Biography of Peter Goyette

PETER GOYETTE.- Energetic and enterprising, the subject of this sketch has passed a life of marked activity in the various places where he has migrated, having been in Union county for one-third of a century in which time he has been one of the most successful of its army of agriculturists and stockmen. Mr. Goyette is possessed of all the fervor of the Gallic nature with its vividness and practical powers of accomplishment, and although not native born, has like so many of that noted race, made a most commendable record for patriotism and stability in stanch support of the free institutions of his foster land.

He was born to Antoine and Rose (Gouse) Goyette, natives of Canada, in East Canada, near Montreal, on April 5, 1841. There he received his education and remained on the farm with his parents until 1858, when his spirit of adventure led him to the “States.” He landed in Burlington, Vermont and went to work at brick-making, cutting wood in the winter, following this for two years, and then took a place in the cotton mills at Three Rivers, Massachusetts, at eleven dollars per month, his board costing eight of that. Three months of this service was sufficient for his restless spirit and on February 5, 1860, he, in company with his cousin and a friend, boarded the steamer Golden Gate and made the trip via Aspinwall to that beautiful bay, the Golden Gate, landing there on February 28, 1860, with but very few dollars in pocket. He could not speak a word of English, but soon had found a job in Oakland of clearing a grain field for a sufficient sum to pay for food, and then the owner planted the ground in potatoes and in May dug them up and they sold the entire crop at five cents per pound. Then he harvested and later went to the redwood forests, Solano county, and made shingles until the spring of 1861, at which time he went to Washoe, Nevada, the mines at that place becoming famous at that time. Mining for himself and working in the larger mines he spent the time until February, 1867, when he went to San Francisco and doctored for a paralytic stroke that he had suffered. In the fall of the same year he took a squatter’s right on a piece of land in Solano county and busied himself raising chickens, general farming and hunting until July, 1871, when he came to the Willamette valley and farmed for ten months, and then migrated to the Grande Ronde valley and took up his present ranch, eight miles southeast from Union, in High valley. His original holding was one hundred and twenty acres and to this he added eighty by purchase and one hundred and sixty by right of pre-emption, making a fine estate three-fourths of three hundred and sixty acres. He raises about ninety acres of grain and pastures the balance of the land. He formerly handled cattle and horses, but has disposed of them, and confines his efforts at the present time to farming and raising hogs, and the animals necessary for domestic purposes.

Mr. Goyette was married to Miss Mary, daughter of Henry and Julie Choron, on December 25, 1870, and to them were born the following children: Joseph, born in 1873, now a railroad man at Roseburg, this state; Valentine, born in 1881, now the wife of Fred Mayette, a farmer living in this county.

In 1882 Mr. Goyette made a trip east, visiting Springfield, Massachusetts; Rhode Island, Connecticut and Keysville, New York. He then returned to Rhode Island and there married Miss Abbie T., daughter of Francis and Amelia (Marcur) Bushey, on December 17, 1882. Mr. Bushey is a carpenter and a native of St. Illier, East Canada. Mr. Goyette remained three and one-half months and then went from Keysville, New York, to Montreal, Canada, and then took the trip home.

Mr. Goyette is a member of the Catholic church and is a man of unquestioned integrity and uprightness having ever been dominated by wisdom and principles of truth which have made him one of the most substantial and highly respected citizens of the county.



An Illustrated history of Union and Wallowa Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Western Historical Pub. Co., 1902.

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