1880 Interview with Solomon King

The following interview with Solomon King was printed in the Corvallis Gazette, December 31, 1880.  Sol was Sheriff of Benton County, Oregon at that time and lived on a 1200 acre farm west of Corvallis.  Corvallis has since grown to include that farm within city limits.  Kings Blvd. derived it's name from the Solomon King farm.

"I was but a little shaver then, in 1845.  We came by way of The Dalles.  There was my father, Nahum, his name was, and my four brothers, all older than I was, and there were Watson and Chambers, and their families in the company.  There were 13 wagons in the crowd and we rafted them and the cattle and all the rest of it down the Columbia.  A pretty big raft it was--all made of green fir timber we cut down.  It took us about all the morning to get out into the current and all the afternoon to get back to shore again; and then we came to the Cascades.  We had to just put the wagons together and cut a road for six miles, round the portage, till we could take to the river again.  Then we got boats and came down the Columbia and up the Willamette, past where Portland stands.  There was no Portland then.  I forget what the town near by was called.  Then we got to the Tualatin Plains, where Forest Grove station is now and there we camped for that first winter.  All the lot of us crowded into one little log cabin.  Oh, we lived pretty well.  There as a little grist mill near by, and the folks had raised a little wheat and some potatoes and peas.  I tell you, it was rough: we had no meat all that winter.  The next spring we came into King's Valley and took up the old place.

"Indians?  I should think there were!  About two or three hundred Klickitats were camped in the valley.  Good Indians they were; tall and straight as a dart.  When we came in and camped, the Chief, Quarterly, his name was, came to my father and said:

"What do you want here?

"We have come to settle down and farm and make homes for ourselves,' replied my father. "Well,' said the Indian,' you can if you don't meddle with us; we won't hurt you."

"no more they did; we never had a cross word with them.  The country did not belong to them; it belonged to the Calapooias and the Klickitats had rented it of them for some horses and clothes, and what-not, for a hunting ground.  There were just lots of elk and deer and the bunch grass grew waist high.  The Indian ponies were as fat as butter, and good ones too.

"The Klickitats had regular lodges--sticks set round in a circle and tied together at the top and covered with those rush mats.  Good workers they were, too.  I remember very well, one day, the Klickitats came running in to say there were ever such a lot of Calapooias coming to attack them and they sent off all their squaws and children to the hills, and then drove all their horses down to our camp.  Strange, wasn't it, they should think their stock safer with five or six white men?  There must have been several hundred of these Calapooias.  That did not come to anything that time; they patched it all up with some presents of horses, beads and other things.  What are left of those Klickitats are all up north now, on the reservation on the Columbia.  Good Indians they were.  The Calapooias and the Klickitats had their big fight just before we came into the country.  It was just by the Mary's river bridge, where they had it out.  It was quite a battle.  The Calapooias got the best of it, for they outnumbered the Klickitats two to one.  Yes, it was pretty rough in those days, you bet.