Benton County Place Names
Compiled By M. Constance Guardino III
(1) Pioneer Orchard (2) Wallis Nash (3) Fort Hoskins Site (4) Elk City Depot
Adair Village: Adair
empties into Youngs Bay. It takes its name from Dr. Owens-Adair
to Oregon in 1843 with her parents and settled on Clatsop
living in Douglas County, she married John Adair. About 1887,
to Clatsop County and established a farm along the upper reaches
slough. There are three small promontories between Hug Point and
of Arch Cape. The northernmost of the three is Adair Point,
1890s by the Saml. Adair family who owned the property that is
Hug Point State Park parking lot. Adair, the son of Gen. John
collector of customs at Astoria, was also prominent in Clatsop
and the father of Lt. Rodney Adair for whom Camp Adair was
Adair family had a summer home on the high ground above the
in Fall Creek. Adair Village was named for Lt. Henry R. Adair,
who was killed in the Mexican border campaign in 1916. After
Adair was closed, and postal patrons were left without a local
Most of the buildings removed. The large hospital facility
in 1946 was leased to OSU for student and faculty housing. The
converted the wards into 30 faculty and 320 married student
A local government was organized and Adair Village post office
September 1, 1947. When the postwar student boom slackened, the
gave up the lease and the post office closed to Corvallis
From 1957 to 1967, the US Air Force maintained the base as a
When they ceased operations, the property was sold and the
were placed on the market. In 1976, Adair Village was
City Hall is still one of the original wartime buildings. Adair
Station was named for Camp Adair, the WWII training center
of Corvallis, which was in turn named for Lt. Henry R. Adair.
Force Station was established June 16, 1961 as a contract branch
The office was discontinued Sep. 30, 1969.
Alpine, a little settlement located three miles west of Monroe, was named for the setting near the top of the foothills of the Coast Range. The situation is not particularly alpine in character but attractive nevertheless. The community took its name from the Alpine School, which operated with that name for several years prior to the time the community started. The post office was established April 22, 1912, with Charles A. Webster, first postmaster. It was discontinued June 3, 1966, when it became a rural branch of Monroe, and was discontinued permanently July 1, 1976.
Alsea is in a broadened section of the Alsea Valley, at the confluence of the North and South Forks of Alsea River, about 19 miles southwest of Philomath. State 34 is the link between the Willamette Valley and the rugged Central Oregon Coast. It climbs the heights of the Coast Range and after crossing the summit, follows Alsea River to Waldport. The highway borders tributaries of Marys River and Crooked Creek into the Alsea Valley, where it swings around the base of Digger Mountain and passes through narrow defiles to the sea. The territory traversed was originally hunting and fishing grounds of the Alsi, who were removed to the Siletz Reservation. Apparently, they had camped within the area for many years, for excavators of Alsi fishing camps have found as many as 20 tiers of their shell mounds. The old Alsea Wagon Road ended at the head of the Alsea Valley, from which trails led over the mountains southeastward into the Tidewater district. West of Rock Creek, the highway begins the ascent of Alsea Mountain (1403'). Sparse growths of yew, cedar, and mountain laurel appear among the stands of pines, alders and maples. The Oregon yew found on these slopes is considered by archers as an excellent wood for bow making. On the side of the mountain are the ruts of the old wagon road over which the teams of pioneers toiled on their arduous journey to Alsea Valley. The summit of Alsea Mountain overlooks a splendid panorama of peaks and canyons. West of the summit State 34 winds down the mountain through fir-scarred forest to Yew Creek Canyon. The Alsea State Trout hatchery, one of the largest on the Oregon Coast, propagates cutthroat trout, chiefly for the replenishment of mountain streams. Westward the valley widens and small farms border the roads. Mountain balm trees, peculiar to this section, appear on the hillsides among the fir and pine. The mountains around Alsea Valley are frequented by numerous game animals. The black-tailed Columbian deer is often encountered; formerly there were also many white-tailed deer and elk, or wapiti. Other animals in the region are the black or cinnamon bear, and less often the cougar, the lynx, and the bobcat.
The first settlers arrived in the valley in 1852 and late that year the Ryecraft brothers opened the first farm. One of the first settlers of the Alsea Valley was Edward Winkle. An early writer has pictured him as he appeared “with moccasins on his feet, his ever-present trusty rifle on his shoulder and butcher knife in belt. Whither his inclination led him there he went, through mountain passes without regard to road or trail, always depending upon his weapon for food.” It is related that upon one occasion, in order to attack a bear bayed by his faithful dog, it became necessary to crawl under the brush for some distance and finally to pass under a log. As he straightened from his prone position he found himself face to face with “Bruin,” who struck his breast, tore off his clothing and lacerated his flesh. His dog came to the rescue and the bear, turning upon him was about to end his career when Winkle closed in with his knife and fought the bear hand to hand to the death. Man and dog were barely able to creep to their cabin, where they both lay for several days before help came to them.
The first settler in the Lower Alsea was George W. Collins who came in 1860 as Indian agent for the sub agency of the Alsea Reservation. Formerly part of the Coast Reservation, which by treaty with the Indians extended for 90 miles along the coast and about 20 miles inland, Alsea sub agency near Yachats was established in 1856. The agency was closed in 1875 and Indians were forced to remove to Siletz so whites could settle here.
Alsea post office was established July 14, 1871, with Thomas Russell first postmaster. It bears a form of "Alsi," the name of a Yakonan tribe that lived near the mouth of the stream. Lewis and Clark gave Ulseah. Duflot de Mofras gives Alsiias in his 1844 book, Exploration. William P. McArthur gives Alseya on his chart accompanying the report of the US Coast Survey for 1851, and the name Alseya Settlement appears on the Surveyor General's Map of 1855. The legend stretches along Alsea River, and the center of the settlement is a little to the west of the present community of Alsea. Col. Paul V. Wustrow became postmaster on March 30, 1876, and held the position until May 28, 1898, nearly a quarter of a century. Wustrow was a well-known character in the Alsea Valley and was of European birth and upbringing, but it is not known whether he was Russian or German. He is said to have coined the name Waldport at the request of David Ruble, who founded that community. The name has many variations, but there is no doubt that it was originally pronounced with three syllables, and not with two as at present. Alsea River rises in the Coast Range and flows into Alsea Bay at Waldport.
Alsea Bay Bridge, the longest cement-poured bridge in the world, it was torn down in 1992. Alsea River Basin was the first portion of the region to receive white settlers and they came out not from the mouth of the river but over the Coast Range from Corvallis into the Upper Alsea Valley.
Avery’s post office, the first in Benton County, was the direct ancestor of Corvallis. The town was named for Joseph C. Avery, first postmaster and pioneer settler of 1846. Avery’s post office, established January 8, 1850, was located on the north bank of Marys River at the point where it joins the Willamette. The office was discontinued September 9, 1850 when its name was changed to Marysville.
In 1855, Stephen C. Massett, impersonator, singer, song writer, and globe trotter, journeyed from San Francisco by boat, for readings and concerts at Astoria, Vancouver, Portland and other interior Oregon towns. While he was giving a concert in the small Salem Courthouse, lighted by six tallow candles, all were dramatically extinguished by a gust of wind as he was singing "The Light of Other Days." At the close of his much appreciated performance at Corvallis he was obliged to shake hands with half the frontier population before they would let him depart.
Bellfountain, named for Bellfountaine, OH, is located about four miles northwest of Monroe. A post office called Dusty was established in this locality December 6, 1895, with Helen Elgin first postmaster. Bellfountain post office was established July 31, 1902, with Frank A. Perin first postmaster. The office closed to Monroe February 17, 1905. The general area of Bellfountain was known in pioneer days as Belknaps Settlement.
Frances and Kenneth Litchfield of Newport taught school at Bellfountain in the 1930s. George Kenneth Litchfield (1906-2000), 93, of Newport died May 5, 2000. He was born in Yaquina City on June 28, 1906. He lived in Yaquina City until 1913, when his family moved to Portland. From 1937-1940, Litchfield practiced law in Toledo, then practiced law in Newport from 1940 until his retirement in 1990. During his career, he drew up will for more than 7,000 individuals. He served as Newport's city attorney from the 1940s into the 1960s and as the Central Lincoln People's Utilities district's attorney from 1941 through 1985. Litchfield was a member of the Lincoln County School District Board of Directors for 12 years, was a past president and recipient of a life service award from the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce, and was a member of the Melvin Jones Fellow of the Lions Club. He was a life member of the Optimist Club., the Yaquina Bay YMCA, and the Lincoln County Historical Society. Litchfield was also a member of the Elks, the Eagles, the Masons (where he was a past master), the Shriners, and the Salvation Army. He was a founder and supporter of the Newport Performing Arts Center, the Newport Library, and the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and was an organizer and life board member of the Pacific Communities Health District Foundation. He helped organize and acquire land for the Newport Airport and helped bring the city manager form of government to Newport. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church. In 1982, Litchfield was grand marshal of the Newport Loyalty Day parade. He was involved in almost every important civic event from 1940 to the 1980s in Lincoln County. Litchfield was student body president at Willamette University in Salem, where he graduated from law school in 1929. Following his graduation, he was principal of Bellfountain School, and taught and coached at Bellfountain High School. He assembled the team that in 1937 won the State "A" (now A4) Basketball Championship, the only small school ever to do so. He would say in later years that this was perhaps his most gratifying personal achievement. In Newport, he served as a host family for foreign students from Denmark, Ecuador and Turkey. Survivors include his wife, Frances; children Carol Rehfuss of Newport, Ralph of Bend, Rich. of Eugene, and Ruth Clark of Livermore, CA; ten grandchildren; and eight great grandchildren.
In 1998, Frances Litchfield celebrated her 90th birthday. She was born October 23, 1908 in Draper, SD. She married her husband, Geo. Kenneth (1906-2000), August 30, 1930 in Portland, and the couple recently celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary. In 1967, Litchfield was “Woman of the Year,” chosen by BPW of Newport. She has been active in Newport over these many years. Until 1994, Litchfield was quite active in LARC. She filled the role as Treasurer for many years. She and Ken organized many of the LARC picnics. Litchfield was very active in the First Presbyterian church of Newport. She was one of their first women elders in 1970, and was moderator of Presbyterian women of Oregon when the state was in one Presbytry. In 1949, Litchfield was one of the founders of the CE chapter of PEO in Newport. She was very active in Eastern Star and was an Advisor for the Newport Rainbow Girls. She was also very active in the Newport School PTA. Frances Litchfield also taught at Bellfountain High School for four years before starting her family of four children.
Blodgett is located about eight miles northwest of Philomath. The name honors for a pioneer settler, William Blodgett. The post office was established with the name Emerick early in April 1888, with James A. Wood, first postmaster. The name was changed to Blodgett on May 8, of the same year.
Emerick post office, established April 3, 1888, was located where the Southern Pacific Railroad crosses the Corvallis-Newport highway, about seven miles west of Wren. Wood was also postmaster of this earlier office, named for a local family.
Box was located on Lobster Creek in the extreme southwest corner of Benton County, about a mile southwest of the former Lobster post office. The name was derived from a practice in effect before the post office was established. A large box was placed by the side of the road to serve as a collection receptacle for mail. Local travelers going to Alsea, about seven miles to the northeast, would carry the contents of the box to the post office. Box post office was established January 28, 1897, with Mary J. Grier first postmaster. The office closed to Alsea July 23, 1907.
Bruce was the name of a small community on the Pacific Highway West about ten miles south of Corvallis. It is on the Maj. James Bruce land claim and was named on that account. Bruce post office was established July 9, 1900, with Lucinda Norwood first postmaster. The office closed to Corvallis May 31, 1905.
Corvallis: In the winter of 1847-1848 Joseph C. Avery began to lay out the community now known as Corvallis. In 1846 Avery settled on property on the north side of Marys River where it flows into the Willamette, and in the same year William F. Dixon settled on land just to the north. Avery’s building sites were known as the Little Fields. The first lots are said to have been sold in 1849. The place was first called Marysville, and while Avery probably selected this name, the evidence is not positive.
It is generally believed that the place was named because it was on Marys River, but there may have been additional reasons. The origin of the name Marys River is uncertain. In 1853 the legislature changed the name of the locality from Marysville to Corvallis. E. A. Blake, in a letter printed in the Corvallis Gazette-Times, June 7, 1935, says that Marysville was named for Mary Stewart, one of the first settlers in Corvallis. On the same page is a reprint of an interview with Stewart, giving incidents of the early history of the place. Stewart is authority for the statement that Avery told her he would name the community Marysville for her because she was the first white woman to live there.
Avery, a pioneer of 1845, was the first owner of the site of Corvallis. He made up the name Corvallis by compounding Latin words meaning “heart of the valley.” It is said that the name Marysville was changed to prevent confusion with Marysville, CA.
Avery post office, located on the north bank of Marys River at the point where it joins Willamette River, was established January 8, 1850, with Avery postmaster. The name was changed to Marysville September 9, 1850, with Alfred Rinehart postmaster. Avery became postmaster again on March 14, 1851; Wyman Saint Clair on November 5, 1851; George H. Murch on January 7, 1853, and Avery again on June 7, 1853. The name of the post office was changed to Corvallis on February 18, 1854.
J. C. Avery was a prominent and progressive citizen engaged in farming and mercantile business and was appointed postal agent for Oregon and Washington in 1853. He was several times a member of the Oregon legislature. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1817 and died at Corvallis June 6, 1876.
Devitt post office, located on Marys River about two miles northwest of Blodgett, was established March 5, 1919, with William M. Clark first postmaster. The office was named for the two Devitt brothers who operated a sawmill nearby for a number of years. The office closed to Blodgett November 27, 1933.
Dusty post office, located five miles northwest of Monroe, was situated in a general store owned by Frank Elgin at a dusty crossroads, and the name was descriptive, at least in the summer. The office was established December 6, 1895, with Frank's daughter, Helen Elgin first postmaster. Although the storekeeper suggested Elgin, the name of the office was changed to Bellfountain July 31, 1902, due to the popular demand of the many residents of the community who came from Bellfountaine, OH.
Elam post office was located two miles west of Wren in the community locally known as Harris, in honor of local pioneer landowner George H. Harris, the first postmaster of that Southern Pacific Railroad station. Elam post office was established April, 20, 1918, with Gladys Elam first postmaster. The office closed to Wren, which is near Philomath, December 31, 1928.
Emerick post office, located where the Southern Pacific Railroad crossed the Corvallis-Newport Highway, about seven miles west of Wren, was established April 3, 1888. The office was named for a family of local settlers: Phoebe Hewlett (1804-1879) and Andrew Emerick (1802-1863). James A. Wood, the son of Benton County pioneers, Martha Ann (?-1910) and Hiram Wood (1827-1918), was the first postmaster.
Hiram Wood (1827-1918), son of Elizabeth (1804-1855) and James Wood (1776-1874), who are buried at Kings Valley Cemetery, was born September 26, 1827 in Jackson County, MO. He arrived in Benton County September 21, 1852 and settled DLC No. 4829. Wood married his first wife, Martha Ann (?-1910) in 1849 in Buchanan County, MO. The couple had 11 children: Amos Britain (1850-1927 MO); Eugene T. (1870-? OR); Frank (1860-1855 OR); George Elby “Dick” (1877-1933 OR); Henry (1866-1948 OR); James Abner (1852-1936 OR); Melvesta (1874-1879 OR); Paulina Jane (1858-1947 OR); Rev. Samuel M. (1855-1926 OR); Sarah E. (1862-1924 OR); and William L. (1864-1931 OR). Melissa Texana Jane Pike, Wood’s second wife, was born May 18, 1853. She was the daughter of James Pike. Wood died March 6, 1918 in Albany.
The name of the post office was changed to Blodgett on May 8, 1888. Blodgett Creek is a tributary of Brice Creek three miles southeast of Disston. It was named for John Blodgett, an early settler.
Enterprise post office, located on the west bank of the Willamette, opposite Albany, and ten miles northeast of Corvallis, was established August 23, 1878, with Justus Brooks first postmaster. The office was discontinued October 5, 1880.
At 10,033 feet, Sacajawea Peak, located in Whitman National Forest in Enterprise, and named after the Indian guide of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, towers above all the other mountains in the park.
Fern post office was in operation from October 1899 until September 1903, with Edward L. Davis postmaster. The office was on the Davis farm on the road between Philomath and Bellfountain, and got its name from the fern-covered hill nearby. The Davis place was about four miles west of Greenberry.
Forks Of Marys River post office was located on the homestead of John Lloyd, near the present-day town of Monroe on Long Tom River. Marys River is about 18 miles to the north, so the choice of the post office name is not clear. This pioneer post office was established April 5, 1850, with Loyd first postmaster. It was discontinued two years later on January 9, 1852. The Marys River (Chepenafa) Indians, located at the forks of St. Marys Creek near Corvallis, belonged to the Calapooya dialect division of the Kalapooian linguistic stock, and were sometimes regarded as a subdivision of the Lakmiut. The 1910 Census returned 24.
Fort Hoskins was located in Kings Valley on the Luckiamute River, a confluent of the Willamette, near the mouth of Bonner Creek, about 12 miles northwest of the town of Corvallis. The fort was established July 26, 1856 by Cpt. Christopher C. Augur, 4th US Infantry. The post was erected after the Indians were concentrated at the Siletz Agency, following the Rogue River War, to control and protect the Indians and to protect the settlers of the area. A blockhouse on the Siletz River, connected with the fort by a trail built under the supervision of 2nd Lt. Phil Sheridan, 4th US Infantry, was a sub-post of Ft. Hoskins and was intended to provide immediate protection for the Indian agency. The post was named for 1st Lt. Chas. Hoskins, 4th US Infantry, killed on September 21, 1846, in the Battle of Monterey, Mexico. Evacuation of the post was ordered by Brig. Gen. Benjamin Alvord on September 23, 1864.
The post of abandoned on April 10, 1865, the last troops departing on April 13. The military reservation, never formally declared, was transferred to the Interior Department on February 16, 1881.
Hoskins post office, located on the Luckiamute, about three miles southwest of Kings Valley, was established March 2, 1891, with Jonathan N. Hoffman first postmaster. On December 31, 1958, the office became a rural station of Philomath, and was discontinued May 29, 1965.
Glenbrook post office was located on Hammer Creek in the foothills of the Coast Range, about three miles southwest of Alpine and about six miles west of Monroe. The office was established May 4, 1898, with Ella Atkins first postmaster. Glenbrook post office closed to Monroe February 15, 1905, about the time many other offices closed because of the establishment of rural free delivery.
Granger, located on the Oregon Pacific Railroad, was put in service between Albany and Corvallis early in 1887. Granger was one of the early stations on this line about midway between those two cities, and about four miles southeast of Adair Village. The place was named because of the well-known Granger Movement which gained wide-spread popularity in rural America at this time.
In the early 1870s, Western farmers, squeezed by debt, high interest rates, falling prices, high railroad rates, and the deflationary currency policy followed by the federal government, demanded relief. Through the Grange they organized themselves, entered politics, and became powerful enough in state legislatures to enact the so-called Granger laws in Midwestern states.
The post office was established February 24, 1888, with Levi Joy first postmaster, and closed to Corvallis September 30, 1903.
Greenberry is a station South of Corvallis. It bears the given names of Green Berry Smith, a pioneer of 1845, who settled in Benton County in 1846, and who for a time lived on his farm near this station. Smith was generally called Greenberry, despite the fact that he had two given names.
Oregon place names featuring the word “Green” are fairly common in the emerald empire. The Douglas County community of Green was named for Jeptha Green. Green Basin in Marion County was named for a fine stand of timber near Rocky Top. Green Hills in Multnomah County is the name of a residence district in the southwest part of Portland. The Green Lakes in Deschutes County are a group of one large and several small descriptively named lakes directly between the South Sister and Broken Top. Green Mountain in Lane County was named for Claude Green, an early trapper. Green Peter is Linn County is situated northeast of Sweet Home and is the site of a forest lookout. Green Point in Columbia County was once called Point Sheriff. Green Springs Mountain in Jackson County was named because of the perennial verdure around the springs and near the summit. Greenback in Josephine County was named for the nearby Greenback Mine. Greenburg in Washington County was named for a local resident and not for any remarkable verdure. Greenhorn in Baker County was named for the Greenhorn Mining district, which was developed here during the 1860s. Greenleaf in Lane County was named for Greenleaf Creek, which flows into Lake Creek where the Greenleaf post office was first situated. Greenman Creek was named for settler John W. Greenman. Greens Bridge in Linn and Marion counties bears the name of Thomas Green, an early settler in the vicinity. Greenville is a crossroads community in Washington County with a descriptive name, bestowed because the locality was so verdant.
Harris post office, located on the Southern Pacific Railroad along Marys River, about three miles west of Wren, was established March 25, 1893, with George H. Harris first postmaster. The office, which was named for Harris, a local pioneer landowner, closed to Wren May 19, 1898.21
Hipp was located on the Southern Pacific Railroad, about a mile and a half south of Blodgett, at the community known as Alder. The name Hipp was constructed from the names of those families owning the Climax Lumber Company mill here. Hipp post office was established April 18, 1922, with Efrann Anderson first postmaster. L. M. Roser who was office manager of the mill was second postmaster, and Rufus E. Wood held the position when the office closed to Blodgett January 15, 1930.
Hoffman post office, located about two miles northwest of Albany, and four miles east of Adair Village, was established August 5, 1897, with Nettie Hoffman first postmaster. The office closed to Albany November 23, 1898.
There are other features in Oregon named Hoffman. Hoffman Creek in Lane County is a small tributary of Siuslaw River near Beck Station. It is named for Ira Hoffman who took a homestead at its mouth in 1885. Hoffman Dam in Crook County is an irrigation diversion dam on Crooked River four miles below Prineville Reservoir. It was named for Jim Hoffman, an early day rancher.
Hoskins post office, located on the Luckiamute, about three miles southwest of Kings Valley, was established March 2, 1891, with Jonathan N. Hoffman first postmaster. On December 31, 1958, the office was designated a rural station of Philomath, and was discontinued May 29, 1965.
In 1856, the US government established a fort in Benton County known as Ft. Hoskins, and the post office of Hoskins was named in memory of the fort. Although Ft. Hoskins is now nothing more than a memory, there was a time when it was an important post. Several officers who later achieved prominence in the military establishment were at one time in command at Ft. Hoskins or were stationed there. Cpt. Christopher C. Augur was there in the late 1850s. He was later a major general. Cpt. Frederick T. Dent, later a brigadier general, was commandant at Ft. Hoskins in 1861. He was the brother of Ms. U. S. Grant. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan in his Personal Memoirs, V. I, p. 97, says "I spent many happy months at Ft. Hoskins."
Data about most of the early military establishments in Oregon are neither plentiful nor accurate, but fortunately there is a good account of the history and physical facts of Ft. Hoskins. This information is in an article by Col. Oscar W. Hoop, US Army, with the title “History of Fort Hoskins, 1856-1865,” Oregon Historical Quarterly, V. 30, p. 346. Ft. Hoskins was established as the result of the concentration of Indians at Siletz Agency and was named in honor of Lt. Chas. Hoskins who was killed in the battle of Monterey, Mexico, September 21, 1846. Cpt. Christopher C. Augur, Fourth Infantry, and his command reached Kings Valley July 25, 1856, and according to army records printed in Oregon Historical Quarterly, V 36, p. 59, Ft. Hoskins was established the next day. It was on Luckiamute River near the mouth of what is now known as Bonner Creek, probably on land owned by Rowland Chambers, later by Cpt. Franz.
There was an incident concerning the beautiful Indian maiden and Lt. H. H. Garber. On duty at Ft. Hoskins, he became acquainted with the young Woman in the early spring of 1850. She was soon visiting the reputedly “very handsome” officer in his quarters and then moving in, apparently tolerated by fellow officers until her parents complained, not so much on moral grounds as they needed her at home. Hoping to put an end to the affair, Cpt. Christopher Colon Augur sent Garber to Ft. Vancouver to cool off, but reckoned without the persistence of the young squaw who walked all the way to the fort on the Columbia to rejoin her lover. Garber was returned to Ft. Hoskins and brought before Augur for a dressing down and a warning to stop seeing the young woman. This was supposed to end the matter but the Indian maiden was again discovered in the lieutenant's rooms. Again sent for by Augur, tempers flared on both sides and Garber made some insubordinate remarks. He was sentenced to six months in the guardhouse but died of unstated causes on Oct. 12, 1859. He was buried in the Kings Valley Cemetery, his grave identified only by the regular army marker for the time. Then his fellow soldiers contributed funds for a marble marker which was still standing in 1965. Ironically, as though pointing up his ill luck his name is misspelled.
In 1856, Lt. Philip H. Sheridan began to build a road or trail from the fort over the Coast Range to the Siletz country. Augur’s selection of the site for the fort was not approved by Brig. Gen. John E. Wool, his superior, and there was a good deal of controversy. Augur stuck to his guns and the fort stayed where it was until it was evacuated April 13, 1865.
A blockhouse was built in the Siletz country, but there was also a squabble about this, and it had to be moved. Hoop had written entertainingly of the establishment of Ft. Hoskins and the life there. The present community and post office of Hoskins are close to the site of the fort, but there is nothing left of the establishment. Hoop says Sheridan left Ft. Hoskins for Ft. Jones, CA, May 19, 1857, and “this is the last we hear of Sheridan in the valley of the Willamette.” The implication is wrong that Sheridan was at Ft. Yamhill in 1861 and was not ordered east until September of that year.
Heitman's Historical Register says Ft. Hoskins was on Siletz River and Old Ft. Hoskins was on the Willamette six miles north of Corvallis. Neither of these statements, apparently based on official records, is correct. Ft. Hoskins was actually about 15 miles airline northwest of Corvallis. Heitman’s Ft. Hoskins on Siletz River seems to have been the Siletz blockhouse. The official records of two forts may have been based on the notion that Gen. Wool had the post moved, but as a matter of fact cpt. Augur refused to budge.
Inavale was located “in a vale” eight miles southwest of Corvallis, three miles west of Greenberry, and seven miles southeast of Philomath near Starr Creek. The post office was established July 2, 1896, with John Mitchell first postmaster. It office closed to Corvallis May 31, 1905.
Jennyopolis, located on Muddy Creek, about eight miles south of Corvallis, was established March 24, 1852, with Richard Irwin first postmaster. The office was discontinued April 18, 1857. Such a name would be a handicap to any community.
Kings Valley post office, established April 13, 1855, was located on Burgett Creek, at the north end of the valley, eight miles north of Wren. Rowland Chambers was first postmaster of this territorial office, named for Nahum King, the first settler, who was an Oregon pioneer in 1845. The flour mill was built by Rowland Chambers in 1853.
Indian Valley is the flat land along Grand Ronde River just north of the mouth of Indian Creek, now largely occupied by the City of Elgin. It was named in the late 1860s because the first settlers found numerous Native American artifacts in the valley of Indian Creek. They found the stretch of Grand Ronde River near Elgin excellent for fish traps and were frequent visitors. Prior to 1885 even the present community of Elgin was called Indian Valley. However, Indian Valley post office was about three miles up Indian Creek from its mouth near where the pioneer road from Summerville to Cricket Flat crossed the stream. It was established April 10, 1873 with John W. White postmaster, and was discontinued Jan. 13, 18974.
Ritner Creek north of Kings Valley is named for Sebastian Ritner who came to Oregon with the emigration of 1845 and whose donation land claim included the stream. At one time there was a station named Ritner on the Valley & Siletz Railroad about two miles north of Kings Valley. Kings Valley post office was discontinued July 22, 1862, and reestablished July 14, 1868. It was discontinued again on July 17, 1869, and reestablished October 10, 1871. The office was discontinued once more on August 18, 1900, and reestablished again on February 13, 1906.
On September 13, 1974, the Kings Valley office closed to Monmouth.
Lewisburg station in Benton County was named for Haman C. Lewis, a pioneer of 1845, who settled near here on a donation land claim. Lewis was a member of the Oregon constitutional convention.
The Lewisburg post office in Marion County is located on Drift Creek, initially about eight miles southeast of Silverton, but moved in 1895 two miles southwest to a site six miles due east of Macleay. Named for a pioneer family, Lewisburg post office was established April 10, 1889, with Samuel Lewis first postmaster. The office closed to Silverton April 15, 1904.
Liberty post office was established April 23, 1856, with James Gingles first postmaster. John K. Gill’s 1874 map of Oregon shows that Liberty was initially located in the northwest part of the county, about three miles south of what is now Wells, and about three miles northeast of Adair Village. When the post office was re-established October 4, 1866, it was at or near the later site of Adair Village. The office was discontinued April 14, 1864.
Lobster Creek flows through Lincoln, Benton and Lane counties, and was apparently named for the native crawfish or crayfish. Lobster post office, established March 22, 1883, was located on Lobster Creek, ten miles southwest of Alsea. George C. Peck was first postmaster of the Lobster office, which closed to Fisher on July 20, 1896. Old maps show the place in Lobster Creek Valley about a mile east of the west boundary of Benton County.
Dorothy Naterlin (1900-1973), born in Chattanooga, TN, was a resident of Newport since 1926. She and her husband Andrew Naterlin were married in 1929 in Newport. She taught school at Newport and at Lobster Creek in Lincoln County in the 1920s, and served as Collector of Customs at the Port of Newport for 14 years. She assisted her husband in the insurance business, and also served as his legislative secretary for the 12 years that he was state senator. Through an accident which claimed one eye, and then having contracted glaucoma in the other, Andrew Naterlin was blind, and Dorothy had to make what she called “adjustments.”
“I was teaching school; Andrew had graduated in law and was about to take the state bar examination. He lost his sight and his profitable fish business at the same time, in the Depression. He never took the bar examination, and I was glad to leave my teaching job to work beside him. We worked it out together,” she said in an Oregon Journal article in 1957.
Naterlin was deeply involved in the Catholic church all her life. She died in 1973 in Newport, after an extended illness.
Marysville, formerly known as Avery’s, was located on the north bank of Marys River near the point it flows into the Willamette. The post office was established September 9, 1850, with Alfred Rhineheart first postmaster. The name of the office was changed to Corvallis July 2, 1877.
Monroe, formerly known as Starrs Point, was started in 1853 on the land of Joseph White, who had built a small sawmill in the neighborhood about 1850. The town was named for James Monroe, 5th president of the US. Located on Long Tom River, 16 miles due south of Corvallis, Monroe post office was established February 2, 1874, with Milton Shannon first postmaster.
Starrs Point, situated 16 miles south of Corvallis and a little north of the present site of Monroe, was established April 22, 1852, with Samuel F. Starr first postmaster.
The town was named for George M. Starr, owner of a pioneer general store here. The name Starrs Point was changed to Monroe on February 2, 1874. Starr’s Point post office, established April 22, 1852, was named for G. M. Starr (1817-? OH), owner of a pioneer general store here. This was the forerunner of present-day Monroe on Long Tom River, 16 miles south of Corvallis. Saml. F. Starr was first postmaster of the Starr’s Point post office, renamed Monroe on February 2, 1874, in honor of Pres. Monroe.
G. M. Starr was first postmaster of the Ocean View post office in Lincoln County, was established November 5, 1887 and discontinued September 27, 1893. It was re-established April 27, 1904 and discontinued again October 13, 1916. The office was located about a mile north of Yachats, and named descriptively. Lint Creek flows into Lint Slough and Lint Slough empties into Alsea Bay at Waldport. These streams were named for Lint Starr, reported to have been the first white man to claim land in the vicinity of the creek.
Peak post office was located about five miles southwest of Blodgett, and some three miles northwest of Marys Peak and was named for the mountain. It was on the extreme edge of Benton County in the Coast Range and was relatively isolated. The office was established October 11, 1899, with Virginia A. “Virgie” Davidson (1855-1942), who is buried at Peak Cemetery, the first postmaster. The office closed to Philomath October 15, 1917.
Peak Cemetery: Adams, Rbt. (?-?); Cramer, Geo. (?-1912); Cramer, Julia Ann (?-? Lewisburg Cemetery); Cramer, Rbt. Eden (1874-1952); Cross, Ukiah (?-?); Davidson, Geo. Henry (1882-1919); Davidson, Harrison (1836-1925); Davidson, Noah E. (1886-1916); Davidson, Virginia A. Cramer (1855-1942); Davidson, Virginia Hastie (1919-?); January, Cassius M. “Dick” (1861-1916); January, Martha Davidson (1879-1915); Peoples, Roxanna (?-?).
Philomath, located about five miles west of Corvallis on US Route 20, received its name from Philomath College, chartered in 1865 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ as a co-educational institution devoted to the liberal arts and ministerial training.
Opened in 1867, the college held an important place in the educational economy of the state for two generations. The influence of the school was not at all lessened by the positive character of its moral and religious instruction.
Prof. Henry Sheak, who was connected with the college most of its existence, was noted as the “Father of Local Option” in Oregon.
The Greek word Philomath means a “lover of learning,” an “astrologer” or “prognosticator.”
About the time the college was started, post office was applied for, and named for the college. Philomath post office was established July 14, 1868, with George W. Henkle serving as first postmaster.
Rickard post office was named for John Rickard, a well-known Benton County pioneer. The office was established April 28, 1879, and was closed October 5, 1880. Robert S. Brown was the only postmaster. The office was situated on the Rickard donation land claim about two miles east of Bruce.
Soap Creek post office was established November 4, 1854, with David D. Davis first and only postmaster. Its exact location is unknown, but it was doubtless near the stream, which was named for the white, soapy appearance of its waters. The name of this office was changed to Tampico on December 3, 1857, and it was closed November 3, 1860.
Soap Creek rises in the eastern foothills of the Coast Range and flows into Luckiamute River about two miles from the junction of the stream with the Willamette. Although there is a popular belief that Soap Creek was so called because of its white, soapy appearance, but David L. Stearns of San Francisco, in a letter in 1963, recalled hearing both from his grandparents and at Oregon Pioneer Association gatherings how the early travelers stopped at Soap Creek ford to do the laundry as it was well known that the waters contained some detergent mineral which eliminated or reduced the need for soap. In view of relative impurity of 1972 surface water in the Willamette Valley, chemical analysis would probably add little to the pioneer’s empirical knowledge.
Savage Creek was probably named for Summit blacksmith Morgan R. Savage who once owned a donation land claim nearby. Savage School, north of Corvallis near Soap Creek, was also named for him.
Savage Creek (Jackson & Josephine counties), together with Little Savage Creek in Jackson County and Savage Rapids in Rogue River in Josephine County, were named for pioneer settler James Savage who came to Oregon from Illinois in 1853, and took up a donation land claim near the geographic features that bear his name.
Starrs Point, situated 16 miles south of Corvallis and a little north of the present site of Monroe, was established April 22, 1852, with Samuel F. Starr first postmaster. The town was named for George M. Starr, owner of a pioneer general store here. The name Starrs Point was changed to Monroe on February 2, 1874.
Monroe is a farmers’ trading center in the Long Tom River Valley. This usually sluggish stream often overflows its banks and hinders traffic during the rainy season. The townsite is part of the donation land claim (1846) of Joseph White, who built a sawmill here in 1850. In his Journal of a trip from Ft. Vancouver to the Umpqua in 1834, Hudson’s Bay factor, John Work, spoke of Long Tom River (Benton & Lane counties) both as the Sam Tomleaf River as as the Lamitambuff.
David Douglas in his Journal called it the Longtabuss River and Wilkes’ Narrative has Lumtumbuff. The Long Tom Creek (Chelamela) Indians, located on Long Tom Creek, a western tributary of Willamette River, belonged to the Calapooya dialect division of the Kalapooian linguistic stock. George H. Himes stated this stream bears an imitation of an Indian tribal name, Lung-tum-ler. At the head of the branch is the Low Pass (1,173’), 19.4m, and a descent into the Lake Creek Valley.
Statesman was situated about eight miles southwest of Corvallis at the same locality served by Inavale post office. The post office was established February 18, 1884, with Irving E. Gleason first postmaster, and closed to Corvallis September 4, 1884.
Summit is situated near the divide between the waters of the Willamette and Yaquina river systems. At one time this mountain hamlet was called Summitville. Summit post office, located on the Marys River, five miles northwest of Wren, was established July 14, 1868, with James P. Chilburg first postmaster. This post office became a rural station of Philomath on December 31, 1959, and closed to Philomath January 31, 1961.
On October 10, 1965, Dr. Clifford E. Hamar, professor of Drama, Lewis & Clark College in Portland, made this presentation at the dedication of a monument to his great-grandfather, James A. Hamar, an early settler of Summit:
"James A. Hamar...was not an important man, as the world measures importance. I have searched the history books of the state of Oregon and have found no reference to him. And yet, as we dedicate this monument to him at Nashville, I like to think that he was important, and not merely because he was my great-grandfather. He was important because he represented so well the thousands of equally obscure but brave and decent men and women who opened the gates of the frontier and laid the foundations of the beautiful state of Oregon. We who stand here in 1965 owe a great deal to James Hamar and others like him. We have a good life, despite all of our anxieties and dissatisfactions. The world of James Hamar in 1865 was no better, and I think we must admit, if we are honest with ourselves, that it was much worse.
One of the bloodiest wars in history ended in 1865, and a few days later a beloved president was assassinated. The 60,000 or more people in Oregon were still divided on the bitter question of slavery; they were bickering over the question of how the Indians should be treated; they were dissatisfied with their treatment by the federal government.
Wallis Nash, one of James Hamar's good neighbors, said much later that the dream of a successful railroad from Corvallis to Newport through Yaquina Valley (the road was built, but it was not "successful") might have been realized if there had not been so much throat-cutting and back-stabbing amongst the politicians and other greedy men who became interested in that project. It all sounded familiar. The life of the common man in 1865 was no picnic, as the life of James Hamar illustrates very well.
Many of you at this dedication ceremony know his story better than I do. He was born in 1822 in Brookfield, Indiana--a wide place in the road which to this day has no more than 60 inhabitants. He died in Nashville in 1897--in another place no larger nor better known than Brookfield. In Indiana, Jim lost his first wife, Katherine Russell, after she had born him two sons. Frontier life took a heavy toll on mothers and children.
In 1862, at the age of 40--perhaps dreaming of something better for his new wife and their children--he set out on the long trek to Oregon. He left Topeka, KS on May 1, 1862, and arrived in Oregon on the first day of December--after seven weary months on the Oregon Trail. James’s sister, Sarah Ellen Hamar Miller, came to Oregon to live near her brother and his family at Nashville following the death of her husband, Mathias Miller, a Civil War veteran who died in Kansas.
Their son George and his wife Cynthia Hart Miller of Siletz welcomed Sarah's visits, arriving on her horse Bustles, riding side-saddle. A friend, believing Bustles had strayed, returned her to Nashville. The problem was solved by adding a halter with this note attached: "This is Bustles, please let her pass. She knows her way, going to Siletz for oats and hay." The Miller's son, Louis, and daughters Malinda, Ellen, Mary, Emma, Julia, Dora, Edna and Maggie, lived or visited in Oregon. The daughter of Malinda F. Miller and Norman Edwards married Samuel L. Eddy, the son of Amanda Frantz and Perry Eddy of Kings Valley.
For a time, James and Sarah lived on the Link Allen place in Kings Valley. It was there a tree fell on him, injuring him so seriously that he never fully recovered.
Life in Kings Valley must have been hard. The Indians were still a "problem," or, if not the Indians, then the G. I.'s of the fourth infantry at nearby Fort Hoskins. In the late 1850s, Col. Augur, who commanded Fort Hoskins, sent a letter to several of the nearby settlers--among them Link Allen and Lucius Norton--asking them to comment on complaints about the soldiers. Allen gave him a frank answer. He said it was a toss-up whether they did him any good. What he earned by selling them chickens and eggs, he lost on pigs. It appeared that sentries at the fort sometimes encountered bears at night and shot them for the company mess. And it is said that the bear meat often tasted suspiciously like pig! The military often took the side of the Indians against the settlers, another cause of fear and tension.
In 1864, Hamar left the Allen place near Ft. Hoskins and crossed over the mountains into the Yaquina River Valley. Perhaps he traveled as far as he could on the ox road carved out by Lt. Sheridan of Civil War fame, and then struck out into the trackless wilderness to find this valley. Or perhaps he came a roundabout way through Wren and Summit. No one seems to know. At any rate, he staked out a homestead near this spot, and thus became the first settler on the Yaquina.
Life in a home of his own may have been sweeter in some ways, but it was surely not easy. Hamar was never well-to-do. Of the eight children born him by Sarah, one of them (James Cash) died in Infancy. Three more of the children--Jane, Everett and Susan--and his wife Sarah died before Hamar himself passed away in 1897.
But those first settlers were rough and self-reliant. What they needed doing, they did for themselves. In 1865, Hamar, with the help of my grandfather, Everett, built a good trail into this valley from Hepptonstall, later called Summitville or Summit. I've speculated about his motive. Was it like his valley home with his nearest neighbors on the mountain? Was it to complete one link in the road to the growing towns of Philomath and Corvallis? Or had he already caught fire with the dream of a fine highway and railroad from Corvallis to the coast which might run through Summit and past his home at this spot, bringing prosperity? There was already talk of a railroad as early as 1857, though construction of the line did not begin until 1879. Whatever the reason for the trail, it was one more link in the network of similar trails and roads which gradually bound together the scattered settlements and made possible the development of a great new state of the union by cooperative endeavor.
When Hamar's children and his neighbor's children needed schooling, he built a schoolhouse with his own hands at Summit in 1887. And a little later, he donated some of his land for another school in Nashville and again built the schoolhouse himself. He must have been proud when one of his grandsons, Bruce Hamar, became the teacher in the first Nashville School. The fine schools and colleges of Oregon in 1965 have grown from the seed planted by men like James Hamar. So it is that the West was built.
Today we dedicate this monument not just to James Hamar, but also to his neighbors who labored with him to make this valley a civilized place, good to live in. And we dedicate it to all the other thousands of little known men who struggled a century ago against the wilderness to leave us this heritage of Oregon in 1965."
West of the Summit (804’), the highway follows Little Elk Creek through narrow canyons to the Yaquina River, until it reaches Eddyville at the confluence of the Little Elk Creek and the Yaquina River.
Tampico was laid out by Green Berry Smith, and at one time the it was a stage station on the Oregon-California Line, along which ran the first telegraph line to Portland from the south. Tampico post office, located about two miles west of Wells on or near Soap Creek, was established December 3, 1857, with William S. Crouch first postmaster. The office was discontinued November 3, 1860.
The original name of the office was Soap Creek, which was established November 4, 1854, with David D. Davis first and only postmaster. Its exact location is unknown, but it was doubtless near the stream, which, some say, was named for the white, soapy appearance of its waters.
David L. Stearns of San Francisco, in a letter in 1963, recalled hearing both from his grandparents and at Oregon Pioneer Association gatherings how the early travelers stopped at Soap Creek for to do the laundry as it was well known that the waters contained some detergent mineral which eliminated or reduced the need for soap.
The name of this office was changed to Tampico on December 3, 1857, and it was discontinued November 3, 1860.
Wells was named for "Red" Wells, who owned a donation land claim nearby. Located on the Southern Pacific Railroad, about three miles north of Adair Village, Wells post office was established February 24, 1880, with James Gingles first postmaster.
The railroad station was put in service about the same time, but some years later the name of the station was changed to Wellsdale to avoid confusion with another Wells on the Southern Pacific line.
Wells post office continued with that name until March 15, 1936, when it closed to Corvallis, and the station name was still Wellsdale in 1982.
Wesley was located on the extreme west edge of the county, four miles due south of Harris, five miles southwest of Philomath, and about five miles east of Harlan. Some maps show Wesley on the extreme edge of Lincoln County, but the postal records in Washington put the office in Benton County. The post office was established September 17, 1900, with Wesley C. Keeton first postmaster. The office closed to Philomath October 31, 1903.
Wren post office, located on the Southern Pacific Railroad, about six miles northwest of Philomath, was established July 12, 1887, with Jasper Newton first postmaster. The post office, named for pioneer settler George P. Wren, was discontinued February 29, 1968.
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