The First American Woman to Descend to the Waters of Crater Lake

Crater Lake, photo by Carl Moline circa 1960

Crater Lake, photo by Carl Moline circa 1960

Annie Creek and Annie Spring in Klamath County were named in 1865 for Anna “Annie” Gaines, granddaughter of Samuel K. and Susannah Lee Barlow.

Annie, later Mrs. Augustus Schwatka, and Mrs. O. T. Brown were the first white women to descend to the waters of Crater Lake. Annie died young, leaving her husband, who was employed by the Salem Statesman, and two children, one only a few days old. The following tribute written upon her death gives a lyric sense of her great adventure.

(From the Salem Statesman)

In Memory of Mrs. A. C. Schwatka.

As I stood yesterday by the open grave of Mrs. Annie C. Schwatka, formerly Miss Annie Gaines, the circumstances connected with my first acquaintance with her at Fort Klamath, in 1865, recurred vividly to my mind.

Major W. V. Rinehart was then in command of Fort Klamath, and Miss Gaines, being a sister to Mrs. Rinehart, constituted one of the Major’s family. In that then wild land she was a great favorite, having commended herself to every one by her intelligence and vivacity, and by her kind and generous spirit. She had a very high appreciation of the beautiful in nature, and was consequently an enthusiastic admirer of Klamath landscapes. She was an expert on horseback, and was seen almost daily riding over the grassy plains and among the evergreen groves of Klamath land, and no obstacle seemed too great for her to overcome when seeking to indulge her passion for adventure.

During the summer of 1865, she was one of a party which visited our greatest mountain wonder, Crater Lake, and climbed down a thousand feet of almost vertical wall to the lake shore, being one of the first ladies who ever accomplished this arduous undertaking. One of the tributaries of Upper Klamath Lake, rising within a half-mile of the summit of the rim of Crater Lake, flows gently, for a few miles, across grassy glades and among green trees, and then plunges into a narrow canon with almost vertical walls of columnar basalt. Standing upon the brink of the yawning chasm, and looking down at the frothing cascades and the beautiful stream, seeming like a silver thread, five hundred feet below, with the mighty pillars on either side covered with the rust of ages, the scene is one of particular grandeur; and yet, a descent among those lofty columns amid the hemlock trees which grow in the fissures of the rock, to the rippling cascades and pools of clear, cold water below and wondrous work of the Master Architect, will ever bear the name of “Annie’s Creek,” in remembrance of the adventurous explorer.

Among the pleasant reminiscences of the long ago, I also recall a local excursion on Klamath Lake with Major Rinehart and some others, in which Miss Gaines was, as usual, the most enthusiastic and adventurous of our party. While on the lake we spent some time drifting among the green islands, to one of which, lying away out in the center of the lake, covered with gigantic cane-grass and bordered with green willows, we gave her name.

After a year or so spent at Fort Klamath, Annie came with Major Rinehart’s family to Salem, where she entered the Academy of the Sacred Heart, and remained there until she completed her education, after which she became the wife of our friend, Mr. A. C. Schwatka, and the mother of two children, the youngest of which is only a few days old. Her home was always one of the most pleasant in Salem, and ever gave proof of her love of the true and the beautiful in its adornments.

But Annie has gone from among us. The bright and pleasant friend, the enthusiastic lover of art and nature, the gentle wife and loving mother, sleeps the sleep that knows no waking this side of the pearly gates of a better land.

O.C.A. Salem, February 7, 1976

Mrs. Annie Schwatka, a lady well known and highly respected, died at her residence in Salem, on the morning of the 5th inst. She leaves an infant but a few days old.

Published in the New Northwest, February 11, 1876

Lake Labish Railroad Disaster, November 1890

Found these photos in our collection today. Although the accident was in adjoining Marion County this is a great example of late 19th century reporting from the Oregonian and the Statesman on a tragic accident.

California Express Crashes Through a Trestle
A Number of Passengers Probably Fatally Injured
Nearly Every Passenger on a Crowded Train Bruised and Injured.

Salem, Nov. 12. – Shortly after 8 o’clock last night the Overland Southern Pacific passenger train, or the California Express, went down with the north end of the long trestle crossing what is known as Lake Labish, about a half-mile north of the Chemawa Indian training school, five miles from Salem. The trestle must have given way as soon as the engine struck it, and the train and trestle all went down together.


The engine was overturned and half buried almost, in the mud. Following this were the tender, mail, baggage and express cars, broken and twisted entirely out of shape.

Then followed the first-class day coach, which was saved from going over by alighting with the front end on an old tree, broken off about even with the trestle. The seats in the car were every one broken to splinters and the partitions were broken into thousands of pieces.

Next was the Pullman car “Alalla” with seventeen passengers, and only three escaped without injury.

The next and last car was the Pullman “Roseburg”, in which were fifteen passengers, only four of these got off with slight bruises.

In the smoker and day coach every seat was occupied, and the proportion of injured was larger, if possible, than that of the cars following, as the wreck was the most disastrous from the front end, on account of the mail, express, and baggage cars overturning.

The only thing that kept the train from burning was the fact that the trestle and track went down almost perpendicularly with it, and none of the passenger cars were overturned.


As the reporter approached the wreck, coming from the south through the dismal swamp known as “Lake Labish”, the scene of the catastrophe looked like a fire in the distance, caused by the many fires that had been built along either side of the ill-fated train to keep the wounded warm, who had been removed from the wreck, and to light the way of the willing workers who had hastened to the resorts from every direction.

The scene about the wreck was one long to be remembered. Laid out on the ground were the mangled corpses recovered from the wreck. Reclining on improvised beds about the fires were the wounded, who had been taken from the coaches, while standing about, lending what assistance they could, were those less seriously wounded, and around these and everywhere were the crowds who had come to help, or from curiosity.

In the coaches standing on the fallen trestlework were the same scenes, every available cushion being occupied by some unfortunate more or less injured.

As soon as the doctors from Salem arrived, at about fifteen minutes after 11 o’clock, they set about dressing the wounds and administering to the needs of the injured. They were assisted in this work by as many of Salem’s people as could reach the scene.


The first news of the disaster that reached Salem came by an Indian student of the Chemawa school, who arrived a little before 9 o’clock, having ridden in. He said 100 people were killed. Immediately every physician in the city was summoned and prepared to go. At once fire was put in the yard engine, and as soon as possible two flat cars were switched on and the run to the dismal swamp was made in very short order. This train carried several of the physicians and a large crowd of helpers, including representatives of the Statesman. Every available rig in the city was taken within a few minutes and hundreds were soon upon the scene of death.

A relief train was also ordered immediately from Albany, and a part of the Albany express, that passed over the deadly trestle only a few minutes before the ill-fated train went down to it’s destruction, was sent. At once a wrecking and construction train was started out from Portland, and will clear the wreck and repair the break as rapidly as possible.

The length of the bridge is about 600 feet. The trestle work there was from sixteen to twenty feet high, and that was consequently the height of the fall.

The engineer felt the trestle give way as soon as his engine struck it. He gave one short whistle and set the brakes. The train moved ahead about fifty yards as it went down, and it was all the work of less than a minute.

One man, whose name could not be learned, bit his tongue off, the concussion coming while he was talking. The three cars in the lead, the mail, express, and baggage, were overturned and mashed all to pieces.


The express car was thrown crosswise of the track, the mail car to one side of the track and the baggage car to the other. How the messengers and clerks in these cars escaped with their lives is a miracle. To look at the cars, one would not suppose it possible to get out alive. It was reported that one of them was killed, and that another had an arm broken, but the truth of the rumor could not be affirmed nor denied. One man, whose name is unknown, sustained a terrible scalp wound, the top of his head being laid back.

The trestle gave immediately upon the engine striking it.

The total number of deaths from this accident will probably reach as high as ten, as many have sustained what it is feared will prove to be serious internal injuries, and spinal hurts. A few whose spines were injured badly were delirious, and the names of several could not be obtained. One was an elderly man in the coach with the United States marshal from Utah and another was a young man in the tourist sleeper.


John R. Blew, the Portland train agent, who got off with a skinned nose was one of the first to reach Salem after the accident, coming down on the railroad track and assisting in getting the yard engine started.

Hon. M. F. Jeffery, of Portland, occupied a seat in the head Pullman. He was slightly bruised and pretty well shaken up, but otherwise not injured. Its said the reason as many had their backs injured was that they were in a sitting posture and the train lunged forward as well as down, most unmercifully jerking them and throwing them forward.

There was not a passenger who was not badly shaken up, and many of them had their backs injured in addition to broken legs, arms, etc.

The article continues with a list of the injured including:

Captain Jack Crawford, the poet scout, bruised.

James McCarry, U.S. Marshal from Salt Lake City, Utah, nose broken, leg probably broken and badly injured internally, fears are that he will bleed to death.

(McCarry did recover)


As far as the loss of life is concerned, considering the character and magnitude of the disaster, it was one of the most fortunate accidents known in the annals of railway disasters. The one hundred killed (according to the first report) dwindled down to ten, then five, next to four, and finally to three. It is now known that only three men were killed outright. They are Engineer John McFadden, Fireman F. G. Neals and the unknown tramp, who in all probability was stealing a ride when catastrophe overtook him. One man who was internally injured has died since, and few more will probably meet the same sad fate. (One other person died bringing to final total to five dead.)


Salem, November 21: This evening the Oregon board of railroad commissioners submitted the following report of findings in the matter of the late train disaster….

The investigation of the above matter coming to be heard, it was found that the two reasons for the disaster, to wit: First – That a rail had been removed from the track by some person or persons unknown, which was said to be the primary cause of the wreck.

Second – That the structure had fallen on account of its age and weakness of its parts.

After hearing the testimony of numerous witnesses and having made a personal inspection of the wreck, the board finds that there is no satisfactory evidence in support of the proposition that a rail had been removed. That the following facts are established by a preponderance of evidence:

First – That the Southern Pacific Company’s train No. 16, of November the 12th, 1890, consisting of eight cars, ran into the trestle at Lake Labish, in Marion county, Oregon at about 8:15 P.M. of said day, at a rate of about twenty miles per hour.

Second – That the airbrakes were firmly and suddenly applied, which caused the structure to give way at a point about 600 feet south of the north approach, precipitating the engine and three cars into the marsh, a distance of sixteen feet, throwing down the entire structure from where the break occurred to the north end, causing the death of Engineer John McFadden, his fireman, F. G. Neal, and an unknown man, and seriously injuring the other trainmen and a large number of passengers.

Third – That the structure was faulty in the following particulars; The bents, considering the nature of the ground, it being boggy and spongy, were two far apart; the ties were too widely spaced; the guard rails were in a state of decay and but few were properly fastened, and they were so frail as to afford no safeguard; that much of the timber in the bents, especially caps and sills, had more or less decayed; that the bents were not securely sway braced; that some of the piles supporting the bents were unsound; that many of the stringer-bolts had been allowed to become loosened.

Although Southern Pacific challenged the findings, other engineers determined that the trestle was unsafe. As a result of the accident the state required twice-yearly examination of railroad trestles.

Nine cases were filed against Southern Pacific for damages. John B. Rauh of Tacoma was awarded $10,000. Rauh was confined to bed after the accident and appeared in court on a stretcher.



Football in the Northwest improved greatly last year. The Eastern coaches who have been employed in this territory have brought with them better football than characterized the game in former years. The University of Oregon won all her college games in the Northwest during 1904 chiefly as a result of superior defensive playing taught by R. S. Smith, formerly of Columbia University. The new coach, being a Michigan man, will develop the offensive game. Combining this with what the men will retain of Smith’s defensive tactics the result should be that Oregon will have a strong team. The team will be captained by Jack Latourette, unequaled in this territory as a quarter-back.
Spalding’s Official Foot Ball Guide 1904

u of o 1905John Randolph “Jack” Latourette was born January 4, 1886 in Oregon City, to Charles D. and Sedonia Shaw Latourette. He was the quarterback of the University of Oregon football team 1903-1906. At the U of O he was a founding member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. After attending Columbia University Law School he passed the Oregon Bar examination in 1907. He was a member of the Oregon Legislature in 1913 and sponsored the Oregon Workman’s Compensation Act. Jack died September 2, 1967 in Portland.

In addition to articles on football rules and teams from around the United States, the Spalding catalog includes information on their products – here is what the well-dressed player would be wearing in 1904…

The Spalding Special ‘Varsity Union Foot Ball Suit consists of VT Trousers, either sleeved or sleeveless jacket and an elastic belt joining them.

helmet Spalding’s Head Harness – made with soft black leather top and sides, molded leather ear pieces, adjustable chin strap, rear extension. Top padded with felt and well ventilated. Sides stitched and felt padded with canvas lining. $2.75



jerseyFoot Ball Jersey – The Spalding No. 10P line, recently introduced, is manufactured from hard twisted worsted and closely woven, of a good quality, and made to stand the most severe strain. It is an absolutely perfect jersey for atheletes. Solid colors or striped. $2.50-$2.75 each



sleeveless jacketThe Spalding Special ‘Varsity Foot Ball Jackets Sleeveless. $1.25




jacket with sleevesFoot Ball Jackets – with sleeves; made of special brown canvas, sewed with the best and strongest linen, hand made eyelets for lacing. 75¢




trousersThe Spalding Special ‘Varsity Foot Ball Trousers – Padded – the hips and knees are properly padded according to our improved method, with pure curled hair, and the thighs have cane strips. Also in moleskin. $2.50 – $3.00



padded trousersFoot Ball Pants – canvas – Extra quality brown canvas, well padded throughout with can strips at thighs. Also No. XP – made of heavy white drill, well padded. $1.75




shoesSpalding’s Improved Foot Ball shoes – recognized as standard by foot ball players everywhere. Finest kangaroo leather, with circular reinforce on sides. Hand made throughout. $7.50 per pair.



nose guardMorrill’s Nose Mask – made from the finest rubber with no wire or metal used in its construction. It has become necessary on every foot ball team, and affords absolute protection to the nose and teeth. $1.50



shoulder padsSpalding’s Improved Shoulder Pads – made to fit the players shoulder. Heavily padded both inside and out with wool felt in exact accordance with decisions of Rules Committee. $2.50

The “Grain Fleet” 1900

wheat fleet 1900

I have always considered this photograph of the 1900 “Grain Fleet” at anchor in Portland the most beautiful scene at the Portland waterfront. The following is an article from the November 4, 1900 Oregonian that echoes the romance and poetry I see in this photo. Although not about Clackamas County, a large portion of the wheat being shipped out through the “Grain Fleet” grew in our county.

Warm broke the breeze against the brow,

   Dry sang the tackle, sang the sail;

The broad seas swell’d to meet the keel,

   And swept behind; so quick the run,

We felt the good ship shake and real,

   We seemed to sail into the sun!

Leading with Grain.

Few people, perhaps, when they mention it realize the magnitude of a shipload of grain. The capacity of the graceful three and four-masted vessels that yearly visit this port is something to surprise and unreflecting person. Ten freight trains of 25 cars each, or one train over a mile and a half long, would be required to carry the wheat that goes into the hold of a single ship. The manner in which the cargo is taken on depends upon the stage of the water. When the river is at its lowest point, or somewhere near it, the grain (in sacks) is sent from the warehouse down a zigzag chute, into the hold. In its descent, the sack turns over at each angle of the chute, and when it reaches the bottom is seized and securely stowed where it is to remain during the long voyage around the Horn. As the sacks are piled in place, the interstices between them are filled with loose grain, in order to prevent any slightest shifting about of the cargo. The loose grain is packed in, trampled by the feet of the laborers.

When the water is so high that there is not sufficient fall from the dock to the hold for the grain to move by gravity, elevators, operated by electricity, are employed, and the work proceeds uninterruptedly until the ship has received her full cargo. The facilities for loading are constantly being improved, and keep pace with the increase of tonnage. It is by no means unusual for a ship to begin discharging ballast Monday morning and have her cargo stowed by Saturday night of the same week. The discharging of hundreds of tons of ballast is in itself a task that involved no small amount of labor.

But to go back: The British ship Lady Wentworth recently took on 25,900 sacks of wheat during a period of nine hours, and in the same length of time, the Dumeraig, as was reported in the Oregonian of Tuesday last, received 23,525 sacks. The Conway, also English, and of 1776 tons register, which cleared from Portland October 30, was only 12 days in the Willamette River, while the Osterbeck, a German, was ready for sea exactly 15 days after crossing the bar. The last-mentioned craft loaded over 3,000 tons of wheat and was in Portland not quite 12 days.

The grain for shipment is delivered at the vessel’s rail by the exporters who supply the laborers or “dockmen” to handle it. The longshoremen then take charge of it and put it aboard.

While nature has done much for this inland harbor, making it one of the safest in the world, man has not neglected to add improvements that have contributed to make it one of the most accessible as well. Systematic and combined effort on the part of the Commission of the Port of Portland has within the past few years so deepened the channel from the city to the sea that it is now not only possible, but perfectly safe, for laden vessels drawing 22 feet of water to pass out at any stage of the tide and with the river at zero.

The Incoming Fleet.

In addition to the vessels already cleared since the opening of the season and those now loading, no less than 62 sailing craft are on the way to this port to receive cargoes of wheat. These, of course, do not include the steamships that are here, or due soon to arrive from the other side of the Pacific and which will, in many instances, load with wheat and flour.

Taking all things into consideration, Portland may well be proud of her grain fleet. There are but four ports in the United States that, in the nine months closing with October 1, exceeded this on the Willamette in the amount and value of wheat shipments. And for this last month, Portland has led both San Francisco and Puget Sound.

Commerce is not without its aesthetic features, in spite of Ruskin’s notion to the contrary. And its commercial utility in no way detracts from the romance and the poetry that are the inalienable characteristics of the grain fleet of the Willamette. Any ship that sails the high seas embodies this romance, this poetry. In every mast and spar and straining timber she is thrilled with the hidden meaning of the deep.

The kisses of the Summer wind,

   The typhoon’s deadly breath;

The frozen passions of the north,

   And calms, another name for death,

That lurk in southern seas –

   She knows them all – aye, loves and knows!

The wildest, maddest wind that blows,

   For fate hath fashioned her for these.


Office fronting the levee, a few doors below the ferry, Oregon City, O.T.
Also a manufacturer of LEMON SYRUP, STOUGHTON BITTERS, SWEET CIDER, CORDIALS, &c. &c. together with that most excellent and healthy beverage, SARSAPARILLA BEER. With a variety of medicines, trinkets, &c. too numerous to mention. All of which will be sold low for cash. Call and see.
N. B. Consultations upon delicate diseases of male and female in perfect confidence.
(Advice to the poor gratuitous.)
Oregon City.
Oregon Spectator, November 1850

[Definitely a full service medical office!]

Balch Creek and the beginning of Forest Park……

With recent interest over saving an historic house in the Balch Creek area of Portland – here is a little research from a few years ago on the namesake of the creek: 

Danford Balch (Danforth) is listed in Galusha Balch’s book of descendants of John Balch of Beverly, MA as an ‘unconnected’ Balch. From his statement that his mother married “C. Brockett” it appears that she was Anna Balch, #756 in Galusha’s book – “Anna, daughter of John and Lucy Bowen Balch, was born October 4, 1787. She married Chauncey Brockett. They had four children; then they moved to Ohio, and nothing more is known of them; their children were Hosea, Nancy, Lucy Ann and Matilda.” Danforth, as he later stated, was the illegitimate child of an unknown father.

Danforth’s entry in the book reads: “Danforth Balch, whose ancestry has not been traced, crossed the plains in 1847, and took up a donation claim of 348 acres of land on what is now the northwest corner of Portland, Oregon. Here he cleared about 20 acres, lived with his wife Mary Jane and nine children were born. On October 17, 1859, he died. Then commenced a studied plan of legal robbery and twenty-four years of litigation, through which the minor children were turned out upon the world, without education or property, with the exception of John, who saved about $5,000. The children are as follows: Ann Hamilton, b. 1844, lives in Portland; Hosea, b. 1846, lives in California; John, b. 1854; lived on Sauvies Island, near Portland; Daniel, b. 1855; Celeste, b. ?; Emma, b. 1858, lives at Olympia WA; Louis, b.?”

[The Portland Oregonian, October 22, 1859]
Danford Balch, who shot his son-in-law, Mortimer Stump, last spring, on the ferry boat in this city, expiated his crime on the gallows on Monday last, at fifteen minutes before eleven o’clock A. M.
There were about five or six hundred people present to witness the death of this unfortunate man, who under the excitement of intoxicating drink, ignorance of the law, and evil advice, slew his fellow man. We are glad to chronicle the fact that but few of the citizens of this city attended the execution. The people were generally from the interior; among whom, we are credibly informed, was the whole Stump family, accompanied by the daughter of Balch, widow of the murdered man, Mortimer Stump. The idea of a daughter, by her own volition, attending the execution of a father upon a gallows, is a disgrace to the intelligence of the age, and to every principle of filial affection manifested or exhibited by every species of the brute creation, in the sea or upon the earth. This fact is of a character that we cannot pass unnoticed, and must meet with the surprise, reprobation and detestation of the whole community.
Rev. Mr. Pearne, editor of the Christian Advocate, has kindly furnished us with Mr. Balch’s confession.

Dying Statement of Danford Balch.
I was born in Colerain, Mass., 29th Nov., 1811. While I was a babe my mother removed to Onondaga county. N.Y., and was married when I was four years old to Mr. C. Brockett. I lived in Onandaga county until nine years old. Thence we moved to Farmington, Trumbull county, Ohio, where I remained until thirty years of age. In 1840 I came to Iowa. In 1841, June 12, in Augusta Demoines county, Iowa, I was married to my present wife. My opportunities for education were very limited. Except two or three seasons in which I attended common school when quite young, I have had no advantages of education. My mother had four children, – three daughters and a son, by my step-father. She and they are living. My mother belongs to the Campbellite Baptists. I have nine, children, five boys and four girls. The eldest, a daughter sixteen and a half years old, the youngest, a son fifteen months old. The eldest child at home is a son, who was twelve years old the 17th of last June. I have never heretofore made any religious professions; but have thought that the Universalist doctrine was a pretty good doctrine to live by. As to the facts of the killing of Mortimer Stump, they are as I recollect them about as follows: – On the day of the killing, I was standing by the door of Starr’s tin shop when Ad Stump and then the old man and afterwards Mortimer Stump came up. When he saw me the old man commenced growling or muttering at me and wanted to know what I had against him. I told him I had nothing against him. He said I should not talk that way to him. He cursed a good deal and said I was making a great fuss about my child; that she was an ordinary little b—-h, and did not know what —– I wanted of her. There was more said. I do not recollect saying another word. This was on the day of the killing, and just before it. After that, my gun standing at my left hand, I took it up and started for the boat.

I saw my girl on the boat. It was the first time I had seen her. I went down on the ferry-boat and went past a team or something on the boat. I does not seem as if it was a team but something else. I looked up and saw Mr. Pullen and Mr. Stump near the fore end of the wagon. Pullen was standing with one foot on the box. Stump was standing with his hand on the front end of the wagon box. He started towards me; came three or four steps towards me when I turned my head to see where his brother that started to go down to the boat with me, was. While I was looking back, the gun went off – how, I cannot tell. I had the gun lying across my left arm. As the gun went off, I felt the jar. I have no recollections of hearing the report of the gun. My first thought on feeling the jar, was that young Stump had hold of the gun, but on turning my head, I discovered the smoke which was the first I knew that the gun was discharged. The next I saw was Stump, lying on the boat, shot. On turning around I met the ferryman who said he did not allow such work there. I told him I could not help it, it was an accident. Immediately Mr. Miller seized me by the throat and said I was his prisoner. He used me pretty roughly. I don’t recollect what was said after that. Mr. Harkness took hold of the gun, and I let go of it. The next think [sic] I recollect, I was in jail talking with Mr. McMillen and with Mr. Smith. I should thing [sic] I was ten or twelve feet from the hind end of the wagon; but it might not have been so far. When I went on the boat it was with the intention of getting my child. I had been told by someone that Mortimer Stump had said that if I ever came after my girl, he would pound me within an inch of my life. I took my gun for the purpose of defending myself, if it should become necessary. I think the gun was not cocked when it lay on my arm. I have no recollections of cocking it or touching the lock.
I have felt since the trial, that there was some evidence in my behalf that should have been adduced, which was not. I do not know as it is worth while to say what evidence. I have no recollection of having seen the men who testified that I had several days previous to the killing, threatened to take Mortimer Stump’s life; nor of having said anything of the sort. I was astonished to hear their testimony to that effect. These threats were said to have been made on the Tuesday after the girl went away and before the killing of Stump. Much was testified as having been said by me on that day, of which I have no recollection. The night I came home and found the girl gone, it struck a pain to my heart, like a knife cutting me. I ate a little supper and went to bed, but did not sleep a wink all night. In the morning, at once after getting up, I started for town, and it seemed as if my stomach would burst from anxiety and grief, which were more than I can express. It kept growing worse and worse on me until I had been in jail three or four days. For a long time I don’t think I slept an hour a night and probably the first three or four nights, not at all. After being in jail three or four days I was taken with a cholic an flux which greatly reduced me. From the time the girl was married, until I had been jail several days I recollect very little that happened. All seemed more like a dream than a reality, I have felt hard towards many for their treatment of me; but I have, in a measure, got over that. I suppose I ought not cherish such feelings, but there is a sense of injury as to the cause of present difficulty, of which I cannot divest myself. I am not able, because I have not sufficient liberty of mind, to tell what that injury was. I have thought, if my injuries and the abuse which I have received, had been set forth to the jury, that my sentence would have been altogether different. I do not feel, however, as I did some time ago. I trust it will be well with me in another world. My reasons for feeling and hoping so, are my reading of the Scriptures and prayers during my confinement and my hope in the mercy of God that my sins are forgiven. I feel much better in mind than I have done, and trust it will be well with me.

I have great solicitude about my children. I suppose the married one will not return home. As to the children that are at home, I would like my wife to put them out at good homes, where they will be well trained and educated. It is my desire that my wife should deed her part of the claim to the children, renting it in the mean time for her and their support. I suppose my half of the claim will be required to pay the demands against me. I have resided on my claim since October 1st, 1850. I have never before had any difficulty with any one; never was arrested for any crime. After the killing of Stump, there was a rumor that I and another had been concerned in the killing of a man whose remains were found in the canyon some three years since, but there is no truth whatever in the report. I never had occasion to strike a man in anger, in my life.
Danford Balch, by T. H. Pearne.

The above was communicated to me by Mr. Balch, on Sunday evening last. On Monday morning, I read it over to him; he approved it and added, that for several years past he had been indulging somewhat freely in the use of intoxicating drinks, and that on the day Stump was killed
he had taken two drinks. He explained about the shooting of Stump, that Stump must have approached him from where he stood and received the contents of the gun, accidentally discharged as he lay when dead, near the end of the wagon. On reviewing what was written about his feelings towards those who had injured him, he wished to say that he felt no hardness or unforgiving spirit toward any persons.

Editorials in the Oregonian decrying the public attendance led to Balch’s hanging being the last public hanging in the city. 

[From History of the Oregon Country, Compiler’s Appendix by Leslie M. Scott: End of Volume III]
Danford Balch, a settler of 1850, and his wife, Mary Jane, held a donation land claim in what is now the Willamette Heights district of Portland, Oregon. Their children were nine in number. The eldest, Anna, married Mortimer Stump, to whom the father bitterly objected, and shortly afterwards the father shot and killed the son-in-law on the Stark Street ferry, at Portland. The father was hanged October 17, 1859. His biography appears in The Oregonian, October 22, 1859, with his own statement of the homicide. The hanging of Balch was the more pathetic because it was attended by the daughter whose marriage had led to the tragedy.
By agreement with his wife, Balch’s half of the donation land claim was to be deeded by her to the eight minor children, subject to her life estate. She executed such deed but it was never recorded. About the year 1863, the mother married John A. Confer. Previous to the marriage she deeded the children’s portion to Confer (December 8, 1862) and the pair deeded hers to John H. Mitchell (December 14, 1864). But, pursuant to mandate of the supreme court of Oregon, Confer and the mother (then Mrs. Confer) restored the children’s portion to them by deed, dated September 3, 1866. The next move against the children’s interest was a sale of the land by their guardian, C. S. Silver, by order of the county (probate) court, to John H. Mitchell, September 24, 1870, for a putative $5500. Mitchell, thus having acquired the children’s portion and otherwise gained possession of the mother’s, sold it to Bernard Goldsmith October 4, 1870, for $15,000, supposing that the children’s rights were thus extinguished. But four of the eight children obtained a mandate of the supreme court of Oregon June 25, 1883, voiding the guardian’s sale to Mitchell of September 24, 1870, and restoring to the four – Emma Balch Dickinson and John, Danford and Louise H. Balch – their rights in the land. Four others had previously conveyed their rights away – Hosea, Thomas, Celestia and Celinda. For further history of the Balch land case, ibid., November 25, 1886, p.4; letter from Bernard Goldsmith and reply, November 14, 1886, p. 2; also November 11, 1886, p. 3.


Having passed through several hands, the lion’s share of his former land was in 1897 donated to the city by its then-owner Donald Macleay, who was sick of paying taxes on the unprofitable parcel. That was the time the famously green PDX received its first land gift designated by the donor for parkland: Macleay Park. (Including a Balch Creek.)

Today, it’s all part of the larger Forest Park, and it’s a lovely hiking space for a city that grooves on its outdoor rec … complete with a gorgeously ruined Depression-era stone ranger station that’s popularly believed to be haunted, maybe by the spirit of poor old Danford Balch himself.

Too Many Women in the East

In researching the Emigrant Escort Service and the involvement of Medorem Crawford and his brother LeRoy I came across this:

Massachusetts. General Court. Joint Special Committee on so Much of the Governor’s Address as Relates to the Emigration of Young Women to the West

Maybe I Should Go West......

Maybe I should go west…..

In Senate, March 29, 1865.

The Joint Special Committee to whom was referred so much of the Governor’s Address as relates to “the emigration of young women to the West,” have considered the subject and respectfully submit the subjoined Report, with the Resolution annexed.


The subject referred to the Committee is novel and extraordinary. For the first time in our history, the attention of the legislature has been called to an “excess of women in Massachusetts.” And from a new stand-point altogether, the most delicate and sacred of all the relations of our social economy have been earnestly commended to the deliberations of the General Court.

Says His Excellency, the Governor, in his Annual Address to the legislature, at the opening of our session: — “I desire to call attention to the excess of women in Massachusetts, and to the surplus of men in Oregon, California, and other remote western communities. The facility with which young men migrate, the attractions and opportunities for them of new States; the obvious embarrassments to the migration of young women, the attractions of home, wherever it is, to the heart of woman, and her natural dependence, combine to create this inequality in the distribution of the sexes. In Oregon, having 52,160 inhabitants, according to the census of 1860, there were 19,961 males over fifteen years old, and only 9,878 females above that age. Its population is now estimated at over 100,000 — this disproportion yet remaining. In Massachusetts there were 257,883 males between the ages of fifteen and forty, and 287,009 females, or a surplus of 29,166. The excess of women of all ages above fifteen years, was 38,846. The absorption of men by the military and naval service during the intervening four years has aggravated this disproportion. And it is a disastrous one: it disorders the market for labor; it reduces women and men to an unnatural competition for employments fitted for men alone, tends to increase the number both of men unable to maintain families, and of women who must maintain themselves unaided. In civilized, refined society, it is the office and duty of man to protect woman, to furnish her a sphere, a support, a home. In return, she comforts, refines and adorns domestic life, the family, and the range of social influences. This is also the plainly providential order. Where women are driven to the competitions of the market with men, or where men are left unsolaced and unrefined by the presence of women, society is alike weakened and demoralized.

” I know of no more useful object to which the Commonwealth can lend its aid than that of a movement adapted in a practical way to open the door of emigration to young women who are wanted for teachers, and for every other appropriate as well as domestic employment in the remote West, but who are leading anxious and aimless lives in New England.”

Essentially the same statistics and comments, as those in the Annual Address of the governor, appeared, a month previous, in a circular signed by Rev. Edward Everett Hale, chairman of the New England Emigrant Aid Company’s Committee on Oregon. This company was incorporated by the Massachusetts legislature, February 21st, 1855. It had been operating, however, for nearly a year, under a previous charter, as the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company, for the special object of promoting emigration to Kansas. It has never received any aid from the State treasury. “The original charter fixed five million dollars as the amount of its possible stock.” “In the month of May, 1856, the amount of money expended by the company, in Kansas, was 196,956.01. Of this, very much the largest proportion had been spent for two hotels, and for steam-engines and mills. A part had been expended for the erection of school-houses and dwelling-houses.” “But,”says the History of the Emigrant Aid Company, “we never paid the passage of any emigrant, nor paid anything towards his passage; we simply organized the emigration of individuals, and relieved it, as far as we could, of its solitude and other inconveniences.”

The chairman of the committee above mentioned has had much service, in aiding females to procure employment. At one of our meetings he urged the claims of destitute females, of good character, to legislative and pecuniary assistance in emigrating to Oregon. By a loan of $100 to each emigrant, the money obtained from donations or subscriptions, — he had sent forward, in December last, three or four young women, in charge of proper guardians. They went by the sea route, — defraying the balance of expenses themselves.

There is a strong desire, as we have been informed, to send out a much larger company this spring. So far as we can judge, no considerable amount of donations is expected from private individuals. And very little progress is likely to be made, in supplying from “. the excess of women in Massachusetts,” the marital and other wants of ” the surplus of men in Oregon, California, and other remote western communities,”

unless the legislature shall inaugurate a new department for the bounties or charities of the Commonwealth. With at least some hope of such a procedure, the attention of his excellency was solicited to the subject. And for the same purpose, doubtless, several articles have appeared in the columns of a leading ” daily ” paper, — evidently from the same source as that of the Oregon Committee circular.

In connection with the movements of the Emigrant Aid Company, there have been influences, probably, from the other side of the Atlantic. The “Social Science Congresses” in England, various articles in reviews or magazines, and particularly such as were written by the gifted Miss Frances Power Cobbe, have not been unknown among us, nor without effect upon a certain class of minds.

Since his Annual Address, the governor has received communications from Albert G. Browne, Jr., Military Secretary, — dated in January, at the city of Washington, in which mention is made of Captain Le Roy Crawford, A. Q. M., Senator B. F. Harding, and Representative J. R. McBride, of Oregon, and Delegate Wm. H. Wallace, of Idahoe Territory, formerly governor of that Territory.

Says Mr. Browne :• — ” It seems that there has been no system of emigration to Oregon, but for the last few years Congress has made annual appropriation of $25,000 or $30,000 for an escort (not military,) to such emigrants as should be on the road. The route of the emigration during the three years has been, starting from Omaha, in Nebraska Territory, or other points in that neighborhood on the frontier, to follow the main road up the Platte to the vicinity of the Wind River Mountains, and there to turn off into Lander’s road and follow that to Oregon.

” This escort, consisting usually of about fifty civilians hired for the purpose, has been chiefly of value in making repairs on the road, and assisting parties whose teams had broken, down, or whose stock had been stampeded. Obviously it was too small to have afforded any protection against Indians ; and as the emigration has not been in great bodies, but in scattered parties moving without concert, its value for any purposes of defence has been inconsiderable. Unless the appropriation can be largely increased this year, it may about as well not be made at all ; and the object of Captain Crawford, in his letter to you, was, I presume, to solicit your cooperation for such an increase.”  Speaking of a conversation with the gentlemen above named, Mr. Browne also says : —  ” I assured them of my belief that under proper auspices, in which the emigrants could have confidence, a party of perhaps one thousand, of which twenty per cent, might be males, could be collected from New England, for an emigration in a body to Oregon, overland, this coming spring and summer ; and that if such an emigration should succeed this year, it would be followed without doubt by one five times as large next year. From the discussion the fact appeared plain, that the expense of such an emigration across the Plains, would be much less than of emi- gration around by sea; for that horses and mules and wagons, in reasonably good condition, sell for as high prices in Oregon as in Missouri, always, and at the present time for higher prices.”  Other communications have been received by his excellency. One gentleman of Connecticut, while approving of the suggestions in the Annual Address, inquires if “the same thing could not be effected,” i, e., ” the excess of women ” be diminished, — ” by introducing some of the finer manufactures of Paris and other European cities into Massachusetts, which would attract thither respectable young unmarried men and of middle life from abroad, to come and stay in Massachusetts, and in the New England States.” A Kansas gentleman thinks that ” a large number of females from the East could be employed in this State, if they did not all want to be teachers ; but would go as milliners, house-servants, sales-women, &c.” He suggests, “that if different societies would combine, and use a portion of the money received for the purpose of aiding females, in fitting out and paying the passage out to Kansas of a portion of them, the West would be benefited and the East relieved.”