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 Co., 1904.
THEODORE D. GEER is not only
a pioneer but a descendant from ancestors who made worthy records in this
land. He is closely related to some of the leading men of the west
and has done a lions share in the development of the country. He
now resides in Wilbur, Washington, and came to what is now Lincoln county,
in 1880, nearly a quarter of a century ago and since that time has has
been a progressive, prominent and capable citizen.
T. D. Geer was born in Illinois, on October
13, 1843. His father, Frederick W. Geer, was born in Columbus, Ohio,
and crossed the plains in 1846, settling in Oregon, where he engaged in
lumbering. Later, he gave his attention to the mercantile business
and also operated a hotel at Butteville, twenty miles from Portland.
He died in 1900, aged eighty-one. The mother of our subject was Mary
(Prentice) Geer, a native of New York. She shared her husband's journey
across the plains and other pioneer labors and was a noble and faithful
woman. Her death occurred in 1892. Our subject was three years
of age when he came with his parents on the western trip and in Oregon
he grew up and received his education. In addition to working on
a farm, he also labored with his father in the store and when twenty years
of age went to farming for himself. For four years he conducted his
father's estate and in 1867 went to the mines at Warren, Idaho. He
labored there nine months and in 1868, went to work on a steamboat on the
Willamette river. In 1876, we find him in eastern Oregon engaged
in the stock business. Then he went to western 0regon again and finally
came to what is now Lincoln county, settling about seven miles southeast
from where the town of Wilbur now stands. He owns four hundred and
forty acres of fine, well improved land, a good residence in Wilbur, and
a block of lots in the same town.
In 1863, occurred the marriage of T. D. Geer
and Philomane Matthew, a native of St. Louis, Oregon. Mrs. Geer's
father, Francis X. Matthew, was born in Montreal, Canada, and came to Oregon
in 1842. He is still living on the old donation claim that he took
that year, being aged eighty-six. It is right near Portland and he
is one of the early pioneers of that now thriving state. During his
earlier years, he was employed by The American Fur Company and was closely
identified with the early history making incidents of Oregon. He
was a very active participant in the settlement of Oregon and a strong
and patriotic American.
Mr. Geer is a full cousin of ex-governor Geer
of Oregon and also of Davenport, the great cartoonist. He was the
second post master in Lincoln county and is well known to all the old timers.
His first vote was cast for Abraham Lincoln and he has been a stanch Republican
To Mr. and Mrs. Geer the following named children
have been born, Fred E., Henry R., Stella May, Walter T., Charles V., Eva
A., Ida R., Hattie F., Lester G., and Annette A.
By way of reminiscence it is interesting to
note regarding the worthy pioneer, Francis X. Matthew, that, in the trying
times of the struggle between the Hudson's Bay Company men and the American
settlers as to who would have the supremacy in the early days, he was a
stanch worker for the American interests. When the curcial test came
in the meeting called in the Willamette valley, it was found that one hundred
and two were there, fifty for the establishment of a provisional government
by the Americans and fifty solidly for the Hudson's Bay Company, which
was trying to hold the territory for the kingdom of Great Britain, and
two who were doubtful. Mr. Matthew was successful in influencing
these two for the American cause and so the day won, in the glory of which
he should receive no small share.