independence. Living a time at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, he joined the Ellis train, and in 1862 came across the plains to Oregon, settling the following year at the little town of Umatilla on the desolate shore of the Columbia, – a heaving, driving bank of sand upon the rocks. The place has improved since the old times. Mr. Koontz had but seventy-five cents in his pocket on his arrival; and the stories which he now relates of his first days of work and semi-starvation seem curious and amusing. By diligent application to his trade, fining employment for a time with George L. Hibbard, he soon had money and built a store at Umatilla, buying for a site ten feet of frontage for two hundred and fifty dollars. Here he remained seventeen years, doing a large forwarding and commission business. In 1864 he was appointed postmaster, and held that office seventeen...

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Biographical Sketch of Ulmer Stinson

ULMER STINSON. – Mr. Stinson is among the most successful of the lumbermen of the Snohomish, and like the most of his compeers in this business is a native of Maine, having been born in Kennebec County in 1836. He lived, was educated and gained his business head in his native town, leaving it only at the age of twenty-seven. From his youth he was a lumberman and logger. But in 1863 he determined to try business upon a somewhat larger scale, and selected this coast as his field. He mined a year in Nevada county, California, but tiring of the unaccustomed life of that region sailed up to the Sound on a bark, and found his first home at Port Gamble. Soon he saw the inducements of living at Snohomish, Washington Territory, and after twelve years for others engaged in logging on that river for himself. To be a successful logger one requires extreme prudence. The was of breaking up are numerous, and the path to a competence narrow. Our subject, however, has not lost the way, but for a number of years has been operating and laying by a surplus at each clean up. He employs some twenty-five men. His timber and farm lands embrace fifteen hundred acres; and he owns a fine residence in the city. He was married at Clinton, Maine, in 1856, to Miss...

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Biographical Sketch of H. W. Stratton

H. W. STRATTON, the subject of this sketch, after a number of years spent in business in Ohio, was ordained to the ministry in 1866 over the same church of which his father had been pastor nearly a quarter of a century. Soon afterwards he began preaching in Kansas, continuing five years, and in 1871 came to Oregon, ministering to the Presbyterian and Congregational churches united at Albany. Leaving that field at the instance of his presbytery, he served a church as synodical missionary for one year, among other things organizing the first Presbyterian churches east of the Cascade Mountains at Weston and Walla Walla respectively. He also gathered and organized the first church of Whites at Boise, Idaho. He afterwards ministered to the First Presbyterian church at Seattle for more than two years. Subsequently he went to Spokane Falls, Washington Territory, and located a quarter section of land north of the river, securing thereby a share in the general prosperity of the region. His home is at Prospect Place, four miles north of town, overlooking the city and Spokane valley. Mr. Stratton devotes his time principally to the cultivation of fruits and flowers, giving to the church such occasional service as he is able to render. His daughter, the wife of Honorable J.J. Brown, and two of his sons, live near him. His home is a delightful spot,...

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Biography of Hon. James P. Stewart

HON. JAMES P. STEWART. – In a notice of the Honorable James P. Stewart by the local press, when his name was presented for the suffrages of his fellow-citizens for a seat in the legislature of Washington Territory, it was most truthfully said: “he is a man of affairs, – a big, bronzed, broad-shouldered man, who moves about among his fellow-men with that quiet consciousness of strength that carries conviction and wins. He has been a winner all his life; and people applaud his winning. He has been as honest as he has been progressive. Mr. Stewart is a native of the State of New York, and was born in Delaware county September 21, 1833. He lived on the farm of his parents, enjoying the customary opportunities for acquiring knowledge or education afforded the farm lads of the Middle states one-half century ago. Young Stewart, full of energy, made the best use of his opportunities, and at the age of nineteen left the parental home and engaged in teaching school, working on the farm through the summer, and devoting the winter to teaching. He migrated to Oregon in 1855, and settled at Corvallis. he remained there until April, 1859, when he removed to the Puyallup valley on the last day of that month, which has since been his home. During his residence at Corvallis he occupied his time in...

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Biography of Hon. Charles T. Stiles

HON. CHARLES T. STILES. – One who has enjoyed the advantages of education, and has been the recipient of wealth left him by fond and indulgent parents, is surely worthy of the encomiums due to success thereby attained. but how much more so is the one who, without this pedestal of fame and fortune, attains an equal eminence by his own un-aided exertions. As an example of this latter career, there was none more notable than the gentleman whose name appears above, whose late untimely demise has removed from the scene of activity one of our most valuable and honored representative men. Briefly stated, the course of his life is as follows: He was a native of Whitneyville, Maine, having been born in that state June 16, 1847. In 1860, when he was bur thirteen years of age, he came with his mother to the Pacific coast to join his father, who had crossed the plains into California in 1849, whom they found at Vancouver, Washington Territory, having located a Donation claim of nine hundred acres near Washougal. The subject of this sketch resided there until 1877, when he moved to Portland, Oregon, his father having died in 1873. In Portland he speculated in produce of every kind until July, 1878, when he removed to Columbia County, Washington Territory, and located in Pataha City, which is now in Garfield...

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Biography of Hon. Eugene D. Smith

HON. EUGENE D. SMITH. – This pioneer of the logging business of the Snohomish river, a portrait of whom is placed in this history, is a representative man of the Puget Sound country, and almost a typical American. Of large and fine proportions physically, self-reliant, capable of taking a hand at any business, even at politics or war, or, with a little brushing up, at almost any profession, he at present contents himself with being proprietor and patron of the handsome town of Lowell, Washington, and conducting large logging operations, on his own estate of four thousand acres in Snohomish county. He was born in Maine on April 30, 1837. While but a child of eight he suffered the loss of his father at Marshfield, Maine, and two years later began the battle of life for himself. Six years a sailor on the high seas, at the age of twenty-one he was commander of a brig. In 1858 he left that situation and came via the Isthmus to San Francisco, sailing on the well-known old steamer Oriflamme and Golden Gate; and by the autumn of that year he had drifted up to the haven of all Maine men, Puget Sound. At Port Gamble he found employment in a logging camp, but in 1862 tried his luck in the Caribou mines. This venture was quickly found non-productive; and in 1863...

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Biography of Hon. Isaac Ingalls Stevens

HON. ISAAC INGALLS STEVENS. – Governor Stevens was born at Andover, Massachusetts, March 18, 1818. He graduated from West Point in the class of 1839, of which he stood at the head, and immediately thereafter was commissioned second lieutenant of engineers. In 1840 he was promoted to a first lieutenancy. In the war with Mexico (1846-1848) he served on the staff of General Scott and for gallant and meritorious services at Contreras, Churubusco and Chapultepec earned the brevet rank of major. He was severely wounded in the capture of the City of Mexico from the effect of which he suffered during life. At the close of that war, Alexander Dallas Bache, Superintendent of the United States coast survey, appointed him chief clerk in charge of the office at Washington, District of Columbia, a position he resigned in March, 1853, to accept the first governorship of Washington Territory. He journeyed thither across the continent, exploring a route from the headwaters of the Mississippi River to Puget Sound. On the 29th of September,1853, he entered the territory and assumed the performance of his gubernatorial duties therein. He issued his proclamation thereof at the crossing of the dividing ridge on the summit of the Rocky Mountains bearing that date. During the years 1854 and 1855, as superintendent of Indian affairs, he concluded treaties with the native Indian tribes within the territory, by...

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Biographical Sketch of Dr. Henry A. Smith

DR. HENRY A. SMITH. – Doctor Smith was born in Wooster, Ohio, April 11, 1830, and is the son of Nicholas and Abagail (Teaff) Smith. His father, who was a Baptist minister, died when he wa but nine years of age, and left his mother a widow with eleven children, Henry being the youngest son. When he was about sixteen years old he moved with his mother and one sister to Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Soon afterwards he entered Alleghany College, Pennsylvania, and studied medicine. In the spring of 1852, in company with his mother and one sister, he started west in Doctor Miller’s train, arriving in Portland October 26th of that year. He came on to Seattle, Washington Territory, the following January, and in that year, 1853, took up one hundred and sixty acres in what is now known as Smith’s Avenue, a suburb of Seattle. In 1855 he spent nine months as surgeon in the Indian war, and was afterwards elected the first school superintendent of King County. He has represented King county two terms in the legislature, Snohomish county, one term in the house and two terms in the council, at the last session of which he was president. He conducted a hospital in Snohomish for eight years, and in 1866 sold most of his property to the Seattle & Lake Shore Railroad. The Doctor has a...

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Biography of Joseph M. Shelton

JOSEPH M. SHELTON. – “Present misfortune is our future weal,” wrote the old homilist; and in human experience it has been well enough proved that in adversity is the power of a man’s character developed. Joseph M. Shelton, the subject of this sketch, had lived in comfort and prosperity on the family plantation in Caswell County, in North Carolina; but, in common with so many of the foremost Southern families, the Sheltons sustained heavy losses in the war, and by the liberation of the slaves of which Joseph’s father was a large owner. It was then that Joseph showed the force of character and sturdy determination which, in later years, have made him one of the leading men of the Northwest. He determined to be no longer dependent on his father, and, leaving the old plantation, crossed the plains with an ox-team, arriving in Denver, Colorado, in 1865. The Godfrey train, with which he traveled, was several times attacked by hostile Indians; and Mr. Shelton distinguished himself during these skirmishes by his bravery and ability as a leader of men. In Colorado he engaged in stock-raising in Boulder county, where he remained for seventeen years. it was during his residence there that he found his lifelong companion. In March, 1866, he was united in marriage to Miss Missouri C. Jones. Mrs. Shelton is one of those women who in...

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Biography of Sigmund Sichel

SIGMUND SICHEL. – America is made up of the most intelligent and energetic people from all parts of the world. It is those who are alert and keen in the pursuit of information who learn of the advantages to be found in this country. And it is those who feel the impulse to stretch their limbs and operate upon a larger scale of life than the opportunities the old world afford who undergo the labors and take the risks involved in a removal across the Atlantic. This rule, which is not without its exception, is exemplified in the career of the man whose name appears at the head of this sketch. He is at present one of the active business men of Portland, Oregon, and while at Goldendale, Washington Territory, enjoyed the reputation of being the youngest man ever elected to the office of mayor in any city in the Northwest. He was born in Bavaria in 1857, and prior to his fifteenth birthday was at school in a commercial college acquiring the information and training which have made him so efficient in his line in our state. He came to America at that age, and the second day after his arrival engaged as a salesman in a New York store; but, learning of Oregon and the opportunities here for independence and competence, he determined to seek his fortune...

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