Pictures of Wheatland Ferry

May 30th, 2016


From Melissa Jones-Clark Gomez

Wanted to share pictures of the area east of the Wheatland Ferry, all near where our family first settled…

Melissa Jones-Clark Gomez's photo.
Melissa Jones-Clark Gomez's photo.
Melissa Jones-Clark Gomez's photo.
Melissa Jones-Clark Gomez's photo.

2014 Annual Meeting Minutes

August 1st, 2015

Minutes of the 2014 reunion of the Hewitt-Matheny-Cooper Families


The meeting was called to order by president Barbara Kerr.  She introduced the board members:


Merrilee Johnson, co-president with Barbara Kerr

Barbara Kerr is serving as secretary until position is filled

Louis Rodge is treasurer

William McKinney (Isaiah Cooper, Jr) from Seattle

Coral Hewitt Nolan (Jasper Hewitt) not able to come from Pennsylvania

Shilah Bauer not able to attend due to having a National Guard drill

Elma Hewitt, President Emeritus

Don Rivara, Historian emeritus not able to come from California


Barbara thanked everyone that helped set up, especially Mike Layman, our park coordinator who reserves the park and pays the fee.  Mike also sets up the tables and brings all the sports equipment and kid games.  He has a broken ankle this year so we need even more help in cleaning up and packing equipment into his trailer.


A thank you to the Arne Young family for bringing a pinata for the 6th year!


A special thank you was given to Elma Hewitt who has done so many tasks including the photo display, the family book sales and picking up the albums every year.  She has retired from her role and traded in her many hats for more time golfing.


Melissa Jones Clark Gomez is now in charge of the family albums, picking them up and returning them to the Yamhill County Museum in Lafayette and entering the new information you provide on the Family Group forms as well as any that Don Rivara or the Yamhill County Museum collects.


A thank you to Mark Fery who is not only the photographer but also the new Webmaster for the website.


A thank you to Brad Kerr for running the Daniel Matheny Hewitt Two Hops and a Jump Challenge.  There are age categories:  Under 5, 5-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 50+


A thank you to Brent Kerr for being the auctioneer.  Brent is working on improving our auction process this year and asks that when you win a bid, you stand up and say your name and family branch.  Louis, our treasurer, will then be better able to keep track of who won what.


A census was taken by family branch, Hannah Shipman helped take the count:


Hewitts:  Ann Eliza, Daniel, Adam, James Andrew, Isaiah, Mathew, Jasper, Lorin.  Henry had

descendants past his one grandchild.  Horry had no children.  27 attending.

Mathenys:  Daniel Boone, Adam, Isaiah, Mary, Jasper, Charlotte.  Elizabeth married Henry Hewitt so all of the Hewitt members are her descendants.  9 attending


Coopers:  Mary, Rachel, Enoch, William S., Isaiah Jr., John  7 attending


The people lost this year were Bonny Bauer Payne, in November.  She was the oldest of Sylva Hewitt and Henry Kerr’s 23 grandchildren.

Olive Merry Johnson (James Andrew Hewitt)

Obituaries should be sent to


Attending for the first time are Jenny Shipman and Bentley Brazil, 9 months old (Isaiah Hewitt).  Also attending for the first time are Gary and Donna Halvorson, son in law of Walt Davies and John Miller, friend of Walt Davies.  The oldest descendant at the reunion was Kay Kerr at the age of 89.  She was born in a log cabin in Arkansas on 2-2-1925.  Also acknowledged was the 100th birthday of Jack Green in Austin, Texas in June.  A card was sent around to sign to send to him.  To our knowledge, he is the first in the family, other than spouses, to live to be 100.  The farthest traveled were the Halvorsons from Rapid City South Dakota and Kerwin and Linda Kerr from Elizabethtown, Kentucky.


Roger Shipman asked that a new category be added;  the number of generations removed from the original family.  His grandson, Thomas Snyder is a member of the 7th generation.


The treasurer’s report, given by Louis Rodge, shows that there is a balance of $6,288.31.

It was moved by Hannah Shipman and seconded by Joanne Shipley to approve the minutes of the 2013 reunion be accepted.  Passed by majority.




Newsletter Don Rivara has discontinued his email family history newsletter.  We hope that is temporary and that he will bring it back as a complement to the website. Please be sure to write your email address on the list at the registration table if you did not receive his email newsletter. The more email addresses we have the more chance he will start it up again.   Mark will be putting all of Don’s emailed stories that do not include personal information about living persons on the website. We are hoping that Don will still be adding new ones. There are some hard copies of Don’s newsletters on the Books table.

We are still looking for digital copies of the first two.  Did anyone save them electronically?

Don estimated that the number of emails we have is 25% of what we have on the postal mail list.  If you did not receive a newsletter via email, be sure to put your email address on the list at the registration table even if you think we already have it.  We may have an address that is out of date for you.  Include email addresses for any of your family members who would like to receive the newsletter. If we have enough email addresses we may be able to save enough money to send out a smaller, less frequent newsletter for those who do not have computers or family with computers.

Hannah Shipman volunteered to be the children’s page editor.


POSTAL ADDRESSES  Also, check the list of postal addresses that the post office said were unforwardable to see if there is someone on it that you may know.


Mark Fery is the webmaster for the website. Bryan Kerr has been helping him.  When he gets it all figured out he will be looking for volunteers to help with the postings. Send your notices, articles, family information and pictures, etc. to or Don at


FACEBOOK [Melissa will give report] John Carlisle created and is hosting our family Facebook page.  It is at HMC Family. There are several with similar names.  Look for the one that includes John.  It is a closed group so you have to be accepted as a member to participate.  Make your request with your family connection and John will get back to you with the permission quickly. Then you can start communicating with family members. 38 names so far.  John was not able to come today, but reported via Facebook:   Anyone can add information if I authorize them. Anyone that is currently on list can be authorized to add new group members.  Any group member can post information i.e., stories, family announcements, etc. But I do need more people that are willing to allow others. I am trying to work out a cloud access where we can maintain a living family tree so to speak and could use some input from others on this also. Thanks, John


ANCESTRY.COM Reminder that Don has put much of the our genealogy inc. pictures on



It is the Cooper’s turn for elections this year.  Both Louis and Bill have said they would like to be

reelected.   We do still need Mathenys.  The other four of us on the board are Hewitts.  As you remember, we filled vacant spots with Hewitts because no Mathenys were coming forward and we all are descendants of Coopers and Mathenys. Merrilee and I were sharing one spot (one vote).  So if there is anyone who is a Matheny but not a Hewitt who would like to be on the board, you can be elected this year and Merrilee and I could go back to sharing one vote.


Election Year Hewitt Matheny Cooper
2010  Hewitt year Barbara/Merrilee, Bonny Joanne Shipley, Dan Matheny Louis, Christine Cranmore
2011  Cooper year Barbara/Merrilee, Bonny Louis
2012  Matheny year Merrilee/Barbara, Bonny, Coral, Shilah
2013  Hewitt year Merrilee/Barbara, Bonny, Coral, Shilah Louis, William
2014  Cooper year Merrilee/Barbara, Coral, Shilah Louis, William

Roger Shipman(Matheny descendant) volunteered for the board and was elected by majority vote. OTHER WAYS TO PARTICIPATE We are looking for someone to manage the book sales. It involves taking requests for sales via snail or email and mailing them out, delivering them to Champoeg or any other organization that requests large orders, and having them copied at a copy store as necessary, and manning the book sales table (or finding someone who can) at the Reunion. We have set up an email address for orders

Results of the Two Hops and a Jump contest

0-5 No entries
6-10 Carson and Hallie Kerr    both jumped 12 feet

Sean Young and Emma Walls jumped 11 feet

11-15 Hannah Shipman      15-½ feet

Luke VonHeeder        16 feet

15-20 Scott Davidson      20 feet

Kent                       15 feet

Bella                      11 feet

Luke Shipman       28-½ feet

21-30 Mark Fery                16 feet
31-40 Scott Fery                  11 feet
40+ Brad Kerr, Roger Shipman   17 feet

There was a re-enactment by some volunteers from Champoeg of a few stories from the book “In the Eye of the Setting Sun”. They were entertaining and interesting.

Passages from “Historic Oregon” Textbook

August 1st, 2015

When you come across an Oregon history book, look in the index for our family names.    Here is a long excerpt from a 1937 textbook, but even small mentions give some idea of how our family fit into broader contexts.  Please contribute any that you find.  And please comment on the content of this article.


Passages from “Historic Oregon” by Philip H. Parrish, ©1937 by the Macmillan company.

(Page 134-140) “On the other hand, there was more mystery for the first train.  The first pioneers did not know what dangers they would meet.  One of the members of this train (Daniel Waldo, for whom the Waldo Hills of Oregon are named) thought the chances were one hundred to one against their getting through.  He would not have started except that he and his family were sick with the ague, and his wife said, “We might as well go and be scalped by the Indians as stay here and be shaken to death.”  The women were as brave as the men in these migrations. In the train of 1843, two thirds of the people were women and children.


  1.  1843. The best ways of organizing a wagon train were already well known at this time.  Traders had been taking trains over the Santa Fe Trail and into the northern Rockies for years past.  The people of 1843 merely chose a committee at their meeting at Fitzhugh’s mill to put the usual organization into effect.  They also hired a Mountain Man, Captain Gantt, to guide them.

The travelers were very lighthearted in the days before the start, perhaps to hide their worry.  At night there were dancing, singing, and sometimes gambling around fifty great campfires scattered over the prairie.  The music of the violin, flute, and accordion could be heard.

Before daybreak of May 22, young “Jim” Wayne, who had been named aide-de-camp, rode up and down blowing his bugle and calling upon the people to start.  There was much confusion this first day.  The wagons got only a few miles out on the rolling prairies before sunset.  The cattle had not yet learned that they must keep going ahead.  They wanted to wander in search of grass.

Growing Accustomed to the Road. The wagons passed through the country of the Kansa Indians, who had taken to framing. The travelers had their first experience of letting wagons down creek banks by means of ropes.

They reached the Kansas River, which was swollen with flood waters.  An old Frenchman had a boat there as a ferry.  Some of the people were angry with the Frenchman because his charge was so high.  Some started building a raft set upon two canoes; others paid the Frenchman’s price.  The Frenchman’s boat went under when too heavily laden with women, children, and household goods.  The women and children were all hauled from the river.  Cattle and horses were forced to swim across. Finally, everyone was over.  Here the company paused to elect Peter Burnett as Captain and J.S. Nesmith as sergeant-at-arms.

Also, a count was made, which showed 892 people, of whom 260 were men over sixteen, while 130 were women and 602 were children.

For several days travel was easy.  On the afternoon of June 6 the company came to the west fork of the Blue River and got across by propping up the wagon beds and fording.  Camp was made on the far side and the people were merry.

But at ten o’clock that night the sky turned utterly black and the air heavy.  The guards wakened the camp to make things fast.  A terrific storm struck.  The wind rose to the strength of a hurricane.  Rain poured down.  Some of the people were knocked off their feet by the bolts of lightning.  Some of the women hid under mattresses, hugging their children to protect them.  Some of the tents were carried away.  Lightning flashed all around and the thunder was a continuous roar.  In the morning it was found that the stream which had been crossed so easily the day before had now overflowed its banks for a quarter of a mile on either side and had become too deep to pass.

Rains continued for several days.  The people were depressed as they struggled through the mire.  Those who had no cattle, or few cattle, began to quarrel with those who had many, charging that the cattle were holding everybody back.

Burnett resigned as captain.  Then the company was divided.  Jesse Applegate became captain of the “cow column” and William Martin became captain of the cowless column.


 Into Nebraska. After that things were better, because the rains let up.  The hunters began to bring in buffalo and antelope meat.  More Indians were met, some with fresh scalps hanging from their belts.

By this time the fording of streams had become easier because the people had learned how to go about it.  Now the trains were making considerably more than the ten miles a day which had been the average at the start.

On June 18 the main body crossed from the valley of the Kansas to the valley of the Platte in the Nebraska country.  That morning young Jim Wayne aroused the camp with his bugle and with his shouting, “Hurrah for the Platte!  We must reach the Platte today!”  They traveled hard all day over rough country “and just as the sun was going down behind the bleak sandhills caught the first view of the wide and beautiful valley.”  They had to eat a cold super. There was no fuel.

Day after day they pushed westward up the south bank of the Platte, sometimes in storm, sometimes in burning heat.  All the buffalo paths led down to the river.  They were deep and crossing them jarred some of the wagons to pieces.  The hunters were bringing in more buffaloes.

The emigrants passed the place where the North Platte and the South Platte come together.  They traveled eighty-five miles up the south branch before they decided to cross.  The river was high.  They built boats by stretching two buffalo hides around each wagon box and letting the hides dry.  The hides were rubbed with tallow and ashes to make them watertight.  Each boat was manned by about six men.  Other men swam alongside or pulled from ahead with ropes.  The crossing took a week.  There was constant danger from quicksands.  When it was over, there was a night dance on the sands to the music of violins.


 Up the North Platte.  Once across the South Platte and following up the north branch, travel was much more rapid, about sixteen miles a day.  The company passed such famous landmarks as “Cedar Grove,” “Solitary Tower,” the “Chimney,” and “Scott’s Bluff.”

In mid-July the wagons were at Fort Laramie.  The people did not like Fort Laramie.  They were charged one dollar a pint for flour.

For several days the way led on up the Platte.  Then that river had to be crossed.  One part of the company got over by lashing canoes together and tying watertight barrels at the sides for “bobbers.”  Then the wagons were placed aboard.

Here good-by was said to the Platte and the company went westward up its branch, the Sweetwater, to the most famous of all landmarks of the plains, Independence Rock.  At the Rock they camped and some carved their names.  A stop of several days was made to hunt buffalo, since none would be found beyond the continental divide, which they were now nearing.


 Over the Hump.  One of the travelers wrote:


At last we came into view, on the afternoon of the 30th, of the eternal snows of the Rocky mountains.  So we “wound up the line” two hours earlier than usual.  Hunters had brought in some fine antelope and two fat young buffalo, so we had a feast.  Bright stars in a blue vault.  Not a breath of air.  Campfires, streaming up from the plain, flooded the tents with mellow light and made the tops of the quadrangular barricade of wagons look like a fortification of molten gold.

Jim Wayne fiddled.  Set after set danced on the sward.  Green, Gantt, and others told stories.  Revel until a late hour.


The crossing of the mountains at this point (South Pass) was so easy that it did not seem like a crossing at all.  The pass was wide and almost flat.  But suddenly the slope was westward and the streams all ran toward the Pacific.

West of the divide the company swung a little south to follow the Green River to the trading post of an old Mountain Man, Jim Bridger.  From his post they followed the Bear River.  They met Indians who were astonished at the size of the wagon trains and who asked, “Are there still any whites remaining where you came from?”  Soda Springs, so often mentioned in stories of the Oregon Trail, was passed late in August.  A few days later they approached the Snake River and the Hudson’s Bay trading post called Fort Hall.  Jim Wayne played “Yankee Doodle,” “Hail Columbia,” and the “Star Spangle Banner” on his bugle.  The people rejoiced.


Down the Western Slope.  The men at the fort could not believe their eyes at the sight of wagons approaching out of the Portneuf River Valley.  They said they were doubtful whether the wagons could get through to the Columbia.  But Marcus Whitman, who was with the train, declared they could.  Apparently the immigrants never had a thought of abandoning the wagons.  They headed on into the sagebrush plains of Idaho.  They had no fear of the Indians from now on, and the company became wholly disorganized.  Only friends and family clung together.  The rest made their way as they could, alone or in small groups.

They had to cross to the right bank of the Snake River, and then back again to the left bank at Fort Boise, near the border of the present Oregon.  From there they drove their oxen up the narrow and log-strewn valley of Burnt River and down into the valley of the Powder River.  Then another divide had to be crossed into the valley of the Grande Ronde.

This was almost the end, but a bad stretch was ahead – the Blue Mountains.  By this time Whitman had ridden ahead, and the principal guide was an old Indian of the Cayuse tribe, Stickus by name, recommended by Whitman.  Stickus pointed the way and the wagons lumbered up out of the Grande Ronde.  Huge trees barred the trail.  A party of fifty men went ahead.  The sound of their axes came ringing back.  As the wagons reached the crest, the first snows of winter began to fall.  The wagons rumbled down the slopes into the valley of the Umatilla.  They were just in time.


Into the Willamette.  Some of the weary travelers built boats near where the Walla Walla flows into the Columbia and in these boats floated down the Columbia.  Others followed the south bank of the Columbia as far as the mission station at The Dalles.

At The Dalles nearly all took to the river.  There was no road to follow over the Cascades.  They floated down to the Cascades from The Dalles on all manner of rafts and crafts.  They had to carry their goods around the Cascades.  Below the Cascades they went on to Fort Vancouver by whatever means they could find.  Most of them made those last few miles of river in boats lent by Dr. John McLoughlin.  He had heard of the sorrows of the immigrants, and though he stood at the head of a company which wanted settlers kept out, he was not one to see his fellow humans drowned or caught by the winter storms and starved to death.



Oregon’s population was at least doubled by the immigration of 1843.  And it was more than doubled in vigor.  The wagon train of ’43 contained a dozen strong men who “made over” the settlement and its government to suit themselves.

Of course, the newcomers were too wet and cold and tired to do much in the autumn of that first year, just after their arrival.  They had to rustle for shelter and earn food for their families.  They had to search for the farmlands which they wanted to claim.  But as soon as possible, such men as the Applegate Brothers, Burnett, Lovejoy, McCarver, Nesmith, Matheny, Waldo, Hembree, Keiser, and others turned their attention to what the “founders” had done in the way of setting up a government. They did not like it very well.  (To be continued.)