Biography of Edward Long

EDWARD LONG. – Edward Long was born June 3, 1817, in Columbus, Franklin county, Ohio. His ancestors were Puritans, and emigrated from Londonderry (now Derry), New Hampshire, in 1721. The emigrants who settled that town were Presbyterians of the John Knox school, and are called Scotch-Irish, being descendants of a colony which migrated from Argyleshire, Scotland, and settled in the province of Ulster in the north of Ireland about the year 1612.

Soon after the evacuation of Nova Scotia by the French, about the year 1763, a large number of families, among whom were the grandparents of Edward Long, moved from New Hampshire to Truro, a small town at the head of the bay of Fundy in the province of Nova Scotia. His father, Matthew Long, and mother Margaret Taylor Long, emigrated from Nova Scotia in the year 1800 to Chillicothe, Ohio, where they remained until 1809, when they removed to Columbus, Franklin county, Ohio, where Matthew Long followed the trade of carpentering until 1822, when he died , leaving a wife and four young sons to mourn his loss. The second son, Edward, the subject of this sketch, was but five years old at his father’s death; and his mother not being able to support all four of her sons, he was adopted by his uncle David Taylor, and lived with him until he was twenty years of age, being occupied most of the time driving stock to the Eastern market. He then moved to Iowa, then a frontier Western territory, where he remained farming and stock-raising until the spring of 1847.

On the 19th day of January, 1846, he was married to Martha J. Wills, and on the 4th day of April, 1847, started for Oregon. The company, consisting of about one hundred persons, was made up at Oskaloosa, Iowa, and was called the Oskaloosa company.

After being on the road a couple of months, they overtook another company bound for Oregon, who had lost twenty yoke of their cattle, and consequently could not proceed without help. Feeling that they could not leave them at the mercy of the Indians, and with a limited supply of provisions, the Oskaloosa company divided their teams with them, thus adding to the already many hindrances of a quick trip. They were delayed several days on the Platte river by their teams stampeding, breaking up several wagons and killing one child. The only trouble had with the Indians by the Oskaloosa company were their persistent efforts to steal horses; but, being well organized and guarded, their loss thereby was very small. They arrived at The Dalles the following October, where the company disbanded, some wintering there, others crossing the Cascade Mountains by way of the Indian trail; and a few, among whom were Edward Long and family, made a raft of logs which carried them down the Columbia to the Cascades, and from there made their way in a large rowboat (bateau) belonging to the Hudson’s Bay Company and run by Indians to Fort Vancouver, arriving there late in October, 1847.

Procuring a small house near the present site of East Portland, he moved into it and spent his first winter in Oregon cutting hoop poles for the Hudson’s Bay Company.

In the spring of 1848 he formed a partnership with George and Jacob wills, and built a small sawmill on the present site of the furniture factory at Willsburg. They experienced no difficulty in disposing of all the lumber they could make for one hundred dollars per thousand at the mill, most of which was sent by schooner to the San Francisco market.

In 1849 he bought of Seth Catlin the claim right to what is now known as the Edward Long Donation land claim, lying south of and adjoining the city of East Portland. That being the principal thoroughfare connecting Portland and the Willamette valley, many a weary traveler found food and shelter under his hospitable roof; and never was application made in vain, however poor the applicant. Most of his time while on the farm was occupied in raising fruit, he being for many years one of the most extensive growers in the state.

On the 21st day of November, 1855, his wife, Martha J. Long, departed this life, leaving the husband and four young daughters, Sarah J., Mary E., Margaret E. and Adelma M., without the care of a kind and affectionate wife and mother. The following year he was united in marriage to Avis M. Creswell; and to them were born two sons, Henry and Edward E., and one daughter, Avis E. On the 24th of April, 1863, the family was again bereaved of a loving wife and mother. After a time he was joined in wedlock to Nancy L. Chase.

For over fifty years he had been more or less afflicted with rheumatism, and several times during that period was confined to his bed for months with that painful disease, which in a great measure broke down his strong constitution. Early in December, 1888, he began failing rapidly, and it soon became evident that the end was near. The best medical aid furnished but little relief. His trouble proved to be valvular disease of the heart; and, after lingering until the 20th of February, 1889, he passed peacefully across the dark river to join those who had gone before.

A devoted wife, who had been his constant companion for twenty-five years, four daughters and one son survive him. They are Mrs. S.J. Rinehart, of Shedds, Linn county, Oregon; Mrs. M.E. Croft and Mrs. A.M. Elkins, of Portland; Mrs. M.E. Frazier and E.E. Long, of East Portland.

Edward Long was a man endowed by nature with a strong and vigorous intellect, combined with energy and a love of justice and right, and was as close a practitioner of the Golden Rule, as can be found in this day and age of the world. Having spent his whole life on the frontier, his education was necessarily limited; but he was, nevertheless, well read and posted on all the current issues of the day. He always took great interest in public schools and was director twelve successive years in District No. 2, Multnomah county. He delighted in working for temperance, and was a thorough prohibitionist. He lived an exemplary christian life, for many years having been a member of the First Baptist church of East Portland. Highly respected and honored by all who knew him, dearly loved by his family, and leaving a name long to be remembered, he passed peacefully from a life of success and usefulness to his reward of “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”



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

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