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Oregon Pioneer Biographies


Peter Grant Stewart, Oregon Pioneer of 1843, including transcripts from manuscript documents

Peter Grant Stewart, b. September 06, 1809 in Stamford, Delaware Co., New York. In 1817, he moved to Jefferson, Schoharie Co., NY, and later to Middleburg. A watchmaker and jeweler, he traveled, and in 1840 was in Springfield, Greene Co., MO. He married Rebecca Rawlings Cason (b. 1826 VA, d. 1863 OR) there on Sept. 1, 1842. She was the daughter of Fendal Carr and Rebecca (Holladay) Cason.

In 1843, he and his Cason in-laws went over the Oregon Trail. Lenox' Overland to Oregon notes Stewart helped J. W. Nesmith rescue William Vaughn, who nearly drowned crossing the Caw River. In Oregon, P. G. Stewart was elected to the Executive Committee of the provisional government on May 14, 1844.

In 1845, he was selected to be first district judge for Clackamas County, and later in the year, he volunteered to carry provisions to the relief of the Joel Palmer wagon train, which was struggling over Mt Hood. His brother-in-law John Long was the Territorial Recorder. P. G. Stewart also served as surveyor for Pacific City on the Columbia River in 1853, and city recorder for Gervais. He lived in Portland for many years, and was burned out twice. He married 2nd to Eliza Rosecrans in 1872. He died August 27, 1900 in Tacoma, WA.

Catherine (?) b. 1843-d. 1843 on Oregon Trail
Charles F. Stewart b. 3/20/1845. Married Mary Emeline Cooley 1873.
Mary Frances Stewart, b. 4/11/1847. Married Charles Gourley 1864.
Katherine E. Stewart 1/17/1849. Married 1st Dorr Wilcox, then Dolph
. Moved to Tacoma.
James C. Stewart b. 7/5/1852
George Law Stewart b. 9/26/1854. Firefighter in Portland. Married Christina H. ___
Frederick G. Stewart b. 12/1/1856
Margaret Stewart b. 9/18/1861. Married Lemuel C. Perryman in Tacoma.
Lemuel and Dolph Hannah shared Farley ancestors, and relatives such as Silas M. Farley of Lane Co. & Elizabeth Farley Painter.
Nellie R. Stewart b. 9/23/1863

References concerning P.G. Stewart include:
1) Histories
A) Overland to Oregon, by Edward Henry Lenox, 1904
B) Governors of Oregon, by George S. Turnbull, 1959
C) Oregon Native Son, Vol I, No. 1, May 1899
D) Oregon Trail, by I.H. Eide
E) History of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon and Washington, ed. by Elwood Evans, North Pacific History Co. of Portland, Or. 1899
F) How Masonry Came to Oregon, A brief history of Multnomah Lodge No 1 Oregon City, 1846-1965, compiled by Frank W Knoll
G) Dictionary of Oregon History
H) History of Lane County, pgs 144, 146
I) Washington Territorial Land Claims, Seattle Genealogical Soc. 1980
J) History of the Willamette Valley, by H.O. Lang

2) Oregon Historical Quarterly
Vol XXI, p. 312, 313 and Vol XXXI, p 21

Documents related to Peter Grant Stewart, Pioneer of 1843, at Pacific City
1999 Jonathan W. Ridgeway, Bellevue, Washington

Preface: In the 19th Century, Oregon pioneers started Pacific City on the Columbia River. This site was taken over by the military. (The name Pacific City now refers to a town on the Pacific coast of Oregon.) Manuscripts and copies of paperwork related to the Peter Grant Stewart claim at Pacific City were left in a small leather trunk, which P.G. Stewart had brought over the Oregon trail in 1843.

1) Documents in the PG Stewart leather trunk
1A) Envelope, marked Deed to Pacific City with three documents inside.
1A.1)Elijah White to Peter G. Stewart Contract May 14, 1850
1A.2) Blue Paper 3.75" x 7.75"
1A.3) Elijah White to Peter G. Stewart, Bond May 14, 1850
1B) Dec. 15, 1850 right to the Pacific Milling Co. to cut timber in Pacific City
1C) Feb 18th 1853; P.G. Stewart names John Scudder his agent
1D) Isaac O Parish to John Scudder, June 9 1857. (Not transcribed yet.)
1E)"Petition of PG Stewart to Legislature of The State of Washington.
1F) Newspaper clipping, 2.25" x 7" (Tacoma, WA)TARDY JUSTICE
1G) Affidavit, Jul 19, 1894 by William Grooms re PG Stewart.

2) Government Documents
2A) Paper 7.5"x 11" Senate Bill S. 725, Dec. 14, 1891
2B) Notice of Allowance of Claim, Claim No. 132,074, June 19, 1899.

3) Books
3A) Our Pacific County, L.R. Williams, c. 1930

Detailed description
1A) Envelope, marked Deed to Pacific City with three documents inside.

Paper 16"x12 ", folded with writing on two sides of 8"x 12 " section, then folded into quarter, with outside notation: Elijah White to Peter G. Stewart Contract May 14, 1850

This agreement made and entered into this fourteenth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty by and between Elijah White of the Town of Pacific City and Territory of Oregon and Peter G. Stewart of the Town of Oregon City and territory aforesaid witnesseth that the said Elijah White for the consideration of the sum of Fifteen hundred dollars received to my full satisfaction of the said Peter G. Stewart the receipt thereof is hereby acknowledged agrees to sell and by these presents does bargain and sell unto the said Peter G. Stewart and unto his heirs and assigns forever the one equal and undivided twentieth part of all of the following described tract or parcel of land situate in the County of Lewis and territory of Oregon not embraced in that portion of the plat of the town of Pacific City already divided among the proprietors of said town. Said tract of land is described as follows, viz: Beginning at a hemlock tree 30 inches diameter marked, near the waters edge Bakers Bay witness Spruce tree 30 inch dia. marked 32L N 60 degrees W Hemlock 22 inch dia. marked 32 L N 30 degrees W thence S. following the meandering of Bakers Bay at low water mark 80 chs to a stake on the beach 1 chn. E. Of Spruce tree 30 inch dia. marked thence West 60 ch to a point of rocks on the Pacific Oceans beach 4 rods W. of a Stake. Thence W. Following of the Sea at low water mark 10 chs to a stake the 4th corner, thence from the place of beginning or first corner W. 106 chs to a stake, thence S. To the 4th corner, as surveyed by Washington Hall Esq. At the variation of 19 degrees 30 minutes E.

And the said Elijah White for consideration aforesaid agrees and promises that he his heirs or assigns will comply with all the provisions of any act or acts of the Congress of the United States or of the Legislature of the Territory of Oregon now in force or which may hereafter be passed in relation to land claims in said Territory of Oregon and do all acts and pay all sums of money which may be necessary to procure a title to the above described premises, unless the same shall be reserved from sale or donation by the government of the United States. And that so soon as he, his heirs or assigns can obtain a good and sufficient title from the government of the United States he or they will convey by deed of general warranty to said Peter G. Stewart his heirs or assigns the one equal and undivided twentieth part of all of the above or hereinafter described tract or parcel of land not embraced in that portion of the plat of the town of Pacific City already
divided among the proprietors of said town.

And the said Elijah White further agrees that the said Peter G. Stewart shall have the immediate joint possession of the premises hereinbefore sold and agreed to be conveyed.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand the day and year above written.
In presence of } Elijah White
A.A. Skinner }

Blue Paper 3.75" x 7.75", "Received May 16 1850 of Peter G. Stewart Fifteen hundred dollars it being the amount in full of the purchase money of said Stewarts share of the Town and land claim within mentioned. Said Stewarts share being one twentieth of said Town and land claim. Signed duplicate.
Elijah White

Paper 8"x12 ", with affidavit sealed to main page. Page folded into quarters, with outside notation: Elijah White to Peter G. Stewart, Bond May 14, 1850

Know all men by these presents that I Elijah White of the Town of Pacific City and Territory of Oregon am held and firmly bound unto Peter G. Stewart his heirs and assigns in the penal sum of Four Thousand dollars, to the payment of which well and truly to be made I bind myself, my heirs executors and administrators firmly by these presents. Seal with my seal and dated this fourteenth day of May A.D. 1850.

The condition of this obligation is such that if the said Elijah White shall within three months from the date hereof make or cause to be made unto the said Peter G. Stewart or his heirs or assigns a good and sufficient deed of Quit claim on a number of lots in the Town of Pacific City which shall be equivalent in value to block No. 40 in said Town of Pacific City. Said lots to be selected by the parties to this instrument. And in case the said White & Stewart cannot agree upon the value of the lots to be selected in place of said block No. 40, they are to leave the selection of said lots to three disinterested men, one of said men to be selected by said White & one by said Stewart and the third to be selected by said tooo men selected as aforesaid. Then this obligation to be void, otherwise in full force and virtue in law.

In presence of } E. White {Seal}
A.A. Skinner }

Paper sealed to the front of the main page states:
State of Oregon } S.S.
County of Clackamas }
I S.W. Moss do solemnly swear that I was personally acquainted with Elijah White in his life time that I am acquainted with his signature and hand writing and the name signed to the bond relating to Pacific City property to which this affidavit is annexed is the genuine signature of said Elijah White.
S.W. Moss
Subscribed and sworn to before
me the 10th day of January 1891
Notary Public for Oregon (raised seal)

1B) Blue paper, 9.75"x 15.25", folded in half.
We the undersigned Proprietors in part of Pacific City agree and hereby grant the right to the Pacific Milling Co. to cut free of charge any timber they may need for the purpose of sawing into lumber on any lots owned by us in the town of Pacific City. The said permit and agreement is not to continue for a period of time exceeding thre years from the 1st of March 1851.
Pacific City Dec. 15th 1850 (Illegible) C. Holman
E. White

1C) Blue paper, cut, 7.75" x 10"
Feb 18th 1853
I do hereby constitute John Scudder my lawful agent to manage my share in Pacific Steam Saw Mill Company the same as I would if present reserving the right to approve or not in case of sale.
P.G. Stewart

Bedsted $30.00
Settee 15.00
Table 12.00
Stove 40.00

1D) Blue paper, cut, 7.5"x9.5", with this written on outside: Isaac O Parish to John Scudder, Assignment of Shares in Mi. Co. June 9 1857.

[to be transcribed]

1E) Page, 8"x12.5", bound into green legal cover, on which is written "Petition of PG Stewart to Legislature of The State of Washington.

To the Honorable, The Legislative Assembly of the State of Washington

The petition of Peter G. Stewart respectfully shows: That from August 1850 to and including August 1853 he was the owner of the possessory right to two-tenths of the Town of Pacific City, situated on Baker's Bay in Pacific County State of Washington, but which at the dates aforesaid were a part of the then Territory of Oregon. The he intended in good faith to procure title to said land so occupied, and erected thereon an iron house of the value of $4000 and other improvements of the value of about $6000. That in the year 1853 and before this petitioner had procured title to said property, the Government reserved the same for light-house purposes, and that thereby this petitioner not only failed to secure title to his interest in said Townsite, but lost the aforesaid valueable improvements upon said property. That the Government has not made any compensation for said losses and that a bill has been introduced in Congress to pay petitioner for his said losses. That petitioner came to the State of Oregon in 1843, and that he was a member of the Provisional Government of Oregon; and in that capacity labored to the best of his ability in the service of the public, and that otherwise he took a prominent part in the building up and maintaining of good government in the early days of this Commonwealth. That he was also chosen by the Legislature of said provisional government Presiding Judge of the District Court of Clackamas County and rendered service in that capacity to the best of his ability.

That he is now nearly eight two years of age and that by reason of age and the losses heretofore refered to, and other financial losses he has no property or means to support himself in his old age. That he does not ask for any charity at the hands of this Legislature but simply asks that they lend their assistance to him in securing from the Government his just claims aforesaid.
That one J.D. Holman who was also a part owner of the Towsite of Pacific City, was by acto fo Congress duly reimbursed for his losses and improvements by reason of said reservation under circumstances precisely similar to those of your petitioner.

Wherefore your petitioner asks that this Legislature memorialize Congress to pass the bill granting petitioner compensation for the improvements aforesaid and as only duly bound your petitioner will ever pray.
P.G. Stewart

1F) Newspaper clipping, 2.25" x 7" (Tacoma, WA)
An interesting bit of history is recalled by the memorial that passed the state legislature yesterday morning asking congress to appropriate $10,000 for the relief of Peter G. Stewart, who is now a resident of this city. The prospective beneficiary, a white-haired man eighty-two years of age, remarkably well preserved for one of his time, stood in the lobby of the house at Olympia while the matter was under consideration.

The story is a most interesting one. In the year 1850 Mr. Stewart purchased a proprietary interest in two-tenths of a section of land adjoining the then townsite of Pacific City, held only by right of squatter sovereignty. He erected theron a saw mill, and as protection against possible Indian attacks, an iron house, put together with bolts and screws and sheathed on the inside with boards, the house alone costing him $4,000. He builded too well, however, for early in 1853, while the present state of Washington was then a part of Oregon territory, the United States government began looking about in these parts for a suitable building for a lighthouse and military station. Stewart's iron house on Cape Disappointment, at the Columbia bar, appeared to be just the thing, and was confiscated without much ceremony. The promised consideration, however, was not forthcoming from the government, and Mr. Stewart lost not only his right to one of the most beautiful sites in that section, but all the money that he had expended there.

The place is still a lighthouse and military station, known to the world as Fort Canby, while the hardy old pioneer has been almost forgotten. But people who know the circumstances have taken the matter in hand and are making an honest endeavor to right his wrongs. The Oregon legislature, recognizing the justice of Mr. Stewart's claim, has adopted a memorial to congress similar to that passed by the Washington house yesterday.

1G. Affidavit, 8"x13", Jul 19, 1894 by William Grooms re PG Stewart.
State of Oregon }
County of Multnomah }
In the matter of the claim of Peter Grant Stewart.
Personally came before me a notary public in and for aforesaid County and State, William Groomes, aged seventy-one years, a citizen of the City of Portland, County of Multnomah, State of Oregon, well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit and who, being duly sworn, declares in relation to aforsaid case as follows:

I am well and personally acquainted with Peter Grant Stewart, the claimant, and have known him since the summer of 1850, at which time I met him at the place then known as Pacific City (now in Pacific County, State of Washington). I was at said place something over two months, engaged as a builder in constructing a hotel building for a Mr. Holman, and during that time said Peter Grant Stewart engaged in building a residence in said Pacific City. The roof andd outside of said building were of heavy sheet iron, about three-sixteenths of an inch in thickness, the structure was ceiled (sic) in wood on the inside, the window sashes and frames and doors were of ireon, the entire structure was put together with screws and bolts and, in fact, the entire structure was of substantial and costly build. My memory at this time is that the building was not less than twenty-five feet wide and exceeding thirty feet in length, being of one story. I estimate and believe that said building cost at that time five thousand dollars.

I further declare that I have no interest in said case and am not concerced in its prosecution.
(S) William Grooms

Sworn and subscribed before me this day by the above named affiant; and I certify that I read said affidavit to said affiant, and acquainted him with its contents before he executed th same. I further certify that I am in no wise interested in said case, nor am I concerned in its prosecution, and that said affiant is personally known to me; that he is a credible person and so reputed in the community in which he resides.

Witness my hand and official seal this nineteenth day of July, 1894.
(S) JC R------
Notary Public for Oregon

2A) Paper 7.5"x 11" Senate Bill S. 725, Dec. 14, 1891
52D Congress, 1st Session, S. 725.
For the relief of Peter Grant Stewart, of Oregon
By Mr. Mitchell
1891-December 14-Read twice and referred to the Committee on Claims
S. 725.
DECEMBER 14, 1891
Mr. MITHCELL introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred
to the Committee on Claims

A Bill
For the relief of Peter Grant Stewart of Oregon.
1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa-
2 tives of the United States of American in Congress assembled,
3 That the Secretary of the Treasury be, and he is hereby,
4 directed to pay to Peter Grant Stewart, of Gervais, Oregon,
5 the sum of fifteen thousand dollars, in full for property owned
6 by him and take by the United States, and included within
7 the military reservation near the mouth of the Columbia
8 River, in Pacific County, now State, then Territory, of Wash-
9 ington, taken under and by virtue of an Executive order dated
10 Washington, District of Columbia, February twenty-sixth
11 eighteen hundred and .

2B) Notice of Allowance of Claim, Claim No. 132,074, Treasury Department,
Office Of the Auditor for the War Deparment, Washington DC, June 19, 1899.

Mr Peter Grant Stewart
#274 Mill St.
Portland, Oregon


Your claim for the value of land owned by you which was taken by the United States and included in the military reservation near the mouth of the Columbia River, has been allowed in the sum of seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500.00) and the Settlement Certificate No. 7,260 for the same has this day been forwarded to the Division of Bookkeeping and Warrants,
Secretary's Office.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1. I) Note: also have records of the sawmill company.

3A) Our Pacific County, L.R. Williams, c. 1930
Facsimile by Shorey Publications 1982
Chapter VI gives history of Pacific City, a claim by Dr. Elijah White. Land "included much of the present Fort Canby Military Reservation". At that time it was part of Oregon, but became part of Washington in 1853.

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