by Kenneth Munford
On starlit nights around the campfires on the Oregon Trail, romances blossomed. Marriages resulted. The Arnold Fuller and Nahum King families, who had traveled west together, were linked by two wedding in 1846. Melinda Fuller, 19 married Amos Nahum King, 24. Abigail King, 17, married Price Fuller 20.
Each couple had concerns other than themselves. Melinda and Price Fullers father, ARnold had lost his wife and daughter, Tabitha, on the way west. Abigail and Price Fuller staked their donation land claim alongside Arnold's just north and west of present Lewisburg. Both could claim 640 acres, Price by virtue of his marriage to Abigail and Arnold through a second marriage to Mary Ann Lewis in 1848.
Amos and Melinda King first staked a claim on the Willamette north of Corvallis, but soon sold their rights to it. Believing that the village of Portland offered better opportunities, they moved there in 1849, taking his parents with them. The parents, Serepta and Nahum King, did not stay long. They were back in Benton County in time to be counted in the 1850 Census, with son Solomon and grandson Luther in their household.
In Portland, Amos worked in a tannery, the only one in the Pacific Northwest at that time, and eventually owned it. It was on the site of the Portland Civic Stadium. He and Melinda bought squatters' rights to a 535-acre tract of untillable hill land nearby. It encompassed the area west of what is now 18th Avenue from Canyon Road to Lovejoy Street. They eventually received title to it as a donation land claim. They built a fine home on the property and raised 6 children.
As Portland expanded, they opened their land for suburban housing. In King Heights, they named streets for the family. King Avenue, King Court, Kingston, and Melinda have survived. Nartilla, named for daughter Nautilla, has become SW 19th. Lucretia, named for Amos' elder sister, is now NW 22nd Place. Ella, named for a granddaughter, is now NW 20th Place.
They sold 40 acres at $800.00 an acre to Portland for the first City Park. It is the nucleus of present Washington Park, the northeast segment were stands the statue of Sacajawea, a memorial to Lewis and Clark.
One of their sons, Nahum Amos, remembered his mother as the strongest woman he had ever seen. She weighed 336 pounds, he said, and could lift a 50-pound sack of flour by the ears and hold it out at arms length.
Next: Lovisa and Rowland Chambers