Part of the American History and Genealogy Project

Washington Pioneer Dead of 1911

By Thomas W. Prosch

In the matter following the biographer has drawn his information from the newspapers of the day. In some cases the statements were meager, and thereby was prevented the uniformity and consistency desired. There were other pioneers, no doubt, of whose going he had no newspaper account, or other knowledge; hence, their absence here. For the purposes of this article those persons were considered pioneers who lived on the Pacific Coast fifty years or more ago, and who also lived in the Territory of Washington. T. W. P.

Biles, George W. Born in 1839 in Kentucky; died in Olympia, Dec. 31st. He came with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Biles, to Washington Territory in 1853, they being a part of the large and historic company of immigrants who that year crossed the Cascade Mountains by the Naches Pass, James Biles being the leader and captain. This company included many families who afterwards became distinguished in the affairs of King, Pierce, Thurston and Chehalis Counties, and of the Territory. The family located at Tumwater, where Mr. Biles engaged in the business of tanning hides, or making leather. George W. Biles was married in 1864, his wife being a member of the Crosby family. She and two sons survive him.

Boatman, Mary Ann. Born in 1833; died at Puyallup, Oct. 24th. Mrs. Boatman and her husband, Willis Boatman, came to Oregon in 1852 from Illinois. After a few weeks overlooking the country, they settled in Pierce County. There they remained farming, rearing their family, and living the lives of good citizens. A few days before her death Mr. and Mrs. Boatman celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of their wedding. Mr. Boatman and six children survive.

Bullard, Job. Born in Vermont; died in Pacific county, July 3d, aged 84 years. In 1852 he came to Washington Territory. For a time he lived in Chehalis county, which he represented in the Legislature of 1856-57. In 1857 he married Martha E. Wilson. He did some lumbering, but was a farmer in Willapa valley. He left two children.

Chambers, Margaret White. Born in Indiana in 1833; died in Seattle, Dec. 22d. Mrs. Chambers lost both parents when seven years old and lived thereafter with her brothers and sisters until she acquired a home of her own. In 1 85 1 she, with her three brothers, came West, and in 1852 she was living in Thurston county. In 1853 she married Andrew J. Chambers, a member of one of the largest and best known families of early Oregon and Washington pioneers, coming to Willamette valley in 1845 and to Puget Sound in 1847. They lived together nearly fifty-five years. He died in 1908. They left six children, all daughters.

Chehobs, Henry. He was a Cowlitz Indian, who died Feb. 22d. He was the son of a chief. He used to say that he remembered the coming of Lewis and Clark in 1805-06. He was reported to be 116 years old. He was given a white man's funeral and burial by one of his pioneer friends, Mr. T. W. Robin.

Coombs, Rachel. Born in Canada, died in Seattle, Feb. 20th, aged 79 years. Mrs. Coombs, as Rachel Boyd, was married to Samuel Fuller Coombs in 1855. In 1859 he came to Puget Sound, and she followed him in 1862. Except for a few months at Port Madison, all her subsequent life was spent in Seattle. She had six children, three of whom yet live. Mr. Coombs died in 1908.

Cooper, Mary. Mrs. Cooper is said to have been born in California in 1831, and to have lived all her life on the Pacific coast. She was the wife of John Cooper, a pioneer of 1848. He died several years ago. She died at Port Ludlow early in March, leaving six sons and daughters.

Cresap, Robert Vinton. Died in Clark County, Sept. 1st, aged 75 years. He was said to be a pioneer, gold hunter and Indian war fighter. He served in an Oregon regiment from 1861 to 1864. After that he made his home on a farm in Clark County. He left one son.

Doyle, Chloe A. Born in New York in 1827; died in Seattle, Aug. 6th, aged 84 years. She came across the plains with her brother-in-law, Dr. J. C. Kellogg, in 1852. The next year she married Reuben L. Doyle, one of the first printers and publishers of Washington Territory. They settled on Whidby Island in 1853. He died many years ago. She left a number of relatives.

Eldridge, Teresa. Born in Ireland, June 24, 1832; died at Bellingham, May 10, aged 79 years. She came to New York in 1850, and in 1851 to San Francisco. Among those on the ship was Edward Eldridge, second mate. They became acquainted, and in 1852 were married; in 1853 they came north and settled in Whatcom, where both remained to the end of their days on earth. She was the first white woman to live in the present city of Bellingham. Their donation claim included 320 acres, worth now many millions of dollars. Their son, Edward (1855), was the first white child born in Whatcom County. Hugh Eldridge, of their children, alone survives this worthy couple.

Ferguson, Emory Canda. Born in New York, March 5, 1833; died at Snohomish, Oct. 8th. He came to California in 1854, and to Puget Sound in 1858. He did some gold mining, worked in a sawmill, and labored wherever and whenever he could to advantage. He went to Snohomish, took a land claim and started the town. Thereafter he was postmaster, mayor, legislator, merchant and leading citizen to the time of his physical breaking down. His wife was Lucetta G. Morgan. They had four children, three of whom survived both him and her.

Foster, Joseph. Born in Canada, April 10, 1828; died near Seattle, Jan. 1 6th, aged almost 83 years. He came with his parents in 1 833 to Ohio. In 1852 he removed to the Pacific coast, and the year following settled in Duwamish valley, where for fifty-eight years he made his home, engaged in farming. He was a member of the Legislature many times, more, it is said, than any other Washingtonian. He was survived by a wife (Martha J. Steele, married 1865) and one son.

Greenwood, George. Born in England; died in Snohomish, July 9th, aged 94 years. He had lived on Puget Sound more than fifty years, mostly in Snohomish County. A wife and daughter and several grands children survive him.

Heg, May. Born in Oregon in 1862; died at Seattle, Dec. 6th. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry G. Thornton, both deceased. She married Dr. Elmer E. Heg. She left a husband and two sons, and a number of other relatives.

Jeffs, Mary. Born in Washington in 1838; died at Thomas, in King County, Nov. 24th. She was an Indian woman. About fifty years before, she married Richard Jeffs, a White river farmer. They became wealthy, their property attaining a value of several hundred thousand dollars. Having no children and direct heirs, they wanted and tried to leave their property for the establishment and endowment of an orphan's home. He died three years before. Subsequently efforts were made by other persons to defeat the benevolent intentions of Jeffs and his Indian wife, with a view to acquiring the estate, or parts of it, by the individuals referred to, efforts that, happily, experienced only a small measure of success.

Lane, Timothy. Born in Ohio, died in Pierce County in April aged 72 years. Mr. Lane was a member of the Daniel E. Lane family, which crossed the plains and over the Naches Pass in 1853. From that time on Timothy Lane was a farmer, either in Pierce County or Eastern Washington. A widow, three daughters and three sons survive him. All the original lane family five members are now gone but William, who lives in Pierce County.

Logan, Mary P. Mrs. Logan was born in Missouri, the daughter of Daniel Waldo. The family came to Oregon in 1843, and settled in Marion County. Her father was one of the most prominent of early Oregonians. The Waldo hills got their name from him. Mrs. Logan owned property and lived for a time in Seattle, where several relatives reside. She died at Salem on the 8th of March.

Maple, Eli B. Born in Ohio, Nov. 12, 1831; died in Oregon, July 19th. Mr. Maple came in 1852, taking a donation claim at the mouth of the Duwamish River, near the claims of his brother, Samuel, and the other first residents, taken the year before. He served as a volunteer m the 1855-56 Indian war, during the whole period, twice enlisting. A widow, four sons and one daughter were left.

Meyer, Frederick. Born m Germany; died in Pierce County, June 23d, aged 86 years. Mr. Meyer came as a soldier in Captain Bennett H. Hill's company, in 1849, when the military post of Fort Steilacoom was established. He remained there sixty-two years. He was twice married, having several children by his first wife. His second wife was Agnetta, widow of Thomas M. Chambers, who was a pioneer of 1852. She also soon followed her second husband to the grave, her death occurring Dec. 24th. She left a son and a daughter.

Morse, Mrs. G. W. Born in Australia in 1839; died on Whidby Island, Oct. 3d. She and her husband came to Puget Sound in 1860 and settled on Whidby. She left many relatives three brothers, two sisters, a husband, three daughters, five sons and twenty grandchildren.

Prosser, William Farrand. Born in Pennsylvania; died in Seattle, Sept. 23d, aged 77 years. Colonel Prosser came to California in 1854 and stayed there until the breaking out of the Civil War, when he went east and entered the military service in defense of the Union. After the war he represented the Nashville (Tenn.) district in Congress. In 1878 he came to Washington Territory as special agent of the Interior Department. Thenceforth he lived in Seattle, North Yakima and Prosser, the latter town, in Benton County, being named after him. He held numerous public offices, municipal, county, state and national, and was engaged in many private and public works of importance to the people and credit to himself. In 1880 he was married to Miss Flora Thornton. They had three children, with the mother, all surviving.

Reynolds, John N. Born in Kentucky, died in Tacoma, May 18th, aged 78 years. He came to Olympia in 1859, thence going to Oregon, and finally coming to Tacoma in 1880. He was a widower, but had two daughters, Mrs. Fremont Campbell and Mrs. P. A. Page.

Robinson, Reuben S. Born in New York, April 27th, 1823; died in Seattle, June 27th. He came to California among the first of the gold-seekers, but soon moved on to Puget Sound, locating in Jefferson County. He took prominent part in the Indian war of 1855-56. He was twice a member of the Territorial Legislature, and for many years was county commissioner. His wife died in 1908. He left five children.

Savage, Bessie Isaacs. Born in Walla Walla in January, 1861; died in Seattle, March 10, aged 50 years and 2 months, Mrs. Savage was the daughter of Henry P. Isaacs, who came to the Pacific in 1849, and was long a prominent citizen of Walla Walla. She was a graduate both of Whitman College and Mills College. Her husband was George M. Savage. She was one of the longest time and most prominent of women club members, belonging to several different organizations, and being officer a number of times. Her death unexpectedly occurred at one of the Century Club meetings.

Snyder, Sarah Elizabeth. She crossed the plains with her husband, Samuel Snyder, in 1857, her marriage with whom extended over a period of fifty years. They lived at various places in Oregon and Washington, but finally in Duwamish valley, where both died, she in March. Mrs. Snyder was the mother of twelve children, ten of whom survive her. Her age was 75 years.

Spinning, Charles Hadley. Born in Indiana, Jan. 23d, 1821; died at Prosser, April 1st, aged 90 years. He crossed the continent sixty years ago, settling first in Lewis County and then in Pierce, where for fifty-two years he dwelt. Dr. Spinning was husband of Mildred D. Stewart. He was a Territorial Legislator, U. S. Indian official, and for years the only practicing physician in Pierce county.

Thomas, John M. Born in Kentucky, July 8th, 1829; died in Okanogan County in March. Mr. Thomas was a Pacific coast pioneer of 1852. The following year he was at Alki in King county. In 1854 he and Nancy Russell were married. In the Indian war of 1855-56 he was a volunteer. Until a few years before his death the family home was on their donation claim in White River valley, where the Northern Pacific station called Thomas is now located. His wife preceded him. He left six daughters and three sons.

Thompson, John A. Born in Maine; died at Port Gamble, May 21st, aged 74 years. He came to the Pacific coast in 1858, and was in the employ of the Puget Mill Company during the fifty-three years following. Could there be a stronger testimonial to his reliability and faithfulness? His wife, Sarah V., followed him from Maine, and she, too spent the entire remainder of her days at Port Gamble. She died in Seattle. July 20th, aged 70. They left one son and three daughters.

Wallis, Nellie. As the wife of Thomas McNatt she crossed the plains in 1852. From that time to the end she lived at different places in Oregon and Washington. In 1861 Mr. McNatt died, and twenty years later she married W. M. Wallis, with whom she lived at Port Ludlow until her death in March. She was 80 years of age.

Walters, Jane A. Born in Canada in 1830; died at Tacoma, Nov. 29th. She and her husband, Augustus Walters, came to California in 1852 and to Washington in 1873. Mr. Walters died several years before his wife. They left three grandchildren.

White, Deborah. Died at Port Gamble in September, aged 73 years. She had lived there since 1862. James White, her husband, was blacksmith for the mill company more than half a century. He died in 1910. They left no children.

White, Margaret I. Born in Missouri in 1836; died at Oakland, Cal., Dec. 16th. She came to California in 1852, her mother dying on the overland route. Upon arrival, she learned that her father, who had preceded them, was also dead. Thus a 16-year-old girl as the oldest member, she became at once the head of a family of children. She married William W, White, and in 1858 they came to Seattle. She left five sons and three daughters.

Willard, Sarah J. Born in Missouri, Nov. 12, 1841; died in Seattle, Oct. 16th. She came to Oregon in 1850, and a year later was living at what is now Centralia with her grandparents. She afterwards went to school in Olympia, and there in due time was married to Dr. Rufus Willard. Her family name was Fletcher. The Willards left Olympia for Fort Steilacoom, where the doctor was superintendent of the hospital. From there, after a number of years, they moved on to Seattle. He died in 1905. They left two children.

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Source: Washington Historical Quarterly, January 1910


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