Oregonian/1902/November 15/Mrs. Victor Dead

Oregonian, November 15, 1902 (1902)
Mrs. Victor Dead
2522793Oregonian, November 15, 1902 — Mrs. Victor Dead1902


End of Career of the Well-Known Historian.


Was a Prolific Writer on Oregon History — Romances, Descriptive Stories and Poetry Also Came From Her Pen.



Mrs. Frances Fuller Victor, the well-known writer of Pacific Coast history, died yesterday morning, at the boarding-house of Mrs. Emma M. Gilmore, 501 Yamhill street, aged nearly 76 years. For two or three weeks she had not been able to get down to the dining-room for her meals, but it was not supposed that the end was so near. Mrs. Gilmore spent Thursday evening with her, and left her feeling comfortable and cheerful at a late hour. Somewhat after midnight, Mrs. Victor aroused Mrs. Gilmore and complained of feeling ill, and shortly after 8 in the morning she passed away peacefully. Old age is given as the cause of death. The funeral will take place Monday.

Frances Fuller Victor was a native of Rome, N. Y., where she was born May 23, 1826. Her father was born in Connecticut, and her mother, Lucy A. Williams, was of the Rhode Island family of that name. The Fullers moved to Wooster, O., when Frances was young, and she obtained her education in a young ladies' seminary. Then she spent a year in New York City, where she made the acquaintance of literary people whose influence was helpful to her. She also did some newspaper work there. Returning to Ohio, she collaborated with her sister, Metta Victoria, in writing a volume of poems, the authors being still in their teens. The sisters married brothers named Victor. Frances married Henry C. Victor, a naval constructor, who was ordered to San Francisco in 1863. The couple remained there two years and then came to Oregon, Mr. Victor resigning from the Government service. He perished with the steamship Pacific, which foundered off the Northwest coast in November, 1875. In 1878 Mrs. Victor returned to San Francisco, where she remained until 1890, most of the time engaged in historical writing for Hubert Howe Bancroft. Since 1890 her home has been in Oregon, in Salem and in Portland. For the last four years of her life she made her home with Mrs. Gilmore, at 624 Salmon street, until about three ago, since then at 501 Yamhill.

The late Mrs. S. C. Adams, of Salem, was a sister of Mrs. Victor. Her only surviving relative on this Coast is John Wilson, of Walla Walla, a cousin. Mrs. Victor had no children.

The life work of Mrs. Victor was done with her pen. Her first volume after the poems of her youth was "The River of the West," historical and descriptive, issued in 1870 by a Hartford, Conn., publisher. A poem entitled "Sunset at the Mouth of the Columbia" introduces the book, and its closing quatrain has been much quoted:

Be mine the dreams prophetic, shadowing forth
The things that yet shall be.
When through this gate the treasures of the north
Flow outward to the sea.

"All over Oregon and Washington" appeared in 1872, "Woman's War With Whisky” in 1874, "The New Penelope and Other Stories" in 1877, and "Atlantis Arisen" at a later date. The Legislature in 1893 authorized the compilation by Mrs. Victor of a history of the early Indian Wars of Oregon, which was issued the next year by the state printer. Mrs. Victor was a frequent contributor to the Overland Monthly, writing almost entirely descriptive and historical articles on Oregon.

In the first volume of the Bancroft History of Oregon there is a special preface over the name of Mrs. Victor, in which she says, referring to the numbers of writers employed on the Bancroft series:

It seems not only just, but necessary, to affix my name to at least four volumes of the "History of the Pacific States," although that does not cover all the work done on the history by myself. The four volumes referred to comprise the States of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana. Colorado, Wyoming and Nevada. My name is therefore placed or the backs of these volumes without displacing that of Mr. Bancroft.

In 1900 appeared a small book of poems selected as specimens of the work of Mrs. Victor at the various stages of her career. It did not pretend to include all her poetical writings, or any considerable part of them, but only a few she thought more favorably of. She continued her literary labors to the last, contributing to magazines and newspapers. She had a good memory and was said to have better command of the facts of Oregon history than any other person living in her latter days. She did much work in the compilation of a geneological history of the Walworth family, of New England, when the death of the chief patron left it unpublished and uncompleted. The income from her work and a small pension maintained her in modest comfort. She left quite a mass of manuscripts on historical and other subjects that may hereafter be published. Mrs. Victor belonged to the society of Daughters of the Revolution.