Salem Online History This site is provided by Salem Public Library (Salem, Oregon).
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Salem's Historic Figures:
( A Representative Listing)
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Anderson, Nora
: A native of Iowa, Anderson came to Oregon in 1892. She organized the effort to start a public library in Salem and spearheaded the formation of the Salem Art Association. The Anderson Auditorium at the Salem Public Library is the result of her generous bequest. She died in 1969. [ Learn More ]

Bennett, Captain Charles
: (1811-1855) Reputedly the co-discoverer of gold in California, Bennett built the Bennett House in Salem in 1850 and the steamer Canemah in 1851. He was killed in the Yakima Indian War in 1855. [ Learn More ]

Bishop, Charles P : (1854-1941) Bishop was vice-president of the Pendleton Woolen Mill and founder of Bishop's Men's Store. He served as mayor of Salem from 1898 to 1904 and was a State Senator from 1915 to1917.

Bligh, T. J. : A Salem entrepreneur, Bligh was owner of the Bligh Theatre, built in 1911, and a promoter of vaudeville and motion pictures.

Boise, Reuben P. : (1819-1907) Boise arrived in Oregon in 1850. A member of the Salem Clique, he was appointed to the Territorial Supreme Court in 1857. He served on the State Supreme Court intermittently until 1880.

Boone, John D. : (1817-1864) Boone came to Oregon in 1845 and was the first State Printer. He was a Methodist minister, a Salem businessman, and active in early state government.

Boothby, Wilbur F. : Boothby came to Oregon in 1864. His first business was a sash and door factory. As contractor, he built the Marion County Courthouse in 1872 and other public buildings. He is credited with designing and building the Bush House.

Burggraff, Charles H. : A Salem architect from 1891 to1899, Burggraff designed his own house, the Yew Park School, the Hughes, D'Arcy, and Adolph Blocks, the Webster and Ashby-Durbin houses, and buildings at the State Hospital and Fairview.

Bush, Asahel : (1824-1913) Bush came to Oregon in 1850 and established the Oregon Statesmannewspaper. He was a member of the Democratic leadership group, the Salem Clique, and was influential in Oregon politics. He later entered the banking business. [ Learn More ]

Campbell, Hamilton "Cow" : (1812-1863) Campbell came to Oregon on the Lausanne and was in charge of the Mission school. He supervised the stock belonging to the Mission and also engraved the dies used in coining the so-called "Beaver money."

Chamberlin, Ellen : (1849-1943) Chamberlin came to Oregon in 1857, one of eight children of Joseph and Olive Chamberlin. She graduated from Willamette University in 1868 and was a pioneer in early Oregon education.

Chamberlin, Martin : (1846-1903) The son of Joseph and Olive Chamberlin, Chamberlin served in public office in Salem and was State Senator representing Marion County in 1886. In 1900 he was appointed Clerk of the State Land Board under Governor T. T. Geer.

Cherrington, W. M. : Cherrington came to Oregon in 1890 and with his brother opened Cherrington Brothers Photography. Their studio was reportedly one of the best-equipped on the West Coast. Their large collection of negatives was later sold to the Cronise Studio.

Cooke, Belle (Susan Isabella) Walker : (1835-1919) Teacher of art and music at Willamette University, Cooke published a book of poetry and was also the first woman to serve as clerk of the Oregon Legislature.

Craig, Marie : (1860-1944) Craig was the sole instructor in the Willamette University College of Art for twenty-two years beginning in 1886. She had studied at Pennsylvania art schools. After leaving Willamette University, she taught art lessons in Salem.

Cross, Curtis : (1900-1951) A third-generation Salem resident, Cross was in the meat-packing business, once a thriving Willamette Valley industry. He owned the Valley Packing Company, later Cascade Meat Company. He also owned Meadowland Dairy.

Curry, George Law : (1820-1878) Curry was Territorial Governor of Oregon from 1854 to 1859, appointed by President Pierce. He was a member of the Salem Clique and a journalist. Curry County, on the Oregon coast, is named for him.

Duane, Rev. Nehemiah : (1820-1905) Methodist minister and principal of the Oregon Institute, Duane also organized the Portland Academy and Female Seminary. He served the Methodist Church in Salem from 1868 to 1872 and was also a writer of religious books.

Gary, Rev. George
: (1793-1855) Gary was the Methodist minister sent to Oregon in 1844 to replace Jason Lee as head of the Methodist Mission. By 1847 Gary had liquidated the property and returned East, his work in Oregon completed.

Gaston, Joseph : (1833-1913) A railroad builder, journalist, and historian, Gaston was the publisher of Salem's first farm journal, The Agriculturist. He wrote the four-volume Centennial History of Oregon and Portland, Its History and Builders.

Gatch, Claud : Son of T. M. Gatch, Claud Gatch was mayor of Salem in the 1890s and worked for Ladd and Bush Bank; he was later a national bank examiner in San Francisco.

Gatch, Helen Plummer : (1861-1942) Wife of Claud Gatch, Helen Gatch was a nationally recognized pictorial photographer, from 1890 to 1910. A member of the Salon Club of America, her prize-winning photographs were widely published and exhibited.

Gatch, Thomas Milton : (1833-1913) Gatch was a miner and teacher and served as president of Willamette University twice, from 1860 to 1865 and 1870 to 1879. He later served as president of Oregon State University.

Geer, Ralph Carey : (1816-1895) Geer was a pioneer nurseryman bringing apple and pear seedlings across the plains. He later served in the Legislature and was a pioneer in Oregon's flax growing industry.

Geer, Gov. Theodore Thurston : (1851-1924) Geer was Oregon's first native-born governor serving from 1899 to 1903. He was also a journalist and editor of the Oregon Statesman from 1903 to 1905, later moving to Pendleton. He wrote Fifty Years in Oregon.

Gerth, Walter : He operated a grocery store in West Salem beginning in 1911. He built the first two story building there and had the first electric lights in West Salem. He was active in the Methodist Church.

Green, Edith Sterrett : (1910-1987) Green was a Willamette University student and teacher in Salem schools for eleven years. In 1954 she was elected to the United States House of Representatives from the 3rd District.

Grover, Lafayette : (1823-1911) Grover came to Oregon in 1851 and settled in Salem. He was a member of the Salem Clique and served as Governor of Oregon from 1870 to 1877 and United States Senator from 1877 to 1883.

Guthrie, George : (1992-1955) A graduate of Harvard Law School and practicing attorney, Guthrie traveled in England to study Shakespearean architecture. He returned in 1926 to finance the Elsinore Theater which housed his art collection.

Hauxhurst, Webley, Jr.
: (1809-1874) Hauxhurst, a pioneer settler, built one of Oregon's first grist mills in 1834. He married "Miss Mary" of the Yamhill Indian tribe. Hauxhurst served as a trustee of Willamette University and later moved to Tillamook County.

Hines, Rev. Gustavus : (1809-1873) G. Hines came to Oregon with the Great Reinforcement in 1840. He was a missionary, educator, and author and was involved in early Oregon government. He was a brother of H. K. Hines.

Hines, Rev. Harvey K. : (1828-1902) H. K. Hines was also a Methodist minister and author. Coming to Oregon in 1853, he organized the First Methodist Church at The Dalles and later was presiding elder at the Salem church. He authored several books about Methodism.

Holman, Joseph : (1815-1880) Holman came to the Northwest in 1840, settling near Salem. He taught at the Oregon Institute and built several business buildings in early Salem. He was one of the first growers of flax seed and also raised pure bred sheep.

Hoyt, Rev. Francis S. : (1822-1912) Hoyt was the first president of Willamette University, serving in that position for four years, from 1856 to 1860. He returned to Ohio Wesleyan College in 1860.

Hanzen, Hannah Martin : Hanzen was the first woman elected to the State Legislature from Marion County. She was admitted to the Oregon Bar in 1924. She was on the faculty of the College of Law at Willamette University and active in women's causes. [ Learn More ]

Judson, Lewis Hubbell : (1809-1880) Judson came to Oregon with the Great Reinforcement in 1840; he was trained as a wheelwright and helped organize the Oregon Institute. He participated in the organization of the state's provisional government. [ Learn More ]

Kay, Thomas
: (1837-1900) Textile mill engineer and civic leader, Kay was born and received his training in England. He came to Oregon in 1863 and worked in woolen mills around the state. He founded the very successful Kay Woolen Mill in Salem in 1889. [ Learn More ]

Kay, Thomas B. : (1864-1931). Son of Thomas and Ann Slingsby Kay, T. B. Kay was president of the Kay Woolen Mill, from 1900 to 1931. He served in the state legislature and as State Treasurer.

Lamport, Fred
: (1891-1981) Lamport was a Salem lawyer and banker; he practiced law with Charles McNary and served in the Legislature in 1951 and 1953. He left a million dollar trust for the Acute Care Center at Salem Memorial Hospital.

Lee, Anna Maria Pittman : (1803-1838) The first wife of Jason Lee, Anna Maria Pittman came to do Christian work in the Methodist Mission in 1837 and married Lee shortly thereafter. She died after giving birth to the first European-American child born in Oregon.

Lee, Jason : (1803-1845) Lee headed the Methodist Mission to Oregon in 1834 and chose the Mission's first site at Wheatland. He played an important role in the development of Methodism in Oregon and in Oregon's early quest for statehood. [ Learn More ]

Lee, Lucy Thompson : (1809-1842) Second wife of Jason Lee, Lucy Thompson came to Oregon on the Lausanne in 1840. She was a graduate of the Newbury Seminary. She died shortly after giving birth to a daughter, Lucyanna, Jason Lee's only descendent.

Legg, Fred : (1869-1941) An architect, Legg came to Salem in 1902 and opened an off ice in 1906. He designed the Garfield School in 1909 and the Douglas Minto bungalow in 1922. His work also included the commercial Boise, Willis, Roth, and Buren buildings.

Leslie, David : (1787-1869) Leslie was a Methodist missionary who came to Oregon in 1837; he served as chairman of a committee to draft a code of laws for the Oregon country. He returned from the Sandwich Islands in 1843 to start a church in Oregon City. [ Learn More ]

Livesley, Thomas A. : (1863-1947) Livesley came to Salem in 1894 and became Oregon's leading hop grower at Brook Farm. He was mayor of Salem in 1927 and president of T. A. Livesley Co, hop brokers. The Livesley Building is Salem's first and only skyscraper. [ Learn More ]

Long, Harriet Catherine : (1887-1941) Long came to Oregon in 1930 as State Librarian and was instrumental in the construction of the present state library. She contributed greatly to the policies guiding good library practice.

Lord, Elizabeth : (1887-1976) A Salem native, Lord studied landscape architecture at Lawthrope in Massachusetts and returned to Salem to establish a landscape business with Edith Schryver. Projects included the Courthouse grounds, Salem parks, and private gardens. [ Learn More ]

Lord, William Paine : (1839-1911) Lord began his law practice in Salem in 1868. He served as Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court from 1880 to 1886, as Governor from 1895 to 1899, and United States Minister to Argentina from 1898 to 1902. He was highly respected as a jurist.

McKay, James Douglas
: (1893-1959) A Salem car agency owner, McKay began his political career as Mayor of Salem in 1933. He served as governor from 1948 to 1952 when he joined President Eisenhower's Cabinet as Secretary of the Interior. [ Learn More ]

McNary, Charles Linza : (1874-1944) McNary, a Salem attorney active in politics and education, served as associate Supreme Court Justice 1913-1915. He served in the U. S. Senate from 1918 until his death. He was principal sponsor of the Bonneville Dam. [ Learn More ]

Minthorn, Dr. Henry J. : (1846-1922) Minthorn came to Oregon in 1882 to direct the Indian School at Forest Grove. Besides practicing medicine, he was president of the Oregon Land Company and the Salem Street Railway Company. He had numerous real estate investments.

Minto, John : (1822-1915) Minto arrived in Oregon in 1844, settling south of Salem where he was a pioneer in the sheep industry. He served four terms in the State Legislature, organized the first Oregon State Fair, and helped survey the Minto and Santiam mountain passes.

Olcott, Benjamin Wilson
: (1872-1952) A banker by trade, Olcott worked around the Northwest, returning to Salem in 1907. He served as Secretary of State for three terms and in 1919 succeeded to the governorship at Governor Withycombe's death. He served one term.

Parrish, Rev. Josiah L.
: (1806-1895) A Methodist missionary and by trade a blacksmith, Parrish was active in territorial politics, the Oregon Institute, and early agriculture. He was highly respected for his service as Indian Agent from 1849 to 1854.

Patterson, Isaac Lee : (1859-1929) Patterson was a farmer, residing at his large diversified farm at Eola after serving as Collector of Customs, from 1898 to 1907; State Senator, from 1918 to1922; and Governor, from 1927 to 1929. He died in office.

Paulus, Robert C. : Paulus was a national leader in the food processing industry, organizing Paulus Brothers Packing Company, with his brother George in 1927, utilizing the old Salem Fruit Plant. Paulus was national president of the National Canners Association.

Pearne, Rev. Thomas Hall : (1820-1910) A Methodist minister, Pearne arrived in Oregon in 1851, serving as presiding elder from 1851 to 1855. While in Oregon he was editor of the Pacific Christian Advocate and lobbied for the abolition of slavery.

Peck, Morton : (1870-1959) Peck was a botanist on the Willamette University faculty for thirty-three years. He wrote A Manual of the Higher Plants in Oregon and established the Peck Herbarium, a collection of 40,000 specimens of Oregon plant life.

Pierce, Cornelia Marvin : (1873-1957) first librarian of the Oregon State Library. She pioneered tax-supported free local libraries, library books by mail loans, and other innovations.[ Learn More ]

Purvine, Dr. Ralph : (1910-1974) Son of Dr. Mary Purvine, Willamette University graduate, and a pioneer physician in rural Condon, Purvine established the Salem Clinic in 1938 and the Willamette University Health Service in 1948.

Putnam, George : (1882-1961) Putnam was editor and publisher of the Capital Journal from 1919 through 1952. He was a strong advocate of the public interest and freedom of the press. His coverage of the Ku Klux Klan in Oregon was only one of his many journalistic exposes.

Quinaby, Chief
: (c.1880-1883) Often spoken of as "the last of the Calapooyahs," Quinaby lived near his ancestral camp on the banks of South Mill Creek at Yew Park. This area was a summer encampment for lively Native American gatherings.

Reed, Cyrus : Reed came to Salem in 1852; his business interests included a sash and door company and the city's first telegraph office. A Republican, he served three terms in the Oregon Legislature. Reed's Opera House and Hotel opened in 1869 serving as a cultural center.

Schryver, Edith
: (1901-1984) Schryver was a landscape architect who came to Oregon in 1928 to establish a business with Elizabeth Lord. They designed the gardens at the Deepwood estate, the Robertson and Jarman houses, and other Salem residences. She also taught landscape architecture at Oregon State University.

Simpson, Samuel Leonidas : (1846-1899) Simpson came to Oregon as an infant. A graduate of Willamette University, he practiced as an attorney and edited the Oregon Statesman newspaper. His well-known poetry and other writings featured the West.

Smith, Clarence L. : (1894-1951) A Salem architect practicing between the two World Wars, Smith specialized in period style houses designing at least twenty-five houses in Salem. His houses figure prominently in the Gaiety-Hill/Bush's Pasture Historic District.

Smith, Fabritus : Smith, an early Salem resident was a farmer and was vice-president of the Board of Trustees of Willamette University. He served in the Oregon Legislator in 1876 and 1878.

Sprague, Charles Arthur : (1887-1969) Sprague was an educator and journalist who moved to Oregon in 1925 for a job with the newspaper in Corvallis. He became editor of Salem's Oregon Statesman in 1929 and served as the Governor of Oregon from 1939 to 1943, later resuming his position at the Oregon Statesman.

Spaulding, Charles K. : An Oregon lumberman, Spaulding's first mill was established in Newberg in 1905. By 1927, his lumber mill in Salem, including a sash and door factory, employed 700 people and occupied two blocks along the Willamette River.

Steeves, B. L. : (1868-1933) Steeves graduated from Willamette University's School of Medicine. He practiced medicine in Idaho and was Governor of Idaho in 1905. He returned to Salem in 1909 and was elected mayor of Salem in 1915.

Steeves, Sarah Hunt : (1871-1939) Sarah Hunt, the daughter of Oregon pioneers, married Dr. B. L. Steeves in 1893. She was the author of Book of Remembrance, Marion County Pioneers, 1840-1860 (1927) and also wrote children's stories.

Thornton, Jesse Quinn
: (1819-1888) Thornton came to Oregon in 1846 and was a Judge of the Supreme Court of the Provisional Government in 1847. He acted as Oregon's spokesman in Washington D.C. on behalf of Territorial Government and was active in civic affairs.

Waldo, Daniel
: (1800-1880) Waldo came to Oregon in 1843 with his Missouri neighbor Jesse Applegate. Settling in the hills east of Salem where he raised cattle, he was active in provisional government politics, early agriculture, and education.

Waldo, John Breckenridge : (1844-1907) The son of Daniel Waldo, John was a lawyer and state legislator. He was an ardent conservationist associated with the National Parks movement. He and his brother explored and named many Cascade Mountain features.

Waldo, William : (1832-1911) The son of Daniel Waldo, William drove 300 head of cattle overland in 1853, making several more trips later. He was a lawyer and served in the Oregon Legislature. With his brother he spent much time exploring the Cascade Mountains.

Wallace, William : An early fur trader, Wallace and J. C. Halsey explored the Willamette Valley in 1812. They constructed a shelter and trading house "on a great prairie," probably near the site of Salem. Wallace Prairie is named for him.

Waller, Rev. Alvin F. : (1808-1872) Waller came to Oregon aboard the Lausanne in 1840. After serving at Oregon City, he helped form Willamette University where Waller Hall is named for him. He was active in educational and religious work until his death.

Watt, Joseph : (1817-1890) Watt pioneered Oregon's woolen industry, bringing 330 sheep overland from Missouri in 1849. His Willamette Woolen Company, formed in 1857, was the first on the West Coast and operated until destroyed by fire in 1875.

West, Oswald : West came to the Salem area as a young boy. He worked as a teller in the Ladd and Bush bank and served on several state commissions before becoming Governor in 1911. He was noted for his conservation legislation.

Wiggins, Myra Albert : (1869-1956) Salem native, she was a pictorial photographer from 1894 to 1910. Her prize-winning photographs appeared in many publications and exhibitions. [ Learn More ]

Willson, William H. : (1805-1856) Willson came to the Willamette Mission in 1837 as a carpenter and whaler; he later studied medicine. In 1846 he platted the city of Salem and later served as treasurer of the Provisional Government in Oregon. [ Learn More ]

Excerpted from "Historical Context Statement for Salem," August 1992. Pages 59 to 66. The "Historical Context Statement" was prepared for Salem, Oregon by Marianne Kadas of Marianne Kadas Consulting.


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