Oregon Pioneer Biographies - Susan Mary Warren and Thomas Jefferson Payne

Oregon Pioneer Biographies


Oregon Pioneers:
Susan Mary Warren and Thomas Jefferson Payne

Susan Mary Warren (1/4/1852 -?1942) was the daughter of William Edward Warren, an early settler in Oregon. Mr. Warren was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Feb. 23, 1816. In Missouri, he married Almira C. Martin, a native of Kentucky, just before leaving for Oregon. The couple, along with some other family members, arrived in Oregon in 1847, where all of their children were born (Ann Amelia, William Lewis, Rachel, Susan Mary, James, Emma Gene, and Ora F.).

Thomas (7/4/1850 - ?1942) was born in Pennsylvania. His parents were Uriah Payne (5/1/1815 - 5/3/1896) and Matilda Farnsworth (5/6/1824 - 9/8/1853), both were born in Illinois. They married around 1840. Tom had at least two siblings - Andrew (b 10/25/1842) and Henry (b 8/14/1847). The family moved around a lot and probably were living in Wisconsin before moving to Oregon.

Tom and Susan were married in Yamhill Co., Oregon in 1871.

Susan Mary Warren

Susan Mary Warren

Following is the marriage information obtained from the Oregon Archives:

Memorandum of Marriage License issued July 18th, 1871 to Thomas J. Payne and Miss Susan Mary Warren, upon affidavit of James R. Rowland, that said parties are residents of Yamhill County, Oregon, and of legal age and that he knows of no legal impediment to their marriage,

State of Oregon

County of Yamhill

This is to certify that the undersigned a Minister of the Gospel (?) by authority of a license bearing date the 18th day of July A.D. 1871, and issued by the County Clerk of the County of Yamhill did, in the 20th day of July A.D. 1871, at the house of William Warren in the County and State aforesaid, join in lawful Wedlock T.J. Payne of the County of Yamhill and State of Oregon, and Susan Mary Warren of the County of Yamhill and State of Oregon, with their mutual (?) assent, in the presence of Arthur Andrews and H.C. Woodson (?) witnesses.

Witness my hand this 20th

day of July 1871

Niel (?) Johnson

M.G. (?)

Recorded July 22nd 1871

M. Redding (?)

County Clerk

Thomas Jefferson Payne

Thomas Jefferson Payne

Tom was quite a character, frequently getting himself into trouble. Shortly after the marriage, he lost Susan Mary's "beloved horse" (part of her dowry) in a poker game. He had a habit of naming all of his pets "Tommie," after himself of course, including a racoon, a deer, and a bear. The bear frequently lived up to his name. One day, Susan had put a ham on the kitchen table to get it ready to cook for dinner. "Tommie" apparently smelled it and came into the kitchen to investigate. He grabbed one end of the ham, and Susan Mary, being just as determined to have it for dinner, grabbed the other end. The bear growled and Susan Mary cursed while they had a "tug of war." Hearing all the commotion, husband Tom came in to see what was causing all the noise. When he saw the bear and Susan fighting over the ham, he just burst out laughing. (No one ever told us what happened to the ham). Another bear story was that Tom was run out of Oregon when "Tommie" got drunk one night and killed someone (I do not know the source of this story).

Tom was well known for his fiddling ability, and happy to entertain at "hoe downs" - his foot braced on a crate while playing his violin with much enthusiasm. Family rumor has it that he was the first race horse jockey in California. He worked at various jobs, and during a stint as a sheriff, a prisoner wrote a song and, just before being hanged, gave it to Tom. This song has been handed down in the family over the years, but most of the words have been forgotten.

Keeping to his family tradition, Tom didn't stay in one place too long. Traces of him have been found in Yamhill, Linn, Multnomah, and Benton counties; who knows where else he may have stayed before moving on the California around 1900. All of his children were born in Oregon. According to the family bible, they were (information in parentheses was added by this writer):

Hattie(?) Belle Payne 4/19/1871 - 9/29/1871

Matilda Iolie(?) Payne 12/1/1872- ? (m George W. Bush, 3 children)

Francis Walter Payne 2/23/1876 - 12/25/1876

(Tommie Dec 1876 - 7/27/1877)

Elsie May Payne 10/8/1878 (she said 10/13) - 1961? (m Frank H. LaRue, 1 child)

Maitland Odell Payne 9/6/1879 - 1952? (m Grace Magoffey, 2 children)

Ora Harriet Payne 12/28/1882 - 1969? (m last Richard Joy, no children)

Marilla Farnsworth Payne 4/9/1884 - 6/15/1982 (m Tom Shorb, 5 children)

Helen Leona Payne 3/11/1893 - ? (m Edgar William Exon, 1 child)

Elsie May and Ora became actresses under the stage names Elsie Gresham and Ora Clyde.

Tom and Susan Mary died in 1942(?) within a few months of one another. He went first, and Elsie May said that her mother died of a broken heart.

Elsie May Payne

Elsie May Payne

Contributed by CiCi (Elsimae) and Mikki (Marijane) . "The ? marks mean I'm not sure; hopefully some family member will be able to help."

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