Impressions of the Journal Man, Part 2 (Flora Savage Richardson)

Mrs. Flora Savage Richardson, who lives with her daughter, Mrs. Sadie McKee, at S.E. 170th avenue and Division street, was born in Yamhill county on October 14, 1851. She went to school to Sylvester Pennoyer and later attended the Harrison Street school and Portland academy. This is a portion of her story:

“When I was 17 my father, Charles Savage, who, with my stepmother and their four children, lived at Jacksonville, sent for me to come to Jacksonville to do the house work. I had not been there long when what was known as black smallpox broke out, and Jacksonville was quarantined. Two of the first to die were Mrs. John Loye and her child. George Funk died in his cabin, south of town and was buried nearby. Colonel W.G. T’Vault was buried at midnight by the priest who had been with him when he died. The siege lasted about two months. During that time they kept bonfires of pitch pine burning to serve as a disinfectant.

“Colonel T’Vault was the first editor of the Oregon Spectator, started at Oregon City in February, 1846. Hel later served in the legislature of the provisional government and in the territorial legislature. He was aide to General Joseph Lane in the Rogue River war. He started the Umpqua Gazette in Scottsburg, in 1855, the Table Rock Sentinel, Jacksonville, that same year.

“Not long after the smallpox epidemic was over, my stepmother decided I had better go back to Portland. My Uncle, Jesse D. Walling, told me I could go out to Spring Valley and live with them. It was a wonderful change and relief to go to him. Uncle Jesse was born in Ohio in 1816 and came across the plains with the rest of the family in 1847. He took a donation land claim in Spring Valley, in Polk county, seven miles from Salem. He went to the California gold fields in 1849. His wife’s maiden name was Eliza A Wise. Thirteen of their children grew to maturity.

“That fall I went to work for Mrs. Enos Williams, at Amity. She had adopted my brother, Charley. He lived with them until he died, at the age of 21. I stayed with the Williams family till I was 20. They were kindly, Christian people. Before going to Amity I had worked awhile at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Abrams. Their son Carle, has for many years lived at Salem. Carle’s father was running a store at Lincoln when I worked there.

“I was married to George W. Richardson in the fall of 1871, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Williams, at Amity. The Rev. James Campbell of the Christian church married us. My husband was born on the Platt river, in Nebraska, in 1851.

“We had a small farm near Bethel. The place was uncleared, being mostly timber and brush. We had nine children, all of whom were born there except one born at Amity. My husband’s sister came to live with us when she was 10 years old. She lived with us until her marriage to James Butterick. My oldest daughter, Dora, married William Butterick. My son, Charles, lives at Roseburg. Jesse, named for Uncle Jesse Walling, has been a railway mail clerk 20 years. He lies at Seattle. Elva, now Mrs. Fred Werner, lives at West Salem. Helen died six years ago. Sarah Ann – though we always call her Sadie –married William McKee. Her husband is an engineer on the Bonneville dam. I live here with Sadie. Frank lives at Seattle. Lynn started to work for the Southern Pacific when he was 15. He is now a section foreman at Salem. Crystal married Frank Carter. They live at Stayton. He is a carpenter. My husband did at Amity five years ago. We lived at Forest Grove and Salem prior to going to Amity. My husband’s father, the Rev. G.W. Richardson, was a minister of the Christian church.”

Source:  Oregon Daily Journal, August 8, 1936.

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