The Gladstone Trolley Bridge: 1908-2014

Electric Railway Bridge Over The Clackamas River Near Portland, Ore.

1892 Combination Bridge

1892 Combination Bridge

Street Railway Journal, Vol. XXI. No. 19, May 9, 1908. Pg 790

Last March a bridge over the Clackamas River was completed for the Oregon City line of the Portland Railway, Light & Power Company of Portland, Ore. This bridge is a 260-ft. span steel structure of ten 26-ft. panels with Warren riveted trusses. It replaced a combination bridge of the same span erected in 1892 which had become unequal to the increased loads of the rolling stock passing over it. The lower chord, made of bolted timbers, was overstrained and in 1906 it was decided to relieve this by driving piles in groups of four at each panel point to form a trestle which would support a part of the loads until the bridge could be replaced by a steel structure.

The first plan for the new bridge called for two 130-ft. spans with a pier at the center of the river supported on piles. Preliminary plans were drawn, but when borings were made at the center of the river it was found that there was a gravel formation as far as the boring proceeded or at least 75 ft. It was then decided to leave out the pier in the center of the river the make the bridge a single span of 260 ft.

The bridge does not accommodate highway traffic or pedestrians, being used exclusively by the Portland Railway, Light & Power Company for electric traffic, including both freight and passenger cars. The carloads having greatly increased in the past few years, it was decided to design the new bridge for a moving load of 4000 lb. per foot of bridge with an additional excess load of 30,000 lb. for one panel. This loading is as heavy as that of many steam railroad bridges and should satisfy the electric traffic for many years to come.

The location of the bridge on the Clackamas River made the erection difficult, as this stream is subject to very sudden rises of from 10 ft. to 12 ft. During such a rise the current is very rapid and the drift of logs, timber and trees quite considerable.

1908 Bridge from Portland Avenue

1908 Bridge from Portland Avenue

The bridge is very near the mouth of the Clackamas River, where it joins the Willamette River and consequently it gets the full effects of such sudden freshets. However, when the river reaches its highest point, which is about 30 ft. above low water, there is little or no current, as the water is backed up from the Willamette River. After the pile trestle was put in a period of high water carried out two bents of piles, but did no other damage.

The contract for the new bridge was signed Oct. 9, 1907, and in the latter part of the same month preparations for erection were made by driving three more piles in each bent, one on the downstream side and two on the upstream side, and diagonal bracing was put in. The combination span was taken down with the exception of the bottom chord, which was left to make a runway for the traveler.

The original piers for the combination span were 3-ft. 10-in. diameter steel tubes which ran down into hard gravel. These were thought to be sufficiently strong for the new bridge and the increased loads, but as an additional precaution new steel bracing was put in and the tubes surrounded by concrete in a rectangular form for a height of 6 ft. from the bottom of the tubes and a width of 9 ft. and a length of about 26 ft., which completely surrounds the tubes; above this the concrete is extended from 9 ft. with each tube surrounded by concrete in the form of an octagon, and the octagons, whose widths across are 9 ft., are connected by a web 2 ft. thick in which old rails were put diagonally to make reinforced concrete bracing.

HIgh Water

HIgh Water

The bridge was swung Jan. 9 with a drop of ¾ in. from the camber of 5 ½ in. when the falsework was in, to a camber of 4 ¾ in. when the bridge was swung. The erection took place during a bad time of the year, as the winter rains had commenced and everything was so wet the erection did not go on as rapidly as was expected; each riveting crew of four men arranged about 175 rivets a day. The members were very accurately laid out in the shop, everything fitted with great precision and the holes matched so that almost no reaming was done in the field.

The unusual points about the bridge are the length of span for a riveted connection bridge of heavy loading and the fact that it is entirely a Western product, as the bridge was designed by J. B. C. Lockwood, of Portland Ore., and fabricated in Portland by the Northwest Bridge Works, formerly J. R. Bowles. The erection was done by Robert W. Wakefield without any interruption of traffic.

February 1976 after closure

February 1976 after closure


An Early Selfie

Glass Neg 311

Harley Crawford Stevens Sr & Jr sitting the railroad track next to the Canemeh boardwalk, south of the mills in Oregon City.

Note that Harley Jr is holding the bulb and line to the shutter on the camera so that they could take a selfie!

Circa 1890

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,


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


From “The Prairie Flower”

“At this period, as I before remarked, Oregon City existed only in name – being with the exception of a few log houses, (erected during the summer and fall previous, by a few emigrants who had reached here in advance of our party,) a complete wilderness. The appearance of the place, so different from what they had expected to find it, disheartened my worthy friends not a little; and had such a thing been possible, I believe they would at once have returned to their native land. But this was out of the question; there was no help for their oversight now, only by making the best of a bad bargain; and so, after having grumbled to their hearts’ content – wished Oregon for the thousandth time at the bottom of the sea, and themselves back home as many – they set to work in earnest, to provide themselves homes for winter, declaring that the spring would see them on their way to the States.

With proper energy, properly directed, a great deal may be accomplished in a very short time; and in less than two weeks from their earnest commencement, no less than eight or ten cabins were added to the few already here. In these different families removed, Teddy and I taking up our abode in that appropriated to Mrs. Huntly.

Although without any effects save such as had been brought with them, and short of provisions also, yet, by one means and another, all managed to get through the winter as comfortable as could be expected; and instead of preparing to return, spring found the majority of the new settlers entering lands, determined on making this their future residence, be the consequences what they might.

Oregon City I found beautifully located on the eastern bank of the Willamette, and, from what I could judge, destined, at no very distant period to become the great mart of the Far West. Here I remained through the winter, and as it proved open and mild, employed my time in hunting and fishing, and conversing with the only being I truly loved.”

From the conclusion of “The Prairie Flower” published by Stratton & Barnard in Cincinnati  as the work of Emerson Bennett.


Later investigation by Nora Moss Clark provided proof that her father, Sidney Walter Moss, had read sections of the book in progress at the Pioneer Lyceum and Literary Club (also known as the Willamette Falls Debating Society) in early Oregon City. Moss sent the manuscript east with a friend and heard nothing more of it. The novel is considered the first work of fiction written in the Oregon Territory. Many characters in the book are recognizable as participants in the 1842 wagon train to the Oregon Territory organized by Rev. Elijah White.

The book is available in electronic formats at the Internet Archive:

Even given the passage of time it is a very, readable interesting book!

Sidney Walter Moss was a member of the wagon train of 1842 – this group was the first major influx of emigrants to the Oregon Territory, many of whom were present at Champoeg when the vote to become a part of America was taken.

Photo “Pioneers of 1842” left to right: Sidney Walter Moss, Francis Xavier Matthieu, Medorem Crawford, James R. Robb, Asa Lovejoy. Members of Elijah White’s first wagon train. 

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

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: