Vol. 1 May, 1899 No. 1
Biographical * Peter Grant Stewart

Peter G. Stewart was born in Stanford, Delaware county, N.Y., September 6, 1809. When 8 years of age he moved to Jefferson, Scohane county, where he received a common school education, and learned the trade of watchmaker, which occupation he followed in Middlebury until the spring of 1838, when he started on a tour of the West and South, from which he returned in poor health. On September 1, 1842, he married Miss Rebecca R. Cason. During that year he was appointed brigade paymaster by General Smith. In April, 1843, he left Springfield, Mo., for Oregon, and crossed the plains in company with J.W. Nesmith, Marcus Whitman, Jesse Applegate and others. At The Dalles Mr. Stewart, F.C. Cason [his father-in-law] and their families secured the services of Indians and their canoes, and in this manner came down the Columbia and up the Willamette to Oregon City, where they arrived on the 6th of November, having been seven months on the journey.

In May, 1844, he was elected one of the executive committee of the provisional government. In 1845 he was elected by the legislative committee first judge of the district court for Clackamas county. In 1850 he became interested in the townsite of Pacific City, at the mouth of the Columbia, where he lived nearly three years, when the government reserved the land for military purposes, and, although thousands of dollars had been spent improving it, he was refused any compensation whatever, until within the last month, and was not even permitted to take up another donation land claim in its stead, the result of which was that he was left in destitute circumstances. It seemed like mockery, in 1853, to be appointed by President Pierce surveyor and inspector of the revenue for the port of Pacific City, as the revenues were not sufficient to provide the barest necessities of life. In 1861 he moved to Portland where, in October, 1863, his wife died, leaving him with a family of five children to mourn her loss. His business in Portland proved fairly prosperous until the big fire of December, 1872, when nearly everything was swept away in a few minutes. Again, the following August, when the business portion of the city was destroyed, the fire fiend visited him, and swept away the remnant of his possessions. In September, 1876, he again married, this time the widow of Dr. Rosecrans, of Butteville, and located at Gervais, where he served as city recorder for three years. Mr. Stewart is an honored member of the Masonic fraternity. He was a charter member of Multnomah lodge No. 1, the first fraternal order established on the Pacific coast.

Return to "Native Sons" Index
"A Place Called Oregon"