Topic: Biography History Photo

Biography of William Reid

William Reid, capitalist and banker of Portland, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, November 22, 1841. His ancestors for several generations were residents of Forfarshire, and the town of Dundee. David Reid, his father, was conductor on the first railroad ever operated in Scotland, and for thirty years was prominently identified with the railroad interests of that country. The education of our subject began in his native city at St. Andrew’s Parish School, and was completed at the University of Glasgow in 1865. At the latter institution, after finishing his literary course, he studied for the bar and was admitted in 1867 as an attorney. He began the practice of his profession at Dundee in partnership with Alexander Douglas, under the firm name of Reid & Douglas. He soon acquired an extensive practice, and acted as counsel for the United States for several American claimants under the Alabama treaty. In 1868 he was employed by Mrs. Mary Lincoln, widow of the President, to assist in the preparation of the Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln. While employed on this work he was appointed by President Grant as United States Consul at Dundee, and held the office at that port until his removal to Oregon in 1874. It was during the period he held this office that his attention was called to Oregon. From the official reports published on the State, and from...

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Biography of Charles J. Smith

Charles J. Smith, Manager of the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company, was born in Nicholasville, Kentucky, March 13, 1854, and is the son of Charles F. and Z. A. ( Jackson) Smith. His father was a merchant at Nicholasville for several years, but in 1857, removed to Kansas City, Missouri, where he died in 1877. In the latter city, the subject of this sketch was educated in a private school until he reached the age of fourteen, when he entered Blackburn University at Carlinville, Illinois, from which institution he graduated in 1870. After graduation he spent one year as a clerk in a real estate office in Kansas City. In August, 1871, he began his railroad career as store-keeper in the employ of the Missouri River, Fort Scott & Gulf railroad, now known as the Kansas City, Springfield & Memphis railroad, being thus employed for a year and a half. This service was followed by a period of clerk-ship in the office of the Master Mechanic and as chief clerk of the motor power. He then spent three years as clerk in the auditor’s office of the same road and of the Leavensworth, Lawrence & Galveston railroad, afterwards known as the Kansas City, Leavensworth & Southern. In 1878, he became acting or assistant auditor of the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf; Kansas City, Lawrence & Southern; Atkinson &...

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Biography of Dr. Kenneth A. J. Mackenzie

Dr. Kenneth A. J. Mackenzie was born in Cumberland House, a Hudson Bay Company post in Manitoba, Canada, Jan. 13, 1859, and is a son of Roderick and Jane Mackenzie. He is of Scotch descent and representative of a well known family of Ross Shire, Scotland, the old families of Langwell and Aldy, earls of Croemartie and Brahan, being a branch of the Mackenzies. Roderick Mackenzie, his father, was for many years Chief Fadtor in the Hudson’s Bay Company service and is now one of its retired officers, living at Melbourne in Eastern township, Canada. He is a man of great purity and strength of character, widely known and respected for his integrity and who made a deservedly high reputation for rare executive and business ability. His wife, Jane Mackenzie, is also a descendent of an ancient family of Ross Shire, and a woman of many graces of mind and heart. At the age of seven the subject of our sketch was sent, with an elder brother, to Jedburgh, Rakburghshire, Scotland, where he entered the Nest Academy, an old and celebrated preparatory school, Here he remained for several years and until he had completed the prescribed course of study necessary for admission to Edinburgh University, which renowned institution he was about to enter when the sudden and unexpected death of his brother caused him to return home and occasioned...

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Biography of Edward James Jeffery

Edward James Jeffery was born in Oneida county, New York, April 23, 1835, and is of English descent, his parents having been born in England. During his infancy the family moved to Lenawee county, Michigan. Here he resided on a farm and obtained a limited education in the district school until the spring of 1852, when he started across the plains for the Pacific slope. In October following, after a journey of more than six months, he arrived at Placerville, California, where, until the following spring he engaged in mining. He then went to Stockton where he was employed in a brick yard for a season. In the fall he went to Tuolumne county, and worked in the mines until 1856, when he located in Shasta county, and for two years was engaged in farming. Upon the breaking out of the Fraser River gold excitement in 1858, he started for that region, taking passage on the Cortez on the first trip made by that vessel. from San Francisco to Bellingham Bay. From the latter point he followed a trail as, far as Mount Baker, but beyond that point was unable to proceed further because of the absence of any well defined trail. Returning to Bellingham Bay he then, with five companions, made a trip with a canoe up the Skagit River and all around the Sound, traversing a section...

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Biography of Harrison B. Oatman

Harrison B. Oatman, of Portland, was born in Courtland county, New York, February 25, 1826. His father, Harvey B. Oatman, died one year after the birth of our subject. One year later he accompanied his mother to Bellevue, Huron county, Ohio, where the family remained ten years and then settled in West Liberty, Ohio. Here they remained four years, after which they removed to Elgin, Illinois, and a few years later to Ogle county, in the same State. The latter place was at this time a new country and here Mr. Oatman commenced life on his own account as a farmer on land obtained from the government. On December, 25,1847, he was married to Miss Lucena K. Ross, a most estimable lady, who from that day to the present time has not only shared his fortunes, but has been a most excellent wife and mother and in its highest sense a worthy helpmate and companion. He remained at Ogle until the fall of 1852, when he removed to Des Moines, Iowa, and the following summer (1853) with his brother, Harvey B. Oatman, and their families, started on the long journey across the plains to Oregon. After several weary months of traveling they arrived in the Rogue River Valley, in the fall of 1853, and here the two brothers and their wives took up a claim of 640 acres to...

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Biography of H. Y. Thompson

H. Y. Thompson was born at Senecaville, Guernsey county, Ohio, June 4, 1845. He was favored with a liberal education in the public and high schools of his native town. With the hope of improving his health, which had become impaired, in 1862, he undertook a trip across the plains and during the winter of 1862-3 was engaged in mining in Auburn, Baker County, Oregon. In the spring of 1863 he went to Idaho City and for three years carried on his mining operations at that place. His health not improving, he determined to try the climate of the valley region of Oregon and in 1866 came to Salem. He soon after obtained a position as a teacher in a school near Silverton, Marion County, at which time he began the study of law, having made arrangements with Shaw & Holman, attorneys of Salem, for the loan of the necessary books. He continued to teach and at the same time pursued his legal studies for one year near Silverton, when he secured a position in the city school of Salem, where he taught and read law for another year. He was then admitted to the bar and commenced the practice of his profession at Salem in partnership with Sylvester C. Simpson. At this time, the Recorder of Salem having resigned, Mr. Thompson was appointed for the unexpired term and...

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Biography of George A. Steel

George A. Steel, the present Postmaster of Portland, was born in Stafford, Ohio, April 22, 1846, and is a younger brother of James Steel, whose biography appears elsewhere in this volume. At a period when most boys have only fairly began to lay the foundation for their after career, he was thrown on his own resources. The most limited opportunities were therefore afforded him in youth for acquiring even a practical education. The school of experience and self study have been the chief means of preparing him for the part he was to perform in life’s battles. At the age of sixteen he came to Portland, where he first secured employment as clerk in a commission house. In 1865 he was appointed clerk in the Portland Post office, which position he resigned to accept an appointment as secretary of the Oregon Iron Works. He afterwards secured a position in the banking house of Ladd & Tilton as accountant, and was thus employed for nearly five years. In 1870 he embarked in the wholesale and retail book and stationery business with J. K. Gill, under the firm name of Gill & Steel. This partnership was continued for some time, but finally Mr. Steel assumed sole charge of a portion of the business. In January, 1877, he was appointed Special Agent of the Post Office Department for the Northwest Coast. He...

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Biography of Samuel Coulter

Samuel Coulter was born in Tyler county, Virginia, August 20, 1832, and is a son of Samuel and Sarah (Rodes) Coulter. His father’s parents were natives of Wales and at an early day settled in Virginia, while his maternal ancestors came from England. At the age of four years he lost his father and soon thereafter the family moved to Van Buren county, Iowa. When be reached the age of twelve his mother died, after which he went to live with his half brother, Capt. B. L. Henness, who now resides near Mt. Tabor, Oregon, who kindly offered him a home and such educational advantages as the place afforded. In 1850 he drove an ox team across the plains to Oregon, arriving at Oregon City on the 12th of September, 1850, his entire possession at the time outside of a scanty wardrobe being two dollars in money. But he was not discouraged and soon after his arrival he secured employment and in April, 1851, was able with six others to purchase a wagon and six yoke of oxen and complete outfit for the mines, it being reported at the time that good mines had been discovered near Yreka, California. The excitement caused by the discovery of gold in California was then most intense, and young Coulter determined to try his fortune in this direction. His mining venture was rewarded...

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Biography of William Lincoln Dudley

William Lincoln Dudley was born at Yreka, California, June 29, 1864. His father, John Dudley, for several years was engaged in the manufacture of woolen goods at Lowell, Massachusetts. He came to California in 1861, and from that time until 1867 was engaged in mining at Yreka. In 1868 he came to Portland. and has since been Superintendent and Manager of the Portland Gas Company, and held the same position in the Portland Water Works Company, until the property was sold to the City in 1885. The subject of this sketch was educated at the public schools of Portland, graduating from the High School in 1879. In 1880 he was appointed Assistant Cashier of the Portland Gas Company, serving in that capacity until 1887, when he was nominated on the Republican County Ticket as candidate for Recorder of Conveyances for Multnomah County. He was elected by a majority of more than 2,600 votes, receiving the second highest number of votes on the Republican ticket, and has now nearly completed his term as Recorder, his administration having been in every way highly satisfactory to the people, irrespective of party lines. He has recently been nominated by his party for a second term, and as these sheets go to press, the election is only a few weeks distant. In 1886 Mr. Dudley was the leading factor in the establishment of the...

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Biography of Rodney Glisan, M.D.

Rodney Glisan, physician of Portland, son of Samuel and Eliza Glisan, was born at Linganore, Frederick County, Maryland, January 29, 1827. His ancestors were among the first English settlers of Maryland. He was graduated in the medical department of the University of Maryland, in 1849, and after passing a severe competitive examination before a medical board, was appointed a medical officer of the United States Army, in May, 1850. Having served in this capacity for about eleven years on the plains, and in Oregon during her Indian wars, he resigned his commission and settled in Portland, where he has ever since been in the successful practice of his profession. In recognition of his services during the Indian hostilities in Oregon from 1855 to 1860 he was, in 1886, elected surgeon of the Grand Encampment of the Indian War Veterans of the North Pacific Coast, and still holds this honorary position. While stationed in Oregon as an army surgeon, Dr. Glisan had an excellent opportunity to ascertain the efficiency of volunteer soldiers and unlike a certain class of regular army officers, he has ever entertained the highest opinion of their soldierly qualities. Dr. Glisan was a professor in the first medical institution ever formed in Oregon, the Oregon Medical College, which subsequently assumed the name of The Medical Department of the Willamette University, in which he was for a long...

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Biography of Dr. J. C. Hawthorne

For many years the subject of this sketch held a prominent place among the most distinguished medical men of the Pacific Coast. His high professional attainments were matched by a life of conspicuous rectitude and of great public usefulness. He was born in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, March 12, 1819, and was a son of James and Mary (Donald) Hawthorne, who were of English and Welsh descent. His father was a farmer, but a man of literary attainments and a graduate of Washington College, Pennsylvania. The early life of young Hawthorne was spent in Mercer County, where his elementary education was received, and where he was prepared for college. He commenced the study of medicine under Dr. Bascom of his native place, and after a brief course of instruction under his direction, entered the Medical University at Louisville, Kentucky, from which institution he subsequently graduated. He commenced practice at Louisville, where he remained until 1850, when he went to California. For some years thereafter he lived at Auburn, Placer County, engaged in a large general practice and hospital work, where he became widely known and gained an enviable reputation for professional skill. In 1851 he was elected State Senator from Placer County and served for two terms, the late Lansing Stout being at that time a member of the Lower House from the same county. In 1857 he came to...

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Biography of Charles B. Bellinger

Judge Bellinger was born in Maquon, Knox County, Illinois, November 21, 1839, and at the age of eight years came to Oregon with his parents and grandparents. After receiving the advantages of a common school education, supplemented with some two years at the Willamette University, he began to read law at Salem, in the office of B. F. Bonham; at present United States Consul. at Calcutta, and was admitted to the bar at the September term of the Supreme Court, in 1863. He immediately thereafter engaged in the practice of law at Salem in partnership with J. C. Cartwright, since United States District Attorney and Commissioner of Internal Revenue for Oregon; but now deceased. The firm rapidly acquired a good business, but unable to resist the allurement of politics, Mr. Bellinger gave up the law business to become the editor of a new Democratic paper, The Arena, which had been founded by Gen. John F. Miller, Hon. Joseph S. Smith and other prominent democrats. It was a time when what was known as the “Oregon Style” was in fashion. The paper was like its contemporaries, bitterly partisan and personal in its treatment of subjects and men under discussion. It was impetuous, unsparing, and as is always the case when controversy is carried on under like conditions, often most unjust in its treatment of those of the opposition. Mr. Bellinger’s...

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Biography of Thomas J. Holmes

Well remembered by all of the older citizens of Portland and prominently identified with the earlier political and commercial history of the city was Thomas J. Holmes. He was born in Diss, county of Norfolk, England, March 3, 1819, and was a son of William and Mary A. Holmes. His father was a mechanic, who, with the hope of improving his fortunes, migrated to the United States with his family in 1830, and settled in New York City. At this time, Thomas, a bright, robust lad of eleven years, began life’s battle for himself. He secured a position with a physician on Staten Island and for some time thereafter not only supported himself by his labors, but also acquired much valuable knowledge from his employer, who took a kindly interest in his welfare. Had he desired it he might have become a member of the medical profession, but the bent of his mind was toward practical affairs and at the end of a few years’ service, he began an apprentice-ship at the shoemaker’s trade. After acquiring his trade and arriving at the age of manhood he engaged in business in Jersey City, starting with no capital other than his mechanical knowledge, native shrewdness and good character. He married soon after and for some years prospered in business. Later on, having lost his wife and met with reverses in business...

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Biography of Henry Failing

Failing, Henry, banker, and one of the leading business men of the Northwest, was born in the city of New York, January 17, 1834. His father, Josiah Failing, for many years an honored citizen of Portland, was born in Montgomery county, New York. Early in life he went to Albany, to learn the trade of paper stainer, and in 1824, accompanied his employer upon his removal to New York City. He served his apprenticeship and followed his trade until forced to abandon it on account of ill health. He then engaged in the trucking business, following this line of work for many years. During this period he served for several years as superintendent of public vehicles of the city. In 1851, he came to Portland and established the mercantile firm of J. Failing & Co., with which he was connected until 1864, when, having acquired a modest competency, he retired from active business. Arriving in Portland at a period of rapid changes and growth, he in many ways became thoroughly identified with its progress and was soon called upon to take a prominent part in the management of public affairs. In 1853, he was elected mayor of the city and did much to give a proper start to the destiny of the place. He took a warm interest in educational matters, and as one of the trustees of the...

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Biography of Cyrus A. Dolph

Dolph, Cyrus A., of Portland, one of the most successful lawyers of Oregon, was born in Chemung, (now Schuyler) County, New York, on September 27, 1840. Leaving school at the early age of eighteen he took up the occupation of teacher, and taught in the schools of his native county during the years 1859, 1860 and 1861. In the spring of 1862 he enlisted in the Government service from which he was discharged at Fort Walla Walla, Washington, in October, 1862, and came to Portland, where he has ever since resided. While engaged in teaching, Mr. Dolph began the study of law as an accomplishment rather than with a view of adopting it as a profession, but he soon became so much interested in it that what had been taken up as a pastime he resolved to make his life work. With this end in view he began a systematic course of study and was admitted to the bar in 1866, immediately thereafter beginning the active practice of his profession. In June, 1869, without solicitation on his part, he was nominated on the Republican ticket for the office of City Attorney for the City of Portland, and was elected by a large majority over Judge W. F. Trimble, now deceased. He served for the full term of two years, and his administration of the duties of the office was...

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