Biography of Tyler Woodward

Tyler Woodward was born in Hartland, Windsor county, Vermont, in 1835, and is of Puritan descent. His grandfather fought in the war of the revolution, while his father, Erastus Woodward, participated in the war of 1812. He was educated in the common schools and the academies at Kimball, Union and Meriden, New Hampshire, and Thilford, Vermont. When he reached his majority, he taught school in his native town for one term during the winter. He lived at home until 1860, when he came to Marysville, California, and for one year served as clerk in a hotel of which his brother was proprietor. In the summer of 1861, he went to Washoe county, at the time the gold excitement had broken out in that region. Here for some months he was interested in a saw mill, located on the Truckee river, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where the Central Pacific railroad starts up the mountains. In the spring of 1862, he sold out and came to Oregon, spending the summer prospecting and mining in the vicinity of the Florence mines. The following winter he clerked in a store in John Day’s mines, where Canyon City is now located. He then located at Umatilla and for several months was engaged in stock feeding.

In the spring of 1864, he purchased a stock of goods consisting of general merchandising and miners’ supplies; chartered a train and started for Stinking Water mines in Montana. He joined forces with a train in which L. H. Wakefield was interested, and together they started on the long and toilsome journey which was beset with unusual dangers and hardships. They arrived in Hell Gate, or Bitter Root Valley in July and here started business in a house built by John Grant, chief agent of the Hudson Bay Company, near where Missoula is now located. For four years a successful business was conducted under the firm name of Woodward, Clement & Co. Clement then sold his interest to the other partners and the firm became known as Woodward & Wakefield. Supplies were purchased in Portland and Mr. Woodward during the following six years made frequent trips to our city and became thoroughly acquainted with the city’s business men of that day. Besides merchandising Mr. Woodward was engaged in farming and stock raising during this period and most substantial success followed his efforts in all three directions. In 1870, he sold out his interest in Hell Gate, with a view of locating in Portland, thoroughly convinced at this early day of the city’s ultimate destiny as the commercial centre of this portion of the Pacific Northwest. Mr. Woodward’s journey from Hell Gate after closing out his business there, for a distance of some three hundred miles was one he will always have cause to remember. The country at this time was without safeguards against lawlessness and was peopled by many desperate characters. Taking with him all of the money he had accumulated, amounting to some thirty thousand dollars, he started alone on horseback, but had not proceeded far before he was pursued by highwaymen, whom he knew only waited for a convenient opportunity to rob him. Years of residence among the rough characters who infested mining camps made him fully aware of the dangers of his situation. It was simply a question of endurance and strategy between himself and pursuers, and it was only by constant watchfulness and knowledge of the country that he was enabled to elude them. Until he reached Spokane Falls he was followed and had he been overtaken he would have lost his money and, without doubt, his life.

After his arrival in Portland, Mr. Woodward made a trip to his old Eastern home, but he soon returned and has since made his residence here. He immediately invested largely in real estate, and became a member of the real estate firm of Parrish, Atkinson & Woodward. His operations were rewarded with success, although at the time he was considered by many as engaged in a hazardous business. He had unlimited faith in the city’s advance and he backed his judgment with money and reaped a rich harvest. His speculations in real estate have been continued up to the present and he is now largely interested in city and suburban property.

He was one of the organizers and incorporators of the Trans-Continental Street Railway and for several years has been its president. He was also one of the first promoters and stock holders in the Walla Walla railroad, and has been interested in several other minor business ventures, but the street railway and his real estate operations have absorbed most of his time and attention.

Since the birth of the republican party, he has been a zealous republican, casting his first vote for Gen. John C. Fremont. While in Montana, he was almost the only live republican in Missoula county and did much to keep up the party organization. He served as postmaster of Hell Gate and at that time was perhaps the only repubelican official in Montana Territory. Since residing in Portland he has served one term as county commissioner and is now serving his second term as member of the city council. While strong in his political faith and a zealous supporter of his party he has never been an aspirant for political office, having decided repugnance for the usual methods employed to gain political power.

He was married November 8, 1872, to Miss Mary J. Ross, a native of Portland and a daughter of Sherry Ross, an early Oregon pioneer. To them one child, a daughter, has been born.

Mr. Woodward’s character was developed amid the surroundings of a newly settled country, where men are called upon to aft quickly and independently and to rely wholly upon themselves. This has made him strongly self reliant and independent in nature. 1n all that he does he is governed by his judgment and is influenced but little by the a&ions of others. He is reserved in manner, but is warm in his friendships, and steadfastly loyal to all whom he trusts with his confidences. He has been very successful in business, possesses excellent business habits and judgment, and is a good type of that class of men who have made the Pacific side of our continent all that it is; possessing in large measure that same unconquerable, enterprising spirit which will make it a worthy rival of the Atlantic sea board.


Biography, History,

Harvey Whitefield Scott. History of Portland, Oregon: with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Citizens and Pioneers. Portland, Oregon. D. Mason & Company, 1890.

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