Day: May 1, 2010

Keizer’s first families, Part 2: The Rest of Keizer’s First Families

The northwest quarter of Keizer was settled by the Alexander Spongs, Aaron Purdys, Alvis Smiths, James Smarts, and the Nimrod and John Fords. Alexander Spong came from Ross County, Ohio in 1851, with his wife, Margaret Ann, and settled his donation land claim of 307 acres on the east bank of the Willamette River in 1853. The west landing of the Doak’s ferry was on the Spong property, but the Spong family built their own boat and launched a competing enterprise, ultimately securing the ferry business. Riverboats also stopped regularly at Spong’s Landing, bringing hop pickers, freight, and passengers up the river, and picking up firewood on the Spong farm. The historic area has been developed into a most attractive park by the Regional Parks and Recreation Agency. Aaron Purdy was born in Wayne County, Pennsylvania, in 1806, married his wife, Belinda, in Ohio in 1829, and came to Oregon in 1847 with their 9-year-old daughter, Eleanor, in the largest immigration up to that time. They settled their claim in 1851. Purdy was road commissioner for the Salem-Lafayette Road in 1852 and for the Salem-Doak’s Ferry Road in 1857. He served as secretary of the Executive Journal of Official Actions of Governors from 1849 to 1859, the year of statehood. Purdy was also commissioned justice of peace, and at one time had full charge of the mission mills, both...

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A short history of Keizer School

The first schoolhouse in the Keizer-Clear Lake area was a small log cabin at the intersection of the present North River and Wheatland Roads, about where the Bonny Dell apartments are located. No one knows when it was built but the remains were still on the site in the early 1900’s. In 1866 Hugh McNary brought his wife, the former Margaret Claggett, and his family from Linn County back to the Keizer area, presumably to the Claggett farm. He became the school’s teacher, and preacher for those who gathered in the little schoolhouse for religious services. In 1878 John and Sally Pugh donated 1-1/2 acres at the Keizer comers (Schoolhouse Square) and a frame one-room school was immediately built. It was furnished with the handmade desks and benches from the old school. The first teacher was Nina McNary, a daughter of Hugh and Margaret McNary. Sometime between 1894 and 1898 a smaller room was added on the north side and a gallery or balcony was added to the back of the large room to be used by the audience at school functions. According to Mrs. Arthur Cummings the school became the social center of the community. Also, church services were held there, although baptisms took place at the steamboat landing near the Cummings home. In 1915 the school board voted to build a larger school and the two-room structure...

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A brief history of Keizer

Keizer’s first known white settlers began to anive in the 1840’s. By the mid-1850’s 18 families had laid claim to 7,655 acres. Members of two families, the Keizurs and Pughs, had the largest total holdings: 2,415 and 1,912 acres respectively. The community took the name of Thomas Dove Keizur, patriarch of the family which came to Oregon with the Applegate wagon train in the fall of 1843. From the time the Keizers arrived in the United States in the 18th century, they used 15 different versions of their family name. Most of those settling in this area spelled it “Keizur.” The names of the holders of the donation land claims were Keizur (3 families), Pugh (4), Zieber, Spong, Purdy, Smart, Ford (2), Claggett, Fisher. Force, Stephens, Penter, and Smith. In the Clear Lake area, claim holders were George Lesley and Jeremiah Stevenson. Claims of John Zieber and Alvis Smith included land in both communities. It was the Smith family which started Keizer’s only cemetery with the burial of an infant daughter at the southeast comer of their claim. Originally known as the Smith graveyard, it is now called the Claggett Cemetery. The first school was held in a log cabin on the Claggett farm at what is now the intersection of Wheatland and River Roads. The first known schoolmaster was Hugh McNary, son-in-law of Charlie Claggett and father of...

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