Biography of William R. Anderson

WM. R. ANDERSON. – This well-known pioneer of Clarke county was born in West Virginia in 1822, and there received his education and was apprenticed to learn the working of leather and the manufacture of boots and shoes. Being possessed of a roving disposition, he went out to Missouri in 1848, and the year following took the final step to reach the Pacific. His trip across the mountains was brought about by his hiring to drive a government wagon to Fort Hall. Reaching this point too late to return that season, the commander proposed to the squad of thirty-six men to go on down to Vancouver for the winter. On the Blue Mountains, they floundered through snow up to their armpits, and from The Dalles came down on the ice of the Columbia to White Salmon, and just above the Cascades, camped one night on the rocks in the river to avoid submergence on the shore from the heavy rain.

Work was furnished at Vancouver at sixty dollars per month; and, subsequently, Mr. Anderson went to Hunt’s sawmill, near the present Westport, to build the Columbia, the first steamer constructed in Oregon. Coming to Portland, he was married in 1851, and lived on a farm below the town, but in 1854 came to Clarke county, taking the Donation claim four miles north, upon which he has since resided. This region was originally densely timbered, and has been noted for the piling furnished for the Portland wharves. Our settler bore his part in the Indian war, and was in the service while the seven hundred Indians were brought for safe-keeping to Fort Vancouver, and made their escape during a heavy storm at night, and out to Strong’s battle ground, wither they repaired, and killed their chief Umatuts for opposing their desire to begin hostilities. Mr. Anderson also well remembers the government mule that was given him to ride, an animal of such a character that he paid another man four bits to mount it first. He has resided on his place to the present time, clearing and improving the farm, and has thereby provided a competence for his thirteen children.


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

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