Charter Members

Lewis S. Rogers

On January 2, 1887 Brother Senior Warden Judge Robert S. Bean, who was one of those charged with writing the Lodge History in 1883, reported that he had procured the photograph of Past Master Lewis S. Rogers, 1st Master of Eugene City Lodge, and deposited it with the Secretary of the Lodge.

Lewis S. Rogers

Lewis S. Rogers was born in March of 1826 in the state of Ohio. His father was born in Virginia and his mother in New York. Lewis was living in St. Clair County, Missouri at the time of the census, taken August 16, 1850. At that time, Lewis was 24 and living in the household of S. S. Weir. Mr. Weir and his 15 year old son were carpenters, as was Lewis Rogers. Also in the home was Sam H. Rogers, a 31 year old carpenter born in Ohio, and most likely the older brother of Lewis. Lewis Rogers made his way to Oregon around 1853; he married Adelia; who was born in Missouri. It is not clear if he married her in Missouri or Oregon, but a mistake on the 1900 census indicates the couple married in 1853. They settled in Lane County, Oregon, and had their first child, a daughter named Mary B. who was born in 1855. He continued working as a carpenter in Lane County. The 1860 census recorded that Lewis Rogers and his family were living in the Coastal Forks Precinct of Lane County, Oregon; the area around Cottage Grove. He had no Real Estate, he did however have $500 in Personal assets.

At some time prior to the birth of his daughter in 1855 Lewis Rogers, who was already a Mason, began to associate with other Masons in Lane County. Having gathered the requisite number of Masons, the Brethren applied to the Oregon Grand Lodge for a Dispensation to meet and form Spencer Butte Lodge U.D. The petition was granted on September 29, 1855 and Brother Rogers was selected as the first master of the Lodge. At the 6th Grand Communication the Lodge changed their name and was granted a Charter on June 10, 1856 under the name Eugene City Lodge No. 11. Worshipful Brother Rogers finished the year as Master, and in November he became the first elected Master of the Lodge for the year 1857, his second term in that office. During the year 1857 WB Rogers officiated over 18 of the 22 meetings held in the Lodge, his Senior Warden Eugene Skinner sat as Master for 3 of those meetings. Brother Rogers took a break from the officer line for the next three years, but in 1861 he was again elected Master. He served in that capacity through June of 1861, but after this he appears to have left the State for Walla Walla, Washington.

On November 1, 1862 the Lodge elected to have the Secretary inform all members behind on their dues that they needed to pay up or appear to give just cause by the November 29 Stated meeting. At that meeting a list of names was read which included Brother L.S. Rogers. At the meeting on December 16, 1862 a two week extension was granted, and at the January 3rd, 1863 Stated five brothers were named to be dropped. On January 17th the Worshipful Master Avery Smith delayed the announcement of those suspended until the Jan. 31st meeting. At that meeting Brother Samuel Hannah reported that it was the Lodge that actually owed him money and not the other way around, this found to be true he was reinstated, but the other four were dropped including Brother Rogers. The Lodge finally heard back from Brother Rogers on Feb. 14, 1863, having sent his dues payment he was duly reinstated. Along with his payment he reported that he “expected to remain in Walla Walla for some time” and requested a demit, which was granted.

By the time of the census taken June 17, 1870, Lewis Rogers, a carpenter now 44 years old was living with his family in Seattle, King, Washington. He held $200 in real estate and $500 in personal assets. Along with his wife Adelia and daughter Mary, the family had added Kate L. age 7 and Fred A. age 5 who were both born in Washington Territory. Lewis Rogers was not noted again until June 12, 1900. On that census he was found to be an Architect age 74. His wife Adelia had passed, and he had married a widow named Angeline in 1891.

Lewis S. Rogers died sometime prior to 1906, at which time his widow Angeline had married to a William L. Rogers who was born in Ohio in 1833. (He does not appear to be related.)

Foot Notes:

On the 1900 Census, Lewis was asked how long he was married, 47 years was written down, crossed out and replaced by 9 years to match the information given by his 2nd wife, Angeline, whom he married in 1891.


John B. and his wife Emily Bailey Alexander with their 7 sons and 2 daughters-in-law.

John Brown Alexander was born in Franklin County, Alabama on February 11, 1820. He was the son of Josiah Alexander born April 22, 1787 in Georgia and his wife Elizabeth Betsey King, also born in Georgia. His grandfather, for whom he was named, John Brown Alexander was born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1765. By 1848, the younger John B. Alexander, had moved to Illinois, where he married Emily Bailey in Danville on November, 4, 1848. At the time of the 1850 census he had relocated to Vermilion, Illinois, where he lived in the Inn of Charles Bailey, presumably the brother of John’s wife Emily. Emily Bailey Alexander was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts in March of 1830. Later, during the year 1850, the couple had their first child, a son named Edwin Charles Alexander.

Alexander: Ill-Fated Publisher

Only from scattered secondary sources and the 12 Bancrofts of the Guard's Volume 1, plus the lone issue of the Eugene City News of 1868, do we know anything about John B. Alexander.

He had come to Oregon from Illinois in 1852, when he was already 32 years old, and later he learned the printer’s trade on the rabid secessionist sheets of Eugene City. He appears also to have been a farmer, a surveyor and a justice of the peace.
Two of Alexander’s sons, William, 12, and Frank, 10, helped their father in putting out the first Guards and a decade later became publishers of the paper themselves in its fourth transfer. Still later a grandson, George L. Alexander, edited the Lebanon (Ore.) Express.

Alexander’s failure with the News and his dropping the Guard after a year led to the inference that, while contemporaneous reports say he was a strong-willed democrat, he was not competent enough to operate a newspaper. Skaggs had to revive the Guard late in 1868, but seems to have been even less competent than Alexander.

J. B. Alexander remained in Eugene City for many years and raised a large family. In 1860 he was listed as a printer with $1,200 in real estate and $500 in personal assets. By 1870 his holdings had decreased considerably and he held $600 in real estate and $250 personal. He was still in Eugene in 1880 and was found as Justice of the Peace. By 1900, J. B. Alexander and his wife had moved to Lebanon, in Linn County, Oregon. John died there on June 19, 1904 of senile paralysis at the age of 84. His wife Emily died on October 15, 1909, also in Lebanon.

John Brown Alexander must have been made a Mason in Illinois, for he was surely a Master Mason upon his arrival in Oregon. He helped to establish Freemasonry in Eugene City through his association with the other Master Masons in the area, and in September of 1855 was made Senior Warden of Spencer’s Butte Lodge UD, which took its Charter as Eugene City Lodge No. 11 in June of 1856. He did not, however, stand for an office in 1856. In 1859 and 1860 he was the Tyler for the Lodge, but after that did not serve the Lodge as an officer. He was dropped for non payment of dues in 1864, and does not appear to have renewed his membership after that.


Samuel Ashley Cox, 1st JW member Sept. 29, 1855. He changed his name to Samuel Ashley between 1864 and 1865, and was suspended from Eugene Lodge #11 in 1865. He was reinstated by 1867 but was DNPD in 1871. He was born in 1830 in Indiana, he was a saddle and harness maker in Eugene City with $2000 in Real Estate and $1000 personal on the 1860 census. He was living with his wife two children and a couple of boarders in 1860. He was located in Hazell Dell precinct, Lane County, Oregon in 1880.

Samuel Ashley Family History

  • Wife, Elizabeth Jane Currie born: abt 1840 in Indiana
  • Frank E. Ashley - abt 1859 in Oregon
  • Edward Leander Ashley - 10 Jul 1861 in Eugene, Oregon
  • Emma Ashley - abt 1865 in Eugene, Oregon
  • Samuel Ashley - abt 1868 in Oregon
  • Jennie Ashley - abt 1870 in Oregon
  • Bennie Ashley - abt 1873 in Oregon
  • Margaret Ashley - 27 Nov 1877 in Oakridge, Oregon
  • Fred Stanley Ashley - 02 Aug 1879 in Oakridge, Oregon

Avery Arnold Smith

Avery Arnold Smith,

In the Grand Lodge Avery Smith served as the Senior Grand Warden for Grand Masters Benjamin Stark in 1858-59, Amory Holbrook in 1859-60 and John McCracken in 1863-64. Brother Smith was the Deputy Grand Master during MWB John McCracken’s 2nd term in 1864-65.

Avery Arnold Smith 1st Secretary

Avery Smith was elected the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Oregon in June of 1867 after the previous Deputy Grand Master C. H. Lewis declined election. MWB Avery Smith served as Grand Master for two consecutive terms 1867-68 and 1868-69.

Avery Arnold Smith was born in New York in 1820. He is suspected to be a descendant of Rev. Henry Smith, who is thought to have immigrated to New England to escape the persecution of Archbishop Laud, 1636-7. He settled first at Watertown, near Boston; afterwards removed to Wethersfield, Connecticut, where he died in 1648. Rev. Henry Smith was the grandson of John Smith Harris, born 1542 in Withcock, Leicestershire, England. His son Ambrose Smith, born about 1561, married Margaret the daughter of Sir William Cecil, Knight and Lord of Burleigh, Lord High Treasurer and Chief advisor to Queen Elizabeth I.

Richard Smith was born in Connecticut in 1640. He was a son of Henry Smith, who was thought to be the same as Rev. Henry Smith. Avery A. Smith can be clearly connected to this Richard Smith. Richard Smith, born 1640, married Bathsheba, the daughter of James Rogers, who had settled in New London, Connecticut. James was born on February 2, 1615 in Leiden, Holland; his father Thomas was a member of the English Separatist Church and had gone to Holland in about 1613 with his wife and children. His first wife Alice Cosford died before 1616, so James would have been the last child born before her death.

Thomas Rogers married second to Grace Elizabeth Makin on January 24, 1616 in Leiden. Thomas Rogers and his eldest son Joseph sailed the America on the Mayflower in 1620, leaving his wife and younger children in Holland. Thomas survived the trip but died on January 11, 1621, during the first winter at Plymouth. James Rogers came to America with his siblings and step mother sometime after this. James Rogers married Elizabeth Rowland in 1639 in Stratford, Fairfield, Connecticut. Their daughter Bathsheba was born in Stratford on December 30, 1650. Bathsheba Rogers married Richard Smith and their son James was born in New London, Connecticut on April 12, 1674.

James Rogers married his first cousin Elizabeth Rogers, the daughter of his mother’s brother, Jonathan Rogers. James Smith and Elizabeth Rogers settled in Groton, Connecticut where their son Richard Smith was born in 1715. Richard Smith, Sr. and his wife Abigail Gardner had a son also named Richard who was born in 1746 in Groton. Richard Smith, Jr. was a Revolutionary War Soldier, and served as a private in the 6th Connecticut Regiment.

In 1774 Richard Smith, Jr. married Elizabeth Allen in Groton, and they had at least five children. Their son Avery Smith was born in Groton on February 18, 1779. Eventually the Smith family moved into western New York and settled in that part of Ontario County, which later became Yates County in 1823.

Avery Smith, Sr. settled in the area of the town of Milo in what was then Ontario County, New York. Around 1807 he married Susanna Lament, Wagener who was born on November 13, 1787 in Worchester, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. They had 12 children between 1808 and 1830. Avery Smith was a Soldier in the War of 1812. He was the Lt. Colonel in the 103rd Regiment, New York Militia. First noted as a Lt. Col. in 1805, he continued his service throughout the war. As a politician; Smith served in the New York State Assembly as a representative from Yates County in 1826. He also served as supervisor of the town of Milo from 1818 to 1823.

The eighth of twelve children born to Avery and Lament Smith was Avery Arnold Smith, born in Milo, Ontario, New York on February 14, 1820. Avery graduated from Geneva College, his father having relocated to that town sometime after his wife died in 1835. He (Avery Jr.) lived in that state until twenty-two years old, then went to Dubuque, Iowa, where, for about six years, he worked at carpentering and mining. He helped erect the first brick residence ever constructed there. In 1849 he went to the gold fields of California, by way of Panama, where he made much money and saw many exciting events.

Later he made a trip to Oregon, but soon returned to California. Avery returned to the east, but soon came back to Oregon. In 1853 he went to Indiana and joined the wagon train under Captain George Belshaw, Jr., and thereby again made his way to Oregon. The wagon train faced numerous problems, including a runaway stampede, a tornado, and floods. The Belshaw wagon train was said to have arrived in Oregon on September 6, 1853.

Upon his second arrival in Oregon Avery Smith settled in Albany, Linn county, and secured a half-section of land. He was engaged in the general merchandise business there a year and a half, then moved to Eugene City, Lane county, and again engaged in the merchantile business. Soon after his arrival in Eugene City he married Helen M. the daughter of Richard Henry Parsons. The Parsons had also resided in Ontario County, New York before making their way to Scipio, Seneca, Ohio where Helen was born on May 2, 1836.

Members of the Parsons family were part of the Belshaw wagon train, and the brother of Captain George Belshaw, Thomas, was married to Helen’s sister Mariah Parsons. It has not been found clearly stated that the 17 year old Helen was part of the Belshaw train, but it seems most likley. Avery A. Smith and Helen Parsons were married in Eugene City on October 5, 1854.

P. Brattain Esqr., Dear Sirs:
Please record that Avery A. Smith Esqr. Of Eugene City, Lane County, Oregon Territory and Miss. Helen M. Parsons of Lane County, Oregon were by me married on this 5th day of October, A.D. 1854, recorded on October 10, 1854.
Thomas H. Pearne Minister of the Gospel.
____ Hawley Deputy Auditor Lane County.

Avery and Helen had 8 children between 1856 and 1870, all born in Eugene City.

  1. Oliver Born April 21, 1856 Died July 20, 1856
  2. Frank C. Born December 10, 1857 Died July 20, 1920
  3. Herbert H. Born August 25, 1859 Died July 20, 1941
  4. Avery Lee Born September 9, 1861 Died March 6, 1951
  5. Freeman Born May 1, 1864 Died August 6, 1865
  6. Mary Jane Born January 15, 1866 Died January 18, 1895
  7. Jennie Louise Born June 26, 1868 Died December 10, 1910
  8. Fred Herman Born September 14, 1870 Died March 27, 1940

Avery Smith took a very active part in politics, holding at different times nearly every office in Lane county. In 1854 he was elected a member of the territorial legislature, serving three years, and at one time he was the candidate of his party for governor.

Avery immediately set his money to work and became involved in several business ventures. He had a mercantile in downtown Eugene between eighth and ninth on Willamette. He also had a flour mill, a large four-story building (there is a sketch of it in the Lane County Pioneer Museum) along with some other business buildings of that time.

He owned property along what is now the millrace, and went into partnership with Hilyard Shaw to build the Millrace out of what was then a natural slough. “The workers used crude hand tools, and were paid fifty cents to a dollar a day for a man and a team. When the Millrace was completed, Shaw built a sawmill, later a grist mill.

Avery was a County Clerk and a member of the Oregon Chief Clerks Council in 1855. He submitted the plans for the first Lane County Courthouse. As history reads; Eugene Skinner and Charnelton Mulligan owned the land and were to donate it for the courthouse, but there was some dispute and eventually the plans of Avery A. Smith were accepted.

Avery was president of the first Lane County Fair and also Vice President of the Oregon State Fair. At one time he was President of the Agriculture Society.

Avery was very successful in the 1850’s and into the 1860’s. The 1860 Census showed Avery was a Lumber Merchant with $7,000 in Real Estate and $5,000 Personal assets. The Eugene City Register showed that in 1863 he had a General Merchandise business, the “Empire Store” in the old Herald Building. In 1865 he sold his stock to William Osborn and retired from that business. He had trouble with his debtors and pleaded for payment that same year. In 1868 he owned the “Cash and Country Produce” General Merchandise store , and in 1869 he owned a Harness shop at the corner of 9th and Willamette. His business dealings must have gone poorly for there is a considerable drop in his property value as shown in the census between 1860 and 1870. “ In 1870 he was a Well Driver with $500 in Personal assets and no listed Real Estate. The Eugene Guard notes on March 18, 1870 that Avery Smith was an Agent for “Green’s Driven Well”, the Green system worked by driving in a spiked tube pipe into the ground, without removing the earth, and using a vacuum to draw up the water.

He left the state of Oregon and came to Washington in 1878, locating about seven or eight miles southeast of Cheney, where he followed farming and mining. In 1881 he served as probate judge for a term of two years and was the first Probate Judge in Spokane, then known as Spokane Falls District. Later he was probate clerk for two terms. He was Justice of the Peace for 18 years and for three years a member of the Washington State Legislature. The 1880 and 1900 census’s showed that Avery was a Farmer. By 1900 he was located in Rock Creek Precinct, Spokane. His wife Helen died on February 23, 1910 and Avery moved to Pioneer Precinct, Spokane, Washington, where he lived with his son Fred and his family. Avery A. Smith died in Spangle, Spokane, Washington on March 18, 1911, at the age of 91.

Masonic Service:

We are not told when Avery Smith joined the Masonic Fraternity. It may have been while he was in New York, but that seems unlikely since he left the state, at age 22, have just passed his majority. His years in Iowa are a more likely time for him to have joined Masonry. We do know that he was indeed a Mason by the time he arrived in Oregon in 1853. He may be the same as the Avery Smith who was a member of Salem Lodge #4 in 1853. He was soon associated with the Masons of Lane County, and with them set to work to Charter Spencer Butte Lodge, whose name was changed to Eugene City Lodge No. 11 at the time of Chartering. At the formation of the Lodge Avery Smith was duly elected Secretary on October 6, 1855, and was elected to that position for the years 1856 and 1857. He was elected Worshipful Master for the years 1858-1860, 1863, 1865 and 1869. In between he served as Senior Deacon for the Lodge in 1864. After his sixth term as Master of Eugene City Lodge No. 11 in 1869 Avery Smith did no further service as an officer for that Lodge.

As noted Avery’s fortunes in Eugene City seemed to have diminished by the 1870’s and he eventually removed from the Oregon jurisdiction and settled in Cheney, Washington near Spokane in 1878. His dues falling into arrears he was dropped from Eugene City Lodge on March 3, 1880. He seems to have made an attempt to rectify the situation on July 7, 1880 when a sum of $42 was ordered “taken in payment of Bro. A.A. Smith’s note and the same be assigned to Bro. J.G. Gray who was Bro. A.A. Smith’s security”. What this means is unclear, but it did not result in his reinstatement. MWB Smith did not follow up on this until 1895. He was thereby effective dropped from Masonry for the next 15 years. Finally, on December 27, 1895, the Lodge received a letter from Bro. Smith requesting that the Lodge remit his past dues, reinstate him as a member in good standing and then allow him to demit so that he could again participate in Masonry. His request was granted by the Lodge.

A local Lodge was started in Cheney, Washington in about 1882, and was Chartered on June 7, 1883 as Temple Lodge No. 42 F.&A.M. To what degree, if any, Bro. Smith participated in the events and affairs of Temple Lodge prior to 1895, is unknown. It is certain that MWB Smith joined Temple Lodge after getting his demit from Eugene City Lodge No. 11. Brother Rowe Weber researching, in 1955, how such an eminent member of the fraternity could be dropped, contacted the Grand Historian of Oregon John C. Wilkinson.

Brother Wilkinson contacted the Grand Secretary of Washington RWB John Preissner and was told that having received his demit from Eugene City, Lodge No. 11, Bro. Avery Smith was made a member of Temple Lodge No. 42 on April 30, 1895. This is not likely as his demit was not granted until December 27, 1895. It must therefore be an error and should probably read that he was a member starting on April 30, 1896. Bro. Smith remained a member of Temple Lodge for the rest of his life, and it was that Lodge which conducted his Masonic funeral service in 1911.

His death was noted by the Oregon Grand Master Thomas Baldwin at the Grand Communication held at the Masonic Temple in Portland on June 12, 1912.

There is one piece of Eugene Masonic lore that needs correcting. The histories of Lodge No.11 include an inherited flaw based on the use of the word “from” instead of “by”. The minutes of the Lodge clearly state that the Lodge room was rented by Avery Smith. The word “by”, however, was replaced by the word “from” and the story was passed down incorrectly thereafter.

A deeper look into the minutes of the Lodge reveals the correct answer. At the first recorded meeting of the Lodge on September 29, 1855, the following was noted: “On motion of Bro. Hiram Smith it was ordered unanimous that this Lodge receive the room rented by A. A. Smith and assume the rent thereof from the fifteenth of June 1855. At the rate of one hundred and sixty two dollars and a half per annum.” This informs us that the room was rented by Avery Smith and that the members had been meeting since the previous June. The following year, on August 9, 1856 “On motion the Secretary was ordered to draw on the Treasurer for $162.50 dollars in favor of Thomas Belshaw for rent.”

This reveals that the Lodge rented their meeting room from Thomas Belshaw. Thomas was the brother of George Belshaw, Jr. who was the Captain of the wagon train in which Avery Smith made his way to Oregon. Thomas was also on that wagon train with his wife Mariah, who was the sister of Avery’s wife Helen. So the Lodge rented the room from Avery Smith’s brother-in-law, not from Avery Smith.

The Lodge worked to reduce the rent and pay in quarterly installments. The next payment for rent was drawn on January 24, 1857 it was then found that the rent was being paid to Misters Belshaw and Dunn. F. B. Dunn gained a favorable opinion of Masonry through these dealings and later joined and was an important and influential member of Lodge No. 11.

Foot Notes:

  1. An illustrated history of Spokane county, state of Washington (1900) page 333-34 Author: Edwards, Jonathan, 1847-1929 Publisher: [San Francisco?] W.H. Lever
  2. George Belshaw Jr. (1816-1893) captained a wagon train over the Oregon Trail in 1853, keeping a diary of mileage, weather, geography, and people encountered along the way — intended as a guide for later travelers. He settled west of Eugene, and later became known for his prize-winning grains, at one time having almost 150 varieties of wheat growing on his farm. He fathered eight children with his wife, Candace McCarty Belshaw. One daughter was born on the trail in 1853, while the party camped along the Columbia River. She was named Gertrude Columbia, and lived but two weeks.
  3. Biography by Robert Smith great-grandson of Avery A. Smith.
  4. An illustrated history of Spokane county, state of Washington (1900) page 333-34 Author: Edwards, Jonathan, 1847-1929 Publisher: [San Francisco?] W.H. Lever
  5. An illustrated history of Spokane county, state of Washington (1900) page 333-34 Author: Edwards, Jonathan, 1847-1929 Publisher: [San Francisco?] W.H. Lever
  6. Lane County Historian Vol.. XV #2 Summer 1970.
  7. Eugene City Register March 28, 1865 page 5.
  8. Eugene Guard November 21, 1868 page 4.
  9. Eugene Guard March 6, 1869 page 3.
  10. Biography by Robert Smith great-grandson of Avery A. Smith.
  11. The Andrews brothers, who owned a controlling interest in the Green system in the United States, were in litigation for 14 years before the Supreme Court ruled their patent valid in 1887.
  12. “Not Made With Hands” Centennial History of the Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Washington, by Paul W. Harvey 1958 pages 210-211.
  13. Oregon Freemason, Nov. 1975 page 27.
  14. Proceedings of the 62nd Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Oregon, June 12, 1912 pages 20-21.

Isaac Stull Swearingen

Isaac Stull Swearingen 1st Tyler

Isaac Stull Swearingen was born in Vanceburg, Lewis, Kentucky on September 2, 1812, he was the seventh of 12 children born to Daniel S. Swearingen and Lydia Peters. Daniel was born in Springhill township in that part of Westmoreland County Pennsylvania that became Fayette County in 1783.

The Swearingen family descends from Gerret Van Swearingen born February 4, 1636 in Beemsterdam, North Holland, in the Netherlands. Gerret was said to be the son of David Janse Swearingen and Hester Jacobs, although one record says he was the son of Hendrick Swieringh.

Garret Van Swearingen “was an Innkeeper, Counsel and commissary General for the City of Amsterdam. Gerret was the younger son of a family belonging to the nobility, and received a liberal education. When a young man, he performed responsible duties in the maritime service of the Dutch West India Company; and in 1656, when that company fitted out the ship "Prince Maurice" with emigrants and supplies for the Dutch Colony on the Delaware River in America, he was appointed supercargo.

The vessel sailed from the port of Amsterdam on 21 Dec 1656, and was to have touched at New Amsterdam (New York City), however, on the night of 8 March 1657, it was stranded off Fire Island, near the southern coast of Long Island, and a few days later, stove to pieces. The next day, in freezing weather, the passengers and crew made their way in a frail boat to the barren shore where they remained for several days without fire.

On the third day they saw some Indians, one of whom was sent with word to Peter Stuyvesant, then Governor of New Amsterdam, who came with a sloop and carried them to that place. After the wreck, Gerret asked to be relieved from the company's service, as he "intended to make his living there", and as there was "nothing more for him to do", his request was granted.

He settled at New Amstel, New Netherlands (Delaware) (originally the settlement was established as Fort Casimer by the Dutch in 1651. It was captured by the Swedes on Trinity Sunday in 1654, and renamed Fort Trefalldigheet, meaning "Fort Trinity". It was regained by the Dutch under Peter Stuyvesant on 1 Sept 1655 and its name was changed to New Amstel in 1657. The Dutch held it until 13 Oct 1664, when it was captured by Sir Robert Carr. All New Netherlands passed under British dominion, and it became New Castle. On 24 Aug 1682, all land within 12 miles of New Castle was conveyed to William Penn).

Gerrett Van Sweringen is frequently mentioned, in Volumes II, II [sic], and XII, of the large work called "Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New York." On 28 May 1657, he was recommended for the office of Commissary.” Gerret Van Swearingen married Barbara the daughter of Isaac DeBarrette on March 1, 1659 in New Amstel.

Barbara was born in Valenciennes, France. Valenciennes was formerly a city in the Walloon section of the old Seventeen United Netherlands, and later of the Spanish Netherlands, still later of France. She was a French Huguenot. They settled in St. Mary’s City, St. Mary’s, Maryland, where their son Thomas was born in 1665. Thomas married Jane the daughter of Joshua Doyne and his wife Jane Sanders in March of 1686 at St. Mary’s Maryland.

Thomas had a son named Van Swearingen who was born in 1692 and like his father also lived out his life in Maryland. Van Swearingen married Elizabeth daughter of Charles Walker and his wife Rebecca Isaac of Prince George County, Maryland on February 14, 1715. “In 1761 at the November term of Frederick County Court, Van Swearingen (known as “Maryland Van”) was appointed Press Master for the ensuing year at the March Court for Frederick County.

In 1760, Van and John Swearingen received a license to keep an ordinary or public house. Van and his son, Van Jr. (known as "Middletown Van") both served in the French and Indian War under Captain James Baxter. Several histories maintain that Van lived to be 109 years old and died in 1801, but in the Jefferson County Historical Society Magazine, Vol. XVI, it was reported that he was ninety years old at the time of his death.

He moved to what afterward became Washington Co, Maryland and took up lands afterwards found to be covered by a prior grant by General Samuel Ringgold and called "Ringgold's Manor," which included several thousand acres of land. He secured the lease for 90 years. As he made improvements on the land, It was held by Van and his two sons for eighty nine years. His home was built on the present location of St. James School [17641 College Rd, Hagerstown, MD, 21740]. Van and Elizabeth had twelve children, six sons and six daughters. Maryland Van is listed in DAR Patriot Index, page 662, for patriotic service in Revolutionary War, as well as the French and Indian Wars. This information is taken from a book Gerret Van Sweringen.”

Van’s son John Swearingen was born February 15, 1720 in Ringgold Manor. It was John Swearingen who began the family’s migration west. On September 15, 1748 he married Katy the daughter of the Miller John Stull and his wife Martha Scott Jones of Hagerstown, Maryland in the town of Frederick. They made their home near the Potomac River. “John was commissioned an ensign in the troop of General Braddock and General Washington when they proceeded against the French and Indians in the Ohio Territory (in July of 1755).

On the upper reaches of the Potomac River, Mills Creek cuts a gap through the mountains toward Snow Creek, a tributary of the Monongahela, and on the Ohio River. A road was cut along this route and Braddock proceeded to his defeat and to his death. John Swearingen liked the looks of this new county and within a few years moved his family and possessions. Beside livestock he had about a dozen slaves. He secured a thousand acres of land near the Cheat River in southwest Pennsylvania. This was Springhill Township, Bedford, Pennsylvania about 1770. At that time Virginia claimed far beyond this point. Washington's Fort Necessity and Braddock's grave are located close by.

On the Cheat River John built a fort large enough to shelter the community during Indians raids. He was elected to the Commission of Observation and Safety. These commissions were a part of every community through the thirteen colonies. Two of John’s sons were captured by the Indians. The older of these bargained with the Shawnee Indians. He promised to remain with them if the younger brother would be returned home.

The Indians sent the younger on home with a peace pipe to be given to the parents. (This peace pipe was handed down through the descendant. It is now in the possession of Decia Swearingen Wilson, of Marshallton, Iowa.) The older boy was named Marmaduke (b. 1763), at the time of his capture he was wearing a homespun blue jacket. Forever afterwards he was known as Blue Jacket, becoming Chief Blue Jacket later. The hand loom which wove the cloth was sent to Razortown, 1779, taken to Ohio, then Kentucky, and finally placed in the Kansas Historical Museum by Mr. Howard B. Chamberland, St. George, Kansas. Mrs. Hester Kelly, Belevae, Kansas, great granddaughter of Sarah, gave a piece of Blue cloth woven on the same loom, to the Kansas Historical Society.

Soon after the Revolution War, Catherine received title, in her own name to a section of land.” John died in Springhill on September 6, 1784, and his wife Katy in about 1790.

John and Katy had a son named John Charles Swearingen, who was born in Frederick, Maryland on July 19, 1752. He appears to be the oldest of 17 children. John Swearingen Jr. grew up around Hagerstown, Frederick, Maryland and went with his family to the wilds of western Pennsylvania when he was 17 or 18 years old. Life on the frontier was not easy and troubles with the natives forced the family to build a fort or stockade to protect themselves and their neighbors.

As mentioned two of his brothers were captured by the Shawnee, and the older of the two Marmaduke remained with them in exchange for his younger brother’s return. Although the record did not make clear the date it must have been around the time or during the Revolution. In about 1771 John Charles Swearingen married Jane “Jennie” the daughter of John Barkley and his wife who was a Chambers. The couple had at least 11 children over the next 23 years, all born in Springhill.

According to one of his descendants’ Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) application, during the war John served in the Westmoreland County Militia from Sept. 14, 1778 to Jan. 1, 1779 in the Company of Capt. James Wright of the Younghenia Militia under Col. John Stevenson. John Swearington also served in the 2nd Battalion of the Washington County Militia in 1781 (the year it was separated out from Westmoreland) as a private in the 1st class of Capt. Joseph Beelor's Company.

Van Swearingen, his brother (who was Sheriff in Washington County) served in the 3rd Battalion first under Col. David Williams and then under Gen. Shannon 1781-82, he was noted to have been a Captain. John appeared as a private on June 22, 1782 and was promoted to Lt. by July 31, 1782. Commissioned a lieutenant in the state militia, he was sent against the Indians at Sandusky, Ohio. John’s father John Sr. was noted for Patriotic service in Pennsylvania and his grandfather Van was noted for his service in Maryland.

The eldest child of John and Jennie Swearingen was a son named Daniel, who was born in Springhill in 1772. In March of 1795 he married to Lydia the daughter of John Peters. The couple remained in Fayette County for a few years before picking up and continuing the family’s migration west. It is not clear to this writer when John and Jennie moved into Kentucky, or whether they instigated the move or followed Daniel, but John and Jennie did end their days in Lewis County, Kentucky and were buried in Fearisville, both having lived into their nineties.

From all appearances Daniel and Lydia Swearingen moved from Fayette County, Pennsylvania, to Lewis County, Kentucky in about 1800. They were located in Vanceburg at the time of the birth of their third child a daughter named Jane born August 31, 1802. Vanceburg is found along the Ohio River in the northeastern part of Kentucky. It is worth wondering if this was land seen by John Swearingen while serving as a Lt. at the end of the Revolution, and if this may have inspired the move years later. On September 2, 1812 our subject Isaac Stull Swearingen was born in Vanceburg.

The Stull name came from his great-grandmother Katy Stull, but it is more likely that Isaac was named for his grandfather’s brother Isaac Stull Swearingen born October 22, 1769. Isaac Stull, the son of Daniel Swearingen lived in Kentucky until he was about 7 years old, he then moved with his family into Illinois. Daniel and Lydia had their 10th child, a daughter named Sarah in Vanceburg on December 22, 1817, but was found living in Shoal Creek, Washington, Illinois by the time of the 1820 census, and it was here that the last two children were born.

The 1830 Federal Census shows Daniel living in Clinton County, Illinois, and when both Daniel and Lydia died in 1839 they were living in Vermilion County, Illinois. When Isaac’s family appeared on the 1850 census he was living in District 21 in Vermilion County. That County is located on the eastern border of Illinois and western border of Indiana. The main town in this County is Danville, it is suspected that the Swearingen family lived in the area around Danville as the Buoy family also lived in District 21 and their children were listed as being born in Danville.

Isaac Swearingen, or Stull as he was also known, having spent his childhood in Kentucky, grew to maturity in Illinois. Little was found concerning his years in Illinois it is known that he was a Sergeant in the local militia at the time of the Mexican War in 1846, but he was never called up to active duty. Around this time Stull made his first association with a fraternal organization, joining the International Order of Oddfellows or I.O.O.F. prior to his marriage.

He was also member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church while living in Illinois. Isaac Stull Swearingen was married on November 22, 1849 to Mary Evaline the daughter of Laban Buoy of Danville. The Buoy family is also tied to Oregon Masonry as Mary Evaline’s younger brother Hanniah Buoy was the first member to petition for affiliation with Eugene City Lodge, then under the name Spencer’s Butte Lodge U.D. on October 6, 1855. As such the Buoy family will be covered at another time.

On September 2, 1850 at the time on the 1850 Federal Census, Isaac Swearingen then 38 years old was found as a Lawyer with $2,500 in Real Estate. He was living in District 21 Vermilion County, Illinois with his wife Mary Evaline age 25 and her brother James who was 19. The couple’s first child was a daughter named Lydia Jane for her two grandmothers; she was born in October 1850 in Illinois. Isaac owned several pieces of land around Vermilion County, which he likely sold in preparation for his journey west in 1852.

In the spring of 1852 the Swearingen family left Illinois and joined the rest of the wagon train at or near St. Joseph, Missouri May 10, 1852. With the Swearingen party was Stull, Eveline, Lydia, and John & Frank Buoy, Eveline's brothers. There is a day by day journal of the trip kept by Abigail Jane Scott. This is a brief summary of the journey;

“The pioneer party of John Tucker consisted of his family of eleven persons, and five wagons and seventeen other adults, who served as drivers or traveling as passengers. The train, on the main route along the Platte and Sweetwater Rivers, comprised twenty-two other wagons among which were those of Stull Swearingen, three wagons; Frank Gay, three wagons; William H. Goudy, one wagon: George Stevenson, two wagons, and the "Brown County Boys" John McDonald, John Buoy, Charles Estes, John Jordan, Peter Smith and William Reed), four wagons.

The Scott party left Groverland, Illinois, near Peoria, April 2, 1852 and was joined by the others of the train, then soon afterwards, George Stevenson, his wife and two sons, Stull Swearingen, Frank Gay and numerous other joined the train at or near Saint Joseph, Missouri.

In the Scott family party were following; John Tucker Scott; Ann Roelofson Scott, his wife; Mary Francis Scott, daughter; Abigail Jane Scott, daughter; Margaret Ann Scott, daughter; Harvey W. Scott , son; Catharine Amanda Scott, daughter; Harriet Louse Scott, daughter; John Henry Scott, son; Sarah Marie Scott, daughter; William Neil Scott, son; Levi Caffee wife and sons, Charles and Edward; William H. Goudy, wife and baby; Robert King, driver; "Mountain" Fisk, driver; ---- Butler, driver; ---- Burns, driver; John Tucker Goudy, driver; ---- Mitchell, driver, who left the party near American Falls in Idaho; Robert Dickerson, driver; George Chamberlain, traveler, who died May 10, at Saint Joseph, Missouri; Edward Clayson, who died August 30, in Burnt River Valley, Oregon; Jefferson Vanderpool, traveler, who died soon after arrival in Oregon; J.I. Wafer, photographer.

The long train of twenty-seven wagons divided, west of Soda Springs, in Idaho, and half took the southern route to California. Those continued on the road to Oregon including The Scott family, Stull Swearingen, William H. Goudy, Frank Gay, George Stevenson, John McDonald, John Jordon and others, who were attached to the Scott wagons as driver or travelers. Frank Gay lost or abandoned his oxen and wagons on the Snake River.

The Scott family also abandoned one of its five wagons on that river. On leaving Grande Ronde River, the train had dwindle to five wagons- four of the Scott family and that of William H. Goudy. The wagon of George Stevenson, drawn by horses, caught up with them later, and the six wagons approached the Dalles together. The wagons of George Stevenson and William H. Goudy went to the Dalles, and the four Scott wagons continued the journey along to Willamette River, being all that remained of the long train.

The route that the travelers took from St. Joseph, Missouri to Ft. Kearney, Nebraska where they crossed the Platte River, on to Scotts Bluffs, Ft. Laramie, through Sought Pass along the Sweetwater, River, then to Soda Springs, Idaho on to Ft. Hall. Then traveled along the sought side of the Snake River to Ft. Boise, on to Vale, Oregon. They left the Snake several miles south of Huntington then seven or eight miles east of Baker, Oregon to the Grande Roude River where the Swearingen family left the train on September 2, 1852. (Many of these towns were not there at the time.)

The Stull Swearingen family, which dropped behind at Grande Ronde to recruit cattle, later went on to the Willamette Valley. They were officially considered to have arrived in Oregon on September 25, 1852 when they appeared at the Dalles with four wagons, horses and oxen. “Stull obtained Roseburg Donation Land Claim 2000 in Lane County. On July 3, 1853, Tucker wrote that “Swearingen is settled about 75 miles above here and has a good claim, now a word with regard to him he deceived me and abused my confidence and tried to swindle me in various ways he only succeeded however in swindling me out of 40$.” Apart from Tucker’s comment Stull was generally held in good report.

The section of land that the Swearingen had is just north of Junction City and on the East side of the road to Lancaster. The Lee farm was just East of the Swearingen farm. They moved from this farm to Eugene. The Index to Oregon Donation Land Claims; pg. 89 Vol. V #3: Swearingen, Isaac S. & wife; Land office, RB; Cert #20900; # of acres, 320.03; Township, 16S; Range 3W;Section 33,34. As near as I can figure out this is located between Eugene and Springfield just West of Interstate 5 about five miles south and two miles East of the confluence of the McKenzie and the Willamette Rivers.”

In a letter by their daughter Mary said they were the parents of seven children and at the time of Eveline's death only two were living… She said "My father before crossing the plains was mill wright-that means setting up or assembling saw mill etc. He was a contractor and taught music- but crossing the Platte River all his music was lost and that was the end of his teaching- But he and mother were fine singers and in early days our house used to be crowded with neighbors who came to sing with them or hear. My parents were honest hard working people. At two different times lost large sums of money, always had a good living, but left no estate."

By the time of the 1860 census Stull was living in Eugene City with his family, he is listed as a Teamster with $2,000 in Real Estate and $800 in Personal assets. He must have done alright for himself over the next decade as he was found living as a Farmer in Lancaster (near Junction City) on the 1870 census with $11, 050 in Real Estate and $3,000 personal. In 1880 he is found still in Lancaster as a Farmer, living with his wife and with his son Isaac, also a Farmer, wife Mary and young daughter Ethel.

Isaac Stull Swearingen died near Harrisburg on January 8, 1884. His wife Mary Evaline survived him by many years and passed in Eugene on February 20, 1908. They were both buried in the Eugene Masonic Cemetery, which had been established while Isaac was a Mason in Eugene. The Eugene paper reported he was an Oddfellow and Mason and was a charter member of Oddfellow Lodges in Salem, Eugene and Junction City which is probably true. He was definitely a Charter member of Eugene and Junction City’s Masonic Lodges. It goes on to say that he was buried in the Oddfellow Cemetery in Eugene with the services also conducted by the Oddfellows. While the Oddfellows may have conducted the services, the cemetery was definitely Eugene Lodge #11’s Masonic Cemetery.

Masonic Service

Isaac Stull Swearingen, or I. S. as he was usually noted in Masonic records was a member of Olive Branch Lodge # 38 Chartered October 6, 1846 in Danville, Vermillion, Illinois. Isaac S. Swearingen was granted a demit from Olive Branch Lodge #38 dated March 26, 1852 before leaving for the west. Upon arrival in Lane County, Oregon Isaac associated with the Masons of the Eugene City area and joined with them to Charter Spencer’s Butte Lodge U.D. which became Eugene City Lodge #11 in 1856.

Isaac was the Lodges first Tyler. He repeated his role as Tyler in 1857 and 1861, but did not serve the Lodge as an officer after that time. He demitted from Eugene City Lodge in 1872 so that he could help Charter Junction City Lodge #58 which was being formed closer to his home near Lancaster. Junction City Lodge was granted its Charter on June 12, 1873. Brother Swearingen was Tyler of Lodge #58 in 1874 and served as Senior Steward in 1881. He appeared on the roster of that Lodge thru 1883. As noted he died January 8, 1884 and was buried in the Eugene Masonic Cemetery.

Foot Notes:

  1. A supercargo (from Spanish sobrecargo) is a person employed on board a vessel by the owner of cargo carried on the ship. The duties of a supercargo are defined by admiralty law and include managing the cargo owner's trade, selling the merchandise in ports to which the vessel is sailing, and buying and receiving goods to be carried on the return voyage.
  2. Find a Grave Garret Van Swearingen,
  3. Find a Grave Van Swearingen
  4. Springhill was named by settlers after Springhill, Augusta, Virginia it was originally a part of Bedford county, later a part of Westmoreland in 1773, it was part of Washington County in 1781 and finally became Fayette County in 1783.
  5. The fort of John & Catherine Swearingen was near the road from Cheat River to Brownsville. The fort derived its name either from John, who located the site, or from his son, Van, Captain in the Revolutionary War, officer in the Border Wars and Sheriff of Fayette County. The land where the fort stood was surveyed for Kathryn Stull Swearingen in 1768. It was about a mile from Moore's Crossroads, and the spot can be definitely identified. The fort was a back woods stockade, built of split puncheons and lathe covering a large space of ground enclosed as a refuge for themselves and neighboring settlers, in the time of savage violence.
  6. Find a Grave John Swearingen,
  7. This is the famous author and editor of the Oregonian Newspaper Harvey Scott, who was the father of Leslie Scott S.G.I.G. of the Oregon Scottish Rite and Grand Master of Oregon Masons.
  8. John Tucker Scott?
  9. “Covered Wagon Women” Dairies and letters from the Western Trails, Kenneth L. Holmes and Anne M. Butler (Vol. 5?) page 38.
  10. Sometimes also mistakenly found as J. S. Swearingen.

Jackson Lafayette Hall

Jackson Lafayette Hall 1826-1908

J. L. Hall is found in the records of Eugene City Lodge as the last Master Mason to join the Lodge, then called Spencer’s Butte Lodge U.D., prior to the granting of its Charter in June of 1856. Little was known about him, including his full name and age. Only a few details relating to his service to Masonry in Eugene and Harrisburg were noted prior to his departure from the area in about 1864.

This all changed in the early Fall of 2017, when the record of his demit was found in the archives of Eugene Lodge #11. The demit again omitted his name other than J. L. Hall, but it did show that he came from a Lodge in Nacogdoches, Texas and there was a date in the bottom corner that would become very significant as the research continued. The records of the 1850 U.S. Census were accessed and every page reviewed the find a hint about J.L. Hall.

The name of the Junior Warden, Blackstone Hardeman, who signed the demit document was located along with one Jackson Hall. Further investigation of Jackson Hall lead to a entry for Jackson Lafayette Hall, or our elusive J. L. Hall. Final verification came with the date included on the demit; October 14, 1826. This was the birthdate of Jackson Lafayette Hall. Other details in his records showed that this was clearly the man who Joined Eugene City Lodge as its last Charter Member in 1856.

As noted Jackson Lafayette Hall was born October 14, 1826 in Bedford County, Tennessee. He was the 11th of 15 children born to John Hall and his wife Susanna, who was thought to be a member of the VanVelt family. John was born in North Carolina on October 29, 1780 and his wife Susanna was born in the same State on March 26, 1788. All of their children were said to have been born in Bedford County.

In about 1838, when Jackson was almost 12 years old the Hall family left Tennessee and moved to Nacogdoches County, Texas. Two years after relocating to Texas, Jackson’s mother Susanna died on August 9, 1840 in Melrose, she was 52. Two months later on October 12 John Hall also died in Melrose. Just two days before his 14th birthday Jackson Hall was an orphan. Eight of the Hall children were under the age of 21 and were placed under the guardianship of their older siblings.

Green H. Hall became the guardian of his younger brother Jackson, soon after his brother Bartlett Marymond Hall became his guardian. In 1846 Jackson, now 19, became the ward of James McKnight, a minister who officiated several marriages in Nacogdoches County. That same year Jackson Hall volunteered to serve his country during the War with Mexico. His military records show that he enlisted as a Private in Nacogdoches County on May 18, 1846, five days after Congress declared war.

He was mustered in at Point Isabel, a Gulf port city at the southern tip of Texas, on June 22, 1846 in Company E of Captain Sparke’s 2nd Texas Mounted Volunteers. The 2nd Regiment was commanded by Col. George T. Wood, (2nd Governor of Texas). Jackson Hall was transferred by order of Maj. Gen. Zachary Taylor to Company F Captain Arnold’s Regiment of 1st Texas Foot Rifleman on July 14, 1846.

Gen. Taylor’s army then moved west and Jackson was in Camargo in present day northern central Mexico in the State of Chihuahua when he mustered out on August 24, 1846. He appears at that time to have returned to Captain Sparke’s Company of the 2nd Regiment of Mounted Volunteers where he was a part of Gen. Taylor’s advance into California against Mexican held Monterey.

“Taylor's army, with the Texas Division leading under the command of Major General and Texas Governor James Pinckney Henderson, reached the plain in front of Monterrey at 9 am on the morning of 19 September, when they were fired upon by Col. Jose Lopez Uraga's 4th Infantry guns… General Zachary Taylor decided to attack western Monterrey using William J. Worth's Division in a giant north and west "hook" movement while simultaneously attacking with his main body from the east.

Worth started at 2 pm on 20 September along with Col. John Coffee Hays's Texas Regiment screening the advance, but they camped for the night three miles from the Saltillo road. By 6 am on 21 September, Worth continued his advance, repulsing a Jalisco cavalry charge by Col. Juan Najera, killing the latter and an advance guard consisting of General Manuel Romero's brigade and Lt. Col. Mariano Moret's Guanajuato Regiment. By 8:15 am, Worth had severed the Saltillo road from Monterrey and sent Capt.

Charles F. Smith with 300 infantry and Texans, plus Capt. Dixon Miles's 7th Infantry and Persifor Smith's 2nd Brigade to take Federacion and Fort Soldado, which they quickly did. In the meantime, Taylor launched a diversion against eastern Monterrey with Col. John Garland's 1st and 3d Infantry plus Lt. Col. William H. Watson's Maryland and District of Columbia Battalion, which quickly grew into an assault. By 8 am, Capt. Electus Backus's company of the 1st Infantry had taken the tannery and by noon, with Col. William B. Campbell's 1st Tennessee and Mississippi Rifles, had taken Fort de La Teneria.

No attacks or sorties occurred on 22 September.

At 3 am on 23 September, Worth sent the Texas Rangers and the 4th and 8th Infantry, under Lt. Col. Thomas Childs, to take Fort Libertad on Independencia, which they did by daybreak.

With the help of James Duncan's battery, they soon took the Obispado and had control of western Monterrey. By then, the Mexicans had abandoned their outer defenses on the east side of Monterrey, concentrating in the Plaza Mayor, and John A. Quitman's brigade held eastern Monterrey by 11 am.

The 1847 image depicts the Saddle Hill and the bishop´s house in Monterrey after the battle.

By 2 pm on 23 September, General Worth advanced into the city from the west… General Ampudia decided to negotiate on 24 September. Taylor negotiated a two-month armistice… in return for the surrender of the city. The Mexican Army was allowed to march from the city from 26 to 28 September.”

Maj. Gen. Zachary Taylor 12th President of the United States

Jackson L. Hall was mustered out in Monterey on October 2, 1846, his service ending on October 16th. From there he made his way back to Texas. At the age of 61 Jackson applied for a pension for his service in the Mexican War. The pension was granted in March of 1897. He was noted to have been 5 ft. tall with a light complexion, blue eyes and dark hair.

By the time of the 1850 census Jackson was living in the household on John Thomas McDaniel. McDaniel’s wife Eberlina was the elder sister of Simpson. Jackson and Jabez Hall, who were all, living with her family at that time. Jackson, 24 and his brother Jabez, age 17, were listed as farmers, and their elder brother Simpson, age 25, was listed as Idiotic, which probably indicates he had Downs Syndrome or the like.

“On the 29th of October 1850, and entry was made in the minutes of said court in terms as follow to wit: No. 111 on application docket...all prerequisites of the law...have been complied with and...WM. G. Engledorn for the minors & now residents being present in court consenting hereto His orders & decreed by the court the Six hundred & forty acres of land in Nacogdoches County heretofore set apart in the partition John Hall Estate to Jackson L. Hall, Nancy Adams, formerly Nancy Hall, Minerva Smith, wife of Joseph Smith & Jabez H. Hall, be now partitioned according to law so that each of these distributions may hold his and her share...the said commissioners are also hereby informed that Jackson L. Hall, Jabez H. Hall are residents of Nacogdoches county, Texas...”

In 1854 Jackson L. Hall left his family and friends and headed west, having been introduced to California during the Mexican War, and with the discovery of gold a few years earlier, he may have gone to try his luck there. What we do know is that by 1856 Jackson Hall had made his way to Lane County, Oregon. Jackson L. Hall settled into the area north of Eugene City.

Here he met Sarah Jane Ramsey, whose family came to Oregon from Illinois in 1852. The couple married on April 8, 1857 in Lane County. Sarah was the daughter of Barnet and Elizabeth Shoup Ramsey. The Ramsey’s settled near Harrisburg in Linn County, where he was a farmer and, according to historical records he was the first Potter in Linn County.

Jackson Hall and his new wife Sarah settled next door to his in-laws, where he is listed on the 1860 census as a Miller with $2,500 in Real Estate and $300 in personal value. Jackson and his family remained in Harrisburg until 1864 when they left the area to settle in southern Oregon near Grants Pass, then part of Jackson County.

There has been some question about where some of Jackson’s children were born; family stories and even the death record of Edward indicated that they were born near Grants Pass. This was confusing at first, since it was known that Jackson was living near Harrisburg until 1864. The 1860 census however, clearly shows that the first two children, including Edward, were born in the Harrisburg area.

There is therefore no reason to believe that Amory, born 1861 and Martha Elizabeth born February of 1864, were not also born in Harrisburg prior to the family moving south later in 1864. The family settled on Jump-off-Joe Creek about 20 miles north of Grants Pass. If the record is correct Martha Elizabeth died there on July 24, 1864.

The 1870 census shows that Jackson Hall and his family were living near Grants Pass where he was living and working as a Farmer. Barnet Ramsay, on a trip to Southern Oregon to visit a daughter and son-in-law, took suddenly ill and died. From Historical & Biographical Notes on the Linn County Web site: He died at "Jump-off-Joe" in Southern Oregon on August 26, 1872 and was buried near that place. Upon the death of his wife, Elizabeth Shoup Ramsay, in 1886, his body was removed to Santiam Central Cemetery, Linn County, Oregon.

In 1875 Jackson and Sarah took their family and move to Skull Valley, Yavapai, Arizona. That same year Jackson’s 2nd eldest son James was said to have died in Alaska. He may have followed the gold rush; he was only 18 year old. In December of that year Jackson and Sarah had their 10th and final child. It appears complications arose and Sarah died the next day, January 1, 1876.

The Desert Land Act of 1877, gave settlers 640 acres, an incentive not to be ignored. About 1880, Jackson traveled back to Nacogdoches, Texas to take care of business, leaving his four younger children with his sister, Sarah Susannah Hall Smith in Coryell County, Texas. Jackson Lafayette Hall is found in the book: Citizens of Nacogdoches County in 1880 by Carolyn Ericson.

Jackson returned to Coryell County, Texas for a period of time and served as postmaster in Purmela. He took the job of Postmaster on May 29, 1884. His son Jacob H. Hall also served as Postmaster, starting on January 24, 1895. Jackson and several of his children returned to Arizona, where Jackson was found living with his youngest daughter Mary Melissa at the time of the 1900 census. He is listed a widower working as a Carpenter in Camp Verde, Yavapai, Arizona Territory. Jackson lived out the rest of his days in Arizona, dying in 1908.

Jackson was first buried in 1908 near the Colorado River where he died. Because they were creating Lake Mojave, Jackson Hall's body was removed from the vicinity of Searchlight Ferry, Arizona and was moved to Mt. View Cemetery in Kingman, Arizona on November 28, 1949. The Government paid the cost of the re-burial ($175) because water from the Davis Dam would have covered his grave.

Masonic Service

“To all whom it may concern. We the Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior Wardens and Brethren of A. Chiltner Lodge U.D. of the Most honorable fraternity of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons held in Melrose, Nacogdoches County, Texas, working under dispensation from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the State of Texas, Do hereby certify that our worthy Brother J.L. Hall has been a worthy Brother among us. Paid all dues – and we do recommend him to the Fraternity around the Globe & is regularly demitted from this Lodge.

Melrose 4th day April 1854 A.L. 5854

I do hereby certify under my hand and seal} John Butch WM, T.S. Blaky S.W. protem, B. Hardeman Jr. J.W.

Using a scrawl for seal, that the above was regularly signed and presented

Test K.B. Stallings Secry {seal}

October the 14th, 1826”


Jackson L. Hall came of age the year following his service in the War with Mexico. It is not known when he applied for the degrees of Masonry, but it was sometime between 1847 and 1854. He may have come into contact with Masons during his military service. It is known that his father’s brother John A. Hall 1813-1886 was a Mason.

We are told that “from early manhood he was a member of the Masonic fraternity, always prompt to respond to its claims, and was buried with the honors of that institution. During Bro. (John) Hall's long life he prospered in everything he undertook and accumulated a handsome fortune.

No benevolent object was ever presented to him in vain, nor was the distressed and needy ever turned unrelieved away from his door. His house was always a pleasant retreat for all, whether friend or stranger, and many a weary itinerant has received a hearty welcome beneath his roof.” John lived in Alabama, so it is hard to say if this had any impact on Jackson.

From the preceding demit found in the Archives of Eugene Lodge #11 we know that Jackson Hall was a Mason in Chiltner Lodge U.D. in Melrose, Nacogdoches, Texas. Since the Lodge was under Dispensation (having not yet attained their Charter) we can assume that this was a new Lodge at the time. Still it is unknown if Jackson was Raised in this Lodge or joined by affiliation. It is clear that he was a Mason in good standing when he left Texas in 1854.

J.L. Hall put in his petitioned for affiliation in Spencer Butte Lodge U.D. on May 3, 1856, he was accepted and Affiliated on May 31, 1856, ten days before the Lodge Charter was granted. After the Lodge received its charter as Eugene City Lodge #11 on June 10, 1856, Jackson was appointed as Senior Deacon, although the Eugene Roster (1855-1972) shows him as S. L. Hall in 1857 and J. S. Hall in 1858, this is the same man who served the lodge as Senior Deacon from 1856 until 1858.

He demitted from Eugene City Lodge in 1859 to start Thurston Lodge # 28 in Harrisburg, which was much closer to his home. Thurston Lodge #28 received its Dispensation on October 19, 1859 and was Chartered on September 18, 1860. J. L. Hall was elected the Charter Senior Warden in 1860, and was Worshipful Master of that Lodge in 1861 and 1862.

He Demitted from Thurston Lodge in 1864 and moved to Southern Oregon, settling in the Grants Pass area. He does not appear to have joined an Oregon Lodge after his move south. Local Lodges were about 40 to 50 miles away and J.L. Hall does not show up on the rosters of any of these Lodges. There has been no additional information about the Masonic career of Jackson Lafayette Hall after leaving Oregon.

Jackson L. Hall and daughter Mary Melissa abt. 1900

Hiram Smith

Hiram Smith 1st Treasurer 1821-1889

Hiram Smith, Charter member and first Treasurer of Eugene City Lodge No. 11, was born in Chariton County, Missouri on March 12, 1821. He was the great grandson of Johannes Schmidt, also known as John Felter, who was born in Gemmingen, Baden, Germany in April of 1712. (Some records show him as being born in Holland in 1722.

John Felter Schmidt likely came to New Jersey in the 1730’s and died in Morris County, New Jersey on March 2, 1793. His son Abraham was born in 1747 in Monmouth, New Jersey and later moved up to Aurora, Erie County, New York where he died at the age of 91 on July 23, 1838.

Abraham went by the name Smith and married Catherine Davenport in about 1770, when she was about 16 years old. The couple had at least three sons and four daughters. The 2nd child was a son named Humphrey, who was named for his Davenport grandfather, and was born February 17, 1774 in Bergen, Sussex, New Jersey. Humphrey was the father of our subject Hiram Smith.

In 1784 when Humphrey was about 10 years old his father Abraham moved the family out of New Jersey and settled in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne, Pennsylvania. Sixteen years later, in 1800, Humphrey moved north across into New York where he engaged in the distilling business near Cayuga Lake. In October of 1803 Humphrey married Nancy the daughter of Thomas Walker and Abigail Atwater. Nancy was born in Cheshire, New Haven, Connecticut on August 24, 1782 and her mother’s people were early settlers of New Haven and trace back to Christopher Atwater born December 1, 1521 in Lenham, Kent, England, the grandfather of David born on October 8, 1615 in the same place. David Atwater arrived in Boston in 1637 and in New Haven by the early 1640’s.

By 1804 Humphrey Smith moved his new bride further north and made their home in East Aurora, Erie, New York; a few years later he built a grist mill on Buffalo creek.

Humphrey Smith enlisted in Hopkin’s Regiment of New York Militia and was a private during the War of 1812. As pictured here.

When tales of the rich French province of Missouri were first wafted East Humphrey was quick to catch their inspiration. In 1815 Humphrey Smith sold one of his mills and made plans to leave for Missouri. Humphrey’s son Calvin recorded the story of the family’s migration "On February 29, 1816, my father prepared for a trip to the West. He had $4,000 in gold which he put in a belt and buckled it around his waist.

In an old style two-wheeled ox cart, drawn by a yoke of oxen, he put his family and started for Missouri. We went to Olean, a point on the Allegheny river. With his wife and (five) children he embarked there on a canoe At Pittsburgh, Pa., father had to attach the canoe to a flat bottom boat going to New Orleans. At Louisville, Ky., we met three or four families who were going to the new territory of Missouri. Father chipped in with them and bought a keel boat and we floated down the Ohio river to its mouth.

“At the mouth of the Ohio river we turned into the Mississippi and the boat was propelled up that river by men who walked along the shore and drew the boat after them, while a man on the boat with a long pole kept it from running ashore. In time we reached St. Louis, 190 miles from the mouth of the Ohio river. We stopped there two or three weeks. Then we all boarded the keel boat again for another move.

“Eighteen miles brought us to the Missouri river and we went up that river 300 miles to a place called Cole's Fort, now Boonville, Mo. We reached there on the first day of July, 1816, just four months to a day from the time we left New York.

"On the 14th day of July my sister, Missouri, was born and about five weeks later, August, 1816,

father and his family crossed the Missouri river and settled eight miles east of Old Franklin, Howard county. We moved several times, but stayed in that county until 1819. We then moved to Carroll county, Mo. This was during the 'Missouri question,' whether the new incoming state should be a slave state or a free state. The Missouri compromise in 1822 settled in favor of a slave state.”

While in Chariton County, now Carroll County, Missouri the Smith’s eighth and final child Hiram was born on October 29, 1821. Soon after this Humphrey, who came to be known as “Yankee” Smith and his wife Nancy were beaten after he stood up to a pro-slavery mob during the “Compromise” debate; the Smith’s soon moved out of the area. Humphrey “Yankee” Smith took his family to Clay County, Missouri in the Spring of 1822 and settled in the northwest part of the county.

It was then a wilderness, being ten miles to the nearest neighbor. In 1823 he walked 1,400 miles back to New York to reclaim the rest of his money from his old mills in Griffin. Humphrey used the money to buy the materials he needed to build a new mill in Clay County. In 1826 he bought 80 acres which came to be known as Smith’s mill eventually becoming the town of Smithville, which still exists today (2015). Humphrey’s mill was the first mill built on the fork of the Platt River. “With something of Yankee enterprise and shrewdness Smith located where he did and built his mill in order to catch the patronage of the government Indian agencies in the Platte county, and also the custom of the settlers who, he rightly conjectured, would push out in considerable numbers to the extreme frontier.

The mill at first was but a “corn-cracker,” but in a few years, when wheat was first raised in the country, Smith added a bolting apparatus, and it is said that this was the first flouring mill in Clay county. It stood near the site of the present mill, and Smith’s dwelling-house, a log cabin, was built on the south side of Main street where Liberty road turns south, and east of the road. The mill was operated by Smith and his sons for thirty consecutive years, and then purchased by Col. Lewis Wood. It was washed away by a flood in 1853.”

“Humphrey Smith had a store at his mill before 1828, and soon after a little village sprang up. Calvin Smith, a son Humphrey, managed the store at first. Next to him were Henry Owens and John Lerty, both of whom were small merchants here before 1840. James Walker was another early merchant. Dr. Alex M. Robinson, afterward a prominent Democratic politician of Platte, Dr. J.B. Snaile and Dr.S.S. Ligon were the first physicians in the community.

Old settlers assert that as early as 1845 Smithville was a place of as much importance as at present (1885), with nearly the same number of houses, and a great deal more whisky! The failure of the Parkville Railroad prevented the full development of the place, and entailed considerable loss on many of the citizens who were subscribers to the stock. Although always without railroad facilities the town has ever had a good trade.”

After the Smith family settled in Clay County there was a large influx of southern slaver-owners and the county came to be known as “Little Dixie”. “Yankee” Smith was all his life an avowed Abolitionist. He declaimed against what he considered the sin of human slavery at all times and under all circumstances. For his principles he was mobbed in Howard and driven away. His family fled to what is now Carroll, and he joined them as soon as it was safe to do so.

But no sort of persecution, blows, mobbings, threats, denunciation, or raillery moved him or deterred him from speaking his mind. Frequently some bully would approach him and call out: “Smith, are you an Abolitionist?” “I am,” was always the reply. The next instant he would be knocked down; but he would rise and calmly say: “O, that’s no argument. You are stronger than I, but that don’t prove you are right.” Finally his soft answers turned away the wrath of those opposed to him, and he was allowed to hold and express his opinions in peace.”

Humphrey Smith’s long held detestation against slavery led him to move to Dallas, Iowa in 1850, with his wife and his daughter Missouri Ann, her husband Henry Owens and their family. Humphrey’s wife Nancy died in Iowa in March of 1853 and soon after Humphrey moved back to Smithville to live on the old homestead with his son Calvin. Her gravestone read, “Conneticut gave her life, New York her husband, Humphrey Smith; Missouri a home and eight children, Iowa a grave.”

Smith always declared that slavery would be abolished in the United States, but he did not live until his eyes had seen “the glory.” In June, 1857, he died of small-pox. It has always been supposed that he caught the disease from an infected Abolition paper, called the Herald of Freedom, published at Lawrence, Kansas, and to which his son, Calvin, was a subscriber. The postmaster, James Brasfield, who handed Smith the paper, took varioloid, and Smith himself had small-pox in a violent and fatal form.

At first his disease was not known, and persons who called to see him were infected, and spread the contagion through the neighborhood. Many died there from, and the incident was one long and sadly remembered.” Humphrey “Yankee” Smith was buried in the Smith Cemetery, Ridgely, Platte County, Misouri. Before his death he asked his sons to not let slave-owners know where he was buried, and only when his state was free should they carve his epitaph. His wish was fulfilled and his epitaph is carved on his headstone, front and back.

It reads: "In memory of Humphrey Smith, Born in 1774, Died June 1857. Like leaves on trees the race of man is found, Now green in youth, now withering on the ground; So generations in their course decay, So perish these when those have passed away. This patriot came to Missouri in 1816 from the state of New York; labored to make the territory into a Free State, for which he was mobbed by armed slaveholders, scourged, bruised, and dragged at midnight from his house.

His ever faithful wife, coming to his assistance, received injuries at the hands of the mob which caused her years of affliction. He was compelled to leave the State. His wife and family fled from Howard County to Carroll County; there joining his family, he moved to Clay County, where for many years he kept up the struggle against the 'negro thieves or man stealers.' They denounced him as an Abolitionist, because he was in favor of human liberty for all men. His request was 'Never let the men stealers know where I am buried until my State is free, then write my epitaph.' Here lies Humphrey Smith, who was in favor of human rights, universal liberty, equal and exact justice, no union with slaveholders, free States, free people, union of States, and one and universal Republic."

Hiram Smith

Hiram Smith was born and raised in Missouri in the midst of the arising conflict between his parent’s abolitionist sentiments and the influx of pro-slavery southerners. In his mid to late 20’s Hiram married Mary Ann E. Schultz and started a family. Mary Ann was born in Virginia to a father born in Ireland and Virginian mother. In 1848 their first child was born, a son named Perry. By 1850 Hiram Smith, his older brother Damon and their newly started families were located in Gallatin Township , 16 miles south of Smithville. Their father also had a Mill there operated by his two youngest sons, who were both Millers with $1,000 each in Real Estate at the time of the census.

Hiram Smith his wife and son Perry travelled to Oregon during the migration of 1852. They left Missouri in the Spring and arrived in Oregon between August 12 and 14, 1852. They were safely settled in Oregon by October of 1852 when Hiram’s wife Mary Ann had their 2nd son Damon, named for Hiram’s brother. “The emigration year of 1852 stands out as the year of illness and death on the trail for humans and animals alike. Most of the human toll was the result of cholera. While the diaries often suggest that the cattle died from an imaginary disease called "hollow horn", it is thought by some experts that the loss of cattle was actually due to anthrax with the stress of the journey as a contributing factor.

The diaries and journals available for that year mention seeing wagons "as far as the eye can see" both ahead and behind. While it has been estimated that over 10,000 adventurous souls started out for Oregon in 1852, an accounting of how many actually arrived is hard to determine. It is thought that as many as 1,000 may have turned back. Death definitely took a toll and then there were those who, at the last minute, turned off for California. The emigrants going to California that year was estimated at upwards of 50,000.

Indians were not as troublesome in 1852 as some of the other years. This was due, in part, to a treaty that was engineered by Thomas Fitzpatrick "Broken Hand" in 1851. The size of the emigration also no doubt had a bearing. Trains were traveling so close to each other that it provided extra security.

Most of the trains for 1852 were small in size due to the difficulty in finding water, camping spots and feed for the cattle. A larger train was simply too hard to manage. Most companies were made up of family and friends with single men hired to drive wagons and assist with the cattle. Assuming that a train consisted of 50 or fewer individuals it would mean that there were at least 200 separate trains headed for Oregon. And this would not account for the approximately 1000 companies headed for California.”

In 1842 Hiram reached his majority and was of proper age to join Freemasonry. We are currently uninformed as to when he joined the Craft, but it is known that he was indeed a Mason when he joined together with the Brethren of Lane County to Charter Spencer’s Butte Lodge (later Eugene City Lodge, No. 11). His demit was found in the archives of Eugene Lodge answering the question as to where he was made a Mason. On March 19, 1853 the Worshipful Master Alfred Owen issued Brother Hiram Smith a demit from Central Lodge #21 in Smithville, Clay County, Missouri. We are left uninformed as to whether Hiram’s father or brothers were members, but given Humphrey Smith’s stand for “human rights, universal liberty, equal and exact justice” he certainly would have been a good fit.

Hiram Smiths demit from Central Lodge #21 F.&A.M. Smithville, Clay, Missouri March 19, 1853

WB Michael D. Robinson 32°
Historian Eugene Lodge #11 August 2015 revised Sept. 2017

Foot Notes:

  1. Wallace-Connolly family Tree Ancestry .com
  2. Calvin Smith’s autobiography
  3. "History of Aurora," Truman C. White, ed. 1898.
  4. Autobiography of Calvin Smith from Calvin Smith
  5. Calvin Smith’s autobiography
  7. Ibid
  8. Ibid
  9. Nancy Smith
  11. Humphrey Smith
  12. Gallatin Township is in Clay County now a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, as opposed to the city of Gallatin in Davies County, famous as the town robbed by Jesse James starting his bank robbing career in 1869.
  14. History of the Willamette Valley by Herbert Lang p. 785
  18. 1901 and 1902 only named the Worshipful Master and Secretary

John Brattain

John Brattain
Last Initiated Charter Member

John Brattain was born in 1827, he was descended from a John Brattain of Randolph County, North Carolina, who was born in about 1720, possibly in Scotland. The elder John had a son named Robert Brattain who was born in Randolph County on October 1, 1746. Robert married Mary Millikan on January 6, 1768 in Guilford, North Carolina, where they were a part of the Quaker community.

The couple had eleven children over the next 20 years, before relocating to Wayne County, Indiana in the early 1800’s. Here Robert died in Richmond, Indiana on September 8, 1824. Their fourth child was Benjamin Franklin Brattain who was born on December 2, 1773 in Randolph County. He married Mary Hill in March of 1792 in Randolph County, where the couple had their first six children before moving to Bedford, Tennessee in about 1802. Their last three children were born in Bedford.

The couples sixth child was a son named Paul Brattain, who was born on December 30, 1801 in Hillsboro, Randolph, North Carolina. As an infant he relocated with his family to Tennessee. At the age of sixteen he made “his way overland and by river to Hancock and Morgan counties, Illinois, where his forceful personal characteristics were first recognized and approved. Taking up a large tract of land, he entered the arena of politics, and in time was elected to the constitutional convention of Illinois, where his opinions were valued and noted.

He married Elizabeth Carter, who encouraged and applauded his success, and who lived to share and sympathize with the joys as well as the shadows of his life. He left his home to participate in the Black Hawk war, and about 1838 moved to Van Buren county, Iowa … Taking up government land near Birmingham, he continued his political career as a member of the constitutional convention of Iowa, and at a later period became treasurer of the board of public improvements at Des Moines. This board had to do principally with river improvements, and at times large sums of money were left in the hands of the treasurer. To the intense chagrin of all concerned, the safe of the board was broken open during Mr. Brattain's administration, and several thousand dollars taken out.”

“In the spring of 1852 Mr. Brattain followed the example of two of his children who had come to the west in 1849 and 1850, and outfitted with four wagons, fourteen yoke of oxen, and one mule team, his wife and eight children being members of the party. It is not recalled that anything out of the ordinary marred the progress of the overland journey, and in fairly good condition the travelers spent the first winter near Peoria, locating on the donation claim now occupied by the two sons, the following spring.

Here, as heretofore, Mr. Brattain caused his influence to be felt, and aside from various political offices of note, he served as county clerk from 1854 to 1859, and was finally a member of the constitutional convention of Oregon, making the third state in which he had helped to frame the laws. This was a record of which he was justly proud, for it is given to few men to be thus honored in three distinct parts of the country. Before the war he was devoted to the Democracy, but the wail of the southern slaves seemed to ring in his ears, and moved him to espouse the cause of the north ... With his wife he was a member of the Baptist Church, towards the support of which he generously contributed.

John, the oldest of his ten children was a pioneer merchant of Baker City, Ore., and died there in 1893; Thomas J. is a stockman of Lake county, Oregon; Elizabeth, who married James Elbert, died July 29, 1902, in Lane county; Alfred is a rancher on the McKenzie river; William C. is a resident of Spokane, Wash.; Mary lives on the home place; Martha married Robert Hadley and died in 1868; Amelia A. is the wife of J. F. Smith, a rancher of Jasper, Lane county; Francis M., living on the home place with his brothers, and was a member of the legislature of 1899.” Paul also served Lane County as Justice of the Peace, County Auditor and Controller. He died on August 29, 1882 in Springfield, Oregon.

John Brattain was born in 1827 in Morgan County, Illinois. In about 1849, when he was 22 years old, John made his way to Oregon, blazing the trail for the rest of his family who followed as mentioned above. John was the fifth man to request a petition to join Spencers Butte Lodge UD. His petition for Initiation was received in Lodge on May 3, 1856.

John was Initiated on May 31, 1856, just 10 days before the Lodge changed its name and received their Charter from Grand Master John C. Ainsworth at the Annual Communication in Portland. On June 10, 1856 Eugene City Lodge No. 11 was officially set to work. This made John Brattain the last Charter member of that Lodge. The next meeting of the Lodge was July 20, 1856, when the officers of the newly Chartered Lodge were elected. On July 29, 1856 the Lodge was opened early by the elected officers, and the Grand Master of Oregon, Alfred M. Belt presided over the installation of those officers.

The Lodge went to Refreshment until the following morning, when they returned to Labor on the Master Mason Degree at 9 AM. The Lodge heard petitions from Brothers E.E. Haft and John Brattain “for further Light in Masonry by being Passed to the degree of Fellow Craft and Brothers Eugene Skinner and Samuel Hannah seeking to be Raised to the Sublime degree of Master Mason. The ballot was spread and returned favorable on all counts. The Lodge went to refreshment until 10 AM when Brother Haft was Passed to Fellow Craft. They took another break until 3 PM when Brother Brattain was also Passed.

The Lodge was then opened on the Master Mason degree and Brothers Skinner and Hannah became the first Master Masons to be Raised in Eugene. Brother John Brattain was Raised to the Sublime degree of Master Mason on October 11, 1856, being the third Master Mason Raised in Eugene Lodge No. 11. John was elected Treasurer about a month later and served for the year 1857. In 1858 he was elected Junior Warden, but did not serve the Lodge as an officer after that time.

At the time of the 1870 Census John Brattain was living in Eugene City in the household of a farmer named Frank Smith and his wife, there was also an 18 year old named Agnes Brattain, who may have been John’s daughter. John was listed as a retired Merchant age 44 with $3,000 in Real Estate and $10,000 in personal assets. Sometime during the next decade he relocated and was found living in Baker City as a General Speculator on June 2, 1880 in the Federal Census. He was noted to have been divorced.

We might assume that John moved toward the end of the 1870’s as soon after that his problems started with the Lodge. He was dropped for non-payment of dues (DNPD) on March 3, 1880. This was rectified, but he was again dropped in April of 1882. He paid his back dues and was reinstated of February 21, 1883. John was dropped again on March 19, 1884 but was quickly reinstated on April 2, 1884 after it was found that he had indeed paid.

In 1886 Brother Brattain was dropped once more, but this time he was not reinstated until 1893, a 7 year absence. When John Brattain’s name came up again on April 4, 1894, he was dropped for the fifth and last time. However, the merchant, and our Brother John Brattain of Baker City had died soon after paying up his dues in 1893. The Lodge unaware of his death dropped him from the roles, an unfortunate mistake which stands to this day. John was the last Charter member of the Lodge, with the exception of Avery Smith who was dropped in 1880 and was reinstated and immediately demitted in 1895.

Having been unfairly dropped from the Lodge a motion was put forth on February 10, 2016 to reinstate John Brattain as a full member of the Lodge so that the Minutes could reflect that he died a member in Good Standing, correcting this 112 year old mistake.

Foot Notes:

  1. "Portrait and Biographical Record of the Willamette Valley", pages 1137-1138
  2. Ibid

Hanniah Bouy

Hanniah Buoy 1st member to Affiliate

Hanniah Bouy was the first Affiliate member of Eugene City Lodge #11. He was born in 1828 at Rising Sun, Dearborn, Illinois. Hanniah descended from a Scottish family. It is said that the progenitor of the family name was from the Cameron Clan and that the first who bore the name was a follower of the sea.

It was said he was subject to misfortune and bad luck and always bore up and was lighthearted so they called him Buoy because of his lightness of spirit. Hattie Bouy, daughter of Thomas, granddaughter of Laban and great granddaughter of Robert recorded the family history as follows:

“William, Robert and Gerald Buoy came from Scotland prior to the Revolutionary War and feeling the colonist cause was a just one entered the army and fought against the British. When the war was ended the brothers were separated and went out to follow their own pursuits.

William, the oldest, had been educated for a physician and surgeon, so remained in New York. His descendants afterwards came to California. In after years one of his sons wrote to my grandfather (Laban Buoy) to come to see him in California and I think he did.

Gerald, the youngest, went to Louisiana, settled among the French, spelled his name Bowie; being a blacksmith he worked at his trade. He was the father of the notorious Colonel Jim and Resin Buoy who came onto Texas. Colonel Jim and my grandfather also corresponded for a number of years.” Other genealogies do not support this assertion. Jim Bowie is said to descend from John Bowie born in 1688 in Carnock, Scotland. He came to Maryland by 1707. Col. Bowie would be James the third, Great Grandson of John by this genealogy.

“Our ancestor (Robert Buoy son of James Buoy and Marion McEwen, born January 29, 1756 in Kildonan by Downe, Perth, Scotland) having married an English lady, Mary Ross (she was said to be a cousin of the Confederate General Ross.) She was small, dark and very active, remembered by her descendants who remembered with a great deal of affection. While her husband was remembered as a surly Scot. Together they decided to come over the Allegheny Mountains into the territory of Kentucky.”

The Indians were very hostile at that time so their lives were not very peaceful. The settlers would plant gardens, put in crops. Just when everything was ready for harvest, the Indians would attack and they would all have to fort up for protection.

One incident I remember my father telling about was: the babies in the fort were hungry and crying-no milk. Everyone had left so hastily no cow had been brought. So Mary said to Robert, "if you will go with your rifle and protect me I'll milk the cows". So away they went, milked the cows and were returning when they saw a skulking Indian creeping upon them. He was mirrored in a plate on Robert's rifle, reflected on Mary's shiny pill. Telling Mary to run for the fort, Robert stood the Indians off with the rifle. She reached the fort and got within the stockade without spilling the milk.”

Robert eventually settled his family in Vermillion County, Illinois, where on July 13, 1836 at the age of 80 he applied for a pension for his service during the Revolution. In his affidavit he claimed that he entered the service on the 15th day of April, 1777 in Berkley County, Virginia in the Company of Capt. John Vammeter and Lt. Nicolas McIntire, marching to Martinsburg to join the Regiment of Col. Philip Pendelton. From there they went to Old Town, thence to Fort Cumberland and on to Fort Pette. Here they remained a couple days before boarding boats on the Ohio River making their way to Fort Henry. They remained at Fort Henry guarding the frontier from hostile incursions until Capt. Mason’s company took their place.

They marched back by land and were discharged on September 7, 1777, having served four months and 25 days. Robert was again called to serve in October of 1781 and marched with Col. Pendelton to Winchester and on to Fredericksburg. Here they took possession of Cornwallis’ soldiers, held as prisoners after their surrender at Yorktown, and marched them back to Winchester. He remained here on guard duty until the end of November, claiming two months and 8 days of service. In spite of the fact that Robert claimed seven months and 3 days service, his claim was rejected stating he did not serve the required six months. Still we have no reason to believe he did not do the service he claimed, only that his dates were off.

“Mary and Robert raised a family of either 7 or 9 children. My grandfather, Laban, being midway of the family. He left home quite early after a disagreement with his father over a young man who was, as we would say now going steady with one of his sisters. Laban did not approve of his character. He worked on flat boats, hauling freight down the Mississippi River, returning by big boats. On one of those return trips, yellow fever broke out on the boat, the Dr. ask Laban Buoy to assist him in caring for the patients.

Then the Dr. told Laban he had a feeling that he himself would get down with the fever and asked him to care for him telling him what to do. This happened and it strengthened Laban's desire to be a doctor. Of course, he took up the study of medicine. Laban was born in1801 on Lickin River in Bourbon County, Kentucky. In 1820 when only nineteen he united in marriage to Jane Blackburn who was six months older than he. She was born in (North) Caroline and brought to Kentucky by her parents when only two years old. The southern family of Blackburns from whom Jane came have been famous for their political aspiration, fine horses, horse racing sports in general.

Jane's mother and father were Mary Vinzant Blackburn and Robert Blackburn (Coincident her father’s grandparents were both Mary and Robert). Both Mary and Robert were of Welsh descent.

Laban and his father had become reconciled but there might have been further trouble when Laban married into the Blackburn family as they had a large plantation and were slave owners but Jane herself did not believe in slavery.

The Buoys had always been opposed to slavery. When they were married her father sent her a young Negro girl and boy for her slaves but Laban asked for their papers. The old father-in-law said: "You would free them Laban. You would free them." Of course that was his intention.

In 1825 or 6 after the birth of their third child they moved to Rising Sun, Indiana. Here they remained for four or five years, afterward settling in Danville, Vermillion County, Illinois.

They had a large farm which was left to the boys to run while Laban was free to practice medicine. This is not to say that Jane and Laban did not oversee their family of 8 sons and three daughters. Mary married James Hickman and died when her first child was born. Robert the oldest son died about the same time. Eveline, the third child of Laban and Jane married Isaac Stull Swearingen in 1849. She and her husband accompanied by John Buoy, who was Laban's sixth child crossed the plains to Oregon in 1852. They traveled in a wagon train which had as Captain Tucker Scott who was the father of Editor Harvey W. Scott of the Oregonian and Abigail Scott Dunway who was noted as a leader in Women Suffrage of Oregon.

The Buoy family seemed to have enjoyed their life in Illinois very much. For special events there were "sugaring off" parties (they made their own maple sugar), "husking bees", quilting parties, barn raisings, spelling bees; singing schools. Both Laban and Jane were Presbyterians so all attended church and camp meetings.

Laban spent some time in the Black Hawk war 1832-3. This wasn't much of a war but he got some training.”

…“May I back up now and tell you of one of father's fondest remembrance of happenings in Illinois? That was of Abraham Lincoln's visits to their home He said that as he passed thru to plead cases before the circuit court he always spent the night with them and he and his father sat until very late hour talking addressing each other as "Abe" and "Labe" and one day Abe was to plead a murder case in Springfield, Illinois. So grandfather scooped my father, a barefooted lad up put him behind him on the horse and let him hear Lincoln. He declared that Lincoln had a full resonant voice which seemed to fill the court room and also agreed with many authors who speak of that influence that seemed to emanate from Lincoln. No doubt Lincoln and grandfather had known each other when young.”

“Early in the spring of 1853 they began their trek to Oregon in covered wagon with a company of 500 and Laban Buoy as Captain. He seems to have been a good disciplinarian. He caused them to rest both animals and selves each Sunday to maintain their strength; there was very little sickness in the train. None fatal. They had very little trouble from the Indians. They did try once to stampede their animals but did not succeed.

One incident I might tell of about the Indians. As they were traveling along somewhere in Idaho an Indian came asking if there might be a Dr. in the train. Grandfather said he was one. (The Indian was of the Nez Pierce tribe. They were quite civilized had come under the teaching of Presbyterian missionary, Spaulding.). An Indian boy a son of the Chief, Lawyer of the Nez Pierces had been thrown off his horse on a stub of a tree when his horse was scared by a bear. Gangrene was setting in and Mountaineer Craig sent the Indian to ask for a Dr. Grandfather took my father with him and went to the boy in spite of the objection of the emigrants who feared they would ambush him and leave them without a leader.

He cared for him there, had the Indians bring the boy down and camp near the train so he took care until he was out of danger. The Indians brought them fresh meat, fish and vegetables and were very friendly. Years afterward when my father was going to the Idaho Mines an Indian was running the ferry across the Snake River. He approached my father and asked if he could row. Of course he could, so he crossed his party first. On the way over he asked: "Did my father ever pay your father for helping me?" Father said he asked no pay. He said very slowly."I'd like to see your father." He told him he could for he was then at Florence, Idaho. So he hunted him up, gave him a horse, saddle and bridle.”

“Reaching Eastern Oregon, they came down over the mountains and struck the Barlow Route. Were at the Philip Foster place on father's (Thomas Buoy) 20th birthday, Aug. 13, 1853, then on to Creswell, Lane County, Oregon.”

Coming to Lane County Laban bought the squatter's right to six hundred and forty acres located a half mile south of Creswell, 160.77acres in his name, 160.77 acres in the name of son James Buoy, 160.35acres in the name of John Buoy and 158.75 acres in the name of Thomas Buoy. Upon the property he developed his time and energy in cultivation and improvement, remaining so employed until his death.

Churches were established as soon as settlers were able to organize a group. The First Presbyterian Church was organized in 1855. The meeting was held under an oak tree on the John Currin property, east of town, (may be Cottage Grove) in July 1855. The oak tree, now bent and twisted, is still standing and was able to withstand the Columbus Day storm of 1962.

Minutes of the first meeting have been preserved. Charted members were; William Oglesaby, Mary Oglesby, Laban Buoy, Jane Buoy, H.C. Vearch, Samuel Dillard, Elizabeth Dillard, Perrin Bryant, Margaret Currin,William W. Oglesby, Mary M.J. Oglesby, Letitia Cochran, George Small, Ann E. Reed. Meetings were held at the 1853 log school house on the Currin property and the homes of the members.

After his arrival in Oregon Laban made a Land Bounty claim as follows:

“Territory of Oregon County of Lane

On the twenty-second day of October, AD, one thousand eight-hundred and fifty-five personally appeared before me Paul Brattain, auditor, within and for the County and Territory aforesaid, Laban Buoy, aged fifty-two years a resident of Lane County in the Territory of Oregon, who, being duly sworn according to the law, declares that he is the identical Laban Buoy who was a private in the company commanded by Captain John Thomas in the independent regiment of mounted volunteers commanded by Isaac R. Moores in the War between the Blackhawk Indians and the United States in the year 1832 for the term of thirty-three days and continued in actual service in said war for fourteen days; that he has heretofore made application for bounty lands under the Act of September 28, 1850 and received a land warrant, (the) No., affiant does not now remember (and)which (he) has since legally disposed of and cannot now return.

He makes this declaration for the purpose of obtaining the additional bounty land to which he may be entitled under the act approved the 3rd day of march, 1855. He also declares that he has never applied for nor received under this nor any other Act of Congress any bounty Land warrant except the one mentioned above.”

Later that year (1855) Laban Buoy and his son John enlisted during the Rogue River Indian War. Laban “was Captain of Company B, second regiment of Oregon Mounted Volunteers. The most serious of the engagements was at Looking Glass Prairie, though he continued in service throughout the entire war, receiving the commendation of all who appreciated the great danger and difficulty through which he passed. ”

Some of his activities during the war were recorded and a journel:

Oct. 25, Thursday. This morning our officers are busily engaged in making necessary arrangements for our trip. At 1 o'clock we paraded with Captains Buoy's (Laban Buoy, captain of company B, second regiment of Oregon mounted volunteers) company of Lane Co.. and Mr. Michel of Lane Co. and Mr. I.N. Smith of Lynn Co. delivered us a very patriotic speech, each. We then traveled 10 miles and camped for the night on the coast fork of the Willamette River. A middling show for cooking owing to the scarcity of cooking utensils, which we will get at Roseburg.

November 20, Tuesday, This morning all hands complain of being sore, after climbing mountains all day yesterday and lugging their knapsacks. Half rations for breakfast; a little dough found on a stick and baked, and a small slice of beef constituted my meal. Having concluded to remain in camp today to wait for provision, Capt. ordered 40 men out on scout; 20 to proceed down the creek to its mount to see if there have any Indians passed down that way on foot; the other 20 to go on to a high peak that lay to our north, to see if there could be any discovery made in that quarter.

While on the summit of this peak we were startled by the firing of guns up Grave Creek, also the report of 3 guns some distance to the west. We supposed that the Indians had attacked our pack train. We went back to camp with all haste. We all gathered up and marched up the creek with the expectation of having to fight. We marched 4 miles and met8 of our men with some of horses packed with provisions. It was Capt. Buoy's company that we heard firing up the creek. We halted and cooked and ate our dinner. Send 10 men back to make another trip for pack animals, as all attempts had failed; thence up a mountain 2 miles. Camped with grass, plenty of water.

November 22, Thursday. This morning we took up the line of march for Rogue River, down Grave Creek 4 miles, thence over a mountain 8 miles, which the boys named Mount Rubbing in honor of a young man . 15 of us volunteer to go down Grave Creek to the mouth, thence down Rogue River to where the pack trail strikes the river, which is 6 miles of a deep canyon, and entirely impassable for anything else but a foot man and so near impassable for them that I never want to try it again. When the trail strikes the river there is an Indian ranch or village of about 25huts, which we burnt. From appearance we supposed the Indians had been gone about 2 days.

We think that they were probably frightened away by our first day's travel down Grave Creek. Had we not gone back when we heard Buoy's guns, we would I think have given them a close chase. There had some 30 or 40 Indians come down the river, supposed to be mostly squaws and children. They were undoubtedly badly frightened. Children and all had been running with all haste. We camped here this evening. Capt. Buoy's company arrived here and camped with us. We were out of meat. They had two beeves killed, one divided with us.

Dec. 11, Tuesday- Remained in camp today, Provision scare. We have no flour, we are living now on rice and meat. Capt. Buoy's Company is camped here with us. They have provisions plenty, but take care to eat it themselves

Dec 21, Friday- The weather is very disagreeable. This morning Capt. Buoy's company left here, a part of them to go down toward Deer Creek to take some squaws that the citizens have become much alarmed about. The remainder of the company moved 4 or 5 miles for the purpose of getting a better camp.

In a letter to Gov. Whiteaker, Laban C. Buoy was one of the signers that the governor call upon Maj. Gen. Harney to send troops and chastise a band of Snake Indians that inhabit the region of county lying between the head of John Days River and Ft. Boise. We being on an exploring and projecting expedition peaceable traveling through to the Malheur were attacked and sixty-seven head of horses and mules were driven off and one man severally wounded. (This is the only place that I've found with his middle initial of "C").

He (Laban) was also influential in all public affairs for the spirit which animated him was thoroughly appreciated by his fellow-citizens and they felt their interests safe when in his hands. He held various of the minor offices in his neighborhood, among them being county commissioner in which he served for one term, and he it was who assisted in the organization of the Republican party. He had been a member of the Presbyterian church since boyhood. He and his wife both died at the age of seventy-four.

At the Creswell, Lane Co. Ore. cemetery that is one mile on the Camas Swell Rd. turn left at Howe Lane and after a few hundred yards turn right through a gate up the wooden Hill. There are twelve "Buoy's" graves. The grave yard is kept in good shape.

Hanniah Buoy

Hanniah Noah Buoy was the fourth of 12 children born to Laban and Jane Blackburn Buoy. He was born in 1828 in Raising Sun, Dearborn, Indiana soon after the family left Kentucky. The father Laban was trained as a Carpenter, and we know that his sons Thomas and Hanniah both followed that trade at times during their lives. Somewhere between the age of 6 and 7 (about 1834) Hanniah moved with his family to Danville, Vermillion, Illinois where he remained until his father moved the family to Oregon in 1853, he being then 25 years old.

On November 22, 1849 Hanniah Buoy married Martha Jane daughter of Charles Caraway and his wife Elizabeth McCorkle in Vermillion County, Illinois. The couple had their first child soon after, but there were no other children recorded until after they came to Oregon. After arriving in Oregon Hanniah Buoy and his wife settled in Creswell, near his father, and between 1854 and 1862 the couple had 4 or 5 additional children. At the time of the 1860 U.S. Federal Census Hanniah was listed as a Farmer in the Coastal Forks Precinct with $2,500 in Real Estate and $2,500 in Personal assets.

Masonic Service:

Hanniah Buoy joined the Masonic Fraternity sometime between 1850 and 1853. The Masonic Lodge in Danville is Olive Branch Lodge # 38 and was chartered October 6, 1846. This is thought to be the same lodge Hanniah’s brother-in-law Isaac Swearingen joined around the same time. After moving to Oregon he applied for affiliate membership at Spencer’s Butte Lodge Under Dispensation. The original Charter members received their dispensation to set the Lodge to work on September 29, 1855 and the following week, October 6, 1855 Brothers Hanniah Buoy and Sidney Saylor put in their applications for affiliation.

They both were accepted on November 17 and signed the By-laws on March 16, 1856. Brother Buoy was never an officer in what became Eugene City Lodge #11. He was said to have been dropped NPD in 1864, however, a look of the records only showed a threat to drop those in arrears. Some were dropped in 1865, but Brother Buoy was not named among them. It is known that Hanniah returned to Illinois before 1865, it is not known if he re-affiliated with his lodge in Danville, or had any further association with Freemasonry.

On July 3, 1865 Hanniah Buoy was found in Catlin, Vermillion, Illinois. By July 6, 1870 H. N. Buoy had $6,240 in Real Estate and $1,500 in Personal assets. He was a farmer living with his wife and 6 children in Vance, Vermilion, Illinois. The assessor’s office in Chico, Butte, California noted that Hanniah Buoy, a carpenter born in Indiana, registered for the vote on October 7, 1875. It is known that within a few years Martha Jane, his wife, died and was buried in Chico.

Members of the family were next found in Texas. On November 28, 1879 Hanniah Buoy married Susan A. Payne in Clay County, Texas. Eliza Buoy, who had married P. C. Spencer was found in Wilbeger County Texas in July of 1880. The couple was found to have a 2 year old son named Frank; also in the household was Eliza’s younger sister Temperance Buoy, age 19. Charles L Buoy, Hanniah’s eldest son, was a saloon keeper in El Paso, Texas in 1900.

It was thought that Hanniah Buoy died of rabies after being bit by a wolf in Texas or Arizona in 1892. However, although the cause could be accurate the place and time were not. Hanniah Buoy and his second wife Susan relocated to Socorro County in the New Mexico Territory. There Hanniah had a daughter Jessie born in 1881 and an unspecified infant child born in about March of 1890.

Hanniah died on April 22, 1890 in Socorro County. He did not have a will and so papers relating to his “mansion house” and goods were filed on behalf of his wife. It was noted that he had children from another wife but their whereabouts were unknown to the court. His Cattle and horses alone were valued at $9,192.50. The value of the land, home and goods were not mentioned, but the livestock alone show that he had been successful in his later life.

Foot Notes:

  1. Pension request of Robert Buoy #1523
  2. Reminisces of Hattie Buoy
  3. From the Index to Oregon Donation Land Claims, Vol. 3, # 6 pg.19;
  4. Arthur R. Say great grandson of Mary E. Lee the granddaughter of Laban Buoy.
  5. The Declaration of Laban Buoy to the "Commissioner of Pensions" in Washington City, District of Columbia, dated October 22, 1855.
  6. Illustrated History of Lane County, Oregon Published by A. G. Walling, 1884 Portland, Oregon. for Noah Buoy.
  7. "Journal of Rogue River War, 1855"
  8. Arthur R. Say great grandson of Mary E. Lee the granddaughter of Laban Buoy.
  9. Illustrated History of Lane County, Oregon Published by A. G. Walling, 1884 Portland, Oregon, for Noah Buoy.

Samuel Hannah

Samuel Hannah 1832-1882

Samuel Hannah was the son of William Hannah of Randolph, Dearborn, Indiana. Samuel was born October 28, 1832 in Indiana. Samuel was probably named for his grandfather Samuel Hanna who was born in about 1780 in Delaware.

Samuel’s father William was born on March 15, 1804 relocating to Dearborn County, Indiana prior to his marriage on February 25, 1827. Samuel’s mother was Meribah Barricklow was born September 13, 1811 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Meribah descends from Coenraed Van Barkelo born December 5, 1680 in Flatbush, Long Island, New York and likely connects to the early Dutch families of the region.

Samuel Hannah appears in Eugene City, Oregon, and is first noted when he put in his petition at Spencer Butte Lodge U. D. in February of 1856, he was then 24. On June 23, 1859 Samuel Hannah married Rebecca the daughter of deceased David Delzell. The marriage is cited in the “Sacramento Bee” newspaper on August 2, 1859, however the Oregon Biographical Index Cards shows that the couple were married at the home of Robert Reed in Eugene City by Rev. Harvey Kimball Hines. Samuel Hannah was a Stock Dealer in Coastal Forks Precinct (Creswell), Lane County with $300 in Real Estate and $2000 personal in 1860. His household contained his wife, her mother Rebecca, born in 1800, sister Martha Delzell born in 1843 and two laborers. Samuel’s wife Rebecca, who was born in 1841 in Missouri, died in Eugene City in about 1863.

In 1864 Samuel Hannah demitted from Eugene City Lodge #11, left Lane County and settled in the town of Union in Union County, Oregon. On May 4, 1865 he married Mary W. the daughter of William Thomas Ficklin. Mary was born in 1847 in Kentucky. According to U.S. IRS Tax assessments by 1867 Samuel entered into the retail Liquor business. In 1871 he was also retailing tobacco and the 1872 assessment shows that he was wholesaling and retailing Liquor and also selling tobacco. Our next notice of Samuel Hannah in non-Masonic sources is the 1880 U. S. Census. Here listed is Samuel his wife and two surviving daughters (4 of the 6 known children died young). Samuel occupation in listed as none, he having suffered a general disability. He died two years later on April 10, 1882 in Union Oregon.

Masonic History

The Eugene Lodge set to work under dispensation on September 29, 1855, five months later the Lodge received its first petitions for degrees. The first one read was for Eugene Skinner, this was immediately followed by a petition for Samuel Hannah; both dated February 16, 1856. Mr. Hannah was interviewed by Brothers Cox, Swearingen and Hiram Smith and Mr. Skinner was investigated by Brothers Avery Smith, J. B. Alexander and Hiram Smith. Both votes were favorable and Mr. Hannah was initiated on March 29, 1856, a week after Eugene Skinner.

Brothers Skinner and Hannah petitioned for the Fellow Craft degree on May 17, and both received their degree on May 31, 1856; Brother Skinner followed by Brother Hannah. At the Grand Lodge Session in June of 1856 the Lodge officially changed its name from Spencer Butte Lodge to Eugene City Lodge and was designated Lodge #11 when the Lodge was granted its Charter the same day, June 10, 1856. On July 20, 1856 the Lodge was opened for the first time under Charter and its new name.

The Lodge was opened under the authority of the Grand Master Alfred M. Belt presiding and the Lodge officers were elected. The Grand Master remained in Eugene and on July 29 the Lodge was opened and the officers were installed by the Grand Master and the Lodge put to work under the new Charter. After the installation the Lodge was called from Labor to Refreshment until the following morning at 9 AM when the Lodge resumed its work. At that time the Lodge received petitions from Brothers E. E. Haft and J. Brattain asking for more light by being Passed to the degree of Fellow Craft and Brother Skinner and Hannah presented petitions asking to be Raised to the Sublime degree of Master Mason.

All of the petitions were accepted and the Lodge went back to Refreshment while a committee consisting of Brothers Cox, Hall and Keith went to make arrangements for further occupancy of the building. At 10 AM the Lodge was called back to Labor and Brother Haft was Passed to the degree of Fellow Craft. The Lodge then took another break until 3 PM when they returned and Passed Brother Brattain to the Fellow Craft degree. The Lodge was closed on the Fellow Craft degree and reopened on the Master Mason Degree at which time Brothers Skinner and Hannah were Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. After a long day the Lodge was closed.

Brother Hannah was elected Junior Warden in 1857 and again in 1859, but otherwise did not serve as an officer in Eugene City Lodge. In 1864 he requested a demit from Eugene City Lodge, which was granted. He then moved to Union County. Eight years later he became a Charter member of Grand Ronde Valley Lodge #56 in Union, Union Oregon which was chartered on June 27, 1872. He was elected the Charter Senior Warden and held that position from 1872-1874; he also served as Treasurer in 1881. He died on April 10, 1882 in Union, Oregon, and was buried in the Union cemetery.

MDR 1/11/2017

Thomas Nolan Aubrey

Thomas Nolan Aubrey

The fourth member to affiliate with Eugene Lodge #11, and the 2nd Master Mason to join in 1856, was Thomas Nolan Aubrey. Thomas was born in Loudon, Virginia on December 17, 1791. He can be traced back 8 generations to Thomas Aubrey of Abercynfrig, Brecknockshire, Wales, who was born about 1500.

His great great grandson John was born in about 1623, and came to Virginia in 1665. At the age of 58 John married 22 year old Jane Johnstone in Westmoreland, Virginia. The couple had at least two sons, John Chandler Aubrey born about 1682 and Francis born about 1685.

In 1713 Captain Francis Aubrey and his wife Frances Tanner had a son named Thomas born in Prince William, Virginia. This Thomas Aubrey married Jemima Tanner Aubrey in 1738. They were full 1st cousins, Jemima’s father was the brother of Thomas’ father and her mother was the sister of Thomas’ mother. Thomas and Jemima Aubrey had a son Thomas Richard Aubrey born in Loudon County, Virginia in 1753. The Aubrey’s lived 3 miles from Mount Vernon, and were neighbors of George Washington. They served the American cause during the Revolution.

Thomas Nolan Aubrey, the fifth generation in America was born on December 17, 1791 as noted previously in Loudon, Virginia. By the time he was 15 the family had relocated to Nelson County, Kentucky, where the father Thomas Richard Aubrey died on April 19, 1806. Thomas Nolan Aubrey married Elizabeth Edwards on December 30, 1810 in Breckenridge, Kentucky. Thomas and Elizabeth had 3 children in Kentucky and removed to Indiana in about 1823.

A daughter Sarah was born in Indiana in 1824 before the family moved on to Missouri where two more children were born, for a total of six. Elizabeth died in Missouri in about 1826. On April 20, 1828 Thomas Nolan Aubrey married Amelia Ann Grubbe in Auberry Grove, Ray, Missouri. Amelia was 17 years younger than Thomas, and together the couple had 7 children, 5 in Missouri, 1 in Iowa band the last child was born after coming to Oregon.

The following story is from the "History of Daviess County" Missouri.

" James Stone, a brother of Hardin Stone, Thomas Auberry (b.1791), who settled in the grove north of Jamesport, and from whom it received its name, and his brother, John Auberry (b. 1783), were returning from Ray county to their homes in this county. They had crossed Shoal Creek, in Caldwell county, and were coming up a ridge in the direction of where the town of Hamilton now stands, when they discovered a black bear making from one point of timber to another.

They were all mounted on good horses, but unfortunately, had no fire-arms with them, their only weapons being pocket knives. Now this might be considered rather a bad fix for men to be in who had never allowed game that they had once sighted to escape them. But then a pioneer’s resources were never known to fail. It was customary in those days to ride with heavy iron stirrups. The hunters unbuckled and each took off a stirrup and taking the leather in the hand, this made quite a formidable weapon. They headed the bear off from the point of timber to which he was making, and turned him in the direction in which they were traveling.

They would then ride up by his side and belabor him over the head and body with their stirrups and then get out of his way when he showed fight. But his head was too hard, and his shaggy coat too soft, for the stirrups to make much impression; they, however, by continued harassing and pounding him with their stirrups, succeeded in so worrying him that when just east of where Hamilton now stands, he attempted to climb a tree which stood in the hollow near where the railroad tank stands, but he was so tired he could not climb.

It was nearly night and some distance to the next point of timber and our hunters were anxious to get through with Bruin before dark’ they accordingly permitted him to lie down and rest whilst one of their number climbed a tree, and with his pocket-knife, cut some clubs with which they put an end to Bruin. It was now dark and our hunters had ten miles to travel to get to the house of James Stone, he living the nearest of the three. They opened the bear, took out his entrails and placed the carcass on one of their horses and went ahead.

Their course lay by the cabin of Hardin Stone, who then lived in what is now Marion township. When they reached his cabin Uncle Hardin and his family had all retired, so they took off the carcass and very quietly took it into Uncle Hardin’s smoke-house, where they left it, and then mounted their horses and went on home. The surprise of Mrs. Stone on going to the smoke-house in the morning for meat for breakfast, can better be imagined than described, but it is sufficient to say that Uncle Hardin didn’t get mad and throw the carcass out of the door. The family had bear steak for breakfast."

The Awbrey family moved from Missouri to Iowa in the early 1840's settling in Polk County at Whig Ridge, so named because of the earnest advocacy of the Whig party by (the) father, Thomas Nolan Awbrey. Thomas and 2 of his sons fought in the Mexico War (1846-48). In the spring of 1850, the family started across the plains, crossing the Cascade Mountains over the Barlow Route in the late fall and spending the first winter at the Holcomb settlement near Oregon City. In the following year, the family moved to Lane County and located near Eugene.

Thomas Auberry, above referred to, was an all-round sort of a man, just such a man as would prove useful in a primitive settlement. It is said that as a justice of the peace he meted out justice, mingled with mercy, and supplemented his lack of legal learning by a plentiful supply of horse sense. He could preach a funeral, preside at a wedding, shoe a horse, take up the corner of a cabin, compound panaceas from roots and "yarbs" which he gathered from nature's lavoratory, was a good judge of a race horse and usually ready to back his favorite against the field, and there is even a lingering tradition that he was not intirely ignorant of the mysteries of "seven up"(a child’s game). Besides all this he was an accommodating neighbor, a true friend and a congenial companion. In many ways he was useful to his day and generation and after all, the world was better for his having lived.

We do not know when Thomas Nolan Aubrey became a Freemason, possibly in Kentucky, but it also could have been in Missouri or Iowa. We do know that by the time he came to Eugene City he was a Master Mason in good standing. He put in his petition for affiliation on March 16, 1856 and became a Charter member by affiliation on April 13, 1856. He remained a member of Eugene Lodge #11 until his death on May 26, 1879. He was buried in the Eugene Masonic Cemetery. Pioneer, Soldier, Just of the Peace Physician and Freemason.

MDR 8/10/16

Foot Notes:

  1. From Southern Oregon Pioneer Association Records, Vol 3
  2. From Memories of John F. Jordan 1904 Early Times of Daviess County Missouri. Chapter of Jamesport in the Early Days

William Wiltshire Bristow

William Wiltshire Bristow 1826-1874

William Wiltshire Bristow was born in Cumberland County, Kentucky on July 18, 1826. He descends from John Bristow born about 1649, who is thought to the son of Robert and Catherine Bristow. Robert was born in 1629 in Hertfordshire, England and died on August 29, 1706 in London. It is not clear where John was born but it was likely in England.

A history of John Bristow reports the following: “John Bristow, as a youth, was found wandering in the colony in 1663. The Lancaster County Order Book was the earliest mention of him that has been found. It said, "John Bristow servent to John Hughes coming into this country without indenture and appearing to this court is ordered to serve seven years from his arrival."

As a minor, he would be subject to the laws of the days relating to orphans, runaways, etc. As he is ordered to serve seven years we can set his age as being fourteen in 1663. This would make his date of birth 1649. There is no tradition and no record found as to why he appeared in Virginia without papers. However, because he could offer no good reason for his being there he was indentured for a period of seven years.

After completing his service, John lived the rest of his life as a respected and public spirited citizen of Middlesex County, Virginia. When he died in 1716, John Bristow left a substantial estate in land and slaves, and a reputation for service to his community and to his church. He had served as juror, appraiser, militia man, clerk of the Vestry, and for many years a lay reader at the Upper Chapel of convenience of Christ Church.

John Bristow was an active communicant of the Church of England and a member of Christ Church (Upper Chapel), which is near Urbana, on the Rappahannock River in Middlesex County, Virginia. That he was a man of some education and of good character and high standing in his community and parish, is attested by the records of his day. He owned much land, and his investment in slaves must have been considerable for his time. He was chosen as Clerk of the Upper Chapel in 1701 and held the position of Clerk until 1715. For his duties as Clerk, John received pay at the rate of one thousand pounds of tobacco per year.

The place and date of his birth are unknown but his name appears in Virginia colonial records first in 1663. In the year he was ordered by the court to serve a period of 7 years as a penalty for having entered the colony without papers of indenture. Assuming he was a minor, the seven years of apprenticeship would seem to place his age in 1663 as 14. Under the laws of the time, he could not be forced to serve beyond his 21st birthday, unless the judgment was for a major crime, which is not the case here. It seems reasonable, therefore, to accept the year 1649, as the year of his birth. He died October 13, 1716 and his will was probated November 6, 1716. There is no mention in Christ Church records of the place of his interment, and the location of his grave has not been found to this date.”

John Bristow had at least seven children the youngest was a son named Nicholas born June 17, 1694 in Christ Church Parish, Middlesex, Virginia. Nicholas and his wife Mary Gardner Bristow had a son John born June 25, 1721 in Middlesex, Virginia. John was the great-grandfather of our subject William who was born a century later. John served in the Revolutionary War as a Cavalryman, and was a member of Captain Thomas Baytop's Gloucester County Militia. His son James, William’s grandfather also served during the Revolutionary War in Captain John Mitchell's Company of Virginia Volunteers.

James Bristow born in 1752 in Tazewell, Virginia “emigrated from Virginia to Cumberland County, Kentucky in 1805 and thence to Overton County, Tennessee where he died in 1818. Elizabeth (Betty) his widow moved back to Cumberland County, Kentucky in 1820. In 1827, she moved back to Overton County, Tennessee and shortly thereafter she moved again, this time to Macoupin County, Illinois, where she died in August 1834. James Bristow, by his first wife Delilah Elkins had a son Elijah born on April 28, 1788 in what was then Russell County, later Tazewell County, Virginia. Elijah’s mother died when he was about 5, his father soon remarried.

Elijah Bristow: “The first settler in Lane county, whose portrait will be found in this work, was born in Tazewell county, Virginia, April 28, 1788. His boyhood days were passed in the mountainous regions of Virginia, where his early training accustomed him to the woodman's ways and to the use of firearms. Here he rapidly became noted as an expert marksman and hunter. His surroundings and early training imbued him with the restless spirit of adventure, and upon arriving at manhood, he set his face westward emigrating to Kentucky, he commenced the improvement of a home, acquiring in the meantime the different trades of hatter, blacksmith and gunsmith; the two latter being his favorites were followed assiduously together with the occupation of a farmer, until old age palsied his arm from further labor.

When the war of 1812 and the Creek Indian war broke out, he was among the first in his locality to volunteer his services to his country. Declining proffered command of a company of volunteers, he went - as he preferred - in the ranks, serving with distinction, in Captain Kennedy's company, through one campaign under General Jackson against the Creek Indians. He was present and took part in the battle of Taladega during that expedition. His accurate marksmanship soon brought him under the notice of General Jackson, who took occasion to frequently put him upon special duty, scouting, etc.

One instance he used to relate with much amusing detail as illustrating "Old Hickory's" violent temper and arbitrary disposition: Being ordered to shoot some beeves, he took his trusty rifle and started for the cattle pens near the camp, but was stopped by a sentinel who refused to let him pass without the countersign. He returned to the general's tent to obtain it, but "Old Hickory" being out of humor about something began storming, saying he "did not send him out to get countersigns but to kill beeves."

That was enough for Bristow, who walked back to the line of the sentinel's beat, and at long range began shooting down the cattle on the hillside beyond. On Learning what was being done, Jackson ordered the sentry to "let that d--- sharp-shooter pass the lines." Various incidents of his campaign life might be related illustrative of his energy and determination under difficulties, but space will not permit.

From Kentucky Mr. Bristow emigrated to Illinois, settling first in Macoupin county; thence to McDonough county, where he lived about twenty-three years. During the Black Hawk war, his neighbors becoming alarmed, commenced to build a fort in which to place their families for safety. In order to quiet their fears, Mr. Bristow volunteered to go to the front and ascertain if any immediate danger was pending; in doing which he went alone from his home to Rock Island and a back, a distance of over a hundred miles, through a country which was then uninhabited except by Indians. Finding the territory clear of hostiles, he returned to his neighbors, quieted their fears and caused the little settlement to again resume its round of peaceful occupations.

In the year 1845, Mr. Bristow set his face westward again, [Going first to California, he was dissatisfied with that country and came overland to Oregon the following spring, 1846. In June of that year, accompanied by Eugene F. Skinner, Captain Felix Scott, and William Dodson, Mr. Bristow started up the Willamette valley in search of a location suitable for the settlement of a large and increasing family. Their route was up the west side of the valley and after passing the Luckiamute river, not a white man's habitation was found; thence going south to the end of their journey. The country through which they traveled was one of the most beautiful on the northwest coast of the Pacific, and habitated as it was in all the luxurious freshness of nature, was peculiarly fascinating to these intrepid explorers.

On arriving at a point between the Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette river, on a low rolling ridge, sparsely covered with oak, fir and pine timber, ever since know as Pleasant Hill, Mr. Bristow's eye was attracted towards the panorama of mountain and vale stretching out before him that reminded him of a like scene in far-off Virginia, where he was born. He halted and raised his hat, allowing the cooling breeze, fresh from the near rolling Pacific to play at will through his thin gray locks, he exclaimed: "This is my claim! Here I will live, and when I die, here shall I be buried!"

The party then camped at a spring nearby and repairing to a grove of firs, cut the logs, erected what was in those early times termed a "claim cabin," and which stood as a sign to all comers that here had a white man filed his intentions, so to speak, of becoming a settler upon the public domain. This was the first "cabin" erected within the present limits of Lane county.

Mr. Bristow next measured off and marked his claim of six hundred and forty acres of land, the amount usually claimed by early settlers in a new country, which was done by "stepping" around the track, the marking being accomplished by "blazing" the trees adjacent to the lines and driving stakes at the corners. Mr. Dodson then marked off a claim for himself, south and east from and adjoining that of Mr. Bristow, while Capt. Scott appropriated one on the west, but this afterwards abandoned and took one up on the south bank of the McKenzie river, opposite the mouth of the Mohawk, upon which he finally settled.

As the party returned, on their way down the valley, Eugene F. Skinner, the remaining comrade, took up a claim where Eugene City, the county seat, now stands.] [The Bristow’s settled in Oregon in 1846 at a place that Elijah called Pleasant Hill. Here the couple established a farm at the southern end of the Willamette Valley, near the branch of the California-Oregon Trail that went up the east side of the valley. A small community grew up in succeeding years; Pleasant Valley post office was established in 1850 with Elijah Bristow the postmaster. The Bristow farm in 1884…was a modest one of house, barn, and fenced enclosures, apparently the structures that were first put up in the 1840s.

The house was built of hewn logs on a plan known as a double house: two separate rectangles covered by a single roof that also includes a porch, and with a central chimney. Each half of the house was entered by a door from the porch, which served as an outdoor hallway. Vernacular architecture historian Phil Dole has ascribed this style, known as a “saddlebag” house, to Bristow’s many years in Virginia and Kentucky, where similar houses were common. By 1884 the house had been sheathed in horizontal wood siding.]

On March 7, 1812, he married Miss Susana Gabbert, who thenceforward became his companion, and by her patience, perseverance and Christian fortitude, did much towards making his future life happy and successful. Elijah Bristow died September 19, 1872, and his loved wife and life-long companion, on March 7, 1874. Theirs was a long and eventful life, interspersed with many trials and hardships, but also with much of happiness and genuine life pleasures. As in life, together they rest, side by side under the oaks in Pleasant Hill cemetery. Theirs was truly a pioneer life and in living it, their Christian acts have left their impress behind them, beautifying their memories and benefiting the lives of those that follow after them.

“In 1837, Elijah Bristow, 49 years of age, was baptized (in a hole cut in the two foot thick ice of a stream near his home in McDonough County, Illinois) and became a faithful proponent of the Restoration Movement (the modern day Church of Christ or Christian Church). At the age of 57, he migrated to California and spent the winter of 1845-46 at Sutter's Fort, where he sustained a broken arm when he was thrown from a horse. He moved north to Oregon Territory the next spring, and became the first settler to stake a claim in what would become Lane County.

He called his claim Pleasant Hill, and built the first permanent dwelling in Lane County. Once his family arrived safely from Illinois in the fall of 1848, Bristow set aside five acres for a church, school and cemetery. In 1850, assisted by his son-in-law James Hendricks, he built a log cabin to serve the needs of the church and school (the first established in Lane County). Following is a list of the charter members of the Pleasant Hill Church, organized on Sunday, August 4, 1850: Elijah and Susannah Bristow, James and Elizabeth Bristow Hendricks, Abel K. and Almira Bristow, Robert and Polly Bristow Callison, William Wilshire and Elizabeth Bristow, Sarah Bristow, Katie Bristow, Zilphia Bristow, Isaac Briggs, Elias and Mary Briggs, William and Polly Bowman, Michael and Sena Shelley, Abel and Elizabeth Russell, John Russell, and Harrison and Jane Shelley.”

Elijah and Susannah Bristow had 15 children between 1812 and 1834. Their 10th child was William Wiltshire Bristow was born July 18, 1826 in Cumberland, Kentucky. When very young his family moved to Blandensville, McDonough, Illinois where he became a Mason before following his father to Oregon in 1848. “Like all other young men in Oregon, at that time he went with the rush to the California gold-mines in the spring of 1849, but returning from there the same fall he commenced the improvement of a land claim.

In the spring of 1850 or 1851 he taught the first school at Pleasant Hill - and in fact the first school within the county. He married Elizabeth Coffey in Silverton, Marion, Oregon on Oct. 17, 1850, she died in 1863. In 1853-3 he was the justice of the peace for the precinct [as such performed a number of the first marriages in Lane County], and for a number of years was post-master at Pleasant Hill. In 1857 he was elected a delegate to the Constitutional Convention which met a Salem, August 3, 1857, for the purpose of framing a state constitution, and participated in the deliberations of that body until its close.

In June, 1858, he was elected one of the first state senators from Lane county, and was a prominent actor in all the scenes incident to setting in motion the machinery of the new state government. In 1872 he was re-elected to the same position, serving with credit to himself and constituency through the two sessions of 1872 and 1874. [He was instrumental in having the state university located in Eugene.] At the time of his death he was running for election to the U.S. senate.]

In 1850 he was found in the household of his father Elijah Bristow a Blacksmith in what was listed as Benton county, Oregon Territory. In 1860 he was a Farmer in Pleasant Hill Precinct, Lane County, Oregon with $6,000 in Real Estate and $2,000 personal. He married second to Mary between 1863 and 1868. The 1870 census shows that he was a Merchant with $1,000 in Real Estate and $4,000 personal, his wife however held $12,500 in Real Estate.

In 1865 he sold his farm at Pleasant Hill, and going to Eugene City, bought a one-third interest in the mercantile business of Bristow & Co., in which he continued until his death, which occurred at his home in that town, on December 8, 1874. He was stricken down in the prime of manhood and in the midst of his usefulness, leaving behind him an untarnished name and regretted by all who knew him. He was a long member of the Masonic fraternity, by which order he received due recognition and burial.”

Masonic History:

It will be remembered that on the 3d October, 1846, (Macomb Lodge #17) surrendered its charter. The Grand Lodge, at its session in 1847, gave the Lodge permission to rescind the resolution, which was done on the 20th November, 1847. On Dec. 27, the following officers were elected: J. E. Wyne, W. M.; W. T. Head, S. W.: William Ervin, Treas.; J. M. Campbell, Sec.; R. Naylor, Tyler. No Junior Warden (according to the record) was elected.

Brother Bristow was the 7th of the 27 men Raised to the Sublime degree of Master Mason in Macomb Lodge #17 for the year 1848. He was Raised on February 11, 1848 and within a few months headed west to Oregon. Before leaving Illinois Brother Bristow requested and received an “Pulsanti Apperietur” which is the Latin phrase Pulsanti Operietur – “to him who knocks it shall be opened” these are the travelling papers of a Mason at large and showed that the man bearing them is a Mason in good standing. Brother Bristow’s paper was signed by the Grand Master of Illinois and dated March 11, 1848. He petitioned Spencer’s Butte Lodge U.D. on March 29, 1856 and became a Charter member of what would soon be known as Eugene City Lodge #11, affiliating on April 13, 1856.

After the Lodge was Chartered in June of 1856, Brother Bristow became the first elected Junior Warden of the Lodge. He did not serve the Lodge again as an officer until he was elected Worshipful Master in 1866. After his term as master he was not again found as an officer. He remained a member for the rest of his life and was buried with Masonic honors.

Foot Notes:

  1. (The above 2 paragraphs are quoted from the history of JOHN BRISTOW OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, VIRGINIA 1649-1711. The information is housed in the library in Kosiasko, Mississippi.)
  2. Illustrated History of Lane County, Oregon Published by A. G. Walling, 1884 Portland, Oregon
  3. Christians On The Oregon Trail, by Jerry Rushford, College Press Publishing, Joplin, Missouri, 1997
  5. U.S. Census 1850, 1860, 1870
  6. Illustrated History of Lane County, Oregon Published by A. G. Walling, 1884 Portland, Oregon

Eugene Franklin Skinner

Eugene Franklin Skinner 1809-1864

The Skinner family can be traced back to John Skinner of Braintree, Essex, England, who was born in about 1510. His great-grandson, also named John, was born about a hundred years later, in 1612, in Braintree. John married Mary the daughter of Joseph and Mary Loomis of Braintree in about 1637.

Sometime in the next couple of years John and Mary Skinner made the voyage across the Atlantic to Connecticut. There in 1643 a son Joseph was born in Hartford. John later moved his family to Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut. The Skinner family remained in Windsor for about the next 150 years.

Joseph Skinner had a son named Joseph born on August 26, 1669, and his son John was born in Windsor on April 19, 1725. John Skinner married Sarah Kennedy on November 2, 1762 in East Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut and ten years later on March 25, 1772 their son John Joseph Skinner was born in that same place. John Joseph Skinner married Phebe Bull on May 17, 1794. Their first child was a daughter named Sarah “Sally” Paine Skinner and was born on May 7, 1796 in Kortwright, New York.

The couple’s 2nd and last child was St. John Bull Lawrence Skinner born in Kortwright on December 4, 1797. St. John was named for his mother’s parents John Bull and Phebe Lawrence. Nine months later on September 4, 1798 Phebe Bull Skinner died at the age of 23. Two year old Sally Skinner went to live with her Aunt Nancy Elizabeth Bull Shipherd. It is likely that St. John went too, at least for a while. St. John later attended the Plattsburg Academy around 1814. He was an influential officer in the Post office Department at Washington City, District of Columbia, under President Lincoln, and went on to become Assistant Postmaster General during the administration of President Johnson.

It was seven years before John Joseph Skinner married again. On January 14, 1805 John Joseph married Amelia the daughter of William and Tryphena Richardson on Granville, New York. The couple’s first child was a daughter named Phoebe Bull Skinner for John Joseph’s first wife. She was born in Granville on November 13, 1805. The family then moved to Essex, New York where Eugene Franklin Skinner was born in 1807, he died eight months later.

Another son, our subject Eugene Franklin Skinner, was born on September 13, 1809. Six months later, in March of 1810 Amelia died, being about 25 years old, and again John Joseph was left with two young children and no wife. The Skinners remained in Essex, New York through the War of 1812. “During the Battle of Plattsburgh in September 1814 Major Skinner fought as part of the militia while his older son, St. John, 16, served with Aiken’s Volunteers.

This was a group of some 20 boys who scouted the woods to report on British troop movements. They constituted a rifle company, fighting at the village bridge on 6 September and, in what was probably the most significant battle of the war, a major engagement on 11 September. Major Skinner was briefly captured by the British at one point, but managed to escape.” Major Skinner was next found in Fredonia, Chautauqua, New York where he bought the Cascade Hamlet Lot west of Main St. from Hezekiah Barker for $20 on March 19, 1818. During this time John Joseph improved his lots and looked for tenants for his Hamlet. “The records of Fredonia’s Masonic Forest Lodge show a payment to him of $22.50 “To 18 Days work in finishing Hall,” that is, some interior carpentry on the new Masonic Hall at today’s 9 East Main Street. The entry adds “Endorsed Porter & Skinner a-c July 3, 1820.”

Whatever the Major was doing turned out to be not enough. By May 1821 he had been imprisoned as an insolvent debtor and his creditors were notified by the required newspaper advertisements that his “estate” would be “assigned” pursuant to the Act of 7 April 1819. Following the standard procedures of the time, Skinner petitioned to have his “estate” assigned for sale to satisfy his creditors and free him from jail.

On 8 August 1821 Judge Zattu Cushing, presiding over the hearing, accepted the testimony offered and freed him. Joseph Skinner’s name, which had disappeared from the assessment rolls, once again appeared paying the taxes on the Cascade Hamlet in 1822 and 1823. The assessed valuation went from $200 to $300, an impressive increase indicating things seemed to be going well for the Hamlet enterprise. It was early in 1823 that the occupants and their leader, (John) Joseph Skinner, felt confident enough in their status to form the Cascade Hamlet Mechanic Society.

Another sign of confidence was St. John Skinner “of Plattsburgh” buying from Hezekiah Barker a small lot just below the Hamlet lot, giving Barker a mortgage for the purchase price of $72.00. That was late in September 1823. Joseph Skinner built a tannery there. A description of the property in a later deed indicates that the tannery was built onto the Hamlet, which means it was attached to some of what had been intended as living quarters: “being the same lots on which the Cascade Hamlet and the tannery attached thereto stand. . . .”

This all suggests a growing sense of confidence in the Major’s enterprise. Indeed, according to Young’s History, Skinner was elected to the vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church in April 1823, which certainly argues for a sense of permanency. That leads to the question of whether he had any family with him. A standard biographical sketch of Joseph’s younger son, Eugene F. Skinner, says he “was favored with particular attention by his father, and when he attained the age of fourteen years was taken to Albany, Green county, Wisconsin, among relatives who were all interested in his welfare.”

Eugene turned 14 on the 3rd of September 1823. If he had been living with his father, we might have expected this greater involvement in the community and positive economic signs to guarantee his remaining here. We do not know, but the move to Wisconsin strongly suggests that he had been left in someone else’s care since 1818, perhaps St. John’s. Eugene’s older half-brother had married in 1820 and he and his wife had three daughters born to them.

If this is an accurate picture of the state of affairs in 1823, why would not Eugene’s father, a vestryman and an involved local citizen, have taken his son, no longer a baby, to live with him, unless he still had concerns about his financial future? If that was Joseph Skinner’s motivation, he was right. No matter the apparent signs of good times ahead, in May 1824, St. John and his wife Phoebe Mooers, had to sell the Cascade Hamlet and tannery lots to David J. Matteson of Fredonia for $925.00 plus the mortgage with interest still due Hezekiah Barker.

Whatever the positive signs had been, they had failed to materialize.” In 1823 John Joseph Skinner appears to have sent his son to Green County, Wisconsin, although he himself seems to have had continued on in Fredonia. On March 24, 1830 Eugene’s sister Phoebe Bull Skinner married Stuart Brock on Hawkesbury Mills, in Upper Canada. Phoebe went to live in Canada, and sometime prior to his death John Joseph Skinner went to live with or near his daughter dying in Hawkesbury Mills, Canada on January 4, 1844.

Eugene F. Skinner was 14 when he went to Albany, Green, Wisconsin. “While yet in early life, however, he went back to his native State, to Plattsburg, but again turned his face westward and settled at Hennepin, Putnam county, Illinois. In youth our subject was of a most industrious disposition, and by diligent application obtained a good education which fitted him in after life for many positions of trust and honor. Living on a farm he naturally learned the intricacies of agriculture, and drank in of the spirit of adventure that subsequently developed in him the arduous undertakings of a life on the frontier. He married in Illinois, November 28, 1839, Mary Cook, who was born in Augusta, Oneida county, New York, February 7, 1816, and while a resident of that State was elected to several official positions, among them being Sheriff of Putnam county.

In May 1845, owing to certain inducements held out to him, and hoping to regain lost health, Mr. Skinner and his family joined a company going to California, among the number being Elijah Bristow and Wesley Shannon, and arrived at the hospitable portals of Sutter's Fort in September 1845. Here they wintered, and in the spring of 1846, journeyed to Oregon, and located for a time at Dallas, Polk county. In June 1846 Mr. Skinner located the donation claim on which Eugene City, named for him, now stands.” “That summer Skinner joined the Bristow party in exploring the valley to the south, and took up a claim downriver some miles from Elijah Bristow's claim at the foot of a low hill.

Fortunately for Skinner, two Kalapuyas happened by, bringing trout from the river. "Build high up," they said, "Ya-po-ah." They pointed to the hillside. Using Chinook jargon, he asked why. "Big waters come some day," they told him. He was convinced to build his cabin on high ground because of the floods. Skinner selected a bench of land on the south side of the hill, cut his logs from the firs at the river's edge, and built a one-room claim cabin. This rude shelter had a door with skins hung across the opening. Its primary purpose was to hold the land until Skinner could bring his family there for permanent occupancy.

The site of his first cabin is commemorated with a marker installed by the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution on the hill known ever since as Skinner's Butte.” Oregon Donation Land Claim, No. 857 was filed in Oregon City by Eugene F. and Marty P. Skinner, they secured the claim on May 29, 1847. “In the spring of 1847, Eugene Skinner brought his wife Mary and their infant daughter Mary Elizabeth, born in December 2, 1846 in Clackamas County, to the tiny log cabin. The cabin expanded, and had two doors and a window looking out across the prairie and the wooded area to the south and west.

For several months Mary was the only white woman in the region that would become Lane County (Bristow's wife, bringing several of their fifteen children, couldn't make the journey from the East until 1848). In the high valley, the few Indians had few disputes for the early white settlers. There came a day, however, when Chief Tom was filled with resentment at the thought of the occupants of the cabin at Ya-po-ah. The Skinners knew enough jargon to recognize the impending danger. Eugene shouldered his musket and patrolled the cabin that night, while Mary molded bullets over the fire. By sundown on the following day, Chief Tom and Eugene Skinner smoked the pipe of peace.”

The Skinners had three children born in Illinois between 1840-1844, but all three died before the Skinners left Illinois in 1845. A daughter Mary was born in Dallas, Oregon on December 2, 1846 and came to Skinner’s Butte with her parents in 1847. “Leonora, the first white child to see the light of day in Lane county, was born September 2, 1848; Phoebe, born March 29, 1850; St. John B. L. born November 7, 1851; Amelia R., born April 16, 1855. Of these, the first named, Mary, died October 4, 1860; Leonora died August 29, 1862; Phoebe married August 30, 1868, John D. Kinsey, a native of New York, who was born October 12, 1835, and died March 13, 1881, leaving a family of three daughters, viz: Maggie, Clara and Mary Louis; St. John married November 23, 1871, Amanda J. Walton; Amelia R. married, August 24, 1871, Byron Van Houten, and is now Mrs. Combs, of Eugene City.”

Eugene Skinner and his growing family settled in to their home at the base of Skinner’s Butte. “Here they farmed, operated a ferry service, and in 1852, with Judge D. M. Risdon laid out the town of Eugene. Mary Cook Skinner was privileged to name the new town Eugene City after her husband. In 1853 Skinner donated a portion of his property for county buildings. Thereafter he practiced law, serving as county clerk and Eugene postmaster for several years.”

Eugene Skinner Postmaster of Eugene City, Lane County, September 3, 1853 (bottom)

“He also attended to law business for a large number of the settlers of Lane County. He was industrious and honest, was a first-class business man, and enjoyed the esteem and confidence of everybody. Mr. Skinner was a good man in the true sense of the word. He was a most estimable, public-spirited citizen, a kind husband, a fond and indulgent parent, and a dear and prized friend to a large number of state and county residents. Hundreds of needy, destitute emigrants, from the time of his first settlement in Oregon, until the last few weeks of his life, found in him a provider and friend; and his charities were freely extended wherever he knew that want prevailed. All in all, he was a man of noble impulses and most modest demeanor.”

“There (was) an enormous ivy tree planted in front of 260 West Sixth Avenue, between Lincoln and Charnelton. Mary Cook Skinner brought four little firs from back of the butte and planted them together. Later she planted ivy, and over the years it became so thick the firs had to be cut down.” The house that stood there was the house where Eugene Skinner died.

The Great Flood

In November of 1861 the western United States was hit by rains the like of which has been rarely seen. Large amounts of rain and snow descended upon the west coast throughout December and January. This came to a climax in mid-January with an intense deluge of warmer rain that not only rivaled what had come before but was enlarged by the melting of the previous large accumulation of snow. The inundation caused all rivers and streams to rise to great heights and in the valleys swept away towns, mills, dams, houses, animals and fields.

It was estimated that approximately one-quarter of all taxable real estate in California was destroyed by the flood. The state of California, dependent on property taxes, went bankrupt, and the government employees had to go without pay for a year and a half. The crisis hit Oregon earlier and on December 3, 1861 the melted snow and abundant rain hit Oregon City with a vengeance. An article in the December 14, 1861, Oregon City Argus, described the aftermath at Oregon City: “The light of Wednesday morning revealed a scene of desolation terrible in its extent no less than in its completeness.

The Oregon City and Island Mills, Willamette Iron Works, Foundry and Machine Shop; all the breakwaters designed to protect the mills and upper end of Oregon City except one short piece are carried away, and over where they stood now sweeps a foaming current against which no building unprotected by a solid breakwater as a defense could possibly stand. An immense amount of drift has passed and apparently the debris of many houses but everything is ground so fine and is hurried out of sight so quickly that little can be known for certain. On the fragments of a large barn, as appeared by the quantity of grain, straw, etc., sat a number of chickens, bearing melancholy evidence of devastation above.

We were compelled to vacate our office this afternoon, the water rising nearly two feet on the floor. Main Street is navigable for skiffs past our door down as far as the Masonic Hall.” Part of the devastation came from the fact that the rivers were the main line of transportation and most of the inhabitants lived near these waterways. During the flooding Eugene Skinner went out to try and save his cattle, it is said that he took a cold from the exposure from which he never fully recovered.

“His death was a calamity to the community of Eugene City; and he was deeply mourned by all, a cold which he had contracted little heeded at the time, was in four days the cause of his sudden death. The Masons and Odd Fellows of both of which orders he was a worthy member, conducted his obsequies on the 17th of December, 1864.”

Masonic Funeral

On Saturday December 17, 1864 a Special Communication was called to meet at the Hall of Eugene City Lodge #11. The Brethren assembled to make arrangements for the funeral and burial of their beloved Brother Eugene Skinner, who had passed away two days earlier, on December 15, 1864. RWB Avery A. Smith Past Master of Eugene City Lodge and Deputy Grand Master of Oregon sat as acting Master of the Lodge. Brothers Gray and Bristow sat as Senior and Junior Wardens respectively.

J. B. Underwood sat as Secretary and Brother J. B. Huff was Senior Deacon and Prior F. Blair Junior Deacon. Committees were arranged; Brothers Gray, Bristow and Underwood were appointed a Committee on Resolutions and Brothers Underwood, Huff and Rhea a Committee of Arrangements. Brothers Dillard, Bristow and Harlow were Pale Bearers and Brothers Rhea and Milliorn served as Stewarts. The Lodge was then called from Labor to Refreshment to be called on again the next day, Sunday, December 18 at 10 AM.

The next morning the Lodge was called back to Labor and “After performing that part of the burial ceremony which is necessary in the Lodge room, the Lodge was called from Labor the Refreshment. A procession was then formed which proceeded to the residence of our late Bro. Skinner, thence to the church where a service was preached by Rev. J. McCormac thence to the grave side where his remains were interred with the usual ceremonies of the order.

The procession returned to the Lodge room where the Lodge was called from Refreshment to Labor. The committee on Resolution reported the following resolutions which were adopted; Whereas it has pleased the Almighty to remove from our midst our late worthy Brother Eugene F. Skinner whom death has cast a gloom over the hearts of his many friends and acquaintances and deprived our order of one of its most valuable members be it:

Resolved, That in the death of Bro. Skinner this city loses one who has for many years ranked among its most respected citizens and our fraternity one who was ever ready to advance its interests. Yet these losses great as they are, are nothing when compared to the void caused in the home circle of which he was the loved and living head.

Resolved, That by this bereavement we are admonished of the certainty of death and of the solemn truth that “Today is only our own: and also is impressed upon us the importance of preparing ourselves while yet is today for the change that surely cometh.

Resolved, That as a testimony of respect to the memory of our deceased Brother the members of this Lodge wear the usual badge of Mourning and that our Hall be draped in Mourning for thirty days and that a copy of these resolutions be transmitted to the family of the deceased and to the Chapter if Royal Arch Masons at Corvallis and to the different papers published in this county.

Nothing further appearing RWB Smith closed the Lodge. The officers for 1865 were elected on December 24 and installed on December 27, 1864.

Mary Cook Skinner and Captain Nehemiah L. Packard

“There (was) an enormous ivy tree planted in front of 260 West Sixth Avenue, between Lincoln and Charnelton. Mary Cook Skinner brought four little firs from back of the butte and planted them together. Later she planted ivy, and over the years it became so thick the firs had to be cut down.” The house that stood there was the house where Eugene Skinner died.

After his death his widow Mary Cook Skinner remained in Eugene, and on February 7, 1867 she married Captain Nehemiah L. Packard. “Captain N. L. Packard - Was born in Camden, Knox county, Maine, July 4, 1818, and there resided until he attained the age of fifteen years, when he commenced a sea-faring life and continued it for the next sixteen years, rising to the position of commander. Abandoning a nautical life in 1849, he paid his relatives a visit, and later in the year took the Empire City to the Isthmus of Panama, where leaving her, he crossed to the Pacific side, took passage on steamer Panama for San Francisco, landing there in September.

Our subject went to the southern mines, and finally located in Sonora, Tuolumne county, California, where he became superintendent of the water company that dug the well-known mining ditch in that district. Having mined in that region for a time, he next moved to Butte county, an engaged in like operations until 1850, when he transferred the scene of his labors to the northern mines.

Subsequently returning to Tuolumne county, at Big Oak Flat, he there remained until 1861, in which year he proceeded to Idaho, and there resided for three years. In 1864 Captain Packard came to Oregon, the first year was domiciled in Gardiner city, Douglas county, and in 1865 took up his abode in Eugene City, where, February 7, 1867, he married Mary, widow of Eugene F. Skinner, the founder of that prosperous town. There they resided until her death, which occurred, June 4, 1881.

Masonic Service

Eugene Skinner must have formed a favorable opinion of Freemasonry. We don’t know if his father was a Mason, but we do know that while in Fredonia, New York Major Skinner did some work for the Masons of that town. Soon after the formation of Skinners Butte Lodge under dispensation in the Fall of 1855, we find Eugene Skinner and Samuel Hannah approached the members for an application for membership. On February 16, 1856 Mr. Skinner’s petition of Initiation was accepted and Brothers Avery Smith, John B. Alexander and Hiram Smith were appointed a committee of investigation.

On March 15 the committee reported favorably and the Entered Apprentice Degree was scheduled for Saturday evening March 22, 1856. At that time the Lodge was opened and Eugene Skinner “being in waiting” was made the first member of the Lodge by Initiation. He put in his petition to advance on May 17, 1856. On Saturday evening the 31 of May the Lodge met for their regular communication after the usual Lodge business Brother J. L. Hall was elected a member by affiliation and Mr. John Brattain was Initiated.

The Lodge took a break, opened on the Master Mason degree and nominated officers to go to Grand Lodge to receive the Charter. The Lodge then was set back to work and Brother Skinner followed by Brother Hannah were Passed to the degree of Fellowcraft. At the Grand Lodge Session in June of 1856 the Lodge officially changed its name from Spencer Butte Lodge to Eugene City Lodge and was designated Lodge #11 when the Lodge was granted its Charter that same day, June 10, 1856.

On July 20, 1856 the Lodge was opened for the first time under Charter and its new name, under the authority of the Grand Master Alfred M. Belt presiding. The Lodge officers were then elected. The Grand Master remained in Eugene and on July 29 the Lodge was opened and the officers were installed by the Grand Master. After the installation the Lodge was called from Labor to Refreshment until the following morning at 9 AM when the Lodge resumed its work. At that time the Lodge received petitions from Brothers E. E. Haft and J. Brattain asking for more light by being Passed to the degree of Fellow Craft and Brother Skinner and Hannah presented petitions asking to be Raised to the Sublime degree of Master Mason.

All of the petitions were accepted and the Lodge went back to Refreshment while a committee consisting of Brothers Cox, Hall and Keith went to make arrangements for further occupancy of the building. At 10 AM the Lodge was called back to Labor and Brother Haft was Passed to the degree of Fellow Craft. The Lodge then took another break until 3 PM when they returned and Passed Brother Brattain to the Fellow Craft degree. The Lodge was closed on the Fellow Craft degree and reopened on the Master Mason Degree at which time Brothers Skinner and Hannah were Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. After a long day the Lodge was closed. Thus Eugene Skinner became the first Master Mason in the Lodge that bore his name, Eugene City Lodge #11.

Brother Skinner soon made himself available to serve his Lodge, learning the parts needed to occupy whatever position most needed filling at the Stated meetings. In August he sat as Secretary Pro Tem and in September as Senior Warden. In October he was Secretary again and in November Senior Warden in one meeting and Secretary in the other. He was Secretary and Tyler for the two meetings in December.

At the Election of officers on December 20, 1856, three newly made Master Masons were elected to serve the Lodge for 1857; Eugene Skinner, Senior Warden; Samuel Hannah, Junior Warden; and John Brattain Treasurer. Brother James W. Huff, who had been accepted as an affiliated member that very night, was elected Master. But it was not to be; Brother Huff, a 24 year old Mason born in Kentucky was refused the position as Grand Master A. M. Belt explained during his address to Grand Lodge on Monday June 8, 1857, at the 7th annual Communication held at Salem:

“At your last annual communication, a Charter was granted to Eugene City Lodge, No. 11, and, accordingly, in August last, I visited that Lodge, and installed its officers ; but at the last annual election of the same Lodge, Brother James Huff, a young Master Mason, was elected Worshipful Master, upon whom the Past Masters of this jurisdiction refused to confer the degree of Past Master, inasmuch as his vocation was deemed incompatible with a faithful and correct discharge of the responsible duties of Master ; their refusal to confer the degree met my approval; and, instead of installing the Master elect, I requested the former Master to continue in office until the meeting of the Grand Lodge, deeming such a course, under the circumstances, better than the issuing of a dispensation, authorizing the Lodge to hold a new election.” Worshipful Brother Lewis Rogers, who lived down by Cottage Grove, was forced to continue on for his 3rd term as Master.

He ended up missing a number of meetings that year and in most cases Brother Skinner filled the void. On April 4, 1857 Brother Skinner sat as Master of the Lodge and Brother Huff as Senior Warden. On April 18, Skinner was again Master and Brother Huff was Junior Warden. On May 3rd Skinner and Huff again were Master and Senior Warden. WB Rogers returned later in May after a couple of month’s absence and fulfilled his role as Master until December 26, when Brothers Skinner and Huff repeated their work as Master and Senior Warden for Eugene City Lodge.

On that day new officers were elected and Avery Smith stepped up as Master and Brother Skinner was elected Secretary. The officers were installed on December 28 and Eugene Skinner sat as Master for the 5th time that year. Brother E. P. Henderson, a Past Master from outside the Lodge, installed the officers for 1858. In 1859 Brother Skinner was elected Treasurer and served in that capacity for the next six years until his death in 1864.

At the Grand Communication in June of 1864, Brother Skinner accompanied Worshipful Master Gray to Portland. Joseph Gray carried his vote as Master as well as the proxy for the Senior Warden and Brother Skinner had the proxy vote of the Junior Warden. On November 20, 1864 Brother Eugene F. Skinner attended his final meeting of Eugene City Lodge #11, where he sat as Tyler. A few weeks later he passed away at his home.

RWB M.D. Robinson Eugene Lodge Historian Feb. 7, 2017.

Foot Notes:

  2. A hamlet is a small human settlement. In different jurisdictions and geographies, hamlets may be the size of a town, village or parish, be considered a smaller settlement or subdivision of a larger, or be treated as a satellite entity to a larger settlement. Wikipedia.
  3. Ibid
  4. Lane County History
  5. Illustrated History of Lane County, Oregon Published by A. G. Walling, 1884 Portland, Oregon
  6. Ibid
  7. History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.
  8. Illustrated History of Lane County, Oregon Published by A. G. Walling, 1884 Portland, Oregon
  9. December 14, 1861, Oregon City Argus, from Wikipedia article “The Great Flood”
  10. History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.
  11. J. McCormac was not a member of Eugene City Lodge #11 at this time, but he joined the next year, 1865.
  12. Eugene City Lodge #11 minute book for 1864 pages 298-299.
  13. Illustrated History of Lane County, Oregon Published by A. G. Walling, 1884 Portland, Oregon
  14. Ibid

Daniel Walker Keith

Daniel Walker Keith

Affiliated Member 1856

Daniel Walker Keith was born in May 1815 in Nelson County, Kentucky. He was the son of Henry Keith, born on October 3, 1795 in Nelson County, Kentucky and died in 1848 in Keokuk county, Iowa, and his wife Nellie Mary Edmondson, who was born in about 1800 in Nelson County, Kentucky.

He descends from Alexander Keith who was born in Scotland in 1681 and died in Annapolis, Maryland on July 2, 1721. Alexander’s son John Keith was born in Baltimore in 1710, he relocated to Hampshire, Virginia in 1750 where his son William was born, before moving on to Harden County, Kentucky. John Keith is listed as a chainman working on a Survey crew led by George Washington in Hampshire County, Virginia, as recorded in his journal on April 23, 1750, the same year William Keith was born. William Keith was the father of Henry and grandfather of our subject Daniel Walker Keith.

Daniel W. Keith married Margaret Dudley on June 15, 1837 in Bartholomew, Indiana. His children were born in Indiana and Missouri.

  1. James F. Keith born 1838 in Bartholomew County, Indiana, died June 25, 1862 in Apache Pass, Arizona Territory
  2. Mary Elizabeth Keith born March 20,1841 in Indiana
  3. Amanda Ellen Keith born Dec. 16, 1844 in Indiana
  4. Martha Jane Keith born 1846 in Missouri
  5. Amelia E,"Milly" C Keith born Jan.6, 1849 in Indiana
  6. William Henry Keith born Dec. 15, 1850 in Osceola, St.Clair, Missouri
  7. Daniel Harrison Keith born May 3,1853 in Osceola, St. Clair, Missouri

Soon after the birth of his seventh child on May 3, 1853, Daniel left his wife and children in Osceola St. Clair, Missouri and traveled west.

A year prior to Daniel’s departure in 1852 a party was sent out to find a shorter route to the Willamette Valley. The “Road viewers” as they were called found a route, but were attacked by Indians and lost their notes. The following year 1853 Elijah Elliot travelled east to met his family and guide them back to Oregon. In the end he had a train of 250 wagons and 1,027 people. Low on supplies they attempted the new “shorter” route, but unfamiliarity with the land, bad water and looming Indian attacks, caused the train to deviate into difficult terrain and lose their bearings.

Mr. Elliot was almost hanged for his part, but was saved by the pleas of his wife. Elliot sent out parties to find their way to the Willamette settlements for help and supplies. They finally made their way down the McKenzie into Springfield. The Train would be forever remembered as the “Lost Wagon Train”. Daniel W. Keith was 38 when he joined the “Lost Wagon Train”, having survived the journey he settled in the Eugene City area.

He later operated one of the many local ferries. At the time of the Rogue Indian War of 1855-56, he became the 1st Lieutenant of Lane County’s Company A. 2nd Regiment, Oregon Mounted Volunteers. By the end of the conflict he was a captain and commanded Company C of the same regiment.”

He was already a Mason when he arrived in Oregon, having most likely joined in Indiana or Missouri. There were other Masons involved with the “Lost Wagon Train”. Anderson H. Darneille was a Mason and member of the Train. Sidney (aka Snyder) Saylor who joined the Eugene City Masonic Lodge in November of 1855, and William Bristow, who affiliated a month after Daniel Keith were both Masons, who left Eugene to search for the Train. Future member and Master of Eugene City Lodge Martin Blanding, then 17 years old and one of the members sent to find help, was found near Butte Disappointment, half starved, on October 16, 1853.

Being located in the Eugene City area Daniel W. Keith petitioned for affiliation with Spencer Butte, later Eugene City Lodge on February 16, 1856, he was affiliated on March 16, 1856 thus becoming a Charter member. He demitted from the Lodge on September 8, 1858. That same year he got “gold fever” and moved down to Josephine County, Oregon where he took up mining. When his eldest son James F. Keith enlisted in San Francisco in 1861, he noted that his father Daniel was living in Jackson County, Oregon.

James died the following year on June 25, 1862 in Apache Pass, Arizona. In 1870, our subject, is listed as "Daniel W. Deith" age 55 and a miner in Slate Creek Precinct, he had no assets real or personal. In 1880 he was found as "Daniel W. Keith" a widower age 65 and still mining in Slate Creek Precinct (today known as Wilderville about 12 miles west of Grants Pass).

On June 9, 1885 Grants Pass Lodge #84 was granted a Chartered by the Grand Lodge of Oregon to work in Josephine County, Oregon. The following year, 1886, D. W. Keith appears on the rolls as a Master Mason and member, and remained so until 1895 when his demit was recorded. There has been no Masonic record, so far located for him between 1858-1885. Although Western Star Lodge #18 and Belt Lodge #26 were in the area (those Lodges merged as Belt Lodge #18 in 1864), Daniel’s name did not appear on the rolls. He may have visited but there is no sign he joined. He appears to have remained apart from his family until 1895 when reportedly his two remaining sons, William Henry and Daniel Harrison Keith went west to bring him back home. In 1900 he is found as Walker Keith, living with his youngest son Daniel in Spring Creek, Coffey, Kansas. He died on November 29, 1901 in Burlington, Coffey, Kansas at the age of 86.

Foot Notes:

  1. The Lost Wagon Train & Oregon Trail Cutoff Fever.

Asa Alfred McCully

Asa Alfred McCully 1818-1886

1st Generation in America. Samuel McCully was probably born in Northern Ireland (perhaps County Londonderry or Donegal) say between 1749 and 1759. He may have arrived in Nova Scotia as early as 1761, but the first certain record of him is in 1778.

On 30 November 1778, Samuel McCully of Londonderry, Nova Scotia, sold to William Martin 500 acres of land in Londonderry, on the road between Debert Village and Masshouse Village. We have been unable to find a deed showing when he acquired that land.

He did not appear on the 1775 list of Londonderry grantees, so he must have obtained the land after that date by purchase, inheritance, or possibly by marriage. The deed states that he held the land "by virtue of the Grant of Londonderry," which could mean that the land came to him by inheritance, but could merely mean that the property was delineated by the Londonderry grant.

Samuel likely married in Colchester County ca 1779-1780, as his first child was born ca 1781. We have found no record of the marriage, and have been unable to identify his wife. Sons were born in 1781, 1784, and 1785, but we have no specific information on where the family was living during those years. Sometime in the 1780s, Samuel purchased from John Mahon 600 acres of land at Great Village, near Londonderry. He apparently was living in Londonderry at the time.

For some reason, the deed did not get recorded until 6 August 1788, after Samuel was dead [4]. Samuel died intestate and no probate papers have been found; apparently Mahon's late-filed deed was adequate to hold the land in trust until the boys came of age. Samuel's wife is never mentioned in any of the deeds, and her situation after Samuel's death is unknown to us.

On 12 April 1809, Samuel's oldest son William McCully, sold to his brothers John McCully and Samuel McCully, for £60 his rights to the Great Village property. At the time, all three brothers were living in Horton, Kings County, Nova Scotia. In November 1809 or 1810 John and Samuel sold the property, and both left Horton soon after. This is the last record we have of any of the family members in Nova Scotia.


William McCully born 1781

John McCully born 25 August 1784

Samuel McCully born 1788.

2nd Generation. John McCully [Samuel-1] was born in Nova Scotia 25 August 1784. Some family records say he was born in Halifax; that could be true, as we are unable to specifically locate his family from 1778 to 1809, and there was some McCully presence in Halifax. Joseph McCULLY of Onslow, Colchester County, Nova Scotia - who may have been a close relative of John's family - in 1807 was called to Halifax for military duty [25]; it was also reported that Joseph worked in Halifax as a tailor [26], although that doesn't seem to fit well with the other information we have on the family.

Regardless of the possible family connections in Halifax, at this point it seems more likely that John's family were in Colchester or Kings County at the time of his birth. For example, sometime in the 1780s, John's father Samuel McCULLY purchased from John Mahon 600 acres of land at Great Village, near Londonderry, Colchester County. He apparently was living in Londonderry at the time. For some reason, the deed did not get recorded until 6 August 1788, after Samuel was dead, so we don't know how long they were in Londonderry. The next record we have of them is in 1809 in Horton, Kings County, Nova Scotia.

We have no information on John for the first 16 years of his life. In a petition he filed in 1820, he stated that he had lived in New Brunswick for 21 years, which would have had him arriving in New Brunswick ca 1799. Because of the short time span between him selling his inherited property in Nova Scotia and getting married in New Brunswick (see below), we have suspected that he lived for a while as a minor with one of the related families (Copp, Hayward, or another McCully family) who came across the Bay of Fundy to Westmorland (= Albert) County, New Brunswick in the 1790.

However, when on 12 April 1809, John's older brother William McCully, sold to John and their younger brother Samuel McCully, for £60 William's rights to the Great Village property, all three brothers were living in Horton, Kings County, Nova Scotia. John and Samuel sold the property and left Horton within the next two years. It is only a short distance across the Bay of Fundy from Albert County to Horton, and moving back and forth would have been simple for young unmarried men. It is possible that one or more of the brothers worked for David Copp or some other mariner who transported goods across the Bay; in that case, John could have been "resident" in both provinces at the same time.

On 23 March 1811 John married Mary Copp of Hopewell, Albert County, New Brunswick. Family tradition is that Mary, the daughter of David Copp and Mary Pike, was born 12 November 1788 in Eastport, Washington County, Maine. That may be true, as David Pike was a mariner, and had interests in areas throughout the Bay of Fundy and Passamaquoddy Bay, including Eastport. However, the land records we have been able to find suggest that the family was living in Hopewell at the time of Mary's birth, and did not own property in Eastport until 1808.

At the time of his marriage in Hopewell, John was farming in nearby Hillsborough, Westmorland (now, Albert) County (although we can find no record that he owned land there). On 11 April 1811, he purchased for £525 a 950-acre farm at Sussex, Kings County, New Brunswick, from his new brother-in-law and sister-in-law James and Catherine (Copp) Wallace. John and Mary moved to the property at Sussex soon after purchase, and their first child was born there March 1812.

About 1815, John's brother Samuel McCully moved from Kent County, New Brunswick, to Sussex, and on 8 August 1816 for £200, Samuel bought 450 acres of John and Mary's farm. On 10 January 1817, John and Mary sold another 300 acres of their land to William and Eunice Read of Sussex (for £20). They continued to live and farm at Sussex until May 1822, when they sold the remainder of their original Sussex purchase to Robert and Rachel Colpitts

(Note: John and Mary's two oldest sons, Samuel and David, were born on the Sussex farm in 1812 and 1814, respectively. Family records put Asa Alfred McCully's January 1818 birthplace at Saint John, St. Johns County, New Brunswick; John Wilmer McCully was reportedly born May 1821 at St. Stephen, Charlotte County, New Brunswick. These locations are approximately 75 and 150 miles, respectively, from Sussex. There is no evidence that John and Mary had property at either place, or that they lived outside of Sussex for any length of time.

Mary's father David Copp and brother David Copp Jr. owned property and did business at Saint John at various times, and St. George is just across the bay from Eastport, Maine, where Copp and Pike relatives lived (but not for certain at the significant times). None of the land records we have for the families fit particularly well with Asa and John Wilmer's birthdates, but perhaps John and Mary were visiting family or Mary had purposely gone to stay with relatives when she was nearing delivery.)

John and Mary had never received any government land, so in 1820 John and a number of other Sussex residents jointly petitioned for Crown lands. John was eventually awarded 200 acres, but not until after the family had left Canada and moved to Ohio. John gave his brother Samuel McCully power of attorney to sell the land, which was done in 1830.

About May 1822, John moved his family from New Brunswick to Ohio. We have so far been unable to find them in any ship passenger lists, but it seems likely that they sailed from Saint John, New Brunswick, to Baltimore, Maryland, and went overland to the vicinity of Steubenville, Ohio. They may have lived for a short time near the Ohio River in Warren Township, Jefferson County, Ohio.

Then, on 30 July 1822 John purchased 110 acres of land near present-day Dillonvale, Smithfield Township, Jefferson County. The family lived and farmed there for four years, selling the property on 16 September 1826. We can find no Ohio land records for the McCullys from September 1826 until February 1829, although they were apparently in the area 10 April 1827 when in Steubenville John applied for United States citizenship. John was in Sussex, New Brunswick, in November 1828, and it is possible that the family was in Canada for an extended period during those two years.

On 27 February 1829, John bought half of a city lot in Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio; we don't know if the family ever lived there, as the 1830 census recorded them in Warren Township, south of Steubenville. Apparently that is where the family was living when John died 19 August 1830. He had been awarded United States citizenship on 19 April 1830. We have been unable to determine John's occupation while living in town, what he died of, and where he is buried.

John died intestate, and in October 1830 Mary (Copp) McCully was appointed administrator of his estate. William Neely and John Neely were appointed by the Court as guardians of the McCully children. We haven't been able to find out anything about the Neelys; they may have just been attorneys or neighbors who were available, but it is interesting that the court record says that the older McCully boys "chose" the Neelys as their guardians. We have been unable to find any additional probate papers for John McCully, and we can't find a deed for the sale of the Steubenville property, or any information on where they might have been living in Warren Township.

On 31 March 1832, Mary McCully purchased a 160-acre farm in Londonderry Township, Guernsey County, Ohio. At the time of the purchase, she was described as "of Guernsey County," but we haven't found where the family had been living. On 21 March 1833, Mary married 2nd John McPherson a recently widowed Methodist minister.

John was born in Virginia ca 1768. He had married 1st Ann S. _____, and with their family the McPhersons arrived in Kirkwood Township, Belmont County, Ohio in 1816, where John was still living in 1833. His wife Ann died 18 January 1832, and was buried in the Sewellsville, Ohio, Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery. Mary lived on the McPherson land in Kirkwood Township, at first probably taking the younger McCully children with her, and leaving the older sons at the Londonderry farm.

By 1840, Mary and John McPherson were alone at Kirkwood, and all the McCully children were at Londonderry. In February 1844, Mary sold the Londonderry property to her sons David and Asa McCully. In April 1844, they sold the property, and the entire McCully family moved to Iowa. Mary went with them, leaving John McPherson in Ohio. Apparently there was no divorce. Family tradition is that Mary was never happy in the second marriage, perhaps partly because John McPherson was twenty years her senior.

The death of their two year old son Marion Benson McPherson in a brush fire in 1837 may have further strained the relationship. In any event, she left. John McPherson lived his final years in Kirkwood with his son-in-law and daughter Lewis and Rebecca (McPherson) Jones, dying there in 1850.

In Iowa, Mary lived with her son David McCully first near Danville, Des Moines County, and then at New London, Henry County. In the 1850 census, she used the name McPherson, but all later references to her call her Mary McCully. In March 1852, most of her family left New London to move to Oregon, and she accompanied them.

The families settled first at Harrisburg, Linn County, Oregon, with Mary living first with either David McCully or her son Asa McCully, until her daughter Mary Jane (McCully) Love arrived from Iowa in 1853. She lived with the Loves in Harrisburg until her death 9 September 1871. A family story is that she seriously dislocated her hip about 1859, and never walked again. She is buried in the Masonic Cemetery near Harrisburg.

Children of John and Mary (Copp) McCully:

Samuel McCully born 6 March 1812

David McCUully born 15 September 1814

Asa Alfred McCully born 31 January 1818

John Wilmer McCully born 21 May 1821

Mary Jane McCully born 29 December 1824

William Hamilton McCully born 2 December 1829

Child of John and Mary (Copp McCully) McPherson

Marion Benson McPherson born 23 December 1835

David Copp (Captain) born August 10, 1752 New London, CT and moved with his family to Horton, Kings co., Nova Scotia when he was about 9 years old. He married Mary Pike September 1777 (sometimes spelled Pyke) She was born 1756 in Horton. They had moved to Hopewell, Albert Co., New Brunswick by 1786. Mary died before 1803, presumably at Hopewell, but no record of her death has ever been found. David married 2nd about 1803, Hannah (Peavy) Johnson, widow of John Johnson, who was probably living at Hopewell. They moved to Washington Co., Maine about 1804, living first in Eastport ten Lubec, where David Copp died May 4, 1817 at age 65.

Mary Copp born November 12, 1788 in Eastport, Washington, Maine September 9, 1871 in Harrisburg, Linn, Oregon. She was married to first husband John McCully on March 23, 1811 in, Westmorland, new Brunswick, Canada who was more August 25, 1784 in Nova Scotia. In August 1830 in Steubenville, Jefferson, Ohion she married 2nd husband John McPherson on March 21, 1833 in Guernsey, Ohio who was born about 1768 in Virginia.


Hon A. A. McCully - Kicked to Death by a Horse, at His Farm in Yamhill County.


This paper, in its edition of yesterday morning, informed its readers that Hon. Asa A. McCully had been kicked by a horse; but it did not contain any particulars of the accident that has since proved fatal, and that has cast such a deep gloom over the entire city.

Mr. McCully left this city about two weeks ago, with A. B. Croasman and their families, for a few days' summering on Nestucca bay. They were on their way home, and had arrived at Mr. McCully's farm--the old Palmer place--about four miles from Dayton, Yamhill county, and eighteen miles from this city, at about 4 o'clock that afternoon. They put their horses in the stable to let them rest a little while before feeding. About 5 o'clock, Mr. McCully went into the stable for something, and the next thing known by any mortal he was carried out mangled and bleeding.

It is supposed he took out his pocket knife to cut off a chew of tobacco, as a small piece, not yet masticated, was found in his mouth, and had dropped it, which was found in the stall after the tragedy. He evidently had stooped to pick up the knife, and the horse kicked him in the back, knocking him down. The ladies, at the house, heard the noise, and sent Mr. Croasman out to see what was the matter. He at once gave the alarm, and his brother-in-law Abe L. McCully came to his assistance.

The body was taken up and carried into the house, and physicians were summoned from McMinnville and Amity. It was thought that the body had only received slight bruises and a glancing kick on the head, when the first examination was made, and, although he was unconscious when picked up, and remained so, the physicians thought for awhile that there might be some chance for Mr. McCully to rally, at least.

Mr. Croasman started at once for this city, arriving here about 10:45 p.m., Thursday night. He at once started back with Dr. C. H. Hall, J. D. McCully and Mrs. Crane, the latter two being a son and daughter of the unfortunate man. But when they arrived at the farm, on their return, at 1 o'clock, yesterday morning, they found that the breath of life had departed from the body, and nothing but the cold, clammy clay of mortality remained.

Asa A. McCully died at 10 o'clock Thursday night. A post-mortem examination of the body revealed the fact that two ribs were broken, as well as both shoulder blades, and that the entire skull above and in front of the right ear was crushed.

Thus is taken, without warning, one of the best men that ever lived in Marion county. No one commanded more respect in business or in social life; and to him this state owes much--he having been one of her pioneers, and having done much to aid in her development. Born in the province of New Brunswick in 1818, he moved with his parents to Ohio in 1823. Learned the trade of making fanning mills when young and worked at this business for nine years in the Buckeye state.

He afterward removed to Burlington, Iowa, and was engaged in merchandising there, and in New London. He crossed the plains to California in 1848 with ox teams, and, although four long weary months on the journey, the whole train of twenty-three wagons and teams, sixty-five men and one woman, came through in good health, and without loss of property--a thing to cause a good deal of congratulation in those days. In 1850 he returned to Iowa, but the western fever caused him to leave his home there again in 1852, and this time Harrisburg, Oregon, was the end of his journey.

Here he located a claim, and later built the first house in Harrisburg, and gave to that place its name. That same year he returned to Iowa, and brought 150 head of cattle overland, shipping also, a stock of merchandise "around the horn" from Philadelphia. In 1863, Mr. McCully moved to Salem, and in 1864 was elected president of the People's Transportation company, an organization that did the bulk of the passenger and freight business on the upper Willamette for many years, and, in fact, exercising complete control over it.

This position he held until the locks were built at Oregon City, when Ben Holladay purchased the line. In 1860 Mr. McCully represented Linn county in the legislature. He has been a member of the common council in this city at several times, but Mr. McCully did not care particularly for an official life. When in office, though, he always did his duty and tried to serve his constituency honestly and honorable.

He was vice-president of the Capital National bank, and a member of Salem Lodge, No. 4, A.F. and A.M., at the time of his death. Mr. McCully was the second among three brothers who survive him. Samuel McCully, who lives at Harrisburg, being the oldest, and John W. McCully, at Joseph, and David McCully, who lives here. He leaves, besides his loving wife, two sons, John D. and Abe I. McCully, and two daughters, Mrs. W. B. Crane and Mrs. A. B. Croasman, to receive the sympathies of his innumerable host of friends.

Throughout a long and useful career in both public and private life his conduct was ever characterized by an evident purpose of making all around him happy; liberal and cheerful in his charities, benevolent without ostentation, many a faltering hand has been strengthened, many throbbing hearts bowed in adversity and misfortune have been cheered by his kindly advice and more substantial offices, which endear him to a multitude who knew him but to love him.

This sad and untimely taking off is a bereavement extending in its influence far beyond the limits of the immediate family, who can feel assured of the deepest sympathy of the entire community. The funeral will take place at 2 p.m., today, from the residence, corner of Center and Winter streets, the A. F. and A. M. conducting the services.

Asa McCully’s 1853 Wagon Train

In 1852, David and Asa McCully brought a wagon train from New London, Henry County, Iowa, to Harrisburg, Linn County, Oregon (see McCully Wagon Train - 1852, link above). On arrival in Oregon, Asa almost immediately left for the East Coast (by sea, this time) to arrange for supplies for a store and to gather together a herd of cattle to use on their Oregon range. He reached the Willamette Valley with a wagon train and large herd of cattle about 11 August 1853. We haven't found an actual journal from this train, but Wesley W. Briggs, who was on the trip, wrote brief reminiscences. His contribution is printed farther down this page.

Account 1 “Across the Plains in ’53, Account of the Expedition Headed by Captain Asa A. McCully” by Wesley W. Briggs

Note: This account was published by Wesley W. Briggs as a "Letter to the Editor" of the Oregonian[Portland, OR] 27 June 1908.

Brownsville, Or. June 27 -- (To the Editor) -- The meeting of the remnant of the old pioneers at Brownsville last week once more stirs the memory to a retrospect of the ordeal of crossing the plains in the early 50s.

This writer came to Oregon with a train organized by Asa A. McCully, and outfitted at New London, Henry County, Iowa, in the Spring of 1853. Mr. McCully was chosen captain without dissent. He crossed the plains in 1849 on his way to the gold fields of California, and again in 1852 with an emigrant train that included his own family and those of three of his brothers as well. In these trips he kept a memorandum of camping places, distances between and where bad water was to be avoided, etc.

March 17 we made our first drive to camp. Here it was arranged to divide the train, the two sections to travel by different routes. We had about 400 head of stock which required feed, and the large amount needed could be obtained with more certainty at two feed yards than one. The journey of our section of the train to the Missouri River was without event of interest, except a stampede of the stock and teams in Northern Missouri.

A scare occurred among the cattle in the rear of the drive, and in less time than it takes to tell it the fright was communicated to the front teams and a genuine stampede was on -- uncontrollable as a Kansas cyclone and forming a spectacle never to be forgotten. The horsemen were unable to gain control until the frenzied beasts had spent their strength.

In rounding up it was discovered that the women and children had been safely taken in their carriages from the course of the stampede. Sidney Hendershot, brother of Hon. James Hendershot, of Union County, was riding in one of the wagons on account of a sprained limb. The wagon was turned over and he was severely scratched and bruised before he could extricate himself. No one else was hurt, but the scattering of bedding, cooking utensils and all manner of camp equipment for a distance of about two miles, furnished an idea of the terrific force with which the teams went forward in their wild fright.

We proceeded to gather the wreckage and make needed repairs on the wagons for an advance, and this occupied three days. Pursuing our journey we arrived at the Daherty ferries, better known as the Government crossing, of the Missouri River, and after a delay of two days we were safely landed on the west side of the river. April 19 we found many Indians on the west bank, who were very annoying.

They had gathered here for the purpose of begging and stealing from the emigrants, and particularly were they disturbing to the minds of us "tenderfeet," who had never before seen an Indian. Our only knowledge of them had been gained from reading the history of their depredations and cruel murders of the first white settlers on the Atlantic Coast. Therefore we hope that our perturbation will not be held as a doubt of our heroism.

On our road to the Platte River we passed over a beautiful and fertile country. Arriving at Platte we proceeded up that valley without anything occurring worthy of note, until we came to Salt River, where we camped for the night. The next morning we observed 50 Pawnee Indians approaching us from the west side of the river. Captain McCully, as a precaution, had the wagons placed in a circle for the protection of the women and children, and he also ordered that every firearm in the train be loaded and made ready for use.

In the meantime the Indians crossed the river and stationed themselves across the road within 50 yards of our camp. Their first move was to demand an animal for beef. This was promptly refused. Captain McCully explained that to grant a Pawnee Indian's demand was equivalent, with them, to admitting fear or weakness. Therefore he would treat them with defiance. The Indians were now loading their guns, of which they had six, and stringing their bows as if for action.

Our boys at the same time were posted to the best possible advantage, with their guns and revolvers bearing on the red-skins with unerring aim, and awaiting the signal to fire. At this juncture Captain McCully, with a revolver in each hand, went near to the Indians and motioned to them to clear the road, and to our general surprise they yielded. But when it came to stacking their arms they protested rather firmly. However, when they understood that they must stack them or fight, they consented, but in a very sullen mood.

This easy ending to what threatened to be a serious affair, was a great relief, and especially to the women folks. Their fright during the danger was without bounds and of very prostrating effect. But when they rallied and understood that the danger was passed, their cup of joy was full. Before proceeding on our journey, Captain McCully gave the Indians a yearling calf, which they very quickly prepared to roast.

We crossed the river without being further molested and made easy drives in order that the other section of our train might overtake us. We did not have to wait long for them to come up, and reunited our force was sufficient for protection in any emergency liable to come up.

The following morning we set our faces to the west with renewed energy. We traveled up the South Platte to the emigrant crossing, crossed over without accident and made our way to Ash Hollow on the North Platte.

As to our journey from there across the Rocky Mountains and down the Snake River, there is nothing to report except that the daily grind of travel had worn the teams to an appreciable extent. David McCully, a brother of Captain McCully, met us with supplies, fresh horses and late messages from the Willamette Valley. His coming was heartily welcomed. Besides being very companionable he was a veteran in the work of handling stock, having twice crossed the plains.

We next crossed the Blue Mountains, over the plains where now flourishes the prosperous, happy and great Inland Empire. Then we arrived at the foot of our grand old Mount Hood. We crossed the Cascade Range by the Barlow route, reaching the valley August 11, making the trip from the Missouri River in four months and 21 days.

For the dangers, privations and long plodding through storm and alkali dust the surviving pioneers of Oregon have satisfactory compensation in the knowledge that they helped to make it possible for the conditions which now prevail. They look upon the churches, school houses and happy homes that dot the country with a pleasure that can only come from a sense of work well done. Now that the success of this glorious country is assured, they serenely await their final summons.

Account 2 “In the Days of ‘53” by W. W. Briggs

Note: This account was probably published in The Bulletin [Harrisburg, OR] about 1914. The other six articles were about the 1852 McCully family wagon train. No copies of the papers that included this series appear to exist, anymore.

A.A. McCully arrived in New London, Iowa in due time and at once applied himself to the task of his mission. He had bought 300 head of stock in a very short time - about three weeks. The winter had been a very severe one and feed was running low, therefore the farmers offered their stock very reasonably. He now set himself to the equipment of a train that would carry supplies for twenty men who would assist him on the trip.

Similar to 1852 the activity in making these preparations created an interest in the Oregon country, and soon the Oregon fever ran high and the supply of men offering their service to help with the cattle, was in excess of the need. In the meantime there were several families who had determined on a home in Oregon, that associated themselves with our train for the trip. Mrs. Love was a sister to the McCullys and mother of Mrs. C.E. Maxson of this city.

The late accessions had so increased the number of stock, that it was thought best to divide the train into three sections, each pursuing a different route while traveling through Iowa and Missouri so as not to overstock places where feed was in light supply. From the 10th to the 15th of March the sections of the train started on their march. The scene of leave-taking, as in 1852, was very sincere and pathetic.

The section of the train headed by Captain McCully, while traveling through Shariden County, Mo., had a very exciting experience - a stampede of the cattle. The drove was scattered along for about a mile behind the teams, when without a moment's warning, they formed in a frenzied, crushing mass, their heads to the ground and tails in the air. There were some plainsmen with us who had experience with stampeded cattle, and they forced their horses to their utmost speed for the purpose of warning the carriages and wagons that were carrying the families, to desert the road and clear the way for the onrush of the crazed beasts.

These barely escaped, but the wagons drawn by oxen did not fare so well - many of them were badly wrecked. In one of these wagons there was a man - Sid Hendershott - riding, who was laid up on account of an injured limb. This wagon was turned completely over and he was dragged beneath a considerable distance and until by some lucky chance the oxen became freed and then he was left a prisoner until help arrived. The cattle continued their course until exhausted and rounded up.

In their wake was scattered all kinds of camp stuff, but with light damage, some broken dishes and battered camp-stoves. The most expensive damage was to the wagons. We were delayed three days in making repairs, when we took to the road again. We arrived at the Missouri River on April 16th, 1853 and at the same point where the 1852 train crossed. The ferries were occupied two days in landing us on Indian Territory.

In our travels over to the South Platte River and on up to the Big River, near in confluence with the Platte, there is nothing of importance to note. Here we had a fine camping place and good feed for the stock. Next morning, after breakfast, when looking to the west, we discovered a band of about 75 Pawnee Indians approaching. They came onto the river and halted to cool themselves before wading across.

Their actions were looked upon by Captain McCully with grave suspicion, and as a precaution, the wagons were wheeled into a circle as protection for the women and children, and all the firearms were very carefully charged and held handy for use in case there should be any wrong move on their part. In the meantime, the Indians crossed to our side of the river, aligning themselves across the road and proceeded to string their bows and to load six U.S. yaugers. These movements were being made - as we took it - as a threat to back up a demand to be made upon the train.

Finally, the demand was made for cattle, and we were referred to their fighting force as a reference; but to their great surprise, they were flatly refused and scornfully defied. At this juncture, Captain McCully with a cocked navy-revolver in each hand, motioned them to clear the road. At first they refused, but when told our men to be ready they complied. Then they were forced to stack their arms, and we guarded them until the teams and stock were safely across the river. Mr. McCully stated afterward, that if we had shown the least weakness, we would have all been massacred without doubt.

Masonic History

Asa McCully was already a Mason when he arrived in Oregon. He brought with him a demit from New London Lodge #28 in New London, De Moines, Iowa, dated March 17, 1852. He put in his petition for affiliation on March 16, 1856, the same day his older brother David McCully put in a petition for Initiation. Asa was accepted and voted in as a member by Affiliation on April 13, 1856, the same day as his brother David received his Entered Apprentice degree.

Asa McCully did not serve as an officer of the Lodge and demitted in 1859. As with a number of other early members of Lodge #11 who lived north of Eugene, Brother McCully was a Charter member of Thurston Lodge #28 in Harrisburg, a town he founded and named. He was the Charter Secretary of the Lodge in 1860 and was elected Junior Warden in 1862. He demitted from this Lodge in 1864 and joined Salem Lodge #4, remaining a member for the rest of his life.

His older brother David McCully was born on September 15, 1814 in Sussex, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada, as mentioned he was Initiated into Eugene City Lodge #11 on April 13, 1856. David moved to Salem in about 1859 and the Eugene Roster says he demitted at that time, however, the Grand Lodge proceedings showed as an Entered Apprentice in Lodge #11 until 1868 when he was dropped. There is no sign that David McCully ever advanced passed Entered Apprentice. He died in Salem on December 6, 1906.

Notice of the Death of Asa Alfred McCully I.O.O.F. - A. A. McCully, died near Dayton, Yamhill Co., killed by a horse, "deceased was a good citizen, well respected by all who knew hime; Asa A. McCully - Born in New Brunswick in 1818; moved to Ohio at an early age; lived in Iowa many years. Crossed the plains to California in 1848, with an ox-train. Stayed two years, returning thence to Iowa, and in 1852 set out for Oregon, bringing his family with him and locating in Linn County, where he founded the town of Harrisburg.

In the same year he returned to Iowa and brought back one hundred and fifty head of cattle. In 1863 he removed to Salem, where he became president of the People's Transportation Company, which owned the Willamette River steamers. Mr. McCully represented Linn County in the Legislature and after locating in Salem was city councilman for several years.

Foot Notes:

  1. The Descendants of Samuel McCully {"Samuel of Londonderry, Nova Scotia"}By Sanford R. "Sandy" Wilbur, December 2005.
  2. Oregon Statesman 14 Aug 1886.
  3. THE McCULLY TRAIN: Iowa to Oregon 1852 by Sanford R. Wilbur and Sally H. Wilbur, pub. 2000,
  4. Lane pg 775.

Alfred Orton &
N. Markham

Alfred Orton and N. Markham

Charter signers Spencer Butte Lodge U.D.

Of the eight original signers on the Spencer Butte Lodge U.D. Charter, six were elected to officer positions in the Lodge during the first meetings; the other two, Alfred Orton and N. Markam were given Committee jobs but did never held office.

When Spencer Butte Lodge U.D. was granted its Charter the Master and Wardens were elected by the members and approved by the Grand Lodge. At the second meeting of the Lodge, held on October 6th, 1855, the Secretary, Treasurer and Tyler were also elected. Until the Charter was granted to Eugene Lodge No. 11 in June of 1856 the other officer positions remained pro tem and were filled as needed by the brothers attending.

Alfred Orton was born on April 14, 1820 in Genesee County, New York to parents who had come to New York from Connecticut. The details of his life have thus far been elusive and only a sparse record has been assembled. He arrived in Oregon in 1850 and settled in what soon became Lane County . He married to Sarah F. Carson on May 13, 1858 in Benton County, Oregon. She was born in 1832 in Indiana. By his wife he had two sons William born in 1859 and Edward born in 1862. The family was found in Lancaster, Lane, Oregon (the Junction City area) at the time of the 1880 census, where Alfred was listed as a Farmer.

Masonic Service:

At the first official meeting of Spencer Butte Lodge U.D. on September 29, 1855 Alfred Orton sat as Junior Deacon pro tem. At the second meeting of the Lodge on October 6, 1855, prior to the elections during that meeting, Alfred Orton sat as Treasurer pro tem for the opening of the Lodge. Later during that meeting Brother Orton was made a member of the Grievance Committee. Brother Orton was not mentioned again until the eighth meeting of the Lodge on January 19, 1856. At that meeting, by motion of the Junior Warden, Brother Cox, Alfred Orton was “ordered to be demitted”.

This is odd, as normally a brother would request a demit, that the Lodge ordered Brother Orton to be demitted suggests some sort of problem. No further elaboration was found in the Lodge minutes or the Grand Lodge proceedings to suggest the reason for this. A hint that there might not be ill feelings over this were, illustrated on December 20, 1856 when brother Orton sat as Senior Warden pro tem for Eugene City Lodge No. 11. It is not clear what became of Brother Orton, Masonically after 1856, until 1879 when he Affiliated with Junction City Lodge No. 58. He remained a member of that Lodge until his death. Alfred Orton died in Lancaster precinct on March 23, 1881 and was buried in the Masonic cemetery near Harrisburg.

N. Markham is currently a mystery; there is not enough information to reveal any of the details of his life. There is very little mention of him in the Eugene records. We can assume he was present on October 6, 1855 when he was made a member of the Finance Committee, or at least we know he was a member of the Lodge at that time. His name only appears one other time. On Saturday January 3rd 1857 “An application from Bro. N. Markham was presented asking Eugene city Lodge to grant him a demit, he being clear of the Book a demit was granted him”.

Foot Notes:

  1. Early Oregonian Search, Lane pro
  2. Minutes of Eugene City Lodge No. 11 for 1856, page 15.
  3. Minutes of Eugene City Lodge No. 11 for 1857, page 36.

David McCully

David McCully, Entered Apprentice

David McCully was the brother of Captain Asa McCully, a Master Mason and member of Spencer Butte Lodge at the time of its Charter. David was born September 15, 1814 in Sussex, Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada. He petitioned Spencer Butte Lodge for Initiation on March 16, 1856 and received his Entered Apprentice degree on April 13, 1856. The Lodge Roster says he demitted in 1859, however the Lodge reports to Grand Lodge had him as an Entered Apprentice through 1868. David had moved to Salem by 1859, where he died on December 6, 1906.

E. E. Haft

E. E. Haft, Entered Apprentice

E. E. Haft was born in Pennsylvania in 1836. He was a (Surveyor) living in a Hotel in Eugene City with $6000 in Real Estate and $100 personal in 1860. He petition Spencer Butte Lodge for Initiation on April 13, 1856, and was Initiated an Entered Apprentice on May 17, 1856. On July 29, 1857 Brother Haft was Passed to the degree of Fellowcraft. The Lodge Roster says he demitted in 1859, however the Lodge reports to Grand Lodge had him as an Fellow Craft through 1865 when he was dropped. As with Brother J. L. Hall we have yet to learn the full name of Brother Haft, and what became of him.

W. G. Picket

W. G. Picket

W. G. Picket petitioned for Initiation on May 17, 1856. The petition was tabled until September 13, 1856 when it was rejected.

George Rex Ward

George Rex Ward 1816-1893 Affiliated Member

George Rex Ward was born on August 4, 1816 in Onondaga New York. He made his way to Missouri, where he was found as a farmer in Fishing River, Clay County, Missouri at the time of the 1850 census. He was living with the family of James Ward, likely a brother. Information about his parents and siblings has yet to be located. He married Elizabeth Clementine Baber on March 18, 1852 in Missouri.

She was the daughter of Jordan Baber, born 1809 and a descendant of Sir John Baber of Somerset, England, born in 1503, and her ancestor Robert Baber, born 1651, settled in King William, Virginia before 1682. Within a couple of months of the marriage the couple head west to Oregon arriving on October 1, 1852. George settled in Lane County and was living near Coburg in 1855, he relocated to Harrisburg in about 1858. He and his wife had five known children, the eldest Alice died at age 5 about the time the family moved to Harrisburg.

He was a Farmer in Willamette Precinct, Lane County (Harrisburg) in 1860 with $3400 in Real Estate and $1175 personal. His assets increased by 1870 to $7,280 in Real Estate and $2,165 personal. His wife Elizabeth died on November 27, 1873 and so in 1880 the Census shows he was a widowed Farmer living with his four children in Harrisburg.

George Rex Ward was made a Mason, most likely in Missouri. His demit dated April 3, 1852, shows that he was a member of Central Lodge under dispensation in Smithville, Clay, Missouri. This meant he had been a Brother of Hiram Smith in Missouri and they probably came on the same wagon train in 1852.

He petitioned Spencer’s Butte Lodge for affiliation on March 29, 1856, his petition was accepted along with 3 others and he Affiliated with the Lodge on April 13, 1856. He did not serve the Lodge as an officer and in 1859 he demitted in order to start Thurston Lodge #28 in Harrisburg. He was a Charter member and was elected Senior Warden in 1861 and 1863 and served as Worshipful Master of that Lodge in 1864. He was appointed Senior Deacon in 1866. George remained a member of Thurston Lodge for the rest of his life. George’s wife’s brother William H. Baber was also a member of Thurston and was elected Junior Warden in 1866, there was also a John Baber who served as Junior Warden in 1863. George died on May 26, 1893 and was buried in the I.O.O.F. (Oddfellows) Cemetery north of Harrisburg.