The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., May 14, 1943, page 1
JOSEPH LANKTON CARTER, BORN AT THE JASON LEE MISSON, WAS TRUE PIONEER
(From data compiled by Delia M. Coon)
By Arline Winchell Moore
Joseph Lankton Carter, father of Miles C. Carter, well
known to many local people, was truly an Oregon Pioneer. He was born in Salem,
at the Jason Lee Mission, on January 22, 1845, the second son of David Carter
and Margaret Rector Carter.
David Carter, left an orphan very early in life, was brought up and educated by the family of a minister. With the example of his foster parents before him, he decided, long before reaching the age of self dependency, to become a missionary. Like all early-day pioneers, he learned to work with his hands, knowing that by that method he would have to live. He became a carpenter and at one time he drove team over the famous Sante Fe Trail.
Early in 1836, learning of an opportunity to ship on a sailing vessel from Boston, he packed his carpenter's tools and a few Bibles and boarded the vessel. The ship was more than a year rounding the Horn and reaching the Sandwich Islands, where Mr. Carter left the ship and found worked with a Horace Holden, who later became also to Oregon and settled on a farm south of Salem, building feeding trays for silkworms.
In April 1840, the ship Lausanne stopped at Honolulu with about fifty missionaries bound for the Jason Lee Mission on the Willamette River in Oregon. Hearing of this Mr. Carter at once decided that the opportunity to enter the missionary field was at hand and joined with the others.
When the boat entered the Columbia river, Dr. John McLaughlin had sent a small boat to meet them and assisted in making arrangements for the comfort of the newcomers. Shortly after reaching the Oregon country, David Carter and Miss Orpha Lankton, one of the fifty missionaries from the ship Lausanne, were married. When plans were made to construct a mission at The Dalles, the Carters moved to that city, and Mr. Carter worked on the mission buildings as carpenter. Finishing this work, they moved to Oregon City, where their first child was born. Later, they moved to the Jason Lee Mission, and there their second child, our J.L. Carter, was born.
In 1846, the family moved to a donation land claim south of Salem, and in 1848, David Carter and a Garrison Bewley went to the goldfields of California. Not finding any great gold stake, Mr. Carter returned to Oregon, and with Joseph Holman, operated the second store to be operated in the town of Salem. Soon thereafter, a large shipment of goods coming by boat to them was wrecked on the famous Peacock Spit, off the mouth of the Columbia river. Believing the goods lost, the store was closed, and it was not until after the death of David Carter in 1850 that the family learned that the goods had been saved.
Both Joseph Lankton Carter and his wife, Margaret Rector, like Mr. and Mrs. Thomas R. Coon, were graduates of the Willamette University, and both taught school for some years in the same schools. Mr. Carter and Miss Rector taught their first school in 1869 at Scio, Oregon. Among their pupils there, was the well-known B.F. Irvine, for many years editor of the Oregon Journal; also Charles Johns, once a member of the Oregon supreme court.
Miss Rector and Mr. Carter taught schools at Scio, Waitsburg, Washington and La Grande, Oregon. Miss Rector was the matron of the School for the Blind at Salem for six years.
J.L. Carter and Miss Margaret Rector were married at Salem on December 21, 1869. To them were born six children, the best known of whom, to the Hood River people, was Miles C. Carter, who later married a Miss Mills, sister to the first matron of the original Hood River hospital, and made Hood River his home for more than 25 years.
Mr. J.L. Carter was president of the Blue Mountain University from 1875 to 1878. He also served as superintendent of schools in Union County, Oregon, for five years.
He served as a member of the Oregon legislature, was an earnest church worker and served a long period as president of the New Church Society. He was also a past president of the Oregon Pioneer Association.
In 1902, Mr. Carter retired, to become a farmer, and purchased the place now owned by Mr. Raft on the east side. In 1910, at the age of 65, Mr. Carter deemed farming too strenuous and, selling this property, he purchased a home in the city of Portland, on Ramona avenue, where he lived until Mrs. Carter passed to "The Land Beyond The Setting Sun" in 1922, leaving her companion of 53 years a very lonesome pilgrim of the Sunset Trail.
Mr. Carter's elder brother, David Jr., lived to fourscore and seven years and his younger brother, Samuel passed at the age of eighty-six. Mr. Carter came to the Pioneer meeting in Hood River in 1935, carrying in his ninety years on shoulders which refused to stoop.
Shortly afterwards, the Celestial Reaper found a willing client. Security in the knowledge that he had given of his best, Joseph Lankton Carter gladly set aside the burden of his years, and went to rejoin the beloved companion of his youth.
© Jeffrey L. Elmer