News of the Week, March 10 to March 25

Oregon Argus, March 21, 1857


We have to record another melancholy accident this week, which has added two more to this list of persons who have already lost their lives around the Falls at this city. The steamer Portland came over the Falls on last Tuesday afternoon, with Captain Arthur Jamieson, and Alexander Bell, a deck hand, on board, who, of course have not been heard of since. The Portland had left the basin of the works on the other side of the river, where she had been to unload her freight just brought down from Yamhill. The regular engineer was on this side of the river attending to repairs of the rudder which had given way while up the river, and which had been lashed with ropes for temporary use. The engineer for the time was Dutch Pete, a fireman. When the boat shoved off from the Mills her rudder became unmanageable, and she went broadside upon the breakwater, her stern slewing around, and she went over stern first. Just at this juncture, Dutch Pete jumped overboard into the basin, but was carried over the breakwater, when he caught hold of a sawdog that was fast, and he was soon roped out by persons in the mill. The boat darted with great rapidity down the chute toward the falls, stern foremost, her engine working all the time. Before she reached the brink of the falls, broke in two and whistled. She was torn into ten thousand fragments, which soon came drifting past the city. Her pilothouse came down almost entire, containing trunks, clothing, bedding, guns, and other articles which were nearly dry, showing that it escaped being submerged in making the frightful passage.

Both men who lost their lives were single. Captain Jamieson has two brother here, one of whom runs the Enterprise, and the other was engineer on the Portland, but was on this side of the river at the time of the accident. The one who is lost is the same person we mentioned a year ago, as having periled his life with Len White in rescuing a boy that was about going over the falls in a skiff. He was noted for coolness and intrepidity in time of danger, and, by his steady habits, industry, and honest, he had won the confidence of all who knew him. We sincerely sympathize with his afflicted brothers, who have met with an irreparable loss, far from home, in a strange land.

For the Argus

Captain Arthur Jamieson

The melancholy and sudden destruction of the steamer Portland on Tuesday last, is most deeply deplored as the case of the awful death of her master, ARTHUR JAMIESON. Of him, it can be said, with absolute truth, he lived without an enemy, and died mourned by all. No one who knew him, and few among us were better known, could fail to esteem and love him, and honor the amiable and excellent qualities that composed and adorned his character. With three brothers he came to Oregon from Scotland several years ago, and their lives here since have been marked with the sterling integrity which is characteristic of the best of their race. One, the youngest, died three years ago, beloved by all who knew him; the oldest is the present popular master of the Enterprise, and the other, though regularly employed on board the unfortunate Portland, was providentially engaged elsewhere, at the time that Arthur met his untimely fate. While we grieve that he “the young, the strong, the cherished,” has fallen so early in the weary path of life, and deeply sympathize with the survivors in their bitter fraternal sorrow, we rejoice in his manly and honest virtues, and especially in that generous heroism that always marked his character, and that promoted him, only a few months since, close by the spot where the boiling, angry waters engulfed him, to risk his own life to save the unwary boy whom he rescued from imminent death. Alas! that no friendly arm was near enough or strong enough to save the gallant hero in his hour of fatal peril.

1867 Carelton Watkins

1867, Carleton Watkins, Oregon City and the Falls

(The newspaper articles variously spelled his name Jamieson or Jamison. Capt. Arthur Jamieson did jump from the Portland before she went over the falls, but was swept over by the strength of the current. His body was later recovered at the base of the falls and he was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. Natives of the Isle of Arran, all four Jamieson brothers employed on steamboats died in accidents on the rivers of the Northwest. From Hubert Hugh Bancroft’s History of Oregon, In 1855 a new class of steamboats was put upon the Willamette above the falls stern wheels being introduced which soon displaced the side wheel boats This change was effected by Archibald Jamieson, A. S. Murray, Amory Holbrook and John Torrence who formed a company and built the Enterprise a small stern wheel boat commanded by Jamieson. This boat ran for three years on the Willamette and was sold during the mining rush of 1858, taken over the falls and to Fraser River by Thomas Wright. She finished her career on the Chehalis River. Her first captain, (Archibald) Jamieson, was one of a family of five steamboat men who were doomed to death by a fatality, sad and remarkable. Arthur Jamieson was in command of the steamer Portland which was carried over the falls of the Willamette in March 1857, another brother died of a quick consumption from a cold contracted on the river, another by the explosion of the steamer Yale on the Fraser River and, finally, Archibald and another brother by the blowing up of the Cariboo at Victoria.)

Oregon City Enterprise, March 23, 1867


We learn that models for improved stern wheel steamers to ply on the Willamette River, have been sent to the east as patterns for boats to be made and shipped for the People’s Transportation Company. This company have demonstrated several important facts in navigation, which will bring stern wheel boats into use on Eastern rivers in the future.


Another very desirable improvement by the People’s Transportation Company, is now on the taps at this city. The drift is being removed from a portion of the Company’s property west of the great basin, where they contemplate putting a dry dock and otherwise preparing for boat building. One steamer will be built upon the site in the present season.

Oregon City Enterprise, March 22, 1877

The river has assumed its natural proportions again.

BANKS CAVING IN – The high water has caused the river bank in front of Green Point – Mrs. W. C. Dement’s farm – to cave in about fifteen or twenty fees, carrying with it fruit trees and fence. It is proposed during the coming summer to have piles driven in front of the place and along the bank of the Abernethy Creek for forty or fifty yards from the mouth, to stop this ravage from high water. About fifty yards of river bank has been washed out in this manner during the past eight or ten years.

Oregon City Enterprise, March 19, 1897


Wednesday evening about 8:30 o’clock a distressing accident occurred near the depot that resulted in the loss of the left leg of Charley Miller, the 12-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. J. N. Miller. Charley, in company with several other boys about his own age, has been in the habit of stealing rides on the trains in spite of the efforts and warnings of trainmen and police to prevent it. On this particular occasion Charley stumbled over a stone and his left leg was brought beneath the wheels of the south-bound overland freight train and entirely severed from his body. He was immediately taken to Huntley’s Drug Store where Drs. Carll & Sommer amputated and dressed the limb after which he was taken to the Oregon City hospital where every attention is being given him. Thursday morning he was doing nicely with every prospect of speedy recovery.

Oregon City Enterprise, March 22, 1907


A team belonging to M. G. McInister of Molalla became frightened and ran away Thursday noon on Seventh Street.

Mr. McInister had just finished unloading a wagon load of hogs at Brown & Welsh’s meat market near Seventh and Center Streets and was settling his bill preparatory to leaving when the team started. He managed to climb in the rear of the wagon and grasping the lines succeeded in calming the runaways by the time they reached Madison Street.

Dr. Norris was driving up Seventh Street in a light buggy unconscious of the runaway behind him and undoubtedly would have been killed had it not been for the remarkable presence of mind shown by Edward Johnson, who grasped the bridle of the doctor’s horse and pulled it out of the path of the runaways. It is said that the doctor had a very narrow escape from death, the runaway missing his buggy by a very narrow margin.


Some dealer in this town is selling an almighty good grade of enamel paint. Wednesday the Star printed an account of a woman on the hill who took a bath in a newly enameled tub and stuck fast. The husband of this woman merely laughed.

Down Green Point way lives a husband who has good intentions in regard to his wife, but whose strength is insufficient to cope with the situation presented by a woman twice his weight stuck fast to the enamel of a bathtub. Such is said to be the way it all happened. The makers of bathtub enamel will have to place a label on their product warning prospective bathers to be careful.

Oregon City Enterprise, March 23, 1917


“Captain Dodge having secured the use of the city’s diving apparatus, will send Professor Campbell down from the deck of the schooner Growler today to examine the situation of the Duc de Lorges, sunk below Couch and Flanders wharf. The vessel was sunk in 1852, loaded with flour stored in her by Dr. McLoughlin, of Oregon City.”

The above was taken from the Oregonian of March 20, 1917, and was from that paper of 50 years ago. This boat made trips to Oregon City, the wharf being near where is now located the Oregon City Manufacturing Company. Fifteen years before effort was made to raise the vessel a large shipment of goods was brought to this city. Among the shipment was a clock, now owned and in possession of Mr. & Mrs. H. C. Stevens, of Sixth and Washington Streets. This clock was purchased by the late Medorem Crawford, father of Mrs. Stevens, soon after the arrival of the vessel. It is of mahogany, hand carved, and stands about 36 inches in height.


1918 Doble STeam Car OAC

1918 Doble Steam Car

Volume 1, Doble Steam Motors Corporation photograph collection

UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library
Online Archive of California

The first Doble steam car, the sensation of the recent New York show, to come to the northwest will come directly to Oregon City. It will be the property of Willard Hawley, Jr. He was presented with the car Wednesday by his father, W. P. Hawley, Sr., president of the Hawley Pulp & Paper Company.

The new car is a type never before obtainable on the market. Mr. Hawley is intensely proud of the fact that his car will be the first of the make in this part of the country. Mayor Albee of Portland, made an attempt to get the first car. The factory already has the orders for all the cars it can manufacture during the next year, Mr. Hawley said.

For more on Doble steam cars see Jay Leno’s 2010 article on driving his restored car…


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