Abrams, Lewis        


Lewis Abrams, the pioneer warehouse man and merchant of Lincoln, Polk county, Oregon, came to the Pacific coast in 1849. He was born February 29, 1828, in New Jersey. His ancestors settled in New Jersey prior to the Revolution. His father, Stephen Abrams, was born there and married Miss Letitia Conover, a native of his own state. They had seven children, of whom five are now living. They removed to Illinois and resided in Scott county for a number of years and here the father died, aged sixty-two, his wife having died previously.

            Our subject was seven years of age when he went to live in Illinois, and although they located in Scott, after that county was divided they found themselves in Morgan county. The facilities for obtaining an education, at that early day were limited, but Mr. Abrams secured a slight knowledge of the three “Rs” in the little log schoolhouse. When he became old enough to look out for himself he engaged as a boatman on the river and remained in this position for three years, but in 1849 started for California, with oxen. As he was young and adventurous, the trip was only a pleasant journey. He went direct to the mines, in El Dorado and Placer counties and mined on the American river. He did a good deal of hard work, but was not rewarded by any great “finds.” The mining was carried on in winter and he suffered from exposure. In 1862he came to east Oregon and at Colville, Washington Territory, was engaged in running a store, packing his supplies from Portland. He was there for seven years and met with fair success, and from there he went to British Columbia and sunk $30,000 in the mines. In 1867 he came to Salem and from there to Lincoln, Spring valley, where he purchased an interest in the store of Mr. J.D. Walling. Later his partner was accidentally killed by a horse and Mr. Abrams became sole proprietor of the business.  In addition to his mercantile business he has been engaged for years in buying, storing and shipping grain. His store and warehouse are situated on the banks of the Willamette which affords a good avenue of transportation to Portland, and the remainder of the country. He has handled as much as 250,000 bushels of grain per annum, but the railroads have interfered with his business interests to some extent, although he continues to do a large and flourishing business. Mr. Abrams is the owner of a nice residence in Lincoln and a fine farm of 240 acres near by. He built his home in 1868. In 1870 he was elected Postmaster and has since continued in that office.

            He was married in Illinois in 1864 to Miss Mary Shea, a native of that State. Mr. and Mrs. Abrams have one daughter, Lois, who is now Mrs. L. Rea Green and resides near her father. In 1869, after five years of married life Mrs. Abrams died and her loss was very deeply felt by her husband. After remaining single for five years he married Miss Phosa Witten, a native of Oregon, daughter of Joshua E. Witten, a native of Tennessee, and Oregon pioneer of 1852. The father is deceased, but the mother still survives and resides with her daughter, Mrs. Abrams, aged seventy-two. Mr. and Mrs. Abrams have three children: Lettia, Carlton, and Chester. Mr. and Mrs. Abrams are worthy members of the Methodist Church. Mr. Abrams joined this church when it was organized in his place and has since been a worthy member of it. He has aided in building the house of worship and has done all in his power to assist in maintaining it in his county, and he is now Steward of the church. In political matters he believes with the Republicans and has been a member of said party since its organization. He is a reliable citizen, is widely known and is held in high esteem by this fellow-citizens in the county where he has carried on his different enterprises.

An Illustrated history of the state of Oregon, Rev. H.K. Hines, Lewis Pub. Co. 1893
©Shauna Williams