ORGenWeb Pioneer Biographies

Oregon Pioneer Biographies


Joseph Henry Savery
by Thelma Pearson Brasseur

Joseph Henry and Tracy Savery
Joseph Henry and Tracy Savery

Aged pioneer Who Crossed Plains in 1852 Passes Away Dallas, Or, April 11 - Joseph Henry Savery, who was born in Indiana, 23 Oct 1832, and died 9 April 1911, crossed the plains in 1852 with his father and mother, arriving in Polk Co. OR in 1853. They located about 2 miles north of here, where he had made his home most of the time since. Mr. Savery did blacksmith work for a few years ago, when he gave up his work and moved with his family to Dallas.

Mr. Savery passed away April 9 at the age of 77 years 6 months and 13 days. Surviving him are his wife and 4 sons - Ora, of Portland, W. Ralph of Salt Creek, Or, Henry of Dallas and Tracy of Portland. Mr. Savery was a well respected citizen of Dallas, and his death will be mourned by a large circle of friends. -Scrapbook 36, p. 37; OR Historical. Soc. Lib.; Portland, OR

J. H. SAVERY was born in Floyd county, Ind., October 23,1832, the descendant of a line of southern people. The father, GREEN BERRY, was born near Lynchburg, Ky., December 24, 1804, the son of Henry and Agnes (Edwards) Savery. When a young man G. B. Savery removed to Floyd county, Ind., and there met and married a daughter of Kentucky, Catherine Sears, born October 16, 1808. Her parents had recently removed to Indiana, as presenting more opportunities than the state which they had left. From Indiana Mr. Savery took his family to Illinois, in 1838. In 1846 they again removed, seeking now a desirable location in Iowa, living in both Wapello and Jefferson counties. At length Mr. Savery gathered together his worldly goods in seven wagons drawn by seven yoke of oxen, and joined an emigrant train bound for Oregon, under the command of William Carter.

Rodney Coulter and wife Katherine Savery, Bertie and Ora Savery
Rodney Coulter and wife
Katherine Savery, Bertie and Ora Savery

The journey was begun April 23, 1853, and ended October 23, of the same year. The members the emigrant train parted company in Perrydale, Polk county, Ore., Mr. Savery, his wife and son, J. H. Savery, of this review, going to a location a little farther north, where the father took up a donation claim consisting of three hundred and twenty acres, of which three hundred and twelve acres are still owned by the son. This farm was located near Ballston, a convenient market. The father and mother passed their years in this home until their death, after which it passed into the hands of their son J. H. Savery, as he was the only child born to their union. Here Mr. Savery now lives, giving his time and thought to the painstaking cultivation of his property, one hundred and sixty acres being in active cultivation. He is at present engaged in general farming and stock-raising.

Joseph Henry Savery, Jr.
Joseph Henry Savery, Jr.

April 12, 1870, Mr. Savery married Hulda Jane Kimsey, who was born two and a half miles north of Dallas, December 14, 1851. Her father, John F. Kimsey, was a native of Alabama who crossed the plains in 1847. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Savery, all but one of whom are living. They are as follows: Ora, Ralph, John T., Henry and Tracy. Mr. Savery has served in several minor offices, having been supervisor and school director for some time. Fraternally, he is a member of the Grange of Salt Creek, in which he is past master. He is a Socialist in his political affiliations. - Portrait and Biographical Record of the Willamette Valley; Chapman, 1903;p. 1474

Joseph Henry Savery was born October 23, 1832, in Floyd county, Indiana near the City of Bradford; crossed the plains with his parents in 1853. He lived with his parents and served as constable for his father and was appointed postmaster of Salt Creek on the 9th day of November, 1868, and served till the office was discontinued in 1872. He married Hulda Jane Kimsey, daughter of John F. and Macy Kimsey, April 12, 1871. To this union was born five sons: Ora born April 5, 1872 and married Alice B. Coulter, September 7, 1910; William Ralph born May 6, 1878, married Lydia Ethelwynn Sears, May 6, 1903; John Tolbert, Jr., born February 24, 1883, died September 12, 1897; Joseph Henry, Jr., was born December 15,1884. He married Miss Grace T. Ottinger, November 4, 1905; Tracy, born August 1, 1887, was married to Edna E. Bohle, February 9, 1921.

Tracy Savery and Betty Bohle
Tracy Savery and Betty Bohle

Mr. and Mrs. Savery lived on the farm on Salt Creek, but his health failing, they moved to Dallas, June 25, 1905, where he passed away April 9,1911, at his home on 511 Jefferson St., Dallas, Oregon, where his widow, Hulda Jane Savery still resides. ^^^

Note that Hulda's name is spelled several ways, but Hulda is how she spelled it.

Huldah was born on the John F. Kimsey donation land claim, a short distance north of Dallas.

"When I was 7, my sister Mary and I went to school for two and a half months at the Ash Grove schoolhouse. Mary never got to go to school any more, but when I was 15 I went to the Concord school, on Salt Creek for a few months, and still later went for 3 terms to La Creole academy, of which Professor Robb was president.

When I was 19, I was married to Joseph Henry Savery. My husband was postmaster at Salt Creek district. We lived on a farm a mile north of Dallas. My husband lacked a year of being twice as old as I when we were married. My husband was injured and for the last 25 years of his life was a cripple. I have lived in or about Dallas more than 70 years and I have seen it grow from an ox team village to a modern city." - Oregon Journal

John Henry Savery, Jr. and Grace Ottinger
John Henry Savery, Jr.
and Grace Ottinger

By Ed C. Dunn

It was my pleasure recently to spend a part of the afternoon visiting with Mrs. Huldah Savery at her home on Jefferson street. Mrs. Savery is nearly 78 years old and remembers much of the early day history of Polk county.

"My father," said Mrs. Savery, "was John F. Kimsey. My mother's name was Macy Simpson, but she was a widow when father married her, her name then was Mrs. Macy Price and she had a daughter by the name of Nancy. Father and mother with four children came across the plains to Oregon in 1847. The oldest child was Lee Kimsey who was six years old, the next was Tirzah Ellen Kimsey and she was four years old while the baby James Madison Kimsey was six weeks old when they started and he made the entire trip on a pillow. He weighed only three pounds. The train was made up of between 35 and 40 wagons all drawn by oxen.

Ralph and Winnie Savery
Ralph and Winnie Savery

"No particular trouble was had with the Indians as many presents of food and clothing were given them in order to keep them in a friendly mood. A man called Doc Smith was Captain of the train. He took sick on the way and knowing that he could not live to complete the journey, he urged the train to make the best speed possible until they crossed the Green river. Arriving at the river they encountered a very severe sand storm. Part of the train succeeded in crossing, but the balance had to wait until the next day Doc Smith died that night before this part of the train could get across.

"The first place father and his family stopped in Oregon was on the Tualatin river a short distance from North Yamhill. After wintering there they came to Polk county, and father went to work as miller for Mr. O'Neil in the old Ellendale flour mill.

Ora Savery and Alice Bertha Coulter
Ora Savery and
Alice Bertha Coulter

"In 1849 he moved to Ellendale and took the donation land claim three miles north of Dallas.

"Of the Kimsey family there are but two of us living, my sister Mrs. Mary Remington living on the old place and myself. Mrs. Remington will be 80 years old in September and I will be 78 in December." - Polk Co. Itemizer 15 Aug 1929.

Mrs. Hulday Jane Savery, 81 year old Polk county pioneer, passed away at her home on Jefferson street last Thursday, Dec. 15. Her death came the day after her 81st birthday. She had been ill for the past 3 months and her condition had been critical for several days.

Funeral services were held on Sat. afternoon, Dec. 17, at the Henkle & Thomas Chapel with burial in the Salt Creek cemetery. Rev. K. E. Burke, pastor of the Dallas Christian church, officiated.

Mrs. Savery was among the oldest pioneers born in Polk county. She was born on the John F. Kimsey donation land claim which is a short distance north of Dallas and on which Raleigh Middleton now resides. Her parents were pioneers of 1847. She married Joseph Henry Savery April 11, 1871.

Katherine Elizabeth and Joseph Marion Savery
Katherine Elizabeth
and Joseph Marion Savery
Children of Ora and
Bertie (Coulter) Savery

Her husband was a pioneer of 1853 and the son of Green B. Savery. Following their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Savery made their home on Salt Creek, about 11 miles northwest of Dallas. Mr. Savery retired in 1904 and moved to Dallas where he passed away in 1911.

Mrs. Savery had enjoyed exceptionally good health until the past year. Her memory was a veritable storehouse of information regarding the pioneer folks of the Salt Creek country. Mrs. Savery had been a member of the Christian Church for many years. She is survived by four sons, Ora of Tillamook; William Ralph, Joseph Henry, Jr., and Tracy of Dallas, a fifth son, John Tolbert, passed away when 14 years of age as the result of having been kicked in the head by a horse. A sister, Mrs. Mary E. Remington, also survives.


Additional Photos: Isaac Ball - Abigail Howland Ball - Lydia Elizabeth Ball

Joseph Henry Savery Family
The Joseph Henry Savery Family
Back Row: Ora, Ralph, Tracy, Joseph, Jr.
Front Row: Joseph Henry, Sr. and Hulda Jane Kimsey Savery
Photo taken December 26, 1910

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Copyright © 2000 by Thelma Pearson Brasseur

Posted September 17, 2000.