Chapter 174

Nathan K. Sitton, Pike Emigrant, Wed Priscilla Evaline Rogers in Oregon

CLOSELY ALLIED with the pioneer Pike county families of whom we have written were the early Sittons, the first of whom came over from Lincoln county, Missouri, into what is now Detroit township in Pike county, Illinois, in 1828. Of Scottish descent, they too made their first American settlement in the colony of old Virginia, coming thence to Tennessee, and then, shortly after the Indian wars, to the Territory of Missouri.

From Missouri, the numerous members of the family scattered into several states. Some located in Pike county, Illinois, some emigrated to Oregon Territory, others to California. Many of their descendants are found today in these sections of the country.

In Oregon Territory we find one of the pioneering Sittons intermarrying with the great Rogers family, to which belonged the wives of Isaac Newton and William Franklin Collard, sons of Felix Alver and Damaris (Lewis) Collard of the pioneer Pleasant Hill settlement. The Sittons and the Lewises were neighbors in early Virginia and we find them rather intimately associated in the later migrations of the two families.

Nathan Koontz Sitton, who was born on the Missouti side of the river September 2, 1823 (one account says 1825), was the first Sitton emigrant to Oregon, where he arrived in the year 1843. Others of the Sittons of the Sittons went to Oregon in 1847, some of them being in the same wagon train with the Collards on at least part of the route across the plains. Still others made the overland trips to both Oregon and California at various times. Joshua King Sitton, so well known in Detroit and Pittsfield history, was among the California argonauts of 1849.

Nathan Koontz Sitton was a first cousin of Terrell P., William H., Jehu, Jeffrey B., Joshua K., Felix G., Jesse B., Eliza P., Anna M., Caroline, Lydia K. and Linnie A. Sitton of the Pike county family, his father being a brother of that Jesse Sitton of pioneer Pike county days who was a Baptist minister in what is now Detroit township, whence he came in 1828 from the Missouri border where the Sittons had founded a home in 1816. He died in Detroit township November 1, 1832 and is buried at Blue River. He was a native of Virginia, where he was born March 11, 1783, a son of Joseph Sitton, native of Scotland and soldier of the Revolution, in which war he was for a time a prisoner of the British.

Nathan Koontz Sitton, whose father was a native of Tennessee, was a grandson of this same Revolutionary soldier, who survived the Revolution for many years and died at a great age. Nathan K. Sitton was a brother of John G. Sitton, 1836 settler at Pleasant Hill. Nathan's mother was a member of that early Missouri family which was so closely associated with the Fort Zumwalt pioneers in St. Charles county, a family whose name is variously spelled in the records of the border, sometimes as "Koontz" and again as "Kunz" or "Coonce." Susan Koontz or Coonce, another member of the family, daughter of Jacob Koontz who accompanied the Sittons to Oregon and died there, married Andrew Zumwalt, descendant of Jacob (founder of Fort Zumwalt), and was long a resident of Pike county, to which she and her husband came in the spring of 1847, settling near the pioneer home of one of their sons, Samuel P. Zumwalt, in Martinsburg township. Many descendants of the Zumwalt and Koontz families are still resident there.

Nathan Koontz Sitton, in Oregon, in 1847, married Priscilla Evaline Rogers, daughter of Lewis F. Rogers, sister of James William Rogers, grandfather of Mrs. Evelyn Collard Fidelle. Priscilla Evaline had accompanied her father, Lewis Rogers, to Oregon in 1846. Nathan K. Sitton had a chum, Charles Fendall, who accompanied him to Oregon in 1843, and in that state the two married sisters, Fendall marrying Amanda Rogers, sister of Priscilla Evaline, in the year 1848.

Nathan K. Sitton's parents died when he was a small boy, after which he made his own way. His brothers settled in Lincoln county, Missouri, and in Pike county, Illinois. Nathan K. went west several years before any of the other Sittons. Mrs. Fidelle says that he was a greatly loved man, among both the Indians and the whites, as was her grandfather Rogers.

Nathan K. Sitton and Priscille Evaline Rogers had sons, Fred, Elbridge, Charles, Harry Huber and Nathan Sitton, and a daughter, Caroline Sitton, who married her mother's cousin, Lewis Cass Rogers. Elbridge Sitton is among those descendants of the early Missouri-Illinois border families who attend each year, on the third Sunday in June, a reunion at Willamina, Oregon, of the Rogers, Fendall, Sitton and Henderson families. Among these reunionists each year is Isaac Rogers' daughter, Tressie, aged 80; Green Clark Rogers' daughter, Ellen, aged 85; James William Rogers' son, Thomas H. Rogers, aged 77; and Elbridge Sitton and one of the Fendall sons, both past 90.

Priscilla Evaline Rogers, wife of Nathan K. Sitton, was born in Indiana in 1829. She married N. K. Sitton in December, 1847, in Oregon. She died in 1869 and in 1871 N. K. Sitton married again and had five more children, namely, Ward, Pratt, Minnie, Jennie and Sarah Sitton.

Priscilla Evaline's sister, Amanda Rogers, born in Indiana in 1827, married Charles Fendall in Oregon in 1848. Their children included Riley, Laura, Anna, Philip, Mary, Elbridge, George and Edward Fendall. The Fendalls of Lincoln county, Missouri, were intermarried with the early Missouri Galloways, one of whom married the oldest daughter of Samuel Hardin Lewis and Mary Barnett of Pleasant Hill.

Ellen Rogers, a sister of Priscilla Evaline, Amanda and James William Rogers, born in Indiana in 1823, married, first, Pliny Garrison, and with her infant daughter, Nancy Garrison, crossed the plains to Oregon in 1845. Pliny Garrison, a kinsman of Garrisons whose descendants are still numerous in Pike county, was killed by an Indian arrow at Fort Walla Walla, Washington. His wife, Ellen, with her babe in her arms, went on to Oregon in company with her two brothers, James William and Green Clark Rogers. In Oregon, Ellen married John Carlin and had three more children, Mary, Wayne and Henry. A poem having as its theme the killing of Pliny Garrison by the Indians was in possession a few years ago of one of the Pike county Garrisons.

Green Clark Rogers, brother of those named above, was born in Indiana in 1825. He married Mary Ann Nelson and had Ada, Ellen, George and Effie Rogers.

The mother of these Rogers children died in Indiana, prior to the family's migration to Oregon Territory. She was Nancy A. Richards, daughter of Zadok Richards of Tennessee, who was a kinsman of General Anthony Wayne. The father, Lewis Rogers, moved from Indiana to Des Moines, Iowa, and there married a second time, his second wife being Elizabeth (family name unknown), by whom he had three more children, namely, Jane born in 1840, Susan born in 1842 and Isaac born in 1844.

The three eldest of the Rogers children went to Oregon in 1845. The following year their father followed them, with two of his children by the first marriage, Amanda and Priscilla Evaline, and three children by the second marriage. In Oregon, Lewis F. Rogers became the first county judge of Yamhill county and was delegate to Oregon's first Territorial Government Convention, held in Oregon City in 1847. He died in Oregon in 1864. With his two sons, James William and Green Clark, he participated in the Oregon Indian wars.

Most of these early settlers of Oregon Territory lived for many years among the Indians. Mrs. Evelyn Collard Fidelle of Portland relates some interesting experiences of her people with the Indian tribes. She tells of two old Indian squaws, called Mary and Eliza, who were wont to come to her parents' home in Oregon when she was a small child. They called her mother (who was Jane Ann Rogers) by the name of "Niece Janey." Both squaws were then 100 years old and both lived to be 117 years of age. Mrs. Fidelle says she still has some of the baskets they made as presents for "Niece Janey."

"Many times," writes Mrs. Fidelle, "when mother was very little, the Indians used to come to the log house when grandfather was away from home. Grandmother would gather the children on horseback (she then had only James Oden, my mother and Aunt Evaline), and get away before the Indians reached the house. There were many friendly Indians, too. Several came to the house when the parents were out in the field and an old Indian asked Uncle James and mother for ‘latches.' They couldn't understand and finally brought him a hatchet, but the old Indian laughed and said, ‘No hatchet, want latches,' and they finally understood that he wanted grandfather Rogers, ‘latches' being their name for Rogers."

The Rogers family was related to that of George Rogers Clark, famous soldier of the Revolution, who is said to have wintered once on the present site of Clarksville, Missouri, some time between 1815 and 1820, from which circumstances according to one tradition the town derives its name. Ann Rogers, who married John Clark, was her husband's second cousin. Ann's aunt, Lucy Rogers (sister of John Rogers who married Mary Byrd of Virginia), married William Wilson, and their daughter, Elizabeth Wilson, married Jonathan Clark, father of Ann Roger's husband. Giles Rogers II, ancestor of the Pike county Rogers families and brother of Ann Rogers Clark, was also related to the Clarks. Ann and Giles were great grandchildren of Lucy Iverson and John Rogers, who were parents of Giles Rogers I, pilgrim American ancestor who married Rachel Eastham.

From the intermarriages of these early families came Ann Iverson and Sarah Iverson Lewis and others of the Lewises who bore the Iverson name. These families came of royal ancestry, on both the Lewis and Rogers sides, dating back to William the Conqueror, Charlemagne, Malcolm of Scotland, Alfred the Great, and Hugh Capet, king of Franks. The late Will Rogers, beloved comedian, belonged to this same Rogers line.

One of this Rogers line, another John Rogers, married Elizabeth Alden, daughter of Priscilla and John Alden (1640), and it may be that the name "Priscilla" which comes down in the Rogers family dates back to this 17thcentury Priscilla. We have already noted the marriage of Nathan Koontz Sitton to Priscilla Evaline Rogers (daughter of Lewis Rogers), and the marriage of her niece, another Priscilla Evaline Rogers, to William Franklin Collard, youngest son of Felix Alver and Damaris (Lewis) Collard. Mrs. Fidelle, daughter of Isaac Newton Collard and Jane Ann Rogers, was also named Priscilla Evelyn. Mrs. Fidelle says this name may come down from the John Rogers who married Priscilla Alden's daughter or it may be a Byrd or a Clark or a Wayne or a Richards name. She says none of the family has ever tried to find out why the name comes down in every generation.

It seems probable that the name Evelyn or Evaline is a Byrd name dating back to that beautiful daughter of Old Virginia, Evelyn Byrd, daughter of Colonel William Byrd.