Biography of William Wallace Spaulding

William Wallace Spaulding was born at Chalmsford, Massachusetts, near the city of Lowell, in 1839. He is of English descent, his ancestors having emigrated from England and settled in Chalmsford several generations ago. His early life was spent at home on a farm, during which period he received a good common school education which was supplemented by one year’s course of instruction at an academy in Mount Vernon, New Hampshire. After leaving school he went to Boston, where for four years he was employed in a butcher shop. He then purchased his employer’s business and conducted it for a year, when, his health failing, he was forced to abandon it. With the hope of finding a climate more congenial to his health -and where he might better his worldly fortune, he and his wife started for the Pacific slope by the way of the Isthmus of Panama, arriving in San Pranscico in the spring of 1862. In the following fall he came to Portland, at the time of his arrival not possessing a dollar in the world. Among strangers and without money, with himself and wife to support, his prospects were anything but encouraging, but with a disposition not easily discouraged and a willingness to labor at any honest work which would promise a livelihood, he soon found employment. For one year he was employed by the firm of Allen & Lewis. He then secured a situation in the meat store of A. H. Johnson and at the end of a few years became a partner in the business under the firm name of Johnson & Spaulding. At the end of six very prosperous years Mr. Spaulding retired and for the succeeding fourteen years was engaged in dealing in cattle and pork packing. In these lines he built up a very large business which he conducted with a high degree of success and accumulated a considerable fortune. In 1886, he embarked in a wholesale and retail butchering business which has steadily grown in magnitude until at the present time his annual trade reaches a sum of $100,000.

For several years Mr. Spalding has been largely interested in farming and stock raising, owning a farm of 1,200 acres in Asotin county, Washington. He is now engaged in raising and breeding horses, at the present time having one hundred head of horses on his farm, but in former years the raising of cattle was extensively carried on, 2,000 being sold from the farm in 1887.

Mr. Spaulding is a director in the Portland Trust Company, and the Pacific Fire Insurance Company; owns one-third interest in the Seventh Street Terrace tract; is a stock-holder in the Pacific Coast Steamship Company and in several real estate companies, besides being financially interested in numerous minor business enterprises. He is also a large land owner in Oregon and Washington, and in the city of Portland and vicinity possesses several valuable tracts, while in the city proper he owns a number of business blocks. His real estate operations have been conducted on a large scale and with marked success.

Mr. Spaulding has always been a hard worker and a. man of the most industrious habits. He has, in truth, been the architect of his own fortune. From the most humble financial circumstances, by diligent work, by making right uses of his opportunities and by honorable business methods, he has risen step by step until to-day he is regarded as one of Portland’s most successful business men.

He was married on June 2, 1861, to Miss Heppie L. Ford, daughter of Simeon Ford, an old and highly respected citizen of Boston. Their married life has been one of marked congeniality and happiness. To the devotion, counsel and encouragement of his wife when the way was dark, Mr. Spaulding ascribes the highest praise and to her gives much of the credit for the success he has attained. Uncomplainingly she bore all the hardships of his early struggles and in its highest sense has been a helpmate and companion. They have had but one child, a bright and promising boy named after his father, who was born in 1865, and died in 1877.


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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