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.


Medorem Crawford’s 1863 advice to travelers on the Oregon Trail Image

The undersigned, having been for two years past connected with Government Escorts for protection of emigrants on the road to Oregon, and Washington Territory, and being detailed by the Secretary of War for similar service this season, would take this method to advise persons intending to emigrate, as to outfit, time of starting, &c., &c.

None but good, new, medium-sized wagons, with iron axletree or thimble skein, should be used. Mules or oxen should be used for teams. Horses will not do to depend upon for service. The cheapest and best team is medium-sized, active, young oxen. No kind of stock will pay to take over on speculation, and emigrants should avoid taxing themselves with too much labor. An ordinary two-horse wagon, with eighteen hundred weight, good double cover, and three yoke of light, active cattle, are the best outfit a man can have. A few extra animals, in each company, would be an excellent precaution against accidents, and extra shoes and nails should be provided for horses and mules. Plenty of wagon grease should be provided and freely used.

The time required from the Missouri River, to the Settlements, will not vary much from one hundred days, with teams.

Each person should take at least 250 pounds of provisions; one-half of which should be flour, fifty pounds bacon, and the balance in sugar, coffee, tea, rice, dried fruit, &c., &c. There should be at least two men to each wagon, as the labor of driving, and taking proper care of a team and wagon, is more than one man can perform, in addition to other camp labor. Each man should be armed, and keep his gun convenient, and ready for use on the shortest notice. No furniture or extra baggage of any kind should be carried, nothing but what is actually required on the journey.

Before leaving the Settlements, companies should be organized in parties of no less than thirty or more than sixty wagons. One of your number, should be chosen Captain, and one for Train-Master. Your officers should then make a vigilant examination and inspection of every man’s wagon, team, arms, ammunition, provisions &c., and no man should be allowed to join a company unless properly outfitted, otherwise you will have persons in your company unable to keep up, or otherwise deficient, which deficiency will have to be supplied by the company for the persons left destitute on the plains. Your Captain should decide and order when to start, when, and where to camp, and his orders should be implicitly obeyed. He should also decide all questions or disputes arising in your company, and his decision should be final, whether right or wrong.

Your Train Master should travel always with the train, and see that those in the lead do not travel too fast, or those in the rear fall too far behind. He should look for the best crossings of streams and bad places in the road, and give directions for doubling teams at bad hills. By having one thus to direct, if he is promptly obeyed, much time will be saved. At the end of a days’ travel, the Captain, having selected the camp, the Train Master should direct where the herd are to be watered, and where the best grass is to be found. Each driver should see that his team has plenty of water and drive them to the grass as soon as possible after arriving in camp. The Captain and the Train Master should be relieved, at the expense of the company, from giving any special attention to their own teams, while on the march, and from guard duty. For guard duty the men of your company should be equally divided in three divisions or squads, one of which is constantly on duty, under the direction of an officer, selected by the Captain, who for convenience, may be called Sergeant. These squads should be equally divided, and these sub-divisions releave each other during the twenty-four hours they are on duty. The herd should never be left, day or night, without guards, and a guard should also be kept in camp nights. The firing of guns in camp should be strictly prohibited, and the report of a gun or pistol after dark, should be a signal for all hands to reply with arms.

Take no dogs along, for they are a continual source of annoyance, and seldom live to get over the barren country along Snake River.

The escort under my charge will consist of about fifty armed men. I shall leave Omaha about the 20th of May, or as soon after as possible. My route will be up the Platte River, thence up the Street Water, over the Lander Road, leaving that road and crossing Snake River a short distance this side of old Fort Hill. There will doubtless be a ferry established for the convenience of emigrants, in that vicinity. With the road on the north side of Snake River, I am not personally acquainted, but am well satisfied that it is much better than the old route, on the south side, my information being based upon representations of emigrants who traveled that road last season.

This road will lead emigrants directly to the Boisie mines, which will be found about 300 miles from the crossing of Snake River. This road will be preferable as well to those desiring to go to the settled portions of Oregon and Washington Territory as to those going to the mines, as there is a well traveled road from these mines to Walla-Walla.

As friendly Indians often visit Emigrant camps for trade, care should be taken not to encourage too much familiarity. They should not be allowed inside the camp. If you have business with them transact it outside.

After leaving the Platte River no person should leave camp alone and it is dangerous for small parties to be far from the camp or train.

Be sure to drive slow in the start. Your teams should pass the first Eight Hundred miles without losing either flesh or spirits. This escort is intended to protect emigrants, as far as possible, against Indian depredations, but unless emigrants will use the necessary precautions to insure their own safety, they are liable to suffer in spite of any assistance I shall be able to render them.

By organizing in this manner, and observing these simple rules,  you will avoid most, if not all, the difficulties and losses to which emigrants are usually subjected.


Commanding Emigrant Escort


Philip Foster Esq.

Philip Foster

Philip Foster

Philip Foster (1805-1884) was a businessman in Argyle, Maine in the early 19th century. In 1842 he sailed to the Oregon Territory with his wife Mary Charlotte. Also on the voyage were Mary Charlotte’s brother, Francis William Pettygrove, and his family. They were delayed in the Sandwich Islands for several months but eventually arrived in Oregon City in 1843. Foster and Pettygrove established a store in Oregon City and Foster formed several other business partnerships in the city as well as serving as the second Treasurer of the provisional government.

Foster became a business partner of Samuel Barlow in 1846. Foster moved his family to a farm along the nearly completed Mount Hood Toll Road (Barlow Road) where he built a house, store, cabins for rent as well as gardens, orchards and pastures for grazing stock. His farm was a welcome sight to the many travelers over the Oregon Trail as they neared the end of their journey.

The Philip Foster Farm, 29912 SE Hwy 211, Eagle Creek, OR 97022, is open for tours June through October and special tours can be arranged. For more information call 503-637-6324 or visit their website: Philip Foster Farm

Following is correspondence between Philip Foster and his brother-in-law Thomas Rowe, husband of Foster’s sister Lucy, in Eddington, Maine. It is not known how successful his cranberries were, but the Oregon Encyclopedia credits the beginning of the industry in Oregon to Charles McFarlin, one of the many prospectors who came west looking for gold and planted cranberries brought from Massachusetts In 1885. There is no mention of Foster’s large orders in 1860-1861. These letters, written in the  year leading up to the Civil War and after the outbreak of hostilities, also include a few political sentiments from Mr. Rowe.

Eddington April 2nd 1860

Dear Brother

I have delayed writing till the last day for the mail in hopes that I could write that I could send you some cranberry plants this spring but I cannot. It has been slow work getting information but I believe I have got all you will need on the subject. Enclosed I send you a circular from Mr. Bates of Massachusetts and also send you a pamphlet from a Connecticut nursery, which are two of the most noted places for raising cranberries in spring as you can be preparing your ground and be all ready for them in the fall. You can by what I send about the prices and can order accordingly.

I think there is no doubt but you can make it a profitable business write soon so that I can know how many to send this season in regard to your state I shall probably get the money sometime next month on the first of June and will send it as requested.

My family are well at present Lucy was very sick about two months ago with Bilious Fever but is better now the twins grow nicely.

We have not had a letter from Foster since last fall, he was out Pikes Peak then and as he thought there was a good prospect of doing something this season he is probably there yet we want to hear from him very much. We were sadden to hear of the death of Josephine and sympathize deeply with his family till them we should be much pleased to have best respects to Mr. Hillenbrand and family till then, we should be much pleased to have a letter from them we heard from Argyle last week the folks there were all well.

Lucy sends her love to Mrs. Foster and Martha and not forgetting you Mr. H and the children.

Write as soon as you get this my best respects to yourself and family and I remain.

Your Brother

Thom J Rowe

Eddington Oct. 7th 1860

Dear Sir

Your plants left New York in the boat of the 5th of this month so says Mr. Bates and I hope you will receive them in good condition.

There is

5000 Bell Cranberries

2000 Cherry Cranberries

1000 Barberry Cranberries

2 doz. Whortleberries

2 doz. improved Blackberries

We have not been able to find out what the freight will be but have paid ten dollars what the agent here thinks it will be still there may be a balance for you to pay when the plants reach you. Mr. Bates says he has written a number of times to as certain about the freight but they could not tell till they saw the boxes I shall get Mr. Bates bill soon when I will write you again, there will be balance in your favor which you can write me about when you get my next letter.

We are all well as usual hoping these lines may find you the same I subscribe myself Your brother & friend.

Thomas J Rowe

Mr. Philip Foster

P.S. Lucy sends her love to Mrs. Foster and the children.

Thom F Rowe

Eddington Sept. 17th 1860

Dear Sir

I received both your both letters of June in relation to the cranberries and have been in correspondence with Mr. Bates since he writes that the vines will ship about the 20th of this month so you will probably get them about the middle of November. He has not found out yet what the freight will be but there will be a balance in your favor after all is paid which I will write you about when I get the Bates Bill. He will send 5000 bell 2000 cherry 1000 barberries and 2 dozen Whortleberries & 1 dozen Blackberries; I have wrote him to be particular about packing and to direct to you at Portland Oregon by Wells & Fargo Express I shall write to you again when the plants are ready to ship so that you will know when they will arrive.

We are all well as are all of our folks that I know of.

We were at Camp Meeting last week and saw Isaac & Tom and their wives they said the folks at Argyle were all well Lucy wants Martha to write to her.

We have not had a letter from Foster for some time but suppose he is at Pikes Pike yet.

Give our best respects to all Lucy sends love to Mrs. Foster and Children Write soon.

Your Brother and Friend

Thom J. Rowe

Eddington May 18th 1861

Brother Foster

I received your letter of March 26th two days ago and was very glad to hear from you. Glad to hear of your good health and also glad to hear that you received your cranberries or a part of them at least. I will write to Mr. Bates and I think he will do what is right I will write you again when I get a letter from him.

Lucy is very much obliged for your present to her and would be glad to thank you in person.

I will try to have the balance sent you in season to set out this fall if nothing in the present political trouble prevents we are all well and so far as I know all of our folks are the same.

Uncle John Philips died last March, Mother Foster died in March.

We should be much gratified to hear from Martha as we have not heard from her since she first got to Oregon.

There is no news here now but the news in fact there is not much else doing have one regiment left Bangor for Washington, Tuesday and another will be ready to  start in a few days in fact there are four times as many ready to enlist as government wants. The late Democratic party here have entirely disappeared and the leaders of it are if possible the most active for strong War measures and determined to have the question of slavery settled now and forever.

I voted for Fremont four years ago and for Lincoln now and think we elected the right man at the right time as four years more of such misrule in government as we have had the past four years would not leave us any government at all

Write as soon as yet get this and Lucy wants you to send her your daguerreotype you can have it taken on leather and come in letter.

Give our best respects to Mrs. Foster and the children and all of our friends there That the present national trouble may be of short duration is the earnest wish of your friend & brother,

Thomas J Rowe

Eddington Oct. 27th 1861

Dear Sir

I have sent you seven thousand cranberry vines, five thousand in addition to the 2 thousand that was due you for fall short last year.

They were delivered to Wells & Fargo Express the 12th of this month at New York, I have not paid any freight on them as we could not make any bargain or find out what it would be and our express men here tell me if I pay a part of the freight here you will have to pay as much there as if I had not paid any and that you will get them sooner.

There well be some fifteen or twenty dollars due you which is subject to your order in plants or otherwise.

Lucy is much obliged to you for her present and sends her love to all, she has been quite sick, but is well again.

Eva Jane has been sick with typhoid fever about eight weeks but is getting about again the rest of us are as well as usual as are all of our folks. Foster is in California and may come to Oregon if he does he will come to see you the children all send there love to their cousins in Oregon.

Give our best respects to Mrs. Foster and keep a large share for yourself.

Your friend and Brother

Thom F Rowe

What Happened to the Native Americans?


Kate Williams-Smith-Chantille AKA Kate Chintelo AKA Molalla Kate from Pinterest/Molalla

For thousands of years Native American populations thrived in the Willamette Valley until the early to mid 19th century when their numbers were completely decimated due to the settlement of British and American settlers and emigrants. In 1820, the population of the Chinookan Clackamas tribe, which lived in the present-day Oregon City area, alone reported to number 2,200. By the 1850’s, the population of the tribe plummeted to less than one hundred. We know why their numbers collapsed but where did they end up? On January 10th, 1855, the Clackamas, the Clowwewalla, who resided around Willamette Falls, the Molalla, who resided around the Cascade Mountains, and others signed a treaty with the United States to leave the Willamette Valley and relocate to the Grand Ronde reservation in western Oregon. In exchange they received monetary compensation. Other tribes included in the treaty and moved to the Grand Ronde were the Shasta from southern Oregon, the Tillamook from the Oregon coast, and Kalapuya language speaking tribes including the Yamhill, Chepenefa, Winefelly, Mohawk, Tualatin, Yoncalla, Ahantchuyuk, and Santiam. In 1871, the Clackamas tribe population was 55, down considerably from the 2,200 count only 50 years earlier. By the 1950’s, there were over a hundred members of the Grand Ronde of Molalla descent, however, only one reportedly remained of the Molalla tribe. The Molalla tribe and their language are now extinct. The Clowwewalla also became extinct after relocating to the reservation. Although there are descendants of the Clackamas people, the tribe is now extinct as well. For more information on Native American tribes in Clackamas County and the Oregon Territory please visit the research library at the Clackamas County Historical Society on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 11am and 4pm.