Portland, Oregon: Its History and Builders/Volume 1/Chapter 29
The Benefactors—The Literary People—Historians, Poets and Story Tellers.
Persons are mentioned in this chapter not for the purpose of praise or compliment, but to show what the city produced, and what was the influence of such persons on society. If a given community or people produce murderers, thieves, swindlers and bribers, that may show one thing. If another community produces divorces, brothels, illegitimacy and proverty or crime, that may show something else. And if a community produces self sacrificing men and women, who give their time to caring for orphan children, to furnishing means of education, to housing the poor and unfortunate and curing the sick, that shows another phase of humanity—a wide difference from the supposed cases. And in just so far as any community produces any or all of these examples of human conduct, just that far it shows not only the character of the people, but also the moral or immoral and educational influences which combined to produce the good or evil state of society. "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"
The far reaching influence of such men as Jason Lee, Marcus Whitman and John McLoughlin, can never be estimated or described. As this world goes now in the year 1910, neither of these men would be considered a success. They heaped up no riches, they gathered no worldly honors and they tasted but little of the price of power or place. They were the product of another age than ours, of other ideas than those of 1910, and of principles of thought and action that is but an historical reminiscence. And yet their lives, their ideas and ideals, and their examples are insensibly exercising a greater power on society for good than any one hundred Oregonians who have lived and died since their day. If history is to teach us anything it should show who were the teachers, and what it was they taught.
Some men and women are continually in the public eye, and yet their lives are mere bubbles, flotsam and jetsam on the stream of time, to be picked up or dashed down by any wind of circumstance. Of others we get only a glimpse from some noble act or work, and touch them only at one point or trait in their lives. Portland can boast the names of many noble men and women who have shown from unselfish lives and deeds their real character. It is to this class a page should be devoted, that their example might not only lead to emulation, but also show by what root of thought or training they came to bless the world.
The first three men that gave anything to the city were Coffin, Couch and Chapman who donated the row of parks between East and West Park streets. Their great beauty, and their blessing to the little children is only now becoming fully appreciated. As time goes on and the trees attain a larger size the attractions of these little parks will be such as to greatly increase the value of the residential property in the vicinity and make them the most delightful resting places to be found. Captain Couch gave also 10 blocks for a railroad depot, and on which the Union depot is erected.
General Coffin gave also two blocks at the south end of the city for a "Public Levee," a tract fronting on the river 600 feet and 200 feet in depth. The legislature afterwards by special act gave the railroad terminal rights thereon along with use by the public in general. The river frontage on that tract is open to free dockage to all boats and ships. The city afterwards paid General Coffin $2,500 to extinguish a ferry franchise he had reserved on Jefferson street adjacent to the levee. This is the only free boat landing right on either side of the river. This levee property is now worth $200,000; and General Coffin stands at the head of the list of public benefactors.
In addition to this. Coffin and Chapman gave the park blocks between Third and Fourth streets; and General Coffin gave the site for the Harrison street school now called the Shattuck School. In reviewing the history of the Portland public schools, Superintendent Thomas H. Crawford says on page 62 of his review: "There are on file several newspaper items praising a few citizens for their liberal donations of lots and blocks for school purposes. It certainly will not harm any one to say that in all my researches I have found but one-half block owned by the district that came into its possession as a free gift. The north half of block 134 was a donation from Stephen Coffin, and he afterwards gave the present site (a half-block) of Harrison street school in exchange for it. Every lot the district owns, aside from this half block, has been paid for in gold coin raised by a district tax."
The city has now many public schools and many persons that never did anything for the public, have been complimented with the names of the schools, while the only man that gave a foundation for a school house and a most worthy patriotic and public spirited citizen, has been wholly ignored. But the little souls who could perpetrate such injustice may rest assured, that the name of Stephen Coffin will be remembered and honored long after they are put away and forgotten in their little coffins.
In connection with this notice of Captain Couch it may be stated that his children have well maintained the good examples of liberality to every good cause which was set by their parent. Bishop Scott grammar school with its spacious grounds was erected on lands donated by the Couch family. The Good Samaritan hospital, if not erected on lands donated by the Couch family has been largely built by Mrs. C. H. Lewis, and other members of the Couch family.
Among those whose names will always be perpetuated by the growth and beauty of the city is that of Donald MacLeay. Of foreign birth, a naturalized citizen, a "canny Scot" who made his fortune in Portland, he gave almost one-third of all the park ground the city is the owner of. MacLeay Park is already a "thing of beauty," and will be "a joy forever" to all lovers of nature. So situated that it cannot be marred by the professional landscaper, or "cut up" by the speculating real estate agent, its native wildness abounding with hiding places almost in the heart of the city will make it the wonder of little children, the trysting place for lovers, and the attraction of those tired of sky-scrapers and automobiles, for a few hours of rest and repose among the giant firs and umbrageous maples.
Akin to the work of men who gave of their lands to make free space and play grounds in the heart of a great city for the millions who may come after them, is the work of the man who planned the roads and cut the trails that this MacLeay Park and the hills around Portland might become accessible, and their grand elevations, outlook, and scenic beauties be made known and appreciated. That was the work to which L. L. Hawkins devoted his time for years. And not content with opening the way and telling people to go and see, he provided a tally-ho coach and four, and took out visitors to the city from abroad and enabled them to see the wondrous beauties of Portland's matchless location. The first advertising Portland got as a scenic city was given it by Mr. Hawkins. Whenever the name of Mr. Hawkins is mentioned as a man that has done something for the city the remark is made. "Oh yes, Mr. Hawkins started the city museum." But while the museum is a very gem in its way, and unique and hard to excel among all the museums from the Atlantic to the Pacific, it is still but a small affair compared with Mr. Hawkins' greater work of exploiting the natural beauties and grand mountain landscapes spreading out from the city in all directions.
Next to the men who gave the land and pointed out the beauties of the scenes by roads and trails, comes the man who sought to improve upon nature by cultivation of flowers and fruits. The leader among this class of men is Dr. J. R. Cardwell still a resident of the city. Dr. Cardwell was probably the first to spend his money in testing the climate and soil of this region for the production of exotic fruits and flowers. He imported from France and Germany all the varieties of the prunes that offered promise of success in this state; and out of his importations, after years of trial established a great prune orchard on a beautiful farm near to the south boundary of the city. In addition to the practical work of testing varieties of fruit, and cultivation of the same on different soils, Dr. Cardwell has served as the president and executive officer of the Oregon Horticultural Association for nearly twenty years, giving his services without salary or compensation; and in this way rendering a great service not only to fruit growing in this immediate vicinity, but also to the great fruit industry of the state, of which Portland is the business center and greatly profited by the business.
There is another class of men who have taken the lead in unselfish service to the city where there was little glory to be had and no money to be made; but which nevertheless has been of estimable value to thousands of people and especially young people, in affording not only refined pleasures, but great mental profit and improvement.
There is no public institution in the city that has been so generally patronized and for so many years, and that has given so much of both pleasure and benefit to both old and young as the Portland library. The initial movement to found the library came from a man little suspected at the time of having at heart the mental improvement of the people of the city. Starting in business while yet a boy, and in Portland as a dealer in farm produce, and then engaging his savings in establishing the first shoe and leather store in the little city, Joseph A. Strowbridge established an enviable reputation for integrity and business success. To him is due the honor of raising the money to purchase the first books, a few thousand volumes, in New York city, as a commencement for the library. Mr. W. S. Ladd put down the first subscription, on the condition that the library should be kept out of politics; and it is about the only thing in Portland that has always been kept out of politics.
Along the same lines of service to the public was the gratuitous service to the library of Judge Matthew P. Deady as president of the library association for a quarter of a century.
Fully half of the eighty thousand volumes now in the library must have been selected and ordered by Judge Deady, and the painstaking thought and labor of this work must have altogether taken years and years of precious time of the great justice constantly called upon to decide all manner of serious questions in the highest court in the state.Forever connected with the Portland library will be the name of John Wilson. Commencing like Strowbridge, with a little store near the corner of Third and Morrison streets, Mr. Wilson labored patiently and persistently for many long years before fortune brought respite and ease to enjoy the precious books his taste and judgment had been slowly accumulating in a private library of his own. His collection of books was rare and valuable beyond anything to be found in any private library on the Pacific coast. Sometimes a whole year would be used up in correspondence with foreign collectors to secure a rare and coveted volume. And all the time he was laying securely the foundations of a great commercial enterprise. John Wilson was one of the founders of the great
JOHN WILSONBequeathed large private library to the city
Another public spirited citizen must be remembered in connection with the library, and that is Henry Failing. While Mr. Failing was always a liberal supporter of the library, and all other public institutions of the city all his life, and serving the city for four terms as mayor, without salary, he did not forget in making up his final accounts to remember the people who have not money to spare for rare and useful books, and put in a gift of ten thousand dollars for the free public library.
Last but not least in connection with the Portland library is the name of Miss Ella M. Smith. Inheriting a fortune from her father, and desiring to put it to the best use possible, her judgment led her to choose for her monument, when time for her should be no more, a fireproof building to house and protect the library for all time. The beautiful stone building on Stark street is the gift to the city of this noble woman. It was not all of her gifts to the use of humanity, but it was the largest. It befits her noble and gracious spirit, her modest and useful life, excepting only the gift of the Reed institute—and that came from a vastly greater fortune—the gift of Miss Smith has been the largest the city has ever received.
Two of the most worthy people that ever blessed the city of Portland with their honest pure lives were Levi Anderson and his wife. "Squire" Anderson was a familiar and beloved neighbor to all the old Portlanders. For many years he faithfully discharged the duty of justice of the peace. When this worthy pair passed away, they devoted all their fortune to the welfare of orphan boys, as a memorial to their own son who passed away in his youth.
The plans have been drawn for the Levi Anderson Industrial Home, provided for by the wills of the late Mr. and Mrs. Anderson. This home will be an industrial and trade training school for boys and will be built on the ground recently purchased by Archbishop Christie, near the property of St. Mary's orphanage for boys at Beaverton, on the Oregon Electric Company's railway. Three hundred acres will be set aside for the school farm.
Mr. Simeon G. Reed and wife came to Portland as poor as anybody else; and they worked long and patiently together and died childless and left a great fortune (after suitably providing for relatives), to found a school or college embracing all the technical knowledge of the arts and sciences together with academic learning. It was a grand and noble inspiration; and the city of Portland was the recipient of the great gift. Few cities in the United States has ever received so great a bounty. The monetary foundation of the gift, amounting to about three million dollars, will be ample to erect all needed buildings and endow a teaching force equal to all the demands of this northwest upon the most liberal and comprehensive lines of study. It is something for a city to be proud of to have produced such people and to have been the theatre of their successful labors, to have secured their affection and final benediction in this great gift for the welfare of humanity.
Every degree and condition of misfortune appeals to the heart of the charitable, and taxes the generosity of the benevolent in every city in the land. If one stops to think he wonders whether poverty and distress is the punishment of wrong doing or the inevitable lot of the weak and helpless. But for the good or ill,_ the race of man must rise or fall by the average standard of life and industrious honesty. To neglect the aged or infirm, or abandon the infantile weak or deformed in mind or body, would be to substitute brutal force and heartless selfishness for thoughtful selfishness and christian charity, and retrograde to even a lower position than the native red man. But charity for the weak, the sick, the aged, or the poverty stricken, seldom starts from the strong in the full vigor of manhood. It is generally after the man or woman have had their battle with the world, that they come to feel and appreciate to the full, the condition of the fellow being that needs their kindly aid. And this lesson is quite as apparent in Portland as in any other city.
Quite a number of most worthy people early took notice of the duty and necessity of taking care of the aged and infirm. Prominent among these are the names of Mrs. Mary A. Knox, first president of the Patton Home, Mr. Matthew Patton, one of the founders of the home, and Peter John 'Mann and his widow, Mrs. Anna Mary Mann, founders and builders of the home for old people. These people have all labored for a common purpose in their self-sacrifice to promote the comfort of helpless aged people.
The work of Mrs. Knox, and the kind hearted women (Mary Agnes Foster, Edith F. DeLay, Mary H. Evans, and Eva Cline Smith) who have worked with her, is a great inspiration to others to go and do likewise. Commencing with nothing but willing hands to carry out the impulse of kind hearts, and the uncleared land given by "Father Patton," they have built up a home that now shelters and provides for more than eighty aged people. How much of comfort and happiness these noble women have conferred on the aged, the infirm and the helpless that have sought and found a hospitable home under the roof that they have erected can never be known or estimated.
And in the same line to the same purpose, and with the same spirit to help the helpless did John Mann and his noble wife dedicate a large fortune to the erection of the Old Peoples Home, and make provision for its sustenance and comfort. As we write the concluding pages of this history this home, a noble building worthy of its builders and noble purpose, is being furnished for occupancy, and will stand for all the future years of this city the enduring monument to honor the names of John and Anna Mary Mann.
And in the same spirit of self sacrifice, putting aside the fashions and attractions of society for the higher and greater purpose of doing good, the names of Mrs. Mary H. Holbrook, Mrs. Rosa Burrell, Mrs. Emeline Wakeman, Mrs. Susanna Wood, and the gentle Sisters of St. Vincent's Hospital, all of Portland, must ever be held in the greatest respect and highest honor. What pain, sorrow, grief and suffering these noble women have relieved by their daily round of ministration, not for a day—but for years and years. Their names should not be forgotten; they will not be forgotten. It was the Catholic sisters of St. Mary's academy on Fourth street that rendered the first of Christian charities to the poor and sick of the. little village of Portland. Let them be held in greatest veneration.
Mrs. Wakeman served as matron of the Good Samaritan hospital for nearly twenty years and only laid down the great work when her own health gave way under the long continued strain. Mrs. Susanna Woods (familiarly called "Aunty Woods") served nearly as long as the matron and foster mother of forty or fifty orphan children at the children's home in South Portland, and laid down the great load of care and labor when her own strength was well nigh exhausted. Mrs. Holbrook and Mrs. Burrell gave their lives and money to the work of doing good whenever duty called, and it called them everywhere all over the city. As managers and executive officers they were each rare examples of satisfaction to all contributors to the charities and to all their co-workers.
Another name stands out as prominent in every good work, and as a most liberal giver whenever his gifts would alleviate human suffering. Henry W. Corbett's gift to the Homeopathic hospital made that institution a possibility. Without his aid it must have waited for many years, and might never have been built. And it is a great satisfaction not only to the friends of this real philanthropist, but to the recipients of his benefactions, that no man was ever oppressed or harrassed or distressed or injured in any way to contribute to the fortune from which the gifts of Mr. Corbett were made. It is a noble record, and well may his friends be proud of it.There are two more persons that must not be overlooked in this roll of honor. Upon reflection it would seem to be a vile slander on the white man residents of Portland and Oregon, that the legislature of the state had been compelled to pass laws, and kind hearted people had been compelled to raise money and appoint officers to protect little children and dumb brutes from the savage cruelties of the fathers of children and the worse than brutal violence of owners and drivers of the noblest of man's dumb animal friends—the horse. For almost an equal length of time—twenty years or more, W. T. Gardner has as superintendent of the Boys and Girls Aid Society had to fight a continuous battle with debased wretches of delinquent husbands and fathers to protect and provide for their neglected or cruelly treated children. While at the same, time W. T. Shanahan waged a similar warfare against the inhuman owners or drivers of horses, and owners of dairy cattle. It is an awful indictment of men raised in a civilized community that such preventives of cruelty are necessary. And the execution of the law in these cases, more or less fraught with personal danger to those who enforced the law, has been and must be one of the most irksome and unpleasant duties that could be laid on any man. And yet Messrs. Shanahan and Gardner never failed nor halted in their noble work in all these years; until now a public sentiment has been created by the persistent and courageous course of these men, that supports, vindicates and honors the enforcement of the law in these cases.
There are many other noble men and women well worth of remembrance on these pages if space would permit. But these names have been the pioneers and leaders in a great work to humanize and spiritualize the public sentiment of a pushing, rushing population intent on building a great city, and piling up a lot of money.
One More Name. But where does "Joe Buchtel" come in? Or rather, the question should be, where does he not come in? For ever since the town was anything much more than a streak of mud holes from Stark street up to Jefferson, and a lot of heterogeneous cabins and frame shanties along the west side thereof, Mr. Joseph Buchtel has been the general utility man of the town and city agitating, pushing, boosting, and never letting up on anything and everything that would help and benefit Portland. And how much did he get for it? Not a red cent. When Buchtel had got the town built up, and it had realized a little cash over and above every day running expenses, and had got railroads to California and Idaho and as far north as the village of Seattle, then the inflated aristocrats imported a booster to work on a big flat salary. It was easy sailing for him. Buchtel had laid the foundation, built the house, put on the roof—and the imported man could put on, the paint. Now over eighty years of age, Mr. Buchtel is still hard at work for more bridges and better ones—more of everything to improve the city. There has not been any citizen of Portland who has worked so long, so faithfully and so successfully for the upbuilding of the city as Joseph Buchtel—and this is the record that will go down to posterity.
THE HISTORIANS, EDITORS, POETS AND SOME STORY TELLERS.
It has been remarked by somebody that it takes all sorts of people to make a world. And from that standpoint it may be said that it takes all sorts of people to make the history of any community. Without the people who take the trouble to record the progress of events, to write down the recollection of things past and gone forever, and to treasure up the accomplished works of the men and women of a country or a city, the past would be as much of a blank to us as is the history of the native Indian to all the world. To imagine a relapse into such a state is to take a look into barbarism. Without the light and teachings of history, the human race would be no better than barbarians today. So the men and women who have taken the trouble to preserve the history of the past generations of Oregon are people who deserve to be gratefully remembered, along with all others in the field of effort and progress, by the people of this city of today, and all future generations.
The first formal contribution to the history of Oregon, including the history of this city, are the works of Rev. Gustavus Hines, one of the early Methodist missionaries to Oregon. His first book "Oregon, Its History, Condition and Prospects," was published in 1846; and his second work entitled "Oregon and Its Institutions" was published in 1868. This last volume is largely devoted to the history of the Willamette university. Mr. Hines was born in Herkimer County, New York, September 16, 1809; commenced preaching in 1832; appointed to the Oregon mission in 1839, and died at Oregon City, December 9, 1873.
The next volume of Oregon history to attract attention was that of William H. Gray, published in 1870. This work is highly characteristic of its author, and has provoked more discussion than any other book published about Oregon. Gray was among the first to come to Oregon with the missionaries, coming out with Whitman and Spalding in 1836 as an aid to the missions in building the necessary houses. He was a quick, bright man, with great energy and invincible courage; readily took in the whole condition of affairs in the wilderness of the northwest, and was not backward in offering his suggestions as to the relative importance of missions and politics; and early arrayed himself as the leader of the movement to hold in check the growing influence of the Catholic missions. His history is written from the standpoint of his own observations; and the fact that it has provoked much unfriendly criticism only proves the author to have been in a position to know whereof he speaks. Of the work, Bancroft's history says: "As an exhibition of the feeling entertained by certain persons in Oregon, 64 years ago, towards the subjects of Great Britain, and professors of the Catholic faith, it is striking, though perhaps somewhat overdrawn, and all the more impressive, in that the writer speaks as if those past days were still present to him."
William H. Gray was born at Fairfield, New York, in 1810, came to Oregon in 1836, settled at Astoria in 1852, and died at the residence of his son-in-law, Jacob Kamm in Portland, November 4, 1889, and was buried at Astoria.
The next Oregon history to appear was that brought out by Mr. George H. Himes in the year 1885. Of this work Mr. Himes was both publisher and author, notwithstanding another gentleman appears as editor. This is a work of 900 pages and about 600 biographical sketches and a very fine portrait of Oregon's great friend—Thomas H. Benton. This was practically the commencement of the great work done by Mr. Himes to preserve the history of Oregon. Mr. Himes has followed up the difficult and laborious work of a collector of materials for writing history for more than a quarter of a century. His work in this direction far exceeds the labors of all other historians of the northwest. A visit to the rooms of the Oregon Historical Society in the city hall will confirm the observer in the truth of this statement. He has had special advantages to aid him in his ardent attachment to this patriotic duty, in being for many years not only the assistant secretary of the Oregon Historical Society, but also the secretary of the Oregon Pioneer Association. His acquaintance with the pioneers, and the descendants of pioneers exceeds that of any other forty persons in the whole country. And all the historians, poets, and story writers in the long generations to come will be delving into the work of George H. Himes for their themes, and the divine afflatus to portray the glories of the old pioneers, and sing the Georgics of their sons and daughters.The most pretentious history of Oregon was published in 1888 by the Bancroft History Company of San Francisco, making two volumes of 800 pages each. With ample financial resources Mr. Hubert Howe Bancroft of San Francisco, set himself to work in producing histories of the Pacific coast states and territories, including Mexico, The Central American States, British Columbia, Alaska, Utah, and New Mexico. It was one of the most ambitious projects in book making ever attempted, in which all the great libraries of the old world were ransacked, and the histories of the native races traced back into oblivion and the realms of imagination. On this work Mr. Bancroft expended a fortune of a quarter of a million dollars, doing scarcely any of the work himself, but
HISTORIANS OF OREGON 1— Frances Fuller Victor. 2 — William H. Gray. S^George H. Himes. 4 — J. Henry Brown. 5 — Horace Lyman. 6 — Harvey K. Hines working for an eternity of fame through the brains of other men and women hired to do the literary labor of producing forty—four octavo volumes of 800 pages each. The Oregon part of this great history was prepared, compared and written by Mrs. Frances Fuller Victor. For many years prior to the issuance of this history of Oregon, Mrs. Victor had been gathering materials all over Oregon and Washington to write a history of these two states. And when Mr. Bancroft decided to undertake this great history work, hearing that Mrs. Victor had gathered up this material he sought her out offering her employment for a term of years, working on his books on condition that she turn over all her gleanings to him as his property; and if she would not do so, he would anticipate her work by bringing out a history of Oregon in advance and thus ruin her prospects. It was what would be called in modern parlance, a "hold up;" and it succeeded; and Mrs. Victor gave all her collections and brain work for twenty-five years to the Bancroft History Company for stated employment as a writer on Bancroft's books for six years. The Bancroft histories are the most complete and valuable on the subject they cover of any of the main works on Pacific coast history; although the same information might have been well set forth in one— half the space they cover.
Following the Bancroft work the next year came the voluminous history of the North Pacific History Company, edited by Mr. Elwood Evans, of Olympia, Washington. This is a large work of two quarto volumes of 650 pages each; and is planned to cover the entire history of Oregon and Washington from the discovery of the country by the Spaniards in 1603 down to the year 1889. The work is especially valuable for the portraits of the pioneers it contains, numbering altogether 670 of very good wood-cut engravings, which will greatly increase in value as the years roll by.
The last formal work of history relating to Portland or Oregon, is that of the city of Portland, by Mr. H. W. Scott. issued in the year 1890. This was the first work specially devoted to the history of this city; and considering the fact that Mr. Scott had on his hands at the same time the editorial management and the leading part in the editorial work of the daily and weekly Oregonian, it is a convincing proof of his immense capacity for mental labor, and his remarkable talent for unexcelled literary composition. But aside from this volume of 600 pages, Mr. Scott was for more than twenty years the most fruitful contributor to the history of the state, and of the northwest in the form of lectures and addresses before literary societies, clubs, associations, and colleges, as well as to the Oregon Historical Quarterly. He had the rare talent of a discriminating judgment as to the facts of history, as well as the philosophical acumen to discern and point out the principles of thought and action which the analysis of co-relating facts establish. And his great service to Oregon, and to mankind in this regard will not be fully apprehended and appreciated until the lapse of time has enabled men to compare and estimate the influence of his mental personality on the political and social movements of his age.
In the line of biography as related to the history of Portland, the work of Mr. Frederick V. Holman in his exhaustive study of the life of Dr. John McLoughlin, seems to stand alone. No just or complete idea of the life work and real character of McLoughlin can be obtained without reading Mr. Holman's book. The monograph in this history furnished by Mr. Holman on McLoughlin's "The Father of Oregon." while it is a masterly statement of a great matter in the fewest possible words, does not fully set forth the great work of McLoughlin, and only gives the reader a desire to hear the whole story, which they can find in Mr. Holman's completed biography of Dr. McLoughlin.
Many other men have devoted much time and patient research to the history of Portland and Oregon, and have made permanent record in the Oregon Historical Quarterly of their studies. Among these should be mentioned Mr. F. G. Young, secretary of the Oregon Historical Society, and professor of history in the State university. Mr. Young also put in one summer vacation in tracing out the old Oregon trail through the Rocky mountains, his means of transportation being a bicycle, and his quartermasters accommodations such as he could get from an occasional camper, or mover, or the warm side of an overhanging cliff.
Hon. W. D. Fenton, formerly president of the Historical Society, has also contributed to the Quarterly some of its most valuable papers. His review of the life of "Father Wilbur," is a work of the highest value both in historical research, and literary excellence. His articles on the political history of the state fill a long felt want of an accurate and complete history of that important element of the civic life of Oregon.
And John Minto, one of the real pioneers, cutting hoop poles on Portland townsite before there was any town, and now over eighty years of age, has made Oregon history mighty good reading by his modest, straightforward accounts of the pioneer days. Mr. Minto is a veritable storehouse of information about the pioneers and their experiences. And he tells the story with all the freshness and interest of a man who has just got in from a trip rowing and pushing a boat up the Columbia river for Dr. John McLoughlin last week. Pioneer history does not get old and stale with this veteran who has seen Oregon grow up from a few scattered settlements to a great state booming with ships, railroads, factories, wealth on every hand and nearly a million people. Mr. Minto has spent 66 years in Oregon, and is as fresh as ever. He would not be suspected of "dropping into poetry" like Silas Wegg, but the old pioneer is a poet of no mean ability. His "Rhymes of Life" in Oregon, covering 16 pages, are not only original and very interesting, but show a keen insight into the moral and spiritual natures of men. The following stanza is taken from his "Farmer's Song:"
"To stand for justice, truth, and right, against oppression, fraud and wrong, And by your power, your legal right, succor the weak against the strong; The seed of knowledge deeply plant, restrain ambition, pride and greed; That all shall labor, and none shall want in time of need."
Mr. Horace S. Lyman, son of the first Congregational minister at Portland, was also for many years of his life an earnest worker on the history of Portland and Oregon. His work ran through a great deal of Scott's history of Portland, and is most generously accredited by Mr. Scott in the preface. Mr. Lyman also contributed many valuable articles to the Historical Quarterly.
The work of Ezra Meeker, the "Trail Marker," in perfecting and perpetuating the history of Portland and the northwest is original and unique beyond that of anything of its kind west of the Ohio river. Mr. Meeker started for Oregon from Eddyville, Iowa, in April, 1852, and with his first born child only a month old. He crossed the plains with an ox team, passing through the terrible scourge of Asiatic cholera, when hundreds of people were dying every day. Meeker with famished wife and baby reached Portland some time in the month of September, 1852, with only $2.75 in his pocket, being five months on the way. Shortly afterwards he made his way to Puget Sound, settled as a farmer near Tacoma, and afterwards introduced hop growing into the state of Washington. His great work, that which has given him a national reputation, consists in his marking the old Oregon trail from the Missouri river to the Columbia river at The Dalles. To accomplish this work Mr. Meeker returned over the trail in the summer of 1906 with an ox team, erecting stone markers along the trail at convenient stations; and finally interesting President Roosevelt to help him get an appropriation from the U. S. treasury of $40,000 to be expended in markers all along the trail from Kansas City to Portland, Oregon.
THE POETS AND PLAYERS.
We claim him for Oregon City and Oregon. His best known poem is "The Man with the Hoe." The following lines, entitled "The Menace of the Tower," is appropriate to the times:
In storied Venice, down whose rippling streets
The stars go hurrying, and the white moon beats.
Stood the great Bell Tower, fronting seas and skies,
Fronting the ages, drawing all men's eyes;
Rooted like Teneriffe, aloft and proud,
Taunting the lightning, tearing the flying cloud.
It marked the hours of Venice; all men said,
Time cannot reach to bow that lofty head;
Time, that shall touch all else with ruin, must
Forbear to make this shaft confess its dust;
Yet all the while, in secret, without sound,
The fat worms gnawed the timbers underground.
The twisting worm, whose epoch is an hour,
Caverned its way into the mighty tower;
And suddenly it shook, it swayed, it broke,
And fell in darkening thunder at one strogke.
The strong shaft, with an angel on the crown.
Fell ruining; a thousand years went down!
And so I fear, my country, not the hand
That shall hurl night and whirlwind on the land;
I fear not Titan traitors who shall rise
To stride like Brocken shadows on our skies—
Not giants who shall come to overthrow
And send on Earth an Illiad of woe.
I fear the vermin that shall undermine
Senate and citadel and school and shrine—
The Worm of Greed, the fated Worm of Ease,
And all the crawling progeny of these—
The vermin that shall honeycomb the towers
And walls of state in unsuspecting hours.
Samuel L. Simpson is the Poet Laureate of Oregon. He is emphatically an Oregon production. He was born in Missouri and came to Oregon with his parents in 1846, and was educated at the Willamette university. Studied law but took to literature and newspaper work in preference. His poems are fugitive pieces rather than serious study. And the force and beauty of them establish a claim to great talent as a poet. His works have recently, fifteen or more years after his death, been gathered up by a sister and published in an elegant volume. His best known poem is entitled "Ad Willametam," an apostrophe to the river he loved so well. We print the whole poem.
From the Cascade's frozen gorges.
Leaping like a child at play.
Winding, widening through the Valley,
Softly calling to the sea;
Time that scars us,
Maims and mars us,
Leaves no track or trench on thee.
Spring's green witchery is weaving
Braid and border for thy side;
Grace forever haunts thy journey,
Beauty dimples on thy tide.
Through the purple gates of morning
Now thy roseate ripples dance ;
Golden, then when, day departing,
On thy waters trails his lance.
Limpid, volatile and free —
To be buried
In the bitter moon-mad sea.
In thy crystal deeps, inverted
Swings a picture of the sky;
Like those wavering hopes of Aiden
Dimly in our dreams that lie;
Clouded often, drowned in turmoil.
Faint and lovely far away.
Wreathing sunshine on the morrow,
Breathing fragrance 'round today.
Love would wander
Here and ponder —
Hither Poetry would dream;
Life's old questions.
"Whence and wither?" throng thy stream,
On the roaring wastes of Ocean
Shall thy scattered waves be tossed ;
'Mid the surge's rythmic thunder
Shall thy silver tongues be lost.
Oh ! thy glimmering rush of gladness
Mocks this turbid life of mine.
Racing to the wild Forever
Down the sloping paths of time !
Softly calling to the sea ;
Time that scars us.
Maims and mars us,
Leaves no track or trench on thee.
already noticed as the historian of Oregon, was also distinguished as a writer of verses of rare merit; her poems were collected and published ten years ago, two years before her death in this city, and cover 109 pages and 42 subjects.
As related to the great future of the city, with a coloring distinctly Oregon and Columbian, her poem—"Sunset at the Mouth of the Columbia," written one evening in 1865 while sitting on the hill back of Astoria—is here given in full.
There sinks the sun; like cavalier of old,
Servant of crafty Spain.
He flaunts his banner, barred with blood and gold
Wide o'er the western main;
A thousand spearheads glint beyond the trees
In columns bright and long.
While kindling fancy hears upon the breeze
The swell of shout and song.
And yet, not here Spain's gay, adventurous host
Dipped sword or planted cross;
The treasures guarded by this rock bound coast,
Counted them gain nor loss,
The Blue Columbia, sired by the eternal hills.
And wedded with the sea.
O'er golden sands, tithes from a thousand rills,
Rolled in lone majesty.
Through deep ravine, through burning barren plain.
Through wild and rocky strait.
Through forests dark, and mountains rent in twain.
Toward the sunset gate,
While curious eyes, keen with the lust of gold,
Caught not the informing gleam.
These mighty breakers, age on age have rolled
To meet the mighty stream.
Age after age these noble hills have kept,
The same majestic lines;
Age after age the horizon's edge been swept
By fringe of pointed pines.
Summers and Winter's circling came and went
Bringing no change of scene;
Unresting, and unhasting, and unspent,
Dwelt nature here serene.
Till God's own time to plant of Freedom's seed.
In this selected soil.
Denied forever unto blood and greed,
But blest to honest toil.
There sinks the sun! Gay cavalier no more
His banners trail the sea.
And all his legions shining on the shore
Fade into mystery.
The swelling tide laps on the shingly beach
Like any starving thing,
And hungry breakers, white with wrath upreach.
In a vain clamoring.
The shadows fall; just level with mine eye
Sweet Hesper stands and shines,
And shines beneath an arc of golden sky.
Pinked round with pointed pines.
A noble scene, all breadth, deep tone and power
Suggesting glorious themes.
Shaming the idler who would fill the hour
With unsubstantial dreams.
Be mine the dreams prophetic, shadowing forth
The things that yet shall be,
As through this gate the treasures of the north
Flow outward to the sea.
, "The Historian of the Northwest," was born in Rome, New York, in 1826, came to Oregon in 1865, died in Portland, November 14, 1902, and is buried in Riverview cemetery. She was the author of the following books:
Poems, 1851; Florence Fane Sketches, 1853-65; The River of the West, 1870; All Over Oregon and Washington, 1872; Woman's War Against Whisky, 1874; The New Penelope, 1877; Bancroft History of Oregon, 2 vols. 1886; Bancroft History of Washington, Idaho and Montana; Bancroft History of Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming; Bancroft History of California, vols. 6 and 7; History of Early Indian Wars in Oregon, 1893; Atlantis Arisen; Poems, 1900.
A poet, native to the heath, is Mrs. June MacMillan Ordway of East Portland. The MacMillans are pioneers; and the subject of this notice is the daughter of Capt. J. H. MacMillan, and Tirzah Barton-MacMillan, who crossed the plains to Oregon in 1845. June MacMillan was born near Reedville, in Washington County, ten miles west of the city of Portland. J. H. MacMillan earned his title of "Captain" fighting the Indians after the Whitman massacre; and in later life laid out MacMillan's addition to East Portland, and soon after became president of the North Pacific History Company that issued the quarto history of Oregon and Washington already noticed.
Mrs, Ordway commenced writing verses while yet a girl, and influenced by her pioneer antecedents has written much, illustrative of pioneer life. A single verse from her poem on "Our Honored Pioneer," shows the drift of her thought:
With hopes of men, with women's sobs and tears,
No storms could chill their strong, brave hearts,
Nor e'er their courage dim
Through all the many untold trying years.
Her latest and most impressive composition, is the "Memoriam of Julia Ward Howe"—October 28, 1910.
Now, "her eyes have seen the glory"
Of the heavenly mansions fair.
She who won the hearts of people
Shall find sweet contentment there.
She hath builded well an altar
Of sweet charity and peace,
She who broke the chains asunder
That all wars and strife should cease.
She hath heard dear voices calling,
She who never knew retreat,
Now hath found reward and blessing
At the Master's judgment seat.
"In the beauty of the lilies,"
Far across the calmest sea
There 'mid joys she shall awaken,
She who sang to set men free.
TWO POET SISTERS.
Another widely-known poet whom Portland may well claim is Ella Higginson. Mrs. Higginson, was an infant when brought to Oregon by her parents. Here she grew up into girlhood, was educated, married and wrote her most famous poems. In England as well as America one of her lyrics is a household word. Who has not read or heard sung the dainty lines, "Four-Leaf Clover?"
I know a place where the sun is like gold.
And the cherry blooms burst with snow.
And down underneath is the lovliest nook
Where the four-leaf clovers grow.
One leaf is for hope, and one for faith,
And one is for love, you know;
And God put another in for luck—
If you search you will find where they grow.
But you must have hope, and you must have faith.
You must love and be strong—and so—
If you work, if you wait, you will find the place
Where the four-leaf clovers grow.
It is said no poet has written of the west with greater strength and feeling. Her work is lofty in character and deeply tender. Not in English verse is there a more exquisite example of word painting than "The New West," or a poem charged with a finer, nobler sentiment, more grandly clothed, than her "God's Creed." In recent years Mrs. Higginson has lived in Bellingham, Washington.
Carrie Blake Morgan, until two years ago a resident of this city, is a sister of Ella Higginson. Hers is a graceful talent and her thoughts are often tinged with a gentle melancholy, as will be seen by the following poem entitled, "Growing Old."
To feel the failing power; to sit and note
The slipping cogs within the mental wheel;
To strive to hold a thought, and see it steal
Away; to watch each golden fancy float
Beyond our reach. To be no longer bold,
And sure, and free; to falter and to grope;
Yet still to strive, and still to feebly hope,
Until the struggle ends, and we are old.
MRS. M. L. T. HIDDEN.
The president of the State "Woman's Press Club of Oregon," would be a distinguished and forceful character in any community. Her work in the cause of temperance reform in our sister state of Washington has distinguished her as a leader in a work where none but those of marked abilities can accomplish results. Mrs. Hidden combines with literary ability not only a desire but a talent to both serve and lead in every good work for the aid and improvement of women. Willing to work for the church, for the cause of temperance and for equality of civil rights before the law, the work has been put upon her for many years. Commencing by writing and reporting for the press, she has been called to serve the cause of temperance reform as vice-president of the W. C. T. U., both in the state of Vermont and the state of Washington; and as state superintendent of Sunday school work in Washington; and as state organizer and lecturer of the W. C. T. U., in Washington, and as commissioner to the World's Fair at Buffalo, from Washington. In the equal suffrage movement Mrs. Hidden organized the Vermont Equal Suffrage Association and was a co-worker with the brilliant coterie of talented women composed of Julia Ward Howe, Lucy Stone, and others in 1875; and last but not least served the city of Vancouver ably and well as a director of its public schools; besides other honors and services too numerous to mention.
In her verses of welcome to the delegates to the 25th anniversary of the W. C, T. U., of Oregon, she pays a noble compliment to the distinguished woman (Miss Willard) who founded the union:
Our chieftain marked a consecrated way
Of truth, temperance and light;
And she is with us still; her magic sway
Inspires our hearts, and courage gives tonight.
Long years have passed, yet still that voice so clear
Rings out with power in accents sweet and strong.
And woman's life is in a broader sphere,
And woman's place is where there is a wrong.
She leads us yet from heights of power sublime;
She sees her cause triumphant wins its way;
Her message still goes out to every clime.
And heralds forth, a coming temperance day.
O, Loyal hearts, on such as you is laid
The burden of the world's vast need and woe;
The Master sends you forth, be not afraid;
Your faith and strength will overcome the foe.
Maria Louisa Trenholm Hidden was born in Trenholm, Kingsey, province of Quebec, Canada; moved to the state of Vermont in early life; from thence to Vancouver, state of Washington, and is now resident of the city of Portland. Her poem read at the last Pioneers Association meeting has been greatly admired and widely copied.
While Joaquin Miller is not strictly of Portland origin, yet as he is an Oregonian with troops of friends and acquaintances in Portland, and has more than once given the city, very friendly notice, it is but just to return the compliment here. Mr. Miller came to Oregon in infancy, settled at Eugene City, studied law, went to Grant County, then took to verse writing, went to London, England, attracted great attention among literary people, attained a national reputation and settled at Oakland California. The following lines descriptive of the men who pioneered the settlement of America from Plymouth Rock to Portland, Oregon, fairly illustrates Joaquin Miller's forceful style of writing.
What strong uncommon men were these—
These settlers hewing to the seas!
Great horny-handed men, and tan,
Men blown from many a barren land
Beyond the sea, men red of hand.
And men in love, and men in debt.
Like David's men in battle set;
And men whose very hearts had died,
Who only sought these woods to hide
Their wretchedness, held in the van.
Yet every man among them stood
Alone, along that sounding wood.
And every man somehow a MAN.
They pushed the matted wood aside,
They tossed the forest like a toy;
That grand, forgotten race of men—
The boldest band that yet has been
Together, since the siege of Troy!
Another Miller, of a different cast of thought, is Mrs. Lischen M. Miller, the wife of Joaquin Miller's brother. Mrs. Miller was a Miss Cogswell, the daughter of a Lane County farmer, and heretofore noticed as one of the founders of the Pacific Monthly. Mrs. Miller has marked ability for poetry as well as prose composition, and has produced many poems that have been sought for by eastern magazines. The following taken from Putnam's Monthly of December, 1907, is a fair sample of her verse, entitled "Sea-Drift."
Once in a twelvemonth given.
At midnight of the year,
To rise from their graves as vapor
That shadows the face of fear,
And up through the green of surges,
A sweep to the headlands base,
Like a white mist blown to landward.
They come to this lofty place —
Pale as the heart of sorrow
Dim as a dream might be—
The souls of ship wrecked sailors,
And them that are drowned at sea.
In swift and silent procession
Circle the lonely sweep,
Where the wild wind faints before them,
And hushed is the roar of the deep.
Another poet of great promise, whose beautiful verse was known to but few readers when death silenced her lyre forever, was Mrs. Marion Cook Stow.
Born in Sandusky, Ohio, June 7, 1875, Marion Cook came to Oregon when a child. She received her education in the public schools and early evinced anfor verse-making. She was particularly a student and lover of the outdoor life, and the major portions of poems that have emanated from her facile pen breathes the spirits of the wild woods and a love for green things-a-growing.
Perhaps the best known of her longer poems is "Where Flows Hood River," which was given to the public in 1907. This was followed by a prose story for children, "The Child and the Dream," which won enconiums from press and public. A bound collection of shorter verse is called "Nature Sonnets." Last year Mrs. Stow published her well-known "Voices of the City," which she dedicated to Portland, and which was received with highest praise. From these "voices," we copy the following:
What is this tumult borne upon the air,
This clamorous strife? O city, nearly great!
The benedictions of a knowing Fate.
Have been but whispered, yet the inevitable care
Of each day's toil, where competition bare
Invigorates the fray, doth still await
They every hour; and all too passionate
Doth rule the courage that would win and dare.
Yet this thy call; this ceaseless, restless strain,
These hands outstretched for more—nor pity sought
For calmer moments.—Evermore, I think,
Wilt thou be calling, evermore for gain!
But O, beware, lest gold and fame be bought
With thy heart's blood; Thou standest at the brink!
For many years as a part of the editorial staff of the Daily, Sunday and Weekly Oregonian, Mrs. C. A. Coburn has served the cause of justice, clean living and moral reform in a forceful and effectual way. Few writers in Oregon have had the opportunity to preach righteousness in life, and fellowship with humanity, as has Mrs. Coburn through the great circulation of Oregon's greatest journal. And this opportunity she has improved with that judgment, discretion and wisdom as entitles her name to a high rank among those who have not only rare literary ability, but who also use that talent for the highest welfare of the reading public. Seeking no public notice, notority or reward, above that of doing good, she has year after year pressed home the common sense reasons for justice to all without regard to age, sex or social position; and is entitled to be remembered as one who used their talents, and strength for the welfare of humanity.
Akin to the work of Mrs. Coburn, but on a larger scale, in the thick of the battle, and wherever the battle for justice called the leader, has been the work of her distinguished sister, Abigail Scott Duniway. Early called upon, from widowhood to be the breadwinner for a large family, as well as to push the cause of equal suffrage which she had espoused early in life, Mrs. Duniway became one of the most interesting and influential characters produced among the long list of distinguished women of the northwest. It is forty-five years since the author of this book met Mrs. Duniway in the editorial room of the Oregon Statesman at Salem. She was vigorously advocating equal suffrage then, when there were not a thousand persons in Oregon that would give her courteous hearing. She started the "New Northwest" journal with no capital but faith in her cause, and her own industry, and successfully published it for twenty years and sold the property for a handsome price. She has edited newspapers, written books, stories, travels, poetry, and leaflet arguments by the hundreds. She has been president of the Oregon State Women Suffrage Association repeatedly and often a delegate to the National Association meetings; and attained a national reputation and national influence in the cause which has been her life work. And last, and greatest of all her honors, she is mother of, and has reared and educated five worthy and distinguished sons. One of these sons, is the first honest state printer the state has had since Henry L. Pittock's term of forty years ago, and has just been re-elected to the office by a majority of 12,500. Another son is a prominent attorney of the Multnomah bar, and the most distinguished lawyer in the state in his special fine of practice. Another son is a distinguished scholar, historian and teacher, and now president of the university of the state of
As stated above, when Mrs. Duniway commenced the advocacy of equal suffrage and civil and political rights to women, equal to those of men, there was not probably one thousand voters, and still fewer women, who favored her proposition. Now at the election, Nov. 8, 1910, 36,200 men recorded their votes in favor of the equal suffrage proposition. If not yet wholly successful, Mrs. Duniway's life work has been vindicated by this great change in public sentiment. And in addition to her great work for equal suffrage, she has been instrumental in securing legislation that has given married women more control of their own earnings and property and equal rights with men in protection of their homes and children.
If a vote was taken among the great mass of readers of Oregon literature a great majority would most likely vote that Mrs. Eva Emery Dye could write the most readable and interesting book. A great many readers have been heard to say that Mrs. Dye could even make a work of "history interesting to read. Acting upon that hint, the readers of this work are given an opportunity to enjoy a fine piece of Mrs. Dye's historical composition in the chapter on Old Oregon City at the end of this volume.
As the author of "McLoughlin and Old Oregon," "McDonald of Oregon" and "The Conquest," Mrs. Dye has attained literary fame as a most charming writer of history in an interesting and original style. She too is the idolized mother of an interesting family, her oldest son being an attorney of this city; and yet finding time to prosecute literary work with great pleasure and substantial profit.
But in a different vein from all others, and from the high ideals of patriotic devotion to the safety of the nation, our fellow townsman. Col. C. E. S. Wood, soldier, lawyer and litterateur, has given the country verses of Homeric force. The poem entitled "A Prayer" written for and published in "Drift" twelve years ago, will challenge comparison with anything written by Whittier or Longfellow. We copy five stanzas of it:
God of the Nations spare us not,
Stay not the foes that rage without—
Check not the rout, the groans, the din
The carnage fierce, the maddened shout;
But on the carrion wolves within,
Great God of battle lift thy hand.
From Bloody feastings, spare us not,
But on the jackal hearts who yelp
Within the Fathers Council Halls,
Who flee before the lion's whelp
And snarl in safety from the walls.
Great God of battle lift thy hand.
From death's dark arrow, spare us not,
But purge the temple, scourge the thieves
Who barter ruthlessly, our blood,
All reckless if the pallid sheaves
Be harvested for bad or good.
But God of nation, save us clean,
Nor let the shining weapon pass
Into the soiled and selfish grasp.
Let it become a sword of glass
To wound us, shattered in our clasp.
God save us clean unto the end,
Send death, but pure; and if for gain
We slay the youths, withhold thy grace,
If shameful quarries we maintain,
Then like the lightning in our face,
Portland has sent out into the world two actresses of rare talent to portray the woman, and please mankind. Miss Blanche Bates was born in this city; her parents being Mr. and Mrs. F. N. Bates, both actors before her and great local favorites. Mr. Bates was the manager of the old Oro Fino theatre which stood on the northwest corner of First and Stark streets thirty years ago. Miss Bates has the reputation of being the foremost emotional actress on the American stage today.
Miss Annie Pixley, also an actress of more than national reputation, was a Portland girl, and one of her sisters still resides here at this writing. Miss Pixley created a very popular character in the play of "M'Liss," and for her the piece was composed and arranged. Out of the popularity of this one drama, which she played in all English speaking countries, she made her reputation, and a large private fortune.
And from the showing of this chapter, it is no idle boast that Portland, Oregon, has produced literary ability in all lines of mental development equal to if not greatly superior to that of any other western city.