The Souvenir of Western Women/Charlotte Moffett Cartwright

Charlotte Moffett Cartwright

CHARLOTTE TERWILLIGER was born in Chicago, Ill., December 21, 1842. Her father, James Terwilliger, was a Hollander, and her mother, Sophronia Hurd, of Scotch descent.

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In May, 1845, Mr. Terwilliger, with his wife and four children, started across the plains to Oregon. He was in the party that took the Stephen Meek's "cut-off." All the company came near perishing before they found their way out of the wilderness. Like many others, his wife was prostrated by the perils and hardships and survived only a few days after they reached The Dalles. Mr. Terwilliger arrived at the present site of Portland in November, 1845, and erected the first dwelling house—a log cabin—on the immediate spot where the infant city had birth in 1847.

The name of Charlotte Terwilliger is enrolled as one of the first pupils of the first school taught in Portland. April 12, 1860, she was married to Walter Moffett, a young Englishman. They settled at once in the little home Mr. Moffett had made ready on Seventh street, where he later erected the house since owned and occupied continuously by his family. This home was ever open to all who sought its portals, especially to young men and young women, by whom its kind mistress was affectionately called "Mother Moffett." Motherless little ones, too, found shelter here. One daughter and five sons were born to Mr. and Mrs. Moffett, of whom two are living—James and William.

In 1862 they went to Europe and traveled for two years in France and the British Isles, spending much of the time, however, at the home of Mr. Moffett's childhood in merry old England, where his mother still lived.

Mr. Moffett, being a ship master, spent much time on the sea. While out on a long voyage in 1878 the mystic boatman bore him to that haven beyond the shores of time. His body was brought home and now rests in the Lone Fir cemetery with his three sons and only daughter.

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March 8, 1887, Mrs. Moffett was again happily married to Mr. C. M. Cartwright, of Eastern Oregon. In his beautiful mountain home a new field opened to her. This place was the home ranch for the many hands employed in Mr. Cartwright's extensive stock business. To their comfort she attended with care. They held her in high esteem, fully appreciating her motherly kindness. The entire community was to her an object of interest. She visited the country school in the neighborhood frequently, but the Sunday school received her most earnest efforts. In connection with this she established, at her own expense, a circulating library of standard works. These were carried into homes a hundred miles distant, but always returned. Many a lone sheepherder's cabin has been cheered by these good books.

Mrs. Cartwright's characteristics are unselfishness, kindness and benevolence. It is her delight to promote the well-being of others. Her many acts of generosity are gratefully remembered. Her motto has ever been, "Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." Her friends of fifty years ago are her friends still.

A pioneer among pioneers, she is chairman of the Woman's Auxiliary to the State Pioneers' Association, a place she has filled with acceptance for many years. She is first vice president of the State Equal Suffrage Association, of the Forestry Club and of the Sacajawea Statue Association; she is a charter member of the Portland Woman's Club, and fills the place of chairman of the Oregon History Department in the club.