Leviatte S. Hawn Patterson’s untitled memoir
By request –
I, Levia S. Hawn Patterson, third daughter of Jacob Hawn, do write all I know about my father and mother concerning their journey in crossing the Plains.
First I will say where they were born. My father, Jacob Hawn, was born in New York, Jan. 13, 1804, and my mother, Harriet Elizabeth Pearson Hawn, was born in Newark, New Jersey, Aug. 30, 1818. They were married in New York, Nov. 1833. In the same year, went to Ohio and while there they saw the falling of the stars, also saw a lot of people that dressed themselves in robes and got up on their house tops thinking the World was coming to an end. Thot they would be taken right up to the Heavens at once, but the end is not yet. They went from Ohio to Wisconsin, near Green Bay, lived there awhile and there my eldest sister Laura A. was born Sept. 1st, 1835.
They then moved to Caldwell County, Missouri, where my eldest brother Alonzo Pearson was born Jan. 26, 1836. Then my parents moved to Texas where my brother Jasper C. was born on 8th day of Feb. 1840. Next, my youngest brother Newton Watson was born in Franklin County, Missouri, April 20, 1843.
They also lived in New Orleans awhile, and in Houston, Texas, where they bought some lots. There is a deed to them yet back there. They say it holds good but we will never bother about them.
(Jacob Hawn and family lived near Far West, Missouri, from there to Independence leaving for Oregon May 18, 1843.)
Now my parents talked of coming to Oregon in 1842 but other people heard of their going so a lot of people in Illinois and Missouri sent them word to wait until spring of 1843, then they would make up a big company and all go together, which they did. On May 18th, 1843, with their company all equipped and organized, with Jessie Applegate as their Captain, started with a company of 300 souls all told. My youngest brother Newton Watson only about four weeks old when they started out on that long journey with ox teams, some few had horse teams. My oldest sister, Laura A., was about 8 years old which made her and my 3 brothers the real Pioneers who crossed the plains with my Parents.
My mother used to tell us younger children about those times, about the hardships some had, how in crossing the Burnt River one of their wagons tipped over. The one that had their tools and lots of other things. All the light stuff floated away but the heavy things sunk. They managed to fish up quite a bit of their stuff and two things my mother gave me, a hand made steel fireplace shovel and hand made pair of tongs that my father made. I have those tongs with me now. We used to say if those tongs could talk we would hear of some wonderful things that happened on the way.
My father and other men of the company would go ahead on horseback to blaze a way for the wagons to follow. I cannot tell you near all that happened on that long, never to be forgotten trip. I will write just what I can remember my Mother telling us about those times. Now, all of my Brothers and my eldest Sister have gone, just myself and two youngest sisters are living. I have always wondered why the older children did not write up all about those times, but they just put it off. I was always asking Mother questions about the long journey, wishing I had been there too.
They started on that journey traveling due west by compass for Oregon and to the great Williamette Valley. On their way across the plains they saw a large rock which they named Chimney Rock. (This rock was 40 or 50 feet high, several rods in circumference, with shelf like projections that were wide enough for the men to walk on.) They stopped to examine it which stood one side of the Trail. Quite a few of the men folks walked to see it, but it was farther away than they thot. Most of the men went back to their wagons but a few kept on going until they reached it. It was quite high, but they managed to get to the top, which scared a wild mountain sheep, he jumped to the ground and ran off. My Father was among them and he and others climbed up on it. My Father in looking around over the Rock, found a large sheep’s horn and took it with him to camp. He also broke off quite a piece of the Rock and brot it, with the Horn, to Oregon. The Rock was of a very fine grain which he made into a fine Whetstone. Once or twice they startled great herds of Buffalo and when these animals started toward their train, the people would stop and put the wagons in a circle and put their oxen and stock inside the circle. Then they stood guard with loaded guns until the Buffalo would get past. They would shout at them to frighten them, if they killed them, every one had plenty of meat in camp.
Every day they would send men ahead to keep on the lookout so as not to be surprised or caught by Indians. When they got over into Indian country they would see sometimes, two or three hundred Indians off quite a distance, riding along following the Train. The Indians did not harm them at all, just watched in wonder.
Then provisions began to get scarce and they tried to buy from the Indians who did not know the value of money. All they could do was to trade with the Indians for dried fish for whatever the Indians took a fancy to, clothing or such things the Emigrants had that they wanted. So in this way till they reached Fort Laramie of the Hudson Bay Company. By this time they were getting short of food, most of the people in the Train had money with them so at Fort Laramie they traded for dried meat, salmon and hides and a few small potatoes.
Then on their way to Fort Hall where they bought a little flour, my Father paid fifty cents for one pint. They would boil the dried salmon and add a little flour. They managed in this way until they reached the Marcus Whitman Station or home. He was here long before as a missionary to the Indians. Now my sister Laura used to tell me that Mr. Whitman got news from the Indians of this large company coming West, and said Mr. Whitman sent word back for anyone who could build a mill to come to his place. He wanted one built to grind the corn he and the Indians raised. It was my Father, Jacob Hawn, who went there and built this mill. A lot of others stopped there too. Mr. Whitman told them to stop and rest their stock which they did, turning them out to grass. They camped there a while but I do not know how many stopped there.
When the mill was running, Marcus Whitman supplied them with provisions to do them until they could reach old Fort Vancouver, Washington. They traveled down the Columbia River by making rafts, on the Washington side.
Now, before I go any further, I will speak of the Emigrants traveling across the Plains, where wood was very scarce they gathered up for fuel for fires, buffalo chips, which were dry and hard like wood, and this is what they burned to cook their meals.
Also I will mention of some of the Emigrants who became dissatisfied traveling with the others, so turned out at what is now Meachams cut off Oregon, and from there, they made a trail of their own. They were gone three weeks or more when they turned back until they struck the trail where they had turned off, and very glad to get back on the trail of the Train. After running out of everything to eat they found use for the strips of hide wrapped around the running gear of the wagons and even pulled the moccasins from their feet and boiled them to eat, until they over took the others and very glad to have a leader from then on.
Well, my people came thru alright with two oxen, a cow and some horses to ride ahead to make a way or blaze trails for the ox teams to follow. They also had money but even money did them no good in some places. There was one family in particular, who had plenty of money but as it was of no use to them they had to eat the tallow candles they had made to take West with them. Lots of others fared worse before they got to their journey’s end. Oh! I could go writing and writing of these times and the trials and tribulations of the long journey across the Plains in that never to be forgotten year of 1843. No Indians molested them, but in 1845 I think it was, there were some immigrants coming through and with them there was a young man who shot an Indian in cold blood, just to show what he could do. Then trouble began. Indians commenced to attack any and all travelers from that time on, killed and scalped them without mercy, all because of that one man killing one of their people.
Now, when my people came across, the whole train had to drive into Rivers to ford them, or if they had to, would make ferries of their wagon beds, then swim the stock across. So they came thru alright, traveling due west by compass until they reached Fort Vancouver, Washington, occupied by the Hudson Bay Fur Co. Dr. McLaughlin had my Father and Family and others of the train to stop awhile, so he could make arrangements to have a flour mill built, where Oregon City stands today. (Dr. McLaughlin called, “great white eagle.”)
I have forgotten lots of the names of those that crossed the plains with my folks, but by naming some of them you will perhaps know some of them. Jessie Applegate, as captain, Abernathys, the Mundens, and scores of others. I suppose most of that big Emigration have gone to their final resting place. After all the work they did when they came to this great Willamette Valley, which does not look much like it did when they arrived here.
My Father built a cabin here in Portland, lived here awhile, then moved on up to Oregon City. Lived there several years to run the mill. Before the family left Vancouver, Dr. McLaughlin furnished them with provisions, which was sent out in barrels in those days, to the fort and took a long time getting there from England. (Portland Oregonian June 1947.)
Then, as I said, my Father and family started down the Columbia River by raft and canoe, purchased from the Indians. The women and children walked around the rough places and traveling in this manner until they reached Portland. Dr. McLaughlin went on up the Willamette Valley to what is now Oregon City and there my father with other men to help, built the first grist mill near Oregon City Falls. That mill stood there long after my father died in the year 1860 and was there until 1875 or 1880. It was for this mill that Dr. McLaughlin sent to England for the mill stones. Things traveled very slowly those days so it was quite a few weeks or months before all the materials for the mill arrived. It was the first mill to be built in the Willamette Valley, as far as is known. It was called the “Whitman mill.”
My father also built a sawmill run by water power. It was built on an Island and was called, “The Island Mill.” His mills were all [run] by water power, with a big water wheel, so different from the mills of today.
My father made the biggest mistake of his life in leaving Portland and going to Oregon City, as he found out afterward. He could have been immensely wealthy had he stayed in Portland. We lived in Oregon City several years, then moved to Moores Valley, Marion County. Th[ere] my father built a mill for grinding flour and meal for a man by the name of Jarvis. A Hudson Bay man who wanted a mill built on French Prairie. Later he built a saw mill on the Rickreall near a place [called] Derry, one on the Long Tom and one on Soap Creek. He also built a mill in Moores Valley for his own use.
In 1846 my father built a grist mill for Newby, near McMinnville and a saw mill on Turner Creek. He also built a gristmill near where Carlton stands today, in Yamhill County, eight gristmill on Williamana Creek, one at Fort Yamhill Reservation and the grist mill for his own use on Ramsey Creek. He built a grist mill at Lafayette on the Yamhill River but it burned down from an unknown cause before it was complete. The mill stones lay on the Public Square for years afterwards. At the time of my father’s death, he was building a combined grist and saw mill for his own use.
My Sister Melissa Jane was born in Moores Valley, Franklin County, in 1846, June 20th in a log cabin. Then my parents moved to a little town called Lafayette and built a Hotel there, or near the Yamhill River which they ran until 1849. Then Father got the gold fever, with Others so they started out to the California gold fields. Father came back in the Fall of 1849 to take another start. Instead he exchanged a donation claim he and my mother had taken up close to Oregon City for another one 1 mile from the town of Lafayette, of 360 or 460 donation claims there, owned by a man by the name of Risley. I think at the present time some of the younger ones still own and lived on that donation claim at Oregon City, that my Father owned there.
My Father called their hotel, “the Lafayette” and in this hotel I was born on December 18, 1849.
About that time a young man came one day, ragged, barefooted and no money. He wanted to teach school or do any kind of work. He had come across the plains with some other Emigrants.
My folks gave him a room in the Hotel in which to teach, also a room and board for himself, all that winter of 1849. He became quite portly and weighed quite a bit, so my mother often had fun telling funny jokes on him, but he was a good natured young man and did not mind. One evening after school he came in the kitchen where my mother kept a big rocking chair that he usually sat in. This evening Mother gave him a scare. She had put a pillow in the Rocker and had me lying in it, and when he started to sit down without noticing me, she screamed at him not to sit on me. He only weighed 200 pounds or there abouts at that time, as he had gained weight very fast. He often laughed about this incident afterward. While he was still there my Father asked him to help in naming the Baby so between them they gave me the name of Leviaette Statira, the young school teacher gave me the name Levia, so my name is quite long, Leviette Statira Hawn and now Patterson, which is my husband’s name. This young man was Matthew P. Deady, who became a most noted man as Judge, in Portland, Oregon, and was a lifelong friend of my Parents. Now all have passed away, my Father in 1860 and my Mother in 1883. Judge Deady wrote quite an obituary on my mother’s death. He was a most honorable and highly respected man and loved by all who knew him.
Now I will go on to tell you about the time the Indians became troublesome in Washington and Oregon, when men were called out to subdue them. My Father and two eldest brothers went as Volunteers under Captain Hembill [Hembree] of Lafayette, Ore. with a company of volunteers in 1855, I think it was. They left the Willamette Valley going east of the mountains where they camped, they also camped at Walla Walla, Washington. During the siege with the Indians and while camped the soldiers ran out of provisions and ate their first horse meat. This camp was close to where The Dalles, Oregon now stands, but across the Columbia River on the Washington side. Captain Hembill [Hembree] was killed and scalped by the hostile Indians. I do not remember just how long after the captain was killed, that the Indians quieted down, but I do remember when his body was brot to his home in Lafayette. He was buried with great honor. I remember just how he looked in his coffin, with only a small lock of hair hanging over his forehead. I also remember of salutes being fired over his grave, lots of guns shot off at one time my Father fired the small cannon. I was not more than six years old at the time but I cannot forget how the captain looked after he was scalped. Up to now my Brothers and Father had a small reminder put on the graves in remembrance of those times. If they could have lived to see what this whole country has turned into, prosperous farms and orchards, after all of the early Pioneers paid for these that are now enjoying lives of Peace and plenty and with fine homes. At that time it was all wild land with the Indians roving through this vast country. All that fought for this day, had gone to their rewards, waiting for those that are worthy, and the great beyond.
Since I have grown to womanhood I have met several who were in that war with my Father and brothers and in the same command under Capt. Hembill [Hembree], but most of them had gone to their long rest.
After my Father’s death in 1860 my Mother settled their affairs as best she could, then we moved east of the mountains to The Dalles, Oregon, where we settled. We arrived there on Nov. 18, 61, one of the coldest and most severe winters ever known before, or since, was that winter of 1861-1862. Just two of my Brothers were with us that winter, my Brother Jasper wintered in the Willamette Valley, coming to The Dalles in the spring of 1862. Bought some ox teams to start hauling freight, he and a cousin of ours from Santa Clara, California went in together and hauled freight for several years, for a man by the name of Lockwood, to different mining towns or camps in the upper country. My eldest brother Alonzo Pearson went to the Bannock mines in 1863, with the first gold rush, but were run out by the Indians. Then he went prospecting to other mines that were opening. Later, one brother (Newton) settled in the Boise Basin near Boise City and lived there a good many years. One went to the Fraser River mines but came back and settled in the state of Washington, lived there until he died in 1892 (Alonzo). The next brother, Jasper, lived all his later years in the Willamette Valley on a Homestead until last Jan. 27 when he passed away at the age of 76.
We all suffered with the cold this terrible winter of 1861-62, the ground was freezing when we arrived in The Dalles and kept on freezing all that month until it was frozen two and three feet deep. None of us had ever been in such cold and I had cause to never forget it as my feet were pretty badly frozen that winter. Consequently I suffered with them every winter after. The sky was perfectly clear every night and the stars were so bright, but the weather kept getting colder all the time. We had a hard time to get any kind of a house to live in that winter. Finally a man who had a house of two rooms with a seller underneath, said we could have the two rooms and he would move down in the cellar. It was close on the bank of the Columbia River, not far from the old Umatilla House or hotel. We paid $60.00 a month rent for those two rooms all winter. On Christmas Eve it commenced snowing, a night we will never forgets, my brother Alonzo took me and two younger to the new Catholic Church which was being dedicated that Christmas Eve. It was not snowing when we arrived at the church but about midnight when we stepped out to go home, the snow was over 2 feet deep and still snowing hard. Coming down and great flakes. The next day it was still snowing and snowed for two or three days until it was 5 and 6 feet deep right in town to say nothing of other places where it was 10 and 12 feet deep. Then the weather turned cold again, a heavy crust of ice formed on the snow and the Columbia River froze up solid. The people could cross over to Washington site on the ice, and talk about cold, even the Mercury in the thermometers froze and bursted. Coal oil froze in the cans and bursted open and what few big dray horses were in the stables simply froze to death. Not all but most of them. Living so close to the River we could see some queer sites, the frozen horses were hauled down on the Beach, then here would come a lot of Indians. They would build a little smoly fire, then begin to cut great pieces off the dead horses and cook, or as we said, smoke the horse meat and eat their fill. They would cover the carcass until they were hungry again. They almost starved that winter and we all came near it too, for no boats could run to Portland for aid. Many arms, legs and hands were amputated that terrible winter. We children could see men with stretchers taking the crippled to the boats, as they had to pass right by our house.
Men that had cattle out in the country lost all they had as there was no feed, so they just starved and froze to death in gray piles are bunches, where they had huddled together on the range. Afterward, one could see great piles of Bones all over the hills. In April the Columbia River began to rise, by this time, mother had put up a building for an hotel, in the upper and of town. We had just moved in, right on the loose floors which were not yet nailed down, when the water from the river kept getting higher. The house of two rooms we had lived in, went off down the river with a lot of others, to be seen no more. We had to move to the upper story of our new building, still the water kept getting higher. Before my Brothers could get our big stove hauled upstairs, they and my mother stood in 18 inches of water. Finally got it upstairs and we lived this way for three weeks that spring. Before the house could be finished all the loose floor and had to be tied to keep it from floating away. Oh yes, that was some time for us. Water came to the top of the carpenters workbench. On July 4, 1862 the water began to recede fast and all that summer, great ice bergs would come floating slowly down the river, the likes has never been known since.
Groceries of every kind became very scarce during that long winter and one could buy but one bag of flour, a few pounds of beans and sugar and bacon. A little coffee or tea was doled out to each family and it went on all that long tedious winter. Water was scarce too in town. There was a little man who put blankets on his horse is night and day, and he would go down to the river, cut a hole in the ice and fill a barrel with water, then haul it to town and sell it. That is the way we got water during those cold months. I can never forget that winter, I was 12 years old then, old enough to remember it all distinctly.
Along in Feb. people were getting desperate for a way to get down the river so the towns people tried to blow a hole in the ice at Crates Point, to try and get the ice moving down the river. It did start, but formed a big ice jam and all froze up again, some tried to walk down but the snow was too deep, so they had to walk back again and wait. The river stayed frozen that way there at The Dalles until the last day of March 1862. Then came the breaking up and a boat manage to get up the river as far as Crates Point. The men tried more blasting on the ice jam there but it was too dangerous. A lot of the men in town wanted to get to Portland, so they walked down to this boat and manage to get to Portland on that trip. As I said, the last of March a big thaw was on its way. After the ice got going out good, a boat came from Portland to take 10 or 15 men with their feet, arms and hands frozen from The Dalles back to Portland where they could receive medical aid.
A few people who lived out of town walked in on the frozen snow for provisions. All supplies were rationed so they did not have a heavy load to carry home. It was a terrible winter and some people in the Willamette Valley said it must have been 60 degrees below zero. No one in The Dalles ever knew how cold it did get.
Our hotel was called “The Oregon Hotel”. I think it stood about where the cannery stands today. During that time my Mother ran the hotel, a saloon was put up next door, about two feet from one side of our building. This saloon was run pretty rough and a great many soldiers kept at the old Fort in case of Indian raids, spent most of their time in the saloon getting drunk and carousing and quarreling and fighting and by night the officers would have a lot of them in the guardhouse.
My Mother did not like this, so she sold out 18 months after building the hotel, and bought a lot farther down in town, having a house built on this property. Later on a better class of soldiers were sent to the Fort. The first group was called the bloody 14th by towns people. Later too, miners came into The Dalles from mines in the upper country, that had been discovered rich in gold. This made people from everywhere flocked to these newly discovered mines, just as they did later to Alaska. Every winter, lots of these Miners would come to The Dalles and spend their hard earned gold dust, losing it to gambling thieves who always follow up the miners, ply them with drink to get their gold. Some winters there would be two or three men killed in fights. When spring came, these miners in some way would get a grub stake, then back to their claims to work all summer. This went on for several years until other towns were built closer to the mines, so this element quit coming to The Dalles. After this The Dalles became quite a thriving place, as all the gold that was mined had to come here to be exchanged for money, ready coined. Then the dust would be sent to San Francisco to be minted. New York and San Francisco were the only two places at that time, that I know of, where the gold dust was minted.
My eldest brother Alonzo went to the mines in 1863 and every year he would come home to winter with us. He was doing well. He would have we younger children get a big plate and on this he would pour his gold dust from a big leather purse to show us what it looked like and why it was called gold dust. Every spring he would go to some good mining claim and work hard all summer, then come home with it to help us out. He went mining every year until about 1868. He did well in the Canyon City mine, mined in the Bannock Mines, Helena, Blackfoot and Butte but stayed the longest in the Canyon City mines. The gold would often weigh 60 and 75¢ to the ounce. We used to see lots of the gold dust. When people were sure of the gold mines, the stagecoaches began to run from The Dalles to Canyon City. Those were exciting times. Then the Indians began to get troublesome as people were settling up the country and raising stock between The Dalles and Canyon City and other points in the upper country. The Indians would sometimes hold up the stagecoaches, attack the ranches, burn down their houses and run off their stock. Often times families would come running into The Dalles, saying the Indians were after them. The Indians would burn houses, set fire to the haystacks and run off the cattle as far down as Bridgecreek and Antelope Valleys.
For years the old stone Forts stood in that country, where the government stationed soldiers to guard the settlements at that time and as late as 1875 when the Indians stopped their depredations of that vast country.
In 1865 until 1869 my Brother Jasper and a cousin from California, had ox teams on the road hauling freight to Canyon City for a man by the name of Lockwood. He had several other men with ox teams hauling freight too then came other ways to haul freight to the upper country, by pack trains of horses and mules. A few years later mule and horse teams were added. Some time the Indians would route them, when some lively shooting would take place, as it did when the stagecoaches were attacked. Such were the times before the railroad was built up thru that country. The trip between The Dalles and Canyon City usually took about three weeks, at night the teams were turned out to graze. At that time the hills were covered with high bunch grass. In the fall of the year this grass would turn the color of silver and when the wind would blow the high grass would ripple like the waves of the ocean. The teams were kept close to camp and guarded at night in case of a surprise attack by Indians. These were the renegade Indians and in case of an attack on the ranchers, the soldiers would be sent out to round them up. The ranchers lived in fear until 1875, the last time of any the Indian trouble.
After that along came a few outlaws, renegade white men who would have a few Indians along, to steal the ranchers horses and cattle, then these outlaws would blame the Indians until some of them were caught at it, then it was soon stopped altogether. Peace, and prosperity came to the farmers later. Today there are fine farms, big stock ranches of horses, cattle and sheep, lots of hay, orchards and grain fields.
During all these years we still lived in The Dalles on what was then called Second St. Mother kept private baorders for a few years, and myself and two sisters went to school from April 1861 until 1868. At that I left school to get married as seven or eight other girls did that same spring and summer.
We all went to school to Professor Robb, who taught in a house of two rooms. Mrs. Robb taught in one room and he in the other. Mrs. Robb taught my two sisters and I went to Professor Robb, who taught me for six years and I was absent only two days during that time. He was a fine teacher. I think that same old schoolhouse still stands and is used as a private dwelling house. There may have been many changes since those years, nearly all of my schoolmates are dead or moved away years ago.
My mother sold her house to George Rusch in 1867 he ran a grocery store at the time and we did quite a bit of trading with him for several years. Then there were the Fitzgeralds who had a hardware store in a brick building, Chas. Miller and a Mr. Miller to own a dry goods store. There was Haughtons drugstore and one bank.
The miners took their gold dust to an assay office here in The Dalles, where they exchange it for $20.00 gold pieces.
(Joshua and Dan French, brothers who in later years ran a bank. Mr. Marlin, sheep rancher, James Crossen who owned a dray business when upon the death of 1st wife married and all old schoolmate Alice Marlin.)
There was George Blakely, a druggist who owned the drugstore and was still there up to the present time of 1927. He had been in The Dalles for 39 or 40 years. There is another old settler still in The Dalles, who went there in 1875 and has kept and ran a grocery store ever since, his name is Mr. L. Rorden. Then there were the McInnerneys who owned a clothing store, I think Mr. McInnerney is still living. I could mention scores of other old timers, I used to know all the older ones that have passed on or moved away, years ago. I’m still here in the Oregon country. (Mr. Moody and family who were Mothers friends long before he became governor of the state. A Mr. Jackson was a cattle dealer.)
After Mother sold her house we, Mother, myself and two sisters, moved up on the garden, then called the government garden. She rented the place for a year from the government agent, a Mr. Fritz. He lived there and he and mother both used water of the Big Springs to irrigate their gardens. We lived here until the year 1868 and while we were here the U.S. Government hired the Warm Springs Indians to go and get the Snake Indians in the summer of 1867.
They came in victorious from their raid on the Snake Indians. Came marching into The Dalles from their battle in full war regalia of paint and feathers. Their wives came with them, riding horses in procession behind the warriors, singing their war songs and giving war whoops every little while. They rode through town on their way to the garrison. It all looked frightful to us, who had never seen anything like this before. About 100 leaders came in ahead of the others, each carrying a scalp on a long pole, to prove they had carried out the raid. The government paid them off and gave each one a soldier suit with lots of brass buttons on the coats.
The Indians were very pleased and proud and have been the best of friends ever since, as far as I know. We lived quite close to the garrison at that time and the Indians would stop and show us the money and their blue soldier suits. We would brag about them which pleased them, some of them would return to the garrison and tell the officers what we had said. Some of the officers and their families lived at the garrison. All this has past and gone and seems like a dream. So many changes since those stirring times but I can never forget.
In the spring of 1868 win moved from the government gardens to the old McLaughlin place near Columbia River. Mother rented it out for a few years to stock men as pastor for their cattle and horses.
The gardens were turned over to the City and a fine big school house was built on the property, which is still being used. The old garrison has been built up with the City, I suppose now days it all belongs to the city of The Dalles.
Well, I must go back a little of my story, to the time when our hotel was built in the spring of 1868. We were living there when the very first railroad passed thru to Celilo, it went right past our front door. The engineer gave all the Indians were standing around watching a free ride on the cars to Celilo.
(I went one winter to school taught by Miss Anna Pentland who later married Mr. Samuel Brooks, attended private school the winter before I was married. Left school while going to Mr. Robb.)
My sisters and myself were still going to school when we moved to the McLaughlin place. It was here I quit school, two marry George Washington Patterson, April 26, 1868. He owned a large wheat ranch, 8 miles south of The Dalles. Prior to that he had been running a hotel in Walla Walla, Wash. Awhile before we were married he was hauling freight with a four and six horse team. He drove one of them himself until 1875 when he gave it up and started raising wheat and fine horses.
He and his people crossed the plains from Marshall, Ill. in 1846 with ox teams as my people did in 1843. They were on their way to California crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains. They started at first with the Donner party, but did not stay together long. In some way his people got ahead of the main party, it seems the Donner party broke up and many of them just struck out on their own. In traveling ahead, Mr. Pattersons family and others reached the top of the Sierra Nevada Mt. where they halted to camp, as it was snowing hard. Just as the main Donner party got to the foot of the mountain they stopped to camp and would not go any further, thinking the storm would cease. It kept on snowing until it must have been 50 or 100 feet deep in those mountains. The Party would not try to go on up and over the top as the others did. When the party on top of the mountain saw the ones below were not going to try to reach the top, the men folks went down to see if they could not coax them up to camp with them. They would not listen nor would they try to get out, quite a number of women and children said they would go so my husband’s father and other men went down to offer their help. Quite a few tried and made the trip out on foot. I do not know how many were saved but my husband said his father made several trips down the mountain to urge and coax more to go with him to the camp on top. On his last trip back up the mount he was carrying a twelve year old girl while others tried to follow. He succeeded in getting the girl up, but just as he reached his own camp, he collapsed and dropped dead from over exertion. That left his mother alone with the children to do the best she could, so they went on to California with the rest of the train. His father was buried right there in the wagon trail. A fire was built over his grave and after it burned down, the coals and ashes were scattered all over so the Indians would think it was just a campfire and not molest his body. Such was the tragic ending of the Donner party at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountain in the fall of 1846. His mother had for boys and two girls and my husband was the youngest of the family, being 9 or 10 years old at the time. He was born in Marshall, Ill., Feb. 23, 1837.
He said they suffered many hardships on the way. Lots of times he and his brothers ran on ahead of the train looking for scraps of bread or other food that other emigrants would leave where they had camped, glad to pick up what they could to keep. My husband never told me how many or who it was the camp and travelled with them. They have heard about the deep snows in the mountains so pushed on as fast as they could to cross the Sierra Nevada where the Donner party was trapped, as their remains testified today. I hear a monument has been erected in memory of the Donner Party’s tragic end, but it seems there ought to be one for those that helped in the rescue work. The leader of the Donner Party was Captain Dolmar.
My husband’s mother and the children went on to California, as I said. They have some stock with them, too. They settled on a claim in Sutter County, on Sutter Creek where Mr. Sutter had built a mill. Gold was discovered here in 1848 at this mill. My husband and his brothers told me more than once how they would pick up old cans and fill them with what they called pretty yellow stones. Then they would hide them from each other, not knowing the pretty stones were gold nuggets. The boys said they would like to go back and find some of the cans they had hid. Their mother was interested only in raising stock and never gave a thot to the gold. They could have been wealthy in no time. Later their mother married again to a man by the name of Robinson, who was a sea captain. Then the boys left home and came to Oregon. These children were the first real discoverers of the gold there. (Sutter creek.)
My husband was between 13 and 14 years old when the boys left home, two of them for Oregon. They started out on foot but once in awhile would get a ride. My husband spoke of one place especially where they stopped to work for several days. The man who owned the place was Col. Nye, a fine man, they said. After getting well paid for their work they again started on their journey to Oregon. They made the trip to the Willamette Valley all right, and soon had plenty to do and from then on made their own living and never returned to California. (George, David.)
During the civil war I was about 15 years old. First the South would win the battle and all those in favor of the South would turn out at night to celebrate the victory. Then the North would win and there would be another celebration with speeches on the street. The streets would be lighted not by electric, but by rolling out a big barrel of tar which was set on fire. It gave a big light which answered all purposes at that time for The Dalles then was a small place.
My sisters and I would go out once in a while and watch the celebration. Little girls would come out on the streets, too, and sing patriotic songs. One party or the other would parade the streets with a lot of noise. It surely was exciting. During this time George McBride, a lawyer, made one of the greatest speeches of the time. When Abraham Lincoln was killed all bounds seemed to let loose. The people went wild. Now all this has passed away as history. Great changes have taken place since we arrived here in 1861.
After I was married to Mr. Patterson, we moved to his ranch 8 miles south of The Dalles, as I said before. We lived on the farm 24 years then rented it for a year and went to a mine, the old Spanish mine and Mule Gulch. We stayed here a year and then sold out our interest in it and went back to the farm for two or three years. Then sold it and went to the State of Washington where we lived for 13 years. Nine years on a dairy farm across the river from Hamilton, then we sold out and bought a small piece of land near Burlington, Washington. We built a nice home to live and as we thot, peace and plenty, but it was not to be that way. We had just completed everything and gotten settled when my husband became ill. The Doctors said he could not live long and for us to go east of the mountains which might prolong his life for little while, but he lived only three months. During all these years we raised eight children but only six are now living. We lost our oldest boy when he was about 17. Then in 1905, Dec. 13, we lost our youngest son, who would have been 16 years old on the 31st of that month. I have two boys and four girls living all married except one. Two of the girls have large families, one daughter, Ida, has two sons in the Army. The eldest was in France a year or more and one in Germany.
This is now in April 1927. I have been busy copying some writings I had done nearly 15 years ago, so will add to them as I still live on. My eldest daughter, Etta, married a man by the name of Willard Harding. They had seven children when Mr. Harding died. A few years later she married her present husband, Al Gehring. They have one boy now 13 years old. The other children are all married and have their own homes. Mrs. Gehring lives here in Hood River.
Now to go back again and my story. I have seen The Dalles on fire four or five times. Once it was set afire by robbers. There were three of them one stayed at the fire to help yell fire while the others stole all they could which they packed onto horses. They took mostly mining out fits, shovels, picks, gold pans and groceries. They then led the horses out of town while everyone else was running to the fire which started at 2:00 AM in the Fitzgerald Hardware Store. My sisters and myself were at the fence of our house close to the street watching the exciting people running to the fire, many of them half dressed. While we were standing there, the two thieves and horses came right past us getting out of town as fast as they could. Then the third man slipped out of the crowd at the fire and joined his two partners.
We girls, never thinking of any such thing or we could have given the alarm. Next day we told what we had seen. Then the officers told us we should have come in and reported what we had seen and gotten the reward of $300 that was offered. Well, the thieves got away to the upper country where they set more fires and did more stealing while the excited people were running to the fire. I have forgotten the exact date but it was between 1865 and 1867.
About 10 years later these same thieves fired Canyon City for the same purpose and were caught there. The Sheriff and my brother, Alonzo, as appointed Deputy were sent from The Dalles to bring the prisoners down on the stage coach. All three were hand-cuffed. They sat and told how many towns they had set fire to and how they stole goods while people ran to the fire. These men were wanted in California so they were sent there to serve prison terms for their crimes.
Another time two little boys set a furniture store on fire. They started it upstairs and before it could be gotten under control for five blocks were burned. When we were living out on the ranch The Dalles was set afire several times more.
In 1867 or 1868 a U.S. Mint building was started in The Dalles to coin the gold dust. The government had the building pretty well underway with plenty of men on the job to hurry it up and finish the building. All this time San Francisco was striving to get the mint. Well, they won out and The Dalles was the loser. Then the work on the building was stopped and all the men lost their jobs. My brother was one of them. He was getting $10.00 a day, so he just struck out again for the mines. The Dalles has gone ahead all these years just the same. In later years the mint building was turned into a flour mill and was called the Diamond Mill, run at first by a man named Schmidt.
I was just a young girl when a woolen factory was built on Mill Creek. My brothers and sisters and myself went all thru the mill when it was running and we saw the wool being cleaned and then woven into blankets. It was a wonderful site to us, who had never seen anything like that before. We always thot it was a shame when the mill was closed. Seems as tho it would have been a fine industry for The Dalles with so much wool being grown. It was a greater mistake of The Dalles people, we think. There are some of the stone works still on mill creek. Well, another dream gone.
(Apparently a description of Parkdale, Ore. Lots of game of every kind, deep in plenty, grouse, pheasant, quail, bear, cougar, panther and wild cats.)
I have lived to see the electric lights, aeroplanes and now comes the radio which I have not yet heard, but I think I will have that pleasure if I keep well. Have been living in Portland the last two years and at present time I am at Dee in Hood River with my eldest daughter, Etta Gehring, and Aug. 28., 1922, I have heard concert and speeches from New York, Seattle and Sacramento, California. My grandson has put up a radio said here at his home so we can all enjoy its wonders.
This place is high in the mountains close to old Mt. Hood. We have a wonderful view of the mountain every day. I have six children living at the present time all doing well and having homes of their own.
June 30, 1930
I will now at a few lines to that which I have already written several years ago when I had good eyesight.
Since then I have lost one eye and I did not think I would ever get to write anymore. But now I can see fairly well again. I also did not think I would be living now, at the age of 80 years last December 18, 1929. All that is left of my father and mothers family is myself and two younger sisters. The rest of passed on to the great beyond. One of my sisters lives in Portland and one in Monmouth, Polk Co., Oregon. We three are Pioneers daughters. I live here in Eastern Oregon most of the time. I spend some of my time with my eldest daughter [in] Hood River Valley. I lost one son, Lester, last fall. He was heard while doing carpenter work on the mountains in Oregon Lumber Co. camp so [I] have only one son now living.
After missing three reunion meetings of the Pioneers in Portland, I was there this time and enjoyed it all fine. I also went to the Pioneers Reunion in The Dalles where I met many old friends and neighbors that were all children together in The Dalles in the early sixties. There are only a few left now.
Well, I had lived in the state of Washington for 13 years, made two trips to California, one by train in 1922 and one trip over land on the highway which I certainly enjoyed. I lived in California for two years but was glad to get back to old Oregon, a land of my birth, the land of the Golden West.
Now after laying this writing aside for a while because of failing eyesight, I will on this Armistice Day, Nov. 11th, try to add a little more if I can. This was the great day for an agreement to end all wars. There have been many changes and I have lived to see such great ones. I have seen the auto which is taken the place of the horse and wagon, a mode of travel the world over, these days. On Dec. 18, 1930 I will be 81 years of age.
Leviette Statira Hawn, Third daughter of Jacob and Harriet Pearson Hawn pioneers of the Golden West.