Biography of Turner Oliver

TURNER OLIVER. – This wide-awake citizen of Union county is the son of Hiram W. Oliver, a biographical sketch of whom is also included in this work. He was born on May 7, 1860, in Iowa; and, although but four years old when crossing the plains, he remembers distinctly some of the exciting incidents of the journey to the Grande Ronde, particularly the pursuit of a band of Indians who were making off with the horses of the train, but upon close pressure were obliged to let go all except those belonging to two Dutchmen, who were in ill odor with the train for shirking their duty as guardsmen. That day three young men were sent to a fort some miles distant for government aid, which they failed to get, and on their return to the train were fired upon by a scouting party of soldiers and had two of their horses killed. He also remembers how the following winter all his father’s family were obliged to subsist upon boiled wheat, mashed wheat, and wheat straight, without salt or other seasoning.

Turned obtained the most of his primary education by a systematic course of study at home, working at his father’s mill during the day, and studying by the light of a fire of pine knots at night. By this assiduous application he fitted himself to teach school, and began a career in that line at the age of seventeen. After he was twenty years of age he made further attainments by two years’ attendance at the Blue Mountain Academy, and two years more at the State University.

In 1884 he succeeded to the management of his father’s lumbering business at Summerville. In 1885 he accepted the principalship of the public school at Union, which he raised from a chaotic condition to one of the best in Eastern Oregon. He declined the same position the next year in order to accept that of deputy county clerk of Union county, and in that capacity is serving with credit to himself and with honor to his county.

Mr. Oliver is of a bold, frank and generous disposition, with plenty of nerve and an inflexible will. He takes great interest in the cause of education, and allies himself with every enterprise calculated to benefit society, and to accelerate the wheels of progress.



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

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