Biography of Major N. A. Cornoyer

MAJOR N.A. CORNOYER. – It is sometimes complained of Oregonians that, coming to this state some time ago, they have not been able to keep up with the improved methods invented at the East since their departure. This is true only in part, if at all. The early settlers are the ones who have been most prompt and energetic to discover and apply the latest inventions and improvements. They compare very favorably in this particular with the latest arrivals; and their experience of soils and climate and methods peculiar to this coast give them a decided advantage.

Major Cornoyer is an illustration of this. Born in Illinois in 1820, he came to California in 1849 in the company of Colonel Jarrot. The next year he came up to Oregon and made his home in Marion county, on French Prairie, marrying Miss Mary S. Bellique, daughter of a very early pioneer, and, in fact, the belle of the region. In 1864 the Major sought new fields to till, and turned his face towards the Umatilla. He located a claim of one hundred and sixty acres, four miles from Milton, where he has had his home ever since. He engaged largely in the horse and cattle business besides grain-raising, and cultivates an entire section of railroad land besides his own. He saw active military service during the Rouge river war of 1853 and the Yakima war of 1855-56. It was there he won his spurs and epaulets. A full account of these gallant services are noted in the main body of this history and also in the biographical sketch of Colonel T.R. Cornelius.

In political life he has put his shoulder to the wheel, having served two terms as sheriff of Marion county. He also had practical experience as a miner two years in the vicinity of Auburn and on Granite creek.

His children are Mrs. E.J. Somerville of Milton; Mrs. James Forest of Walla Walla; Mrs. Alex. Kirk of Milton; Mrs. Robert Kirk of Walla Walla; Mrs. Daniel Kirk of Milton; and a boy, Gustavus, who is still at home.

Although approaching the evening shadows of life, Major Cornoyer has lost no interest in its scenes and, from present appearances, will keep up the battle many winters longer. We present an excellent portrait.


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

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