Biography of John P. Williamson

JOHN P. WILLIAMSON. – This active business man and capitalist of Union county, Oregon, was born in Philadelphia in 1851, and spent the years of his infancy upon a farm. At the age of four he came with his parents to Iowa, three years later to Missouri, and in 1862 crossed the plains to the Grande Ronde valley. He recalls many interesting scenes and incidents of that journey, – among others how his elder sister, in following the well-known maxim of the traveler of the early day, to wit, “Get out and walk,” was chased through a cut-off by two Shoshone Indians, – and how as an Atalanta she outstripped them and came back to the train amid the cheers of the company.

The Oregon home was made at the old town of La Grande, and the stock and grain there raised were early sufficient to afford an ample sustenance. There the father remained until his death in 1884; and there the aged mother still resides.

The education of our subject began in a log house in Missouri, and was continued in the district school in the Grande Ronde. As he grew to manhood the choice was offered by his father of five hundred head of cattle or a college education. he chose the latter, and by two years of earnest work at Monmouth Academy, and by further application, secured a diploma from the National Association of Business Colleges.

In 1873 he began an extensive tour of the gold mines of Eastern Oregon, in part for the digging of gold, but even more in order to make a practical examination of the topography and geological formation of our mountains and mineral belts. To a man of his education this was not only a delightful series of studies, but put him in possession of invaluable information.

In 1880 he was chosen principal deputy sheriff of Union county, and served two years. Failing by thirty-nine votes of election as county clerk, e then devoted his attention exclusively to the development of the quartz mines of that section.

In 1887 he was married to Miss Minnie Wilkinson, the daughter of a prominent merchant of La Grande, and a native of the beautiful valley in which he proposes to pass the remainder of his days. he dwells in a home of peace and beauty, blessed also by the presence of a beautiful little girl, his only child.



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

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