Greetings OLHD Member:
Attached is the Jacob S. Risley probate file I obtained from the Oregon State Archives.
I have also attached a file for Risley’s obituary which appeared in the Oregonian, another file which pertains to the lot in SW Portland that Risley owned and his descendants inherited, and the “Risley Farm” survey from about 1904 which I’ve attached road names to. With these four files one can get a glimpse into Risley’s life ca. 1902 – entities he did business with, the lands he owned, crops he raised, names and addresses of his descendants, and the names of neighbors and others that he interacted with.
I have included the Risley Farm survey because I believe that it represents the parcels of land owned by Risley at the time of his death, and indicates which heir got what parcels. Though the survey itself is not dated the name of the company owning the trolley line which cuts through the map ( Oregon Water Power and Railway Co.) narrows the date down to a range of 1902-1906, and the fact that Jacob S. Risley’s name is not on it suggests that it was done after Risley died. Therefore I have tentatively dated the survey as having been done ca. 1904. I will have to look up the various deeds to confirm that this survey does represent the actual divisions of Risley’s holdings. The probate was officially closed in May 1904.
Risley made out his will April 22, 1893. His wife, Mary Scholls, had died seven years earlier in 1886 (at the age of 45) so was not mentioned in the will. His living heirs at the time he drafted his will were sons John F. and Charles W. Risley, and his still unmarried daughter Mary Alice Risley. (Mary) Alice Risley did marry, however, the year after the will was drafted. She married Harvey G. Starkweather on Feb. 28, 1894.
There are so many people and businesses mentioned in this probate that an entire paper could be made from it alone. I looked up only a few:
“C H Dye”, notary. This was Charles H. Dye, a lawyer living in Oregon City in 1900.
“M Oatfield”, an appraiser. This was neighbor Michael Oatfield who owned the large farm on Oatfield Ridge on today’s Oatfield Rd. Oatfield arrived in our area in the 1860’s and purchased land eventually adding up to some 600 acres. He was well respected in the community.
“R Scott”, an appraiser. This was Richard Scott, prominent and respected dairyman, farmer and politician owning a highly successful 300 acre farm on the north side of today’s downtown Milwaukie. Scott was from England and came to the U.S. in 1870.
“TR Worthington”, an appraiser. This was Theodore R. Worthington who owned land S.E. of today’s intersection of Oatfield Rd. and Thiessen Rd. – west of the Henry Thiessen farm. Worthington was born in Ohio in 1848.
“F E Donaldson” and “S R Green”, witnesses to the 1893 will: My first stab at researching these two gentlemen proved inconclusive, and will take more work.
“H H Johnson”, surveyor. This was Hezekiah H. Johnson, a surveyor who lived in Oregon City in 1900. He was born in Oregon in July 1849, and was a widower in 1900. It is no coincidence that the name of the surveyor on the “Risley Farm” survey and the charges to Risley’s estate for surveying are both “H. H. Johnson”.
“Star Sand Company”. Risley was evidently selling rock from his quarry to this company. It was started in Portland by Christian Minsinger in 1889. Minsinger was born in PA in 1855 and was enumerated in Portland in 1900 as the Proprietor of the “Star Sand Company”.
See this excerpt.
On the “Risley Farm” map the 54 acre parcel between River Rd. and the trolley line, and Creighton and Swain, was given to Alice (Risley) Starkweather. This is the parcel that she and her husband Harvey G. Starkweather built their grand “Starkweather House” on – – – now the “Sandes of Time Bed and Breakfast” owned by Al and Terry Sande. The date of construction for this house is estimated to be from 1904-1907, with the county saying 1909. No matter what the exact date, it coincides with being after Jacob Risley’s death and the estimated date of the “Risley Farm” map. One can see some of the gradual subdivisions of this parcel over time by examining the 1928 and 1937 Metsker maps.
I hope you enjoy browsing through these documents and welcome any research you may do on any person or entity mentioned in it.
“Hooked on Genealogy”