Biography of N. A. Eberman

N.A. EBERMAN. – This still vigorous and erect gentleman of sixty-eight years is a perfect representative of the daring, athletic and pioneer Western men who crossed the plains nearly half a century ago. He was born in Henry county, Tennessee, in 1821, and at the age of ten went with his parents to settle in Madison county, Illinois. In Warren county of the same state he saw something of the Black Hawk war.

In 1840 he left home for Missouri, stopping in that then unsettled region until, in 1843, the eloquence of Burnett and the exertions of others resulted in forming the company to cross the plains to Oregon. Joining himself to this body, young Eberman rode on the plains, shooting deer, antelope, elk and buffalo for the company, meeting many adventures and being in the midst of wild Indians. Being strong and daring and a good swimmer, he was of great service in crossing streams and setting the guide lines for the fording of the train. He was quite promiscuous, acting principally as hunter and scout, and after a time, with Burnett’s division, joined himself to Applegate. Being acquainted with Hunt, who was bringing out a sawmill, he went down with that gentleman, after his arrival in Oregon, to the site chosen on the south side of the Columbia river opposite Cathlamet, and worked in the mill. The following spring he went on to the Clatsop Plains, taking up an elegant ranch on the grassy lands, and there raised potatoes and got a start of cattle.

In 1848 he joined the forces under Colonel Nesmith to punish the murderers of Doctor Whitman, and shared in the desultory but severe campaign that followed. In the fall of 1848 he went with the rest to California, and was very fortunate – or unfortunate – in locating on the rich diggings of the place afterwards called Murderers’ Bar. Here the company were taking out one hundred dollars a day to the man. Eberman was sent, after a time, for provisions to Coloma, and was gone two weeks. On his return he found not a living soul at the camp, but everywhere dead bodies, ashes and scattered wreckage. The Indians who had thus visited the camp with destruction and murdered all his partners had left plain tracks; and their trail to the mountains was evident. With the indignation of the frontiersman, he went back and got up a company to punish the savage butchers; and most terrible, and fully satisfactory, and indeed almost sickening, was the result of the campaign, in which Spanish lancers took part and rode down and speared the Indians without respect to age or sex. These bloody scenes left him little taste for life in California; and, abandoning the mines, he returned to our state and took up once more the quiet occupation of the pioneer and settler on the Clatsop Plains, giving his services betimes to the government in its dealings with the Indians, as he has a perfect knowledge of their character, and can speak their language like a native.

He now owns a fine farm on the little stream Ohanna. He was married to Miss Emma, the youngest daughter of Mr. Hobson, the pioneer of 1843, and has raised a family of fifteen children, three of whom are deceased. Hearty, genial and intelligent, Mr. Eberman is a very interesting man to meet.



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

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