Biography of J. P. O. Lownsdale

J.P.O. LOWNSDALE. – There are few business men more favorably known in the metropolis of the Pacific Northwest than the gentleman of whom we write. His operations in real estate have ever been of the most reliable character; and the services that he has rendered the city in calling attention to her advantages have been very great. In his personal character he has maintained not only an integrity worthy of the highest commendation, but worthy of the imitation of young men.

He was born at Princeton, Gibson county, Indiana, January 1, 1830, and is the son of D.H. Lownsdale, the early owner of the central part of Portland, Oregon. At the age of sixteen he operated with his uncle in a dry-goods store in his native place, and at the age of twenty-one (1851) came at the request of his father via the Isthumus to Portland. He was here engaged in merchandising until, in 1853, he embraced the opportunity to return East via the plains route, on horseback, with Captain Hiram Smith. It required four months to make the journey. On his return, he entered into partnership with his uncle in Indiana, the business proving very successful to all parties concerned. He was married in 1854 to Miss Sarah R. Milburn, and during his residence at his old home was honored with various public trusts and offices in the town and county.

In the spring of 1862, however, learning of the failure of his father’s health, and desiring to see him again, he undertook once more the journey to our state by the Isthumus route; but, reaching San Francisco, the news was received that the father had died at about the time the journey was begun. The duties of administrator now devolved upon Mr. Lownsdale, and made necessary a protracted stay at Portland. But in due course of administration, notwithstanding many complications, settlements were made to the full satisfaction of all interested. In the meantime Mr. Lownsdale had become a citizen of Portland, and in 1863 was elected to fill a vacancy in the city council. He was afterwards elected to a three-year term, and at the close of this was but narrowly defeated by Thos. J. Holmes for mayor. The city was then Democratic, while Mr. Lownsdale ran on the Republican ticket. This election will be memorable for the sudden and startling death of Mr. Holmes the day succeeding the election, – a demise due to the excitements of the campaign. Mr. Lownsdale was appointed upon the board of county commissioners to fill the position left vacant by the election to the Untied States Senate of the incumbent, Hon. H.W. Corbett; and he held the office a second term by election, declining further preferment.

He continues his real-estate business with unabated interest and success. His family consists of his wife and four grown children. The eldest, a daughter, is the wife of Mr. E.M. hall, who is operating extensively upon claims in the Coeur d’Alene mines. The two elder sons are in successful business of their own.

In Mr. Lownsdale we find exemplified that sturdy devotion to business and progress which have not only realized all that the state is at present, but which contains the promise of a flourishing future.



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

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