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Biography of Laurits Walse Therkelsen

Laurits Walse Therkelsen was born in Denmark, twelve miles east of Copenhagen, in 1842. He had limited educational advantages and early in life became apprenticed to the carpenter’s trade, at which he worked in his native town until he arrived at the age of eighteen years when he came to America, and, in 1861, landed in San Francisco. Here for the next ten years he followed his trade with the exception of one year at San Jose, when he engaged in contracting. In 1871, he came to Portland and for ten years following was largely engaged in contracting and building in the city and vicinity. During this period he erected Trinity church, Bank of British Columbia, First National Bank, Bishop Scott Grammar School, United States Government building at Vancouver, woolen factory at Oregon City, Centennial Block, part of Union Block and hundreds of private residences and other business blocks. From the first his business assumed large magnitude and he not only soon became the largest contractor in the city, but his operations were nearly equal to all of the other builders combined. In 1881, he made an extended trip to Europe with his family, and after an absence of several mouths returned to Portland and organized the North Pacific Lumber Company. The progress of this company has been remarkable. The mill was started with a capacity of about 25,000...

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Biography of Joseph K. Gill

Joseph K. Gill, one of Portland’s well known business men, was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1841, and is the eldest of eleven children of Mark and Amelia Gill. In 1854 he accompanied his parents to America, locating in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he attended the city schools until he had reached the age of eighteen, when he entered Worcester Academy, continuing at this institution but spending most of his time at work to assist in the support of the family, until he had attained his majority. He then entered Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham, a preparatory school, with the idea of fitting himself for a collegiate course. While pursuing his studies, however, his eyes failed him, and he was forced for a time to abandon his plan. At Wilbraham he boarded with the wife of Dr. W. H. Wilson, one of the earlier missionaries in Oregon. From her, and also from J. S. Smith and Joseph Holman, of Oregon, whom he met at her home, he learned much of our then young State, which fact added to his having been advised by his physician that a sea voyage might be beneficial to his eyes, led him in 1864, to come to Oregon by steamer. He located at Salem, where he continued his studies at the Willamette University, and also acted as assistant teacher, under Prof. Gatch, then President of that...

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Biography of Rockey P. Earhart

The subject of this sketch was born in Franklin County, Ohio, on the 23td day of June, 1837, and came to Oregon by way of the Isthmus of Panama, in 1855. Educational advantages were offered him in select schools in his native State, where he gained a thoroughly practical business training. Upon arriving in Oregon, and incidentally meeting with some of the public officials of the day, his superior clerical abilities were very soon recognized, and he received the appointment of clerk under Captain (now General), Robert McFeely, U. S. A., and Quartermaster P. H. Sheridan, then a comparatively unknown soldier. Mr. Earhart remained in the service of the military department until Quartermaster Sheridan left this coast, in 1861, to take part in the war of the rebellion. During this period occurred the Yakima Indian war, in which he rendered valuable aid to the officials under whom he served. In 1861 he engaged in general mercantile business in Yamhill and Polk counties, in which he continued until he was appointed United States Indian Agent at the Warm Springs Agency, to succeed Colonel Logan, where he remained until the appointment of Captain John Smith, 1865. For some time thereafter he served as chief clerk and special Indian agent under Superintendent Huntington, and was Secretary of the Board of Commissioners appointed by the General Government to treat with the Klamath and...

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Biography of William C. Noon

William C. Noon was born in Leicester, England, in 1835. At the age of nine years he came with his parents to America, settling in Andover, Massachusetts, where his father found employment at his trade in a woolen mill. He received the benefits of a common school education until thirteen years old when he began to work in a woolen mill at Andover. He was employed for several years thereafter in similar mills at Lawrence and Worcester, Massachusetts, and for some three or four years in the State of Maine. During this period he acquired a very thorough knowledge of the business and became very proficient, especially in carding and spinning. The memorable financial depression of 1857 was particularly severe on the eastern woolen manufacturers and all of them were either forced to suspend operation or continue their business on the most limited scale. Nearly all the weavers in the Eastern States were thrown out of employment. Mr. Noon not being able to secure work at his trade sought new avenues in which he might gain a livelihood. At this time the discoveries of gold in California were attracting immigration from all parts of the country, and in the spring of 1858 Mr. Noon started for the Pacific Coast, at the time having only sufficient money to pay his fare. He arrived in California via Isthmus of Panama, in...

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Biography of William Wallace Spaulding

William Wallace Spaulding was born at Chalmsford, Massachusetts, near the city of Lowell, in 1839. He is of English descent, his ancestors having emigrated from England and settled in Chalmsford several generations ago. His early life was spent at home on a farm, during which period he received a good common school education which was supplemented by one year’s course of instruction at an academy in Mount Vernon, New Hampshire. After leaving school he went to Boston, where for four years he was employed in a butcher shop. He then purchased his employer’s business and conducted it for a year, when, his health failing, he was forced to abandon it. With the hope of finding a climate more congenial to his health -and where he might better his worldly fortune, he and his wife started for the Pacific slope by the way of the Isthmus of Panama, arriving in San Pranscico in the spring of 1862. In the following fall he came to Portland, at the time of his arrival not possessing a dollar in the world. Among strangers and without money, with himself and wife to support, his prospects were anything but encouraging, but with a disposition not easily discouraged and a willingness to labor at any honest work which would promise a livelihood, he soon found employment. For one year he was employed by the firm of...

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Biography of Charles Adolph Alisky

Charles Adolph Alisky was born near Frankfort-on-the-Main, Germany, October 6, 1840, and is a descendant of an old and highly honorable German family which for several generations has resided at or in the immediate vicinity of the place of his nativity. His father, William Alisky, was a native of Mayence, and early in life exhibited rare musical talent, at the age of seven years playing a flute solo at a concert in Mayence. His genius for music attracted the attention of the Grand Duke of Hessia under whose protection he was sent to the Conservatory of Music at Paris. Here he became a classmate and intimate friend of Richard Wagner, the celebrated composer, and Karl Maria Von Weber, who at that time were pursuing their musical studies at Paris. After completing his musical education at Paris he became musical director of the Theatre at Darmstadt at that time one of the largest and finest in Germany. While thus engaged and giving promise of a brilliant future in music, the Grand Duke of Hessia died. With the death of his protector and. benefactor, his professional career came to an end and he was obliged to seek new means of gaining employment. He thereupon embarked in the music printing business, which he carried on only for a brief time, when he sold out and established a summer resort at Bergen, near...

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Biography of Frank Zan

Frank Zan, the subject of this sketch, is of Slavonic descent and was born in 1851 in Stavigrard, Dalmatia, while that county was under Austrian rule. After completing his education in the public school of his native town, he was admitted to the Convent of the Dominican Fathers, with the intention of becoming one of their order. After studying theology for nearly two years at that school, he concluded to abandon the idea of devoting his life to ministerial work; and- not wishing to be drafted into military service, to which duty every young man is subject in that country, but desiring to become a sea faring man, he accordingly arranged matters with a sea captain to ship with him for nautical instruction. For nearly a year he followed the sea, but finding such vocation too monotonous for his naturally energetic nature, upon reaching the port of New York he bid farewell to the life of a sailor and started out to try his fortune in the “land of the free.” From New York shortly after landing, he came to San Francisco where his older brother, M. Zan, his present partner, was then located engaged in business. After living in San Francisco a short time he came to Portland in 1870, at that time being but nineteen years of age, to take charge of a branch house in the...

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Biography of George B. Markle

Among the young business men of Portland none have exerted a more powerful influence toward advancing the material progress of the city during the past few years than George B. Markle. The various projects he has been largely instrumental in creating and successfully carrying out, have been far reaching in their wholesome effect upon the prosperity of Portland, and justly entitle him to a prominent place in the commercial and financial history of the city. He is a native of Pennsylvania, having been born in Hazleton, Lucerne county, on the 7th of October, 1857. Until the age of twelve he received the educational advantages of the private and public schools of Hazelton. He then passed four years in a boarding school at White Plains, New York. His parents removed to Philadelphia, in 1874, and after one year’s attendance in a preparatory school in this city he entered Lafayette college, graduating from this institution in 1878. After graduation he was employed in the Anthracite coal mines at Geddo, Pennsylvania, which were owned by the firm of G. B. Markle & Co., his father being the senior member of the firm. In 1880, his father’s health having failed, young Markle entered the employ of the banking house of Pardee, Markle & Grier, of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and also continued with their successors, Pardee & Markle, as representative of his father’s interests. In...

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Biography of A. H. Johnson

Few American cities can furnish so many instances where men have accumulated large fortunes simply by well directed labor, however adverse the circumstances which surrounded their early struggles, than Portland. The subject of this sketch is a striking example of the truth of this statement. Arriving in Portland some thirty odd years ago, without friends or money, but possessed of good health and plenty of pluck and energy, he has steadily pushed onward and upward until today he occupies a prominent place among the leading business men of the city. He was born in London, in 1830, and is the third among eleven sons and daughters of Richard and Mercy Johnson. His father was a butcher, but on coming to America, in 1843, settled on a farm in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, where, with his family, he continued to live until 1869, when he came to Portland, and resided with the subject of this sketch until his death in 1871. Young Johnson had but little chance for gaining an education, a short period of instruction in the public schools of London completing his opportunities in this direction. Although he was but thirteen years old when he left London, he had become very familiar with that great city and he still retains the most vivid recollections of his early home. After the family came to Wisconsin, he assisted his father in...

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Biography of Tyler Woodward

Tyler Woodward was born in Hartland, Windsor county, Vermont, in 1835, and is of Puritan descent. His grandfather fought in the war of the revolution, while his father, Erastus Woodward, participated in the war of 1812. He was educated in the common schools and the academies at Kimball, Union and Meriden, New Hampshire, and Thilford, Vermont. When he reached his majority, he taught school in his native town for one term during the winter. He lived at home until 1860, when he came to Marysville, California, and for one year served as clerk in a hotel of which his brother was proprietor. In the summer of 1861, he went to Washoe county, at the time the gold excitement had broken out in that region. Here for some months he was interested in a saw mill, located on the Truckee river, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where the Central Pacific railroad starts up the mountains. In the spring of 1862, he sold out and came to Oregon, spending the summer prospecting and mining in the vicinity of the Florence mines. The following winter he clerked in a store in John Day’s mines, where Canyon City is now located. He then located at Umatilla and for several months was engaged in stock feeding. In the spring of 1864, he purchased a stock of goods consisting of general merchandising...

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Biography of Parker Farnsworth Morey

Parker Farnsworth Morey, without great wealth, is one of the most successful men of Portland. As an organizer and conductor of successful enterprises he has no superior in this busy city. A man of untiring energy he possesses the patience to attend to the smallest details provided success depends on them. He has the ability and the courage to make successful those undertakings which a timid, a less confident or a richer man might not dare attempt. He has a genius for inventing. As a manager of men he has few superiors. Mr. Morey comes of old New England stock. The energy repressed through several generations by the severe quiet of Maine has appeared in all the greater force in this later son. He was born October 16, 1847, at Calais, Maine. While yet a child his parents moved to Machias, Maine, where his early boyhood was passed. At an early age he began to learn the trade of a machinist. He worked at Bangor and Portland, Maine, and at Boston, Massachusetts, until he was a competent machinist and mechanical engineer. In 1866, he moved to Placerville, California, where he lived until 1870, being employed most of the time as mechanical engineer. But Placerville was too small a place for such an energetic nature as Mr. Morey’s, so in 1870 he moved to Sacramento and obtained employment there in...

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Biography of John William Whalley

Whalley, John William, was born on the 28th of April, 1833. His ancestors on his father’s side had, for a long period, been yoemen residing at Dent in the West Reding of Yorkshire, England, who had migrated there from Norfolk, and belonged to the same family of which Edmund Whalley of the Cromwellian Army was a member. Many of the family held respectable positions, both in the church, the army and at the bar, the elder sons usually owning and managing the small estate of the family, the younger members making their living in some of the learned professions. On his mother’s side Mrs. Whalley’s “fore-elders,” as termed in Cheshire, were Welsh, and for more than 200 years occupied, under lease for that term, the estate of Overton Hall, owned by Lord Kenyon. This lease terminated in the life-time of Mr. William Jones, the grandfather of Mr. Whalley, who then with his family moved to Canada, and from thence to New York City, where he died and was buried in St. Paul’s churchyard on Broadway. Mr. Whalley’s father, Rev. Francis Whalley, left England under an appointment from the society for the propagation of the gospel in foreign parts and was stationed in Annapolis, Nova Scotia, where the subject of this sketch was born. In 1835 the family returned to England, the father becoming rector of Rivington Parish, Cheshire, but...

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Biography of Hon. P. A. Marquam

Hon. P. A. Marquam was born near Baltimore, Maryland, February 28, 1823, and is the eighth child in a family of nine children of Philip Winchester and Charlotte Mercer (Poole), Marquam. His grandfather was a wealthy merchant of England, employing many ships in carrying on an extensive trade. His father was born in England but at the age of twenty came to America. His mother was a daughter of Henry Poole, a wealthy planter, on whose plantation now stands Poolville, Maryland. On account of sickness and financial misfortune the father of our subject soon after his marriage decided to leave Maryland with the hope of bettering his fortune, and to seek a new home in the west. With his family he first settled in Ohio, but shortly moved to Lafayette, Indiana. Here the family settled on unimproved government land, where a rude home was erected and pioneer life commenced. At the end of a few years, by the united labors of father and sons a greater portion of the wild tract upon which they had settled was cleared. By this time Mr. Marquam’s elder brothers had left home to seek their own fortunes, leaving him at home to assist in the support of the family. Being the youngest of the boys and naturally strong and vigorous he was naturally selected as the one to remain upon the farm. If,...

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Biography of George W. Staver

George W. Staver, president and founder of one of the largest mercantile corporations on the Pacific Coast was born in Brush Valley, Center county, Pennsylvania, November 18, 1836. He is of German and Scotch-Irish ancestry and was reared upon a farm. Soon after his birth his parents moved to Sugar Valley, Clinton county, Pennsylvania, and remained on the same farm until 1854, when they came ‘to Illinois, but a year later settled near Monroe, Green county, Wisconsin. Here his father, Frederick Staver, still resides, at the advanced age of eighty-one years. Our subject received from his father a most thorough knowledge of farming in all its branches, long before the era of the present improved farming implements. His education was such as was received at that day in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Wisconsin by the average farmer’s boy. Attendance at the district school in winter with three months at the Academy at Warren, Illinois, in 1861, completed his educational advantages; previous to going to the latter institution, however, he taught school for two terms in Green county. He early became interested in and an expert operator of agricultural machinery. He purchased one of the first threshing machines used in Green county, and during the fall and winter followed threshing. He became very proficient in this line of work and before he had reached his majority did quite an extensive business....

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Biography of Benton Killin

Benton Killin, one of Portland’s prominent citizens, was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on the 5th day of August, 1842. When only three years old his parents crossed the plains, and settled on the old homestead, on Butter Creek, Clackamas county, Oregon, in the spring of 1847. Here his aged mother still lives, enjoying, in the evening of life, a rest from the severe toils of her earlier years. On this farm the next twelve years of young Killin’s life was spent in the hard labors of a farmer’s boy. But while thus surrounded, with but little to arouse his ambition, he was planning something different and to his taste better. When 16 years old he started out from home to fight life’s battle alone. During the summer he toiled faithfully on a farm and with the wages thus earned he entered the Willamette University, where he remained as a student until the spring of 1861, supporting himself in the meantime by working for farmers in the neighborhood during vacation, and employing himself at whatever his hands found to do on Saturdays. In the spring of 1861, his health gave away. The tell-tale flush upon the cheek and the exasperating cough gave out the warning that consumption was fast taking hold on him. Abandoning his studies, he sought to renew his strength in the mountains and mines of Idaho,...

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