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Danford Balch

Sec. 29/32/33-- Map 7A & 7B

Danford Balch was born in Connecticut in 1811.

The family had come to Oregon in 1847, and settled their claim, number 3881, on October 1, 1850.(2)

In the fall of 1858, a young man, Mortimer Stump, asked for the hand of the eldest Balch daughter, Anna, who was then just 15. He had been working and living with the family, but the request was was refused, and ordered him off the property. The two young people eloped a few days later, and were married at Vancouver by a Justice of the peace. They returned to his family's farm where they lived about a week, when the whole family took the ferry to Portland to buy supplies. Mr. Balch learned of their visit, and so went to the ferry with a loaded shotgun to retrieve his daughter. As the ferry was loading, Danford Balch shot both barrels into his new son-in-law, who died instantly. Mr. Balch claimed the shooting was an accident, but was taken to jail, where he waited until the next spring to be tried. The jail being flimsy, he was able to break out. He hid out in the west hills near his farm until July, when he was re-arrested. In August, he was tried and convicted of the murder. On October 17, 1859 he was hanged at a public gallows in front of five to six hundred witnesses.(1)

The claim was sold in 1862 to John Confer for $5,000, whom the widow soon after married. He then sold the property to John H. Mitchell, the attorney (and later U. S. Senator) who was handling the Balch affairs, for $550. Mitchell also bought the children's claim in the land for $5,500. Two weeks later he sold it to the mayor of Portland for $15,000.(3)

His wife was Mary Jane (--?--) Young, who was born in Adams County, Ohio in 1818.(4) At their marriage on June 12, 1842 at Des Moines County, Iowa,(5) she was a widow with two children. Those children were living in 1869.(6) They were married in Augusta, Des Moines County, Iowa on June 12, 1842.(7) They came to Oregon in 1847, their eldest child being born on the plains, the others all in Oregon.(8) Mary Jane Balch married on December 8, 1862 to John F. Confer, in Multnomah County.(9) In 1870, they were living in Washington County with just the three youngest boys, Danford, John and Lewis, the whole family with the surname Confer.(10)


Anna Balch, born about 1843 in Iowa. Married Mortimer Stump in 1858 by a Justice of the Peace at Vancouver, Washington.(11) On August 12, 1860 she married Eli Morrel in Multnomah County. Witnesses were Mr. & Mrs. Stump.(12) When probating the estate of her deceased first husband, in 1876, she is called Anna Brown.(13)


Hosea Balch, born 1845 in Iowa. At the probating of his father's estate he was "somewhere in California."(14)


Thomas Balch, born about 1847, in Oregon Territory.


Celestia/Caroline Balch, born about 1851. She was also "somewhere in California" when her father's estate was probated.(15) She married (--?--) Tremble.(16)


Celinda Balch, born about 1853.


Danford Balch, Jr., born about 1854. He married Mary McKay on February 18, 1884 in Columbia County.(17)


John Balch, born about 1855. He married Martha Ellen Wilkins on December 2, 1871 "in the Street of Hillsboro."(18) He is probably the John Balch who married Alice Williams, on December 28, 1883.(19)

bulletEmily Balch, born about 1856. Married (--?--) Dickinson.(20)
bulletLewis Balch, born about 1858.

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1. Dryer, pp.10-15.

2. DLC-2, p.71, #3881.

3. Snyder, p.15.

4. DLC-2, p.71 #3881.

5. Website, Iowa Marriages to 1850.

6. Reiner vol. 1, p.iii.

7. DLC-2, p.71, #3881.

8. 1860 Census, p.941, family #615.

9. Park, vol. 1, p.19. [Book 1 p.128]

10. Anonymous author, 1870 Census of Washington County, Oregon ([Portland, Oregon?]: no publisher, no date), pg. 17.

11. Snyder, p.10.

12. Park, vol. 1, pg. 12 [A:73].

13. Reiner vol. 1, pg. 16.

14. Mary (Hedges) Reiner, Probated Intestate Estates: Early Oregon (Multnomah County) Vol. 1 (Corvallis, Oregon: Multnomah Chapter, DAR, 1951),p.18. Hereinafter cited as Reiner vol.1

15. Reiner, p.18.

16. Reiner, vol. 1, p.iii.

17. Eileen Chamberlin & Emily B. Reding, Columbia County Oregon Marriage Records 1855-1900 (Portland, Oregon: Genealogical Forum of Oregon, 1994), p.17.

18. Lepschat, p.37.

19. Park, Book 5, p.24 [5:108]

20. Reiner vol. 1, p.iii.