This is the account of my Grandfather's (Nathan Hull Bramlet) family as I know it. They came from Tennessee where they had been teaming and ranching. They settled on Sugar Creek in south west Missouri. I do not know how they got this property, probably bought it. It consisted of a ranch and combination saw mill and grist mill and a bloc of pine timber that they called a pinery. They raised corn, hogs and tobacco. They ground meal and sawed lumber for ten years. The mill was powered with an overshot water wheel with water from a dam in Sugar Creek. The dam made a pond. It had no logs in it but was full of catfish.
Now in 1852, the State of Oregon was giving a man and his wife a section of land and each child a quarter section in the Willamette Valley. The Bramlets decided to go to Oregon. There were seven children; Clayton the oldest, about 21, George was 16, Bill the youngest 13, Martha, the youngest girl was 14. In the spring of 1852, they sold their place and all but Henry, the second boy, started for Oregon. Henry stayed in Missouri and soon after went to Texas where he raised nine boys.
The family put their belongings in two wagons, four yoke of oxen on one wagon and seven yoke on the other, twenty-two in all and one saddle horse. They crossed into Kansas where the train was made up. It was a large train, over sixty wagons. They did not see another house until they reached Salt Lake.
They crossed the summit of the Rocky Mountains on July the 4th 1852, and moved on to Salt Lake where the train split in half. One half going to California and the other half, with the Bramlets in it, kept to the northwest. First the cattle began to die. Soon cholera struck. They pushed on burying the dead where they camped for the night and abandoning the wagons where they were, when there were not enough cattle to pull them.
Of the Bramlets, George, Bill and Martha did not have the cholera. They crossed the Snake River, from east to west, at Boise. They figured that they were making about ten miles per day. One day below Boise, Grandmother (Jane Gober Bramlet) was buried and three days further on Grandfather (Nathan Hull Bramlet) was buried. They pushed on and crossed the Blue Mountains at Grand Round. They camped in a quaking aspen grove. Clayton was able to walk again. He walked over and looked out over the valley and said, "that would sure make a fine ranch". Nineteen years later he would come back and find a dozen ranchers there. They moved on to The Dalles. One third of the people that had started had been buried along the road. Of the twenty-two oxen that the Bramlets started with only one remained.
At The Dalles they left the wagons. All that were able to walk went on foot. The people around Portland came out to meet them and help them in. The Indians took the sick, and those not able to walk, down the river in canoes. Clayton was able to walk. Bill went with the girls. George and another man drove the cattle. The Bramlet ox fell over the bluff.
The winter of 1852 my father (George Washington Bramlet) worked on a ranch near Portland. The rest of the family stayed with different people. In the spring of 1853 the boys went to Cottage Grove where Clayton located a place. He soon sold his interest there and moved to a place called Jump Off Joe near Rogue River where he stayed for some time. He was there in 1862. In 1864 he was in Half Moon Bay California.
Father had two older sisters Betsy and Nancy. They both died soon after they arrived in Oregon.
During this time father's sister Martha married Ike Rice. Rices owned a large ranch at Rice Hill in Oregon where they stayed as long as they lived. There were three children, two boys and a girl. Dexter the youngest boy practiced law in Roseburg Oregon, Bill wandered off in 1861. He was in Heppner Oregon. He packed to Helena, Montana later on.
1855 father and three other men went down on Rogue River to mine. The Indians had come on the warpath, killed several people and burned several houses. A friendly old Indian came and told them the Indians were coming to kill them that night. He told them not to leave their camp until after dark. That night they went to the mouth of Galice Creek where there was a store. All of the miners from up and down the river were gathered there where they built a breastwork and waited for the Indians to attack.
One morning before daylight a dog barked which told them that the Indians had arrived. The Indians stayed two days and nights. During this time they tried to set fire to the store. The miners lost fifteen men dead and wounded. After the fight father moved on to Jacksonville where they went out after the Indians again.
Early in the spring of '56 father crossed over to Soda Town on Beaver Creek; later on he went over near Cole's Station to herd cattle for a man Doris. When the cattle were fat they drove them to Stuart's Fork in Trinity County, California. Father camped there and herded the cattle. Mr. Doris drove a few at a time on to Weaverville and sold them. When the cattle were all gone father went to work for a man with a pack train. They packed hay from Hayfork to Weaverville for a time then went to Humboldt County. They loaded at the mouth of the Eel River for Weaverville in February of 1857. When they reached Mad River the river was swimming. They swam the animals across and went to the top of South Fork Mountain. There was too much snow. They could not cross the mountain. They left their packs and came back down the mountain. It rained and snowed for twenty-two days. Father and the other packers swam back across the river and went to Hydesville.
In 1858 father came over to North Cottonwood (now Ono). In the fall of 1861, father enlisted in Company A 3 of the Volunteers of California at the Courthouse in Shasta City (now Old Shasta) in Shasta County, California. They marched them to Red Bluff and sent them down the river by boat to Benicia where they were outfitted. From Benicia they were sent to Walla Walla Washington Territory where father worked in the blacksmith shop all winter. From Walla Walla, he went back to Benecia. He then went with a party to escort a wagon train, loaded with supplies, to Fort Independence in Owens Valley. One of the teamsters got in a fight with an old man and killed him. Father drove the team back. Next, they went to Los Angeles then to Catalina Island to take possession of the island. From Catalina they went back to Los Angeles where father was discharged in the fall of 1864 and joined Clayton at Half Moon Bay. The Towers and Smiths came to Oregon in 1854 and took land near Oakland (Oregon) not far from Rice's.
Grandfather Towers had five girls. My Grandmother was the oldest. She Married Windlo Powers, the fourth married Dee Bond and the fifth girl married Clayton Bramlet. In 1865 father and Clayton raised a crop of oats at Half Moon Bay. After the harvest they loaded their belongings on a two-horse wagon and leading a mare drove back to Oakland Oregon. They rented Grandfather Towers' place. In about 1867, Clayton married Martha Towers. In 1868 was a short crop. Father went to Coos Bay to work in the woods. In 1869 father married Mary Smith. In 1870 father worked for a man named Dodge. In 1871 father and Clayton took five hundred of Dodge's sheep on shares. They loaded their belongings in a six-horse wagon and set out for Grand Round and the nice ranch that Clayton had seen in 1852. Clayton drove the team and father and mother drove the sheep. When they got to Grand Round the land was all taken up. They wintered near Hot Lake half way between Union and LaGrande. That is where I was born. The next spring they moved to the Wallowa Valley and settled at the very lower end of the valley. There Clayton stayed the rest of his life. He is buried in the little cemetery four miles down the valley from the town of Wallowa on the right hand side of the valley as you go down, less than one mile from where he had lived. Clayton raised six children, four boys and two girls. They were Nathan, Henry, Sara Jane, Louis, Charley and a girl whose name I do not remember. Sara Jane was the first white child born in the valley.
My sister Elisa Ellen is buried in the very lower end of the valley, a lone grave above the road, the first white person buried in the valley.
In 1876 when the time was up with the sheep, father and mother went to William Fugersons on Rush Creek near Walla Walla. Father worked through the harvest then rented a place in the foothills. That is where John was born.
Now we take mothers story. She had two sisters and a half sister Lusia, the oldest girl married Charley Peterson. They stayed in Douglas County. Mother's father David Smith died in the early sixties. A short time after grandmother married his brother Bill Smith. They stayed on the old place for some time then went to Santa Barbara where mothers youngest sister married Chan Webster. They soon got homesick and came back to Oakland Oregon bringing the Websters with them.
Grandmother and Bill Smith had two children One girl, Weltha and a boy named Elmer. In 1877 Webster and Adia came to our place and stayed Winter. Next spring, in 1878 we all went to Dead Men. Father and Webster took claims, father a half section and Webster quarter section. The claims were located seven miles from Pataha City and nine miles from Pomeroy in northwestern Washington Territory. Webster stayed three years and proved up on his claim and sold it to William Fugerson, and went back Santa Barbara.
Now we go to Heppner and Bill. He and Frank Tompkins located near Prinesville in a north east direction. They had a pack train of sixty mules and made several trips from Attalia on the Columbia River in Oregon to Helena Montana, a distance of five hundred miles. After a time they sold the mules and bought cattle and horses.
Now there was a fellow in Antelope Valley who wanted all of that range for himself. His name was Mopin and He wanted Bill and Tompkins out of the valley. There was a stage robbed, the passengers were robbed and the messenger killed. Mopin reported Bill, Tompkins and two other men as the robbers. They were arrested and Mopin's daughter, who was on the stage, identified them. They fought the charge through two sessions of the court. Ike Rice mortgaged his place for ten thousand dollars to fight it. They were convicted and sent to the pen at Salem Oregon. There was a United States Marshal, forget his name, That argued that they had the wrong men, that the men sentenced were not guilty. There was a man who hung around town during the trial and started a store in Dayton Washington.
Four years later the old Marshal walked in to the store and arrested him. He talked and went and got the mail sacks where they had hidden them in a cliff of rocks. They located two of the bandits in Arizona. They shot it out with the law. One was killed, one was hung and one got away on the way to the pen.
When Bill got out he stayed with Ike Rice a couple of years and they got the mortgage off the place. Bill married a woman from around Yoncalla Oregon.
Now in 1881 Bill Smith and Grandmother decided to go north. They sold the old place. They had two yoke of oxen to one wagon and two horses to another. Bill Bramlet decided to go to Wallowa. Bill drove Smith's oxen as far as Heppner. There he left them. Clayton picked him and his wife up and brought them to Wallowa. Smith continued on to our place on the Dead Men. Grandmother stayed with us for a couple of months while Smith looked for a place. He traded the oxen for a quarter section of land near Colton in Washington Territory. They moved there. That winter Elmore died of scarlet fever. A few years later Weltha married George Mackelroy. They eventually returned to Douglas County, Oregon. The old folks stayed on as long as they lived.
Bill Bramlet and his wife separated. He took her back to her folks. They had two children. I do not know if they were both boys or not. She kept them both. Bill went to Milton and located a place out in the foothills. He stayed there some time but got rheumatism so he could not work. He sold the place and come to our place in the fall of 1888.
In April of 1889 we all left Washington Territory. Bill drove four horses on one wagon and hauled our belongings. Father hauled the folks and camping outfit in a two horse wagon. They started for Shasta Valley in California. At Klamath Oregon they ran short of money and decided to cross over to Rogue River Valley in Jackson County. We left there in 1893. That is the last I know of Bill for sure. I have been told he went back to Prineville and went out with a sheriff's posse after horse thieves and was shot and killed.
Father and mother went to Scotts Valley in Siskiyou County, California in 1893 and on to Chico, Butte County in 1900. They moved to Lake Port Lake County in 1902 where they lived until they both died in 1910.
This is the end of the story of my grandfather.
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