John Wolverton Family

By Bruce Wolverton, Portland

 

            So far as history informs us the Progenitor of the Wolverton family in the United States came over with a company of about 100 souls from England in 1682 under the leadership of William Penn. The seventeenth century in England was noted (more properly notorious) for the upheavals in Church and State. It was ushered in by the accession of James 1st, who zealously espoused the Fiction, the “Divine Right of Kings”. It was closed by the accession of William and Mary, who were given the reins of government upon the express condition that they recognize and confirm the rights of the people as expressed by Parliament in the Famous Bill of Rights, the third great Declaration of the English people in their struggle for liberty and equality. In its outcome this is known as the Bloodless Revolution.

            During this century the question of Uniformity forced upon the government by the interference of the advocates of the Established Church, 100 men large among the rank and file of the common people, not the least among the Dissenters, or those who claimed the Act of Uniformity was a usurpation of the Rights of Englishmen, were the Quakers. They were not numerous, but they had clear and settled convictions. Among them was Charles Wolverton, who, on account of his failure to ‘conform’ came under the condemnation of the King. He was disposed of his title and his holdings. About this time it seems that King James, 1st, though king by “Divine Right” as he claimed and having authority over the consciences of men as he concluded, yet was improvident as a citizen of England as to become indebted to the father of William Penn. This claim had to be adjusted by Common Law, and James was willing to compromise by granting to William Penn a liberal parcel of land in America. This tract has become known in history as the state of Pennsylvania. But other parcels were bestowed upon those who came over. Fortunately, (for America) England lost to this country many of her best people, forced to expatriate themselves that they might work out a system of toleration in the new world, which they could not accomplish in the old.

            The Company, of which Charles Wolverton was one, (according to the Encyclopedia Britanica) embarked from Deal, in the “Welcome,” on the 1st of September, 1862. They landed at Newcastle on the Delaware on the 27th day of October, having lost one-third of their number of small pox enroute. Charles Wolverton was granted a tract of land 50 miles north of Philadelphia and fifty miles west of New York on the eastern bank of the Delaware river. This was in New Jersey, many of the Quakers having received holdings in this (future) state. The writer has positive information of this grant. Dr. M.D. Wolverton, in 1897 stated that he then held a portion of the 1600 acres, some of which had descended by inheritance to the lineal descendants of the Wolverton family, that, when his commission expired (he was in the army service) he expected to go back and make his home there.

            From a copy of an extract from Snell’s History of hunterdon and Somerset counties, N.J., it appears that Charles Wolverton bought a tract of about 1665 acres of William Dibbledon March 2, 1714. That he divided this tract up among his family is well authenticated. But this latter tract was not the portion granted in 1682. Linnus Wolverton, Grimsby, Ontario, in a letter to Judge Wolverton, Portland, says that Charles Wolverton came to Long Island about 1688. Evidently he returned to New Jersey in 1714, purchasing the latter tract.

            There is a tradition that Charles Wolverton was one of three brothers, coming over to this country in the latter part of the 17th century. This is undoubtedly incorrect. The writer had a conversation in 1897 in Port Angeles, Washington, with a lineal descendant of one of three brothers who lived in the state of new York at the beginning of the Revolutionary war, but, who on account of their Tory principles, left the state and went to Canada. He said that few of the descendants came back in after years in the United States, and that he was the only one he knew of then, who could trace his genealogy back go his origin. Even if one of these was named Charles, he was not the one who settled in New Jersey in 1682.

            James H. Wolverton, of Lawton, Oklahoma, who has traced the family tree to the present generation, has knowledge of upwards of 500 descendants, residing for the most part in this country, though some are in Canada. The subject of this sketch was the son of John Wolverton, who came from New Jersey. His father was Daniel Wolverton, who died in 1783 in New Jersey. His son, John, settled in Ohio in Hamilton county, remaining there till 1839 when he moved to Illinois and in 1840 to Iowa, where he died in 1851 in the 71st year of his age.

            John Wolverton was born in Hamilton county, Ohio, December 4, 1822. His mother was of Dutch parentage, being the daughter of Amos Hoagland, who lived and died in New Jersey. Her name was Mary; she died while the son was in his teens. Coming with the family to Des Moines county, Iowa, in 1840, he grew to manhood in this new settlement, fast filling up with immigrants from every section of the Union.

            Mary Jane Neally was born in Steuben county, New York, May 1, 1825, near the present town of Hornell. Her grandmother on her father’s side was born and lived for a time in the City of New York. Her father was born in Scoharie county, in the eastern part of the state, removing in early life to the Western part, where he lived till 1837, and where the older members of the family were born. With others moving to the great West he took the usual overland journey to Pittsburg, thence by boat to the Junction of the Ohio and Mississippi on flatboats, where passage by boat was had to the prairie lands of the upper Mississippi. At the age of twelve, she bid farewell to her oldest sister, (who was then married, and who remined in New York until her death in 1874) and with others of the family grew to womanhood on the homestead near Burlington, Des Moines county. This was in the midst of the expansion of settlements of the states in the most fertile of the farming lands of the Mississippi. Immigration poured in from all sections of the Eastern states. However, in the formative period, little attention could be paid to schools. The opportunities for an education were meager. On November 24, 1847, while living on the Flint river ten miles from Burlington, Iowa, John Wolverton and Mary Jane Neally were married and settled down to the career of farm life, taking a portion of his father’s farm. Though deprived of more than a common school education, they both had the indomitable will to secure for their offspring the advantages of school facilities. Mr. Wolverton continued his farming operations till the spring of 1853, when, impelled by the ever present desire of many of the pioneering classes of the growing and expanding West, he, with a company of about twenty, started for the far off lands of the Pacific. After a journey of six months, the little band of immigrants reached the Willamette valley on the 16th of September, and in Marion county, on Howell Prairie, they were permitted to greet some of their former neighbors of Des Moines county. As Mrs. Wolverton had two brothers in Polk county, who had preceded her by some years, (coming in 1847) they preferred to make that county their home. Here, Mr. Wolverton secured a half section of land. The Homestead law was annulled in 1853, and those coming after were not so fortunate as the proceeding  pioneers. To this he added in future years other holdings, and at the time of his death in 1902, his farm consisted of about 600 acres, being one of the fine farms of Polk county. At the time of settlement it is said there were but two fences in sight in the whole portion known as Big Valley skirted by a low range of oak hills, the extension of the Coast Range known as Rightsman Park and opening in to the Willamette River on the east.

            Here the family made their home during the latter half of the century. In the fall of 1868, he secured a property in Monmouth, and there gave an opportunity to the children to secure a college education, a blessing denied to themselves in early life. In 1877 the parents removed permanently to Monmouth, where they passed the remaining days left to them. In 1868, Mr. and Mrs. Wolverton became identified with the Christian church, living the quiet Christian lives by which they manifested their influence in the upbuilding of sturdy noble citizenship so characteristic of the Pioneers of the Willamette valley and, indeed, of all Oregon.   

            The family consisted of seven children, the two oldest, William Marshall and Charles Edwin, having been born in Iowa; Bruce, the third son, was born on the Plains, (Snake River); the others, Albert Prince, Josie, Otis Alfred and Grant, were born on the farm. Growing up in one of the most favored spots for health in the west, and inspired with the usual push and energy of the pioneer, the health of the family was above the average. At the fifty-fifth anniversary of their marriage, in Monmouth (1902), there had not been a death either of children and grand-children. Mr. Wolverton was of a robust constitution, and was rarely known to be kept in from active work on account of sickness. Some five years before his passing in 1902, he was taken with the Grippe, and although recovering, he never had his usual strength, and yet, as the Psalmist sang, “By reason or strength” he lived out his four score years passing at the close of the month in which he saw his eightieth birthday. Mrs. Wolverton, though not of a generally robust nature, yet of an active temperament which induced continued exercise, lived to be more than 84, passing to her reward on September 20, 1907. Some seven years prior to her death, she met with an accident by which she was a cripple for the remainder of her life, and but for which she would probably have rounded out her four score years and ten. While taking a lively interest in commercial, civic and political affairs. Mr. Wolverton never aspired to public office. He served for a number of years as Trustee of Christian College and as Deacon in the church at Monmouth, was ever ready to do his part in furthering the interests of the community, but in a quiet unostentious way. Mrs. Wolverton took great pleasure in helping the students of the College and later the Normal school. As a slight token of their appreciation, she had many letters from the young ladies who went from the Normal halls to take up their work in the public schools of Oregon.       

            It was their pleasure and delight to see all of the children except one receive diplomas from one or more schools, five of them graduating at Monmouth. William Marshall, the oldest secured a business preparation in Portland Commercial College, and in 1879 went to Spokane Falls erecting the first brick building for business in the young and growing town. He was for a number of years a hardware merchant, afterwards removing to Cascade City, British Columbia, where he was killed by a falling tree, while out inspecting the cutting of timber on his place. He was married in 1887, March 8, to Miss Margaret Philbert and had two children who are now living in British Columbia.

            Judge Charles E. Wolverton, who has for more than thirty years occupied the Bench in Oregon, was two years old when he came with his parents to Oregon. After graduation in 1872, he went to Kentucky University, Lexington, Kentucky, where he graduated in law in 1874. returning he took up the practice of his profession in Albany in the spring of 1874 continuing for twenty years, when he was elected to the Supreme Bench in 1894. In 1905 he was appointed by President Roosevelt to the position of U.S. District Judge. His strict attention to the arduous duties of this position, has earned for him a high rank as a Judicial.

            On October 3, 1878, he and Miss Clara Price were married in Albany. Though they have no children, Miss Edna Price, a niece, made her home with them for a number of years. He has taken an active part in civic affairs, is Past Master in the Masonic Lodge and has once sat as a delegate in the National Republican convention. In May of this year he was sent to New York to serve for a brief term on the Bench, from there with Mrs. Wolverton, to London to the Convention of leading lawyers, after which they traveled through France, Switzerland and Italy. He returned early in September to resume his place on the bench.

            Bruce, the third some was born on the plains. Though few trains that started across them ever came to the Willamette Valley with all their number, this train had the unique distinction of having a greater number of persons on reaching their destination than when they started. He graduated in the class with his brother, Wm. D. Fenton and others in 1872, in the first class taking Classical Degrees from Christian College. In September of that year (1872) he went to Kentucky University, for one year, when he returned to engage in teaching in 1874. In 1875 he went to California, teaching in the public schools two years, returning to take up the ministry serving for two years in McMinnville. In 1880 he became the first pastor of the Christian church in Portland. He was for a time the pastor of the church in Seattle, dedicating the first building in 1883, and in 1884 organized the First Christian church in Tacoma, Wash. He took up the work of teaching again in 1885 at Dayton, and was the First Superintendent of city schools in Spokane. For the last 25 years he has made his home in Portland, part of the time being in secular callings, but for the last five years has done duty as high school principle in Oregon and Washington.

            In 1880 he and Miss Mary A Humphreys were married in Hillsboro, and from this union they have six children, all living and all married. There are also eleven grandchildren, all living and four of whom are in Peace River Country, Alberta; the others are in Washington and Oregon. Albert P. was born on the farm in Polk county in 1855 and graduated from Christian college in 1877. After spending some years in farming, he went to Spokane where he became associated with his oldest brother in the hardware business. With Mr. Conlan, he afterwards laid out the Wolverton and Conlan Addition to Spokane, and was for a number of years engaged in the Real Estate business.   

            In 1888 he married Miss Lu Miller of Albany, Oregon. From this union they had three children of which two are still living, one dying in early life. His health failing him in 1900, he sought the climate of California soon after and finally removed his family there. While in Pomona, he concluded to undergo an operation for stomach trouble going to the hospital at Los Angeles. Owing to heart weakness he did not recover, passing away on November 22, 1907, and was taken to Spokane, his former home for burial.  

            Josie, the only daughter, was born in 1857, educated in Monmouth, and graduating from Christian college in 1877 with a class of eight. During this time and for several years thereafter, she was engaged in social activities, attaining some prominence in oratorical lines. In 1881 (Christmas Day) she was married to Dr. J.C. Byrd and removed to Salem, where they lived till 1888. Following the profession of dentists, Dr. Byrd was compelled to give up this work on account of eye weakness, when they moved to Spokane, entering into partnership with Wolverton Brothers in the hardware business which he has since followed, being now one of the firm of Jensen, King, Byrd.

            To them was born three children two sons and one daughter. Having taken degrees from University of Washington, they, one son is a doctor living in Salem, the other, a lawyer, has his home in California. The daughter is a resident of Honolulu, the wife of Professor John Nelson, a leading educator.

            Otis, the only son who has made his residence in the county of his birth, was born on May 10, 1861, growing to maturity on the farm, a greater portion of which he acquired in later life. Though not graduating he secured a business education which he has put to good use in various departments of life. He gave special attention to better farming, introducing the better quality of Jersey stock, and, with the assistance of other enterprising stock men, making Polk County noted as one of the foremost counties in the United States in Dairy interests.

            In 1885 he married Miss Rosa Laughary, of whom three children were born. Reuel, the only son, died in 1915, Edith, Mrs. E.G. Bolter, is living on the old homestead 8 miles south of Monmouth, and is the mother o three sterling sons, all of whom are proud of their grandfather. Leto the other daughter who was born in 1893 is now living in Portland.

            Mrs. Wolverton died in 1905, in Monmouth, where they were making there home. In 1910 Mr. Wolverton married Mrs. Irene Dalton, also a daughter of one of the pioneer residents of Polk county. She passed away in 1923 in Monmouth.

            Mr. Wolverton has served two terms as postmaster, and is now for the third term filling the same position. He has been active as a citizen of the town, serving as school director and as mayor for some years.

            Grant S. the youngest son, first saw the light of life, January 5, 1864. After graduation, in 1884, he followed his brothers to Spokane, where for a number of years he was partner in the hardware store. His business tact and energy served him in good purpose during the growing days of the lively young city. In January 1891, he married Miss Eva Bell Prosser, and has one son, now living in Los Angeles, where he is engaged in business. After severing his connection with the hardware firm he spent some years rusticating, and in 1908 went to Alberta, where he has been in business with headquarters in Calgary.

 

The Applegates

By Lillian G. Applegate

 

            Since it is your pleasure that I write a “Story of the Applegates in connection with the early settlement of Polk County,” it seems only fair to look backward to the early settlement of America.

            Away back in 1610 or thereabouts one Thomas Applegate was born in Norfolkshire, England, where we find our first authentic record of the Applegates. Masson gives a list of seven Dutch cities which in 1632 contained English and Scotch dissenting congregations: Amsterdam, Arheim, Bergen-op-zoon, Bois-le-Duc, Breda, Brill, Campvere, Delft, Dordrecht, Flushing, Gorcum, Harlem, The Hague, Leyden, Middleburg, Rotterdam and Utrecht.

            “The Puritan in Holland, England and America” by Douglas Campbell under “Licenses to pass beyond the Seas” (The Genealogist vol. 24 p. 275) April 29, 1624 permission is given to William Danis, age 20, Richard Martin, 30, Marie Ballard, 24, servants of Capt. Applegate, to sail in the ship Berghen-Ap-Zoom. This is supposed to be the father of our Ancestor, Thomas, as tradition has it, that he, Thomas was married in Holland to Elizabeth Wall. He died at Graves-end, Long Island, 1662.

            The late John Stillwell Applegate, prominent lawyer of Redband, New Jersey, was authority for much early history of the family.

            The progenitor of the three men who cast their lot with the Pacific coast was Richard Applegate whose wife was a Wiggins of a prominent New England family. At the beginning of the conflict with Mother Country, Richard and two sons enlisted in the army, leaving a lad, Daniel, who was born near Albany, New York, at home with his mother, who died, and the boy ran away following his father and brothers in the army. Falling in with the kind hearted Col. Israel  Shreeve, who taught him martial music, he served throughout the war as drummer, fifer and color bearer. He was with Washington at Valley Forge, Brandywine and many other engagements. The father was killed in the war. After the war Daniel went to sea with the son of Israel Shreeve who was a ship master. He became a proficient mathematician and interested in astronomy. He settled in Kentucky where he married Rachel Lindsay, who was a daughter of Anthony Lindsay and Rachel Dorsey, both of old Maryland families. Nicholas Dorsey was a Colonel in the Revolutionary army, and Anthony Lindsay also an officer. There were of old Scotch families whose Colonial and Revolutionary records are well authenticated in Maryland history. The three sons of Daniel Applegate who came to Oregon in 1843 were born and bred in Kentucky. They were married and lived in Missouri at the time of the forming of the Oregon train and with their friend and neighbor Peter H. Burnett, did much to work up enthusiasm for the journey.

            Robert Shortess who had come to the Pacific coast earlier had worked for Lindsay Applegate in a grist mill. He and Dickey Williams had written letters back filled with glowing descriptions of this country. These letters were published in the “Bomville Herald”. (I think I am correct in the name)

            I have met people from Missouri whose parents were neighbors and remembered well the Applegates starting on the hazardous trip into the wilderness, notwithstanding the impression one might get from some historical romance. These were young people, Jesse Applegate was 32 years old, Lindsay (my grandfather) a few          years older. His wife, Elizabeth, was 26. Elizabeth Basham miller was from Tennessee. The wife of Charles Applegate was her sister Melinda, Jesse Applegate’s wife Cynthia Parker was of Dutch descent. Regardless of the fanciful story “We Must March” Marcus Whitman did not “ride day after day along with Jesse Applegate discussing the Oregon question.” His emphasis was upon his mission and the Kingdom of God. He rode a great deal with Lindsay Applegate and was always helpful.

            Jesse Applegate was antagonistic to the H.B.C. and was always a friend to Dr. McLaughlin and was chosen to help settle many knotty questions, some of the negotiations are on record in London.

            After the tragic voyage down the Columbia River, the drowning of two children and their old friend Alexander McClellan and the loss of household goods, even a cook stove, they were glad of the shelter of the old Jason Lee Mission across the river from what is now Wheatland. They spent the first winter there. I can only quote from a passing generation in fact passed,-My father was Jesse Applegate, Son of Lindsay, he says “The winter was mild, one little snow storm. The men explored the valley. In December Uncle Jesse went up to the little valley above Dallas and built a cabin or made improvements preparatory to making a home for his family. This was about three miles north of where Dallas is now. The three families located on three adjoining sections, since known as donation land claims of Janus Frederick, A.H. Whitley and George Brown.

            In reference to their arrival in this locality my father says, “Our camp was in a grove of large oak trees the three campfires were close together and lighted the trees up to a dark canopy of leaves over head. The children played games in the grove early in the evening.”

            “No other camp scene of pioneer days is so deeply impressed upon my mind as that of that evening, our first night in our new home.”

            “In the summer of 1844, the cattle, horses and wagons were brought down from Walla Walla. Of the three wagons left by Lindsay Applegate only 4 wheels were left and they were hind wheels. They were used to make two carts.”

            “It was September when the families moved to this place. The first plow that broke ground in that country was one brought by Lindsay Applegate from the old Mission, probably purchased from a Missionary or French Canadian.”  

            “Father built his first cabin on the point of a ridge a hundred and fifty feet above the Valley. He said that in Missouri they had chills and fever; he wanted to get plenty of fresh air, in this he was not disappointed for the sea breeze kept the boards on the roof rattling all thru the autumn season, and the first storm of winter blew the roof off.”

            “In three or four years we had pasture fenced, grain fields and gardens, small apple, pear and peach orchards grown from seed, comfortable cabins, barns, and other outhouses, cattle, horses, hogs and chickens. After seven years of life in Polk county the three families moved to the Umpqua country, later Lindsay moved to Southern Oregon, making his home at Ashland. The young people returned from time to time to the Willamette valley to school. They were book lovers-and only the best were read. Mrs. Harriet Nesmith McArthur tells the story of one branch of the family after an adequate amount of money had been laid by for a new house, holding a family council as to whether to build or send East for a library. She said “be it said to the everlasting credit of the family they sent for the Library.”

            It seems unnecessary in this little sketch to speak of what is a matter of history. Uncle Jesse was always a student, he read law with Edward Bates, afterwards a member of Lincoln’s Cabinet, before coming to the Oregon Country.

            These people gave unstintedly of their lives for this State, they loved it better than life. 

            Ivan D. Applegate, one of the “Boys” who remembered the old settlement above Dallas, died at his home at Ashland in 1919. Shortly after his death his daughter Mrs. Emil Pell of Ashland found scribbled on a scrap of pasteboard which had evidently been picked up when the notion came to him to write the following little Flag Day story.

                        MOTHER’S FLAG

            “A long time ago when I was a boy or when I was a boy it was a long time ago, it was when our old American Flag was about 72 years younger than it is now, or instead of being 135 years old, it was only 63 years old.

            When I was old enough to understand the talk of older people, I began to be concerned about our country’s flag; we called it “Grandfather’s Flag”, it being the flag he followed through the bloody seven awful years of the American Revolution his personal experiences. I learned to think of him as a mere boy standing barefoot on the frozen ground at Valley Forge beating his drum, rallying Washington’s tattered, hungry, desperate army. I learned even then to love the sight of the Star Spangled Banner which inspired new flames of patriotism and courage in the breasts of those noble Americans: Yes, Grandfather’s Flag. For from Drummer boy he was Flag sergeant, Color Bearer, and carried that proud old banner to the end of the war.

            His father and two brothers followed that flag to their death on bloody battlefields, and his eldest boy died at New Orleans following “Grandfathers Flag” with Jackson’s Army. Later my father fought under Grandfather’s Flag in the Indian Wars.

            When a small but brave band of missionaries organized an undertaking in 1843 the object and purpose to lead a vanguard of American Freedom Westward, across mountain chains, desert sandy wastes, through wild and bloodthirsty tribes, over coming all obstacles, determined to plant the grand flag of Liberty on the Western-most verge of the American continent. “Grandfather’s Flag” was not forgotten, was not left behind; but on entering territory in possession of Great Britain, passing Hudson Bay posts, over which waved England’s Union Jack, old Glory was always brought out and hoisted above the leading wagon and always saluted with hearty cheers, not only did the men cheer the old flag but every American woman and child. Mothers held their babies out pointing the babe’s hand for them to recognize “Grandfather’s Flag.”

            At Walla Walla wagons, teams and many belongings were abandoned, rude boats and rafts were constructed and all embarked, determined either to plant the old flag on the very bank of the Pacific Ocean or die in the attempt. The Old Flag waved over the boat leading the tiny American Fleet; the flag boat carrying young men and boys was caught in a whirl pool, was seen to be suddenly whirled or spun around, then to disappear, bowfirst, my brother, cousin and others went to their death, as thousands have with the grand old flag.

            A few years later, one dark night, sleeping up near the ridge poles of our cabins for our people had planted an American settlement in the Willamette valley, I heard a great commotion below, men and women greatly excited, of course, I was quick to spring into my buckskin breeches, standing like a thing of life quite handy by my bed.  On reaching the lower end of the ladder I at once comprehended the awful news just brought by a neighbor, that Dr. Marcus Whitman, his family, his mission, men and women and children were most cruelly murdered, young girls  were carried away by savages, already our men were busy preparing to go to avenge the murder.

            Out in a little cabin Bob Smith, Bill Parker and Ben Wilson were melting fragments of lead, and moulding rifle bullets; others had gone to drive horses up into the corral; others mending saddles, arranging pack outfits, etc. Mother and her sisters were hard at work preparing packs of provisions, when Uncle Jesse called to mother saying “Aunt Betsy, our men can start by daylight, Col. Gilliam has volunteered to lead our boys”. Then mother guessed what he hardly had strength to say, “Yes, we will make “Grandfather’s Flag”. Young as I was I knew their thoughts for our flag had gone down with the boys in the cold Columbia. No time was wasted, material was hard to get, yet there was no murmur, nothing was too good to be appropriated for the Red, White and Blue. 

            Then there were no sewing machines, hardly half a dozen needles in all the settlement, some discussion I heard regarding the number of stripes, stars etc. I have never forgotten one mother saying, “Yes, only thirteen stripes.” Hour after hour those noble mothers worked away making the flag. To me that was Mother’s Flag. All the millions of flags that fly over this big world on every land on every sea, come from Mother’s Flags, Mothers tears moistening every stitch.

            If ever Old Glory was baptized in true Christianity and American patriotic devotion, that flag was.

            Just as daybreak our boys rode away, Jack Jones, nearly seven feet tall carried Mother’s Flag. His speech of acceptance was very brief, “My life is pledged to the Honor of this flag.”

            Only a few weeks later, we all met to witness the burial of brave Col. Gilliam brought home a corpse, pierced by a rifle bullet. Then again we say Mother’s Flag but at half mast.    

                        Signed Ivan D. Applegate

            The drowning occurred above the The Dallas, the night after was spent at Perkins Mission.

            One of the “boys” who made his home in the Willamette valley, was Jesse A. Applegate, a son of Lindsay, my father and several years as a young man he practiced law at Dallas. A letter I came across lately written by my sister, Mrs. Cyrus B. Woodworth of Portland, to a young niece, Dorothy Applegate, give a glimpse into old Dallas as I remember it as a little child. When Mrs. Lyle lived “across the creek” and we walked a footbridge to visit her as we did frequently, once I fell in. During the early settlement in Polk county the children of the three families had gone to school to Mr. Lyle. The remaining one of that generation, Capt. O.C. Applegate, says he went to him at the time and had an “alphabet card” remembers well going with the older children and standing on the doorstep while Mr. Lyle good naturedly had him tell which letter he knew. He said he stayed outside and did not return tho, he remembers Mr. Lyle and the boys and girls inside the school room. Dorothy, to whom the following letter was sent is a granddaughter of Jesse A. Applegate, who was one of Mr. Lyle’s pupils. She is mathematician now at Lick Observatory, Mt. Hamilton.

                                    “Portland, 1914

            “Dear Dorothy:

            I went over to Dallas last week and saw the first home I remember, one where Cousin Anna Watt Ross (a daughter of Ahio S. Watt) says I took my first swimming lesson, it brought back to my mind so many funny things, I wonder if you would enjoy them? There is an article running in Scribners “Una Mary” that is much more commonplace than some of the things I remember as a child though some of it reminds me very much of my own ways of thinking at that time.

            “Grand-ma at Salem” says I was not two years old when we moved to this house at Dallas, but I remember very well the day we moved, or at least that evening, just as the sun was going down. “Grandma” was walking along leading me  and “Aunt Lillian” was a little ahead. I am not sure but I think Uncle Warren was riding with Mr. Kimball, the man who moved us, that would be the natural thing for a small boy to do, all at once Grandma stopped (only she was not Grandma then but a very young woman) and asked Mr. Kimball if he locked the cellar door; upon hearing him say that he did she remarked that she left all her wild blackberries and was afraid someone might steal them. I remember feeling thankful too so I think even at that early age I must have had a taste for that delicious fruit.

            I think from the very first, I was charmed with the new home with its green law sloping down to the creek in the back. La Creole, commonly known as Rickreall. After we lived there a long time so it seems to me we children were raking the yard and it looked so pretty and green like a carpet. Suddenly, Watson, our little brother began to cry, Grandma came hurrying out to see what was the matter and he said “Kate spit on the nice clean yard.”

            As I remember it we went to the Sunday School twice a day, one at ten, in the morning and one at two in the afternoon, it was the morning one where I began to be ambitious to join the choir, and started in to take part in the singing, hoping that my voice, would attract attention, but alas! I had not gotten through the chorus before Aunt Lillian began poking me in the side with her elbow which was very sharp. I moved as far away from her as I could and kept on but distance did not prevent her making faces at me behind her singing book and I’ll leave it to you if that was showing a Christian Spirit on her part. Of course, I knew that as soon as we started home something would happen tho I had not the remotest idea what I had done that was wrong, having entered into the Sunday School work with such zeal.

            But I was not long in the dark, as soon as we were alone I was asked ‘what on earth were you singing’. I replied that I was singing the same song the choir did, of course. But she just turned up her nose and asked me to repeat the words, which I did gladly feeling perfectly confident that they said “Let them cow meal, let the goo-dangels cowmeal”. Well, you can imagine my humiliation when it was explained to me that they were saying “let the good angels come in”. From then on I was convinced that the real stylish way to sing was to say “com-een” I do not think the angels themselves understood it as I did not see any ‘com-een’.

            I do not think it ever rained when we lived at this place, at least it seems to me the sun always shone. On Sunday afternoons we took long walks and wore pretty summer dresses. I remember on in particular. I think it was white pique, with little pink dots, Aunt Lillian and I both had them and when Grandma was making hers I noticed it had an over skirt, a little round apron affair back and front with a ruffle around it. The over skirt was left off mine it is said because there was not room for it, but I was so disappointed that Grandma finally gave in and made one. It consisted of two scallops about half the size of a pie-plate, but I was happy and some times for a change we would leave the “overskirt” off because it made me look taller.

            This is bringing the story down to comparatively recent times, but there is a strong connecting link in our minds between the past and the present in old Polk county and I can say with the Psalmist “I lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my strength.”

           

 

David Goff

By Harriet K. McArthur

 

            The subject of this sketch was of Scotch Irish descent, his ancestors, having emigrated to Virginia, about the middle of the eighteenth century, and settled in Bedford County where David was born June 26, 1795. They were tillers of the soil as he was to the end of his days, together with the breeding of good horses.

            David was of robust physical stock, tall and of great strength, being one of a large family bearing good old scripture names. He must have been of a more adventurous spirit than his brothers and we find him a lad of seventeen serving a year in the War of 1812.

            In 1814 he emigrated to Kentucky near Lexington, where he met and married Kezziah Ford in 1819. Kezziah was a sister of Col. Nathaniel Ford and was born in Buckingham county, Virginia, April 28, 1798. The Fords were of French extraction, descendants of the Hugenots. They emigrated to Kentucky.

            Again the spirit of adventure seized David Goff and again he turned his face westward. He and his wife in the covered wagon, setting out for Missouri, then an outpost of civilization. They settled in Howard county where five children were born. Later a sixth was born in Chareton county. David told interesting stories of those early days in Missouri, of wild turkey shooting and other incidents of pioneer life.

            Early in the century the far west was agitating the minds of explorers, scientific men, fur traders, and a few devoted ones looking to the christening of the Indians. In the first year of the forties families began to abandon their homes, gather up their household gear, and join emmigrant trains organized for the long journey. It is not surprising that in 1844 David Goff responded to the call, settled his wife, their children and meager belongings in the covered wagon, yoked the oxen and struck out into the unknown, hoping for a better country. Then came the six months trek across the plains, short rations, days of weariness and hardship patiently endured. Fear of Indians, crossing of streams, the wild onrush of countless buffalo in solid mass, a menace to the train only to be averted by prompt and fearless action.

            If there were regrets and longings for the homely comforts they left, the gardens, wild turkey shooting and old occupations and amusements, they just pushed on. Now and then a trusty old rifle added a buffalo or other game to their meager fare. There were no well preserved fresh fruits and vegetables as we have in this day of abundance. Once in the six months they got green vegetables at an isolated station.

            Today the tourist in the Pullman gazes indifferently upon the great fields of corn, where the emigrants suffered from such terrible sandstorms, and in the early fifties two emigrations were attacked by cholera, and fresh new mounds marked their passage.

            In the Blue Mountains, David Goff’s oxen became too exhausted to travel so he called a halt for himself and family, begging the train to proceed as he was unwilling to expose them to a delay so late in the season. They were alone and without food until some Indians met them in their sad plight and gave them dried salmon. The train had gone on and David Goff continued on his way after the oxen were rested. They reached Whitman Station in Walla Walla county too late to go on to the Willamette Valley. The good doctor and his wife took them in, placed the children in school and shared their store of food the Goffs gratefully rendering willing service in return and always loved and venerated the Whitmans whose tragic fate ended their unselfish and devoted lives two years later.

            In the spring of 1845 the old wagon and oxen were on the trail again headed west. This time their way led them over the Cascades by what was later known as the Barlow Route. Later that year Samuel Barlow made a passable road over the mountains, over the south shoulder of Mt. Hood. Today, when rolling smoothly over the “Loop” one gazes with awe and admiration upon the splendid forests, deep canyons and gorges. It is not the same as getting through and over and into and out of the same. No previous bit of road or experience as this presented such incredible hardship.

            They arrived in Oregon City in that spring 1845, lived a short time across the river at Linn City and later the old wagon and oxen were on the last lap of the journey. They settled on the Rickreall, on the donation claim selected by Col. Ford, build a weatherboard log house and here David and Kizziah Goff lived out their days.

            Some of the prominent emigrants 1843 left their wagons and stock with the Hudson’s Bay Company at old Ford Walla Walla now Wallula. They made boats and rafts of driftwood and came down the Columbia, losing two little children and a soldier of 1812 by drowning. Not only were they, but those of two succeeding emigrations were so impressed by the difficulties ahead of these weary trains they devised a plan to meet and succor the train of 1846. Of these Jesse Applegate, Nathaniel Ford, Levi Scott and others, volunteered to go. They left their home and affairs for six months and went in all good faith and willingness as far as what is now Winnemucca. The expedition was not a success, the train of 1846 was already late. The country was a terra incognita and early rains fell. Much suffering ensued and the rescuers only received unkind criticism and hard feeling, cherished to this day by their descendants.

            David and Kezziah Goff “Uncle Davy and Aunt Kizzy,” as they were affectionately known were kind neighbors and never neglected an opportunity to lend a helping hand. Mrs. Goff was a dignified retiring woman, who followed the fortunes of her husband with patience and Christian fortitude. She died Feb. 22, 1866.

            David Goff died February 6, 1875.

            Samuel, the eldest of their family married Nancy Virgin in Kentucky, came to Oregon and settled in the Rickreall Valley in 1847. Two daughters of David and Kezziah Goff were laid to rest in Missouri. They were Martha and Mary Vidue.

            Francis Marion Peltis was born in Howard county, Missouri, in 1828. He died at Rickreall in 1895. He came to Oregon with his parents and little sisters, Pauline and Caroline . He followed the more or less varying fortunes of a miner and prospector, more likely less successful fortune. He served in the Rogue River war in 1853 and in the Yakima war in 1855 and 1856. He was at the battles of Burnt River, Grand Ronde and Walla Walla. Much of his service was scouting duty, in which he was distinguished for his bravery and courage. At one time he was Lieutenant Colonel of the Polk County Militia. He went to Idaho in 1862 living in Florence and the Weiser country. He returned to Rickreall in 1886 and died there in 1895. He was never married.

            Pauline was born in Howard county, Missouri, April 7, 1831. She died at Rickreall December 20, 1889. She and J.W. Nesmith were married in 1846.

            Caroline was born in Chareton county, Missouri April 13, 1835 and died in August, 1892. She married C.D. Burkhart in 1850 and lived all her married life in Albany.   

 

 

Thomas J. Hayter

By J.C. Hayter

 

            Mr. Hayter was born February 8, 1830, in the old town of Franklin, Howard county, Missouri, a representative of an old and honored southern family of English and Irish ancestry. His father, James H. Hayter, was a native of Virginia who emigrated to Missouri about 1816, settling in the village of New Franklin, then a small hamlet in the very outskirts of civilization. Here he established a sawmill and a flouring mill and also engaged in other manufacturing and agricultural pursuits, becoming one of the leading business men of his community. He married Sarah Fulkerson a native of Lee county, Virginia, and a descendant of one of the old families of the south, and they continued to reside in New Franklin until 1856, when they became victims of the cholera epidemic which swept over Missouri and the states along the Mississippi.

            Of their family of ten children, Thomas Jefferson Hayter was the last survivor. As a youth he attended the village school of New Franklin and later assisted his father in milling and farming operations. At the age of nineteen years, when news of the gold strike in California was sweeping the country, he joined an expedition bound for the Golden state. The party left New Franklin on the 15th of April 1849, traveling with ox teams across the plains by way of Fort hall, Humboldt and Truckee and following closely the route chosen by the surveyors of the Central Pacific Railroad twenty years later. On arriving at Sacramento Mr. Hayter secured employment as teamster for a large concern, transporting merchandise from Sacramento to various mining camps. In August, 1849, he began mining on his own account and was thus engaged until the fall of 1850, when he sailed as a passenger on the steamer Creole, bound for Oregon, and after a voyage of twenty-three days landed in Portland, then a small settlement with but a few scattered houses. Here he cut wood for a few months during that winter. He then made his way to Polk county, where he took up a donation claim, but in 1852 disposed of this and returned to Missouri by way of Panama with the intention of bringing his aged parents to Oregon. They were too frail to attempt the long journey by wagon, however and he remained with them until 1854, when he started across the plains for the state of his adoption. ON the second journey he followed the old route as far as the Raft river and then took up the Oregon trail. He arrived at the first settlement in Oregon in September, 1854, and soon afterward engaged in ranching on a farm three miles west of Dallas, specializing in the raising of fine stock.

            In the fall of 1855 he volunteered for service in the campaign against the Indians and was a member of Company G, First Oregon Regiment of Cavalry, under command of Colonel James W. Nesmith, he saw several weeks of active service in the Yakima Indian war. During this period he contracted bronchitis and was removed to a hospital at The Dalles, Oregon, later receiving his honorable discharge. He then returned to his stock ranch in Polk county, which he sold in the following year, locating on a two hundred and sixty acre tract of land three miles east of Dallas. This he carefully tilled and developed, adding many improvements to his land and brining under a high state of cultivation, so that he at length became the owner of one of the best farms in the county. He resided thereon almost continuously for more than a quarter of century and then moved with his family to Dallas, where he lived retired throughout the remainder of his life, having through his industry and enterprise in former years accumulated a comfortable competence which enabled him to rest from further labor.

            In May, 1856, Mr. Hayter was united in marriage to Miss Mary I. Embree, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carey D. Embree, who emigrated to Oregon from their home in Howard county, Missouri, in 1844, at which time their daughter, Mary, was but six years old. Taking up a donation claim in Polk county two miles east of Dallas, the father there engaged in farming for many years, at length removing to Dallas, where he lived retired throughout the balance of his life. He became one of the prominent citizens of his community, serving as sheriff of Polk county during territorial days and resigning that office in 1848. There was not a death in his family until one child reached the age of sixty years and Mr. Embree’s demise occurred when he had attained the venerable age of ninety-five years. Mrs. Embree met an accidental death in 1881, being thrown from a wagon. To Mr. and Mrs. Hayter were born six children, namely: Eugene, who was serving as vice president of the Dallas National Bank; Mark, a prominent dentist of Dallas; J.C., a successful merchant of this city; Oscar, a leading attorney of Dallas, (who is mentioned elsewhere in this work) Alice E., who died when five years of age; and frank, who died at the age of six months.

            Mr. Hayter became prominent in public affairs and in 1876 was elected on the democratic ticket to represent his district in the Oregon legislature, receiving a flattering majority of votes. As a member of the house of representatives he was recognized by his colleagues as an earnest and effective worker and his record was one of which the county was proud. While his own educational opportunities had been limited, he became well informed through wide reading and observation and few men had a more comprehensive knowledge of human events and affairs. His chief interest outside of his home was centered in the establishment of an efficient school system in Oregon. He gave liberally of his means to the upbuilding of La Creole Academy, a pioneer institution of learning, and for many years served as a director of his local school district. He was interested in all those things which are of cultural value and which ten to uplift the individual, thus bringing a higher moral plane to the community. In every relation he was true to high and honorable principles, never faltering in the choice between right and wrong but always endeavoring to follow the course sanctioned by conscience and good judgment. His integrity in business affairs, his loyalty and patriotism in matters of citizenship, his fidelity in friendship and his devotion to home and family were characteristics which won for him the high and enduring regard of all with whom he was associated.

            Thomas J. Hayter passed away at the family home at Dallas, October 30, 1918, at the age of eighty-eight years, eight months and twenty-two days, and in his demise Oregon lost one of her honored pioneers, who for nearly seventy years had been prominently identified with the history of Polk county and of the state. He was a veteran of the Indian wars and there was no phase of frontier life with which he was not familiar. He was an interested witness of the marvelous development of the northwest and through his industry and enterprise contributed in substantial measure to the work of reclamation and improvement, his influence being ever on the side of advancement and improvement.

 

Eulogy To Col. Cornelius Gilliam

By Blanche Eakin

 

            Delivered at the dedication of marker placed at Well Springs, Morrow county, Oregon, by Sarah Childress Polk Chapter, D.A.R., June 6, 1926, in memory of Col. Cornelius Gilliam.

            Cornelius Gilliam was born in Missouri, April 13, 1799, and was married to Mary Crawford August 31, 1820.

            In the year 1844, when emigrant trains were being formed in the Mississippi valley, with a view of donation land claims of 640 acres, one train left Capler’s Landing, Missouri, on May 10, commanded by Cornelius Gilliam bound for Oregon.           

            With him were his wife, Mary, and their six daughters and two sons. Their oldest daughter, America, had married David Grant, and was accompanied by him and their two small children.

            The other children of Cornelius and Mary Gilliam, accompanying them on this trip, were Louise, then 18 years of age, who later married William Gage, another young emigrant in this same train; Smith Gilliam, the eldest son, aged 15 years, who later became sheriff of Polk county, and afterwards moved to Walla Walla, Wash.; Rebecca, aged 13 years, who later married Alexander Gage; Marquis Gilliam, the younger son, then aged 10 years, and who later was a soldier in the Indian wars; Sarah, aged 8 years, who married B.F. Nichols; Elizabeth, aged 5 years, who later married F. M. Collins, and the baby Henrietta, who became the wife of Samuel Coad.

            All of these children made homes for themselves in Polk county, some taking donation land claims, others buying their lands. Not one of these children is living today.

            They spent weary weeks and months on the trail, encountering many hardships, and in December arrived at The Dalles. Here they arranged to drive the oxen and cattle over the mountain trail while their belongings and themselves were placed in small canoes and on rafts and floated down the Columbia river. They landed at a little place on the Willamette river, called Linnton, on a day between Christmas and New Years, 1844, and were met by Col. Gilliam’s friend, James Waters, who took them to his cabin on the Tualatin plains, where they spent the rest of the winter.

            In the spring they came further up the valley where Col. Gilliam settled on a claim where Dallas, the county seat of Polk county is now located. Not a house was there then, only Indian camps.

            Here he built his first cabin for their home, and planted their first garden, from seeds brought with them from Missouri.  

            Col. Gilliam then built another cabin near his home for a school, and there a Mr. Green taught the first school ever taught at Dallas.

            From the door of their little cabin they could look out over the beautiful Williamette valley, and see the hills and mountains in the distance, with Mt. Jefferson towering in the east; and to the right of them nearby was a small mountain covered with grass and tress which reminded them of Mt. Pisgah, back in Missouri, and Col. Gilliam named the little mountain Mt. Pisgah, which still bears that name.

            The next year one of Col.. Gilliam’s nephews died and he had a grave made for him on his claim. He was the first person ever buried in the old Dallas cemetery. Col. Gilliam, himself, was the third person to be buried there.

            In the four short years that Col. Gilliam spent in the Willamette valley he explored it for many miles, seeing more of it and of Oregon, than most of us have in a life time.

            The first cabin ever built on the site of Corvallis, the Avery cabin, was built by Col. Gilliam, and the first one at Eugene the Skinner cabin, was built by him and also the first one on the site of Independence, the Tharp cabin.

            He was a Mason, a soldier, and an ordained Baptist minister, and when the opportunity offered would preach to the settlers in the valley.

            Col. Gilliam decided to move farther on up the valley so sold his claim to Isaac Levens and located on another 640 acres in the west edge of the valley on a little stream which they called Pedee creek. Here he built another cabin for his family, and here he left his wife and children when he went as Colonel of the Volunteer Regiment to serve his country when called to defend the settlers against an uprising of the Cayuse Indians, and he met his death at this post on March 24, 1848.

            Mrs. Gilliam received word of his death and waited at her little home 12 days until his body could be brought back for burial in the little cemetery at Dallas.

            Later, in the summer of that year, after the Indians had been quieted, the Masons gathered from all parts of the valley and held the first Masonic funeral everheld in Oregon, at Colonel Gilliam’s grave.

            Mrs. Gilliam went back to her little home on the Pedee creek and raised her children. She had before her many trials and hardships. But she was a pioneer, and never faltered or weakened. She lived a long and useful life, helping many by her good deeds, and remained his widow until her death, June 13, 1877 when she was buried beside him in the little cemetery, which he had started.

 

 
Back to Polk County Home ©Shauna Williams Back to Biography Index