Ball, Isaac

Bedwell, Elisha

Bentley, L.

Biddle, Edward

Blair, Cyrus

Boise, Reuben

Brown, Lott

Buell, Cyrus

Burch, Benjamin

Burns, John

Buster, John William

Butler, Hon. Ira F.M.

Butler, Dr. Otis D.


Isaac Ball, the founder of Ballston, Polk county, Oregon, and a venerable Oregon pioneer of 1848, was born in Longner, Staffordshire, England, December 6, 1812. His parents, Thomas and Martha (Brindley) Ball, were both natives of England and of good old English ancestry. They were farmers by occupation, and in religion Episcopalians. Of their family of twelve children Mr. Ball is now the only survivor. His mother died in her fifty-second year, and his father attained the ripe old age of eighty-six.

            In 1833, at the age of twenty, Mr. Ball came to the United States. For four summers he was engaged in making brick on the Hudson, eight miles below Albany, and the winters he spent traveling. In the fall of 1836 he went to New Orleans and worked whatever he could get to do, chiefly loading and unloading ships. From there he went to mineral Point, Wisconsin, from thence to Madison county, Illinois, where he engaged in brick-making.

            In 1838 Mr. Ball married Miss Abigail Howland, who is still by his side, and who for fifty-four years has been his constant and faithful helpmate. They remained in Illinois two years and then removed to St. Charles county, Missouri, where he continued to manufacture of brick, and where he resided eight years. In the spring 1848, with his wife and six children, he started overland for Oregon. They left St. Charles about the first of May, with four yoke of oxen and a wagon, and were a part of a train that comprised twenty-four wagons. As they journey on they were joined by others until the number of wagons increased to sixty-four. After they had been out some time, Mr. Ball’s oxen took fright and ran away, and inn the accident his leg was broken. They set it as best they could, and with him lying in the wagon continued their journey. Since then, for forty-four years, this hardy pioneer has walked with a crooked leg. They arrived in Yam Hill county on the 1st of October, 1848, and built a little hut at a point four miles east of where Ballston now stands.

            Although his leg was not yet strong and he was still on crutches, he was not able to withstand the California gold fever, which was at that time spreading to all parts of the country, and he and William Graham went by water to California. On the middle fork of the American river they were having good success in their mining operations, but after an experience of forty days Mr. Ball got hurt and was obliged to quit the business and return home. As the result of his earnings he brought home $400.

            After his return from the mines, he settled on his present property, and here he has since been engaged in farming, stock-raising and brick-making. When the railroad was built, the company gave him a station, and in honor of home named it Ballston. Here a nice little village has sprung up, which is destined to become an important one and which will perpetuate the name of this worthy pioneer. Mr. Ball has divided a portion of his homestead and sold a number of village lots. He has also sold 100 acres of land to one of his grandsons. He still owns 540 acres of land, a part of it his old donation claim and the rest  lands which he has since purchased.

            Of Mr. Ball’s children we make the following record: Four of the sons have died, namely: William, who died February 6, 1873, and in this thirty-fifth year, left a widow and five children; Samuel Howland, born December 3, 1839 died January 14, 1853; Isaac James, born August 7, 1841, died December 12, 1863; and Thomas Marsdon, born June 17, 1843, died May 4, 1866; Mary Jane, born May 19, 1845, is the widow of William Bowman and resides at Salt Creek, in Polk county; Lovina Ann, wife of William Comegys, also lives at Salt Creek; Angeline P. is the wife of P.C. Scears and lives near Bethel; Margaret A. married George Comegys and lives in Pine City, Washington; Lydia e. is the wife of V.B. Scears; Priscilla F. died when fourteen years of age; Martha E., was born March 9, 1852, died January 19, 1860; George Washington, born Mach 22, 1856, died November 15, 1859.  

            Mr. and Mrs. Ball are members of the New Jerusalem Church. He is also liberal in supporting other denominations. He gave a lot to the Methodists and helped them build a house of worship. He also fitted up another church, in which ministers of any denomination are permitted to preach. Politically, Mr. Ball is a Democrat. For thirty years he has been Clerk of the School Board, and has served a number of years as School Director. He has also served as County Commissioner. In all the relations of life he has conducted himself honorably and uprightly. He has thirty-one grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Including his five sons-in-law, his posterity now numbers fifty souls.

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


Elisha Bedwell, of Monmouth, Polk county, is an honored Oregon pioneer of 1847. He was born in La Fayette county, Missouri, September 9, 1819.His father, Ira Bedwell, was a native of Tennessee, who married Miss Barbara Cattron, a native of Virginia. They had eight children, of whom two only are now living: Elisha and John.

            Our subject was the sixth child and was reared in his native State until his sixteenth year, when in 1836 the family removed to Henry county, Missouri, where Elisha resided until 1841, when he removed to Platte county with his father-in-law, and remained until the spring of 1844, when, with his father-in-law and entire family, he moved to Texas, but soon returned to Henry county, Missouri, and there remained until April 12, 1847, when he started across the plains to Oregon. The father and head of the family had died when our subject was only six years old.

            In 1841 Mr. Bedwell married Sarah Ann Davis, a native of Missouri. They had two children, one of whom died in Texas; the other, H.F., crossed the plains with his grandmother and uncle in 1862. They made a safe journey across the plains and arrived in the northern part of Yam Hill county October 25, 1842. Elisha took a donation claim of 640 acres of land, three miles west of the present site of North Yam Hill. In September, 1848, he went overland to the gold mines of California and mined on the middle fork of the American river. Here he met with fair success, taking out as much as $200 per day at times. In 1850 he returned to Oregon and purchased a claim near North Yam Hill and cost him $2,000. He remained on this farm until 1874, when he sold and purchased thirty-four acres in Monmouth, on which he built a comfortable residence, and has lived there ever since. He paid $30 an acre for this land, but it is now worth $200 per acre. In addition to his other duties Mr. Bedwell is one of the founders and stockholders of the Polk County Bank at Monmouth, and he is one of the reliable citizens of that little city.

            Mr. Bedwell lost his first wife in 1844, in Texas, and on June 19, 1850, married Miss A. M. Shelton, a native of Missouri, daughter of Zebeder Shelton, who came to Oregon in 1846. Mr. and Mrs. Bendwell have had ten children, namely: George W., died in his twenty-first year; Mary, wife of Mr. Herman, resides in Douglas county, Oregon; S. Mildred, wife of Cass Riggs, resides in Polk County; Barbara J., wife of O. Waller, resides in Monmouth; Annie died in her seventeenth year; Edward resides in Polk county; Alice died in her twenty-first year; Hersheel died in his seventh year; L.E. resides with his parents; and E.L. died when six months old.

            Mr. and Mrs. Bedwell are members of the Christian Church, and Mr. Bedwell is a strong Republican, and has been one since the organization of the party. All his honorable, upright life Mr. Bedwell has given strict attention to his own affairs, and both he and his wife are esteemed by all who know them. Both are in the enjoyment of good health and Mr. Bedwell has never had a doctor in his whole life. Mrs. Bedwell’s mother resides with them, and she is now in her eight-fourth year, but enjoys good health, and is a venerable pioneer of 1846. The entire family is one that commands the respect of all, and it is one that is worthy of all prosperity and prominence in the State that has become so dear to those who have had a hand in the upbuilding of the great commonwealth.

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


Edward Biddle, proprietor and founder of the Dallas Iron Works, Dallas, Oregon, is a native of New York, born December 9, 1847.

            His father, Edward Biddle, was born in Quebec, Canada. He removed to New York when a young man, and there married Miss Adelaide Beebe, who was born in Montreal, and from her third year reared in New York. They had six children, five sons and a daughter, Edward being the oldest. The father died in his seventy-seventh year, and the mother is still living, now at the advanced age of eighty-five.

            Mr. Biddle was reared in his native State, and obtained only a limited education. At the early age of nine years he began to “rustle” for himself. He learned the engineer and machinists’ trade, and for several years was engaged chiefly in railroad work in Rochester, central Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio; Hannibal, Missouri; and Louisville, Kentucky. He subsequently worked in Iowa and New Orleans, and after the surrender of General Lee was in Mobile, Alabama. From the last named city he came to San Francisco. For several years following he was in the employ at the Central Pacific Railroad Company, at Sacramento and Vallejo, and from there was sent to take charge of the shop at Carlin, Nevada. He was next engaged on mining machinery at Virginia City, Nevada. He took charge of the Sutter Tunnel company’s Works, being chief engineer for six years. In 1880 he came to Oregon, and until 1888 did railroad repair work. That year he came to Dallas, and started the first foundry in the town, which, under his management, soon became a good business, and grew into Dallas Iron Works. This establishment now furnishes employment to ten men, doing all kinds of iron work, repairing and manufacturing. They manufacture hop presses and furnaces, and do the work for fifteen sawmills. Mr. Biddle owns the iron works and also owns one-half the water power. He has built a good residence in Dallas, and is thoroughly identified with the interests of this city.

            Politically he is a stanch Republican; has served six years as School Director in Dallas. With the Masonic fraternity he is prominently identified. He is Past Master of the blue lodge and high Priest of the chapter. He is an intelligent man, thinks for himself, and has the credit of having, by his own efforts, made himself what he is, deserving the success he has attained.

            Mr. Biddle was married in 1878, to Miss Josephine Davis, a native of Massachusetts, and a daughter of Luther B. Davis.

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


Cyrus Blair, an enterprising farmer of Polk county, was born on his father’s donation claim in this county, January 1, 1859. Of his life and ancestry we make the following brief record:

            The Blairs originated in Ireland. Grandfather Blair emigrated from the Emerald Isle and settled in Virginia, where his son, Thomas R. Blair, father of the subject of this sketch, was born in the year 1818. In 1844 Mr. Thomas R. Blair crossed the plains to Oregon with ox teams. After his safe arrival in Oregon, Mr. Blair located 640 acres of land on Mill creek, five miles southwest of where the town of Sheridan now is. He was among the very earliest pioneers of that part of Polk county, and made a choice selection of land. Soon after his arrival here he married Miss Emeline Buell. They built a cabin on their claim and began pioneer life in a primitive manner. Mr. Blair engaged in farming and stock-raising, and by an honest and industrious life was prospered. He interested himself in every thing that pertained to the well-being of the settlers and the growth and development of the State. He was a Republican in politics, and was nominated by his party as a candidate for the State Legislature, but declined the honor. He was Postmaster for a time and also held the office of Justice of the Peace. He helped to organize the Mill Creek Grange, No. 91, was an officer in the lodge, and did all he could to improve the condition of his neighbors and himself. Three of their nine children died in infancy. The others have grown to be respected citizens of their native State. Nathan, the oldest, is a blacksmith, and resides near the old homestead; Matilda, is the wife of William Ridgeway; William A., is married and resides on a farm in this vicinity; Sarah A., lives with her sister, Mrs. Ridgeway; Thomas E. is married and lives on a farm two miles and a half from the told home. The mother of these children died July 6, 1877. She was a member of the Methodist Church, and hers was a beautiful character, a representative pioneer woman, a devoted wife, a loving mother, and an earnest Christian. About a year after her death, Mr. Blair married Miss Emma Cosand. Their only child they named Lloyd R. Mr. Blair died on his farm March 16, 1884. He led an upright and industrious life, was prospered in his undertakings, and raised a respectable family.

            Cyrus was reared on his father’ farm, attended the public school, and completed his education with a course in Portland Business College, graduating in 1885. He inherited ninety-eight acres of his father’s donation claim, which portion included the family residence. All his life has been devoted to farming and stock-raising. Prosperity has attended his earnest efforts, he has added to the land he inherited, and is now the owner of 298 acres, located on a beautiful little stream in a picturesque and rich portion of Polk county.

            August 16, 1885, he married Miss Elizabeth L. Miller, a native of Yam Hill county, and a daughter of R.J. Miller. They have three children: Richard R., Velna M., and Madie E., all living; and one, Cyrus W., deceased.

            Mr. Blair is a member of the Grange, and is Secretary of his lodge. He affiliates with the Republican party.

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


Cyrus Buell, a highly esteemed pioneer of 1847, and one of Polk county’s most prosperous farmers, was born in Indiana, December 19, 1836. His father, Elias Buell, was born in Benton, New York, July 20, 1797. William Buell, the ancestor of the Buell family in America, was one of the Pilgrim Fathers, coming from England in the Mayflower and landing at Plymouth Rock. Grandfather Samuel Buell was born at Ford Edward, New York, in 1763, and Grandmother Buell, nee Jerusha Griswold, a native of New York, was born in 1776. They were married in 1796, and of their seven children, Elias, our subject’s father, was the oldest.

            Elias Buell was married in Maryland, October 19, 1817, to Miss Sarah Hammond, who was born in Maryland, January 22, 1800. Her father, Lott Hammond, was of New York ancestry. After his marriage Mr. Buell worked at his trade, that of blacksmith. In the early days he was converted and joined the Methodist Church, and all his life was affirm adherent to that faith. He and his wife have had a family of nine children, three of whom had died in infancy, and in 1847, with his wife and surviving children, he crossed the plains to Oregon. The children who made the journey with them are as follows: Elizabeth, now the widow of Nathan Conner; Caroline first married Mr. Finley, and after his death became the wife of Mr. Courtney; Emeline married Thomas Blair, had nine children and died in 1877; Melissa, a resident of Polk county, has been twice married and is now a widow, her first husband being Isaac Hinshaw, and the second, Mr. Vanhorn; Paulina married Daniel Rowell and had six children, of whom two died in infancy, she and her entire family being lost at see on the Brother Jonathan while making the return voyage from the East in 1865; Cyrus; and Sarah Ann, who married Robert McKune, died in her fifty-first year, leaving seven children. Mr. Buell started with his family from Mahaska county, Iowa, in 1846, and got as far as Holt county, Missouri, where they spent the winter, continuing their way westward the following spring.  His brother, Samuel Buell, and his wife and six children were in the company; also Mr. Buell’s two sons-in-law, Finley and Conner. After a safe journey of six months’ duration, they made the first stop at Vancouver, where they remained during the winter and learned all they could of the country. In the spring of 1848 they came to the northern part of Polk county, took a claim to a section of land, built a log house, and moved in, their relations settling near them.

            In the fall of 1848 Mr. Buell went overland to California and mined on the American river, and the following spring returned with $2,000, the result of his mining. He then built a sawmill and a flouring mill on his donation claim on Mill creek, eight miles south of the present site of Sheridan. These mills were of great value to the settlers in that party of the country. He was the prime mover in the Methodist Chapel on Mill creek, which was named in honor of him. Politically he was a republican. He conducted his farming operations and ran his mills until the time of his death, in 1871, in the seventy-fourth year of his age. His wife died in 1885. Both were earnest Christians and typical pioneers, people distinguished for their honesty, their geniality and their hospitality, and loved by all who knew him.

            Cyrus Buell remained with his father until the latter’s death, and the donation claim was left to him. He remained on it until 1874, when he came t his present locality, one mile south of Sheridan. Here he purchased 240 acres of land, afterward added to it, and is now the owner of 485 acres, one of the finest tracts of farming land in the county. He raises large crops of grain and also gives much attention to the stock business, raising shorthorn cattle, Clydesdale and Cleveland bay horses, and Cotswold and Merino sheep.

            July 30, 1859, he married Miss Amanda Ellen Carey, who was born in Illinois in 1843, daughter of John Carey. Her father was born in Philadelphia in 1802, came to Oregon in 1847, settled on a donation claim near Dayton, Yam Hill county, and subsequently moved to Independence, Polk county, where he died in his seventy-ninth year. His wife lived to be eighty-two. They reared a family of eight children, all of whom are settled on the Pacific coast, occupying useful and honorable positions in life. Mr. and Mrs. Buell have had six children, four of whom are living. Charles Walter, born September 10, 1860, is married and resides on a farm near his father. The other children are at home and are as follows: Marion H., born February 25, 1862, Frank Lawrence, November 15, 1863; and Laura Bell, November 25, 1866.

            Mr. Buell affiliated with the Republican party during its early history and until the past eight years, now giving his support to the Prohibition cause.

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


John Burns, a prominent farmer and business man, of Polk County, and an esteemed Oregon pioneer of 1848, was born in Illinois, April 28, 1833. he is of Scotch ancestry, his grandfather, Garrett Burns, being a cousin of the renowned Scottish bard, Robert Burns. Our subject’s father, William Burns, was born in Kentucky, in 1800. He married Rachel Ford, a native of Ohio, born in 1811. She was the daughter of Robert Ford, and they had a family of eleven children, all of whom they reared to maturity, and all but two of them are still living. With his wife and eight children he crossed the plains to Oregon in 1848. the journey was made with oxen, and six months were consumed in the trip. Our subject was then in his sixteenth year, and was of much assistance to his father in that trip. They started March 23d, from kendall county, Illinois, and arrived at Foster’s farm, in the Willamette valley, September 27, 1848. The Mormons had stolen eight head of their cattle, but by pursuing the thieves they were able to regain them. One woman, Mrs. Fonts, died and was buried by the way. Mr. Burns’ father purchased the right to a donation claim on the Luckamute, and then went overland to California, in 1849, to the gold diggings on Butte creek. He mined here and on the Mariposa. While there, he was the discoverer of a claim that is still known as the Burns’ diggings. He retired to his farm in Oregon with $2,000. In 1852 he returned East, bought a drove of stock, and in 1853 drove them back across the plains. He had purchased his land claim on the Luckamute of Colonel Waters, and he resided on this property until 1875, when he retired to California and died on the 23d of December of that year. His wife survived him until 1887, when she, too, died.

            Our subject resided with father until his twenty-first year, when he settled in Benton county, where he purchased a settler’s right to 320 acres of land. Here he engaged in farming and stock-raising successfully until 1866, when he sold and came to Polk county and purchased 400 acres of land of W. Sebing, where he has resided, worked and prospered for fifteen years, adding to his lands two other tracts of 320 acres each, making 1,040 acres, all in Polk county. In 1888 he purchased a flouring mill on the Luckamute, which he is still running, in addition to his farming interests. It has a full roller process and he is doing a good business.

            Mr. Burns was married in December, 1853, to Miss Susan Hickland, a native of Indiana, born in 1833. She was the daughter of John Hickland, who came to Oregon in 1851. This lady bore her husband seven children, namely: John L., married and residing in east Oregon; Arthur Q., resides in Polk county; Theodore M., at home; Eliza, wife of James Montgomery, resides in Cook county; Clarinda, wife of James McDermeat, resides in eastern Oregon; Emma is a widow, and the youngest, John, resides in Polk County. In January, 1876, Mrs. Burns died, and October 3, 1879, Mr. Burns married Mrs. Cornelia Evans, the widow of William Evans. She had a daughter, now Mrs. Charlie Brown, of Independence. Mr. and Mrs. burns have one child, Rubie Muretta.

            Mr. Burns is a Democrat in politics, but has always declined office. He has, by industry and intelligent effort, succeeded, and he has gained the good-will and esteem of all who know him.

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


John William Buster, senior member of the firm of Buster & Shelley, proprietors of the oldest and leading drug house of Independence, was born in Missouri, April 7, 1859, in Stickton, Cedar County. His father, General W. Buster, was born in Tennessee, but removed to Missouri, where he was married to Miss Charlotte Ricter, also a native of Tennesee. She was the daughter of William Ricter, of Tennessee, who removed to Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. buster had but one child, the subject of this sketch, when the great civil war burst upon this land, with all its frightful carnage, and Mr. Buster enlisted in the Southern army. He fought gallantly in several small engagements, finally losing his life from a gunshot wound, received in the battle of Marshfield, Louisiana. This left our subject fatherless at an early age and his mother a widow. After some years she married again, a Mr. John J. Roberts. He also died and she is now a widow for the second time, and resides in Texas.

            John Buster was educated in the Arkansas Industrial University. He taught school in Texas for three years, and in 1882 he came to Oregon and taught school in Buena Vista, Polk county. In September, 1884, he came to Independence and purchased the interest of Mr. Robertson, in the drug business, of which he is now the senior member. This business had been operated by Dr. A.B. Robertson, on its present site, for fourteen years. The business was organized in 1884, with Mr. Vernon as partner, then, after five years, Mr. A.S. Lock purchased Mr. Vernon’s interest, and the business continued under this management until 1892, when Mr. R.A. Shelley purchased Mr. Lock’s interest. The firm is thoroughly reliable one, and carries a large stock. It is constructed on the most honorable and liberal basis. Mr. Buster has devoted much of his energy and business ability to the development of the city. He has invested in city property, and owns a nice home in the city. Such men as this are needed in every community.

            In October, 1883, he married Miss E.J. Vernon, a native daughter of the soil, her father, John Vernon, being one of Polk county’s worthy pioneers. (See sketch of same.) Mr. and Mrs. Buster have two children: J.W., Jr., and Edna.

            Mr. Buster is a Past Master Mason, and is a member of the order of Woodmen. In politics he is a Democrat, and has served as a member of the City Council and as City Treasurer for several years. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of city schools, who erected the present fine school building, which is a credit to the School Board and the city of Independence, as the building is one of the finest in the city.

            Mr. Buster is a spirited, kind-hearted and obliging citizen, combining the traits of character that achieve success in all walks of life.

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


Hon. Ira F.M. Butler, a valuable citizen of Monmouth, Polk county, Oregon, and an honored pioneer of 1853, was born in Kentucky. His ancestors came from England to the colonies in the early history of the country. His great-grandfather, Peter Butler, was a resident of Virginia, and lived to be 106 years of age. His grandfather, John Butler, was born in Virginia, died in Illinois, in his seventy-fifth year. Mr. Butler’s father, Peter Butler, was born in Kentucky, March 9, 1789. He married Rachel Murphey, a native of Tennessee, born April 2, 1788. She was the daughter of John Murphy.

            Mr. Butler, the subject of this sketch, was the oldest of a family of nine children, of whom only three are now living. He was born in Kentucky, May 12, 1812. He was reared and educated there until his seventeenth year and then removed to Illinois, where he was for seven years Clerk of the Circuit Court of Warren county, and also Sheriff of that county for five years. He held the office of Justice of the Peace for seven years more. He crossed the plains to Oregon in 1853, from Monmouth, Illinois, and arrived in Polk county, August 9, 1853, where he has since made his home and led a distinguished life. He saw some hardships on the plain, but their company came through without a death. He took a donation claim, between the Luckamute river and Soap creek, and near the mouth of the latter he built the cheap home of the pioneer and resided here for some time, then sold and purchased 682 acres. On this property he built, improved the land, raised stock and grain and prospered. He resided here for eighteen years and still owns it. In 1873 he moved to Monmouth, Oregon, where he built a find house on property he purchased. Here he is spending the evening of a well spent life. He is well known and highly respected through the county.           

            He was married November 5, 1835, to Miss Mary Ann Davidson, daughter of Elijah Davidson. They had four children in Warren county: Newton H., A.D. and A.P. Their daughter Alice was added to the family in Oregon. His faithful wife was spared to him for fifty-three years and their married life has been a most happy one. They celebrated their golden wedding November 5, 1885, and had a most enjoyable time of it, such as falls to the lot of few families. Mrs. Butler survived three years long and died in June, 1888. She had attained a beautiful old age. She was greatly loved for her many endearing traits of character, and it can well be said of her that she had performed the duties of a dutiful wife and a kind and indulgent mother.

            Alice and Margaret, two daughters, reside with their father and give him the best of care in his declining years. The son, A.D., is engaged in the horticultural business. Judge Butler has taken a prominent part in public offices of the county. He has always been a lover of the principles of Jefferson. He served three terms in the Oregon Legislature and in 1878 he was elected Judge of Polk county and served faithfully until 1882. Since then he has retired from public life In 1832 this gentlemen enlisted in the Black Hawk war. He then was young, active and brave, and he enjoyed fighting the bloodthirsty Indians, who kept up a running warfare. Although he was very much exposed he came out without a scratch.

            Judge and Mrs. Butler were members of the Christian Church, and he was one of the founders of the Christian College of Monmouth and was President of its Board of Trustees for many years. He also was one of the founders and stockholders of the Polk county Bank at Monmouth. He has been a man of judgment and ability all his life. He has been a leader of men and has been actuated by the highest motives, love to God and love to man, and he is ready to say of Oregon, as one of old, “Lord lettest now thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”

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


Dr. Otis D. Butler, of Independence, is a native of Polk county, born June 10, 1862. He is a son of Orville Butler, a native of Illinois, born in 1840, and a grandson of J.B.V. Butler, a native of New Hampshire, who emigrated to Illinois, where he married Miss Elizabeth ingalls.

            In 1849 the family crossed the plains to Oregon, the Doctor’s father being one of the company. He received an education in this State, and remained with his father until he was of age. In 1861 he was married to Miss Ellen Murphy, of Monmouth, a daughter of Rev. William Murphy, of the Christian church, and one of Oregon’s pioneers. They had three children: Otis D., our subject; C.W., who was a student at the State Normal School three years, and is now a practicing dentist; and Ellen, now Mrs. J.F. O’Donnell, who husband is a leading hardware merchant of Independence. The mother died in 1870, a faithful member of the Christian Church, and a most estimable woman. The father, who afterward married Miss Mary Lee, of Dallas, now lives on his farm in Linn county, with a family of four children: Sadie, Vance, Dean and Frank.

            Dr. Butler tasted the bitter with the average poor boy of his day; entered Christian College at Monmouth, at the age of sixteen, working for his board and tuition. He graduated with a degree of B.S. in 1882. Soon after, he was employed in a drug store in Dallas, which position he held for two years, completing his course in pharmacy. He then read medicine with Dr. J.W. Bean, now of Ellingsworth, Washington, and graduated from the Willamette University, in Portland, in 1887, having held the position of house surgeon and physician at Good Samaritan Hospital for one year. A few months later he came to Independence and formed a partnership with Dr. T.J. Lee, which continued about five years.

            In March, 1880, he was married to Miss Ardella Nelson, a daughter of A. Nelson, an honored Oregon pioneer. She was born in Polk county, December 5, 1868; was educated at the best schools in the county, and graduated from the Academy of Sacred Heart, at Salem, in 1886. She afterward taught several terms in the district and public schools near her home.

            Dr. and Mrs. Butler have one little son, Maurice J. They have completed and lately occupied on the of the most esthetic cottages in Independence. The Doctor is a Royal Arch Mason, an in politics is a Democrat, having served five years as secretary of the Board of United States examining Surgeons for Pensions.

            He and his wife are highly esteemed in the county in which they were born, raised, educated, married and settled, and are excellent representatives of the native sons and daughters of Oregon, a credit to their county and State, of which they are just proud, and which their patents helped to found.

            The Doctor is an enthusiast in this profession and as a young physician stands high in it, which fact is shown by the large practice he enjoys.

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



The subject of this sketch was born at Blanford, Massachusetts, in the year 1819. His father, Hon. Reuben Boise, was a farmer and a prominent man in the polities of his State, having been County Commissioner, County Clerk and member of the State Senate of Massachusetts. He also tilled other offices of honor and trust with credit to himself and the State. In 1843 Judge Boise graduated at Williams College, in the classical course, and, being struck with the Western fever, he immigrated to Missouri, where he commenced his career as a school teacher and followed that occupation for two years, when he returned to his native State and begun the study of law under his uncle, Hon. Patrick Boise, at Westfield, Massachusetts. In 1848 he was admitted to the bar and at once entered upon the practice of his profession at Chicopee Falls, where he remained for two years. Being again desirous of seeking his fortunes in a new country, he came by the way of the Isthmus to Oregon, and settled at Portland in the spring of 1851. He immediately commenced the practice of law, succeeding much better than he had anticipated. In about a year the Territorial Legislature elected him Prosecuting Attorney of the first and second districts. In 1854 he, in company with Hon. James K. Kelly and Hon. D. R. Bigelow, was elected Code Commissioner for Oregon. At that early date the Territory had no laws compiled in book form for its government, hence this was the first code ever prepared for Oregon. The Commissioners swept away much of the old common law that was cumbersome and intricate and founded our present mode of practice. He then purchased a farm near Dallas and moved thereon. In 1854 he was re-elected Prosecuting Attorney, and at the same election honored by Polk comity with a seat in the Territorial Legislature. Two years afterwards he was again elected a member of that body, both terms taking a very prominent part in its deliberations. In 1857 he was one of the Representatives of Polk County in the Constitutional Convention, where he was Chairman of the Committee on Legislation, and prepared that portion of the Constitution relating to the Legislative Department, and otherwise materially assisted in furnishing Oregon with her fundamental laws. In this same year he was appointed by President Buchanan one of the Supreme Judges of the Territory. The next year, after the admission of the State into the Union, he was elected to that office, and from 1862 to 1864 was Chief Justice. Upon the expiration of his term in 1864 he was again re-elected for six years, during four of which he was Chief Justice. In 1870 he was again chosen by the people to fill that honorable position, but Hon. B. F. Bonham, his competitor, having commenced an action to contest his seat on the bench, and not desiring to stand the cost of a long and expensive litigation, he resigned and returned to the practice of his profession. In 1874 he was elected by the Legislature one of the Capitol Building Commissioners, which office he held until 1876, when he was again elected to his old position on the Supreme Bench. Two years later, the Legislature having divided the Supreme and Circuit Judges into distinct classes, he was appointed one of the Judges of the Supreme Court, and acquired considerable celebrity on account of his many dissenting opinions. In 1880 he was elected Judge of the Third Judicial District, which office he now holds. There is, perhaps, no man in Oregon who has been called upon so often and so continuously to fill offices of honor and trust as Hon. Reuben P. Boise. He had not been in this State over three months before he was called upon to discharge the duties of Prosecuting Attorney, and from that time to the present, a period of over thirty years, he has, almost without intermission, been serving the people in positions that required great ability and integrity, and some of the time, before the laws of the Territory prohibited it, holding two offices at once. That great confidence is reposed in Judge Boise by the people is evinced in the fact that he has never been defeated at an election in his life. The Judge took a prominent part in the Independent move in politics, which showed great strength in the election of 1874. After what he thought the Independent party had been organized for was accomplished, he returned to the Republican ranks. He is an independent man in every sense of the word, and if men and measures have not been what he thought they should be, he has spoken out, regardless of party censure; and such men the commonwealth demand, mere time-servers never advance their country's welfare. Judge Boise is the happy possessor of one of the largest farms of Polk county, embracing over twenty-five hundred acres, the greater part of which he has owned since 1853; being raised on a farm in his boyhood, and having owned and operated one in Oregon for so many years, he takes great interest in the advancement of our agricultural interests. He has twice been elected Master of the State Grange of Oregon, which position he now holds, and in 1880 attended the meeting of the National Grange at Washington, D, C, as a delegate from this State. Being a classical scholar, he has always zealously worked in behalf of the cause of education, and is now a member of the Board of Trustees of the Pacific University at Forest Grove, the La Creole Academy at Dallas, and the Willamette University, of Salem, and takes great interest in their welfare. The Judge being descended from the old Puritans has inherited their strict purity of morals and uprightness of character, not one word having ever been truthfully uttered against his honor. During his long career in public life, reaching over a quarter of a century, it has demanded many varied acquirements to meet all the positions Judge Boise has been called upon to fill, yet he has adorned all of them.

Pen Pictures of Representative Men of Oregon
Frank E. Hodgkin & J. J. Galvin
Farmer and Dairyman Publishing House
Transcribed by Ann Planca


This gentleman's career in life is one of which he should justly feel proud. It is a well known fact that in early days the great majority of men who came to this coast did so under the excitement which the discovery of gold had created in the Eastern States, and on arriving here all hastened to the mountains with the anticipation of making a fortune within a year or two and returning to their Eastern homes to spend the remainder of their lives in ease and luxury. Such, however, was not the case with the subject -of our sketch. The pursuit of agriculture, rather than that of mining, appears to have been his ambition, and he to-day resides near Independence, in Polk County, on the same donation claim located by him in 1848. Mr. Burch was born in Chaiton County, Missouri, May 2, 1825, and obtained an ordinary common school education. On the 25th of April, 1845, he left the home of his parents and started across the plains for Oregon, reaching here in October of the same year. In 1846 he assisted Hon. Jesse Applegate and others in viewing and locating the Southern Oregon wagon road, and conducting the straggling parties of immigrants over the same. During the Cayuse Indian war of 1847-8, Mr. Burch served as Adjutant in both Col. Gilliam's and Col. Waters' regiments, preparing all of their official reports. He was married September 6, 1848, to Miss Eliza A. Davidson, daughter of Hezekiah Davidson. She, too, is an honored pioneer, having came to Oregon in 1847. Mr. Burch also was captain of a volunteer company during the Yakima Indian War of 1855-6. In 1857 he represented his county in the Constitutional Convention, and was a member of the standing committees on Military Corporations and Internal Improvements, rendering valuable assistance in framing both of these important clauses in our State Constitution. He was a member of the first State Legislature and represented Polk County in the Senate of 1868 and again in 1870, serving as President during the former session. He was also a member and the Chairman of the Investigating Committee, appointed by the Legislative Assembly of 1870 to examine and report upon the condition of the executive, administrative and financial departments of the State government. During the administration of Gov. Chadwick, Mr. Burch served as Superintendent of the Penitentiary. Such was his management of that institution that the joint committee appointed by the Legislative Assembly to investigate the affairs of that institution recommended in their report his Continuance in office. He is now an honored citizen in private life, taking such interests only in public affairs as every man shall who is interested in the welfare of our country. Mr. Burch is a Democrat in politics and has, heretofore, taken an active interest in political matters. He is a man of strong executive ability and is generally a leader in any enterprise he may be interested in. He rarely follows, as he has a mind and will of his own, and his opinions are generally considered worthy of careful consideration. He is of ordinary height and build, plainly dressed, genial and courteous to his friends, and is honest, sincere and earnest in everything he undertakes. There is a vein of good humor in his composition, and a disposition to relish a good joke. He has always endeavored to do his duty honestly and faithfully in the discharge of his official duties, and has won and well merits the confidence and esteem of his neighbors and friends.

Pen Pictures of Representative Men of Oregon
Frank E. Hodgkin & J. J. Galvin
Farmer and Dairyman Publishing House
Transcribed by Ann Planca

Residence, Dallas, Oregon; office, same. Born March 31, 1882 at Dallas, Oregon. Son of Henry Monroe and Flora Edna (Plummer)Brown. Married June 12, 1907, to Leta W. McKim. Educated in the public schools at Dallas, graduating from the high school in 1896 and from the Portland Business College in 1903. Read law with Hon. J. N. Hart at Dallas, and with Butcher, Clifford & Correll at Baker City, Oregon. Admitted to practice at Pendleton in November 1905. Opened an office for the practice of his profession at Dallas in June, 1906, and has been practicing there ever since. Elected City Auditor and Police Judge of Dallas in April 1907. Served as Lieutenant of Company H, Fourth Regiment, Infantry, located at Dallas. Democrat.

History of the Bench and Bar of Oregon
Historical Publishing Company, Portland, Oregon (1910)
Transcribed by Vicki Bryan

Biographs of the Members of the Senate


L. Bentley of Polk was born March 18th 1825 in Duchess Co., N.Y.  Moved to Ohio in 1870.  He is an independent with republican antecedents and a successful farmer.

The East Oregonian (Pendleton, OR)
Saturday, October 12, 1878