Mike, Fred and the Apperson Women

University of Oregon

The plan was to meet Mike Lemeshko in Eugene yesterday to do a little research at the University of Oregon.  Mike, whose recent quest for information about Judge John Briscoe led him to write a book, (The Cantankerous Farmer vs. The Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company and the rest of his neighbors on the Long Beach Peninsula) and form the ‘Friends of the Briscoe Burying Ground, is on another quest – this time for information about B.A. Seaborg of the Aberdeen Packing Co. and other early canneries along the Columbia. .

My interest was in finding more information about my Jefferson and Apperson forebears.  Nyel was going along for moral support.  But, as is often the case with us these days, we couldn’t keep our date.  So, Mike (bless him!) went on his own and actually did a bit of digging on my behalf, too. We had arranged to take a look at the Fred Lockley files which are housed at the Special Collections Library at the U of O.  According to Wikipedia:

Fred Lockley (March 19, 1871 – October 15, 1958) was an American journalist  best known for his editorial column for the Oregon Journal,  “Impressions and Observations of a Journal Man”, which appeared throughout the Western United States on a nearly daily basis. Lockley also authored many books which, like his articles, were largely about his travels and interviews with early settlers in the Willamette Valley.  It was said that he interviewed “bullwhackers, muleskinners, pioneers, prospectors, 49ers, Indian fighters, trappers, ex-barkeepers, authors, preachers, poets and near-poets”.[1] He also interviewed Thomas Edison, Booker T. Washington, Ezra meeker, Woodrow Wilson, Count Tolstoy, General Hugh Scott and Jack London.

One of the interviews that was published in Lockley’s Conversations with Pioneer Women” was done in the early 1900s with my great-grandmother’s aunt, Elvira, who described the hardships her mother had endured when she came across the plains and settled in Portland in 1847:

Jane Tubbs Apperson (1809 – 1859) My three-tims-great-grandmother

My father, Beverly Apperson was born in Virginia.  My mother, Jane Gilbert Tubbs was born in Tennessee.  They were married in Missouri along about 1830.  Father died on the wa aross the plains.  He died at the second crossing of Ham’s Fork.  We had two wagons so mother had the men take the wagon bed of one of them to make a coffin. She abandoned the running gear, the ox yokes and some of our outfit and we finished the trip with one wagon.  They dug the grave in the middle of the trail and buried father and when the grave was filled they corralled the oxen over the grave so the Indians would not find it and dig up the body to get the clothes. No, we couldn’t put up a headboard and after a few hundred wagons and long strings of oxen and loose cattle had passed over it, I doubt if we could have located the grave.

Mike sent two other Apperson interviews that I’ve not seen before –  one done with  two with Elvira’s sisters-in-law.  I am so grateful!  And so sorry I couldn’t be there to take a look for myself.  Maybe there will be a next time

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