Biography of J. C. Trullinger

J.C. TRULLINGER. – There is scarcely a man in Oregon who has been engaged in more various, or, on the whole more successful enterprises than the man whose name appears above. With a tendency, possibly, to push his efforts a little beyond the line of safety, and to overcrowd himself with different schemes, he has nevertheless a substantial grip on property and business which proves his sagacity. If his love of making inventions and introducing improvements incline him to temerity, his career shows that he has a solid judgment which warns him when to put on the brakes. Oregon owes much to his inventiveness and energy.

His business at Astoria, Oregon, is very large. He owns the West Shore sawmills, which are now running at the rate of one million feet per month, besides a large amount of lath. He owns a large body of the finest timber land on the Wyluski, a stream some seven miles, by water, from Astoria. To this he has built and equipped a standard-guage railroad from the head of tide water, a distance of three miles. Thereby he is able to put two hundred thousand feet of logs into the boom per day. To feed the fifty or one hundred men in his mill and at the logging camp, he has bought a tide-land farm of three hundred and twenty acres, which he has diked and stocked with Jersey, Guernsey and Holstein animals, and from which he gets his supply of butter and beef. This is one of the richest farms in the country, and is easily worth twenty-five thousand dollars. Besides this extensive business, he owns, as he first introduced, the electric-light system of Astoria, furnishing the city with fifty arc lights.

In Yamhill county he also owns a farm of seven hundred and thirty-five acres, two miles west of Newburg, in the beautiful valley of the Chehalem. Last year he raised six thousand bushels of grain and a large quantitative of fruit upon that place. That business is not only sufficient for the active brain of Mr. Trullinger himself, but gives employment to his six sons, who are all adults, the youngest being seventeen. His two daughters are married. His ability to engage his own family in his extensive business is as remarkable as it is safe, and insures both his and their profit.

When we inquire into his former life, we find him in 1848 a young man crossing the plains with his father’s family to Oregon; and in the following winter he and his brother found it no easy matter to get horses for going to the mines in California. His early enterprises in Oregon have been almost endless. Soon after returning from the mines on the schooner Montague, making a perilous voyage, he engaged in warehousing at Milwaukee. In 1852 he took up a claim nine miles south of Portland on the Tualatin, remaining eleven years, clearing fifty acres of brush and timber land, and putting up a flour and sawmill. He was among the first to plant an orchard and sow timothy. In 1863 he bought property at Oswego, and rebuilt the sawmill there in 1865. He laid a logging railway from the Tualatin to Sucker lake, placed a steam scow on the lake, and made a portage to connect with the Willamette. Joseph Kellogg and the People’s Transportation Company co-operated, the former running a small steamer on the Tualatin river into Washington county.

In 1863, with A.A. Durham, of whom he had purchased a half interest in the townsite of Oswego, he sold four acres of land with water privileges to the iron company; and, having bought the Bishop Scott Grammar School tract, he laid off a townsite, settling as the first stake the first pig of iron run from the iron works, or indeed west of the Rocky Mountains. In 1870 he bought the famous old flour-mill at Centerville in Washington county, which was built and owned by John Jackson. He ran this until 1879, when it was burned. In 1875 he bought the forty-acre tract at Astoria owned by Alanson Hinman, and soon erected his sawmill on the splendid water-front thus secured. There he has remained, with a diversion of two years mining in Jackson county, with the results which we have already seen.

Mr. Trullinger has been active in making inventions, having seven which he has covered with patents, among the most notable of which are the “Duplex Ace”, and a Turbine water-wheel. He has always been public spirited in support of schools and churches, and is fully up with the times in public maters, taking an active interest in politics, and pushing for railroad connection for Astoria. The partner of his labors and successes, Miss Hanna Boyles, became his wife July 24, 1853, and now shares the name and fame which she has done much to create.



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

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