William C. Brown Family

By L.D. Brown


            John Brown, father of William C. Brown, was born in Virginia of German parentage. John Brown was the seventh son, and William C. Brown was the seventh son, making him the seventh son of the seventh son. John Brown moved to Ohio about the year 1808. William C. Brown was born in Hamilton county, Ohio, November 30, 1824. Mary Chambers Brown, wife of John Brown was born in Ohio.

            John Brown died in Hamilton county, Ohio, in 1829. Mary Chambers Brown survived him some thirty fiver years, also dying in Ohio. The sons of John Brown and Mary Chambers Brown were the following: Manluth Brown, Matthew C. Brown, Absolom Brown, John Brown and William C. Brown. Two other sons died in infancy.

            Martha J. Brown, wife of William C. Brown, was born November 10, 1826, in Howard County, Missouri. Her maiden name was Martha J. Townsend.

            William C. Brown came to Oregon in 1847. His future wife, then Martha J. Townsend, was in the same train. They did not meet until the emigrant train was enroute. Their courting was done on the trip to Oregon, principally on the wagon tongue as they were driving a yoke of oxen.

            William C. Brown had not expected to come to Oregon in 1847, in fact had thought little about it, but early that year he had from Ohio to Missouri to investigate some land in Missouri that he heard could be purchased cheaply. One night when the steam-boat on which he was traveling stopped at a small town named Oregon, Missouri, he went to a store to purchase some tobacco; he heard the shop-keeper talking with a man named Thompson; the store-keeper asked Thompson when he expected to start for Oregon. Thompson replied he would start as soon as he could find a man to drive on of his ox teams. Brown volunteered for the job, and was hired on the spot, and soon was on his way to the West.

            In those days William C. Brown was 23 years of age, was tall and raw-boned, and strong as an ox. He was quite a foot racer and at one time while on the trip to Oregon, the band of horses stampeded, and Brown started in pursuit, on foot. He raced the horses for five miles and rounded them up.

            On reaching Oregon Martha J. Townsend settled with her mother on a donation land claim about two miles Northeast of Dallas. William C. Brown went to work for Judge Baber near Albany. His task was splitting rail fences. For this he was to receive twenty five cents per day and to take his wages at next harvest time (fall of 1848) in wheat at 50c a bushel. His contract was to make at least 150 rails per day, and after that his time was his own. He usually had the rails made by noon.

            William C. Brown first filed on a donation claim near Albany in the winter of 1847, but abandoned it. He came back to Polk county in 1848 and was married to Martha J. Townsend on August 2nd, 1848. They filed a donation land claim of 640 acres near Dallas. Their first log cabin was built on this claim in the fall of 1848, on a spot about 200 yards Northeasterly of the present home of L.D. Brown, on the Dallas-Salem highway.

            Joining the first gold rush to California, William C. Brown went in search of the elusive metal in the early spring of 1849. He remained there about six months, but came back with much less money than when he left. A son, John G. Brown was born to William C. Brown and wife, while Mr. Brown was in California, on June 1, 1849.

            After his return from California in 1849, William C. Brown and wife lived on their homestead, and did some farming. The first crop of wheat planted by him was seeded broad-cast on the grassy sod, and then plowed under. The crop yielded a beautiful harvest, and it was always Mr. Brown’s theory that crops could be raised in that manner year and year and probably yielded more than seeded in the prevailing fashion. The ground in those years, however, was new, and probably the wheat would have yielded a good harvest even if planted two feet under ground. In 1852 William C. Brown went to work for C.D. Embree on the La Creole River between Dallas and Dixie (Rickreall). He worked as a farm hand cradeling wheat. His wages were to be on sheep or three bushels of wheat for a day’s work of three acres. He took his pay partly in sheep and partly in wheat. That fall both mutton and wheat rose in price and Brown sold the sheep for $10.00 per head and the wheat at $5.00 per bushel, so that his summer’s work paid him well indeed.

            In 1853, Mr. Brown bought out the Ellendale general merchandise store stock from J.W. Nesmith, and moved the stock down to Cynthian, as Dallas was then called. The town, such as it was, was located where the Dallas-Salem highway intersects Ellendale Avenue at North edge of Dallas. Mr. Brown’s store building stood just a little south of the present Wood-Ellis prune dryer. The court house was on the corner where the Skinner grocery store is now located. Brown bought the stock of goods on time from Mr. Nesmith, agreeing to pay him $2500 for the stock in one year. Business was good and he paid for the entire stock in six months. In 1856, the court house and town of Dallas was moved across the La Creole River, to its present location, and in 1857 Mr. Brown moved his store to the new town. From then on Mr. Brown conducted a general merchandise store in Dallas, until his retirement from business about 1903, being in such a business for fifty years.

            John G. Brown, son of William C. Brown, has in his possession an old account book used in the store business in 1856 and 1857. This books is interesting reading. The names of all the early pioneers of the Oregon country appear thereon: the number of different kinds of articles bought were not numerous, but was made up in quantity purchased. Prices in those days were different from now. Taken from random in the old account book, are some of the items charged, with prices paid: Three bushels of apples, $24.00; (probably not very good apples either) five pounds of coffee, $1.00. However the coffee in those days was green, unroasted, and tough, and probably the 20 cents per pound was plenty; five pounds of sugar, $1.00. This was brown sugar; six pounds of rice, $1.00; butter 25c per pound, hairpins 25c per box; calico 16 ½ cents per yard, salt 7 cents per pound. Candles were sold by the pound, the price being 25 cents per pound, or 3 for 50 cents; flannel 50 cents a yd.; no suits were charged in the books, for the reason that practically all clothing for men and women was made at home; the stores did not handle them. Salts (probably epsoms) 25 cents per half pound. Bottles of bitters, bottle of alternative and some other bottles of queer names appear in the book. There were no saloons in those early days, and very likely those mysterious looking bottles contained something with a kick to it. Genuine Panama hats sold for $2.00 each; silk handkerchiefs for 75 cents; Judge Boise paid $1.50 for a pair of shoes; dried apples were 20 cents per pound; salaratus 15 cents; six plugs of tobacco for $1.00. Mr. Brown furnished the jail contractors with materials for the building of the Polk county jail, being the same jail now standing in Dallas. That was in 1857. Among the charges to the jail contractor are 7 barrels of lime, 200 lbs to the barrel, $67.28; 1950 lbs iron, $156.00; hauling the 1950 pounds of iron from Portland to Dallas $29.25. It seems the store-keeper had to take some of his pay in scrip, but he discounted it very materially. It is interesting to note that there is not now living a single person whose names appears in that old account book.

            William C. Brown was a charter member of both the Odd Fellows and Masonic lodges in Dallas. He was elected to the legislature in 1874, and served one term; he was an officer in the Dallas City Bank, and a director therein for many years; he gained a great deal of publicity, when some 28 years ago he scattered thousands of nickels on the court house square for the youngsters to scramble after. An account of this occurrence, with photograph of Mr. Brown and the nickel scramble, appeared in the Strand Magazine printed in London, England. Mr. Brown in the last years of his life would each year celebrate his birthday by inviting all the widows in Dallas to dine with him at his expense; he took great pleasure in assisting the needy, and performed many acts of charity.

            William C. Brown died at his home in Dallas, Oregon May 10, 1909. Martha J. Brown had preceded him, passing away November 19, 1899. Five children were born to William C. Brown and wife, John G. Brown, the oldest son, lives in North Dallas; Mrs. V.A. Kersey, lives in Dallas; Joseph L. Brown has been dead some three years; Alonzo Brown has been dead some 24 years; and Henry M. Brown, the youngest son, died in 1912. One other child died in infancy.

            Practically all the descendants of William C. Brown and Martha J. Brown live in and around Dallas, Oregon.



The Embree Family

By Frances Dempsey


            The founder of the Embree family in America was born in England, and was one of the Revolutionary sons who gave his allegiance to the cause of the original thirteen colonies. He settled in Virginia but left his plantation to take part in the war of Independence.

            Thomas Embree was born in Virginia but early in life moved to Kentucky and later moved to Howard county Missouri, at which place he died, after helping in the development of the country.

            He had a family of fifteen children of which Cary Duncan Embree was the sixth. Cary D. Embree was born in Clark Co., Ky., Jan. 11, 1806.

            Owing to the want of both time and facilities, his early education was extremely limited. His schooling did not exceed a year and a half.

            At the age of twenty-eight, he married Lucinda Fowler, a native of his own state, who was one year younger than himself.

            White residing in Missouri, his residence was principally in Howard county, near the county seat. He spent a few years in Pettis county but returned to Howard, and on April 18, 1844, with his wife and four children, Thomas Van Buren, Mary Isadore, Marcus A. and Benton and a young man named Hinman of New York, started for Oregon. Three yoke oxen, two cows, one horse and a new wagon, and not over $20 constituted his possessions.  

            The first event of note on the journey occurred at a place then called The Little Blue, when another child was added to the family, who was christened Alice Irene. This even caused by one days delay, as time was preciouis and all were anxious to complete their journey before winter.

            They had many experiences of a trying nature. The weather was very inclement, rain having set in soon after their leaving Booneville, and continuing up until July. The year of ’44 is said to have been one of the rainiest in history.

            When he arrived at Fort Laramie in August, he was compelled to trade his remaining yoke of oxen for a strong reliable animal, and this reinforced, they made their way, although meeting with difficulties from steep inclines and also their store of supplies running low.

            When they reached The Dalles, Oregon, in November, Mr. Embree had but $1.00 left. With this he bought a bushel of potatoes, sugar and tea from Dr. Whiteman of the Hudson Bay Co. He also obtained some beef in credit.

            Among the company was his brother-in-law, Col. Nathaniel Ford, and Mr. Embree placed his family in his care while they started down the Columbia River in flat boats, and he and other members of the company drove the cattle down the river over the mountain trails.

            Upon arriving at the Cascades, the families had to be transferred six miles over land to the lower river, the women walked through the mud carrying their babies, while every child strong enough was obliged to help carry household articles.

            It was a scene to wring the strongest heart. Mrs. Embree carried her baby, four little ones trudging at her skirts walked the entire six miles through the blinding snow while her husband on the Indian trail higher up in the mountains, drove his exhausted cattle. His horse had been stolen by the Indians while at Whitman station.

            The family was re-united near Linnton, a landing below Portland. Upon arriving at this point they found but one log cabin, where now stands Oregon’s busiest metropolis.

            The family arrived at Oregon City, December 24, and remained there until February, 1845. While there they were again able to get some supplies from the Hudson Bay company, Dr. McLoughlin extending Mr. Embree credit until such a time as he could raise a crop.

            While in Oregon City, Mrs. Embree made a pair of pants for a man, getting $1.00 for them, with which money she bought sugar and salt. And that was the last sugar they had until her husband made a few pounds from some maple trees on the banks of La Creole about two years later.

            After leaving Oregon City in February, they moved up the Willamette Valley and settled on the La Creole, near the present village of Rickreall. Mr. Embree took the 640 acres as his donation. He was the sixth family to locate in Polk County. At this time there was not a white settler between the La Creole and the California line.

            He built a small cabin 12x16 feet, and not a hammer was used in its construction. The logs were hauled by yoking an ox and a cow together.

            He put in 5 acres of wheat, plowing the ground with a wooden mouldboard known as the Cary plow. He cradled his grain barefooted and bound the wheat on his naked arms because his shirt was worn out and his wife had nothing to patch it with.

When he came down to his last shirt, he had to go to bed while his wife washed and dried it. For a considerable time the children had no shoes and the first ones they wore were made by Mr. Embree himself from some leather which he bought at the John Waymire store.

            He related the wedding of Col. Nesmith when all the men wore full suits of buckskin. The lady who could wear the newest calico dress was considered finely dressed. At that time there was but little wedding cake or luxuries of any kind, but then we can imagine that there was much hospitality and enjoyment among them.

            Mr. Embree’s change from a buckskin suit was to a suit of Kentucky Jeans which he bought of Mrs. Holmes of Holmes Gap and paid her in wheat.

            On October 17, 1847, another son was born who was named John Boyle.

            Mr. Embree went to the California Gold mines in 1849, and being rather successful, upon his return the hardships were ended to a certain extent, and he had a great desire to recompense his family for what privations they had endured.

            In 1851 he built a large hewed log house (part of which is still standing). Near the main through-fare, he opened the first wagon road across the La Creole and the old Indian or California trail crossed the stream near this road.

            His home was the central point for all public gatherings, both religious and social, and no one was every turned away from his door hungry.    

            The first school house was built on his place and was called Jefferson College. The first courts were held in this college.

            Mr. Embree was the first sheriff of Polk county, while Oregon was still a Territory, but resigned from the office as he could not bear the thought of attaching property or arresting his neighbor.

            In religion, he was Calvinistic, he was first a Baptist, but later was united with the M.E. church South.

            Politically, he was a democrat and his first vote was cast in 1828 for Andrew Jackson.

            Mrs. Embree died in 1881 as a result of an accident.

            In 1891 he purchased a tract of land in Dallas, and spent his remaining days there, always industrious. He tended his own garden, and planted fruit trees, and kept himself active by out of door work. He resided at this place until his death in June, 1900.  

            Thomas Van Buren, the oldest son, was born in Fayette, Howard county, Missouri, on August 14, 1836. Being raised on a farm, he was reared to hard work, but later took up the study of medicine and practiced this profession for over 42 years. He married Anna Finley. For a while they lived in Harney county but returned to Dallas, where he died in October, 1910.

            Marcus A. spent most of his life in Polk and Benton counties. He married Adeline Morrison of Benton county. The latter part of his life was spent in Dallas, and he passed away in 1912.

            Mary Isadore, the oldest daughter, married Thomas J. Hayter in 1855, and resided on part of the old Donation Claim, but later moved to Dallas where she resided until her death in 1925.

            Benton never married. He spent the early part of his life on the home place, later going to Harney county and died in California in 1905.

            Alice Irene married James A. Dempsey of Rickreall, and most of their life was spent on the farm near there and at Dallas at which place she still resides.

            John Boyle never married, but remained at home with his father until his death and later lived alone. He passed away in 1921.



Nicholas and Sarah Hopper Lee

By Joseph D. Lee


            The best information of the Lee family is that three brothers came from Normandy, France, with William the Conquerer in the 1066. Their Norman name was DeLei and was Anglicized Lee.

            Intervening history is too lengthy for recital in this paper. Joseph Lee related to the Revolutionary Lees was born in Cape May County, New Jersey, about 1781. When some 30 years of age he married Amy Lunbeck. In 1817 with their first child Jonathan Johnson Lee they moved to Pike county, Ohio, where were born Nicholas, Richard, Joseph Dunn Bradford and several daughters.

            In the year 1833 Joseph Lee died of a quick consumption superinduced by exposure in fighting a forest fire.

            Nicholas who was born February 11, 1818, assisted in maintaining the family and learned the cooper’s trade. His shop was near Waverly, Ohio.

            August 4, 1840 he and Sarah Hopper were married. Her mother, Martha Anderson Hopper was of the Andersons of Virginia. Her uncle John Anderson belonged to the 5th Infantry in the Revolutionary war. John Woods Hopper who came from Ireland to Virginia when a boy with his widowed mother, married Martha Anderson about the year 1798. They had 8 boys and 8 girls. He was a lieutenant in the war of 1812. Sarah was born February 11, 1819 in Buckingham County, Va., the same year Queen Victoria and strangely enough both women were married the same year. Mr. Hopper moved to Ohio about the year 1828.

            It will be observed that Mr. and Mrs. Lee had the same birthday (1 year apart), the 11th of February. The 11th of the month figured again in their deaths, he dying July 11, 1879 and she January 11, 1881.

            In 1840 they moved from Ohio to Iowa while it was yet a territory. In the spring of 1847 they started to Oregon, fully equipped with a good team, 2 cows (Rose and Lilly), and necessary household goods, but raids by Indians upon the cattle of the train and losses in stampedes, left them practically without a team. They threw away much of the household goods and fortunately purchased a yoke of oxen (Dave and George) from another train enabling them to complete the long and wearisome journey.

            The captain of the company for at least a portion of the way war Rev. Wm. Jolly who after some years of residence in Oregon joined with Dr. J.W. Watts of Yamhill county in the formation of a new church which was a short duration. Later he became a believer in Spiritualism.

            Many and interesting were the incidents of the trip aside from its many perils. The vast herds of buffalo were a menace. In their annual migration they would not turn their course for any ordinary obstruction. When an army of them was seen coming, the wagons were hastily placed in a circle, the cattle in the center and the men at the open spaces to guard them. As the buffalo approached a few would be shout to break their rush and veer their course. Even then stampedes of cattle not always be averted and much time would be lost in gathering them up and usually some were never recovered.

            At night a careful watch was kept for if an ox was struck by an arrow he gave a load snort and bellow and the cattle would wildly scatter.

            One night an outside sentinel noticed a bush that seemed to slowly change its position. He shot aiming at the ground. The next morning some men went to the place finding an Indian dead from a shot in his neck.

            In one instance a girl received a flesh wound from an Indian’s arrow while sitting at the camp fire.

            At Fort Hall or some point well east the train divided. The Lees and quite a number of others took the Southern route via Klamath Lake and Cow Creek Canyon. James Frederick was captain.

            Of the train coming down the Columbia, several stopped at Dr. Marcus Whitman’s station and were ruthlessly murdered or captured in the Indian massacre of Nov. 29 and 30, 1847.

            It was late in the fall, when they reached the head of the valley, for the trip was a hard one, especially over Cow Creek Canyon. The cattle were weak and jaded. Elias Briggs who had safely brought a hive of bees lost them here when his wagon was overturned in the water.

            The families of the Lees and Fredericks were particularly friendly. They selected claims and built cabins not far from Eugene Skinner’s, after whom the city of Eugene was named. Others including the Starrs and Belknaps located at Starr’s Point later named Monroe in Benton county.

            In the spring 1848 Frederick and Lee came, with their families, to Polk county seeking work and supplies. Their intention was to return but hearing that the Indians had burned their cabins they decided to remain. They lived in a two-roomed cabin on what is known as the Whitaker place, then belonging probably to J.W. Nesmith.

            Here on the 27th of July, 1848 Joseph Daniel Lee, their fifth child, was born, Dr. J.W. Boyle, a pioneer physician, attending Mrs. Lee. She had borne four children East of the Rockies and all had died in infancy or very early childhood. Of the seven born in Oregon all are alive but one.

            The winter of 48 and 49 was spent by the Lees in Salem. The California gold rush was on but Mr. Lee not being rugged chose to stay in Oregon. Wiley Chapman, a widower arranged for them to care for his children while he went. Rhoda, the older girl later became the wife of George A. Eades the popular county clerk of Marion county. M.N. Chapman, the son, was also in that office.

            In the summer of 1849 they returned to Polk county, bought the claim of one Pomeroy or Brumley, two and one-half miles South of Dallas. By other purchases the old homestead was increased to 700 acres.

            The transition from the cabin to the “new house” was an important event with the pioneer family, 1852 was its date with them. Samuel T. Scott built the house and Martin Zumwalt the chimney.   

            A great deal of unnecessary work was done on frame houses in those days. Big timbers were used. Sleepers and studding were mortised in. The lumber was cut by an upright saw. Frequently the ends of planks were left held together by the “stump shot”. The planing was done by hand. Some four years after the big red barn was built by George B. Dana.

            In 1855 Mr. Lee took the lead in building a log school house on the John Nichols place, property now of the widow of Dr. W.J. Farley. His two older children attended. The school was taught by Daniel Sammis an elderly New York man whose grandson J. Nab Hudson lives in Portland. Some may remember his father Dr. Nathaniel Hudson.

            Soon after a move started for an independent academy in Dallas. He was on the first board of trustees. Three generous men whose claims cornered donated each some 40 acres of land. They were John E. Lyle, Solomon Shelton and John H. Lewis. Mr. Lee and many others donated money and purchased lots in the townsite that was laid off.

            The town which had been on the hill or plateau on the north side of the LaCreole was moved to the South side. In 1856-7 were built the new court house and jail and the building of the La Creole Academic Institute so far completed as to furnish a two-roomed school to be taught. Prof. Horace Lyman and Miss Lizzie Bosie were the teachers. The Lee children as they grew large enough walked three miles to school. To give the children the advantage of winter school Mr. Lee built a house in Dallas which they occupied at times until the fall of 1862 when Mr. Lee started a small store in Dallas.

            In 1864 Wm. R. Dunbar became a partner for one year. He withdrew that he might join a company of U.S. volunteers. He was made first lieutenant and Charles Lafollett, another Dallas resident, became the captain.

            In 1867 Joseph D., the oldest son whose time had been divided between going to school, caring for the farm, helping in the store and teaming to Portland, took a business course at a business college in Portland and in 1870 was appointed postmaster at Dallas and became a partner in the store, the style of the firm being N. & J.D. Lee.

            In 1878 J.D. bought out his father and continued the business for nearly 18 years.

            The old folks later moved back to the farm where they lived the remainder of their lives.

            Only one of Mrs. Lee’s family came to Oregon, a widowed sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Lancaster. Two of Mr. Lee’s brothers came: J.D.B. Lee, in 1852 who with Marshall Lyle, bother of Jno. E. Lyle, went to Southern Oregon, and J.J. Lee who finally settled in Umatilla county. His only daughter Amy Lee lives in Pendleton.  

            Their seven children born in Polk county were: Joseph D. of Portland, Martha Amy of Dayton, widow of J. A. Odell; Mary Ann of Monmouth, wife of Orville Butler; Eliza Jane of Portland, widow of John E. Smith; Sarah Lavinia of Ventura, Calif., the wife of Dr. J.W. Bean; Geo. W., deceased, whose widow, Mary Frances, lives in Portland; and Victoria Adelaide of Portland, widow of W.P. Williams.

            In 1872 J.D. married Miss Eliza Alice Witten who was born in East Tennessee October 11, 1847, a most estimable lady and successful educator. For a time she had taught in the University of Washington, located in Seattle. They raised four children: Lyman Marshall, Portland, Annie Lorene (Hinman) who died in Yakima in 1904, leaving two children; Joseph Roscoe of Rickland, Ore., who married Myrtle E. Gutterson of St. Paul, Minn., who have 4 boys; and Althea Eleanor of Portland who in 1918 married John Ivan Kisaberth, a soldier boy of Ohio, they have two boys. 

            Mrs. J.D. Lee died June 27, 1913.

            The families of the other children are as follows:

            Martha, 3 boys and one girl, one boy died in the Manila war.

            Mary, 3 boys and 1 girl.

            Jennie, 2 boys and 2 girls.

            Lavinia, one boy who died in childhood.

            George, one girl who died in childhood.

            Addie, one boy and one girl. Her son Howard, a most promising young mechanic, died, the result of an accident. Her daughter Viola is the wife of Henry G. Pratt, head captain of Washington, D.C., police.

            In 1854, probably entirely unexpected by him Nicholas Lee was licensed local preacher by the Methodist Episcopal church. His vacations and lack of good health precluded active service but he conscientiously performed his duties without hope of financial remuneration.

            His strict adherence to principle was shown by his refusal to accept a good paying job. He had brought a set of cooper’s tools from Ohio and supplied neighbors with barrels, tubs, churns, etc. Parties who wished to start a distillery ordered an outfit but he refused to fill the order.

            His use of tools enabled him to do other needed work. He made and rigged the Mexican saddles of those days.

            In the early 50s he purchased a span of American horses. Previously oxen served the family for transportation.

            In ’58 or ’59 he ordered a carriage from Newark, N.J., which came around Cape Horn. His family had the first piano and first sewing machine in the neighborhood.

            He was a systematic farmer and took pride in his good horses and cattle.

            During the long winter evenings he would read aloud to the family. Their home was the stopping place of the itinerant and many, both friends and strangers, shared its hospitality.

            Ms. Lee was a wonderful and willing nurse. She seemed to naturally apprehend the need and wishes of the sick.

            Some people of note were in that train of 1847: W.W. Chapman who conceived the Portland, Dallas and Salt Lake railroad the route finally adopted by the O.R. & N.Ry.; Mr. and Mrs. Markham, the father of Edwin Markham, the world known poet who was born at Oregon City in 1852. Mrs. Elizabeth Markham was an able writer of verses. A booklet of her verses have benn compiled by J.D. Lee. Mrs. lee relates that one Mrs. Markham was busy with her literary work, sitting on the wagon tongue when some cattle ran against it knocking her over and scattering her writing material much to her disgust.

            Silently the remains of Mr. and Mrs. Lee lie side by side in the Odd Fellow cemetery near Dallas. To their children it is a shrine-a consecrated spot. Their memory will be cherished while life lasts and their posterity will rise up and call them blessed.

            Different but interesting and absorbing are the histories of our pioneer families. They wrought well and heroically, triumphing over colossal obstacles and dangers. They deserve our sincerest veneration.



The Isaac Staats Family

By John Staats


            My father, Isaac Staats, son of Isaac and Jane Ann Crolins Staats was born in Albany, New York on September 23, 1814.        

            He received a thorough education being well versed in the French and German languages and was also a good Latin scholar. His father was a merchant in the City of Albany, New York, for sixty years; his ancestors had migrated to America in an early day. They were of German extraction.

            In his earliest life, my father was a clerk in the large dry goods store of H.B.C. Laflin & Co. in New York City, and was also a schoolmate of Roscoe Conklin, United States Senator from New York.

            He subsequently in company with his parents in 1837 traveled west to the state of Missouri, the family consisting of his parents, a brother Stephen Staats and five sisters; Mrs. Mrs. Kernelia Forbes, Mart Waters, Jane Ann Weaver, Anna Laflin and Elizabeth Sisson.

            On May 4 1845 my father and his brother Stephen joined a company of some 200 people of all ages and started across the plains to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. After the usual hardships and much suffering, they arrived in Oregon City on the first day of October,   Solomon Tetherow, who settled on the Luckiamute, was chosen as captain of their company. My father and uncle Stephen, together with I.M. Simpson, Rice W. Simpson, Green B. Simpson, Paul Hildebrand, Solomon Tetherow, James E. Williams, came direct to Polk county and settled in the Luckiamute valley.

            My father located on 320 acres of land, being a single man at that time, but on May 19, 1846, he was united in marriage to Miss Orleana Mr. Williams daughter of James E. Williams who came across the plains in the same company as he.

            Under the donation land law she became, after her marriage, entitled to 320 acres of land adjoining that of my father. They then were the owners of 640 acres of land which was the limit established by Congress that could be homesteaded under the donation land claim law. 

            As it was then very essential at that early date for some one to be vested with legal authority to attend to tall matters of a public nature, my father was appointed Justice of the Peace over a large territory, comprising what is now Polk, Benton and Lincoln counties.

            He had much to do with the settlement of disputes that often arose between various persons. The trails always took place in the log cabin which served as a residence for my parents in those early days.

            My mother in nearly every instance served dinner to the jury and to the lawyers present and a few of the most prominent persons connected with the trial and never once charged anything for her trouble.

            There were almost an unlimited amount of deeds, mortgages, bills of sales and contracts to be executed in the early days of Polk county and the modern typewriter was undreamed of, so everything had to be written out in long hand which in these days of rapid transit in everything, seems slow and burdensome.

            With the office of Justice of the Peace came the legal right to perform marriage ceremony, and my father had frequent calls in that line of business. All the young single men of that time knew that 320 acres of land was the prize which congress gave to the bride as soon as she became such, and they lost no time, when opportunity presented itself, to become a benedict.

            The first couple married by my father of which I have recorded, was that of Thomas B. Reed to Mrs. Nancy Hawkins. The ceremony took place on November 29, 1846.

            Other early-day marriages at which my father officiated included: Isaac King to Miss Almeda Vanbibber, March 21, 1847; John Gilliam to Miss Hannah R. Dickson, May 9, 1848; John Loose to Mrs. Margaret Wright, June 26, 1848.

            As time went on and immigrants kept arriving and settling on homesteads in the valley, a post office became a necessity and my father was appointed first post master, the name of the office being Luckiamute. He received the appointment from President Pierce and was continued in office about 30 years. The mail route as established at that time had its starting point on the north boundary of Polk county near Salt creek and its terminus at Marysville, later changed to Corvallis.

            The mail was delivered twice a week by carrier on horseback. Patrons of the office in some instances lived ten miles distant, necessitating a trip of 20 miles for their mail-quite in contrast with the present day free delivery of mail matter to most every family door.

            Among those who were early patrons of the office, and the periodicals for which they had subscribed were the following: Smith Collins, Christian Advocate; Robert Gilliam, Savanah Sentinel; Frank English, Statesman; Solomon Tetherow, Banner of Peace; F.S. Jewette, Boston Journal; I.M. Simpson, Statesman; J.E. Williams, Banner of Peace; L.S. Parrott, Advocate; James O’Neal, Washington Union; Hudson Bevens, American Freeman; John Wolverton, State Gazette; William Walters, Oregon Standard; James Greer, Statesman; Samuel Rice, Statesman; William Berry, Courier; H. Higgins, Universe; Rowland Chambers, Statesman;  David Stump, Statesman; James Wheeler, Advocate; John Hyde, Advocate; Laban Case, Advocate; M.M. Nealy, Pearl; Henry Helmick, Pearl.

            Soon after the establishment of the Luckiamute post office, and as the various communities became more thickly populated the patrons of the office from such localities selected some one among their number to make regular weekly trips to the office to carry the mail for the entire neighborhood. Especially was this custom with the Pedee and Kingsvalley communities. Subsequently Kingsvalley employed a regular carrier who made two trips per week to the office on horseback. The names of the persons they employed at various times are as follows: Wm. Robinson, James Chambers, Thomas Fisk, Wm. Burgett and Fannie Greer.



The Savery Family

By Mrs. Hulda Savery


            Green B. Savery, son of Henry and Agnes (nee Edwards) Savery, was born in Kentucky, December 24, 1804. There were three brothers and one sister. Joseph N. Married and lived in Talladego, Alabama, where he died march 27, 1866. John Tolbert better known as Tol Savery lived single and died in Dallas, Oregon, May 16, 1900, at the age of eighty-six. Seburn was drowned in the Des Moines river, leaving a wife and two daughters and one son. The oldest, Mary Elizabeth, married Levi Knott, one of the owners of the Stark Street Ferry, on the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. Eliza Jane, married Ransom Stayton. They lived in Prineville, where they passed on a few years ago. Their son, William T. Savery, lives with his family in Steamboat Springs, Nevada. The widow married William Clingan and came to Oregon with the Saverys in 1853.

            Green B. Savery’s only sister married John H. Morrison. To this union were born four sons and one daughter, Newton, Joseph L., Green T., John D., and Eliza Jane, who died in childhood. Joseph L. Morrison married Sarah Jane Glenn. They have two sons and one daughter living; Charley of Myrtle Creek, Mrs. George Horsfall of Toledo, Lincoln County, Oregon, and Frank J. Morrison of Dallas, Oregon, mail carrier on route one.

            Green B. Savery married Catherin Sears, daughter of Henry and Anna (nee Parrin) Sears. She was born October 16, 1808 in Kentucky. She had six sisters and three brothers that lived to attain their majority. They were Jackson, Michiel and Valentine, better known as Felt Sears. Her sister Jane married Phillip Mosier; Adline married George Mosier; Elizabeth married Martin Byerley, Sr. Serepta married Ab Fauts; Martha Ann married Enoch Wilcoxan and Sarah Clementine married George Holtsclan. Green B. Savery and Catherin Sears  were married June 20, 1831, in Floyd county, Indiana, near the city of Bradford, where their only child, Joseph Henry, was born. They moved to Iowa, then to Illinois in 1835 and then back to Iowa Territory on June 28, 1838. They left Agency City, Wapella county, Iowa, April 18, 1853 for Oregon. The wagon train was small on the start, but joined the Livingston Train a few hundred miles out. The company consisted of a few relatives, friends and neighbors, besides Green B. Savery’s wife and son, Joseph, who was in his twenty-first year and William Clingan and family, Valentine Sears and family, Ike McCoy and his sister, Alice, two homeless orphans Ike walked most of the way and drove an ox team for his board and lodging. After he married in Polk County, he became quite wealth acquiring a large tract of land near the town that bears his name in Polk County, Oregon. His sister Alice came with the Saverys and afterward married a man named Sanders. Margaret Wagoner, another orphan girl, started with a family in the train. They found their provisions were getting low so they put her belongings by the roadside and told her they could not take her any farther. Mrs. Savery said she could come on with them.

            Joseph L. Morrison was under age and his father forbid his coming but he ran away and in four days joined the company out of his father’s reach. The trip across was uneventful. They suffered the usual hardships. After they joined the Livingston train, they did not have to guard their stock but turned them in the herd that Livingstone was bringing across and his herders kept them.

            They arrived in Polk County, Oregon, on Salt Creek, October 26, 1853. Green B. Savery took an active part in politics and building up the country. He was a surveyor and was often appointed by the county and government to locate section lines and township corners. He was elected Justice of the Peace  for Jackson precinct several terms in succession, and only retired from active life after the loss of his eyesight. He lived on his donation land claim on Salt Creek until his death, which occurred February 9, 1871. his wife died June 225, 1894, at the age of eighty-six. His son Joseph Henry Savery was born October 23, 1832 in Floyd county, Indiana near the City of Bradford; crossed the plains with his parents in 1853. He lived with his parents and served as constable for his father and was appointed postmaster of Salt Creek on the 9th day of November, 1868, and served till the office was discontinued in 1872. he married Hulda Jane Kimsey, daughter of John F. and Macy Kimsey, April 12, 1871. To this union was born five songs; Ore born April 5, 1872 and married Alice B. Coulter, September 7, 1910; Ralph, born May 6, 1878, married Ethelwyn Sears, May 6, 1903; John Tolbert, Jr., born February 24, 1883, died September 12, 1897l Joseph Henry, Jr., was born December 15, 1884. He married miss Grace t. Ottinger, November 4, 1905; Tracy, born August 1, 1887 was married to Edna E. Bohle, February 9, 1921. Mr. and Mrs. Savery lived on the farm on Salt Creek, but his health failing, they moved to Dallas, June 25, 1905, where he passed away April 8, 1911, at his home on 511 Jefferson St., Dallas, Oregon, where his widow, Hulda Jane Savery still resides.




            Owing to the fact that a part of the booklet was printed before corrections arrived for the story of the Lee family, by J.D. Lee, a part of that story was incomplete. The following should be added to the Lee family history-The Editor.

            Martha’s children were : Frank W. Odell of Yamhill county, Ralph A. who died in the Phillipine war, Albert Lee of Portland, Sarah Lula of Yamhill county, wife of Wiley Humphreys.

            Mary’s children were: Vance Leroy  Butler of Pomona, Calif., Sarah Lavina, Monmouth, wife of Layton Smith, Joseph Dean, attorney, Oregon City and Frank Ernest, physician Portland.

            Jennie’s children were: Eva C., wife of John Cadigan, Portland, Chester Lee Smith, Dallas, Haven C. Portland, Irma, Portland, widow of Roy E. Berry.

            Lavina had one boy, Irwin, who died in childhood. George had one girl who died in childhood.

Addie had one boy and one girl. Her son, Howard Vale Williams, a most promising young man, died as the result of an accident. Her daughter, Viola, is the wife of Henry G. Pratt, head captain of the Washington, D.C., police.      



The Shreve Family

By Mary E. Muir


            It is recorded in the genealogy of the Shreve family that their ancestry dates back to the landing of the Mayflower in America. It is also recorded that James Shreve was born October 13, 1754 in N.J. and died in Perry Co., Ohio, at the age of nearly one hundred years. His ancestors came from Holland.

            James Shreve was in the Revolutionary war and refused a pension saying that the Government needed the money more than he did at that time.

            He crossed the Delaware with Washington and was in the battle of Trenton and Princeton. The above ancestry dates back 172 years.

            James Shreve was the father of ten children among them the sixth child being Asa Shreve, born in Virginia, in 1786. Asa Shreve was the father of twelve children born in Fairfield Co., Ohio. His tenth child was named Asa Shreve, born in Ohio, August 28, 1825.  

            Asa Shreve attended the district school and when old enough attended the Baltimore Academy and later taught school, then learned the blacksmith trade and worked at this trade for four years in Ohio.

            In 1850 the cholera broke out in Lafayette and one-half of the inhabitants fled through fear. Asa Shreve being chairman of the committee on the sick in the Order of the Sons of Temperance of which he was a member, was with the sick every day and on the 9th day of August he came down with the dread disease and had a narrow escape and after many weeks recovered. He emigrated too Oregon in 1851 coming with the Jonas Livermore family, who train was in charge of Captain Harpole, who later settled in French Prairie. They had very little trouble except at American Falls where the Indians attacked them but did them no harm.

            There were troubles, trials, raid and mud holes, blizzards, joys and sorrows to meet every day but Asa Shreve was a young man in the prime of life and the girl of his choice was in the train, Harriet Livermore, who later became his wife. There were daily meetings, twilight talks and high hopes for the future in the land of the setting sun.

            This emigrant train arrived in Salem, Oregon in 1851 after a long and hard journey of five months on the way.

            Asa Shreve, the subject of this sketch, came west to improve his fortune and followed the trade of blacksmithing.

            He crossed the river into Polk Co., the day he arrived in Salem and went to Major Walker’s in Spring Valley, where he found plenty of green corn, beans, potatoes and peas and melons and he almost came to the conclusion that he had found heaven on earth. He stayed there one week, then went to Independence and on back to Cincinnati, which is now Eola.

            He erected a building and began black-smithing and burnt his first coal put there. Black-smith tools were very scarce at that time. He bought a bellows in Salem for $70, and an anvil at Champeog for $45 and a hammer and a few bars of iron at Oregon City, and a screw plate at Lafayette.

            He commenced work in February, 1852. On June 10, 1852, he married Harriet Livermore and they took up a land claim near Polk station and erected a log cabin. He and his wife lived there five years, then moved to Dallas and built a home on the north end of Levens street. This house was built in 858 and is still standing. He also built a shop at the corner of Shelton and Oak streets which was burned down in 1870. He built another shop on Main St. and worked there for four years, then bought a farm west of Dallas in 1877 where he lived for 20 years, returning to Dallas in 1897 and bought a home on south Levens street. He died in 1902 at the age of 77 years.

            The family of Asa Shreve consisted of eight children: Sarah M. Farley, deceased; Mary E., now Mrs. A.B. Muir, Dallas; Lot L. Shreve, Beaverton; Mrs. Charles (Nellie) Jacobson; Portland; A.L. Shreve, Mapleton; H.W. Shreve, Kellogg, Idaho; Mrs. Loretta Demorest, deceased; Mrs. O.G. (Kate) Jackman, Beavertson.

            The family passed through all the hardships and privation common to pioneer life but Asa Shreve prospered  and in 1870 was doing a larger business in making wagons and hacks than any one else in Polk county. Some of his hand made chairs, which were made in Eola in 1852 are still in possession of the family, also a rocking chair made by Thomas Ruble, a pioneer of 1852.

            Asa Shreve was a staunch Republican and a strong temperance man.



The Solomon Tetherow Family

By Sam Tetherow


            Sol Tetherow was born in Tennessee in the year 1800. He was married to Ibbie Baker. They had fifteen children. Ten lived to reach old age. Three of the children were born after they came to Oregon.

            Sol Tetherow crossed the plains, coming to Oregon in 1845, locating in Dallas, Oregon, November 16, 1845. He bought Sol Shelton’s squatter’s right to a section of land, or traded him a brindle ox named Bright for his square mile. Dallas is now located on that claim.

            In 1847 Mr. Tetherow found a claim on the forks of the Luckiamute River more to his liking, so he moved his family onto this.

            Of the ten children raised to man and womanhood only one is living at present time, Sam Tetherow of Dallas. Martha Burns, a sister, passed away January 17, 1924, in Portland. Sam Tetherow was nine years old, when his father started for Oregon and can remember many incidents of the trip. Nearly three thousand people came across the plains in the year ‘45.

            The wagon trains were divided up into different groups. Sol Tetherow was captain of one group. Nearly two hundred families of this emigration left the road at Hop Springs near Fort Boise and took what was said to be a short cut off to Oregon. They got off the trail in Malheur county and had all sorts of grief. Stephen Meek was their guide. It was a member of this party that found gold near the head of Malheur River, afterward called the Blue Bucket Mines.

            October 15, 1855, Sam Tetherow enlisted in Captain A.N. Armstrong’s company and fought the Cayuse Indians. There were 104 men in this company.

            Later Captain Armstrong was elected major of the company and Ben Hayden became Captain.

            The lieutenants were Ira Townsend, Francis Goff and David Casper. When Mr. Tetherow was a young man he packed into the Caribon mines from Dallas. He traveled eleven hundred miles on horseback.

            In 1862 he bought bacon here in the valley at ten cents a pound and packed it into the mines at Bannock city and sold it for forty-eight cents a pound. He also tried his luck at Canyon City and John Day.

            Some years later he took up a homestead near Burns, Oregon. He had to leave this place for a while to come back to the valley and while away, someone stole his barbwire fence and tore down his cabin taking away the lumber. This so offended Mr. Tetherow that he decided to come back to the valley and remain.

            Sam Tetherow was married December 16, 1858 to Henrietta Griffith, daughter of John Griffith, who came to Oregon in 1842.

            They had four sons, Columbus, of Monmouth, King of Spokane, Wash., Kane, of Newport, Washington, and Sam of Dallas. Henrietta Tetherow died in 1887 and Mr. Tetherow married Mrs. Isaphene Holman Sept. 3, 1891. She was the mother of Fred Holman of Dallas, and Mrs. Neta Gilbert, Dallas.


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