Biography of E. D. Stillman

E.D. STILLMAN. – Mr. Stillman was born in New York in 1828, and learned the trade of a mechanic and machinist. In 1849 he crossed the plains to Oregon in the capacity of wheelwright for the regiment of mounted riflemen who were sent here on the strength of Joe Meek’s urgent representations at Washington, and for the protection of the settlers of this little-cared for wilderness on the Pacific. He well remembers an exciting incident near Green river. The command was there met by one Baptiste, who bore messages from Governor Joe Lane. This Baptiste proved to be a desperado, who the next day shot Wilcox, the guide on account of an old quarrel, and then emptied his revolver indiscriminately at the solders – each shot, however taking effect, – and held the whole command at bay for some minutes.

Arrived at Oregon City Mr. Stillman was engaged by General Lane to repair and run the McLoughlin sawmill, of which he then held a lease, paying him twenty-five dollars per day. In that capacity he was thrown much into his company, and recalls that on one occasion, when the soldiers were leaving for the mines without permission or excuse – a squad of them walking boldly over some officers, and striking out on their own responsibility, – the General shouldered his rifle, and with two or three old-timers, soon escorted the fugitives to the guardhouse. When the five Cayuse Indians were hanged at Oregon City, Mr. Stillman was one of the many who were quietly “heeled” to see that no effort was made to rescue them. He relates that when Marshal Joe Meek was about to cut the rope which held the trap, he observed, “God Almighty have mercy on your souls, I can’t.” After the drop fell, the knot on one of the necks did not slip well; and the murderer, not dying fast enough to suit Joe, he ascended the scaffold, and with his foot shoved the noose tight.

In 1850, acting on the advice of General Lane and others, who predicted that Milwaukee would be the mark for Oregon, Stillman bought lots and built a house there, and secured employment on the machinery of the steamer Lot Whitcomb at ten dollars per hour. In 1851 he went to the Siskiyou mines, where he delved in the ground ten years, and thence came to Granite creek on the John Day river, where he married and continued mining until 1872. He then purchased a fruit farm near Milton, Oregon, and has since worked at his trade in Pendleton, leaving his ranch to be conducted by his family.



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

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