Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The
Big Bend Country, embracing Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties,
State of Washington", published by Western Historical Publishing
ROBERT EARL is one of Lincoln county's retired farmers who has well earned the enjoyment he is now taking through years of labor previously. He resides just south of Earl postoffice where he has a nice estate well improved.
Robert Earl was born in Illinois, on April 30, 1835, the son of Joseph and Margaret (Gibson) Earl, natives of England and Ohio, respectively. The father came to the United States when a boy and settled in Ohio where he was married. Later, he moved to Illinois where our subject remained, being the youngest of twelve children, three of whom are living. The other two are Joseph, and Mrs. Ellen Vaughn. In the spring of 1845, his father prepared conveyances and started across the plains to the Pacific coast. In Des Moines, Iowa, he was taken sick and ten days later died. The eldest son of the children then took charge of the teams and brought the mother and the balance of the family with a train of one hundred wagons to The Dalles, Oregon, then they journeyed down the Columbia in canoes and wintered near Portland. In the spring of 1846, they went to what is now Linn county, Oregon, the mother being the first white woman to cross the Santiam river. She died in April, 1850. Our subject followed various occupations in the Williamette valley and also did considerable mining. In 1849, he and three brothers went to California and so often did he travel the road between the Williamette valley and California that he could borrow a sack of flour from any of the residents along the way, they knew him so well.
On October 16, 1852, Mr. Earl married Miss Lourena Powell, a native of Illinois. Her parents, Elder John A. and Savillia (Smith) Powell, were prominent church workers, the father being a minister of the Christian church for years. Mrs. Earl is the seventh of a family of ten children. Those living are named as follows: Franklin S., Steuben F., Henry C., and Mrs. Mary Propst. All are members of the Christian church. Mrs. Earl came with her parents to Linn county, Oregon, in 1851, making the journey across the plains with ox teams. The parents remained in the valley until their death. Mrs. Earl made nearly the entire trip across the plains on horseback. In the fall of 1879, Mr. Earl went to the Rogue river country and later to California where he assisted to plant fifteen hundred acres to crops. In the fall of 1882, he came with teams overland to Lincoln county, settling on a homestead. Very few people were in the territory now embraced in Lincoln county at that time and Mr. Earl knows well what it is to follow the life of the pioneer. With two sons, he at once began farming and the three now own a section of land. A good portion of the land is under cultivation and producing wheat. Mr. Earl has fine horses, plenty of water and a beautiful grove of shade trees and other improvements. To Mr. and Mrs. Earl the following named children have been born; Savilla, wife of L. L. Cooley, living near Tekoa, Washington; Altha J., wife of John Pope of California; Annetta, deceased; Lydia A., wife of Edgar Wells of California; Minnie R., wife of Charles L. Hotaling; William M.; Henry W., deceased; Joseph L. of Low, Idaho; and Earnest L.
Mr. Earl established the Earl postoffice in 1887 and was himself the postmaster for a good many years. He has been prominent in educational work and his name is given to the district, postoffice and voting precinct. In political matters, he has always been active, being allied with the Republican party. He and his wife are devout members of the Christian church and are upright people. In the fall of 1903, they took an extended trip through Oregon and especially in the Willamette valley where they had not been for twenty-four years.