Mary Ellen Dawson - Driven from home by Indian Uprising 1852-1939

Obituary from The Bonners Ferry Herald for Mary Ellen Dawson, Boundary County Idaho Pioneer

Services for Mrs. Dawson Here Friday


Was Oldest Living Native of Oregon - Driven from Home By Indian Uprising

Came Here in 1897
Died Wednesday at Home of Daughter in Montana

Bonners Ferry Herald, Bonners Ferry, Idaho
5 January 1939


Mrs Mary Ellen Dawson, 86, former resident of this district, passed away at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Marion Butler, at Drummond, Mont., yesterday. The body is being shipped here for final services. to be held in the Crouch chapel tomorrow afternoon at two o'clock, with interment to follow in the Grandview cemetery.

Mrs. Dawson was born at Albany, Ore., December 10, 1852, and according to the Oregon Historical society records, was the oldest living native of Oregon. She was the eldest of a large family, all of whom preceded her in death.

Her early life was spent in the famed Willamette Valley, one of the earliest farming districts developed in the west.

She was married in Oregon to Mr. Dawson, a Civil War veteran who came west as a railroad builder, and abandoned his railroading plans to take up homestead land in the Pendleton district. Here the Dawson family, now including three small children, settled early in the '70's.


Driven Out By Indians

When the Indian wars of the late 70's broke over the Northwest, most of the settlers were driven from their homes into the settlements. About 25 whites werre massacred in the area around Pendleton, and Mr. and Mrs. Dawson left their homestead and moved to what is now Cheney, Wash., and later moved to Spokane Falls.

Mr. Dawson again went back to railroad building, being with the Northern Pacific when the line came through to the coast.

The family for a time resided at what is now Bayview, at the head of Pend Oreille (pronounced pond-er-ay) lake. When the golden spike completing the trancontinental line was driven, Mrs. Dawson took part in the ceremonies.

At the Pend Oreille camp Mrs. Dawson made a United States flag of red flannel, a piece of blue silk from her gown and a pillow case, for the first Fourth of July celebration. At the close of the day a rider from Rathdrum brought news of the shooting of President Garfield two days before.


Came Here in 1897

The building of the Kootenai Valley branch of the Great Northern in 1897 brought the Dawson family to this district, and for nearly a quarter of a century the family figured prominently in pioneer activities of the day.

The Dawsons left here in 1921. Since then Mrs. Dawson has resided in Spokane and more recently, in Montana. She was called here in the summer of 1931 by the death of a daughter, Mrs. R. A. MacMillan, nee Daisy Dawson.

She is survived by her son, Walter E. Dawson, Seattle; two daughters, Mrs. Butler, Drummond, and Mrs. Dennis Flahaven, Spokane; one granddaughter, Mrs. Albert Fields, and two grandchildren residing at Sheridan, Mont.


::  Created by Ellie Grover - 29 Jan 2004  :: 


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