WPA Interviews - T
WPA Historical Records
Benton Co., Oregon
Mark Phinney




Mrs. George (Alice HAMMERSLEY) THARP

Andrew Jackson THAYER


Mr. and Mrs. John E. THOMPSON


Mrs. Calvin (Arabella PALMER) THRASHER

Mr. and Mrs.(Eva NOIS) William S. TOMLINSON

Mr. and Mrs.( Minnie ROGERS ) Washington TOWNSEND

Orrin Alonzo TOZIER



Charles TROXEL




Interview -- H. Clay TATOM


Mr. TATOM was interviewed at his farm home about one half mile north of Philomath. Mr. TATOM's father, who came to Oregon in the early days as a boy of seven, lived until a few years ago. However, neither Mr. TATOM nor his father made any written records, and he was able to tell me little of importance. Mrs. TATOM is also of pioneer stock but was absent from home and the interview with her was postponed until a later date. Mr. TATOM said:

My Grandfather, Richard TATOM, came with his wife, Lavina, from Missouri to Oregon in 1854. Grandfather was captain of the team and they came without any special difficulty, so far as I know. The first winter they spent at Halls Ferry of the Willamette River and in the spring of 1855 they located at Kings Valley. Grandfather's donation land claim was on the hill just west of CHAMBERS and other first settlers. Grandfather seems to have been skilled at many trades, but he worked at blacksmithing more than any other except farming.

Grandfather's children were James, Rebecca, William, Mary, Lavina, Isaac, Caroline, George, and Solomon. Solomon was my father. He was born in Missouri in 1847. My mother was Cyrena WOOD, who was born in Benton County in 1854. Her father's donation land claim was a little north east of Blodgett, near the head of Gellatly canyon on the Newport Highway. My parents were married in 1871. They had three children. My sisters, who are dead, were Nellie (Mrs. Frank PLUNKETT), and Minnie (Mrs. Jonnie PRICE). Father spent his boyhood and attended school in Kings Valley. I have often heard him talk of Fort Hoskins and the men who were there but I made no record and cannot give exact information. I know Phil SHERIDAN was one of the officers he talked of seeing. Father was nine when the fort was built and nineteen when it was abandoned.

In 1901 I married Elsie MATHANY whose folks were also pioneers. Her mother was a cousin of Louis Albert BANKS who won as much fame as a evangelist and preacher. Our children are Mable (Mrs. Glenn BRADY), Minnie (Mrs. James McMURTRY), Calvin, Marian and Dean.



Interview -- Emmett TAYLOR


Emmett TAYLOR was interviewed at his home at 515 South Fourth Street in Corvallis. Here he makes his home alone since the death of his wife a few months ago. Mr. TAYLOR is still active mentally and physically. He said:

My father, Benjamin Thomas TAYLOR came from Alabama to Missouri, and from Missouri, in 1869, to the Willamette Valley. The trip took five months. He went by rail to New York City, thence by boat to San Francisco, crossing the Isthmus of Panama. From San Francisco they came to Portland on the boat Oroflame spelling?) With an uncle of mine, Thos. P. WORLEY, he bought out the meat business of one DYER, which he operated for years.

I was fourteen when the folks came west. I attended the College and graduated from the Commerce course in 1874. Then I studied dentistry in San Francisco. In 1878 I opened an office in Corvallis and practiced here until 1936, except for some months when I was recovering from an injury to my eye. At that time I acted as chief of police for a time. When practicing dentistry I had time to discharge the duties of City Recorder for four years. I gave up my office only a year age, and old friends still try to persuade me to do work for them. I had quite a reputation as a maker of dentures.

B.R. BIDDLE was the dentist here before I opened my office. Dr. ELDREDGE, who is now in Vancouver, Washington, was my partner for a time, but most of the time I have been alone. In 1882 I married Ella BUTTERFIELD, who was born in Yreka, California. Our son, Zack L. TAYLOR is head of the claims department of the Veterans' Hospital in Portland.

When we first came here to Corvallis was a village of about 700 or 800 people. There was a saw mill owned at the time by McCUNE. The flour mill south of Marys River was already built and I think FISHER owned it. JACOBS and NEUGASS and S.L. KLINE had general stores, and H.E. HARRIS had a grocery. I remember Judson PALMER was sheriff and Bushrod WILSON was Clerk. WILSON was a fine man and a good official. He was elected time after time, receiving votes of both Republicans and Democrats.

The world seems pretty badly mixed, but I think it will come out right in the end. The trouble is in people and their foolishness.---I am a Democrat but I am not a d---fool Democrat. I am not narrow minded.



Interview -- Mrs. George (Alice HAMMERSLEY) THARP

Mrs. THARP was interviewed at the family home at 2516 West "A" Street, Corvallis, Oregon. She was cheerful but reserved in manner and had no complaint that the world had not treated her better. She said:

My father was W.K. HAMMERSLEY and my mother was Elizabeth PINKERTON. They were married in Missouri and came to Oregon in or about 1864. They settled in Lake County, near Lakeview, and I was born there in 1870. My father, in partnership with his brother, built the first grist mill in that part of Oregon. I do not know where he got the stones but I do know that he was able to shape and dress mill stones himself. The country about Lakeview was a grazing country. Sheep and cattle were raised generally and only enough wheat was raised and milled to supply the local need. Father himself had a flock of about 800 sheep.

The first school I attended was two miles from our home and I rode to school on my pony. I could ride like an Indian then. When I see the girls in the riding classes from the College with their English saddles, going by our house, I wish I could shed a few years of age and show them how really to ride. My health was bad in eastern Oregon. The altitude was too great for me. In 1879 father came to the Willamette Valley and settled first at McMinnville. My father liked Eastern Oregon best and he did not like farming. He was never content in the Willamette Valley, but stayed on account of my health. In 1880 he moved to the Alsea Valley. Our home was about two miles west of Alsea on the south side of the river. In the Alsea school I remember that Will WRITER and Mr. ELLIS taught. Mr. ELLIS was a short, bald-headed man, so slow that when a boy hit his head with a spit-ball the boy would be deeply engrossed in his books before the teacher could turn around to see who was guilty. We had only three months school each year, beginning in June. I also went to school for a time at the Ferguson Schoolhouse, southwest of Monroe in Lane County. Sarah EVANS was the teacher was the teacher there.

My father's children were George R., Mary C., Henry, James, John, Ezra, and myself.

There was a flour mill on the Alsea River at the mouth of Mill Creek. This was just a little west of Alsea. It was owned first by Mr. CHANDLER, who was not very successful and sold out to Ed. KIMBELL. KIMBELL was not a man whom people liked and trusted and did not get on well either. Father used to dress the stone burrs in this mill and one time he put in a bolt.

In 1890 I married George THARP. My husband had a farm in the Alsea Valley and we made our home there for thirty years. When some of the children wanted to go to college we moved out to Corvallis. Our two oldest boys graduated from O.C.C.A.. My husband was employed on the College farm. Our children are Fred, Vevia, Howard, Mabel, Harry, Claude, Charles and Cecil.

 Andrew Jackson THAYER
    June 29, 1939

Andrew Jackson THAYER, a Representative from  Oregon; Born in Lima, New York, November 27, 1818; completed preparatory studies, studied law,  was admitted to the bar in 1849, and began practice in Lima; crossed the continent in 1853 and located  upon a farm near Corvallis, Oregon; practiced law and engaged in agricultural pursuits, moved to Corvallis,  Benton County, Oregon, and continued in practice;
appointed by President BUCHANAN, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, March 2, 1859, and resigned after six months' service; presented credentials as a member-elect of the Thirty-Seventh Congress, and served from March 4, 1861 to July 30, 1861, when he was succeeded by George K. SHIEL, who contested his election; State District Attorney for the Second District, 1862-1864; Circuit Judge of the Second Judicial District from 1870 until his death in Corvallis, Oregon, April 28, 1873.
                              Clara M. THAYER HARDING


Interview -- Mrs. Bertha PLUNKETT THOMPSON

June 1938

Mrs. THOMPSON was interviewed at the THOMPSON home at Blodgett. Here she lives with her husband and son who conduct the general store and post office. Mrs. Thompson is well preserved physically and is in her prime mentally. Her reminiscences are dependable.

My father, James PLUNKETT, was born in 1837 and came to California in 1839. I do not have any information as to his family. Father came to Fort Hoskins with the Fourth California Volunteers. Her he found a wife, and when the regiment was disbanded and the fort discontinued in 1865 he remained in the Valley.

Father was the bass drummer in the drum corps at Fort Hoskins under Phil SHERIDAN. Charles FRANKS played the tenor drum and J.C. LOTTSENHEISER played the fife. Another man who chummed with them was Si COPELAND. After the company was disbanded the four men scattered and never met again for many years. Then twenty-five or thirty years later they all came back and played together again. They were much in demand for celebrations and political rallies. I think I never heard finer music than they made.

My mother was a member of the KING clan which settled Kings Valley in 1846. The head of the clan was Nahum KING. The following dates were copied from the old King Bible.

Nahaum KING, born July 25,1783

Sarepta NORTON, born November 12, 1791

These two married May 9, 1807

Saretta KING, born March 18,1808

Luretia, born July 5, 1809

Dulaimy, born April 12,1811

John KING, born March 23, 1813

Hopestill, born February 7, 1815

Hannah, born November 30,1816

Stephen, born July 13,1818

Isaac, born November 23, 1819

Amos, born april 29,1822

Sarah, born July 25, 1823

James Russell, born June 22,1826

Lovisa, born March 2, 1828

Abigail, born June 22,1829

Lydia, born February 19,1831

Solomon, born february 26, 1833

Rhoda Ann, born April 17,1835

Dulaimy, Hannah and James died in childhood. Stephen died soon after reaching Oregon. He left a widow, and I believe a child or two. The older children never came west. Sarah was the wife of a man named HUFFMAN. When he and one of the children died not so long after they came west, Sarah went back to her old home and friends. Hopestill was my grandmother. Lydia married a man named WILLIAMS and Rhoda a man named SOMERS. Lovisa was the wife of Roland CHAMBERS. Amos KING went to Portland and took a claim where Kings Heights are now. Isaac and Solomon became prominent in the development of the new country.

My mother's name was Ashna NORTON, daughter of Lucius NORTON and Hopestill KING. In 1864 she was married to my father while he was still a soldier at Ft. Hoskins. Detachments of the men were frequently stationed at the Siletz Reservation to restrain the Indians there. My parents were stationed at the Reservation about six months. They had to pack their belongings back and forth of pack mules. While there the Indians plotted to wipe out the detachment. They were going to seize the guns while the men were at dinner. The brother of Frances HARNEY, Phil SHERIDAN's Indian housekeeper, warned the soldiers in time and the uprising was quickly quelled. Frances HARNEY, who is sometimes called Sheridans Sweethart, was a handsome Rogue River Indian about thirty years old. Mother would not talk much about her relations with Sheridan. Her moral ideals were offended by the matter. In later years I knew the woman well. We lived on the trail by which the Indians came from Siletz to the Willamette Valley for hop picking and the like, and Frances and her folks would always stop to see mother. I visited the old woman about two weeks before she died in 1934, at the age of 105 or 106.

Mother was born in 1847 on the 8th of February. It was claimed that she was the first white child born in what is now Benton County, but there are others who make the same claim. Mother used to tell how she gave her parents a fright one time. She was afraid of Indians and when she saw an old Indian coming one day she crawled under the bed to hide. There was a hole through the puncheon floor beneath the bed, left with the idea of secret escape in case of an Indian attack. Mother crawled through this hole and went to sleep under the cabin. When she was missed there was a great alarm and search before she was found.

Mother used to tell of a plot of ground, twenty feet or so square, that was fenced with a tight picket fence. In this were all tomatoes that came up volunteer year after year. They were raised for their beauty, just as they raised flowers, and were fenced securely away from the children because they were believed to be poison. When their first fruit trees were coming into bearing the children were not allowed to pick any fruit but might have what fell on the ground. Mother and her small brothers and sisters would rush out on awakening, dressed in their night gowns, for the first one up got first chance at the apples that fell during the night.

Grandfather NORTON's children were Isaac, Wiley, my mother, Malinda, Sarepta, Nathan and Lucius. Sarepta and Nathan were triplets. The third one did not live. Malinda and Sarepta married brothers of the Price family. My father's children were Lucius, Wiley, Frank, Edgar, myself, Sarah (BOTTGER), Garfield and Henry.

I was born in 1876 at Kings Valley. I went to school at Kings Valley school house. I remember especially my teachers, Lucy ALLEN who was related to the WATKINS of Philomath, and Jim CHAMBERS. Jim CHAMBERS was a fine man and a good teacher. He and his sister Margaret were children of Rowland CHAMBERS by his first wife.

Mother used to spin wool and make blankets and stockings for the family. As soon as I got to old enough it was my place to spin enough wool to make six blankets. That many each year kept up the supply. The thread for one blanket would be wound on a reel taking six feet to the round. When I began spinning at the age of nine I could spin half a reel in a day. When I was sixteen or seventeen I could do two or more. At first mother carded her own wool but when HORNING built a carding mill on Oak Creek near Corvallis she would buy her rolls for spinning there.

I spent two years at Oregon State College. There I studied household arts under Miss SNELL. Professors HORNER, BERCHTOLD, and BRISTOW were my teachers, too. After that I taught school six years, beginning at Eddyville, which was in Benton County then. In 1899 I married James Albert (Jack) THOMPSON. At the time I met him he was the partner of my brother-in-law, John BOTTGER. The two men were seining salmon on Columbia River and my sister was keeping house on their boat. She was not a very good cook then and she asked me to help her. I went and ended up by marrying the other partner.

From 1900 to 1909 my husband was a member of the life saving crew of the U.S.Coast Guard, stationed at Coos Bay. During the Exposition at Portland in 1905 he was a member of the detachment that gave daily exhibition drills on the lagoon at the Exposition grounds. When my husband was discharged from the Coast Guard on account of physical disability he came to Blodgett and bought the store which we have conducted ever since.

Our children are Ruth (JOHNSON), John, Emma (HAWLEY), Frances(EWING), Minnie (HARMSON), and Stanley.

The greatest change I have seen in this country since I was a child is the change from dairying to lumbering.


Interview -- Mr. and Mrs. John E. THOMPSON

May 8, 1939

Mr. and Mrs. THOMPSON had no written records and in some cases were not able to answer questions authoritatively. However, the following information seems to be fully dependable.

My name is John Ezra THOMPSON. I am commonly called Ezra. My father, Charles W. THOMPSON, came to Oregon in 1875. He first bought a place in the Oak Ridge Community in this county. Father was a carpenter and built the Oak Ridge Church; that is he was in charge of the job. Much of the labor was donated. Father also built the Bandbox School near the church.

Meetings had been started in the Oak Ridge neighborhood by Rev. Mr. CROSSMAN, an Evangelical minister. During the summer he held religious services on benches in the grove. Then the people went about building the church. The church was to be a neighborhood church, open to all denominations. When they were not able to raise money to pay for it, the Rev. Mr. DUNNING, a Presbyterian minister, said he could get the money from his church board if the church was dedicated as a Presbyterian church. This was done and the Evangelical preachers refused to use the building and held their services in the Independent schoolhouse. This work prospered, the congregation was built up and after a time a fine little church (Beulah Chapel) was erected. Then there was a division in the Evangelical denomination that lasted for several years, and the local church never recovered from the effects of this unpleasantness. The congregation dwindled away and a few years ago the building was sold and removed.

Father did not stay long in the Valley, but went east of the mountains where he took a homestead at Mulkland in what is now Sherman County. It was then a part of Wasco County. He started one of the girst general merchandise stores in the County. He also secured the organization of a school district and the building of a schoolhouse. Then he built a Presbyterian church. After fifteen years there he went to California. Father's children were Addie (Leeslely), Andrew C., Hattie (Nish), James, Ned, Ezra (myself), Owen, Bert, and Myra (Bullard).

I did not go to Sherman County with father but worked around in this part of the state. I married Hester Rust in 1890 and we went to Eastern Oregon, but came back to the Valley in 1892. We have been most of the time on this farm. (Note: Mr. Thompson was interviewed at the family home about a mile north of the Beaver Creek Schoolhouse.)

Our children are Henry Earl, Charles W., Gertrude (Dell), Mary Opal (Henkle), and Luella May (Rassmussen).

Mrs. Thompson added the following details of her own family history:

My father was Henry RUST and his father was Henry RUST. Grandfather RUST was in Oregon not later than 1852. He died in Polk County in 1869 at the age of 61. Grandmother RUST died in 1896 at the age of 94. Their children were Charles, Jesse, Henry (my father), Jacob, William, Mary Ann (BUCKLEY), Harriet Ann (CONNOR), Hester Ann (CRANK), Abraham, Newton, Jasper, Nancy Jane (WAYMIRE), John and Christopher. Most of them came west with grandfather or were born in Oregon.

My mother was Nancy Ann BELIEU. I do not remember the date she came to Oregon, but it was the time of the Mountain Meadow Massacre.  They were camped near the scene of the massacre, and the morning two wagons came into camp and reported the happening. Mother's folks went back to the scene of the killing to care for the dead. Mother was a second cousin to Mrs. Angelina BELIEU CARTER who died last year at the age of 102 years.

Father did not come to Oregon with Grandfather Rust, but came later by way of California. My father's children were Jesse W., Hester O.(myself), Chester A., Elmer O. and Ellison E. (twins), Henry A., Rolla A., Ella (CURTIS), John A., and Cleve W.

Historical Records Survey

June 21,1939


Letter and Reminiscences by N. A. THOMPSON

(Copies by permission of Mrs. R.M.PEFFER

517 N. Second Street
Corvallis, Oregon
Seattle, Washington
February 1, 1925

Regent, Winema Club
Dear Madam:

While I am an Oregon pioneer, having arrived in that state in 1855, My first recollection was of the old farm south of Corvallis. The Indians were accustomed to burn the grassy prairies of the Willamette Valley, that they might slaughter the game driven before the flames. This had been stopped only a few years and I can remember seeing the little oaks, six inches to a foot high, and the young firs that I could step over. These trees are now large, the oaks 12 to 18 inches in diameter and the firs about one hundred feet tall. I am not able to write much worth about the pioneers, as I have not lived in Oregon for 36 years and my "Forgettery" has been working overtime.

I believe that I made one of the first Prohibition speeches made in Corvallis and possible in the state, thus opening a campaign which made the county and then the state dry. I was greatly surprised when Green B. SMITH, then the wealthiest person in Benton County, came to my aid. Several times I called on him and he responded generously. I would call, state the case, and he would say to Mrs. S., "Mama, go get the purse and give Mr. THOMPSON a hundred dollars". His generosity helped establish the "Pacific Express" in Portland, which for a number of years struck sledge-hammer blows for Prohibition. My contemporaries used to tell me that prohibition would never come but I have lived to see it become the law of the land, and if I should live to be as old as my mother I would expect to see it far better enforced. I worked with the Prohibition party, ran on its tickers, and spent time and money in its educational campaigns. We never elected our candidates to office but we elected our platform. Every principal plank in that platform became the law of the land; Prohibition, Womans's Suffrage, National Banks for currency issue, Election of senators by direct vote, &c., &c. The Prohibition party of those days contained the wisest statesmen but not the best politicians. I regret my inability to write more and better of my time in my native state. I enclose a short sketch of Father and Mother which is far from doing them justice. Hoping you will be interested in what I have written.

I Am, Yours truly

(signed) N.A.THOMPSON


The Siletz river at one point makes a large horse-shoe shaped bend. Headquarters of the Indian reservation was situated at the toe of the shoe and two other principal camps were located at its ends. The Indians were counted every year and they were instructed by the Indian Agent that when enumeration time came most of them living at the upper camp and at Headquarters were to go to the lower camp. After being counted they were to change their appearance and as soon as the enumerator left to count those at headquarters they were to cross the ridge and go to the upper camp and be counted again. "More Indians, more blankets", they were told, and by nature they were well qualified to carry out the trick. It is not strange that under the contradictory teaching of the "white" man that they would go to Prayer meetings and tell how they loved the Great Spirit and then on way home they would steal the seed potatoes out of the ground that the Government had planted for their own use.


When my uncle, John NYE, came from the east by way of the Isthmus, he brought my mother a new kind of lamp that burned coal oil. It was cleaned, filled, carefully lighted, and we children cautioned not to go too near it as it might explode. There were many explosions of lamps during the early days of their use as the refining of oil had not reached its present degree of perfection and it contained much gasoline. We frequently had callers who came for the express purpose of seeing the lamp. It would be brought out and lighted. The visitor would admire its light, stand as far away from it as he could get, and ask, "Ain't you afraid it'll bust?"

Written my N.A.Thompson in 1926


From papers of Mrs. R.M.Peffer


Robert Mitchell THOMPSON was born in Thompsontown, Penna., in 1824. His ancestry was Scotch. When a young man he went to Illinois where he spent several years, coming to Oregon with a wagon train in 1851. He made his home near Brownsville.

Agnes NYE came to Oregon in 1852 with her Aunt Rachel (Mrs. Wm. BLAIN) who located at Union Point, three miles south of Brownsville. These two persons became acquainted at a singing school taught by the former, and were married at the home of Mrs. Z.F.MOODY, January 1,1855. Mrs. MOODY was the bride's girlhood friend.

After they had been married about two years they came to Corvallis where the husband followed carpenter work. After a year he bought a piece of J.C. ALEXANDER's donation land claim and established a home which was maintained for forty years. It was about one mile south of the Marys River bridge. There were eight children born to them; Newton A., Laura, Mary, Etilla, Emma, George, John and Olive, and they kept him busy as a provider. Notwithstanding the demands of his family he was always ready to help anyone in need. During the Civil War he was active in support of Sanitary and Christian Commissions, two organizations that were doing what they could to alleviate the horrors of war. His purse was easily opened by an appeal for any good cause.

In 1861 he formed a partnership with S.H. THOMPSON (who was not related), and established a general merchandise store, this continued for four years, when R.M. bought his partner's interest and afterwards conducted the business alone. During most of the four years he was postmaster.

In 1870 the family had become so infected with malaria that at least one of them was ill every summer, so, tired of paying doctor bills, he determined to take the family to the coast. So he sold his business, bought a "claim" near Toledo, and there the family remained three years. The had not had a day's illness in the three years. They returned to Corvallis and resided on the farm until 1881, when they moved into Corvallis. He engaged in the grocery business but finding his health failing he sold his business and retired, passing away in 1893, just before he reached the age of three score and ten. His wife survived him and in a few years became an invalid, and finally became helpless. She was tenderly cared for by my sisters, Mary and Emma for twenty-five years.....She was brave in her suffering....cheerful in disposition...passed away in Portland at the age of ninety.

The home on the old farm was a hospitable one. The latch string was always out. Mother gave many a wayfarer a meal who passed on and she never saw him again. I can remember occasions when the neighbors would come in to sing. After singing till they were tired the popcorn and red apples would be passed around. There remains with me a sense of charm in the whole hearted hospitality of those days.

Father and Mother joined the United Presbyterian Church before they moved to Corvallis and I can remember when we rose early, Mother dressed us "spick and span" and Father drove us to Corvallis and across the ferry and to church at Oakville. There were churches in Corvallis but they were not the U.P.Church. There would be a sermon in the forenoon, after which long boards were brought in and placed on top of the seats. On these boards as a table each family would spread the contents of their dinner baskets and there followed a period of social pleasure which was enjoyed to full by all. Then the wreckage was cleared away, the boards removed, and another sermon followed. In later years Father and Mother were affiliated with the Evangelical Association.

Thus lived two Oregon pioneers who did their part and did it well. Rearing a large family, helping others, doing much for the public good, serving God to the best of their ability. Such lives always leave the world a little better than they found it.



Before the railway was built from Portland to Corvallis all freight was shipped buy boat up and down the Willamette River in the winter, when the water was high. If supplies ran low in summer they must be brought from Portland by team. Winant & Co. of San Francisco ran a small schooner to Yaquina Bay for oysters. They conceived the idea of establishing a wholesale grocery at Oysterville and bidding for the patronage of the merchants of Corvallis and points south, as they would have a thirty-five miles shorter haul. My father once went there to buy goods. He took me along. I was about seven years of age. Leaving the team at Pioneer we took the Steamer Pioneer to Newport. There was not a house there. Johnnie WILLIAMS had a restaurant in a tent where we took dinner and supper (now luncheon and dinner), and then took the steamer back to Oysterville. I was asleep when we arrived, and was awakened and set off on a sidewalk. I started for the buildings and walked plump into the water. The supposed sidewalk was a string of oyster floats. I was taken in, given dry clothes, and put to bed. Next morning I found myself dressed in a man's clothes with the sleeves and legs rolled in bulky rolls around my hand and feet so that I could use my limbs. Capt. DODGE of the wholesale store said to me, "While your father is buying goods you play around the store. There are sacks of nuts and over there are boxes of candy. Eat all you want and have a good time, Sonny." Sonny did.


I well remember when Corvallis College of the M.E.Church, south, was designated as the Oregon State Agricultural College. This was greeted by the average farmer with laughter and derision, "The idea of larning farmin' out of a book." Prof. Wm. A. FINLEY was then president and farmers told the following story (which did not happen) with great gusto. "He ordered the class to plant beans. One day he observed that the beans had all come out of the ground, each bean pushed up by the root. So the Prof.ordered the class out and made then punch the beans back into the ground with their fingers." When Prof. Arnold came the next year they declared that he could not hitch up a team or plough a straight furrow to save his life. The farmers have a different attitude now.

Prof. ARNOLD came up from poverty and he knew the value of money. People used to laugh at him because he would shop around town trying to bet the best value for his money. One's first impression might be that he was miserly or stingy, but those who came to know him found out that he was always helping some young man to get an education. When Corvallis was trying to build the Administration building on the College grounds, the Professor's subscription was $1,000.00 though at that time his salary was only $1,800.00 per year. He once lectured us for carrying so much money around in our pockets. He said we ought to have it in the bank drawing interest. He knew the value of money.


Addie M. (ALLEN) THOMPSON was born October 16, 1856, on her father's (Hiram ALLEN) farm about three miles southwest of Corvallis. She was educated in the public schools and in O.A.C., where she graduated in 1876. She was married to her classmate (myself)_ in June 1879. There were born to us two daughters, Aloha (THOMPSON) PETERSON and Vera (THOMPSON) VAN BUSKIRK. The former passed away December 23, 1914, after an illness of a few hours. The shock to the mother was so great that her health failed and she passed away June 16, 1916. Vera still lives and has two boys, Warren and Allen.

Addie M. THOMPSON had a heart filled with human kindness, a cheerful disposition, and she was exceedingly witty, yet her wit was always tempered with kindness. One enjoyed being the victim of her wit. Her kind heart could not turn even a tramp away from the door unfed. She was serious in her estimate of the importance of righteous living ,deeply religious with ostentation. She most carefully trained her two daughters, was a real companion to them and they became as three in one. She was a loyal helpmate, a splendid S.S. teacher, an earnest W.C.T.U. worker, an humble Christian. No normal man could live 37 years under her influence as I did and not be a much better man on account of it.




Interview -- Mrs. Calvin (Arabella PALMER) THRASHER

May 23,1939

Mrs. THRASHER was interviewed at the family home at 530 South Fifth Street, Corvallis, Oregon. She is one of the older people whose memory is unusually quick and sure. She said:

My grandfather, John GRIMSLEY, came to Oregon from Iowa in 1847. He came by ox-team, without any hardship other than was part of the mode of traveling. He had been a pioneer in Iowa through contact with the Sacs and Fox Indians had learned to like and understand the Indians, and was widely known by them. After he had gone some distance on his journey he was threatened by an Indian on the way when another Indian who had seen him in Iowa threw his arms about him to protect him, and explained that he was a friend. Then scouts were sent three days journey with the train to protect them. The train came through to Oregon with little sickness and with almost no loss of cattle.

Grandfather had taught school in Iowa but did not follow that work in Oregon. He took a donation land claim about two miles south of Philomath in the direction of Evergreen Community. He moved to Corvallis about 1859, and died here in 1883.

The children of Robert GRIMSLEY, besides my mother, were Robert, who died in 1861, Matilda, Pamela, and Malinda. Matilda taught the first school in the Philomath district, she later married Archimedes STEWART, stepson of Mary STEWART who is looked upon as the "mother" of the M.E. Church of Corvallis. Pamela married Wiley WINKLE, Malinda married Montgomery WINKLE, and Robert married Ann WINKLE. All these were children of the Winkles who took the claim included Winkles Butte, about ten miles south of Corvallis.

My father was Andrew PALMER. He came to California in 1849 in the party with Robert BUCHANAN. He did not make a fortune in the mines, and he came to Oregon in 1852. He bought a claim and settled about seven miles south of Corvallis on Muddy Creek near the BUCHANANS. About 1866-67 he came to Corvallis and for four years was engaged in the general merchandise business in partnership with E. HOLGATE. HOLGATE served as County Judge from 1874 to 187. After leaving the business in Corvallis, Father farmed on Kiger Island. In 1884 he went to Gilliam County where he engaged in cattle raising. He spent the rest of his life there.

My parents were married in 1858. Their children were myself, Edward, Frank, Clarence, Georgiana, and Sylvan. None of them are now living in Oregon. I was born on Muddy Creek in 1859. All my schooling was in Corvallis.

I started first in the North School but was forced to stop after two or three days because the school was crowed and I did not belong in the district. I then went to a private school taught by Lizzie MULKEY, daughter of Johnson MULKEY, first settler in the Corvallis neighborhood. As nearly as I can remember, there were twenty-five or thirty pupils in this school. Josephine WILES, who is now Mrs. W.A. Wells, attended this school with me. Aurora WATTS and Clara WATTS at another time taught in this same private school. In the South School, which I attended later, Silas SHEDD and E.A.MILNER taught. Mr. SHEDD was married to one of the women of the STARR clan. MILNER was later County Superintendent. My last teacher in the public school was Prof. McELROY. The teacher who had been hired quit before the end of the term and McELROY was hired to finish the term. The next year he was hired to teach in Corvallis College. I attended the "prep" department of Corvallis College for one winter. President ARNOLD and Professors EMERY, HAWTHORNE, and McELROY were on the faculty, and Captain BOSWELL give instruction to the cadets.

Social amusements for young people in my time consisted of picnics, parties, dances, literary societies, and the like. The younger folks attended the literary societies as spectators only. Singing and spelling schools were not common in town, the big occasions of the year was the college commencement. Some people who did not approve dancing parties for their young folks, but my father would not allow me to go to the play-parties. He said they were worse than dancing.

In 1876 I married Calvin THRASHER. Our children are Bertha (FOSTER), Frank, and Edna (BELL).



Interview -- Mr. and Mrs. (Eva NOIS) William S. TOMLINSON

July 15, 1938

Mr. and Mrs. TOMLINSON were interviewed at their farm home in the Wells Community, where are living in retirement. Said Mr. TOMLINSON:

My father, John TOMLINSON, came from California in 1857 to this community, which was then called Soap Creek. I do not know when he went to California. He came originally from Missouri.

My mother was Almira GINGLES. Her parents were James GINGLES and Sarah (MILLER) GINGLES. Besides my mother they had two daughters, Sarah (SPENCER), and Adeline. They came from Illinois in 1850 and took a donation land claim just east of Wells. Sarah GINGLES died in 1853 and GINGLES later married Tobitha NORTON. Grandmother GINGLES had a brother who lived in this community for a time and then moved with his family to Kings Valley, where one son still lives. Grandfather GINGLES was one of the first County Commissioners of Benton County, and served two terms in the State Legislature.

The first years in the new country were hard years. The wheat was tramped out by horses on a dirt floor, and the flour made from it was dark. Furniture at first was such as each man could make. A Mr. ROGERS, near Wells, used to make chairs and such things. The men commonly wore fringed buckskin pants. Wild game was plentiful.

In 1851 one of Grandmother GINGLES' brothers died just before reaching Benton County and was brought here to be buried on the GINGLES farm. Other burials occurred from time to time and years later Grandfather deeded one and one half acres to the school district for a free cemetery. People are buried there very rarely now. The first school house was on grandfather's place.

There was lots of game here in the early days, but not many varmints. Bears, cougars, and cats kept back in the hills. An occasional timber wolf was seen and coyotes were common until quite recently. The farming was chiefly grain raising at first. Only in recent years has diversified farming been tried generally.

My parents were married in 1864. Their children were James, myself, Fred and Clyde. Our schooling was at the Gingles School-house. My first teacher was Mary BOWEN. Another was J.D.WOOD, a pioneer teacher of Benton County. W.E.Yates, brother of Fred YATES, Corvallis lawyer, taught his first school here. I remember also a Mr. AULT.

Our chief means of entertainment and social diversion were the dances and parties. Baseball and such games were unknown. Everybody rode horseback. The roads were impassable for vehicles in the winter. The greatest change in the country has been the improved roads.

Church services and Sunday School were held regularly at the school house, BOWERSOX and CROSSMAN preached here for the Evangelicals and Joab POWELL and John OSBORN for the Baptists. Later the Baptists built the church at North Palestine, about a mile southeast from here, and the Evangelicals built a church at Wells. When there was a division in the Evangelical denomination the faction to which the local congregation belonged lost the property. The other faction sold the church to the Episcopal denomination and it was bought back by the community. Sunday school is held regularly, but there is no preaching except on rare occasions. There are no services now at the North Palestine Church. People who want to go to church go to town.

I married Eva NOIS in 1905. Our children are Frances (DELASHMUTT) and Donald, of Portland. I have farmed all my life in this community, but now am letting some one else do the hard work.

Said Mrs. Tomlinson:

My parents, William NOIS and Ellen(SLATER) NOIS, came from Iowa in 1875. The more accessible land was taken and father got a farm about two miles west of Blodgett. From the family Bible I get the following names and dates:

Susanna May NOIS, born 1869

Lydia Jane 1870

John A. 1872

Cora Ellon 1874

Ernsteen A. 1876

Eva Normanda 1879

Effie Julana 1881

Emma Elsie 1883

Sophia Maria 1885

Belford Philetus 1889

There was but a few acres of plow land on father's place and most of the living came from the sale of shingles and posts. These were split from the trunks of cedar trees that had been killed and charred by the big burn of 1840. The country was all covered with charred trees then and I remember that when as very little I got my first sight of them I thought it was a group of stovepipes.

Father got his start in sheep from one he found lost in the woods and which a neighbor said he might keep. Mother spun wool and made our stockings. Father cut his wheat with a cradle and we girls raked and bound it all by hand. We worked on the farm just like boys and were the healthier and better for it. It kept father pretty hard pressed to raise a family of ten children and keep out of debt.

Before the NOIS school was started we went to the Blodgett school. My teachers were Nellie YANTIS, Annie OWENS, Jim COLLINS (a quarter-breed Indian), and Emma PITTMAN. Later at the Nois school the teachers were Miles WADSWORTH, Lorena NORTON (daughter of Wiley NORTON of Kings Valley), Lottie BLAKE and Clara BETHERS.

I was married and came to this community in 1905 and my parents followed me to the valley in 1907.


Interview -- Mr. and Mrs. (Minnie ROGERS) Washington TOWNSEND

May 1938

These people were interviewed in their humble home west across the Luckiamute River from Chamber's Mill in Kings Valley. The memory of each reenforced the other and they were able to give much information about the early days.


My father, James TOWNSEND, was born in Iowa in 1834. His people came to Oregon in 1846, or soon after, and settled about three miles north of Dallas, in Polk County. When father came to manhood his mother gave him a farm. About 1860 he married Sophronia PRICE. I was born in 1863. About 1867 father traded his farm to Mr. EMORY for this place which had been the Richard TATOM donation land claim. Here I have lived every since.

All my schooling was in the Kings Valley School. Among my teachers I remember C.B. CROSNO, Henry REYNOLDS, James CHAMBERS, FULLER, GOOD and CRAWFORD. The schoolhouse was an old box building with home-made desks and benches and a blackboard painted on the wall. We had two or three months of school in the spring, and if there was money enough we had another term in the fall. Sometimes the parents were asked to pay rates or make subscriptions for the support of the school. When Mr. CROSNO taught he had at times as many as sixty-five pupils. He was a good teacher and was paid $40. per month and boarded round among the patrons of the school, staying a week in each place. The cooks usually tried to serve a little better meals when they were boarding the teacher, but he didn't want that. He said what people had to eat all the time was good enough for him to eat for one week.

In 1886 I married Minnie ROGERS. Our living child is Cecil who is a sawmill engineer.

Since I was a boy the country has changed for the better. Then the only resource was farming. There was only an occasional fir or oak tree on the hills and you could see cattle that might be grazing any place on the hills on either side of the valley. Now the timber has grown up and we have work in the woods and in sawmills. Some of the land about here has borne its second crop of saw logs since the country was settled. In a favorable location a Douglas Fir tree will attain a diameter of 25 to 30 inches in forty years.

There was not much time for pleasure when I was a boy. There was always so much work to do. When I was in my early teens I had to rake the grain into bundles behind my father's cradle; another man behind bound the grain into sheaves by hand. Of course there came to be church services on Sunday which almost everybody attended. Then in the winter time there were dances at the homes.

There was no drunkenness. It was considered a disgrace to be seen under the influence. Many of the farmers kept a jug of whiskey (frequently moonshine), and when the neighbors came in for a visit it would be passed around. Those who wished took a drink and the jug was corked and put away.

We young folks used to go to Philomath to camp meetings. There were no camp meetings in Kings Valley but there were often revival meetings for two or more weeks in the winter time.

I am living now on half of the old claim. A nephew has the other part. All my life I have been a framer. We used to raise great crops of wheat. The soil is pretty much worn out, but if farmers would treat it right they could still raise wheat.

Bill PITT was the carpenter who built the WATSON house where Jim PRICE lives, the Isaac KING house which Linc ALLEN remodeled, and several other of the finer old houses in Kings Valley and in Polk County. (Note: the old timers are not agreed on this point)

Mrs. Townsend:

My father, Christopher ROGERS, crossed the plains from Iowa in 1846. He ran away from home at the age of nineteen and started out alone, somewhat like the modern hitch hikers. I do not know how he managed at first, dodging Indians and sometimes going for a way with one train or another, but finally he found a train that took him in and he came all the way with them to Linn County.

My mother was Agnes MALEY. Her father was a doctor who took a donation land claim near Oakville in Linn County. He practiced medicine, but in those days a doctor might have a farm, too. Father came west in 1844, but I never heard much about his trip across the plains. Father got to know mother soon after his arrival and in course of time they were married. Grandfather gave them a farm. I was born in 1866. I went to school first at the Oakville School. Miss GRAVES was my teacher there for three years, I think.

About 1878 we moved to Philomath where father worked as a teamster. He had his own outfit and did whatever hauling he could find. He hauled a great deal of lumber for a mill on Greasy Creek. The mills then would deliver the lumber by teams much as they now deliver by auto truck. At Philomath the teacher that I remember was Mr. PARKER. About 1886 we came to Kings Valley. Here I was married and have lived since. Before my marriage I used sometimes to work out, doing housework. That was all a woman could do then, except teach school.

I am a member of the Evangelical Church at Kings Valley. My husband is an Odd-Fellow and I used to belong to the Rebekahs.




Orrin Alonzo TOZIER

June 10,1940

RECOLLECTIONS, written by Orrin Alonzo TOZIER,

oldest son of Arthur E.TOZIER,

grandson of Waldo Emerson TOZIER,

of Waldo and his wife Eunice and their sons.

Grandfather TOZIER, wife, and their three elder sons crossed the plains in 1862, arriving in Portland, Oregon, in October of that same year. Carpenters were in demand and Grandfather soon secured a job for the winter working on the Taylor St. M.E.Church.

Early in the spring of 1863 Grandfather and family, with two horses and an ox, packed over the mountains to Tillamook Bay where he located a homestead which he disposed of the following fall and then moved back to Portland.

Other members of the immigrant party had trekked into the Willamette Valley and had settled around Monroe. Having received favorable reports of that district, Grandfather sent Grandmother and the boys on to his nephew, Washington WALTZ, who had settled near where Alpine is now. Grandmother searched far and near, trying to find a house to live in for the winter. The only vacant house in the community was one owned by Jesse BELKNAP, which house is still standing half a mile north of Alpine at this writing. Mr. BELKNAP at that time was living with his son and refused to let anyone live in that house.

Grandmother reported the situation to Grandfather who left his job in Portland and came forthwith to see Mr. BELKNAP about the house. He told Mr. BELKNAP he had to have a house to winter in and as Mr. BELKNAP's house was the only vacant one around there, he would have to let Grandfather's family move into it. Without further more ado arrangements were made and Grandfather rented the place for the following year.

During the winter of 1864-64 Grandfather made by hand the pews for the Simpson Chapel, which stood nearby. I understand some of the pews are still doing duty in the Alpine Church today.

In the summer of 1864 Grandfather began working for Tommy READER in overhauling his grist mill at Monroe, after which he rebuilt a residence for Tommy. In all Grandfather said Tommy paid him $1,500 in wages, which was quite a sum in those days.

Grandfather leased and operated a sawmill at Monroe for the summer of 1865. That fall he bought the place, the north-east corner of which centers in Alpine of today. Grandfather moved the buildings and orchard, which would be in Alpine today, to the south-east corner of the place at the foot of the hill, to get wind protection. A piece of the old house is still held up by the old fireplace. It is better known in the later days as the old CAMPBELL place. On this place Henry Clayton, youngest son of my grandparents, was born in December, 1871.

Arthur E., eldest son married Martha M. JACKSON, eldest child of Orrin JACKSON, and sister of John and Marion Jackson. To that union was born Orrin Alonzo on the Bounds place two miles north of Monroe, Oregon, in May 1871; Francis Maynard at Vacaville, California, in April, 1873; Everette Louis on the Palmer place near Bellfountain, Oregon, in July 1875; Carrie Orleana at Waverly, Washington, in January, 1882.

In the fall of 1876 Arthur and family started for the Palouse County in Eastern Washington. Thinking it unwise to make the entire trip that fall, Father rented a place on the Umatilla River twenty miles west of Pendleton, where Echo is today. In the fall of 1877 all of Grandfather's family and many others came on from the Willamette Valley and we joined them enroute to the Great Palouse Country. We spent Christmas of 1877 in the little burg of Palouse City, Washington. In fact that is my first remembrance of Christmas time. Grandfather bought a lot and built a house in which we celebrated the holidays.

In January of 1878 we all moved about thirty-five miles father north, which brought us within forty miles of Spokane, Washington, just a few shacks at that time, where most everyone staked out a homestead in a rolling prairie country with plenty of timber for fuel and building not far away. Of course there was no market for anything raised until the railroad was completed from Portland to Spokane. My father ran a freight line from the Snake River to Spokane in the summer of 1879. Next year the railroad was through.

My parents sold out in 1884 and moved to California, where they spent the rest of their days. I went back to Grandfather's in 1887 and then back to California in 1893. In 1896 I married Miss Harriet Elizabeth COVERT, in Los Gatos, California. In 1900 I returned to Oregon and a short time later my wife and elder son, Waldo Orrin, came to Oregon and we settled in Bellfountain, where I started my first shoe and harness repair shop. My youngest son, Robert, was born after we came back to Oregon.

Grandfather left the Palouse country in 1892, going to California. He returned to Oregon in 1899 and went to California again in 1902. Grandmother passed away in 1903, Grandfather in 1905. Their second son, Edwin, died in Coquille, Oregon in 1919 and his wife, Lucinda Belknap Tozier, died in 1921. Frederick died in Portland, Oregon in 1933. Henry C. and family are living in Los Angeles, California, at the present date.

My brother, Everett L., died in Los Angeles, California, leaving one daughter, Frances. My brother Francis died in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1935. His wife died in Portland in 1934. Francis had two sons, George and Allen, who are living in Los Angeles, California. My sister, Mrs. Carrie O.Sconce, is living in Corvallis, Oregon. Our oldest son, Waldo, and his wife live near Yacolt, Washington and Robert, the youngest son, and his wife live at Charleston, West Virginia. This is going on the thirty-sixth year I have been in harness business in Corvallis, Oregon; the only harness shop in Benton County and one of the very few shops left in western Oregon. In a few more years harness making will be lost art, for the demand for harness decreases every year.

Orrin Alonzo Tozier

December 5, 1939--Since writing the above chronicle, Orrin A. Tozier passed away on October 19,1939

Mrs. O.A.Tozier
Carrie O. Tozier Sconce



Interview -- Mrs. Julia RICKARD TRACER

May 9, 1939

Mrs. TRACER was interviewed at her farm home about one and one half miles northeast of Bruce Station on the West Side of Pacific Highway, about eleven miles south of Corvallis. Mrs. TRACER has spent all her life in Oregon and much of it on this place.

She said:

My parents, John and Susanna RICKARD, came to Oregon in 1853. The train started from Indiana in 1852, but the man who came from the Willamette Valley to pilot them missed the way, and for much of the journey they travelled blindly in a westward direction. There was no loss of life from Indians, but they were compelled to be continually on guard, and several times had to repel attacks upon the stock. Several times they lost some of their cattle to the Indians.

The great hardship was the loss of time from missing the way, and the shortage of food which resulted. They were at the point of starvation when they reached Eugene, early in 1853. Father worked for a time there to get food before he came on here. Eugene was a small place then, with but one store.

Father took this claim in 1853, and here I was born in 1854. the train by which father came was a large train of fifty-three wagons, and father's brothers, Peter, Caspar, and Andrew, came at the same time. All settled near here and all reared large families. There are some of them left here-abouts, but most of them are scattered over the Northwest.

Father's children were Peter, Michael, Daniel, John Henry, James, Martha (TAYLOR), Katy, and myself. I attended school some at the Winkle schoolhouse, now the Lakeside school, but most of my schooling was here at home where father had a school for us and our neighbors. I remember the FIELD, STURGILL, and FISHER children used to attend here. I do not remember the names of the teachers. After that I started a term at Corvallis College, but mother became sick, and I had to stop that almost as soon as I had started.

I married Christopher TRACER in 1880. My husband was not of one of the pioneer families. We lived on farms in various parts of the valley until I had to come home to take care of my parents. My husband is dead now. Our children are Roy, who lives in Lane County, John, who is an auto-mechanic but who is now here on the farm with me, and May (Maxfield) of Sheridan. After I was married we lived for a time near Junction City, in Lane County; then we moved nearer here.

In the early days father raised grain which he fed to stock, principally hogs. He built that log smokehouse in which is still standing, and used to fill it with hams and bacon at butchering time. The smokehouse and this house were built before the flood of 1861-62, I do not know the exact date. Father had already taken several loads of hams and bacon to Portland, and was about ready to butcher another lot when the flood came. His hogs were carried away and about sixty of them landed alive on Winkle Butte, and were recovered. Most of the herd, however, were drowned.

All out clothing in the early days was spun and woven at home. Mother used to spin three pieces each year. The one for the men's clothing was colored dark yellow or brown. The pieces for the women's clothing was in checks or stripes, and of lighter shades. The third piece was for blankets. The Blankets were all wool, but the clothing had a cotton warp. Mother found her dyes in the woods, the bark of the oak, alder, etc.. We children went barefoot most of the time.

Father was always interested in the work of the church. Preachers stayed here for some considerable times. Among the early preachers I remember COONS, MARTIN AND MICHAELS.

(The old house, built about 1860, is covered by an Historic Building Form, returned herewith. The old smokehouse is made of small logs, shaped and notched, and is about ten by fourteen feet, outside measurement, and is about nine feet to the eaves. In it a good many hundred pounds of bacon could have been smoked at one time)

Interview -- Mrs. Ada QUICK TRENHOLM

Mrs. TRENHOLM is a widow and runs a filling station and country grocery at her home on Highway Ore. 26 on the South Fork of Marys River. She said:

My father was D.O.QUICK who came across the plains from Illinois in 1862. He was misdirected by the Mormons in Utah and got off the right route. He was forced to sell his wagon and outfit for one sack of flour. They were able to walk to a place where father got work in a mine. He earned enough to buy a mule and mother and my half brother, the child of a former marriage, rode this mule for nine hundred miles while father walked. The boy was six years old at the time.

Father settled in Washington County. He had been a lawyer and school teacher in Illinois. He did not practice law in Oregon but taught school all over Washington County. He was elected to the State Legislature the same year he came to the state and served two terms. Father bought a saw mill in Washington County but failed to make it pay. In 1888 he moved to Polk County where he operated a farm and nursery. My father's children were my half-brother Emerson, Ed, Emmet, William, Warren, and Fred. I was the only girl. Ed was elected School Superintendent and later County Clerk in Washington County. William lives at Forest Grove and Fred in Toledo. Father died at the age of eighty-one.

I was born in 1880. I attended school at Suver in Polk County. My teachers were Will WORTH, Vida WORTH, Mr. HOAG, Nettie CROSBY, Mary NORTHRUP, and Mr. PHILLIPS. Then I took a business at Philomath College and attended the college at Corvallis for a time.

In 1903 I married Porter TRENHOLM, a farmer. Our home has been right here. Mr. TRENHOLM was for some years before his death in 1928 fire warden for an association of timer owners in the state. I have two daughters, Mrs. Ione HINKLE lives in Lincoln County, and Ruth helps me keep the home fires burning.

I remember one story of the trip across the plains. My six year old brother and another boy were walking a short distance in front of the train when they came upon the body of a man with nineteen arrows sticking into the body. Father took one of his slender supply of blankets to wrap the body before burial. No one knew who the man was, and if he had any people they never knew what became of him. My brother had been troublesome on account of walking in his sleep, but the shock of this experience is credited with effecting a complete cure.

My husband and I were always interested in the support of the little neighborhood church near here. It is so easy to get away that many people go elsewhere to church or for pleasure, but I still think the greatest service I can render to the community is to help keep the Sunday School going and give the children a chance to become acquainted with the teachings of the Bible.


Interview -- Charles TROXEL

June 1937

Mr. TROXEL was interviewed at his home on East College St., in Philomath, where he and Mrs. TROXEL are living with a daughter to keep them company. Mr. TROXEL talks freely of the early days, and his memory seems to be dependable. On June 16, 1937, he said:

My father was Frederick TROXEL who came to Oregon first with the Henkle train in 1853. He went back and returned in 1859. Father was married in 1859 while crossing the plains. My mother's maiden name was Elizabeth EMERICK. My parents lived first near Roseburg, then on a farm a few miles south of Philomath, but finally settled on the upper Mary's River near Summit. Two of my mother's brothers ran a butcher shop in Corvallis in the sixties.

Father and his brother, Carter TROXEL, both had farms in the Summit community and lived out their lives there. Both were carpenters and furniture makers. Several families in that part of the county still have chairs and other articles made by the TROXELS, that are still sound and serviceable.

When father settled at Summit there was no railroad, but the postoffice was just this side of the present location. There was a stage line through Summit to the coast and the mail used to come two or three times a week at first; later the roads were improved and we had daily mail. The roads used to be so bad in the winter that the stage could not make the trip and the mail came on horseback. For supplies we had to go out to Philomath or Corvallis.

I went to school in the old log schoolhouse at Summit which was about where the Summit schoolhouse is now. There was a schoolhouse on the north road from Hoskins to Summit called the Fern Ridge School. That school is gone now. Among my teachers I remember John WOOD and Jimmie CONNOR. CONNOR married one of the HINKLE girls, I think, and later became a preacher. School only held three months in the year. There was little tax money from the county and the farmers were poor. Most attention was given to the foundation branches, reading, writing, and arithmetic.

My father's children who lived to maturity were myself, William R., Henry, John B., General Grant, and Willis O. They all lived and farmed in Benton County, but all are gone now. I am the only one left.

When the railroad was being built to the coast I used to work on that in addition to my farming. I worked my team and drove a two horse dump cart in building the tunnel. On the farm our attention was given mostly to cattle which were depended on as a cash product. What grain we raised was for home use. Our cattle were not pure bred but a mixture of whatever came to hand.--Among our neighbors were SKAGGS, THRASHERS, and GROVES.

In 1880 I married Annie HUFFT whose parents were not pioneers. Our children are Mrs. Elsie Taylor who is now with us, and Mrs. Clara Miller who lives nearby. I have lived all my life hereabouts except for nine years on a farm near Ellensburg, Washington. That was mostly sage brush and had to be irrigated.

The old days were no worse than the present, and in some ways better. If we had a hard time to get along it was what all had and we thought nothing of it. We did not go so fast, but we did not have so many dangers to meet.


Interview -- Mrs. Della KING TURNER

May 1938

Mrs. Della TURNER, widow, was interviewed at the ancestral home at Wren where she was recently returned and where she is living with her son.

My father, Charles KING, was born in 1848. He was the son of Stephen KING and the stepson of Sol KING. Stephen KING died not long after coming to Oregon, and later his brother married his widow. Although that part of the Luckiamute River valley in Benton County is called Kings Valley, only one of the KING Brothers, Isaac, actually settled there. Amos KING settled on the site of Portland and Nahum and Sol KING settled on Marys River near Wren. Sol KING soon sold or transferred his farm and went to Corvallis where he served as sheriff for ten years following 1876.

My father's mother was Marie ALLEN. She was not related to the ALLENs of Kings Valley, who came a little later than the KING party. Beside my father the King children were: Lucy, who married Richard "Doc" KIGER; Anne, now Mrs. KINDER; Eli and Will who went to eastern Oregon; and Abe and Scott.

My Mother was Susan ROBNETT, daughter of Stephen and Mary ROBNETT. The old ROBNETT land claim is a few miles east of here on the head of Oak Creek. The ROBNETT family Bible, which I have, shows the following information about members of the family:

Stephen Robnett b. May 23,1807: d. March 18,1878

Polly (Mary) Robnett (wife) b. Feb. 18,1816; d. Dec. 20, 1885
Nancy Jane born 1874 (should this be 1834?)

Rachel Elizabeth, born 1835 (married Chatfield ROBERTS)

James, born 1838

Louise, born 1839 (married Wm. HENDERSON)

Pleasant, born in 1844 (died in boyhood)

William, born in 1847

Jackson, born in 1850 (died in boyhood)

Martha Susan, born in 1852

David, born 1855

Joseph, born in 1861

My parents were married in the early 'seventies and I was born in 1875. I have a brother Ed and a sister Anna. My father and his children attended the same red schoolhouse at Wren. His older grandchildren missed by a few years when the old building was torn down and the present more modern building was built. Grandfather KING gave the land for the schoolhouse but it was never deeded. The directors took his word for the gift and put up the building without a legal title. When the new building was to be erected the board was more particular and a deed was secured from the heirs before the work could go on.

Among my teachers at Wren I remember Anna OWEN and a Mr. CORNETT. We lived at Wren, some distance from the school, and part of the time I stayed with Mrs. James EMERICK in Philomath and attended school there. The Philomath schoolhouse was in an Oak Grove at North and B Streets. Professor REEVES was the teacher and Lydia DAVIS his assistant.

The old schoolhouse at Wren was a frame building that was often overcrowded with the enrollment at times as high as 65. All the furniture was homemade.

When I was eighteen my sister had to leave the Willamette Valley on account of hay fever. We two went to the Dalles. There I met and married Creed TURNER, who became a rail-road engineer. My husband was employed first by the O.R.&N.,R.R. and later by the Western Pacific. We lived in Oregon, then in California and Nevada, where his work took him.

Two years ago I returned to spend my last days in the old home. I am living here with my son Edward and his family. I have also a daughter, Dorothy BROWN, who lives at Ventura, California.

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