Biography of Oliver P. Goodall

OLIVER P. GOODALL. – Mr. Goodall, one of our best men in developing Oregon, was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, August, 1828, and grew up on a farm, securing a common-school education. At the age of eighteen he left school and joined Colonel William Bent, and spent the winter of 1846-47 at Bent’s fort on the Arkansas river, in the capacity of clerk. He there met with continuous adventures, associating with such old mountaineers as Kit and Bob Carson, Bridger, the Calloways, Bill Williams, Dick Dallam, Black Dick Curtis and others; and his recitals of their brave and daring deeds and endurance would fill a volume.

In 1847 he went to Mexico in the quartermaster’s employ as courier, wagon-master, clerk, and interpreter of Spanish, under Major Sprague, General Howard and others, and remained in Mexico, New Mexico and Texas until the fall of 1849. He met with numerous adventures with Apaches, Mexican guerillas and Comanches, and buried many brave comrades, and was even obliged to leave some unburied. He carries scars in remembrance of Indian arrows, and has vivid recollections of many perils, having been by the side of Major Stein when he was shot in the Sierra Blanco Mountains, where his two bosom companions, Joe Allison and Jim McAllister of Missouri, were left unburied. He also recollects affairs of interest in connection with the Seminole chief, Wildcat, and his sub-chief, Gopher John, a coal-black Negro, campaigning on the Mexican border.

In October, 1849, Mr. Goodall was engaged in prospecting for gold in Southern California. In 1850 he had reached El Paso del Norte, and entered the quartermaster’s service. In 1851, he went to Texas with a government expedition, and thence eastward home to Jefferson City, Missouri. In 1852, longing once again for the unbounded West, he crossed the plains to Oregon, locating near Oregon City a Donation claim, which he improved and subsequently sold. He mined in Southern Oregon, and was acquainted there with many of the prominent old-timers. In 1861 he came to The Dalles and engaged in mercantile pursuits, becoming interested in real estate in that city and at Umatilla Landing, in which he was very successful. In 1863 he was on the advance wave of mining excitement at Boise, trading and speculating until March, 1865, when he located at Ladd’s cañon in the Grande Ronde valley, where he owns at the present time four hundred acres of good farming land.

Since coming to Oregon, he had paid two visits to Missouri, one to Frazier river, and one to California, but has found no place so attractive as Grande Ronde valley. From 1881 to 1884 he was assessor of Union county, and in 1886 was elected county judge; and this position he still retains, residing in the very handsome little city of Union.

In 1853 he was married at Oregon City to Miss Louisa Bell, a native of Illinois, by whom he has three children. In 1864 he was married, secondly, to Miss Grace Gray of Portland, by whom he has nine children. He has seven grandchildren, and in his sixty-first year is hale and hearty, and as ready as ever to work for the development of his adopted state.

He is thoroughly familiar with the topography and resources of Union county, and is very earnest in his belief that it offers inducements to bona-fide homeseekers superior to those of any other portion of the United States. He predicts wonderful developments of the wonderful resources of this county which as yet are only beginning to attract attention.



History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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