Oregon Pioneer Biographies


"Portrait and Biographical Record of the Willamette Valley - Oregon," Chapman Publishing Company, Chicago, 1903

Catherine Elizabeth Stump

One of the oldest living pioneers of Polk county, Ore., is Mrs. Catherine Elizabeth Stump, who crossed the plains with her parents in 1844, enduring with a pioneer’s courage and patience the trials and privations incident to the life of the early settlers, and proving with the passing of the years her title to citizenship of this great western commonwealth.

The father of Mrs. Stump, Aaron Chamberlin, was born in New York, July 4, 1809, and removed to Michigan with his parents when a young man, his father having settled near Detroit. On attaining his majority he married Catherine Viles, a native of New Jersey, and after a time spent in Iowa, they removed to Missouri, locating near St. Joseph. This city was in the pathway of the western emigrants, and it was only a short time until Mr. Chamberlin was imbued with the idea of the advantages and opportunities of the west, and after two and a half years they joined an emigrant train drawn by oxen, and started upon their journey. During the six months before they reached Oregon City their greatest difficulty lay in their limited provisions, but without other incident they arrived at their destination a week before Christmas, having left their home May 10. As soon as the donation act went into effect, Mr. Chamberlin at once took up a donation claim of six hundred and forty acres, located south of Luckiamute, Polk county, upon which he remained until 1868, making a success of his western venture. In the last named year he went to Sonora, Mexico, to visit a son, and while there he was taken ill with the fever and died, March 4, 1869, in his sixty-first year. His wife died on the home place in Oregon October 20, 1883. She was the mother of 6 children, four of whom are now living, two daughters and four sons, Joseph Chamberlin, Catherine, Ann and Enoch, the third being Catherine, who was born in Michigan, near Detroit, February 23, 1835.

Though but nine years old when the journey was made to their new home, Mrs. Stump was old enough to realize the trials and privations which they necessarily experienced, and she continued to bear with patience whatever fell to her lot during the years in which her father was making his competency. A very limited education was received through the medium of the early schools located in the vicinity of their home, after which she was married March 10, 1850, to David Stump, who was born in Ohio, October 29, 1819, and who, in 1845, when twenty-one years old, crossed the plains alone by ox-team and after his marriage settled on a donation claim near Luckiamute, Polk county, and engaged in farming and cattle-raising. In his combined interests he met with most gratifying success, at his death owning in the county twenty-three hundred acres of land. Not satisfied to be alone a financial success, Mr. Stump gave much of his time to public works of various description, being actively interested in the Christian College, which was organized in 1865, and also other notable movements, whose aim was toward the upbuilding of the town of Monmouth. As a Republican he ably represented his party in the state legislature for one term. Religiously he was a member of the Christian Church. His death occurred February 20, 1886, at the age of sixty-six years. Of the four children born to Mr. and Mrs. Stump, Mary S. is the widow of Rev. T.F. Campbell, a professor in the Christian College and for thirteen years its president; since his death his widow has made her home with her mother; Joseph Solomon, a mining man of Nome, Alaska; Catherine B. also makes her home with her mother, and John B. is located on a farm of six hundred acres in this county. Mr. Stump had built a handsome residence in Monmouth, on the corner of Jackson street and College avenue, and in 1878 had occupied it, giving to his children the advantages of the college at Monmouth, now the Oregon State Normal School, while the two daughters took a post-graduate course at Wellesley, Mass.

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