The Holladay Cases

The most remarkable litigation, however, is the series of cases known as the Holladay cases. Ben Holladay, whose name appears more than once in these pages, was the prince of borrowers, and among other creditors for large sums, was his brother Joseph. The two men were as unlike in appearance and character as though they were of different ancestors; Ben being a high liver, a spend-thrift, a man of gigantic schemes and boundless ambition, who scattered his own money and the money of every one on which he could lay hands broadcast in support of his extravagant habits and his numerous projects; Joseph, on the other hand, made money by saving it and accumulating interest. He had no projects, no enterprises, no ambitions. He was crafty, stubborn and full of prejudices. As early as 1873, Ben began to make conveyances of property in Oregon to Joe to secure him for money borrowed from time to time, and in 1876, when Ben removed from Oregon to Washington City, Joe, by assignments of stock and deeds of real estate absolute upon their face, but which were intended as mortgages, had title to all that Ben possessed. Ben came back from Washington in 1884 and demanded his property from Joe, professing to be ready to pay his claim. Joe then set up a claim that he was the real owner of the property; that the conveyances to him were absolute, and not intended as mortgages.. Ben began suit to have the conveyances declared mortgages, and to redeem the property. The litigation lasted three years, and the result was that the conveyances were declared mortgages, and the amount of Joe’s claim against the property was fixed at $315,000. In the meantime, Ben’s other creditors had begun suit to have the conveyances to Joe set aside as being in fraud of their rights. During the litigation between Ben and Joe the property had been put into the hands of a receiver. After the decree was made in the Supreme Court, fixing the amount of Joe’s –lien against the property, and ordering that the property be sold to pay it, Ben and Joe made an agreement subject to ratification by the principal creditors, by which it was stipulated that Joe would post-pone the enforcement of his decree for three years, and as part of his agreement with Ben, he released from his lien and turned over to a trustee, for a number of pressing creditors, the stock of the Oregon Real Estate Company; and George W. Weidler, as such trustee, assumed charge of the property for the benefit of those creditors. In consideration of this it was further stipulated that Joe’s lien should be increased to $340,000, on account of some claims which the Supreme Court had allowed. It was also stipulated that Joe and Geo. W. Weidler should be made receivers of the property in place of D. P. Thompson, who had previously been acting as such, and they were appointed accordingly. The stock of the Oregon Real Estate Company, which comprised the Holladay Addition to East Portland, was sold and paid off a great many of Ben Holladay’s debts, all in fact known to be in existence at the time the property was released by Joe, and including lawyers’ fees amounting to considerably over $100,000. The agreement extending the time before enforcement of the decree to three years also provided that Ben might redeem the several portions of the property before the expiration of that time upon paying off stated portions of the debt in accordance with an agreed schedule, and this was done with a portion of the property, by selling it and applying the price on the debt. Ben died on the 8th day of July, 1887, leaving a will dated in 1875, by which Joe was nominated as one of his executors, and he being the only one named residing in the State and qualified to act, was accordingly appointed by the County Court. A. case involving Joe’s right to act in this capacity went to the Supreme Court and was decided in his favor. There were many creditors insisting upon payment of their claims, but the property was steadily advancing in value and no attempt was made to redeem the property. As the period for redemption drew to a close Joe was removed from the executorship, and James Steel was appointed administrator of the estate. This was also appealed to the Supreme Court and affirmed. Esther Holladay, the wife of Ben, died soon after him, leaving a will under which Rufus Ingalls was appointed executor, and also providing for his appointment as guardian of her children, but though he qualified for both trusts, he was subsequently removed from the guardianship on the ground that the law of Oregon did not permit the appointment of a testamentary guardian by a mother. Another guardian was appointed by the Court. On the expiration of the three years, Joe ordered an execution out, but recalled it before the sale. Upon a showing made to the Circuit Court, an order then was made requiring the receivers to join with the administrator of Ben’s estate in making a sale of the mortgaged property, the County Court having already directed the administrator to take that step. The attempt proved abortive, however, as Joe refused to sign the notice of sale. After fruitless attempts to obtain his acquiescence and co-operation, a warrant was issued for his arrest for contempt and he was brought to Portland, in charge of an officer, from the seaside where he had been sojourning, but he escaped and fled to Washington and then to British Columbia. He finally returned and by agreement and consent of the Court a nominal fine was imposed upon him and he caused execution to issue upon his decree, and the property was finally sold at sheriff’s sale. The result was that Joe was paid, principal and interest, in December, 1889, after five years of expensive litigation, and a large amount of money and property was left in the hands of the administrator for the benefit of the creditors of the estate. Meantime, innumerable suits by creditors and others had been instituted, and the dockets of all the Courts have been crowded with cases connected in some way with the Holladay property. A fortune has been spent in attorneys’ fees and Court expenses, and the end is not yet.

Another famous controversy in the courts was known as the Goose Hollow War in the newspapers, and involved a disputed boundary line between two Irish families. The case. assumed a great importance because of the litigious inclinations of the parties, which manifested itself in suits and counter-suits both civil and criminal, until the whole city was familiar with the case. The Hollands, Patrick and Margeret, who were parties to those suits have, since the boundary line was settled, found other subjects for litigation, and have in one case or another, employed nearly every attorney in Portland.

History is best written from a distant standpoint. The perspective afforded by the lapse of years, makes it possible to view men and events objectively and to avoid many of the difficulties of describing the affairs of our own times. But, in general, it may be said that the present generation at the Bench and Bar at Portland, compares favorably with the lawyers of other cities of the Union.In point of morals, notwithstanding the city has long been the representative city of the far Northwest, it is remarkable how few of the lawyers have failed to maintain the high standard of the profession; and while it is true, perhaps, that the average western lawyer is less profound and not so much inclined to theoretic analysis and to nice discriminations as those of older cities, yet for ready perception of the points in issue in their cases, they are second to none. A feeling of good fellowship prevails-the young beginner and the new comer find cordial welcome. The contests of the Court room, however warm or acrimonious, are forgotten when over.

The relations of the Bench with the Bar have moreover always been most friendly and pleasant.

The following is a list of attorneys who have practiced at the Portland Bar:

V. S. Anderson, J. E. Atwater, Henry Ach, W. H. Adams, G. G. Ames, G. W. Allen, E. M. Atkinson, C. Beal, Patrick Bull, Robt. E. Bybee, F. C. Bradshaw, E. C. Bronaugh, Octavius Bell, C. B. Bellinger, T. Burmester, C. A. Ball, H. T. Bingham, C. Buchanan, J. J. Browne, R. A. Bingham, W. S. Beebe, J. M. Blossom, Jr., J. Bower, W. T. Burney, J. V. Beach, J. Bentgen, J. J. Ballery, E. W. Bingham, George A. Brodie, J. Bourne Jr, J. Baldwin, Alex. Bernstein, L. Burton, C. R. Barry, A. S. Bennett, W. L. Boise, George A. C. Brady, P. J. Bannon, J. S. Beall, J. F. Boothe, B. B. Bukman, M. L. Bergman, Clarence Cole, H. A. Copeland, W. W. Cotton, W. W. Chapman, J. Catlin, J. G. Chapman, F. A. Cronin, C. M. Carter, J. F. Caples, Geo. F. Cole, Jno. C. Cartwright, John Creighton, Arthur Chrisfield, F. Clarno, B. I. Cohen, Jas. A. Campbell, P. O. Chilstrom, R. D. Coy, C. J. Curtis, Chas. H. Carey, C. H. Carter, M. R. Chambers, W. H. Chaney, W. H. Clagett, H, M. Cake, F. D. Chamberlain, Raphael. Citron, A. R. Coleman, S. W. Condon, L. B. Cox, G. T. Cromer, Wm. M. Cake, Alex. L. Campbell, J. N. Dolph, Cyrus A. Dolph, G. H. Durham, O. N. Denny, W. Dodge, H. C. Dray, Sidney Dell, B. F. Dennison, R. M. Dement, J. Danziger, W. B. Daniels, F. V. Drake, E. N. Deady, Paul R. Deady, F. J. Dahms, O. E. Doud, C. R. Darling, B. F. Dowell, J. Frank Davis, John Ditchburn, D. M. Donaugh, V. DePui, James M. Davis, A. C. Deupree, M. Elliott, D. M. Edmunds, W. H. Effinger, W. L. Evans, W. M. Evans, A. C. Emmons, R. W. Emmons, R. I. Eaton, H. H. Emmons, W. W. S. Eberle, W. H. Farrar, David Fredenrich, M. W. Fecheimer, A. French, M. C. Fitzgibbons, A. S. Frank, William Foley, A. L. Frazer, Wm. D. Fenton, J. C. Flanders, L. F. Grover, A. C. Gibbs, T. J. Geisler, H. A. Gehr, James Guthrie, C. A. Gardner, Jos. Gaston, J. Garwood, D. Goodsell, W. C. Gaston, W. B. Gilbert, G. W. Gardiner, John M. Gearin, M. C. George, W. M. Gregory, James Gleason, Thos. Gordon, Hudson Grant, S. H. Green, J. F. Grey, W. W. Gibbs, J. A. Gill, R. R. Giltner, Jos. S. Gage, H. W. Hogue, G. F. Holman, E. Hamilton, E. W. Hodgkinson, Amory Holbrook, J. J. Hoffman, W. Lair Hill, R. F. Hensill, D. B. Hannah, J. J. Henderson, S. Heulat, O. Humason, Ellis G. Hughes, L. Holmes, W. H. Higby, Enoch Howe, E. D. Ham, F. V. Holman, E. T. Howes, C. F. Hyde, C. H. Hewitt, M. B. Harrison, V. R. Hyde, C. P. Heald, S. R. Harrington, C. R. Holcomb, W. T. Hume, John Hall, F. M. Ish, C. M. Idleman, H. D. Johnson, J. W. Johnson, Dewitt C’ Jones, W. F. Jones, W. C. Johnson, T. E. Johnston, Henry Jacobs, S. A. Johns, Ira Jones, F. B. Jolly, J. K. Kelly, B. Killen, Peter G. Koch, C. M. Kincaid, Fred. L. Keenan, D. P. Kennedy, W. W. Knott, A. T. Lewis, C. E. Lockwood, Geo. W. Lawson, D. Logan, D. W. Lichenthaler, C. H. Larabee, A. J. Lawrence, Lafayette Lane, A. L. Lovejoy, C. Lancaster, M. O. Lownsdale, Geo. W. Lawson, A. Lenhart, S. B. Linthicum, W. M. Locke, A. W. Llewelyn, Mary A. Leonard, H. J. Moses, P. A. Marquam, W. L. McEwan, E. W. McGraw, J. H. Mitchell, M. F. Mulkey, L. F. Mosher, J. F. McCoy, S. A. Moreland, O. P. Mason, A. J. Moses, F. O. McCown, I. A. Macrum, Rufus Mallory, E. Mendenhall, J. C. Moreland, C. J. McDougal, F. Metzgar, C. F. McCormac, H. E. McGinn, E. W. Morrison, Pierce Mays, Wirt Minor, R. L. McKee, E. H. Merrill, M. C. Munley, Wm. H. Merrick, W. Y. Masters, E. J. Mendenhall, Newton McCoy, Frank P. McMullen, U. S. G. Marquam, R. G. Morrow, Wallace Mount, J. C McCaffrey, R. D. Murphy, C. W. Miller, J. T. Milner, W. T. Muir, G. G. McGinn, H. H. Northup, B. L. Norden, W. S. New-bury, H. B. Nicholas, James S. Negley, W. L. Nutting, James L. Onderdonk, Thos. O’Day, E. L. Peet, Harold Pilkington, W. W. Page, Chas. Parrish, P. D. Parks, S. Pennoyer, T. W. Pittenger, C. A. Petrain, O. F. Paxton, A. Paffenberger, J. N. Pearcy. J. M. Pittenger, J. W. Paddock, L. L. Porter, J. H. Reed, E. F. Russell, S. W. Rice, J. W. Robb, G. E. Robinson, J. H. Roberts, J. C. S. Richardson, B. Y. Roe, Sanderson Reed, J. S. Smith, Eugene Semple, W. P. Scott, Alex Sweek, Wm. Strong, George V. Smith, Alanson Smith, J. H. Stinson, L. O. Stearns, H. C. Small, E. D. Shattuck, J. W. Stevens, Thos. Smith, P. C. Sullivan, Walter V. Smith, Raleigh Stott, Joseph Simon, Fred. R. Strong, T. V. Shoup, Syl. C. Simpson, T. N. Strong, Loyal B. Stearns, H. Suksdorf, J. R. Stoddard, A. F. Sears, Jr., Seneca Smith, V. K. Strode, L. Scott, X. N. Steeves, Milton W. Smith, T. J. Smith, T. A. Stephens, J. B. Scott, Geo. W. Sproule, S. R. Stott, E. J. Searle, F. A. E. Starr, J. Silverstone, N. D.Simon, Zara Snow, Wm. E. Showers, James Summers, Sidney Smith, W. F. Trimble, W. W. Thayer, H. Y. Thompson, A. H. Townsend, Albert H. Tanner, David Turner, – Todd, Alfred Thompson, J. N. Teal, W. E. Thomas, J. B. Thompson, R. H. Thornton, G. H. Thurston, Cornelius Taylor, Claude Thayer, W. W. Upton, James Upton, C. B. Upton, J. S. M. VanCleve, George H. Williams, A. E. Wait, Leopold Wolff, James A. Way-mire, J. W. Whalley, Charles Warren, John C. Work, John B. Waldo, M. S. Whest, R. Williams, J. H. Woodward, C. H. Woodward, D. W. Welty, Thornton Williams, P. L. Willis, C. B. Watson, J. R. Wheat, E. B. Watson, A. J. Welch, L. H. Wheeler, T. Brook White,’ C. E. S. Wood, John K. Wait; J. F. Watson, J. D. Wilcox, E. B. Williams, George L. Woods, Henry Wagner, T. H. Ward, G. W. Yocum G. D. Young.


Court, History,

Harvey Whitefield Scott. History of Portland, Oregon: with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Citizens and Pioneers. Portland, Oregon. D. Mason & Company, 1890.

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