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Oregon Pioneers Oral History Collection, 1975-1978

By Finding aid prepared by Elizabeth Nielsen.

Collection Overview

Title: Oregon Pioneers Oral History Collection, 1975-1978

Predominant Dates: 1975

ID: OH 001

Primary Creator: Oregon State University. Department of Journalism

Extent: 0.5 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement:

The collection is arranged into two series, one devoted to transcripts and another to audiocassettes. An alphabetical view of the oral history interviewees whose recordings are held in this collection is as follows.

Allworth, Edith E. "Peggy". (ca. 1975) Avery, Virgil (August 12, 1975) Buxton, George (Mr. and Mrs.) (August 6, 1975) Carey, Harold (July 21, 1975) Carey, Mabel (July 21, 1975) Chambers, Chester W. (July 26, 1975) Chambers, Rita C. (July 26, 1975) Christiansen, Richard Andor (August 2, 1975) Coolidge, Alice (July 24, 1975) Cosgrove, Chester J. (July 26, 1975) Cracraft, Catherine Ann (July 31, 1975) Gilfillan, Francois A. (ca. 1975) Gilfillan, Violette (ca. 1975) Hart, Dan S. (July 28, 1975) Hawkins, Melvin S. (July 1975) Hughes, Bessie (August 1, 1975) Hughes, George (August 1, 1975) Johnston, Helen (March 22, 1976) King, Bertha A. (August 17, 1975) McMurtry, Minnie (July 25, 1975) Morgan, Ethel (August 2, 1975) Mullen, Floyd (August 1, 1975) Murphy, Bessie Gragg (July 23 - August 4, 1975) Payne, William (Mr. and Mrs.) (August 1, 1975) Propst, Dale (July 25, 1975) Propst, Winnie (August 7, 1975) Reynolds, Minerva Kiger (July 1975) Rilatos, Robert (July 24, 1975) Schindler, Ralph (August 4, 1975) Smith, Florence Adell (July 25, 1975) Sommers, Robert E. (ca. 1975) Starker, T.J. (Thurman James) (ca. 1975) Strand, August L. (ca. 1975) Strand, Mollie (ca. 1975) Updike, Violet (July 16, 1975) Wilcox, Beatrice Eddy (August 1, 1975) Woodcock, Baird (July 31, 1975)

Languages of Materials: English [eng]

Abstract

The Oregon Pioneers Oral History Collection consists of 33 interviews conducted primarily in the summer of 1975 by Oregon State University students to document various aspects of local history from 1880 to 1929 in preparation for the United States bicentennial in 1976. Nearly all of the audiocassettes held in this collection have been digitized and are available upon patron request.

Scope and Content Notes

The Oregon Pioneers Oral History Collection consists of 33 interviews conducted primarily in the summer of 1975 by Oregon State University students in a journalism seminar to document various aspects of local history from 1880 to 1929 in preparation for the United States bicentennial in 1976. All of the interviews were conducted in the summer of 1975 with the exception of the Helen Johnston interview, which was conducted in March 1976.

The following individuals were interviewed as part of the project: Edith E. (Peggy) Allworth, Virgil Avery, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Carey, Chester and Rita Chambers, Alice Coolidge, Chester Cosgrove, Catherine Ann Cracraft, William Payne, George Buxton, Ralph Schindler, F.A. and Violette Gilfillan, Dan S. Hart, Melvin S. Hawkins, George and Bessie Hughes, Minnie McMurtry, Ethel Morgan, Floyd Mullen, Bessie Murphy, Dale Propst, Winnie Propst, Robert E. Sommers, Robert Rilatos, Florence Adell Smith, T.J. Starker, A.L. and Mollie Strand, Beatrice Eddy Wilcox, Baird Woodcock, Violet Updike, Richard Andor Christiansen, Bertha A. King, Minerva Kiger Reynolds, and Helen Johnston. The name of an interviewee who discussed bootlegging in the area during Prohibition is not given.

The interviews describe Corvallis, Philomath, Kings Valley, Benton County, and the surrounding area (including Newport and Yaquina Bay) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Topics include railroads and ferries, Corvallis businesses, the Fischer flour mill, logging and lumber mills, agriculture, Chautauqua events, pioneer families, and the Siletz Native Americans. A few of the interviews address topics relating to Oregon State University, such as the Memorial Union, the President's home on campus, and the name change from Oregon State College to Oregon State University.

Interviewers include Judith Carlson, Lorraine Charlton-Ruff, Janice Tiland, and Darrell Wolfe.

The collection includes both audiocassettes and transcripts for almost all (31) of the interviews. For one of the interviews (T.J. Starker), only transcripts are available. There is only a sound recording (no transcript) for the interview of Minerva Kiger Reynolds. Copies of the publication, Pioneers!, (ca. 1978) that was prepared using the interviews are also included in the collection.

All of the audiocassettes held in this collection have been digitized with the exception of damaged cassettes OH01:21 (Robert E. Sommers), OH01:22 (Winnie Propst side 2) and OH01:30 (Violet Updike). Digital files are available upon patron request.

Duplications of signed permissions forms are included in the transcript folders for most of the interviews held in this collection.

Biographical / Historical Notes

The Oregon Pioneers oral histories were conducted almost entirely during the summer of 1975 by Oregon State University students enrolled in J 407A - "Seminar: An Oral/Written History of Oregon Pioneers," offered by the Journalism Department. The interviews were used to prepare a publication, Pioneers!, (ca. 1978) published by the Journalism Department and the Summer Term Office that included articles on pioneers, the Yaquina Bay Life Saving Station, Philomath College, the Siletz Indians, Fort Hoskins, the Willamette River, regional railroads, Eddyville, and Chautauqua events in the area.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 31 audiocassettes; 2 boxes

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: The oral histories were placed in the Archives' collections in 1975. The sound recordings and copies of the transcripts were housed at the Horner Museum for a period of time and transferred back to the Archives from the Horner Museum collections in 1996.

Related Materials: Several of the interviewees, including Minerva Kiger Reynolds and Bessie Murphy, are featured in the film, Heart of the Valley, about the history of Corvallis produced in 1976. This film is part of the News and Communication Services Motion Picture Films and Videotapes (FV 057) FV057:634. The Journalism Department Records (RG 091) and the Journalism Department Photographs (P 208) provide additional information about journalism instruction at Oregon State. The A.L. Strand Oral History Collection (OH 007) includes several interviews pertaining to Strand's presidency at Oregon State. The Horner Museum Oral History Collection (OH 010) includes another interview with T.J. Starker. SCARC collections also include the Edward C. Allworth Papers (MSS Allworth), F. A. Gilfillan Papers (MSS Gilfillan), and T.J. Starker Collection (MSS Starker).

Preferred Citation: Oregon Pioneers Oral History Collection (OH 001), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Processing Information: Collection processed by Elizabeth Nielsen and Chris Petersen.

Creators

Oregon State University. Department of Journalism
Carlson, Judith Carol.

People, Places, and Topics

Agriculture--Oregon.
Benton County (Or.)
Corvallis (Or.)
Ferries--Oregon.
Gilfillan, F. A. (Francois Archibald), 1893-1983
Kings Valley (Or.)
Lincoln County (Or.)
Local History
Natural Resources
Oregon Multicultural Archives
Oregon State College--History.
Oregon State University--History.
Oregon State University. Department of Journalism
Philomath (Or.)
Pioneers--Oregon--Benton County.
Prohibition--Oregon--Benton County.
Siletz Indians.
Starker, T. J. (Thurman James), 1890-1983
Strand, A. L. (August Leroy), 1894-
University History
Willamette River (Or.)

Forms of Material

Audiocassettes.
Oral histories (literary works)


Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Transcripts, 1975-1978
Extent: 33 folders

Box-Folder 2.1: Allworth, Edith E. "Peggy", ca. 1975
Peggy Allworth was the widow of Major Edward C. Allworth. Subjects discussed include Corvallis, the Memorial Union and E.C. Allworth. [Item OH01:01, interviewer unknown.]
Box-Folder 2.2: Avery, Virgil, August 12, 1975
Virgil Avery was a descendant of Joseph Conant Avery, the founder of Corvallis. Subjects discussed include Avery Park, Pioneer Park, pioneer families, Corvallis businesses, and the Corvallis water supply. [Item OH01:02, interview conducted by Judy Carlson.]
Box-Folder 2.3: Carey, Harold and Mabel Carey, July 21, 1975
Harold Carey was a grandson of Calvin and Susan Ellsworth, Siletz missionaries. Mabel Carey was Harold's wife. Subjects discussed include Calvin Ellsworth, Siletz and missionaries to Native Americans. [Item OH01:03, interview conducted by Janice Tiland.]
Box-Folder 2.4: Chambers, Chester W. and Rita C. Chambers, July 26, 1975
Chester Chambers was a grandson of Nahum King, for whom Kings Valley, Oregon is named. Rita Chambers was Chester's wife. Subjects discussed include Kings Valley, Nahum King, Hoskins, Native Americans, James Chambers and logging. [Item OH01:04, interviewer unknown.]
Box-Folder 2.5: Coolidge, Alice, July 24, 1975
Alice Coolidge moved with her family from North Dakota to Oregon in 1889 at the age of nine. Subjects discussed include Philomath and fruit growing. [Item OH01:05, interviewer unknown.]
Box-Folder 2.6: Cosgrove, Chester J., July 26, 1975
Chester Cosgrove, born in Independence, Oregon in 1894, spent the bulk of his life in Kings Valley. Subjects discussed include Josephine Patton, Independence (Or.), the Valley and Siletz Railroad, Kings Valley and Sol King. [Item OH01:06, interviewer unknown.]
Box-Folder 2.7: Cracraft, Catherine Ann, July 31, 1975
Catherine Cracraft was the daughter of Fred Fischer, founder of the Fischer Brothers Milling Company. The primary topic of this interview is the Fischer Flour Mill. [Item OH01:07, interview conducted by Lorraine Charlton-Ruff.]
Box-Folder 2.8: Payne, William and Mrs. William Payne, August 1, 1975
At the time of this interview, William Payne had lived in Corvallis for sixty years. Subjects discussed include the Willamette River and ferries. [Item OH01:08, interview conducted by Lorraine Charlton-Ruff.]
Box-Folder 2.9: Buxton, George and Mrs. George Buxton, August 6, 1975
George Buxton was the son of Harry and Lucille Buxton, 1905 OAC graduates and owners of the Buxton Planing Mill. Subjects discussed include Harry and Lucille Buxton, trains, M.S. Woodcock and travel. Folder includes reproduced newspaper clipping "Impressions and Observations of The Journal Man," by Fred Lockley [re: Henry Buxton] Oregon Journal, November 29, 1942 and photocopied typescript "The Story of Henry Buxton Sr. and Henry Buxton Jr.," by Rev. H.K. Hines, July 1969. [Item OH01:09, interview conducted by Lorraine Charlton-Ruff.]
Box-Folder 2.10: Schindler, Ralph, August 4, 1975
Ralph Schindler spent thirty-eight years in public service to the Corvallis community, working variously as city recorder, judge and county clerk from 1932-1970. Subjects discussed include riverboats, ferries and the Buxton planing mill. [Item OH01:10, interview conducted by Lorraine Charlton-Ruff.]
Box-Folder 2.11: Gilfillan, Francois A. and Violette Gilfillan, ca. 1975
Francois Gilfillan, a 1918 OAC graduate, served variously as professor of pharmacy, Dean of Science and acting President of the college until his retirement in 1962. Violette Gilfillan, also a 1918 OAC graduate, was his wife. Subjects discussed include the School of Oceanography, the School of Pharmacy, Doug McKay and the Chemistry Department. [Item OH01:11, interviewer unknown.]
Box-Folder 2.12: Hart, Dan S., July 28, 1975
Dan Hart was a longtime Philomath resident. Subjects discussed include Philomath, Mac McClellan, John Dorsey and the reservoir on Baldy. [Item OH01:12, interviewer unknown.]
Box-Folder 2.13: Hawkins, Melvin S., July 1975
Melvin Hawkins was born outside of Philomath in 1908 and remained a longtime area resident. He served as Benton County Commissioner for sixteen years. Subjects discussed include Reuben Shipley, Philomath, pioneer families, Native Americans, county government and Corvallis. [Item OH01:13, interviewer unknown.]
Box-Folder 2.14: Hughes, Bessie and George Hughes, August 1, 1975
Bessie Hughes' grandparents settled in the Willamette Valley in 1842; Bessie was born in Gates, Oregon in 1898. George Hughes was born in 1897, a third-generation Oregonian. Subjects discussed include the Chatfield and Hughes families and life in Gates. [Item OH01:14, interview conducted by Darrell Wolfe.]
Box-Folder 2.15: Anonymous, July 30, 1975
The focus of this interview is the bootlegging of alcohol in Corvallis during the era of Prohibition. [Item OH01:15, interview conducted by Janice Tiland.]
Box-Folder 2.16: McMurtry, Minnie, July 25, 1975
Minnie McMurtry moved to Philomath in 1911, when she was three years old, and remained a longtime resident. Subjects discussed include Philomath, Samuel McClain, Chautauqua, Philomath College, Marys River settlements and teaching. [Item OH01:16, interviewer unknown.]
Box-Folder 2.17: Morgan, Ethel, August 2, 1975
Ethel Morgan was born in 1899 in Wren, Oregon and remained a longtime resident. Her great-grandfather was Nahum King, for whom Kings Valley was named. Subjects discussed include the King family and the history of Wren. [Item OH01:17, interviewer unknown.]
Box-Folder 2.18: Mullen, Floyd, August 1, 1975
Floyd Mullen was born east of Albany, Oregon in 1906 and remained a longtime resident. His grandparents settled in Oregon sometime in the 1800s. Subjects discussed include the Southern Pacific railroad, Willamette Valley farming, the Ketchum family, donation land claims, Lebanon paper mill, Quartzville and pioneer life. [Item OH01:18, interview conducted by Darrell Wolfe.]
Box-Folder 2.19: Murphy, Bessie Gragg, July 23 - August 4, 1975
Bessie Murphy was born in 1894 in Clatsop County, moving with her family to Corvallis in 1900. Subjects discussed include pioneer families and the Crees family. Folder contains a photograph of Bessie Murphy. [Item OH01:19, interview conducted by Judy Carlson.]
Box-Folder 2.20: Propst, Dale, July 25, 1975
Dale Propst was born in Linn County in 1889 and spent his life in the mid-Willamette valley. Subjects discussed include the Willamette Navigation Company, Southern Pacific railroad, Corvallis and Eastern railroad, Hammon Lumber Company, logging, gold mining and Chautauqua. [Item OH01:20, interview conducted by Darrell Wolfe.]
Box-Folder 2.21: Propst, Winnie, August 7, 1975
Winnie Propst was a great-grandaughter of John J. Crabtree, an early Linn County settler, and the wife of Dale Propst. The Crabtree family is the principal subject of this interview. [Item OH01:21, interview conducted by Darrell Wolfe.]
Box-Folder 2.22: Sommers, Robert E., ca. 1975
Robert Sommers was a descendant of John J. Crabtree, an early Linn County settler. Subjects discussed include the Linn Company, John J. Crabtree, Vickie Libbs and the Brownsville pioneer picnic. [Item OH01:22, interview conducted by Darrell Wolfe.]
Box-Folder 2.23: Rilatos, Robert, July 24, 1975
Robert Rilatos was a descendant of the earliest residents of the Siletz Reservation. Subjects discussed include the history of the Siletz Reservation, Logsden and the surrounding area. [Item OH01:23, interview conducted by Janice Tiland.]
Box-Folder 2.24: Smith, Florence Adell, July 15, 1975
Florence Adell Smith moved to Corvallis with her family in 1894. Subjects discussed include the Henkle family, Jeremiah Mason, the Shipley family and Coos Bay. [Item OH01:24, interview conducted by Judy Carlson.]
Box-Folder 2.25: Starker, T.J., July 22, 1975
T.J. Starker moved to Oregon with his family in 1907. An OAC graduate and professor, Starker was also a prominent forester in the mid-Willamette valley. Subjects discussed include forestry, lumbering and the Peavy Arboretum Fund. [Item OH01:25, interviewer unknown.]
Box-Folder 2.26: Strand, August L. and Mollie Strand, ca. 1975
August and Mollie Strand moved to Corvallis in 1942. August Strand served as president of Oregon State College from 1942-1961. Subjects discussed include the evolution of Oregon State College to Oregon State University, student life in 1950s and the President's house. [Item OH01:26, interviewer unknown.]
Box-Folder 2.27: Wilcox, Beatrice Eddy, August 1, 1975
Beatrice Wilcox was a great-grandaughter of Israel Eddy, the founder of Eddyville, Oregon. Subjects discussed include Israel Eddy, Eddyville, railroads, the Eddy family, hunting and Jesse Tanner. [Item OH01:27, interview conducted by Janice Tiland.]
Box-Folder 2.28: Woodcock, Baird, July 31, 1975
Baird Woodcock was a grandson of Milton Woodcock, who founded First National Bank in Corvallis in 1890. Subjects discussed include Corvallis, the Woodcock family and banks. [Item OH01:28, interview conducted by Judy Carlson.]
Box-Folder 2.29: Updike, Violet, July 16, 1975
Violet Updike was born in 1893 in Oyster City, Oregon and spent the bulk of her life in the Yaquina Bay region. Subjects discussed include Oysterville, Oyster City, Lincoln City schools and transportation, Toledo and Yaquina Bay oysters. [Item OH01:30, interviewer unknown.]
Box-Folder 2.30: Christiansen, Richard Andor, August 2, 1975
Richard Anderson moved with his family to the Yaquina Bay area in 1900, when he was ten years old, and spent the majority of his life in the region. Subjects discussed include the Yaquina Bay area, U.S. Life Saving Service, revenue cutter service, the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II and shipbuilding. [Item OH01:31, interviewer unknown.]
Box-Folder 2.31: King, Bertha A., August 17, 1975
Bertha King, born in 1889, spent the bulk of her life in Corvallis. She was a descendant of Nahum King, after whom Kings Valley is named. Subjects discussed Nahum King, Sol King, Fort Hoskins, Kings Valley, the Opera House in Corvallis and Arthur King. [Item OH01:32, interviewer unknown.]
Box-Folder 2.32: Johnston, Helen, March 22, 1976
Helen Johnston was a pupil, friend and secretary for the American composer Ernest Bloch, who lived at Agate Beach, Oregon from 1941 until his death in 1959. Bloch is the principal subject of this interview. [Item OH01:33, interviewer unknown.]
Box-Folder 2.33: Pioneers! Publication produced using Oregon Pioneers Oral History Collection information, ca. 1978
Series 2: Audiocassettes, 1975-1976
The full contents of this series have been digitized with the exception of damaged tapes OH01:21, OH01:22 and OH01:30. Digital files are available upon patron request.]
Extent: 31 items

Item 1: Allworth, Edith E. "Peggy", ca. 1975
[Item OH01:01]
Item 2: Avery, Virgil, August 12, 1975
[Item OH01:02]
Item 3: Carey, Harold and Mabel Carey, July 21, 1975
[Item OH01:03]
Item 4: Chambers, Chester and Rita Chambers, July 26, 1975
[Item OH01:04]
Item 5: Coolidge, Alice, July 24, 1975
[Item OH01:05]
Item 6: Cosgrove, Chester J., July 26, 1975
[Item OH01:06]
Item 7: Payne, William and Mrs. William Payne; Cracraft, Catherine Ann, July 31 - August 1, 1975
[Items OH01:08 and OH01:07]
Item 8: Buxton, George and Mrs. George Buxton; Payne, William and Mrs. William Payne, August 1 - 6, 1975
[Items OH01:09 and OH01:08]
Item 9: Buxton, George and Mrs. George Buxton; Schindler, Ralph, August 4 - 6, 1975
[Items OH01:09 and OH01:10]
Item 10: Gilfillan, Francois A. and Violette Gilfillan, ca. 1975
[Item OH01:11]
Item 11: Hart, Dan S., July 8, 1975
[Item OH01:12]
Item 12: Hawkins, Melvin S., July 1975
[Item OH01:13; tape 1 of 2]
Item 13: Hawkins, Melvin S., July 1975
[Item OH01:13; tape 2 of 2]
Item 14: Hughes, Bessie and George Hughes, August 1, 1975
[Item OH01:14]
Item 15: Anonymous [re: bootlegging of alcohol in Corvallis during the era of Prohibition], July 30, 1975
[Item OH01:15]
Item 16: McMurtry, Minnie, July 25, 1975
[Item OH01:16]
Item 17: Morgan, Ethel, August 1, 1975
[Item OH01:17]
Item 18: Mullen, Floyd, August 1, 1975
[Item OH01:18]
Item 19: Murphy, Bessie Gragg, July 23 - August 4, 1975
[Item OH01:19]
Item 20: Propst, Dale, July 25, 1975
[Item OH01:20]
Item 21: Sommers, Robert E.; Propst, Winnie, ca. 1975
[Items OH01:22 and OH01:21; tape is damaged]
Item 22: Rilatos, Robert, July 24, 1975
[Items OH01:23]
Item 23: Smith, Florence Adell, July 15, 1975
[Items OH01:24]
Item 24: Strand, August L. and Mollie Strand, ca. 1975
[Items OH01:26]
Item 25: Wilcox, Beatrice Eddy, August 1, 1975
[Items OH01:27]
Item 26: Woodcock, Baird, July 31, 1975
[Items OH01:28]
Item 27: Reynolds, Minerva Kiger, July 1975
[Items OH01:29] Transcribed audio available online.
Item 28: Updike, Violet, July 16, 1975
[Items OH01:30; tape is damaged]
Item 29: Christiansen, Richard Andor, August 2, 1975
[Items OH01:31]
Item 30: King, Bertha A., August 17, 1975
[Items OH01:32]
Item 31: Johnston, Helen, March 22, 1976
[Items OH01:33]

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