Day: May 1, 2010

Keizer’s first doctor

I’m very happy with the way my life has turned out,” says Dr. Vernon D. Casterline. And should be. His life story reads like a Horatio Alger tale, but it is true. Keizer’s first doctor was born on his father’s homestead at Vida, Montana, in 1917. Widowed early, his grandmother Casterline had taken her six young sons to northeast Montana to homestead “to give them something to do” as she puts it. When he was about a year-and-a half old, his parents, his sister, Lois, and his older brother Garold, rode the cattle train back to the Twin Cities to visit their maternal grandmother in Clinton, Minnesota. While there, his mother contracted the flu that killed so many Americans after World War I, and died in January 1919. It was decided that his father would take five-year-old Garold back to Montana, but Grandma Heacock, who also had been widowed and had to raise ten children by herself, would take three-year-old Lois and baby Vernon. Later Vernon and Lois attend a one-room school near Clinton, and took the rest of their elementary schooling at Ortonville before returning to Clinton. After completing three years at Clinton High, Vernon decided to join his brother in Glasgow, Montana, where Garold was working on the Fort Peck dam while taking his last year of high school. Vernon’s current events teacher helped him to get...

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The McNary family

The first Hugh McNary to live m America was born in Ulster, Ireland. After coming to this country, he married Janet Logan in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1751. Then the family moved to North Carolina where their son, Hugh, served in the militia when he was only 15. Seeking new land after the Revolutionary War, the family moved to Fayette, Kentucky, and lived there for 28 years before moving to Illinois. James and Alexander, sons of Hugh, became interested in tales of the mild climate and rich land of the Oregon country, and in 1843 decided to go to Missouri to prepare for the wagon train trip to the West Coast. Alexander’s family went immediately and James followed with his wife and children m 1844. It was too late in the year to start out for Oregon and the following year they were told that they should wait at least until May so that there would be sufficient grass for the teams and stock. It was recommended that each family take 150 pounds of flour, 50 pounds of bacon, and other staples as they saw fit for the four or five months the journey would take. They were also to take livestock enough to provide 100-150 pounds of beef per person on the way. Jumping the gun a bit, a 6O-wagon train left Missouri on April 29, 1845, and...

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Keizer Fire District

“Back in 1947,” reminisces Rusty Teets, “if you had a fire, you had to run into Salem, with $45, hand it to the fire department and they would send out a fire truck. Of course, your house would be burned down by that time.” Rusty Teets, Walt Robinson, owner of the lumber yard; Olin Brown who had the feed store; and John Coomler, who operated a hardware store, were among those who were concerned about the lack of fire protection for the Keizer area. An addition had been made to the Keizer School, and the community as a whole was experiencing a growth spurt after the close of World War II. A meeting was called and enough interest was indicated to warrant circulation of petitions to form a Keizer fire district. After a concentrated effort, enough signatures were obtained, but when the time came to file them, Rusty found that there was a $30 filing fee. Six public-spirited Keizerites: Walter Adams, Paul Guile, Sonny Benson, Walt Robinson, and Rusty, each put in $5. That was the first of many, many $5 contributions. During a door-to-door solicitation, people gave what they could, average donations being $5. By July 13, 1948, there was $192.50 in the kitty, and by the time the department was organized in November there was a total of $1,052.75. This was enough to purchase from Onas and...

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Mabel Claggett

What with Claggett Park, Claggett Creek, Claggett Street and Claggett Cemetery, the name “Claggett” is almost synonymous with Keizer. The Claggetts were among Keizer’s pioneers, arriving in Oregon in 1852. Charles and Mary Irvine Claggett were natives of Kentucky who migrated to Missouri where their son William was born in 1840. The family left for Oregon in 1852, with 12-year-old William driving one of the two teams of four-yoke oxen. They arrived in October and took up a 320-acre, heavily timbered claim north of Will Pugh’s at the present River-Chemawa Road intersection. The first year was one of hardship for the family. Although the Claggetts had brought some of their livestock with them, one dollar in cash was all the money Charles Claggett had upon arrival. A 16′ x 16′ log cabin was the family’s first home. Claggett and his son immediately began to clear the land. They dug pits which would take logs of 75 feet and burned the trees for charcoal for which there was a cash market. Each pit was left to burn for three months before the charcoal was considered ready. However, one log would contain up to 2,000 bushels of charcoal. Over the years Claggett successfully engaged in the raising of livestock, increasing the small herd he had brought with him from Missouri. He also raised grain and purchased more land. William attended the...

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Keizer’s first families, Part 1: The Keizurs and Pughs

Bounded on the west by the Willamette River, on the east by the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks, on the north by Clear Lake and Buena Crest, and on the south by the City of Salem is the community of Keizer where about 20,000 people make their home. In the early 1850’s only 18 families laid claim to the Keizer area, their lands totaling approximately 7,655 acres. However, some of these donation land claims included parts of other communities-Hayesville, Clear Lake, Chemawa, and North Salem. But now, the City of Salem has extended its boundaries to such an extent that the claim of one of the Keizurs for whom the community named is almost wholly within Salem. Two families between them owned more than half the Keizer area. The KeizursÑparents, sons, and daughters had 2,415 acres altogether; and the PughsÑmother and sons-owned 1,912 acres. The southwest quarter of Keizer was settled by the Keizurs. (This is the spelling they used, although various military and land records show the name as Keizer, Kizer, Kisor, Kaiser, or Keizer. Daisy Keizur Barrett and Ginger Powers, who researched their family, found 15 spellings in all.) Altogether there were 1,358 acres shown in the names of Thomas, John, and P. C. Keizur. Furthermore, Beda Anne Keizur was married to John Ford, and together they owned 638 acres immediately north of the other Keizur claims, and...

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