John Corydon Bushnell
        

THE NARRATIVE

OF

JOHN CORYDON BUSHNELL

1833-1912

(Including 2nd Narrative and Family Genealogy.)

 

It was on the memorable night that the stars fell in Ashtabula County, North Eastern Ohio, November 26, 1833, that two neighboring mothers gave birth to two little boys who in after years became playmates. One was named John Corydon Bushnell, the other one Thomas McClintock.

It has been stated by at least one writer that the railing of the stars occurred on the 13th day of November, 1833, 13 days earlier than the 26th; be that as it may I have the evidence of the two mothers as given to me by my father and mother that I was born on the 26th of November 1833, the night the stars fell.

My father, David Edwin Bushnell was born about 1773 at Essex, Conn. and died March 1814, in Franklin Ohio. My mother, Ursula Griswold Pratt, daughter of Oziers and Abigail Tiffany Pratt was born May 26, 1785, at Saybrook, Conn. and died March 15, 1883, at Morunouth, Oregon, at the age of 98 years. My father died at the age of 69 years.

I was the youngest son of a family of ten children; all have passed to the other shore except my youngest sister Helen Augusta, now in her ninetieth year and myself born in Monroe Ashtabula, Ohio, Nov. 26, 1833, and at this writing in my 87th year. My oldest brother, Timothy died in infancy. George Edwin born September 17, 1816, died on January 16, 1902 at Irving, Oregon. Catharine born in 1818, died in Pennsylvania. Jenette died at the age of 13 years. Daniel Linns, born 1822, died in 1814. William Pratt born in 1824., died in 1886 in San Francisco, Calif. James Addison was born July 27, 1826, and died January 6, 1878. Helen Augusta, born May 24, 1831, in Ashtabula Ohio, still living at this writing, February 1921, at her home in Lane County, Oregon, in her 90th year. John Corydon, born November 26, 1833, in Monroe, Ashtabula County, Ohio, still living at this writing, near Eugene, Oregon, where he had lived continuously for 57 years and is in comparatively good health. But is waiting, only waiting, til the shadows shall have passed, till the clouds shall cease to gather and the storm has spent its wrath.

My father and my mother were both natives of Connecticut and as it seems to me were nomadic in their disposition, for soon after their marriage, they took up the Eastern end of their western journey that ended for my mother near the Eastern shore of the Pacific Ocean in Polk County, Oregon, where death overtook her at the age of 98 years. My father only reached Franklin, Harrison County, Ohio, at the age of 69 years, death overtook him and his companion of earlier years went on with her children alone. She outlived my father 42 years.

I have no personal recollection of what transpired in the family until after my parents reached Northeast Ohio, where the two youngest of the family were born.

My father, soon after reaching North Eastern Ohio, came in possession of a flouring mill; whether by purchase or otherwise, I don’t know. It was a small affair and depended on a small brook for motive power. The brook, in the wet season furnished plenty of water, but in dry season, the water bad to be gathered in the pond some distance away and led to the mill in a race. The mill, as I have stated, was a small and primitive affair, containing only two run of stones, one a French Burr for grinding wheat, the other a common hillside boulder and shaped for grinding the less important grains such as corn, rye and buckwheat. These three were articles of common diet, and I wish I so lived that I could have corn bread and buckwheat cakes.

I am going to relate some incidents that occurred to me when a little boy, and that have been fastened on my memory through all the years that have come and gone since then. They seem trivial to those who may read these lines, but not so to the little boy in the long ago. My memory goes back to a little dog that came to the mill. I wanted to pet him but be didn’t want to be petted. I went to the house to get something for the dog to eat. On my way to the house, I met a man with a gun. He inquired for the dog. He found the dog, shot it and burned it in a brush pile. All that prevented the dog from biting me was the edict had not gone forth that I was to die from the bite of a mad dog.

I have stated that the mill was a small primitive affair, yet it answered every purpose, for which it was erected, both as a merchant and -custom mill in country community.

The water wheel was an overshed with buckets all the way around, only half filled at the same time; that was connected by a horizontal shaft to a bull wheel and that to a trundle head which was directly connected with the shaft that turned the bars. As I see it now, the wheels had a habit of stopping on a dead center, then someone had to go below to move them out of the dead center to start the mill. At one time, one of my brothers went below to give the wheels a start and got his hands fast in the cogs. His vigorous yells brought the mill force to the rescue.

At one time one of my brothers put me on a horse to ride the horse to water. The water was 5 or 6 inches deep, and when the horse put his head down to drink, I held on to the bridle rein, and was pulled over his head, into the water.

Near the house was quite a hill. One day one of my brothers went up the hill, perhaps a quarter of a mile, and climbed a tree that had a fork about 5 feet from the ground. His foot became fastened in the crotch of the tree; losing his hold above, he fell backward to the ground. His vigorous cries for help called my mother to his assistance. I think he never climbed that tree afterward.

While living at the mill, I had an attack of some kind of fever. The doctor said I couldn’t get well, and my mother thought so. As we lived some six miles from a store and some one was going there, she sent by them to Deerfield for goods to make me a shroud. I think it was never made. I can remember two men sitting in front of the fire, and I lay across their knees and they were annointing my naked body. I don’t remember a thing before or after for some years.

Franklin, Ohio, 1838

I can’t be expected to remember dates or least be very accurate, as I was only about four or five years of age. My father and brother died in Franklin in 1841. In 1844 my mother, with her family, left Ohio for the Far West, as it was then called. Her family at that time consisted of four boys and one girl; the oldest girl having been left in Pennsylvania. The oldest son George, living in Cadiz, the county seat of Harrison County, Ohio.

My father was a cooper, and I think his father was a cooper, and two of my brothers, William and Addison, were. At that time wood was used for containers for almost every manufactured article of commerce.

Franklin, Harrison County, Ohio:- Then my parents left the mill, they moved to Franklin, Harrison County, Ohio, 12 miles west of Cadiz, the county seat of Harrison County, where my father opened a cooper shop, which he maintained until his death which occurred in the early spring of 1841. My brother George was located in Cadiz as a chair-maker, house and a sign painter. Jason went to Quincy, Illinois and learned the blacksmith trade. I, before going to the far west, had learned to make wagons.

After my father’s and my brother’s death, my mother became restless and seemed to want to be on the move. There was nothing for her to leave but the graves of her loved ones, and her son George, and he would come later.

Leaving Franklin for the far West

It was in the early summer of 1844 that we said goodbye to our home and to our friends of other days, and to the graves of our loved ones. A wagon and team took ourselves and our few belongings and a few friends who wanted to see the far west to Wheeling. Our goods were deposited on the levee to await the coming of the steamer. There were no docks in those days. If it rained they were covered with tarpolan. Some time in the afternoon the stern wheel steamer Utica arrived from Pitsburg. The boat came to the landing and was made fast to posts set in the levee. Our goods were taken aboard, including our two horses. The gang plank was drawn in, the ropes were cast off, and we were on our way to the far west. What was to be our future, none of us knew.

Down the Ohio in 1844

Our goods and ourselves were taken aboard at Wheeling, Virginia, and landed at Burlington, Iowa. No accident happened on the journey and few incidents that I remember. We were emigrant deck passengers. One day an officer of the boat caught me drinking from the cabin bucket of water. He placed his hand on me saying "little boy, you must not drink out of this bucket but the other one." The only difference was, the first one had ice in it, while the other one did not. Both were drawn from the turbid waters of the Ohio. At another time, early one morning, I noticed our captain whitling what looked to me like a ball bat, so I kept watch; after awhile he took from his pocket what seemed to me a letter, and nailed on the bat. The first rural mail delivery.

The engineer had turned off the power, the pilot had run the boat in shore as close as he dared, to a cabin which had been hidden by a strip of woods. A man and a woman came into view. Jutting up to the river bank, that bat was thrown on shore and picked up by the man. That was the first instance of rural mail delivery to my knowledge. I think the cabin stood on the edge of one of the large western prairies at that time, as the expanse appeared to be.

I remember passing through the falls of the Ohio, but I can’t locate them on the map. I remember the tremble of the boat. I remember we stopped at Cincinnati, and were allowed on shore and the same privilege at St. Louis. I remember the galerra or lead on the levee of Burlington in pigs three feet long and as heavy as two men could lift.

Burlington, Iowa, 1844.

The land here is all taken so there does not appear to be anything for us here. I don’t know what my mother will decide to do, and I can’t advise her. We are in a strange land, among a strange people. We are 2000 miles from our home land: so far as we have seen, this is a beautiful country. It is midsummer here and the crops look well. I was in a field of corn today. Two men were thinning the corn. It stood about 24 inches high, very even growth and rank. The soil appeared to me to be a free soil; free of bumps and weeds. We are about 25 miles inland from Burlington, and near West Point.

I think we will cross over into Illinois; that is, I think an older country than this. We will only be a few days on the road. I think Grigsville is my mother’s objective point. That is near the Illinois River, a navigable stream entering Lake Michigan near Chicago.

On our way, we crossed the widest prairie I had ever seen before or since. It must have been 25 miles without a sign of habitation. I couldn’t see that we were any better off there than elsewhere. We were there the most part of a year. I think it was an agricultural section, yet I can’t remember any fields of grain. One man sowed 80 acres of wheat. I don’t remember any fruit. Corn was a staple crop, and hogs. Labor was cheap, $10.00 a month. Late in the fall my mother traded her team for an abandonment of a claim of 160 acres of land near Kirksville, Northeast Missouri. My mother hired a man and team to take us to the claim about 800 miles west of Hannibal, Missouri. There was no improvements on it besides the log cabin. It was 1½ miles from Kirkeville, the county seat of Adair County, containing less than one—half dozen houses, at that time. The soil of that part of Missouri was very much like the soil of all the western states. Game was plentiful, such as deer, turkeys, prairie hens, squirrels, wild honey bees, etc. Nuts and wild fruits such as grapes, black and red haws, crabapples and other nuts of almost all varieties. Besides, that part of Missouri was a veritable hunters paradise, It certainly was for a little boy with a squirrel gun. I remember, I killed thirty three one day, that I sold dressed to a merchant, 5 cents each or one dollar and 65 cents.

My brother Addison and I, before we left Illinois, took the horses that we had traded for the land claim, to the Illinois river about five miles distance, tied each to a tree and left for the first steamer that came up the river on its way to Chicago. We gave "Nancy" and "Sal" a loving pat, as we said goodbye forever.

Kirksville, Missouri, l853.

We have been here nine years since we left Franklin, Ohio, for the far West. As I look into memories’ glass, I see many changes, in nine short years, nine years with its cares, its labors and its anxieties, has brought many gray hairs to my mother, and added wrinkles on her brow. Of the family, not one remain, as nine years ago, my three older brothers have married, and had gone out from the home nest and have homes of their own. The little girl that came with us from Ohio nine years ago, is married and has gone to a home of her own. The little boy has enjoyed much of life since coming to the far West with his dog and his gun. The oldest son has come from Ohio and has settled near my mother. My brother Jason went to Quincy, Illinois, to learn the blacksmith trade. He found a young woman there that he liked and is married. The boy is almost grown, or feels that he is, and has gone from home to learn a trade, but not so tar away but that he can see his mother once a week.

My mother is talking of joining a party for Oregon next spring. I hope she may decide to go. Nine years is as long as she can well stay in one locality and be satisfied; and then her "star of empire" points to the Pacific Ocean as thus far you can go, but no farther. I hope she may decide to go if for nothing more than to escape the cold of the western winters.

Kirksville, Missouri, 1852. [sic]

My mother has decided to go to Oregon next year if conditions are favorable. I think three brothers, including the brother-in-law with their families and myself have concluded to go too. That will require the preparation of an outfit which will consist of, to begin with, a good wagon and a good team of at least four yoke of well broke oxen. The oxen should be well wintered, The wagon should be honestly made, keeping in view at all times the length and hardships of the

trip, the length of the trip will require 5½ to 6 months continual travel. The wagon should be equipped with everything modern that will make for the comfort of the travelers. This should include a good brake and lock chain, for a part of the way is mountainous and hilly. One will require at least 6 months provision and clothing, and other things one would need on a journey of that length, as there will be no chance to buy, for each one will need his own.

We left Kirksville the 10th day of May, 1853, for Oregon. We completed our outfit at Savanna, Missouri, and crossed the Missouri River into the Territory of Nebraska, the 17th of May. We were out of the United States, none of us knew what was before us. We were simply taking our lives in our hands. We were in a land infested at times by hostile Indians. Indians were the first to greet us. They had built narrow bridges across some narrow streams, and demanded toll for crossing. This was a new experience for us. Not a white habitation were we to see, for 2000 miles, When we reached Fort Kearney, we saw a company of white soldiers. We followed the trail mapped by Dr. Whitman when he returned from his famous ride to Washington. We traveled past Fort Kearney, up the South side of the south platte, to its crossing which we forded where it was said to be one half mile wide. The bed of the stream was composed of quick sand and very rapid, so it required two drivers to each team. The North Platte was a different stream entirely from the South Platte, It was clear, rapid and deep, so we had to ferry. The same was true of the Green River. At Soda Springs, in Bear River Valley, we branched off from the California trail. We crossed the Rocky Mountains by way of the South Pass, made memorable by the crossing of Whitman and Spaulding. Their wives were the first women to cross the Rocky Mountains and follow its Western waters to the sea. We left Fort Bridger on the South and Fort Hall on the North, going down Raft River, crossing the Snake River below Salmon Falls to the North side, recrossing to the South side. The road by way of Fort Hall was much traveled. The United States kept an escort of troops for the protection of the emigrants coming that way. There was a stretch of country between Fort Hall and the lower crossing of Snake River infested by hostile Indians. When a number of emigrants had arrived at the fort, the troops would escort them beyond the danger line. The Indians had watched the maneuvers of the troops until they had learned their object and when the "Ward" train arrived at the fort they were given an escort to a point below, as it was thought the danger line. Then the troops were withdrawn, for the protection of others. When the troops were withdrawn, the Indians attacked the emigrants. Three were killed and buried within the camp. They finally tried to escape by leaving their wagons and teams and going on foot; the men carrying the children, and going only after dark. After going 70 miles, the men gave out. They crossed the Snake River from the North Side, but how, I can never tell. Then finally they reached the friendly high bank of the Owyhee River where they took refuge for forty days, when they were rescued by United States troops. I don’t know how many starved to death there, nor do I know how many dead bodies were eaten. The dead body of one man had been taken from his grave and prepared to be eaten, when the soldiers arrived. Some tried to escape, and were found killed by the Indians. Three girls were taken captives into the mountains and were never heard from. An Indian at the Fort was hired to follow the Indians and buy back the girls at any price, but came back without them.

When I was in the Inland Empire in 1862, I met two brothers that were in the emigrant party in 1854. They escaped and were nearly 40 days in reaching the settlements. In 1853, my party camped for the night on the ground of the Ward massacre, but we got through without loss of life or property.

We recrossed the Snake River at old Fort Boise, which had been deserted for I don’t know how long, except by a squaw man and his squaw. We left the old emigrant trail at or near Burnt river, taking an almost direct course to the "Three Sisters Snow Mountains," on the summit of the Cascade Mountains. When we reached a stream at the close of two days and one night, our oxen were nearly famished, and required two men to unhitch and unyoke them. They could smell the water some distance away.

Our course led us directly up to the eastern base of the Cascade Mountains and to Fall River-- a deep and rapid flowing

river close to the base of the precipitous mountain, covered with perpetual snow, to all appearances. That was the end of our journey. Those that arrived first, were still there, and others were arriving daily, until there were perhaps 100 or more gathered at that place, while others were looking for a way out of our difficulty.

Some years ago, I wrote for the "REGISTER" an article entitled "The Wayside Grave". In my journey of 2000 miles occupying months, I did not witness a single death or funeral until we reached our camp on Fall River; although there were thousands and tens of thousands of men, women and children buried between the Missouri River and the Cascade Mountains. One good authority estimates that from thirty to thirty five thousand gave up their lives in an effort to reach the Pacific Coast; in the years when Asiatic Cholera and Smallpox raged in the plains, whole families were taken. It is a matter of record that a family of seven died and were buried in one grave.

Many a husband left his wife buried in a lonely grave, perhaps a thousand miles on the journey. Many a wife has learned the duties of the journey, how to yoke the oxen and unyoke then, and it is well she has, for when husband is gone, she has to gather up the broken thread and continued alone.

But I started to tell about the "Wayside Grave" on the Fall River. There is one incident of my journey I want to mention. In a journey of 2000 miles occupying over five months, I did not witness a single death, nor a burial, until I reached Fall River, or the Deschutes as it is now called. To all appearances, that was the end of the road, and the journey. The stream was rapid and full of boulders and had we been able to cross the stream by any means, we were no better off, nor as well; for at that time, there was no road across or over the lava beds and down the McKenzie River. Camped at this spot were 100 persons, more or less. Some men had gone up the river to look for a road that would lead us over the mountains and into the valley. The first evidence they found of the work of white men was where the scrub pine had been cut where they stood too close together for a wagon to pass between them, allowing them to fall promiscuously; no effort having been made to move them out of the way. It was while camped at this place, that a young married woman died. She had been five months or more on the toilsome journey of 2000 miles and her feet had almost touched the promised land. She had hoped and prayed that that crucial period that comes to all mothers might not come upon her until she had reached the end of her journey and civilization; but it was not to be so. The edict had gone forth--Thus far shall you go, and no farther; and there under the shadow of "Three Sisters" her young life went out, The body was buried within the camp at night by torchlight, her requiem, the sighing of the wind among the rarest trees.

We were short of provisions and the season was late. The Cascade Mountains were to be crossed, and we knew not what lay before us in the way of difficulties. The necessity for improving the time was apparent. More than sixty-seven years have come and gone since that night in camp on the Deschutes in l853. As I look into memory’s glass I see the open grave as I did, in the long ago. It was on the north side of a yellow pine, and close to the tree. The body was shrouded in a sheet and quilt and tenderly laid in its last resting place on its bed of pine boughs. More pine boughs were laid on the body as a covering for the dirt; then the dirt completed the burial, and each one returned to his camp. In all my journey of 5½ months and over 2000 miles, there was no incident that came under my notice that was more profoundly sad or pathetic than the death and burial of that young woman and her infant child. I have often thought that her dust sleeps under the streets of the little village of Bend, on the banks of the Deschutes.

The men who went up the river to look for the road across the mountains have returned to camp and report that they found where white men had cut a trail through the scrub pines where they stood too close together for a wagon to pass. In the morning we will leave this camp when it will be only a memory of the past, except to the relatives of the occupant of the lonely grave by the wayside. The settlers in the upper valley had decided to make the effort to bring or induce the emigration of l853 into the upper valley and had sent out a party of men from the valley to open a road as best they could with volunteer work. Consequently they could only give a lick and a promise. The large logs were notched for the wheels and small logs placed on each side; and when the mountain closed in on one side, we had to ford the river to the other side. It was said by a lady who was one of the party that we crossed the river fifty six times between the head of the stream and Butte Disappointment. I am not sure of the time but I think we were seven days in reaching the valley from our camp on the Deschutes.

It was the last days of November, l853, when we arrived where we could see out of the mountain. The first object that met our view was a worn rail fence and a white man’s cabin.

We had been 5½ months on the journey, but we had at last reached the promised land without the loss of a single life or property. Few emigrants fared as well as we did. I had a spell of mountain fever. We found in a neighboring train, an old doctor. He prescribed for me what would have killed a well boy--4th proof brandy. I could drink it as easily as water.

It is hard for me to realize at this writing, that I was a member of a party of eleven persons that crossed the plains from Missouri to Springfield, Oregon, in 1853. That was nearly 68 years ago, and there are only two of that party now living. One is my sister, in her 90th year, and is able to do her housework, and the little boy who is able to write these lines and is now in his 88th year.

We are now in Springfield, Oregon, situated near the head of the Willamette valley. It contains one cabin, the home of the proprietor, a Blacksmith Shop, a store and a mill race; but there are no friends to greet us, no home to go to. We are in a strange land, only strange faces to look into; not one that we have ever seen before. But we--my sister and I--are not sorry not sorry we came, for this is a goodly land, with its valleys and hills, its lofty mountains, some of them covered with perpetual snow, its dark, gloomy forests and above all else, its healthy climate.

Eugene, the capital of Lane County, Oregon, founded in 1852, by Eugene F. Skinner, Charnel Muligan and Thilyard Shaw. We remained at Springfield for two days, then went to Fern Ridge, to look at some vacant land. Not finding what suited us, we came east on Grand Prairie. Still we were not satisfied. Yet it seemed to us that it might be Hobson’s choice. But to make sure, we stuck our claim stakes, we started out to find better claims if we could. We were out three days without finding any. If there were any vacant claims, they were smuggled or held for friends that might come later. We each built a shanty on our claims. I got a small job of work cutting oak poles for fence chunks. Later in the winter, Jason and I went to the woods, camped by a large log with some fir boughs for a shelter, and made rails a part of the winter.

In March, 1854 I went to Eugene and found work of I.S. Rogers, who had rented the Skinner Ferry. I was to tend the ferry and work in his cabinet shop at spare times. He was to pay me $40.00 per month, and board. I worked for him a year or more. While I was working for this man, his wife’s cousin came occasionally on a visit. I became acquainted with her. Our acquaintance ripened into love, and we were married in January 1857. We lived together 55 years when she was called to her Eternal Home. She was converted about l855. She was baptized by Elder G.W. Bond, into the First Baptist Church of Eugene and was a member of the Springfield Baptist Church at the time of her death.

In 1856, I bought a lot on Olive Street, of Doctor Patterson. I gave him my note for $7500, bearing 20%. I put up a building. One part as a dwelling. My wife and I went to housekeeping the winter of ‘57 and ‘58.

In 1860, we moved onto our claim on the Prairie. I had previously built a house on the claim that was a very good house for that time, and answered our purpose very well. In 1862, with a party of friends, I went to the Salmon River and Powder River Gold Mines, but had no luck.

In 1864, wife and I bought the Mulholland farm, where we lived nearly half a century, and where I am living now.

In 1870, we bought the Tandy Farm, the most of which I own now. My occupation has been chiefly grain, hay and stock; some year’s--hops, but they have been a financial failure, as they ought to be, to every man who tries to grow them. I worked one year in a cabinet shop, and perhaps three years making and repairing wagons.

In 1856, I was converted and was baptized by Elder J,C. Richardson, into the McKenzie Forks First Baptist Church; now the First Baptist Church of Springfield, Oregon. Soon after uniting with the church, I was chosen Church Clerk, which office I held for about forty-two years, and the Deaconship, for I don’t know how many years, I am now a member of the Springfield Church.

It seems that I have gone about as far with this as I can go at the present time. I shall leave it for the present, then if I don’t write more, this will have to do. Those who came to Oregon in 1853, in the Kirksville Party, are Ursula Bushnell, died in 1883. James A. Bushnell, Elizabeth Bushnell, and one child, Jason A. Bushnell and wife, Edward Adkins, wife and two children. All that came in the Kirksville party (are dead?) in 1883, except Helen Adkins, now almost 90 years old, and John C. Bushnell now at this writing 87 years old, All except the last two have passed over the river of death. William and George, who came across the plains 68 years ago. Sixty eight years ago the whole country from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean on the west, was dominated by the Indian. Not a white habitation, after we crossed the Missouri River until we reached the Willamette Valley. Thousands and Tens of Thousands of Buffalo roamed the Platte River Valleys and adjacent valleys. That changes time makes. Now that whole country is settled with prosperous people, and happy homes, while pioneers-—the first settlers of Oregon are fast passing away and soon will be a people of the past. The buffalo has gone and the Indian has gone. No one will ever know what this beautiful land has coat in human lives, suffering, in property. It is beyond computation. The number will never be known. Only estimated from twenty to thirty thousand.

Some persons or some person who may read these lines may say or may think I was too young to remember some incidents in my life that I have chronicled. Be that as it may, I have not recorded one single incident in my life that did not actually occur. It was the custom in my early life for the head of a family to buy a side of upper and a side of sole leather and hire a shoe maker to come and make shoes for the whole family. Frequently, some one of the family would enquire of me, "Corydon, who made your shoes?" Just for their amusement. "Munn made my shoes." Perhaps they were the first shoes I had ever had and I was proud of them, I think I was not over three years old. They were coarse, home-made, cow—skin shoes and the whole family wore them. Today the children would not pick them up in the road, to wear. I have been told I could read when I was only three years old, as I remember, but we will call it four, as that looks more reasonable.

I was sent to school at the age of four and for some infraction of school rules, the teacher ordered me to run around the stove. I refused, and when he attempted to force me, I kicked him on the shins. I think I had on those shoes that "Munn" made. When I was a boy, boys then were much the same as boys are now, and they were often punished unmercifully. I have seen two boys whipped with the same whip at the same time and on their naked feet, The last school I went to in Ohio the teacher was a brute, but those school days are past, and I shall never go to school again, and what I have written is for those who may care to read it.

(Note: This account is reproduced from a typed copy, found in1959 at the home of Clarence Pitney, of near Junction City, Oregon by the Lane County Historical Society. Present whereabouts of the original manuscript are unknown.) [Notation in typed manuscript. PHS]

2nd

NARRATIVE

of

JOEN CORYDON BUSHNELL

(from a typed copy discovered clipped
tothe foregoing manuscript, 1959)

 

In writing to my sister, I said; "the children were made happy by the arrival of a Ford car, the gift of their uncles, in which they drive to and from school. A part of the way is over paved road.

As I look in memories glass, I am reminded of their Grandmother Bushnell’s schooldays of nearly seventy years ago, as related to me in after years by herself. The distance she walked was nearly three miles with no road but a cow path through the tall grass. She was often wet to her knees and had to sit on the hard benches and let her clothes dry and there was no fire.

Another discomfort, girls were not dressed in warm underclothing as they are today; in fact they wore none at all. In after years she was enabled to leave the cow path and the tall, grass to go to the log schoolhouse on the prairie. This was the first schoolhouse built in Eugene and was presided over by Prof. J.H. Rogers. She was of what might be called a mixed pioneer family having come to Oregon in the early fifties. She was the youngest daughter of a widowed mother; had two bachelor brothers, one widowed sister with four almost grown daughters and a bachelor uncle. Her father died of consumption before she was born and it was thought she had inherited the complaint from him and would not live to reach Oregon as she was in poor health up to the time of starting. The journey agreeing with her, her health improved and when she reached the end of the journey she was in perfect health.

When her party reached Salt Lake City they were belated and were advised to spend the winter there. In the month of February, on account of the Mormons being in opposition to the Gentiles, they were driven out of the city and camped in the snow on a stream called Box Elder. The weather was extremely cold. They bad good log fires but it was very uncomfortable to be out in the open. During her stay on Box Elder her feet were Frost-bitten resulting in bunions which gave her trouble the remainder .of her life.

When the snow disappeared, they moved out, and when the grass was well started they broke camp for Oregon, arriving in Portland in June Without incident except a brush with the Indians on Snake river at a place called the Narrows where the bluff closed in leaving barely enough room for a wagon to pass between the bluff and the river. A few hundred yards further down was a similar narrow place on the south side of the river and when the train was well within the narrows, the Indians fired on them from the north side of the river. Not one of the emigrants were hit but several of the Indians were killed; among- the number being the chief, who jumping on a rock waved his blanket in defiance, repeating in jargon "Boston Tillicum Isham"; and some of the party closed his mouth with a bullet. He fell off the rock and was loaded on a pony and taken off the ground. Some days later at another place on the journey two Indians came into the camp as spies. The captain ordered them placed in a tent and detailed four men to act as guards all night. Their arms were taken from them and they became good Indians and wanted to smoke the pipe of peace. When morning came the guards were ordered to take the Indians out of camp. When the guards returned, in answer to a question, they replied "The last seen of them they were going down a bluff." They arrived in Portland without further mishap, The women and children going down the Columbia to Portland, from the Dalles in batteaus.

They remained in Portland a few weeks to recuperate from the hardships of the journey. After leaving Portland they went to Yamhill county near McMinville to an uncle, a pioneer of 1847, Vincent S. Snelling, the first Baptist Minister in the Willamette valley. Yamhill county was one of the oldest settled counties in the territory. Nearly or quite all the desirable land had been filed on under the Oregon donation land law of 1850, donating to the husband and wife 640 acres of government land, the wife to have and to hold in her own exclusive right ½ section 320 acres. A single man could claim and file on 100 acres, the only conditions were a years residence with continuous cultivation. An unmarried man, a native American citizen 21 years of age the same conditions of residence and cultivation before they could acquire a title from the government. Not finding what they were looking for in the way of land, they hitched up their teams and started south on the road up the valley as far as Lane County, going on the west side of the river as far South as the newly laid off townsight of Eugene City, on the donation claim of Eugene F. Skinner, who settled on the land. claim in 1847. Crossing the Willamette river at Skinners ferry to the prairie lying between the Willamette and McKinzie rivers. The had viewed the prairie from an eminence near the river and had pronounced it good and very good. And so they passed on over.

They were fortunate in finding about on mile distance from the river, 3 quarter sections held by squatters adjoining each other. They secured an abandonment for about one yoke of oxen and so ends that long and dangerous journey through summer’s heat and winter’s cold, where death lurked in every passing breeze and in every open flower. Four months with the Mormons the prevalent was the first summer of small pox and asiatic cholera and many other dangers seen and unseen to her. This journey started from Lone Jack Mo. to Eugene City Oregon Territory a distance of 2000 miles, and a part of two years were occupied. Jeminia Malvina Tandy was born in Lexington Mo. November the eighth 1834. She was the youngest daughter of Jackson and Sarah Tandy.

She emigrated from Missouri with her people in 1850 and 1851, thus being a pioneer of Oregon. She was married to John Corydon Bushnell, of Eugene Oregon on January 27th 1857. She died at her home on December 17, 1912 where she had lived continuously since 1864. She professed religion in about the year of 1855, while at her home, and was baptised into the First Baptist Church of Eugene by Elder George W. Bond, the pastor of the church at that time. When the First Baptist church of MrKinzie Forks was organized in 1865, she was one of the five organic members. There is one peculiarity about the five constituent members; they were brothers and sisters and cousins to each other, and when the organization was moved to Springfield in 1869 she went with it there, and was a member as long as she lived. She lived the Christian life.

Her father during his lifetime, was a slave owner, and left by will each of his children, a slave. At the time of our marriage, she was the owner of a colored girl, that was sold by her agent at her old home in Mo. for $1000.00 plus her hire for one year. That money was turned over to me and was loaned out at good security at 20%. The wives of slave owners always had one or more colored women to do their house work, and their daughters had a colored girl to wait on them; so they seldom learned to do housework.

After coming to Oregon, she soon learned to cook and do general housework, so that when she came to a home of her own, she proved to be an excellent cook and housekeeper.

When it became known that she was to leave her homenest, she was given a vacation from hard work in a family of ten and four of them girls. Her parents were Scotch and Welch, her mother being Scotch, and a distant relative of General Winfield Scott, of American war fame. The father was of Welch stock and claimed to be a relative of Chief Justice Marshall, on the Marshall side. During the first four years of her residence on the homestead of her brothers, near Eugene, wool was given her by her mother’s brother Daniel Scott Snelling, just as it came from the body of the sheep. She washed, carded and spun, into yarn and knit it into mens socks and sold in Eugene for 50 cents a pair. She was the mother of eleven children, two dying in infancy, four in adult age. Five are now living, two in Seattle, one in Rayette, Idaho and two at home.

 Finis--to the memory of my beloved wife , is the foregoing dedicated, who has gone on to that other land to await my coming as she did in this land.

John Corydon Bushnell was born in Monroe, Ashtabula County, Ohio, November 25th or 26th or 28th, 1833 and came to Oregon in the year 1853. His birth date is given as a different day of the month in three different accounts, including his own.

He was a member, with his mother and other relatives, of the famous "Lost Wagon Train of 1853". This train of over one thousand persons dared a new route from near Fort Boise across the Central Oregon desert, entering the Willamette Valley through a pass south of Diamond Peak.

Parents of Mr. Bushnell were Daniel Edwin Bushnell and Ursula Pratt Bushnell, both of Puritan ancestry and both born in Connecticut. Daniel Bushnell was born in Saybrook, November 28th, 1779 and died in Ohio in 1841. His widow not only moved to Oregon in 1853 with some of her children, but lived to the age of 93 years, dying in Monmouth, March 15, 1883. She and Daniel had ten children, in all, including James Addison Bushnell, who came to Oregon in 1852, and Helen Augusta Bushnell, who married Edward Adkins and came to Oregon with him in the same train as her mother and brother, John Corydon.

John Corydon Bushnell settled in the area across the Willamette river from Eugene, some time after reaching Oregon. He married, January 25, 1857, Jemima Melvina or Malvina Tandy, who had come to Oregon with her sister, Mrs. Mahlon Harlow and Mr. Harlow in 1850-51, together with other Harlow relatives.

To John C. Bushnell and his wife were born:

1.Robert Scott, b. Sept 28, 1857, Eugene, died May 16, 1881.
2. Sarah Ursula, b Feb 7, 1859. m. E. E. James, one child, Hazel.
3. Wm. Augustus, b. Jan 19, 1861, d. Jan 23, 1861
4. Anna Augusta, b. Jan 7, 1862, Grand Prairie, Oregon.m. Henry Vestal. children Meda, Edgar, Adra, Harold.
5. Mary Rebecca b. March 1, 18614.; d. Sept 5, 1864 or 1879
6. Corydon Addison b. March 7, 1866, Willamette Forks, Oregon.m. Harriet Jane Herron Oct. 29, 1902
7. Edwin Tandy b. Sept 20, 1868, Willamette Forksm. Anna Z. Seavy Oct 28, 1894.d. April 5, 1943.children Alice, Wilbur, Dorothea.
8. Cora Frances b. Aug. 10th, 1870, d. May 23, 1898
9. Henry Frederick b. Oct 10, 1872; d. Feb 24, 1897
10. Jason, b. April 4, 1875, d. 1938children Wm. and John Corydon
11. Baby Eunice, Sept 10, 1878
Jemima Malvina or Melvina Tandy born November 8, 1834. Died Dec. 17, 1912.

        

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