Samuel T. McKean
Samuel T. McKean was from Delaware County, New York, where he married a Miss Hicks in 1817, and removed to Richmond, Ohio, from which place many years later he again removed to Illinois, where he founded the town of Chillicothe, naming it after the old Indian village of that name in Ohio. When he came to Oregon he had a family of 6 children. In the autumn of 1848 the family settled at Astoria, remaining there till 1863, when they removed to San Jose, Cal. During his residence in Oregon McKean held several places of trust and honor, as member of the legislative assembly, clerk of the district court of Clatsop Co., and afterward as county judge, and president of the board of trustees of the town of Astoria. He died at San Jose in 1873, and his wife followed him in 1877, leaving many descendants. San Jose Pioneer, April 28, 1877.
John W. Grim was born in Ohio in 1820. He settled on French Prairie near Butteville. I have a valuable manuscript by him entitled "Emigrant Anecdotes", which treats in an easy conversational style of the events of the journey overland, his settlement in Oregon, the Cayuse war, the Canadian French, etc;
George La Rocque, a native of Canada, was born near Montreal in 1820. At the age of 16 he entered the United States, and like most Canadians, soon sought employment of the fur companies. Being energetic and intelligent, he became useful to the American Fur Company, with whom he remained 8 years, finally leaving the service and settling in Oregon, near his former friend, F.X. Matthieu, on French Prairie. When the gold discoveries attracted nearly the whole adult male population of Oregon to Cal., he joined in the exodus, returning soon with $12,000, this capital invested in business at Butteville and Oregon City made him a fortune. He died at Oakland, Cal., Feb. 23, 1877. Oregon City Enterprise, March 8, 1877.
Ashbel Merrill died at Fort Hall, his wife, Mrs. Susannah Sigler Merrill, and children pursuing their way to Oregon. Mrs. Merrill was born in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, March 20, 1800. She was married to Ashbel Merrill April 23, 1823, in Ross Co., Ohio, and moved to Illinois, and thence in 1847 to Oregon. Their children were William, George, Mary A., Emerit, Lyman, Electa, Alvin, and Lyda. Six of these resided in Oregon, chiefly in Columbia Co., and had numerous families. Mrs. Merrill has celebrated her 82nd birthday. St. Helen Columbian, March 31, 1881.
Joseph Carey Geer went from Windom, Conn., to Ohio, in 1816. The family removed to Ill., and from there to Oregon. The founder of the Oregon family of Geer was born in 1795. He settled in Yamhill county in 1847, and in the number of his descendants has outdone the Canadians, there being of his line 164 on the Pacific coast, all honorable men and virtuous women, besides being physically people of weight. Portland West Shore, Feb. 1880.
Ralph C. Geer was the pioneer nurseryman of Marion County. He also taught the first public school in the section where he settled, having 30 pupils in 1848, all but 4 of whom were living 30 years afterward - a proof that the climate had nothing to do with the fatal character of the diseases which carried off the natives in early times. Geer planted apple and pear seeds to start his nursery in the red soil of the Waldo hills, which he found to be excellent for his purpose. His father also put an equal amount of apple and pear seeds in the black soil of the Clackamas bottoms, but was disappointed in the returns, which were not equal to the Waldo hills, where R.C. Geer has had a fruit farm and nursery for more than 30 years.
Henderson Luelling and William Meek, immigrants of 1847, took to Oregon a 'travelling nursery,' which was begun in 1845, by planting trees and shrubs in boxes 12 inches deep, and just long and wide enough to fill the bed of a wagon. In this way, protected by a frame to prevent cattle from browsing them, 700 young trees were safely carried across 2,000 miles of land, and set out at a place called Milwaukee, on the Willamette River, below Oregon City, having been taken out of the boxes at the Dalles, and carefully wrapped in cloths to protect them from forst or injury by handling during the transit from the Dalles to their destination by boat. The experiment was successful, and Meek and Luelling were the first great nurseryman of Oregon, and afterward of Cal.
John Wilson drove to the Willamette Valley a number of choice Durham cattle, from Henry Clay's herd, at Blue Grass Grove, Ill., and also some fine horses, greatly to the improvement of the stock in the valley. J.C. Geer also drove a fine cow from this herd.
Stephen Bonser, who settled on Sauve Island, drove a herd of choice cattle, which improved the stock on the Columbia River bottoms.
Luther Savage took to the Willamette Valley a blood race-horse called George, whose descendants are numerons and valuable.
A Mr. Fields drove a flock of fine sheep from Missouri, which he took to the Waldo hills. Before getting settled he and his wife both died under a large fir-tree, with the measles. The sheep were sold at auction in small lots; and being superior, the Fields sheep are still a favorite breed in Oregon. Headrick, Turpin, and Mulkey took a flock of fine sheep. Turpin's were Saxony. This lot stocked Howell Prairie. R. Patton took a large flock to Yamhill County.
Mr. Haun of Haun's Mills, Mo., carried a pair of mill buhr-stones across the plaines to Oregon.
A.R. Dimick carried the seeds of the 'early,' or 'shaker blue,' potato from Mich., planting them on his farm in the north part of Marion Co. From these seeds sprung the famous Dimick potato, the best raised in Oregon.
Mr. Watson of King's Valley, Benton Co., drove some short-horn stock to Oregon. The above notes are taken from Geer's Blooded Cattle, MS., a valuable contribution on the origin of stock in the Willamette Valley. See also his address before the pioneer association for 1879, on the immigration of 1847; see also Salem Or. Statesman, June 20, 1879.
John E. Ross was born in Madison Co., Ohio, Feb. 15, 1818. Emigrated with his parents to Ind. when 10 years of age, and to Ill. when 16 years old. At the age of 29 he started for Or., and was capt. of his train of forty wagons. In the Cayuse war which broke out soon after he arrived in Or. he served as lieut. and capt. He resided for some time at Oregon City, engaged in various pursuits. When gold was discovered in Cal. he went to the Feather River mines, and in 1850, after having returned to Oregon, explored in the southern valleys and in northern Cal. for gold, discovering several rich placers, known as Yankee Jim's, Wambo Bar, Jacksonville, etc. For a number of years he was almost constantly engaged either in mining or selling supplies to miners; and in 1852 again commanded a company who went out to fight the Indians on the southern route. In the winter of 1852-3 he was married to Elizabeth Hopewood, of Jacksonville, theirs being the first wedding solemnized in that place. They have 9 children, 5 girls and 4 boys. When the Rogue River war broke out, in 1853, Ross was elected col., and again in 1855 was elected col. of the 9th reg., and commissioned by Gov. Davis. He was a member of the ter. council in the same year; and in 1866 was elected to the state leg. When the Modoc war broke out, in 1872, he was commissioned by Gov. Grover as brig.-gen. in command of the state troops. In 1878 he was a member of the state senate from the county of Jackson, where he has resided for many years. The Salem Statesman, in remarking upon the personal appearance of Ross, describes him as having a well-shaped head, pleasant face, and a reserved but agreeable manner Ashland Tidings, Dec. 13, 1878. One whole night I spent with Ross at Jacksonville, writing down his experiences; and when at early dawn my driver summoned me, I resumed my journey under a sickening sensation from the tales of bloody butcheries in which the gallant colonel had so gloriously participated.