Biography of Dr. George Kellogg

DR. GEORGE KELLOGG. – Dr. Kellogg was born in Canada, April 6, 1814, and was the son of Orrin and Margaret Kellogg, and brother of Captain Joseph Kellogg of Portland. He was on of the most bold and original men that our state ever possessed, having that rugged and even combative disposition which finds its delight in antagonizing powerful and customary institutions and methods. Yet his genius was not destructive. It was simply seeking an opportunity to do constructive work that made him ready to give and to take blows; and underneath the shelter of his rugged front grew the choicest and most delicate plants of human character.

His disposition to improve upon the past led him to study the botanic or physiomedical system of medicine. He had for his instructor Doctor Curtis of Cincinnati, and gained an extensive practice in Wood county, Ohio. In 1851 his desire to establish a new and better order of life led him to cross the plains to Oregon, where his father and brother were already doing yeoman’s service in opening up the country. At Milwaukee, and soon in Portland, he began his system of practice, and gained a very wide reputation. His medicines, compounded by himself from the native herbs and trees of our state, were found to succeed in the performance of their intended work; and his sympathetic and penetrating mind, rendered acute by long years of practice, became preternaturally keen in diagnosis. On the one side he bore the rough winds of unfriendly criticism which seldom failed to strike the “irregular” practitioner; but on the other his life was made happy by the gratitude of many whose health he had restored, not a few of whom were too poor to pay for his services except in blessings.

An intrepid thing that he did, well illustrating his bent, was the opening of Yaquina Bay. This was originally a part of the Indian agency; but, from the study of United States laws, Doctor Kellogg believed that a harbor could not be withheld from commerce, and determined to make the test at Yaquina. He met with opposition from the very first; – the steamboat inspectors tried to detain the steamer, the Pioneer, in which he was to go. He was obliged to slip down the Willamette and out of the Columbia with great caution in order to elude their espionage; and only by prolonging his journey on the water did he escape meeting an unfriendly party which was waiting for him at the bay. Even under his clearance from Astoria, allowing him to navigate the Pacific and Yaquina, and to fish here and on the weather shore, his little settlement at Pioneer, twenty-five miles from the bar, was attacked and demolished during his absence; and he got small comfort from the officers of the Indian agency or from the superintendent, and for a time bore the fame of a pirate or smuggler. Yet upon final appeal the government stood by him; and Yaquina is now an open port, and has been of vast service to the state.

The end of this active life came in April, 1886; and the high esteem in which Doctor Kellogg was held was attested by the number of persons who attended his funeral obsequies, among whom were not only the many unknown whom he had befriended, but also the most distinguished citizens of our city.

The following obituary notice of Doctor Kellogg, which appeared in a leading Portland daily paper, is so just an estimate of his character, and contains so accurate a résumé of his life, as to merit insertion here:

“On May day were interred in Riverview Cemetery the remains of the well-known and popular citizen of Portland, Doctor George Kellogg.

“Deceased was born at Caledonia Springs, Canada, April 6, 1814 and died April 28, 1886. At about the age of twenty-one he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he studied his profession under Doctor Curtis. After graduating he gained an extensive practice in Wood county of the same state. In 1851 he came to Oregon, where he has been a practicing physician, not only in Portland, but throughout the state and territories adjacent.

“Doctor Kellogg’s integrity as a man, and his skill professionally, made him beloved by his acquaintances, and earned the respect of the public to an extent seldom enjoyed by a professional man. He was exceeded by none in the desire to help the needy in the hour of distress. He not only gave freely of his means to the poor; but all the results of his genius were in every practicable way employed for the public good. These magnanimous characteristics endeared him to everyone. He was, perhaps, one of the greatest men young Oregon ever beheld, when, emerging from the ocean, white men came to behold her beauty.

“Nor did his enterprising largeness of mental capacity confine his career to the practice of physics alone. With the craving intrepidity of the most skillfull navigator, he was the first man who took a steamboat from Portland across the Columbia river bar, examined the Oregon coast, and boldly entered Yaquina Bay, thus showing what commercial advantages lay in that direction. Last fall, when he again visited Yaquina, the people were not forgetful of his labors in their behalf. They turned out en masse to receive him. The greatest man of the age could not have been given an ovation more truly popular than that accorded him on the occasion mentioned.

“He leaves a wife and four brothers to mourn his loss. In his youth he was baptized and became a member of the Methodist church. During his last illness he made a profession of faith in his Savior. He was attended by a minister of the Christian church, and exhibited great fervor as a Christian. He frequently called upon his wife to pray near him; and as the time of his departure drew near his faith became brighter and more earnest, until the happiness of sincerity and goodness accompanied him to death.

“The funeral sermon was preached at the Christian church by Reverend J.W. Webb of Salem, assisted by the Reverend T.L. Elliott of this city. His pall bearers were leading and distinguished citizens; Mayor Gates, Doctor Plummer, Judge Marquam, Mr. Hunter, Judge White, and Mr. Muckle of St. Helens. The funeral was very largely attended.



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

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