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Articles & Books

Author and pioneer historian Fred Lockley collected stories of the Old Oregon Country through oral history interviews and as a journalist for the Oregon Journal. Here is a transcription of an article he wrote about Forest Grove history in the early 1930s.

The Oregon Sunday Journal, Sunday Morning, March 22, 1931
Forest Grove - A City of Culture, Charm and Co-Eds

"Forest Grove, founded in 1849 by Rev. Harvey Clark, held its first city election January 13, 1873. The city was incorporated in 1882. For many years it was known as Tualatin. Oregon's first surveyor general John G. Preston drew a map of Oregon in 1851, on which the name of Forest Grove appears.

Forest Grove takes its name from the grove of oak trees on what is now the campus of Pacific University.

It was in the early '50s that Mr. Clark petitioned the postal department to change the name of the post office to Forest Grove. Mr. Clark in his youth was apprenticed to a stone mason. In spite of the objection of relatives and friends he quit masonry to go to Oberlin to study for the ministry. After graduating from Oberlin he went to Independence, Missouri, where he taught school until 1840. Unlike many of the early day missionaries he was not supported by any missionary society. Nevertheless he crossed the plains in 1840 to do missionary work in the Oregon Country. He established the first school on the Tualatin Plains near Glencoe. In 1845 he moved to Forest Grove to become pastor of the Congregational church. With the help of Peter H. Hatch of Salem, a former resident of the Sandwich Islands, he built a log church in which services were held till 1857. It was in this building Tualatin academy was started.

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Forest Grove is one of the historic cities of Oregon. Many of the best known and best loved pioneers of the late '30s and early '40s are buried there. The time will come when Forest Grove will be one of the historic shrines of the West.

No mention of the founding of Forest Grove would be complete without mentioning the influence upon the founding and growth of the city of Tualatin Academy, now know and Pacific university, nor can Tualatin academy be mentioned without paying tribute to Tabitha Brown, who was born in Massachusetts in 1780. Her maiden name was Tabitha Moffatt. When she was 19 she married Rev. Clark Brown. He died leaving her with three sons to support. She taught school in Virginia and Maryland for awhile and in 1837 moved to Missouri. In 1846, when she was 66 years old, she made the trip across the plains. One of her sons had to come to Oregon in 1843, and went back to bring his mother to the Willamette valley.

Mr. and Mrs. Clark invited her to spend the winter of 1846 and '47 at their home. She told Mr. Clark that she would like to have a home of her own and would like to board orphan children.

In 1846 she founded the orphan asylum to take care of children whose parents had died crossing the plains.

She taught these children in the log church built by Mr. Clark and with his help built a small building known as the "boarding hall." The nearby settlers helped furnish it. She boarded the orphan children of settlers who had gone to the California gold fields.

One of the earliest teachers at her school was Rev. Lewis Thompson, a Presbyterian minister who crossed the plains in 1815 in the train commanded by (unreadable)...also taught there for a while, as well as Mary Johnson.

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In 1848 Rev. Geo. H. Atkinson, who was destined to have a large influence in the shaping of Oregon's educational future, arrived in Oregon. He was born at Newburyport, Mass., was a graduate of Dartmouth college and of Andover Theological seminary. He had volunteered for missionary service in Africa but was persuaded to change his plans and come to Oregon. He came by water, stopping over at Honolulu for a while. He arrived at Oregon City in June, 1848, and at once started a school for girls there. The following month, July 1848, he went over on horseback to Forest Grove and met Mr. Clark, Mr. Thompson, Rev. H. H. Spalding and Rev. Elkanah Walker.

At this meeting it was decided to found an academy under the auspices of the Congregational and Presbyterian denominations. Two months later these same men met at Oregon City and appointed a board of trustees for the proposed academy. The members of the board were the Rev. Messrs. Clark, Atkinson and Thompson, and Hiram Clark, Peter H Hatch, William H. Gray, Alvin T. Smith, James Moore and Osborn Russell. The Rev. Mr. Clark was chosen and president of the board and Mr. Atkinson secretary. Mr. Clark and Mr. Atkinson prepared a charter.

Meanwhile J. Quinn Thornton had been added to the board of trustees and he secured this charter from the legislature in 1849. The charter provided that the Bible be used as a textbook and that prayers be held both morning and evening. Mr. Clark gave a tract of land and this was cut up into lots to be sold to provide income for the academy. The trustees voted to call the town Vernon, but Mr. Clark and other were able to retain the name Forest Grove for the proposed town.

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The first actual school building was put up in 1851 at a cost of $7000. The first teacher employed was D. C. Latourette. He resigned to go to the California gold fields. The Rev. Cushing Eells was elected principal in March, 1849. Mr. Eels, who married Myra Fairbanks of Holden, Mass., started on their horseback trip for the Oregon Country on March 6, 1838, the day after they were married. They came across the plains in company with Elkanah Walker and his bride and Alvin B. Smith. They established a mission at Tahimakain, 20 miles northwest of Spokane, among the Spokane Indians. They stayed there till the Whitman massacre when they...down to the Willamette valley.

After teaching at the academy one year and finding that the board of trustees would not back him up in his strict discipline, he started a private school in the fall of 1851 at the home of the Rev. J. S. Griffin in Washington County. In 1857 he once more became principal of Tualatin academy and in 1880 went to Walla Walla and established Whitman seminary. He died February 16, 1893.

In those days there were no co-eds. The girls and boys were taught in different buildings. Among the early day teachers of the girls were Mary Johnson, Mrs. Cushing Eells and Miss Sarah Brawley. In 1851 Miss Elizabeth (Miller?)... taught there. She later married Judge Joseph Wilson. Their son, Fred Wilson, is now a circuit judge at The Dalles.

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In 1852 Dr. Atkinson was sent East to secure help for the school, for unless help could be secured the board of trustees felt it would be necessary to close the school. He secured the promise of $600 from the Society for the Promotion of Collegiate and Theological Education in the West. It was provided that this money should be used to pay salary of the professors during the current year. Henry Ward Beecher and others came to the bat and helped raise funds.

While in the East Dr. Atkinson selected Sydney H. Marsh, a student at the Union Theological seminary in New York city, to take charge of the school. Marsh came to Oregon by way of Isthmus of Panama, arriving in 1853, arriving in 1853. The following year a new charter was secured, the institution being known as pacific university and Tualatin academy.

J.M. Keeler served as a principal of the academy, prior to the creation of the university, from 1852 to 1856. He became Washington county school superintendent in 1854 while still principal of the academy. In 1856 he taught a private school in Portland and in 1863 was appointed provost marshal for Oregon.

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Dr. Marsh, who was chosen president on April 13, 1854, was inaugurated on August 21, 1855. when he was inaugurated the ceremonies were held on the campus under the oak trees. He served as president from 1854 until 1879.

When Professor Keeler resigned as principal of the academy, Erasmus D. Shattuck became principal and taught ancient languages. Judge Shattuck was born in Vermont December 21, 1824, and died in Portland July 26, 1900. He taught at the Oregon City college and Clackamas County Female seminary from 1853 to 1855, at which time he was appointed principal of Tualatin academy. At the same time, 1855, he became superintendent of schools for Washington county. In 1856 he was made probate judge of Washington county and in 18?? he was a member of the state constitutional convention. The following year he was a member of the territorial legislature and in 1861 he was appointed United States attorney. He served as circuit and supreme judge from 1862 to 1867 and was judge of the supreme court from 1874 to 1878. In 1886 he was elected circuit judge and served 12 years. He also served as member of the Portland city council.

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Among the early day principals of the academy were William Adams, Harvey W. Scott (who was a student in the colegiate department), E.A. Tanner, S. Weynand, L.J. Powell, A.J. Anderson and J.D. Robb.

Dr. Marsh made numerous trips to the East to raise money to support the school. His first trip was made in 1858 and during the trip made shortly after the Civil war he secured $35,000 and in 1870 $20,000 and a few years later an equal amount. Among those who were generous subscribers to the university were Edward Everett Hale, Amos Lawrence, O.P. Huntington, Rufus Choat, Edward Everett, Sidney E. Morse, F.S.B. Morse and many other well known men.

In 1851 Professor Horace Lyman and Thomas G. Naylor became members of the board of trustees. Thomas G. Naylor was one of the early settlers at Forest Grove. He was born in Virginia in 1814, came to Oregon in 1843, and died at Forest Grove in 1872. Horace Lyman was the author of numerous books. He was born in Massachusetts, November 16, 1815. He established the first Congregational church in Portland in 1850. He also organized the first Congregational church at (the) Dalles. He founded La Creole academy at (the) Dalles. From 1857 to 1879 he served as a member of the faculty at Tualatin academy. He died at Forest Grove, March 31, 1887.

Among the early trustees, all of whom served more than 50 years ago, were Alanson Hinman, Israel Mitchell, W.P. Abrams, the Rev. Obadiah Dickinson, H. W. Corbett, the Rev. Elkanah Walker, G. Shindler, Thomas Condon, R.P. Boise, Henry Falling, the Rev. Myron Eells, A.T. Smith and W.S. Ladd.

In 1867 Prof. Joseph W. Marsh, the brother of President Marsh, became a member of the faculty and served in this capacity for 40 years.

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The first graduate of the college was H.W. Scott. He received the A. B. degree in 1863. Mr. Scott's father, John T. Scott, who was born in Kentucky, February 18, 1809, was one of the early settlers in Forest Grove, where he died September 1, 1880. The first woman graduate was Harriet Hoover who married Benton Killin of Portland.

For many years Henry Failing served as treasurer of Pacific university.

Another early day resident of Forest Grove who worked hard for the success of the university was Dr. William Bowlby. He was born in New Jersey, July 4, 1818, and came to Oregon in 1852, taking up a farm near Forest Grove in 1860. He was an early day member of the legislature, presidential elector in 1868 and collector of internal revenue from 1871 to 1874.

William Geiger was another old time settler, as were also Joseph Gale, G.W. Ebberts, Joe Meek, Robert Newell and Caleb Wilkins. J.S. Griffing, who with his wife settled near forest grove in 1841, was also an early day friend of the university.

J.S. Griffin started for Oregon in 1839, an independent Congregational missionary. At St. Louis he met Miss Desire S. Smith who was born in Boston in 1805. They met April 8, 1839; he proposed to her and gave her all day to think the matter over. they were married the next day-- April 10. They joined the Fur Brigade of the American Fur company., and it is interesting to note that William Geiger was a member of this train, as well as Peter Lassen, for whom Lassen Peak in California, is named, J. Wright, David D. Dutton, William Wiggins, D.G. Johnson and Dr. Wislizehus, all of whom were coming West as settlers.

William Geiger had been appointed missionary to the Oregon Indians by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. When they notified him that the money was not forthcoming to make the trip, he started out on horseback on his own account. He taught school at the Methodist mission near Salem in 1840, went down to Monterey, and from there to Honolulu. Returning to California in 1841 he secured work as a surveyor for General Sutter. After putting a year in California he returned to the Pacific Northwest and taught school at the Whitman mission during the absence of Dr. Whitman and A.L. Lovejoy on their famous winter trip to the East. In the fall of 1843 Mr. Geiger took up a claim near Forest Grove and lived there for the next 58 years, dying June 18, 1901.

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The Congregational church at Forest Grove has had a meet interesting history. The Rev. Harvey Clark, who built the church, served as pastor for awhile, as did J.S. Griffin. the latter bought the press bought by E.O. Hall from the Sandwich Islands to the Lapwai mission in 1839 and on this press on his place near Forest Grove he printed the first...

More transcription to come!