Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Friday, July 16th, 2021


The wreath was made by Daniel Matheny Hewitt’s wife, Henrietta “Etta” Miller Hewitt [Etta’s father was George Miller. He was our Henry, Jr. and Elizabeth Matheny Hewitt’s neighbor on the adjoining donation land claim. …Etta’s sister also married one of the Hewitt brothers as I recall.] The wreath contains the actual hair of our family members.

The portrait in the center of the wreath is of Early Ellsworth Hewitt (E.E) the oldest Hewitt grandchild of Henry, Jr. and Elizabeth Matheny Hewitt . Early was Daniel and Henrietta’s first born and was my Grandfather, Derrel D. Hewitt’s (a.k.a. D.D. Hewitt) uncle. E.E. was the older brother of Guy Glenn Hewitt ( a.k.a. G.G. Hewitt) who was Derrel’s father. Daniel and Henrietta Miller Hewitt had only two sons, E.E and G.G.

The wreath contains braided hair from circa 1876-1886 of the following:
1. Henry H. Hewitt, Jr.
2. Elizabeth Matheny Hewitt
3. Daniel Matheny Hewitt
4. Henrietta Miller Hewitt ( also a lot of her immediate family members of Millers and Elkins )
5. Early Ellsworth Hewitt (grandson of Henry, Jr.; shown in picture in center of wreath
6. Guy Glenn Hewitt (brother to Early and my Grandpa, Derrel D. Hewitt’s, father)

Members of the Thornton family

A large number of other names I cannot decipher with 100 percent certainty due to the fading and age of the name tags and poor visibility through the old glass.

FAMILY DONATION LAND CLAIMS: Henry and Rachel Cooper Matheny

Sunday, July 4th, 2021

Rachel’s daughter Sarah Jane had married Aaron Layson unexpectedly while witnessing the elopement wedding of Aaron’s sister, also named Sarah Jane, with Adam Matheny. At first upset by the unplanned wedding, Rachel learned to have a very close relationship with this son-in-law, rearing his motherless children and housekeeping for him while he farmed her land. But that was to be in the future, During the 1843 migration, they were learning how to be kin. When the Oregon company met to organize at the grove West of Fizhugh’s Mill on May 18, 1843, Aaron Layson was called upon to act as chairman, quite an honor for the twenty-three- year- old newlywed. Peter H. Burnett, later to become California’s first governor was elected secretary. (James W. Nesmith diary, Oregon Historical Quarterly Vol. 7, p.329) At the end of the Oregon trip, Henry and Rachel wintered at the Methodist Mission at The Dalles, not entering the Willamette Valley until spring (unlike Mary and Daniel Matheny, who crossed over Mt. Hood and wintered in the Tualatin Valley).

In the spring of 1844, Rachel and Henry settled at what is now Hopewell, Yamhill County, Oregon, against the Eola Hills. When the first death occurred in the area, because their claim lay on high ground, Rachel and Henry donated a portion of their land as the local cemetery, where Rachel herself would one day be buried. At the Hopewell Cemetery there is a monument dedicated to Rachel. Henry apparently accompanied Rachel’s brothers to the California gold fields in 1849, and most of the women went too, including Rachel and her daughter Sarah Jane Layson. It was in what is now called Cooper Canyon a mile or two west of Pilot Hill, CA, where the Mathenys and Coopers worked the gravel. It was there in the autumn that “camp fever” ravaged the canyon. One by one Rachel saw her husband, her daughter, her brother John, and her father die there and be carried to the graveyard at Sutter’s Mill (Coloma). She couldn’t have helped wishing the family had remained in Oregon on their land, but now she had too much to do to spend too much time reflecting. There in the epidemic-plagued Mother Lode, she took over the care of Sarah Jane’s motherless children, the youngest a newborn baby. With Henry alive, the Mathenys had qualified for 640 acres of Oregon land, but alone, she could only qualify for 320. Her son-in-law Aaron Layson was now in the same situation; so he took over half of her land claim. She cooked, cared for the children (Ann, born c1844; James Benjamin, born c1846; and Cena Abigale, born 1849), and took care of the house; he farmed the land. Only twenty-nine when his wife died, Aaron never remarried until after Rachel’s death many years later.

The 1850 Census shows that Rachel was living alone with grandchildren Ann E., 6; James R.; 4, and Abby, 1; Aaron must have still been in the California gold country. But by 1860 Rachel was again living with Aaron and two unmarried grandchildren. The 1865 personal property tax list shows that Rachel owned or produced that year 2 tons of hay, 40 bushels of apples, 2 hogs, 7 horses, 16 cattle, 10 bushels of potatoes, 100 pounds of butter, 70 bushels of wheat, and 100 bushels of oats. She had twenty acres under cultivation.

It appears that there was bad blood between the Laysons and the Kirkwoods. As early as January 1868, Joseph Kirkwood had foreclosed on a loan to his brother-in-law Aaron Layson. In March of 1874, Aaron Layson is on record as having sued Joseph Kirkwood, but no resolution of the case is listed the Circuit Court Journal. In 1876 Rachel sold her farm for $5,000 to her three Layson grandchildren. This sale may have provoked litigation. In March of 1877, Aaron Layson again sued Joseph Kirkwood. Records also show that in June of 1877, Joseph Kirkwood filed a suit against M.E.Bailey, husband of Cena Layson Bailey, the daughter of Aaron and Sarah Jane Matheny Layson. At the height this lawsuit, Rachel Cooper Matheny died on June 25, 1877, at the age of seventy-four. The friction among her family no doubt caused Rachel considerable stress.

Rachel had been the last of her generation of the family left in the Willamette Valley. Her brothers Enoch and Bill had moved to eastern Washington and her brother Isaiah to the Midwest; the rest were dead. She was buried in the cemetery on her own land, next to Mary and Daniel Matheny.

FAMILY DONATION LAND CLAIMS: Jasper and Emaline Allen Matheny DLC

Sunday, July 4th, 2021

Jasper Newton Matheny was the brother who sympathized with the South in the Civil War, so he probably did not get along well with family. He was born in 1834 and married into the Allen family in 1852? and moved next to them. He was granted a DLC that same year.
Jasper had a pink vest he obtained when trading for ferry passage. Jasper had run the Wheatland Ferry so he bought the existing Salem ferry and operated it, a wharf, and a warehouse, which he also owned. The flood of 1861 wiped out Jasper’s warehouse, which wiped him out financially. He and a partner had a gold venture in Idaho, not mining, but selling supplies.
He took partners, including James Glover and went to Spokane, which they founded.
Later he went to the mining fields.
After that, he lived in Mexico where he had a coffee plantation near the Guatemalan border. There he contracted malaria and died in San Francisco on his return in 1893. His funeral was in a San Francisco hotel.

When Jasper sold the ferry, he ended up having to foreclose on the buyer. Jasper’s sister, Elizabeth Matheny Hewitt, and her husband, Henry Hewitt, then bought the ferry