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


A Letter to the Grandparents, March 1918

Henry Meldrum Stevens 1918

Henry Meldrum Stevens 1918

The following was written by Henry Meldrum Stevens, grandson of Harley C. & Mary Elizabeth Crawford Stevens. Henry and his twin brother, Harley C. “Hob” Stevens III, were the sons of Harley C. Stevens Jr. and Pearle Meldrum, both descendants of pioneer Oregon families.

Henry and “Hob”, while students at the University of California Berkeley, were swept into military training in 1918 but the war ended before they entered active service. Both went on to distinguished careers. The twins were born August 11, 1900.

Henry, who worked for the J. Walter Thompson Advertising Agency, died while vacationing at Ingonish Beach, Nova Scotia, Canada on August 12, 1953, leaving a wife and three children. “Hob” died on December 26, 1959 in San Francisco, leaving his widow, the former Georgiana Gerlinger.

2713 Haste St
Berkeley, Cal

Dear Folks,
Of late several small examinations have been in order here at the college, and I am happy to report that both Harley and myself managed to acquit ourselves with high grades. I know such knowledge always pleases you, for it shows our realization of a very serious purpose in attending this University; namely, to gain an education and make ourselves better men for the having of such.

Another matter of interest is the inter-fraternity basketball league. Of course, a certain amount of recreation is essential to the best study, and these basketball games are but one form of play. Thus far Alpha Delta Phi has been most successful. Harley is a member of the fraternity team, and I its captain.

Speaking of fraternities, you would perhaps like to hear a few impressions which I have gained from my two years connection. It is an admitted fact that there are all kinds of organizations – each one being noted for certain characteristics, either good or bad. This is the big reason why I took so long in making up my mind as to which fraternity, were I bid to several, would I join. My fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi, as stated by the author and authority on the subject, Baird, and as typified by her members, Theodore Roosevelt and others, is strictly characterized by a literary trait. Do you not think this a noble one?

But now, just what does even the right kind of fraternity do for a boy? I would say it gives, in the course of four years, four things; friends, ideals, broad-mindedness, and greatest of all gifts, character.
Allow me to take up these bequests one by one. By the term friends, I do not mean, just a bond existing between the boys living in the house – though such an opportunity is surely a very, very wonderful state of being indeed – I mean more than that. In addition to the above, I mean an introduction and acceptance into the very heart of each of my fellow members’ family, a widespread acquaintance and backing in campus life, and a strong tie during future years.

The term ideals brings to my mind not only a notion of fraternity ideals which in itself gives a large glance into the field of literature and the fine arts, but also splendid ideas gained through an association with high minded men.
Closely connected with this subject is broadmindedness. Allow me to cite one case – that of my former room-mate. Olin Wellborn was President of the Senior Class and in all respects an ideal product of Alpha Delta Phi. I wonder if I would ever have gotten elsewhere, certain truth offered by Olin?

Finally, character – this word is not ambiguous and explains itself. It is the final aim of the fraternity. And now, what is the cost of all this? – under ordinary times, absolutely nothing from the material side, i.e. actual money. In fact, according to general rule, it is actually cheapest to live in a fraternity.

In the case of Harley and myself, it is a regretful fact that due to the war the situation has been abnormal. In the way of finance, the life of the fraternity has been at stake – it has had to call upon its members for immense sacrifices. So, in the accounts, you will note that a great deal of money seems to be going out to Alpha Delta Phi. The point I want to make clear, is that such is an abnormal condition. Next year, our expenses which were about $950 apiece, should be cut down to between $700 and $800 apiece, at any rate. Knowing this, you can perhaps better understand the finances of Harley and me for this year.

Mother mentioned that the Rossman girl was living on $50 a month. I can conceive of such a situation. But is must be remembered that from a financial standpoint a girl “has it on” a boy in many respects. Also, a boy must look to the future and business. If he wishes to have rich and influential friends, he must in a very moderate sense to be sure, and yet to the best of his ability, go with college men of such a type. The true college friends are the life-long friends. The average girl is not bothered with such mercantile thoughts.

In submitting my expenses for the rest of the semester – I might explain that charges for an extra month are tacked on to the board and room bill. This money goes toward holding the house over during the summer – at which time it is vacated. The approximate amount of money I will need to finish out this semester is:
Board and Room  $120.00
Fare home  30.00
Academic supplies  8.00
Carfare  1.20
Blue & Gold  4.50
Shoes  12.00
Insurance  12.80
Laundry  12.00
Athletics  15.00
Cap  3.00
Fraternity Assessment  5.00
Writing materials  1.50
Tailor and barber  5.00
Total $230.00

To this $230.00 I must add $70.00 more to pay past debts. You see my expenses for last semester were $470 while I received but $400. So in all, I need $300 to complete this semester.

You no doubt wonder why this year cost so much. Counting the above requested $300, I shall have received $950 from home. I hope I have made the why and wherefore of this tremendous cost clear to you. It is due to tow causes: the immense cost of the very short semester just completed, namely $470 – this due to war conditions, and the extra length of this present semester. All this money is strictly accounted for and, on looking over my books next summer, you will find the whole itemized. Please remember, also, that Harley and I are only too glad when you point out spots where greater economy might be practiced.

In this letter, I have spared time from my studies to tell you of most all my thoughts. In conclusion there is only one other I can think of. You may recall that last vacation I mentioned the idea of going east next year. I have given up the notion for two reasons. In the first place because of expense – my post-graduate work in the east must suffice. And secondly, a Los Angeles boy – a member of my fraternity and class here, has urged that I finish my four years here, and then, if possible, go back to Harvard for my post-graduate work in law with him. Do you not think this a good plan?

I close with best love and hopes of hearing from you soon.

Your loving grandson,

The Crawford Family

Medorem Crawford from  "Pioneers of 1854" Stevens-Crawford collection.

Medorem Crawford from
“Pioneers of 1854” Stevens-Crawford collection.

At the Clackamas County Historical Society we have several volunteers working on the genealogy of the Crawford and Stevens families. Muriel “Mertie” Stevens, granddaughter of Capt. Medorem Crawford of the Emigrant Escort Service, left her family home to the Clackamas County Historical Society at her death. The house and contents are now available to tour – Stevens-Crawford Heritage House, Oregon City, OR.

As part of the story of the house we are filling in the stories of the Stevens and Crawford families. Capt. Medorem Crawford was one of three sons of Samuel Gillespie Crawford of Havana (Montour Falls), Schuyler County, New York to emigrate to the Oregon Territory in the mid-1880’s. Many of the descendants of these three brothers have pursued military careers or, in the case of female descendants, have married military men.

Medorem’s oldest son, Medorem, is noted as the first appointee to West Point from Oregon and at the time of his retirement had achieved the rank of Brigadier General.

Brigadier General Medorem Crawford, his two sons, Colonel Medorem Crawford Jr. and Colonel Lawrence Carter Crawford, and one daughter, Delores Crawford, as well as several of their spouses, are buried in Arlington National Cemetery. One great-nephew, Wallace William Crawford, also attended West Point.

And to add to the military achievements of the family, Robert MacArthur Crawford, Medorem’s great-nephew  (grandson of his brother Ronald C. Crawford) wrote the words and music to “The Army Air Corps” know to us at “Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder”.


From Wikipedia

Robert Crawford is Dead at 61;

Wrote ‘Army Air Corps” Song

New York Times – March 1961

Robert MacArthur Crawford, a singer, author, musical conductor and composer of the son “The Army Air Corps” died yesterday in Memorial Hospital after a brief illness. He was 61 years old.

Mr. Crawford, who retired from the Air Force Reserve as a lieutenant colonel, lived in South Miami, Fla. He had been in New York while completing the composition of a musical about Alaska.

The Air Corps song, which begins “Off we go into the wild blue yonder-“, was written in 1939. It won a year-long $1,000 competition conducted by the old Liberty magazine for a new song for the service, now the Air Force.

Mr. Crawford’s service songs also included “Mechs of the Air Corps”, “Cadets of the Air Corps” and “Born to the Sky” the official song of the Air Transport Command.

His other compositions included “Pagan Prayer”, “To Everyman”, “Nadege”, “Rust on the Moon”, Behold What Manner of Love” and “Les Etoiles.”

Born in Dawon, Yukon Territory, Mr. Crawford spent his childhood in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Always interested in Alaska, he was an official guest at the ceremony marking the territory’s admission to statehood.

After attending the Case Scientific Institute in Cleveland, Mr. Crawford attended Princeton University, where he wrote the words and music for the Triangle Club shows of 1924 and 1925. He was also director of the Princeton Glee Club and conductor of the university orchestra.

Mr. Crawford, who graduated from Princeton in 1925, later studied and taught at the Julliard School of Music here and studied composition at the American School of Music in Fontainbleau, France.

In 1923, he learned to fly. While piloting his small plane to various parts of the United States, he was presented at concerts as “The Flying Baritone.”

When the United States entered World War II, Mr. Crawford joined the Pan American Air Ferry at Miami, which delivered planes across the South Atlantic for the Army Air Corps. After the ferry unit was taken over by the Air Corps, he flew thousands of miles of the Air Transport Command.

In 1947, Mr. Crawford joined the music faculty of the University of Miami, where he remained for ten years before withdrawing to concentrate on composing.

Surviving are his widow, the former Hester Keen; four sons, Robert M. Crawford, Jr., Ronald Leroy Crawford, Samuel Stuart Crawford and Lowell Crawford; a brother, Samuel, and four grandchildren.

(Other biographies include a note that he tried to become an aviator in the United States Army Air Service in World War I but was discovered to be underage.)

Visit our growing family trees of Clackamas County Families:

Old Pioneer of 1842

Morning Oregonian, March 6, 1898

Sketch of Sidney W. Moss, of Oregon City

Some of the Experiences in the Life of a Rugged Frontiersman of Ripe Years.

Sidney W. Moss has been a resident of Oregon City since September 26, 1842, and he is one of the very few surviving Oregon imigrants of that year.


He has been regarded as an old man ever since he came to Oregon, but says he was born less than 88 years ago in Paris, Bourbon County, Ky., his birthday being March 17, 1810. His parents were well-to-do people; indeed, they became as rich as people in Kentucky got to be those days, owning slaves and vast estates. But for some reason they indentured their son, at the age of 4 years, to William Purnell, a stonecutter and mason, who resided in the adjoining county of Fleming. Mrs. Purnell was a sister of Jeff Davis’ father, and a woman of considerable force of character, though illiterate. The Purnells had no children of their own, and they were gald to adopt so promising a lad as young Moss, treating him as a member of the family. They managed to send him to school nine months in the little log schoolhouse at Flemingsburg, where Jeff Davis, who was a year older than Moss, was among his mates. And as evidence of the old pioneer’s singular modesty he tells not a tale of “thrashing” or outspelling Jeff in those budding days.

“I was raised by good democrats,” he says, “and I came as near to worshiping Andrew Jackson as I ought to come to worshiping God Almighty.”

Young Moss served his apprenticeship as stonecutter in Maysville, and then he engaged in railroading and building bridges and locks in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. Finally he left his native state to take charge of the stonecutting and masonry at Fort Smith, Ark., where fortifications were being constructed by the government. Finishing his work there, he left, April 15, 1842, intending to go with William Bird Powell to assist in a geological survey of the Rocky mountains. In May he arrived at Independence, Mo., and found that plans for the surveying trip had been changed, and he concluded to join an emigration party for Oregon then forming there. About all the specific information he had of Oregon was that a Dr. McLoughlin had located a claim at the falls of the Willamette and planted an orchard. So he became one of the company that came over the plains and mountains to Oregon, the members of which have made much history for the state.

“My first employment in Oregon City,” said Mr. Moss to an Oregonian reporter, “was cutting cordwood. I cut and put up the first cord of wood ever put up in Oregon; it was to make a coal kiln for Hugh Burns. My next job was to build a large house on Kaiser’s prairie, near where Salem is now located. In the summer of 1843 I cut a crop of wheat from land where Salem now is. In 1844 I began to build my first hotel in Oregon City. The first part was small, and I continued to add to it till 1847, when it was completed, a two story building 68×105 feet. Then I built a storehouse and commenced selling goods.

“At that time there was no wholesale house in Oregon, and I could only get a small lot of goods at a time when some sailing vessel would arrive. I took into partnership Henry A. G. Lee and sent him East with $63,000 in gold dust to buy goods. He spent some time in the East, and died at Panama on his way home. My daughter, who was with him, brought his trunk and effects, with $110 as all that remained of my money, and no goods bought. Afterward I paid a note for $1,000 to James P. Hyatt, of Wall Street, which Lee had given for borrowed money.

“I assisted with the compass I had intended to use on the Rocky mountain trip, in surveying the town; I dug the first well, built the first hotel, ran the first livery stable, dug the first stump and made the first board fence in the town, and I built and ran the first ferry-boat on the Willamette River. All of this I did with my own hands, unaided by any one.”

And the old man is very proud of this record.

Mr. Moss’ career in Oregon City has been mostly that of tavern-keeper and merchant. He was shrewd and an active business man, and has accumulated a valuable estate, which, however, did not remain with him. For more than a decade he has been unable to do any regular work, and has made his home with his daughter, Mrs. Theodore W. Clarke.

Mr. Moss’ first wife was a niece of President Zachary Taylor, Rebecca, daughter of Thomas Taylor. She died in Cincinnati, Ohio, leaving three children. Two of the children died in the East, but the third, Minerva, came to Oregon and, on New Year’s day, 1852 married Lieutenant Gustavus Harrison, a grandson of President W. H. Harrison. In Oregon City, Mr. Moss married a Mrs. Richardson, who left him three children, two of whom, Walter and Honora (Mrs. Clarke) survive.

Though reared in a good democratic family, young Moss had a mind of his own, and he soon became a whig. He was editor of the Piqus, Ohio, Gazette for five years, including the two Harrison campaigns. The first time he supported Harrison, but Van Buren won. In the next campaign, Moss went to see the general and told him frankly that he would not vote for him.

“Why, I have been relying a great deal on the support of your paper, and would be sorely disappointed if it should fail me,” said Harrison.

“Ah,” responded Moss, “the paper will support you as usual, I merely said I would not vote for you.”

But Harrison was elected then.

The religious convictions of Mr. Moss were always far from orthodox. He was open, brusque of manner, vigorous rather than over-refined, and anything savoring of the hypocritical received his sternest displeasure. The needy pioneer could always reckon Moss for assistance. When he had grown to manhood, he returned home to visit his mother, whom he had not seen since he went to live with the Purnells. His father had died and his mother had married a man who was a long-faced, straight-laced, sanctimonious Methodist, and staked his religion all on stubborn fasts and stated prayers. Sidney not only was not “saved” and he had ways that enabled his associates to discover the fact very soon. When the young man was upon his horse ready to mount, his stepfather presented him a Bible, and besought him in a final appeal to turn from his worldly habits. He drew a vivid picture of the torments of the damned, and showed with orthodox conclusiveness the certainty that all the unregenerates would have that portion.

“Father,” said Sidney, respectfully, “do you really think that all who do not believe as you do will go to hell?”

“I certainly do, my son” said the old man, “Why, there can be no doubt about it, it is in holy writ, and -”

“Then all I’ve got to say,” interrupted the young man, “Is that you must have a rousing, great, big hell.”

And he rode away unconverted.