Biography of Mrs. Sarah Zachary

MRS. SARAH ZACHARY. – This pioneer of 1843 is not only one of the first settlers of Oregon, but among the oldest persons in the Northwest. She has attained her eighty-sixth year, and is still in firm health and of sound mind. Eleven children were born to her, eight of whom are now living. She has seventy-six grandchildren, and sixty-five great-grandchildren.

She is a Kentuckian, born in 1804, and was married at Nineteen to Alex Zachary, with whom she moved to Arkansas in1824, and to Texas in1836, coming out to Oregon five years later. They were in the famous company Applegate, Burnett, Nesmith and Shively, which was piloted by Doctor Whitman. They shared the usual hardships and pleasures of the company, experiencing nothing peculiar but a serious and almost fatal accident at the Kaw river. The ferry-bat with which the crossing wa made was overloaded and perhaps badly managed. At all events it sank in midstream, drawing down the goods and provisions, and scattering Mrs. Zachary and the nine children amid the waves and strong current. Quite a party of Indians were along he shore, who showed their goodwill by immediately diving into the water and bringing all the children safely to the land. Mrs. Zachary caught hold of an ox-yoke and was thus kept afloat, but not without being drifted far down stream before her rescue. As their entire outfit was thus lost, the distressed mother begged her husband to return and to temp the dangers of the way no more. But the other emigrants were ale each to spare a little of their provisions, and insisted upon the unfortunate family continuing the journey. The plains were crossed, and the old-fashioned method offloading the wagon and children on rafts at The Dalles, and from the Cascades by bateau, and driving the cattle over the trail north of Mount Hood, was brought into use; and the Zacharys found themselves at Oregon City safe and well.

Mr. Zachary bought the Five Oaks farm in Washington county, going to work almost immediately with the same cattle with which he had crossed the plains. He plowed and sowed fifty acres of land, and hauled sufficient rails to fence a hundred acres. This was thrift. This pioneer was born in1802 in North Carolina, moving west to Kentucky and finally to Oregon. He lived upon his magnificent farm until his death in 1859. He served during the Cayuse war, and went to California, gold-digging, in 1848. Of their eleven children eight are still living. Two of the daughters are in Washington county, and one in Wasco county, Oregon. Two of the sons are in Eastern Oregon; and the others are in the Willamette valley. The venerable Mrs. Zachary, still vigorous, makes her home with her second eldest daughter, Mrs. Emerick at Cornelius, Oregon, and enjoys life with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and is one of the mothers of Oregon. A world of interest, delight and pathos lingers about the sunset years of such a life as that of this lady.


Biography, Women,

Cornelius Oregon,

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

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