ORGenWeb Pioneer Biographies

Oregon Pioneer Biographies


Source: "An Illustrated History of the State of Oregon," Rev. H. K. Hines, D. D., The Lewis Publishing Co., 1893.


William Edward Warren, of McMinnville, is an honored Oregon pioneer of 1847, and was born in Halifax, nova Scotia, February 23, 1816, thus having witnessed the vast improvements of three-quarters of a century, which have not only been transforming the more eastern portion of the United States, but has, perhaps, been more visibly apparent in the extreme West. One can almost envy him the pleasure of having witnessed this stirring panorama, and especially of viewing the transformation in Oregon during the last forty-five years, from a wild and unpopulated region to its present flourishing and populous condition.

His father, Edward Warren, was born in Bristol, England, in 1785, and was a Purser in the English navy. He married, in 1815, Miss Elizabeth Gould, a native of Nova Scotia. Her father, William Gould, was a Flag Sergeant in the British army, and fought in the battle of Waterloo. They had eight children of whom the subject of our sketch was the eldest, and the only survivor. His father died in Halifax, in 1834, and his mother in Portland, Oregon, in 1849.

The mother, three sons and three daughters, left Buffalo, New York, in 1836, and drove with a team to Illinois, where they remained for four years, and then they went to Missouri; stopped there until 1847, and then drove on across the plains to Oregon, thus making the journey by wagon from ocean to ocean. When they arrived thirty miles this side of Walla Walla, they were robbed of their teams and outfit by the Indians, escaping with only their lives.

They arrived in Portland, where they remained until 1851. Here the subject of our sketch worked until he acquired the means to puschase a yoke of oxen, when he did draying, having for some time the only rig of the kind in the town, and his outfit consisting of two yoke of oxen and a wagon. He was very successful, but the Indians stole one pair of his oxen.

He continued in Portland until 1851, when he came to Yam Hill county, and settled on a donation claim of 640 acres, located eight miles west of the present site of McMinnville.

Just previous to coming to Oregon, Mr. Warren was married in Missouri, in 1847, to Miss Almira C. Martin, a native of Kentucky. Her parents were Lewis and Tobitha (sic) (Cash) Martin, the former born August 27, 1787, and the latter June 11, 1794, and were married in 1807. Then had ten children: Joanna, Nancy, Dillard, Washington, Wesley, Elizabeth, James Madison, Luson (?Susan) V., Mary Jane, and Almira C. Mr. Lewis was in the war of 1812, and in the Indian wars. By occupation he was a planter, in Virginia. Mr. Warren and his wife crossed the plains, and three children were born in Portland, with whom they came to the donation claim. They began life in a little log cabin, in which they lived until 1860, when he built a large and comfortable house and good barns, besides making other improvements. He had the rare foresight to retain possession of this farm, which is now very valuable. He continued to reside on it until 1887, when he purchased some lots in the city of McMinnville, on which he erected a cosy, pleasant home, where he and his family are now living.

Mr. and Mrs. Warren have seven children: William L., the eldest son, is the present Sheriff of Yam Hill county; Ann Amelia, is the wife of Mr. Jefferson Simson (sic), and resides in Amity; Rachel is the wife of Mr. James Rowland, and resides in Washington; Susan is the wife of Mr. Thomas J. Paine (sic), residing in Portland; James married Bertha Verstague of Holland, and resides in Salem; Emma Gene, married Mr. Ralph Kingsbury, and resides in Farmington, Washington; Ora R., is the wife of Mr. Peter Thomason, and lives near McMinnville.

Mr. Warren is a Republican, and during the war was a member of the Union League, and was loyal to the Government in its time of peril. He was one of the judges of the first election held in Portland, and copied the poll-books sent to the Governor.

He and his worthy wife are consistent members of the Baptist Church, to the support of which they liberaly contribute.

Now seventy-six years of age, forty-five of which have been cheered by the sympathy and companionship of a good wife, Mr. Warren is an excellent representative of the hardy pioneer, who, by intelligent and persistent effort applied to the wonderful resource of this great State, has accumulated a competence and gained the confidence and esteem of his fellow-men.

Notes: William's brothers Henry and Edward, and possibly a sister, accompanied him to Oregon. Some of the Martin family may have come then as well.

His son, William L., married Amanda Payne, daughter of Caleb J. Payne and Melinda Toney Payne.

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Copyright © 2000 by CiCi Morse for ORGenWeb

Posted 19 March 2000.