The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., April 30, 1943, page 1
JOSEPH M. GARRISON, CAME TO HOOD RIVER IN 1872, SON OF ANOTHER PIONEER
By Arlene Winchell Moore, from data compiled by Della M. Coon.
Pioneering seems to be an hereditary instinct. In checking
the data relative to the families of most of the early pioneers, in almost
every instance the family record shows a history of several generations of
Pioneers. Often these men have had the best educational advantages of the
day. Frequently they found little use for their "schoolin'" in the brought
new land from which they elected to wrest a home.
Joseph M. Garrison, the pioneer of this narrative, was born in Indiana, February 17, 1812. His father, Abraham Garrison, was a pioneer of the state of Ohio, and to him was born three sons, one of whom was our Joseph M. Garrison, and several girls. I do not find a record of the exact number or of their final place in the general scheme of life. In April of 1843, when young Joseph was thirty-one years of age, the family joined a wagon train headed for the Oregon country. They arrived in Yamhill county on November 6 of the same year and immediately filed on a claim.
One of the members of the same wagon train with the Garrisons was a family by the name of Matheny, originally from Virginia. The father, David Matheny, had pioneered first in Kentucky, from there to Indiana, then to Illinois and finally to the Oregon country. His small daughter, Mary, was eleven years of age that year of the westward trek. Most of the wagon in this train were oxen drawn, but, as in all the trains of that era, there were scouts riding horses to check the way ahead for the easiest travel, and to keep a sharp eye for hostile Indians.
Joseph Garrison rode the trail, a gay, tireless, striking figure. Often, small Mary, tiring of the slow, dusty wagons, begged to be taken up behind the saddle of the genial scout rider. The friendship thus developed during these long, weary months of travel, over an unbroken trail, grew to an early romance. At the shockingly early age of fourteen years, Mary Matheny became the bride of Joseph M. Garrison on April 16, 1843.
Immediately upon arrival in Oregon, Joseph Garrison became a charter member of the Oregon Rangers, and served in that protective group for a number of years. He was captain of his company in the Cayuse War of 1848.
He was selected from the Champooick District to serve in the First Provisional Legislative Assembly, under Provisional Governor George Abernethy, in 1843, which met at Oregon City, at that time called Willamette Falls.
The Jason Lee Foundation, later known as the Willamette University, was started in 1842. Some years earlier, in 1834, Jason Lee had opened a mission school for the Indians about ten miles north of Salem on the east bank of the Willamette River. The first teaching work done by Joseph Garrison in the Oregon country was in this Indian Mission school. As soon as he married, he moved his little bride to the Mission buildings. With the growing demands of the Willamette University, the Methodist organization gave up the Indian school and sold the land to Joseph Garrison and Alanson Beers. Garrison Landing, on the Willamette, is on this land, farmed by Beers and Garrison during the time that Garrison taught in the Willamette University.
In 1861, the Willamette river went on one of its periodical flood rampages, and washed houses, barns, fences and stock away from the settlers, especially venting its angry violence against those residents near Garrison Landing. Mr. Garrison then sold his remaining interests to the Northcutt Brothers, and took his family to La Grande, eastern Oregon. Failing to find content there, the family moved again, buying a farm near Salem, and Mr. Garrison taught again in the Salem schools. Still restless in 1872, the family moved to Hood River and located on the land later known as the Gibbons property.
Mr. Garrison taught the first two terms of school ever held in the Pine Grove district, after it had divided from the Odell district. The school was a little log cabin at the north base of the Van Horn butte, and the time was about the year 1885 or 1886. This date is not exact in my files. He also taught at other schools in Hood River, but I do not possess the exact dates and locations of these terms either.
Mrs. Garrison was an ardent lover of flowers, always growing a lovely garden wherever the home happen to be. A Good Neighbor, she was generous with their blooms, and ever willing to give a neighbor a "start" of her beloved plants. Many an early day new mother owned much of her comfort to the ministrations of Mary Garrison, who was always willing to assist or even take the responsibility of bringing a new life into the homes of her pioneering neighbors.
Later still, the Garrisons lived at The Dalles, and Mr. Garrison was for many years the county school superintendent of Wasco county, and later still, assessor.
One of the daughters of Joseph and Mary Garrison, Elizabeth, became the wife of J.C. Hall, in the Oak Grove district, on the land afterwards owned by Harvey Crapper. To this couple were born five children, who attended school in the Barrett district, five miles from their home.
Jasper Garrison Jr. developed the land now used as the Hood River Country Club.
© Jeffrey L. Elmer