History of Eugene: Judge Risdon

Judge D. M. Risdon:  First Home Owner in Eugene City

Judge Risdon owned the first house within Eugene's earliest corporate limits.  He was born in Fairfield County, Vermont June 3, 1832.  As a young man, he went to Stark County, Illinois, and commenced life as a school teacher.  It was not long, however, before he went to Peoria to study law with Hon. H. O. Merriman.  He was admitted to the bar in Illinois on July 7, 1849.  The call of gold brought him to California in 1850 but did not hold him there for long, for in 1851 he came on to the Willamette valley, and finding Mary and Eugene Skinner in their cabin, took land adjacent to their claim. In March or April he engaged Hilyard Shaw to build a house, and that house was the town's real beginning.  It stood at a point where Pearl street was later cut through between Ninth and Tenth streets.  A visitor coming to Eugene by bus is certain to step almost upon the homesite of the Risdons, just south and west of the present Eugene Hotel.  This 20 by 14 foot house had a puncheon floor, with a roof and sides of split boards.  The cost to Mr. Rigdon was $76.00.  He dug a well, which produced excellent water, and from a large pine tree which he cut down, he manufactured furniture.

Upon arrival in Eugene, Mr. Risdon was at once admitted to the practice of law within the county "as attorney and counsellor in courts of the Second Judicial District" and was probably the first lawyer in the city.  He served in the Territorial legislature in 1851 and 1852, and was a county judge who administered common-sense justice.  "This place," Judge Risdon would roar, "has come to a pretty how-de-do!  It's one thing for a man to get a little drunk and have a little fun.  It's another when he takes to stealing. Six months!"  In 1854 Judge Risdon bought from Eugene Skinner 'lots 6 and 7 in block 18" for the sum of two hundred dollars, and there he built a house which backed onto the millrace at Seventh street at about the present intersection of Seventh Avenue and Franklin Boulevard.  From 1856 and 1857 he served as County School Superintendent. On October 8, 1853, Judge Risdon married Pauline Gertrude Wright, daughter of Ezekiel Wright.  Their children were Ella Pauline and Augustus D. Risdon.

Hilyard Shaw:  Eugene's First Building Contractor

There is little factual data concerning Hilyard Shaw.  He was a builder, putting up the first house for Judge D. M. Risdon in 1851.  In the same year, the millrace was cut and later Hilyard Shaw and his partner, William Smith, erected the first sawmill.   His own log cabin, one of so few, stood almost underneath the Condon Oaks that shade the north side of the University of Oregon campus, facing northward from the spot where Villard Hall stands.  It is said that Hilyard Shaw was "a lovable gentleman" and that he stuttered. One of his promises was when he died he would come back to haunt the shadows of those oak trees.  He made two additions to the early Eugene, giving land in 1856 east from the Mulligan addition, and in 1862 other land still eastward from this tract.  He died on September 6th, 1862, when he was sixty-two years old.

Dr. Andrew W. Patterson:  Surveyor General

Dr. Andrew W. Patterson was the youngest son of Scots parentage, born on October 4, 1814 in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania to Andrew Patterson who was born in Bucks County and Jane Lindsay of Shippensburg.  He was graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Medicine in March, 1841 and had practiced medicine in Greenfield, Indiana.  But when he came to Oregon in August of 1852, he found pioneer families in astonishingly fine health but needing a surveyor.  He took up a donation land claim about a mile west of what would become the city.  In 1854 he took up the surveyor's chain and began, at the request of Eugene Skinner, to mark off and plat the "Town of Eugene City."  Forty acres each had been donated by Eugene Skinner and Charnal Mulligan, with Eighth street forming the dividing line.  He this success, he took up various government contracts for survey work in Oregon and Washington Territory.  On July 4, 1859, he married Miss Amanda C. Olinger, the daughter of Abram Olinger and Rachel Stout, who had come to Oregon by wagon with the Great Emigration of 1843.  The Pattersons were the parents of eight children.  

Dr. Patterson was a member of the Territorial Legislature from Lane County in 1854, and later, after his election to the state Senate in 1870, he was a very determining influence in the fight to build the State University in his town.  He fought in the Indian Wars in 1855 as a lieutenant, and later as Surgeon in the Medical Department of  the Army.  He was appointed chief clerk in the office of the Surveyor General, located in Eugene, in 1861.  The following year Dr. Patterson resumed his medical practice in Eugene, retiring in 1897.  He  was one of the first to introduce hops in Lane County, obtaining his first roots in England.  He became an extensive hop grower, operating a hopyard along the banks of the Willamette river.   He was also quarter-owner of the Eugene City flour mills.

Dr. Patterson also served Eugene well as a school director, and as a county superintendent of schools for three terms, from 1882 to 1886.  Although he lost his eyesight in the latter years of his life, he maintained a lively interest in all affairs of the town, and gave much financial aid to civic projects.  Professionally Dr. Patterson was connected with the Lane County Medical Society to the time of his death, which occurred December 20, 1904.  Fraternally he was a member of Eugene Lodge No. 11, A. F. & A. M., and his religious faith was that of the Unitarian church.

Charnal Mulligan:  Pioneer Philanthropist 

The records call him variously Charnal Mulligan, Charnelton Mulligan and Charnal Milligin, but under any name he was one of Eugene's founders, coming to take up a donation land claim immediately south of Eugene Skinner's and to turn a part of that land over to the town at the time of its second platting.  All deeds of land within the early townsite still bear the names of Mulligan and Skinner, and it was they who, with their wives, each gave forty acres of land for use of the county with its hundred-foot-wide strip enclosing county buildings.  (When these tracts were platted, they showed the parks, and the streets bordering the parks were called Park street, their width to be 100 feet.  This made the lots on Main street only 126 feet deep rather than the regular 160, so all the stores backing on Park street took their extra 34 feet by erecting woodsheds on the outer edge of the street.  A lawsuit to determine ownership of the 34 feet was decided in favor of the county, and it was promptly deeded back to the private owners.  Hence the narrowness of Park street.)

In April of 1856, in recognition of the Mulligan and Skinner gifts, the County Commissioners gave to Martha Spores Mulligan (and to Mary Cook Skinner in July) "any lot in Eugene City not on the public square and belonging to the county, as a donation..."  In addition, stained glass windows were put in the courthouse in the their honor.  The old courthouse and its stained glass windows are long gone.

Charnelton Street was named for Mr. Mulligan.

Cal M. Young:  First Citizen in 1937

His father, Charles Walker Young, lived at Linnton, just north of Portland, but raised wheat on his Willamette valley ranch which he shipped by boat to England.  The first boat stage was from Eugene to Portland and Astoria.  Mrs. Young, the former Mary B. W. Gillespie, used to mount her pony, put one child in the side saddle with her and another on behind, take the saddle bags full of money and make the four or five day horseback trip from Linnton to Eugene to pay the shipper.  Cal was one of thirteen children, born in 1871 on his parents' old donation land claim.  The Youngs crossed the plains in '52 with the train of her father, Jacob Gillespie, and took up a claim two miles north of Eugene, across the Willamette River from Eugene City.  Cal was born in their first log cabin.  He was educated in Bogart district school and Bishop Scott Academy, Portland.  He ran a meat market in Eugene for six years, then worked at Blue River Mines for a year and a half after which he managed the Heilig theater two years after it opened in 1903, then returned to farming on old place.  There he raised hay, grain and beef until 1917 when he moved from his old house built in 1873 to a new one just east of that.

Mr. Young served on the school board, and was interested in all civic matters.  He was one of main organizers of Oregon Trail pageant; and was very active in support of University.  On March 24, 1894, the University's first real football team played its first real game.  Cal was the "coacher."  He was a Baptist, and member of the Elks, the Woodmen of the World, and the Eugene Country Club.  (The Eugene Country Club occupies Gillespie's original land claim.)  He was named Eugene's First Citizen in 1937. When a new junior high school was built in the area in 1953, it was named in his honor. He took an active interest in the school.  Once, after seeing the school band in a local parade, Cal came into the office and said he was embarrassed that the band had no uniforms.  He asked the school to order the uniforms and he would pay for them.  And he did. 

George M. Hawley:  Cottage Grove Stock Dealer and Local Politician

George M. Hawley, of Cottage Grove, is a retired farmer and stock-dealer who has been active in political matters, in which he still takes an active interest.  He was born in Lane county, Oregon, September 9, 1857, a son of Ira and Elvira (Riley) Hawley, the father a native of New York and the mother of Indiana. In their family were eight children, namely:  Nirom, of Moscow, Idaho; Lyman, deceased; William, of Lorane, Oregon; Annie, the deceased wife of Frank Stockwell, of Idaho; George M. of this review; Robert D., of Creswell, Oregon; James H., of Divide, Oregon; and Alice, deceased.  The youngest son is now making his home on the old donation land claim which was taken up by his father after he crossed the plains in 1852.  The father had previously made the journey to California in 1849, remaining in that state until the following year, when he returned to Illinois by way of Cape Horn, and in 1852 again came west, taking up a claim at Divide, Oregon.

George M. Hawley remained under the parental roof until he attained his majority, and when he left home his father gave him three hundred and seventy-five acres of land near Creswell, Oregon.  He lived on that land until in 1911, when he sold out and removed to Cottage Grove, retiring from business.  For five years during his early career he followed the business of buying and selling stock, but he later disposed of that business and gave his entire attention to diversified farming, which he continued until the time of his retirement.

Mr. Hawley was married twice and by his first union has two children:  Oscar, who is married and resides at The Dalles; and George Francis, also making his home at that place.  Mr. Hawley's second union occurred March 31, 1894, when he wedded Miss Minnie Ozment, a daughter of J.S. and Elizabeth (Dilon) Ozment, both natives of North Carolina.  The Ozment family crossed the plains in 1869 from the latter state and settled in Lane county, Oregon, where Mrs. Hawley was born and where her marriage took place.  In his political faith, Mr. Hawley is a republican and has held numerous local offices.  He was justice of the peace at Creswell for two terms, was road supervisor for twelve years, has been school clerk and served on the school board for several years, and is now a candidate for county commissioner.  In his fraternal relations, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Woodmen of the World.  In his religious views he is liberal and attends different churches.  Mr. Hawley, who is one of the early sons of Lane county, has been an active and valuable man in the development of the resources of his community and in later years particularly has assisted in no small way in the public projects of the county. Following for many years agricultural pursuits on a large scale, he labored hard and faithfully and is well entitled to the rest from hard work which he is now enjoying.  He is widely known throughout the community and is greatly respected by all who are acquainted with him. 

Hon. James Hemenway:  Miner, Real Estate Broker and Citizen of Cottage Grove

Hon. James Hemenway, a prominent real-estate dealer of Cottage Grove, is interested in mining operations, was for many years a merchant of the city and is universally considered one of its most public-spirited and enterprising citizens.  He was born in Canada, July 3, 1854, the son of William and Catherine (McCord) Hemenway, the former a native of Canada and the latter of Ireland.  The parents removed to Wisconsin when James Hemenway was an infant and in that state the family resided for fifteen years, after which, in 1870, they went to Kansas, where the father took up a homestead, upon which he lived until 1888, when he removed to Oregon.  In his family were six children:  James; Almond, deceased; William F., of Seattle, Washington; D. H., of Cottage Grove; and Rose and Clarence, both of whom are deceased.

James Hemenway received his education in the schools of Wisconsin and began life on his own account at the age of seventeen years. He was first employed at farm work and later was engaged in various occupations.  When he came to Oregon with his family in 1888 he settled in Cottage Grove and with his brother, William F. Hemenway, established a livery business with which he remained connected for ten years.  He then sold out and engaged in real estate and mining in the Bohemian mining district, operating both lines of business together.  One of his prominent mining operations was the opening of the Riverside and Happy Jack mines.  He sold these mines, however, after operating them for a year and later purchased a mining claim elsewhere in the Bohemia district.  He was for nine years engaged in the general merchandise business in Cottage Grove, purchasing it in 1901 and disposing of it to again engage in the real-estate business, reentering that field in 1910.  In addition to his mining interests, he owns an eighty acre farm besides property in Cottage Grove, where he resides.

Mr. Hemenway has been twice married.  By his first union he became the father of two children; W. Almond, of Cottage Grove, who is married and has three children, Margaret, Catherine and Read; and Hazel, a graduate of the high school, who is engaged in teaching and resides at home.  In 1905 Mr. Hemenway wedded Mrs. Carrie Northway, a native of Indiana.

Mr. Hemenway, who is a republican and who has been actively and prominently engaged in politics for many years, was elected in 1901 as a member of the state legislature when the Oregon system was adopted, at which time the Torrence land law was enacted. During the early years of his residence in Cottage Grove, when the town contained a population of only two hundred and fifty people, having four stores and a flour mill, he was elected a member of the council and served in that capacity for almost seven years.  The city has now attained a population of twenty-five hundred people and Mr. Hemenway has been prominently associated with all the enterprises of a public nature during this period of growth in the population.  During the time he was a member of the council the first water plant was installed.  He was deputy tax collector for one term and has also been deputy sheriff of Lane county.  He has always been actively interested in educational matters and served for one term as a clerk of the school board.  In his fraternal connections, Mr. Hemenway is a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the Knights of Pythias.

His long and active business and political career in Lane county has contributed very materially to the upbuilding of the business, political and social interests of the city and county.  As a member of the Oregon state legislature, he was active and efficient and while in that position formed the acquaintance of large numbers of people throughout the state.  He is universally recognized as one of the leading citizens of Cottage Grove and as he has always taken a deep interest in all matters of public import he is considered one of the most valuable of its citizens.  Affable in demeanor, courteous to his customers and optimistic in temperament, he has made an unusually large number of friends and acquaintances, all of whom hold him in high esteem.  

John Stewart:  Successful Eugene Farmer

John Stewart was one of Eugene's representative and highly esteemed citizens.  He met an untimely death September 13, 1908, by falling from an apple tree and was deeply mourned by a large number of friends and acquaintances, his passing marking the end of an active and useful life in the city of Eugene where he has made his home for many years.  He was born in Macoupin county, Illinois, January 6, 1837, his parents being Elias and Elizabeth (England) Stewart.  His grandfather, Brison Stewart, was an early pioneer of Missouri where he engaged in farming on a large scale near Bolivar, Polk county.  His son, Elias Stewart, was born in Virginia on the 11th of September 1814, and became one of the pioneers of Lane county, Oregon.  His family originally had been farmers living near Knoxville, Tennessee, and there he spent his younger days on the farm of his father.  After the latter's death he conducted the home farm successfully for many years.  In early life he married Elizabeth England, a native of Tennessee and a daughter of John England, and for some time they made their home in Polk county, Missouri, later removing to a farm near Knoxville, Marion county, Iowa, in 1849.  In the fall of that year Elias Stewart started with his family for California, continuing the journey as far as St. Joseph, Missouri, arriving at that city in the fall.  There he engaged in teaming and spent the winter, to avoid the hardships which a trip in that season across the plains would necessarily entail.  On the 2nd of May, 1852, with his wife and six children, he again started for the Pacific coast with an equipment of two wagons and eight yokes of oxen.  When the family reached a point about forty miles west of Fort Laramie, Wyoming, the wife and mother died of cholera and was buried in a rough coffin constructed from wagon boards, which was the only timber at hand. With heavy hearts the family continued their lonely journey westward, finally reaching Foster's in Clackamas county, on the 30th of August, 1852.  That section, however, did not appeal to Mr. Stewart and he continued on to the forks of the Willamette river in Lane county, where he took up a government claim.  There he built a plank house, clearing his land and putting it under cultivation by the use of very primitive implements, one of which was a curry plow with a wooden mold board.  In 1855, he traded his farm for another two hundred and eighty acres, owned by C. Mulligan, adjoining Eugene on the southwest, and to this property he afterward added thirty acres.  Part of that farm is now included in what is known as Stewart's addition to Eugene, being in the west part of the city.  He was earnest, industrious, shrewd and honorable in all of his dealings and took great interest in educational, moral and governmental affairs, his entire life being characterized by a magnanimous display of public spirit.  He passed away April 24, 1898. In his family were the following children: James W., deceased; John, of this review; Linnie Jane, the deceased wife of P. C. Nolan; Mary M., the widow of Ashley O. Steven, of Eugene; Martha A., the wife of T. G. Hendricks, of Eugene; and Elizabeth, who wedded Josiah S. Luckey, of this city.

John Stewart, whose name introduces this review, when quite young accompanied his parents to Missouri and in 1852 came to Lane county, Oregon, where settlement was made on what was known as the Calef farm five miles northwest of Eugene.   His residence in the vicinity of Eugene for over a half century made him a witness of the reclamation of the county from a wilderness to the present high state of civilization which it now boasts, and in this work of improvement and development he had borne his full share.  When he began farming the crudest implements of agriculture were necessarily used and the obstacles with which he struggled and which he overcame were so great as to be little understood by the present generation.  Upon the wild land on which he settled he bestowed unceasing labor and care and as his labors began to bear fruit and a steady development took place, he felt that he had been repaid for his arduous toil.

Mr. Stewart was married June 6, 1864, to Miss Louisa Duncan, who was born in Marion county, Iowa, and is a daughter of Warren S. and Catherine (Newman) Duncan, natives of Tennessee and Kentucky respectively.  In early life the father removed to Illinois where for seven years he served as sheriff, and later went to Marion county, Iowa.  His business was always that of farming.  He crossed the plains to Oregon in 1862, the trip requiring from May until October 11.  He settled in Lane county, six miles above Springfield, where he made his home with a son, George C. Duncan, who had come to this state in 1852.  Mr. and Mrs. John Stewart became the parents of three children, namely:  Frank, of Sherwood, Oregon; John, a resident of Eugene; and Nettie, the wife of George F. Willoughby, of Eugene.

Mr. Stewart was a charter member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen at Eugene.  Although he has been dead for several years he is still remembered by a large number of friends who cherish his memory for his upright, honorable life.  He possessed the true spirit of pioneer hospitality and friendship and these traits of character served to win him many warm friends in the community in which he resided. His widow still survives and makes her home at 158 West Tenth street, in Eugene, where she occupies a prominent place in the circles in which she moves, being highly respected for her many excellent qualities of heart and mind.  

Martin Svarerud:  Eugene Real Estate and Investment Company

Martin Svarverud is the president and treasurer of the Eugene Real Estate and Investment Company, in which line of business he has been engaged for seventeen years.  The steps in his orderly progression are easily discernible.  He has ever been a close student of the signs of the times, has carefully watched the real-estate market, has studied the question of general development and has thus been enabled to make judicious purchases and profitable sales in handling realty.  His insurance business, too, is an important source of revenue and his investment department is a growing one.

The family name indicates his Norwegian ancestry.  He was born near Christiania, Norway, December 11, 1855, and is a son of Andrias P. and Eline (Peterslokken) Svarverud.  The former was a son of Peter Svarverud and a representative of one of the well-to-do families of his part of Norway.  The grandfather was the owner of a very fertile farm of extended acreage.  The family in both the maternal and paternal lines were strict adherents of the Lutheran faith.

Martin Svarverud had begun his education in the public schools of his native land when in 1867 the father brought the family to the new world, settling in Rushford, Minnesota, which state was the destination of many of his fellow countrymen who emigrated to America.  The father there purchased land, becoming owner of a farm, upon which his son Martin was reared, and after fourteen years spent in Minnesota he removed to North Dakota, homesteading a claim near Fort Ransom in the Cheyenne valley sixty-five miles southwest of Fargo.   He was one of the first in that section to engage in wheat raising and, finding that soil and climate were splendidly adapted to the crop, he annually gathered large harvests and made considerable money in that way.  After his marriage he came to Oregon in 1889; settling at Eugene on the 7th of April of that year.  Here he embarked in the implement and hardware business under the name of M. Svarverud & Company.  He continued in that business for three years and became recognized as one of the foremost merchants of his part of the state.   He also extended his operations to other fields, conducting stores at Harrisburg and at Independence.   He then engaged in the real-estate business, with which he has been connected for seventeen years.   The Eugene Real Estate & Investment Company, of which he is now the head, is the outgrowth of his individual real-estate, loan and insurance business and was incorporated about four years ago, Mr. Svarverud becoming president and treasurer, with Van Svarverud, his son, as the secretary.  He handled the Fairmount addition to Eugene and also the University addition.  He has largely specialized in dealing in farm lands and he now handles his own property. Moreover, he retains the ownership of an excellent fruit farm near Jefferson, which is devoted to the cultivation of apples, prunes and walnuts and is in charge of his son Leland.  Mr. Svarverud is developing an addition of forty-eight acres called Fairmount Heights.  He is thoroughly conversant concerning realty values and his opinions are largely accepted as authority.  He represents a large number of fire insurance companies and his business in that department has grown along gratifying lines.   He was one of the first to agitate the subject of establishing the Eugene Real Estate Exchange, of which he served as president for several years.  He is also the president of the Osburn Hotel Company.

In 1888 Mr. Svarverud was united in marriage to Miss Georgiana Marsh, a daughter of George Marsh, of Valley City, North Dakota, and an early settler of Barnes County, that state.   Mr. and Mrs. Svarverud now have four living children, Franklin Evander, Leland Ray, George Martin, and Frederick Carlton.  The parents are members of the Episcopal church and are interested in all those affairs which make for the substantial development and progress of the community.   In politics Mr. Svarerud is a republican and is now serving as president of the Eugene water board.  He believes that political activities should be made to conserve public progress and the best interests of a community.  He is well known in fraternal relations.  Of Spencer Butte Lodge, No. 9, I. O. O. F., he is a past grand and one of the trustees and has served as grand marshal of the grand lodge of Oregon.  He is likewise past chief patriarch of Wimawhala Encampment. No. 6, and he became a charter member and was the first clerk of Canton Hovey, No. 4, Uniform Rank.  He likewise belongs to Eugene Camp, No. 115, W. O. W.; Eugene Tent, No. 52, K. O. T. M.; Eugene Lodge No. 357, B. P. O. E.; and Eugene Aerie, No. 275, F. O. E.  He has a reputation for unassailable integrity and it is said that his word is as good as any bond ever solemnized by signature or seal.  He is a public-spirited citizen, cooperating heartily in movements for the general good, and is very benevolent and charitable, extending a helping hand wherever aid is needed and giving freely for the benefit of independent and organized charity.  

From the Illustrated History of Lane County Oregon published by A. G. Walling, 1884, Portland, Oregon; The Story of Eugene by Lucia W. Moore, Nina W. McCornack and Gladys W. McCready, published by the Lane County Historical Society, Eugene, Oregon, 1995; and The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1912, Volume II published by The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, 1912.

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