Jacob S. Risley Probate 1902-1904

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.

Mike Schmeer
“Hooked on Genealogy”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Jacob S. Risley Probate 1902-1904

  1. I just added this website to my google reader, great stuff. Cannot get enough!

    • Ryo says:

      I grew up in Oak Grove too. I was in the River Forest District on Oak Shore Lane. I just went back to my 40 year reunion from Rex Putnam and criuesd the neighborhood for the first time in many years. I was struck by how much it HAD NOT changed as compared to the rest of Portland.It was a great place to grow up, though I didn’t know it at the time. It’s true, we were always on our bikes, or horses riding through the woods or making the trek up to George’s Market to buy a treat.I spent a lot of time on the banks of the Willamette feeding the ducks and waving at tugboats. The field across from our house was on the river. There was always a family of China Pheasants living there. I remember hearing their beautiful calls and the sound of their wings beating against the dewy morning air.We also used to go to Risley Park and catch tadpoles in the ditch there. I remember joyfully sinking to my ankles in the muck. Then I would bring a jarful home which I would keep in a wheelbarrow of water. Sadly, I don’t thing many of them ever became frogs.Behind our house was a woods. At one time it was part of the Risley land holdings. I was best friends with Teri Risley. One day, after the property was sold to a developer, they discovered some human remains there. Dozens of cops and even the newspaper showed up at the scene of the crime. I was about 10 years old at the time and was able to tell them that it was the old family grave yard they had dug up. Disappointed, that there was no murder, the looky loos left pretty quickly, but the Risleys were able to salvage some old bones and coffin handles which became towel bars in their bathroom.My cousins were the Naefs. We went over to their place on holidays for bar-b-ques. Uncle Buck made wine in his basement! They had a big piece of acreage that had two houses on it. Buck’s mother, Ruthy, lived in the other one. Her’s was an old farmhouse that remained unaltered over the years. It was like going back in time. She collected porceline plates hand painted with flowers. In the garage was an old Model T. Up in the attic were relics that her sons had brought back from WWII. She had a vegetable garden and always gave us fresh rhubarb. Yum rhubard pie!!In exploring the area as kids, we came upon an old, old house on the River kind of by Naef Rd. It was what I would call a mansion. It had been abandoned for years. We used to crawl around in it and get the creeps. I wonder whatever happened to it.Along those lines, was the Starkweather (sp?) house. I think it was also on Naef Road, but nearer McGloughlin. It was a beautiful old victorian, which again had been abandoned for years. It was torn down eventually.Walking to Fred Myers was a great treat. Once again, we were able to make that hike of about 2 miles without any concern by our parents. I remember the record store, Al’s, and the shoe repair that was by the side door of the store. I remember my mom would fill a shopping cart brimming full of groceries, including the shelf underneath, and it would cost $25.Then there was Shorty’s. That was a divey gas station on McGloughlin either near Concord or Roethe Rd. We would get gumballs in there that seemed like they’d been there for fifty years. The place smelled of urine and we always joke that Shorty was peeing on the gumballs. When we were really bad, he would sell us kids cigarettes. I guess we had to try it at least once.I remember the trestle and climbing on it and being afraid a train would come. I never made it to the other side, however.In Jennings Lodge, there were two elderly sisters that had a plant nursery on River Road. I remember going there with my parents to buy rhododendrons. Remember the Chuck Wagon Restaurant? It was a buffet. And Oliver’s Motel. It had the only swimming pool around. And the Castle that was THE place to go on special occasions. Only to be outdone by the Chalet L’Abbe on the other end of River Road.Such good memories . once you start writing about it, you can’t stop!So, besides all the wonderful things I read in early posts, these are things I remember about Oak Grove. I was there from 1964 just about the time of the flood- until I became of legal age in 1972. I attended West Concord, Rex Putnam, then Clackamas Community. On paper it doesn’t look like very long, but it was a huge part of my childhood, and I’m glad I spent those happy years in Oak Grove.

    • Sourabh says:

      I grew up in Oak Grove too. I was in the River Forest District on Oak Shore Lane. I just went back to my 40 year reunion from Rex Putnam and creisud the neighborhood for the first time in many years. I was struck by how much it HAD NOT changed as compared to the rest of Portland.It was a great place to grow up, though I didn’t know it at the time. It’s true, we were always on our bikes, or horses riding through the woods or making the trek up to George’s Market to buy a treat.I spent a lot of time on the banks of the Willamette feeding the ducks and waving at tugboats. The field across from our house was on the river. There was always a family of China Pheasants living there. I remember hearing their beautiful calls and the sound of their wings beating against the dewy morning air.We also used to go to Risley Park and catch tadpoles in the ditch there. I remember joyfully sinking to my ankles in the muck. Then I would bring a jarful home which I would keep in a wheelbarrow of water. Sadly, I don’t thing many of them ever became frogs.Behind our house was a woods. At one time it was part of the Risley land holdings. I was best friends with Teri Risley. One day, after the property was sold to a developer, they discovered some human remains there. Dozens of cops and even the newspaper showed up at the scene of the crime. I was about 10 years old at the time and was able to tell them that it was the old family grave yard they had dug up. Disappointed, that there was no murder, the looky loos left pretty quickly, but the Risleys were able to salvage some old bones and coffin handles which became towel bars in their bathroom.My cousins were the Naefs. We went over to their place on holidays for bar-b-ques. Uncle Buck made wine in his basement! They had a big piece of acreage that had two houses on it. Buck’s mother, Ruthy, lived in the other one. Her’s was an old farmhouse that remained unaltered over the years. It was like going back in time. She collected porceline plates hand painted with flowers. In the garage was an old Model T. Up in the attic were relics that her sons had brought back from WWII. She had a vegetable garden and always gave us fresh rhubarb. Yum rhubard pie!!In exploring the area as kids, we came upon an old, old house on the River kind of by Naef Rd. It was what I would call a mansion. It had been abandoned for years. We used to crawl around in it and get the creeps. I wonder whatever happened to it.Along those lines, was the Starkweather (sp?) house. I think it was also on Naef Road, but nearer McGloughlin. It was a beautiful old victorian, which again had been abandoned for years. It was torn down eventually.Walking to Fred Myers was a great treat. Once again, we were able to make that hike of about 2 miles without any concern by our parents. I remember the record store, Al’s, and the shoe repair that was by the side door of the store. I remember my mom would fill a shopping cart brimming full of groceries, including the shelf underneath, and it would cost $25.Then there was Shorty’s. That was a divey gas station on McGloughlin either near Concord or Roethe Rd. We would get gumballs in there that seemed like they’d been there for fifty years. The place smelled of urine and we always joke that Shorty was peeing on the gumballs. When we were really bad, he would sell us kids cigarettes. I guess we had to try it at least once.I remember the trestle and climbing on it and being afraid a train would come. I never made it to the other side, however.In Jennings Lodge, there were two elderly sisters that had a plant nursery on River Road. I remember going there with my parents to buy rhododendrons. Remember the Chuck Wagon Restaurant? It was a buffet. And Oliver’s Motel. It had the only swimming pool around. And the Castle that was THE place to go on special occasions. Only to be outdone by the Chalet L’Abbe on the other end of River Road.Such good memories . once you start writing about it, you can’t stop!So, besides all the wonderful things I read in early posts, these are things I remember about Oak Grove. I was there from 1964 just about the time of the flood- until I became of legal age in 1972. I attended West Concord, Rex Putnam, then Clackamas Community. On paper it doesn’t look like very long, but it was a huge part of my childhood, and I’m glad I spent those happy years in Oak Grove.

  2. Marina says:

    Rich,I (Peter Harrett) was happy to see your contribution here beacuse we know each other and grew up in the same class. I often think about how great it was to grow up in Oak Grove. Here’s a few things you didn’t know about me. First; I moved from Oak Grove to Oak Grove. Just outside of Medofrd Oregon is another Oak Grove school! So I moved from Oak Grove to Oak Grove which is kind of fun to say.My family moved into Oak Grove to our newly built house, located at 1365 Anspach Street, which is on the south end of Laurie Avenue. This was on the day JFK was assassinated. I remember like it was yesterday, I was in the living room on moving day, sitting on a plastic pail. It was just me, my older brother Paul, the pail and the TV left in the room. Everything else was on a truck on its way to Oak Grove. Suddenly Walter Cronkite came on the TV crying. He announced JFK had been killed in Dallas. It was a defining moment for a 3rd grader. So I started at Oak Grove School the very next day. This was before the addition was completed so we, MRS. Fritz class, were housed in the band room. I remember well how crowded it was in there with all the band instruments, desks and 20+ kids! Additionally, as I remember it we were the only class in the basement. If you know Oak Grove school you know how creepy it was down there. It was a real dungeon. The locker room and shower areas were downright spooky!You mentioned the boat ramp so I thought I would share a good story about it. We lived nearby so when we had the big snow in 1968 Bernie Salsbery, a neighbor boy I am sure you remember, took the aluminum slide off my younger brother and sisters swing set, inverted the stand to make a handle and used it as a toboggan. Remember it had snowed at least one foot that year. Then an ice storm brought in another two inches of ice on top of the snow so it was downright dangerous to walk on. One could easily break the ice, go through it and bang a shin or worse break a leg. So Bernie and I take the toboggan we made to the top of the hill near Georges Market. Keep in mind metal moves pretty fast on ice. So I got on in front, since it was our slide, and Bernie got on in back. Together we headed down the hill fitting nicely in a car tire rut which kept us on the roadway and out of the ditch. Since we were riding on a 2” sheet of ice we started off at breakneck speed. By the time we reached the really steep part, near the Stoltz house, we were pretty scared. Suddenly the tire track disappeared which sent us into the ditch at what must have realistically been in the neighborhood of 70 MPH. This sent us flying into the ditch at full speed! We crashed, broke through the ice, continued to travel at high speed under the ice sheet for quite a ways. We had to fight our way out of the ice. Thankfully other than scraped faces and a few bruises we were unharmed. But it was definitely the ride of a lifetime.I walked across the trestle many times. We enjoyed flying our airplanes off the trestle. A few times we walked all the way over to Lake Oswego. I remember having to run to make the center span where there was a small safety room below the tracks at the center of the trestle. Many times we sat there with the train passing just inches overhead.The pizza! I am so glad others remember how good it was. I hear that Janice Purcell’s mother was the one responsible for it but I could be wrong. Wasn’t her mother a cook there? The food was so good a lot of local people and seniors regularly ate lunches in the cafeteria. For $0.25 you got a very nice meal.The drug Store fountain as a real treat, right out of the 1930’s. I loved to sit at the bar. I recall ordering chocolate Coke’s when we had some money. Buy Rite Grocery was always a good place to stop and buy an Abba-Zabba bar for one cent. It was pretty big for only a penney!Mr. Charles had a really nice yellow 1964Olds Cutlass coupe. I like it so well I made my first car a 1964 Cutlass 442 coupe. Do you remember Mr. Roddy’s car? We called it the Toad-mobile. I think it was a white Rambler two door coupe. It looked like an upside-down bathtub. Aptly named too. I could go on, but I will summarize by saying Oak Grove was a truly unique, safe, place to grow up. I often wish I could go back to the 1960’s when I was there. I appreciate having the opportunity to contribute here and thank all for their respective contributions as well.

  3. Risley Wilkinson says:

    wonderful!

    • Robin Risley says:

      You have all captured the delightfully carefree life we enjoyed.
      I have fond memories of making bird nest forts out of the freshly cut grass from our field. Then having dirt clod fights with the other neighborhood kids.
      Keeping a huge bull frog named Elizabeth on our back porch for a few days until we returned her to the river. When I held her she appeared to be as tall as I was.
      Swimming across the Willamette with my father.
      Riding bikes everywhere and coming home when the bell rang.
      Imagination was encouraged.
      Wonderful memories!

  4. Sue says:

    I was interested to know if anyone has information about Chalet L’Abbe. I went to college with the proprietor’s son and visited there only once. I was thinking of it recently on a trip to Portland. Is the building still there? I noted that in this blog, you mentioned “The Castle” in the same sentence. I remember so little about it, but it’s been over 45 years ago that I was there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *