1 Books & Articles
2 Essays
3 Links
4 Timeline

Books & Articles

  • Allen, Eric W. "Oregon Journalism in 1887." OHQ, Vol 38, No 3 (Sept 1937): 261.
    • "Cornelius People's Searchlight, 1890" was a local newspaper.
  • Foye, Joseph Francis. A Treasure Promises Kept: A Centenary History of Queen of the Most Holy Rosary. Nashville: Turner Pub Co, 1999.
  • McArthur, Lewis A. "Oregon Geographic Names." Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, Vol 26, No 4 (Dec 1925): 408.
    • "CORNELIUS, Washington County. Cornelius was named for "Colonel T.R. Cornelius, a pioneer of 1845. He was the son of Benjamin Cornelius, who with his family emigrated to Oregon during that year as a member of the Meek party. The family settled on the Tualatin Plains. Colonel Cornelius served in the Cayuse War of 1847-48, and the Yakima War of 1855-56. He served twenty years in the Oregon legislature, and in 1861 raised a regiment of volunteer cavalry. He was in the merchandising business and also for a time operated a sawmill. Colonel Cornelius was born in November, 1827, and died June 24, 1899...."
  • -----. OHQ, Vol 33, No 2 (June 1932): 164-165.
    • "Under this man (Pastor Ed Doering) the first Lutheran school began in Oregon...Doering's teaching had centered at Cornelius. Here a regular school was established in the year 1887 by Pastor Claus, the first permanent school of it's kind in Oregon...Cornelius in these years had a flourishing school of 60 pupils, taught in one room by the minister."
  • Mooberry, Lester C. The Gray Nineties. Portland: Bindford & Mort, 1957.
  • Moore, Richard E. "The Silver King: Ed Schieffelin, Prospector." OHQ, Vol 87, No 4 (Winter 1986): 377.
    • "The reporter noted, among other things, Ed's full appreciation for the luxuries of life. Ed had purchased a ranch in Cornelius (Washington County), Oregon, in 1884, for his brothers Eff, Charles, and Jay, and he most likely traveled to Oregon frequently to see them" between 1885 and 1895."
  • Reser, Al & Kerry Tymchuck. No Small Potatoes: How a Family Potato Salad Recipe is Fast Becoming a Billion Dollar Business. Corvallis: OSU Alumni Association, 2010.


Excerpt of Cornelius Civic Club history
By Shirley Stanley, April 27, 2006, care of Cornelius Public Library.

Two ladies of Cornelius decided that housework, churning butter and doing laundry, along with all the chores was certainly no way to broaden their minds and they needed to read more. Since a shortage of money prevented them from buying all the books they would like to read, they decided to start a library. This was April 8, 1913. In October, with more women expressing a desire to have more to read, they started the first public library in Cornelius.

They set up the library upstairs in Burning Hall, Jan 21, 1921, and decided to have refreshments and entertainment to raise money to decorate the library. After expenses of 38 cents, (23 cents for stove oil and 15 cents for invitations) they raised $36.30. This was used for decorations including $2.10 for curtains. The rods were donated and one of the husbands donated his time put them up. The two ladies that went to Hillsboro to buy the material for the curtains turned in a bill for 10 cents each for car fare.

Where the original books they checked out came from there doesn't seem to be a record of, but it is recorded that they would check out an average of 600 books a month. I wonder how many chores got left undone.

Dues for the club were 50 cents a year and could be paid semi-annually. They weren’t raised to $1.00 till 1946 and the dues in the Cornelius Civic Club are still only $10.00 a year so it's still a bargain.

The Club subscribed to a magazine for the library (though they didn't say which one) for a year. Total subscription cost was $1.00. They also voted April 2, 1917 to have the club paper a part of the library.
In November of 1922 a donor gave $51.57 (though we don't know who it was) and the club voted to add $8.43 so the library could receive $60.00 so Mrs. Wilcox could buy books and supplies to keep the library modern.

Naturally the library had to be cleaned from time to time and a man was hired to do this. (All the ladies were busy reading.) He charged 50 cents a month but when the ladies bought him a vacuum cleaner he said he had to have a $1.00 as the machine was so heavy to push.

The club started the first hot lunches at the Cornelius Grade School. They bought a new wash boiler and made soup from whatever was donated. Vegetables from gardens, always lots of rice and a real treat was a soup bone. They charged 3 cents for a bowl of hot soup and the children had to bring their own bowls and spoons. In 1939, the treasury abounded with money and they purchased 8 dozen soup bowls and 4 dozen cups for the school. The minutes don't mention spoons so not sure about that. Total cost of these supplies was $13.20.

They planted walnut trees to line the streets in honor of the veterans of WWI and when the Boy Scouts started they gave them the crop as a fundraiser.

They held classes to help immigrants get their citizenship, helped burned out victims rebuild, brought in the first county nurse, started the Camp Fire Girls furnished the uniforms for the Grade School Basketball Team at a cost of $15.00, and helped establish a WPA kindergarten.

They built the kitchen in the old city hall at a horrendous cost of $42.00 and donated labor. In 1925 here was such a crop of thistles in town they knew something had to be done so they held a contest with the school kids and harvested 1899 pounds of thistles in one day.

They purchased the first stove for the grade school, and in 1954 they had money to help update the kitchen in city hall. Afterwards they bought dishes and up until a few years ago cooked lunch for the Booster Club.

Throughout the years they have supported the Red Cross and other organizations and were very active doing what needed to be done in WWII. The minutes are full of little things they did: Such as paying for a woman's surgery as she had to have it and no money. Total cost was $25.00. The list goes on and many things too numerous to mention.

Always a big supporter of the school and the library and still remain that today. Though they used to buy books for the school we have now come into the modern age of helping purchase the electronic books for the kids. Most of our members are readers in the SMART program and if you visit the library you will see lots of things we have helped purchase. Also you will find names on the shelves. These are members who have passed away and our way of honoring them and keeping their memory alive.

Today we also give aid to Open Door here in Cornelius, the abused women's shelter, Birth Right, and the House of Ruth. We still aid the library and the schools.

We meet the fourth Thursday of each month from Sept. to May at the Forest Grove Senior Center. When we lost our kitchen we all decided we didn't like to cook anyway and so the Senior Center will furnish our lunch ad allow us to meet there. We have members who have belonged well over 50 years as well as new ones. Do to some of our member's age and moving to retirement type living and none being available in Cornelius a lot live in the Forest Grove area but their hearts and concerns are still for Cornelius.



Cornelius History Timeline


Native Americans, at European contact, outnumbered new residents five to one. There were bear and deer close by at all times, even panthers in the hills.

Benjamin Q Tucker land claim settled. This joined the other four claims in the area that would become Cornelius: Catching, McLean, S. Emerick, and H.H. Hendricks.

Rev. Horace Lyman, a Congregational minister and teacher at Pacific University, was well as the first County School Commissioner, established the first school boundaries in the county. Cornelius school district was second in the county, and was at first very large, including much of what is now Forest Grove. The first schoolhouse was a log cabin at the banks of the Tualatin river.

The county's second road was accepted September 7th. It was a connector road between Hillsboro and Forest Grove.

Colonel Cornelius was elected to State Legislature, where he served 20 years.

A second log schoolhouse was built on land that stipulated use for school purposes. Sunday school was organized along side of public school by a Methodist minister circuit rider called Joseph Hoberg.

Col. Cornelius became the president of the Oregon Senate.

The railroad reached Free Orchards, an area of fruit trees on the original Cornelius donation land claims. The first train depot at Cornelius was built, and housed the Cornelius Post Office (est. Dec. 18) and Telegraph Office.

Wells Fargo & Co. "expanded its agencies to 31" in Oregon, Cornelius was a new location (OHQ, Vol 86, No 3 (Fall 1985): 257).

With the railroads in operation, a survey for a wagon road was made from Cornelius to Astoria. It started in the eastern edge of Cornelius, went out through Scheflin, Mountaindale, Buxton and Vernonia. Completed November 15th, and covering a distance of 90 miles, it was part of a plan for a wagon road from Oregon City to Astoria.

Land was purchased and a three room building was built where the present Cornelius Elementary is located.

Cornelius Courier newspaper was in print.

Cornelius was incorporated as a city. City council began meeting in May in a hotel, and contracted for a building with a council room and jail combination. There was a yard next to the building for impounding stray animals. A shed next to the jail served as a fire department. Revenues from city fines, taxes and saloon license fees provided funds for city improvements.

There were four doctors and a traveling dentist. The first was Dr. Clark Smith, a Methodist minister who had served as a medical missionary in Africa; he also ran the drug store as was County School Superintendent. He also surveyed a large tract of land near Timber for federal use.

Early businesses included: a winery, cider mill, pickle factory, juicery, two creameries, three saw mills, three warehouses, blacksmiths, general stores and drug stores.

The city created a park and held a 4th of July celebration there.

J. Thornberg and T. Adams opened a bank, the first in the city. It was sold once to A.S. Sholes and local stockholders, and went bankrupt following the stock market crash of 1929.

The city build a new school building with four classrooms, cloakrooms and an office, as well as a basement for the furnace.

The Oregon Electric opened for business, which one could ride if they road the train and walked across town to the OE station to ride into Portland.

Women's Civic Improvement Club was founded to create a local library. They also worked as a mutual aid organization, paying bills and buying necessities for those in need, and organizing hot school lunches for students.

The Cornelius News advertised "aprons, 39¢, men's work shirts 37¢, Corsets 95¢, Boys' overalls (sizes 3 to 15) 39¢, sizes to 30 inch waist (value 65¢) just 49¢."


Smaller country schools were consolidated with Cornelius Elementary.

September: Oregon Historical Quarterly "News and Comment" reports that "increased population of five Oregon towns is shown in a 1945 census...Cornelius, 781," up from 637 people in 1940. (OHQ, Vol 46, No 3).