Topic: Biography History Photo

Biography of Edward James Northrup

Edward James Northrup was born in Albany, New York, July 4th 1834, and was a son of Nelson Northrup, long known as a merchant in old Oregon. He spent several years of his early life in school, but when quite young began his business career as a clerk in a book store in Boston, where he remained until 1852, when he came to Portland. Here he entered the general merchandise store of Northrup & Simonds, of which firm his father was senior member, remaining with them as clerk until 1856, when associating himself with James M. Blossom, he succeeded to the business of the firm, under the firm name of Northrup & Blossom. Through several changes of partners Mr. Northrup continued as leading partner until 1878, when failing health compelled him for a time to retire from business. The house was then under the name of Northrup & Thompson. He then sold out to his partner when the firm of Thompson, DeHart & Co. was established and succeeded to the business which he had for so many years conducted, and which is still continued under the firm name of Honeyman, De Hart & Co. A year’s rest fully restored his health and he began business anew as a dealer in hardwood, lumber and wagon supplies, in which he continued alone until a few weeks before his death when he...

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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 J. P. O. Lownsdale

There are few business men more favorably known in the metropolis of the Northwest than the gentleman of whom we write. His operations in real estate have been of the most reliable character, and the services that he has rendered the city in calling attention to her advantages have been very great. In his personal character he has maintained an integrity worthy, not only of the highest commendation, but of the imitation of young men. He was born in Princeton, Gibson county, Indiana, January 1st, 1830, the son of Daniel H. Lownsdale, the early owner of the central part of Portland. At the age of sixteen he entered the dry goods store of an uncle, of his native place, in whose employ he remained until at the age of twenty-one (1851) he came, at the request of his father, via the Isthmus of Panama, to Portland. He was here engaged in merchandising, until in 1853 he embraced the opportunity to return East, via the plains route, on horseback, with Captain Hiram Smith. He entered into partnership with his uncle in Indiana-the business proving very successful to all parties concerned. He was married in 1854 to Miss Sarah R. Milburn, a daughter of Robert Milburn, Esq., one of the leading citizens of Princeton. During his residence at his old home, he was honored with various public trusts and offices in...

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Biography of S. G. Reed

S. G. Reed, of Portland, one of the city’s most useful and progressive citizens, was born at East Abington, Massachusetts, April 23d, 1830. His early education was received in the public school of his native town, but he afterwards attended a private school and academy. He came to San Francisco, by way of the Isthmus of Panama, in the spring of 1852, and in the following autumn came to Oregon, where he has ever since resided. He was a clerk in the mercantile house of W. S. Ladd & . Co., from the fall of 1855 until the 2d day of April, 1859, when he became a partner in the business, under the firm name of Ladd, Reed & Co. In 1858, he purchased W. B. Wells’ interest in the steamers Senorita, Belle and Multnomah and for many years from this time was one of the leading spirits in the development of the steamboat interest on the North Pacific coast. The steamers named were subsequently merged in the Oregon Steam Navigation Company’s line. This company was first organized under the laws of Washington Territory, December 27, 1860, at which time its entire assets amounted to only $172,500. It was re-organized with a capital stock of $2,000,000, under the laws of Oregon, on October 18, 1862, with J. C. Ainsworth, D. F. Bradford, R. R. Thompson, and S. G. Reed...

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Biography of James K. Kelly

For many years James K. Kelly has been a prominent man in the legal and political history of Oregon, and has left upon the annals of this section of the Union the impress of his personality. In positions of honor and trust he has maintained an exalted standard of excellence and according to the dictates of his conscience and judgment his influence has been cast for the agencies he believed to be conducive to the true interests of the people. A fitting record of the part he has borne in many important events during his long residence in Oregon, very properly belongs to any history pertaining to this portion of the State. He was born in Center County, Pennsylvania, in 1819. Until he attained the age of sixteen years his life was spent upon a farm. He was prepared for a collegiate course at Milton and Lewisburg Academies, and became so far advanced in classical and mathematical learning that in 1837 he entered the junior class at Princeton College, New Jersey, from which institution he graduated in 1839. In the fall of 1839 he went to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and commenced the study of law in the law department of Dickinson College, then under the professorship of John Reed, L. L. D. He graduated in the fall of 1841 and shortly thereafter began the practice of his profession at Lewistown,...

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Biography of Donald MacLeay

MacLeay, Donald, was born at Leckmelm, Ross Shire, Scotland, in August, 1834, and comes from an honorable ancestry. He was educated under a private tutor and at the academy in his native town. At the age of sixteen he accompanied his parents to Canada, settling on a farm near the village of Melbourne in the province of Quebec. At the age of twenty Mr. Macleay began his business career in partnership with George K. Foster, a merchant at Richmond. Mr. Foster was a man of large means and of excellent business capacity and had much to do in moulding the character and forming the business methods of his young partner. In 1866 Mr. Macleay became a partner with William Corbitt in the wholesale grocery, shipping and commission business in Portland, establishing the now widely known firm of Corbitt & Macleay. Their efforts were rewarded by almost immediate success and so rapid was the growth of their business that by the year 1870 they had acquired a high place among the leading merchants of the Northwest. With one exception they were the first to send wheat from Oregon to England, sending the vessel Adeline Elwood in 1870. In the following year several vessels were consigned to them from Europe loaded with railroad iron and returned with cargoes of wheat. They were also among the first to perceive the future of...

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Biography of Van B. Delashmutt

Delashmutt, Van B., the present Mayor of Portland, was born in Burlington, Iowa, July 27, 1842. Ten years later the family came to the infant territory of Oregon, and settled on a farm in Polk county, in the Willamette Valley. The monotonous life of a farmer’s boy illy suited the naturally adventuresome disposition of young DeLashmutt, and at the age of fifteen he went to Salem, where he secured employment in the office of the Salem Statesman, as an apprentice to learn the printers’ trade. With characteristic earnestness and energy the apprentice served three years, and at the end of that time came out a finished printer. Work in other offices occupied his time for the next year or more. When the news that Fort Sumpter had been fired upon, in April 1861, and that President Lincoln had called for 100,000 troops, reached Oregon, young DeLashmutt determined to join the forces of the loyal North to suppress the rebellion. At that time the means of quick communication between the east and the Pacific coast were not very good, and in order more promptly to enlist in the cause, he went to San Francisco. Here, on the 28th of September, 1861, he became a member of Company G, Third Infantry California volunteers, commanded by Col. D. Edward Conner, afterwards promoted to General for gallant service at the battle of Bear...

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Biography of Henry D. Green

Green, Henry D., for many years a prominent figure in the commercial affairs of Portland, was born in Tompkins county, New York, October 16, 1825. Shortly after attaining his majority, in 1853, he came to Oregon and established himself at Astoria, in partnership with W. Irving Leonard. This firm purchased the mercantile business house of Leonard & Green, which was established at that point in 1850, by John Green and H. C. Leonard, at that date the only mercantile house, except the Hudson Bay Company’s trading post, at the mouth of the Columbia river. He remained at Astoria until 1856, when he closed out his business and removed to Portland. The city was then just beginning to be a place of commercial importance and his natural business abilities found a congenial field. In 1858, he procured from the legislature of the State and the city council of Portland the franchise for the present gas works of the city, and in connection with his brother, John Green, H. C. Leonard and Captain Wm. L. Dall, of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, completed, in 1859, the erection of the first gas works in Oregon, and third upon the Pacific Coast, those of San Francisco and Sacramento City being the only ones at that date in operation. He was the superintendent and general manager of the Portland works from their inauguration until...

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