Chapter 171

Isaac Newyon Collard Was Scout, Guide and Indian Interpreter in Oregon

ISAAC NEWTON COLLARD was the seventh child of Felix Alver and Damaris Lewis Collard, whose fortunes we have followed on the early Missouri-Illinois border and later on the Oregon Trail. He was the first of the Collard children born in Oregon. He was born at Oregon City (or Oswego, near there) January 15, 1848, following the family migration from Pleasant Hill to Oregon Territory, where they arrived in the fall of 1847.

Six of Isaac Newton's sisters and brothers, as we have seen, were born in what is now Pleasant Hill township. One died there and the others accompanied their parents to Oregon crossing the plains behind an ox-team.

Isaac Newton Collard was the father of Mrs. Evelyn Collard Fidelle of Portland, Oregon, who is the chief contributor to Collard and Lewis family history. He married Jane Ann Rogers, relative of the widely-known Rogers family here in Pike county, among whose descendants are William Riley Willsey of Maysville and Mrs. Josephine Baker of Summer Hill. The late Will Rogers, beloved comedian, was of the same line.

In Isaac Newton Collard our Pike county pioneers contributed one who was to have much to do with the development of the great Northwest. Felix Collard and Damaris Lewis gave to him a large measure of the richness of their pioneer American heritage.

"My father," says Mrs. Fidelle, "was their seventh child and the first of the children born in Oregon. The older ones were born in Pleasant Hill, Illinois, and the three younger ones in Oregon. My father grew up with the state of Oregon, and his father was a pioneer of Illinois and Oregon and helped in the development of both states.

"He (father) told me his mother (Damaris Lewis) was related to Meriwether Lewis, Daniel Boone and George Washington. His grandfather Samuel (Samuel Hardin Lewis, who died near Pleasant Hill in 1832) was own cousin of Meriwether, and Samuel's wife, Mary Barnett, was supposed to be an own cousin to Meriwether also."

Note: The relationships of the Pike county Lewises to Captain Meriwether Lewis, Daniel Boone and the Washingtons have been explained in previous chapters.

Isaac Newton Collard grew up in Oregon City and went to school there. On January 15, 1878, he married Jane Ann Rogers, a sister of Priscilla Evaline Rogers, who in 1877 had married Isaac Newton's younger brother, William Franklin Collard. Jane Ann Rogers was also a niece of the wife of Isaac Newton's elder brother, John Jasper Collard, who married Martha Frances Henderson, sister of Mary Ellen (Henderson) Rogers, who was the mother of the two sisters who married Isaac Newton and William Franklin Collard. Isaac Newton Collard lived at Hillsboro, Oregon, for three years following his marriage, moving then to McMinnville.

Jane Ann Rogers was born in McMinnville August 7, 1853, a daughter of James William Rogers, who was a son of Lewis F. Rogers and a grandson of Aquilla Rogers, descended in direct line from John Rogers, who, for his religion, died at the stake at Smithfield, England, in the 16th century, the first of the Marian martyrs. Aquilla Rogers was a brother of Bartlett Rogers, who has many descendants in Pike county, he being the grandfather of the late Mrs. Malinda Willsey of the Fairview neighborhood.

James William Rogers, father of Jane Ann (Rogers) Collard, was of the sixth generation in descent from Giles Rogers who settled in Virginia in the early years of the colony and was ancestor of all the Rogers family in Virginia. Giles came over to Virginia from England in his own ship. This Rogers line descends not only from the Reverend John Rogers, the martyr, but also from Alfred the Great, Emperor Charlemagne, Hugh Capet, William the Conqueror, Malcolm I of Scotland, and six sureties of the Magna Charta.

Isaac Newton Collard was an Indian scout in his youth. He was interpreter, linguist, packer and guide for the surveying party of D. P. Thompson (once mayor of Portland) and Henry Meldrum. He helped lay out and survey lines in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. It was part of his task, when with Thompson and Meldrum, to make peace with the Indians through whose country the surveyors had to operate. He spoke all Indian dialects fluently. He was born among the Indians and the Chinook chief once informed him that he could talk their language as well as the chief himself. Isaac Newton's children greatly enjoyed his stories of adventure and the Indian jargon in which he would sometimes address them.

Isaac Newton Collard had a remarkable talent for music. He could play any instrument and could play any tune he ever heard, playing by note. His daughter, Mrs. Fidelle, has his old violin, which was made for him by Frank Collard, son of Benton and important contributor to Collard history, now deceased. Mrs. Fidelle says her father played this violin long before he was married, when he had an orchestra and played for dances. He was chorister and choir director in the Methodist church at Hillsboro, Oregon, which he joined soon after his marriage. He was trustee in the Methodist church for many years. He trained singers and gave music lessons.

Says Victor Wayne Jones of Seattle, a great grandson of Isaac Newton's father: ‘He (Isaac Newton) was a soul that liked to be alone in the woods and fields with his dog. He loved nature, flowers, children, and was perfectly contented all by himself."

Children of Isaac Newton Collard and Jane Ann Rogers were: Lilly, who died when two months old; Nellie, who married, first, Welcome Turner (now deceased), and second, George W. Hamblin. Mr. and Mrs. Hamblin live on a farm near McMinnville, Oregon. They have no children.

Third child of Isaac Newton and Jane Ann (Rogers) Collard is Priscilla Evelyn (Collard) Fidelle of 4630 S. E. 46thAvenue, Portland, Oregon. She first married Arthur H. Thomas and by him had one daughter, Dorothy Evelyn Thomas, born January 15, 1909. On January 15, 1927, Dorothy Evelyn married Edward Pease and by him has two daughters, Dorothy Ellen Pease, born November 26, 1927, and Ruby Eloise Pease, born July 7, 1929. Arthur H. Thomas died in 1929 and on March 29, 1930 his widow married William Fidelle.

William Rogers Collard, fourth of the Isaac Newton Collard children, lives at Camas, Washington. He is married and has a son, Loren Rogers Collard, born July 23, 1925.

Oda Frances Collard, fifth child, died when three years of age.

Thomas H. Collard, sixth and last of the children was born February 4, 1900 and is a successful commercial artist, affiliated with N. W. Ayer & Son in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is not married.

Isaac Newton Collard and his family lived for many years at McMinnville. He died there August 30, 1929. He had been blind for several years. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church for over 50 years and in politics was a staunch Republican. His wife died March 16, 1932.

A leading Oregon newspaper contained the following account of Isaac Newton Collard following the death of the noted survey scout:

"With the death here (August 30, 1929) of Isaac Newton Collard, aged 81 years, Oregon lost one of its real pioneers, who through his long span of life played an important role in the laying out and development of the state.

"Death came at his home in Brockwood Hill, where he had made his home for many years. He had been a resident of this community for over fifty years, and was one of the last surviving scouts and Indian interpreters of the early pioneer days. He spoke seven Indian dialects fluently. He had been blind for five years. Complications arising from old age were said to be the cause of his death.

"He was the last surviving child of his parents, Felix Alver Collard and Damaris Lewis Collard, Oregon pioneers of 1847 from Pleasant Hill, Pike county, Illinois. He was the first of his parents' children to be born in Oregon. His older brothers and sisters were born in Pike county. A younger brother and sister were also born in Oregon.

"The deeds of Isaac N. Collard's life read like an Indian novel. Born in Oregon City, January 15, 1848, he early developed an interest in Indian tribes, as many of his playmates were Indians. He studied surveying and became connected with the late D. P. Thompson, once mayor of Portland, Oregon, and Henry Meldrum of Oregon City. He served the latter two men for years as linguist, head packer and guide, going with their surveying parties nearly every year into the unexplored region of Eastern Oregon to lay out and survey for the budding state.

"Friends of Mr. Collard have heard him tell of how telling the truth at one time saved him and his party from death at the hands of an Indian band. The surveying party, in early days, outfitted each year at The Dalles, Oregon, and started into the unknown interior. The party, this year, had gone to a point forty miles from Lewiston, Idaho, and encamped on Hangman's Creek. From there the party went into the Columbia River timber, where they were surveying.

"Suddenly they found themselves surrounded by a band of thirty-eight Indian braves, bedecked in full regalia and war paint. Mr. Collard began parleying with the Indians, who were sullen and each brave had to talk with the Thompson party linguist. The conversation lasted three and one-half hours, when suddenly the Indian chief declared that Mr. Collard was the only man who could talk Chinook as good as himself and declared they would let the white men go if the linguist had told the truth about the location of the white men's camp.

"The braves escorted the surveying party back to their camp, carrying them across the creek on their backs. They found the camp and then insisted on a shooting match. The white men beat the Indians at their own sport, amid the exclamations ‘Hyu skookem' (Good shot, white man!) and then ordered the white men off Indian Territory."

Mrs. Fidelle, daughter of Isaac Newton Collard, regrets now that she did not write down the things her father told her about his ancestry when she was a child. He told her many things about the great early American families - the Washingtons, the Fieldings, the Warners, the Boones, the makers of American history - to whom his forebears were related and with whom they mingled. To Evelyn Collard, the child, these things seemed unimportant, but today, knowing that those ancestors named by her father included some of the greatest names in history, she is eager to learn more of the thrilling story of her ancestors and has made great progress in charting the family history.

She says that the Regent of the Champoeg Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution has been helping her gather the history of her family and that the Regent thinks that Mary Barnett Lewis (the beloved "Granny" Lewis who lived to a great old age at Pleasant Hill) was the daughter of Caroline Lewis and Charles Barnett of the great Warner Hall line. Caroline Lewis was a daughter of Warner Lewis and a granddaughter of John Lewis and Frances Fielding of the Warner Hall Lewises. If this be true, the children of Samuel Lewis and Mary Barnett descend from the lords of Warner Hall on both the father's and the mother's sides.

Writes Mrs. Fidelle in reference to her great grandmother Lewis: "I wonder if in the history of Missouri Mary Barnett isn't listed a heroine? In the early days of Missouri, Mary Barnett (a little 90-pound red-headed lady) swam a Missouri river in the dead of winter, an ice-filled river, to warn the garrison of the approach of hostile Indians and thus saved them from massacre. I think this was the Quiver or Au Quiver River or some such name. I heard it from my father when I was a child. It is a tradition of the family."

The tradition mentioned by Mrs. Fidelle and heretofore quoted from other sources, evidently derives from an incident chronicled by John Shaw, founder of Pike county's first seat of justice at Coles' Grove, who in his memoirs mentions a warning given a garrison on the Cuivre river (in Lincoln county, Missouri) by a woman (whose name in his blind old age he could not recall) who swam the river in winter ahead of the Indians' attack. It was on this crooked Cuivre river that Colonel John Shaw had some of his most exciting adventures with the redskins in the early days of the Missouri Territory.

Says Mrs. Fidelle: "Two of Mary's grandchildren (Felix Alver Collard's children) had the Mary Barnett red hair. These were Mary Jane Collard Jones and William Franklin Collard, the oldest and youngest of Felix's children."