Biography of Johnson Mulkey

JOHNSON MULKEY. – This prominent pioneer of Oregon was born in Knox County, Kentucky, in January, 1808. His father, Philip Mulkey, and mother (whose maiden name was Margaret Miller), were natives of Germany. In the year 1818 they moved with their young family to Missouri, settling in Lafayette County, where the father soon after died, leaving his widow with nine children. Johnson was married in 1835 to Mrs. Susan Roberts, née Brown. In the summer of 1845 he crossed the plains to Oregon, and on arriving took up a land claim in Benton county three miles west of what is now Corvallis.

Returning to Missouri in 1846, in the spring of 1847 he again started westward, accompanied by his family, two brothers, Luke and Thomas, with their families, and also a large number of old friends and neighbors. The company brought a large herd of cattle. after a summer’s long, hard travel, so well remembered by all early pioneers, they arrived in the Willamette valley in the month of October. Mr. Mulkey engaged in the avocation of rearing and dealing in stock. His home was always open to new settlers, whom he assisted according to their necessities with work, seeds, and kind, encouraging words. Finding the church organization to which he belonged struggling to gain a foothold in the new country, he immediately connected therewith and contributed liberally toward its support; and no man in Benton county did more to extend its usefulness and influence.

News of the discover of gold in California reaching Oregon, he was among the first to repair thither with cattle, pack-trains, etc. Several trips were also made to Southern Oregon, and later to Idaho. On his return by stage in February, 1862,from a business trip to that territory, a severe snowstorm was encountered, which blockaded the roads, and compelled the passengers to travel on foot the remaining distance between the John Day River and The Dalles. Becoming exhausted from this exposure, Mr. Mulkey shortly after died at the latter point. His loss was keenly felt and deplored by all who knew him.

Simple and unassuming in his manners, but possessing also great energy and ambition, he involuntarily won the respect and esteem of all with whom he came in contact. His name, honored and unsullied, is held in sacred memory by his surviving sons and daughters, who are to-day among the most useful and enterprising citizens of Oregon and Washington.



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

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