Biographies for Curry County, Oregon
William H. Packwood, Sr.
He was born in Jefferson County, Illinois, October 23, 1832. His father came from Virginia to Kentucky, thence to Illinois where he was married in 1831. When William was quite young the family moved to Sparta, Randolph County, where he attended school until he was twelve years old. His mother died that years (1844) and for six years he was occupied working on a farm in the summer and clerking in a store in the winter. In 1848 he enlisted in a rifle regiment and the next year was sent, with twenty-four others under Captain Morris, to California, as an escort for General Wilson who had been appointed superintendent of Indian affairs on the Pacific coast. M. P. Deady came with the same company, and on Goose Creek General Joel Palmer joined them and returned home, he having been with the escort going east. The company crossed the Sierra Nevada Mountains the 24th day of October, and arrived at Hangtown with 19 men. At Hangtown gold had recently been discovered. The company went on to Sacramento, at that time a city of tents, and Mr. Packwood had a severe spell of sickness. The soldiers nearly all deserted, and those who remained wintered at Sonoma, where General Joe Haoker, then a Colonel, was tried by a court martial. Mr. Packwood was appointed orderly sergeant at the trial. Of the army officers present who afterwards won distinction in the civil war, were Gen. Halleck, Gen. Pleasanton, Gen. Hooker, Gen. Lyon, Gen. Wessels, Gen. Casey, Gen. Percifer Smith and Gen. Page. What reflections that array of names awakens.
In April 1850, Packwood came with his company to the Columbia River in a vessel commanded by Captain McArthur, the father of Judge L. L. McArthur. The company was at Vancouver till the next year when they were ordered to Benicia, Cal., where they arrived in May and remained till August. Packwood was then sent with an escort for an Indian agent who was visiting the coast and Northern California Indians. Returned to Benicia and in December 1851, the company was ordered to Port Orford, Oregon, and were shipwrecked near Coos Bay, January 3, 1852. The company made their way to Port Orford, cutting what was called the seven devils trail through the timber, reaching their destination in May. Packwood was then transferred to the 1st. Dragoons, and served as quartermaster sergeant. He received his discharge in 1853, and engaged in mining on the beach and packing goods, until the Indian war of 1855-56, when he entered the service again, serving as captain of a company fifty-three days, and as orderly sergeant during the remainder of the war. In 1857 he was sent as delegate to the constitutional convention from Curry County. He was afterwards clerk for a while at Stiletz Indian agency, and then went into partnership with [Knight] Abbott in stock raising.
In 1861 Abbott undertook to drive their cattle to Salmon River but failed to cross Snake River, as related elsewhere, and that led Packwood finally to the Powder River mines. He was one of the founders of the town of Auburn in 1862, where he was engaged in selling goods for some time, and was one of the foremost men in the ditch enterprise of the Auburn Water company and also the Clarks creek ditch in 1863. From 1865 to 1867 he was a member of the Burnt River Toll Road, Bridge and Ferry Company, and then began construction of the Eldorado ditch in which he was engaged until 1870. Disposing of his interest in that ditch he began building the Eagle creek ditch in Union county. Mr. Goodrich attempted to survey a route for a ditch in 1863, but pronounced it impracticable to build on account of the perpendicular cliffs which he encountered. Mr. Packwood employed Foster as surveyor and succeeded in locating a practical route, and the work of building was begun. In 1872 he sold the uncompleted ditch to Bowen & Cranston by whom it was finished at a total cost of $90,000.
He had an interest in the quartz mine at Sanger which he sold in 1874, and from that time until 1887 he was in charge of the Eldorado ditch, and was elected recorder of Baker City in 1888, which office he has held ever since.
Excerp from Real Pioneers in Baker County, Oregon
Robyn Greenlund for Genealogytrails.com
HON. JOHN M. SIGLIN
|HON. FRANK A. STEWART
Whatever of praise may be due to the man who has, with the advantages of a collegiate education and abundant leisure for after study, risen to a position if honor and trust in the government of the country, we must record still greater need of praise to the youth, who, without those advantages, has struggled with the waves of adversity, and, by sheer force of ambition and native integrity, has attained an education and elevated himself into a position of honor by the suffrages of his fellow citizens. The former is entitled to commendation for the ripened culture of the mind while on the latter we must bestow the praise due to force of character and singleness of purpose. The Hon. Frank A. Stewart started in life without any of these advantages. He is indebted to no man for the mental gifts which he possesses, and the degree of erudition to which he has attained. He is a plain-spoken man, thoroughly independent and honest in his dealings with his fellow man. Frank was born in Grass County, Illinois, in 1843, and immigrated to Oregon with his parents in 1854, and in that same year was left an orphan by the death of his mother. He resided from 1855 to 1858 with W. C Brown at Dallas, Polk County. He was educated at Belpassi, Marion County, and after going through the course of instruction in the schools, became a professional teacher, which calling he followed for several years. He went to Curry County in 1866, and has resided there ever since. He was for ten years a merchant at Ellensburg, during which time he established a reputation for probity and good character unblemished. During his varied career in Oregon, Mr. Stewart has also been engaged in salmon fishing, mining, lumbering, etc. He has also been a contributor to many of our leading journals, and his articles and poems have been very widely copied. At present he is residing on a stock farm at his home in Curry County, and is engaged in the occupation of stock-raising and raining.
Pen Pictures of Representative Men of Oregon
Frank E. Hodgkin & J. J. Galvin
Farmer and Dairyman Publishing House
Transcribed by Ann Planca
Curry County Biographies on Bill Wallace's Website
More Coos and Curry County Biographies
Back to Curry County Home