This article was supplied by its author, Marilyn Morrison [firstname.lastname@example.org], who lives in the State of Washington. The article was published in the Summer 2003 edition of Cumtux, the Clatsop County (Oregon) Historical Society magazine.
Sarah Kalloch and the Snows
She must have been a remarkable woman. On September 13, 1884, Sarah Phinney Kalloch applied as a war veteran’s widow for bounty land in Clatsop County, Oregon. She was living then with her daughter and son-in-law, Eliza and Captain Henry Snow of Astoria – 93 years and a continent removed from the time and place of her birth.
Sarah H. Phinney, also shown as Sally, was born June 4, 1791, in the seaport town of East Machias, Maine. Eleven months later on the faraway northwest coast, Captain Robert Gray sailed the Columbia Rediviva past the future site of Astoria and named the legendary “river of the west” for his ship. Sarah would make her home there some 80 years later.
We know almost nothing of Sarah’s origins. It was written that her parents were both born in Maine, but their names were not given. From review of settlement dates in the Machias area, Sarah’s parents or grandparents may have been among the first permanent settlers in easternmost Maine. One of Sarah’s sons was named Josiah. A Josiah Phinny was counted at Machias as head of household in the 1790 Census, the year before she was born. Perhaps this was her family. As yet, we do not know. More is known about the family into which she married.
Sarah married Hanse Robinson Kalloch on June 7, 1814, in Thomaston, Maine. Approximately 15 years her senior, he was born August 16, 1776 or 1778, in St. George, Maine. How Sarah and Hanse met is unknown. Travel between St. George and Machias to the east would generally have been by water, a sailing distance of more than 70 miles.
Hanse, the son of a Revolutionary War veteran, was then serving in the militia as a coast guardsman. The War of 1812 was in its last full year. It is doubtful that Sarah and Hanse were aware of Astoria or that it had been peacefully occupied by the British the year before. Their focus on the British would have been closer to home.
Sarah’s father-in-law was Matthew Kalloch, born in 1737 the son of Scotch-Irish immigrant parents Finley and Mary (Young) Kelloch. The Finley Kellochs were 1735 pioneer settlers of St. George’s, Maine. The Kelloch homestead was in what is now the town of Warren. Maine was then part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Finley Kelloch, sometimes shown as Phinley, served with colonial New England forces during “King George’s War” and took part in the 1745 capture and garrisoning of the great French fortress at Louisbourg, Cape Breton Island. He and other settler-soldiers who could not leave their families behind, unprotected and unprovided for in a howling wilderness, took them along. Thus eight-year-old Matthew, encamped with his family outside the fortress, was present at the siege and fall of Louisbourg.
It was another three years before a peace treaty was signed between England and France. During this time, French-incited Indian depredations laid waste the settlement at St. George’s, driving the settlers in to live at the fort and blockhouse. Their log homes, grist and saw mills and crops in the field were plundered and destroyed and their livestock killed or driven off. Not until 1749 could the Kellochs and their neighbors safely leave their garrisoned refuges to rebuild and replant.
The peace did not endure. The Indian threat was never entirely absent until well after the French defeat at Quebec in 1759. Between 1744 and 1758, at least 26 settlers, soldiers and others were killed by Indians at St. George’s. Still others were captured and carried off to Canada.
It was necessary for the colonists to provide for their own defense. Colony records from 1755 tell us that in that year “. . . a company of rangers scouting to the eastward [of St. George’s] was this year kept in pay from June 19th to Nov. 20th . . .” Entered on the muster roll was the name of 18-year-old Matthew Kelloch, “Centinel” [sic]. It was a duty to which he was probably accustomed; until at least 1760, males “able to bear arms” were regularly mustered to serve in the ranger units.
Finley Kelloch’s final resting place is in the Old Settlers Cemetery, Warren, Maine. We do not know just when he died, but an author’s reference to a dated church donation indicates that he lived at least until “. . . approaching the age of eighty-five . . .”. His wife Mary died at 95 in 1795.
Matthew Kalloch married Mary Robinson in 1758 and served during the American Revolution as both a foot soldier of the Massachusetts Line and a sailor (possibly a marine) in the Continental Navy. His naval service included duty on the 24-gun US frigate Boston under Captain Samuel Tucker. Readers familiar with David McCullough’s “John Adams” may recall that Adams and his son John Quincy sailed to France in the winter of 1778 on the Boston.
A respected local historian of the 1800s tells us it was recorded that in 1784, returned from the war, “Matthew Kalloch, during the season of cherries and blackberries, . . . shot 14 bears, young and old, without going out of his way.”
As with Daniel Boone, bear killing prowess in hardscrabble Maine brought no more wealth than in frontier Kentucky. When in April 1818 Matthew applied for a pension for his war service, his listed assets were two cows, an ox, one plough [sic] and chain, six chairs, one chest and one pine table, “necessary clothing and bedding excepted.” In applying, he cited inability to pursue his farming occupation any longer by reason of old age. The pursuit had been long and well run, however; when he died six years later, he was 87 (by some accounts, 90 or 92).
We have no physical description or photograph of Sarah Kalloch, but know of husband Hanse from his military record that he had blue eyes, light hair, a fair complexion and stood 5 feet 9 inches tall (tallish stature for those days).
During the War of 1812, Hanse served as an enrolled volunteer in the Massachusetts Militia, Captain Kenney’s company, St. George, Maine. Called out with his company several times to defend against threatened British landings and attack by ships of war and privateer raiders, Private Hanse Kalloch’s most memorable and rewarding service came in the last two months of the war.
On December 1, 1814, Hanse sailed as a crew member of the armed schooner Fame, newly fitted out as a privateer. The objective was interception of vessels supplying Castine, Maine, from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Castine had been captured by the British in September.
In a heavy snowstorm off Mount Desert Island, the Fame cut out a valuable prize from a British convoy and on January 2, 1815, brought it in to Rockland, Maine. When ship and cargo were sold at auction and the captors’ shares apportioned, “ . . . each of the privates received some $400 or $500 . . .” It must have seemed a fortune to newlyweds Hanse and Sarah.
Hanse Kalloch had married an interesting woman but was interesting in his own right for, at the very least, his strong political convictions. He was in his eighties when the St. George Baptist Church took a special interest in his views and his manner of expressing them. Hanse was excluded from membership for “public railing.” He was a Republican, of the party of Lincoln, with a son in the Union army. The church opposed the waging of civil war, for any reason. Hanse stood on constitutional principle.
Hanse’s gravestone tells us he was 90 when he left Sarah a widow in December 1866. The war had ended the year before, and Hanse had lived to see his cause prevail. He is buried in the Old North Parish Cemetery in St. George, within sight and sound of the church that excluded him. The gravestone counsels, “The Constitution – it must and shall be preserved.” Hanse still speaks his convictions to the congregation.
Sarah and Hanse had eleven known children, nine sons and two daughters. All were born in Knox County, Maine. It was a time when most families in coastal Maine looked to farming and the sea for their livelihoods, and the Kallochs were no exception. Exceptional perhaps was the human price paid in exchange: four sons lost at sea at different times and another, Warren, dead of a shipboard accident in Buffalo, New York, in 1864.
One of those lost was my great-great-grandfather Adam Boyd Kalloch. His stone memorial in the cemetery at St. George was inscribed, “Capt. / Adam. B. Kelloch / died at sea / Feb. 13, 1854 / AE 32 yrs. 4 mos. / His body lies in bottoms deep / Whilst round his tombstone friends do weep / Although the billows round him roll / They cannot harm his precious soul.” (Part of the inscription is now lost by damage to the stone.)
Another stone nearby speaks of another son, “Matthew / drowned at sea / December 7, 1836 / Ae 20 y’s 6 m’s / For him break not the grassy turf / Nor turn the dewy sod / His dust shall rest beneath the surf / His spirit with its God.”
The two other sons drowned were Josiah and William. Captain Josiah Kalloch died January 10, 1854, and is buried in the Old North Parish Cemetery. We have not discovered William’s date of death or gravestone, if such exists, nor do we know where Warren is buried.
Our information on the four remaining sons of Sarah and Hanse is limited and fragmentary. We know that Hanse 3rd died in California sometime after 1850. Sarah stated on her bounty land application that she had lived in San Francisco as well as Maine. That she was there with her son is speculative but probable.
Of son Moses L. we know only that he was listed as a 14-year-old member of the household on the 1850 Census of St. George. Of Shepard T., we know nothing beyond his name at the bottom of his brother Matthew’s gravestone and he died while still a boy, March 20, 1828.
Son Ludwig served the Union for four Civil War years. He had left Maine and was living in Dakota Territory when he was counted there in the 1880 Census, occupation miner. An 1890 Veterans Census found him there again. Newspaper accounts described him as a mine manager and stockman. He died May 17, 1893, and is buried in the Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood, South Dakota (along with Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane). Because the cemetery register carries the name as Ludwig Kelogg, his burial may be considered unproven.
The older of Sarah’s two daughters, Jane Ann, was born in 1834. She married first Levi Kinney, and second Benjamin M. Kaler. She was listed in the 1860 Census as a 25-year-old milliner living with her parents in St. George, Maine. The 1880 Census showed her as Kaler’s wife and living in the nearby town of Waldoboro. She died May 28, 1907.
Eliza Helen, Sarah’s younger daughter, was born in 1838 (or 1836 or 1841; the date varies). She married Henry A. Snow September 9, 1862, in Boston, Massachusetts. Eliza and Henry would later become residents, successively, of Portland, Astoria and Tillamook, Oregon. It was their union that would eventually bring Sarah to Astoria.
Sarah’s son-in-law Henry Snow was born in 1836 in that part of then-Thomaston, Maine, which is now in Rockland. He followed the sea from boyhood like so many of that region and era. When the future river and bar pilot came west in 1863, it was as master of the ship William A. Banks. The cargo was rolling stock for the Cascade Railroad and machinery for the shops at The Dalles.
Because their first baby, Henry A., died in November 1863 and is buried in Maine, it is unlikely that Eliza accompanied Henry to Oregon that year. We think she would have come soon after, but do not know when or how she traveled.
The memorial on baby Henry’s stone in the St. George cemetery reads, “Henry A. / Son of Henry A. / and Eliza H. Snow / Died / November 14, 1863 / Ae 2 m’s 24 d’s / This bud has been torn / From its parents stem / To blossom in Heaven / To live again. / It flourished a while / In the world of care / And then was transplanted / To one more fair.” Another baby, Jessie Warren, sex uncertain, died in 1872 and is, we believe, buried in Astoria.
Just when and how Sarah Kalloch joined her daughter and son-in-law in Oregon also remains hidden from us at this time. It was no earlier than 1870, when the Census found her living in St. George with her son Ludwig, and, a possibility mentioned earlier, may have followed a sojourn in California with son Hanse 3rd. She had arrived in Astoria by 1878, however, as we shall learn from the newspaper account of an unforgettable birthday party. The 1880 Census found her still there and under the same roof with Eliza, Henry and their three children.
An October 1883 Astoria newspaper item identified Sarah as one of several Clatsop County residents carried on the national pension rolls. She was listed as a War of 1812 veteran’s widow receiving an $8 monthly pension. Approximately $140 in 2003 dollars, this would probably have been enough to pay her share of living expenses at the Snows with perhaps a little left over. Paying her own way would, we believe, have been important to Sarah.
Henry and Eliza lived in Portland until 1869 or 1870, then in Astoria for the next approximately 20 years. They probably moved to Tillamook in 1890.
Sometime during their early Astoria years, the Snows apparently rented property at the corner of Skamokawa and Washington, now about 5th and Commercial. Theirs was the dubious distinction of being identified as the occupants of a house at that location which, on the night of August 30, 1873, suffered the first fire recorded in the books of newly formed Hose Company No.1 of the Astoria Fire Department (CUMTUX, Vol.6, No.2, Spring, 1986). From the report, the blaze was quickly extinguished as 17 members of the new company responded to the alarm.
In later years, the Snows lived on Main Street, now 9th. The 1890 city directory located them at the northwest corner of 8th and Main, now 9th and Harrison. An earlier, June 13, 1878, news article, reporting an accidental injury to Henry, had their residence at 7th and Main, now 9th and Grand.
During the cutting and filling underway in 1877, the July 14 Weekly Astorian drew a comparison with the extensive grading in progress in San Francisco and reported that “. . . Main Street is coming down to the grade with a rapidity highly gratifying to residents on the hill. Gen. O.F. Bell, Capt. H.A. Snow, . . . and others are making cheerful looking homes in that locality.”
From photographic evidence and study, it is believed that the Snows’ house was moved from 9th and Harrison to another location on Harrison between 9th and 10th and is still in use as a residence. In addition to the property at 9th and Harrison, Henry in 1867 bought lots 1, 2, 7 and 8, Block 113, McClure’s claim, from Cyrus Olney, former associate justice of the Oregon Territorial Supreme Court, state legislator and founder of the town of Olney. These lots comprised the west half of the block along 10th Street between Irving and Jerome. They were sold by the Snows to J.O. Robb in 1883. (An excellent description of Cyrus Olney’s land speculations in and east of Astoria is found in an article about the Leahy family by Evelyn Leahy Hankel in the inaugural issue of the CUMTUX, Winter 1980.)
Henry owned land elsewhere in Clatsop County. GLO land patent records show a 12/30/1882 title transfer of 160 acres in Sec. 24, T8N, R8W, to Henry A. Snow. He received the government deed January 10, 1888, and sold the property the same day to Alexander Gilbert, Astoria saloon operator and real estate investor. A draft index to Homestead applications also shows an 1892 application by Henry A. Snow for a claim in Sec. 25, T8N, R9W. We have not determined the outcome of the claim process in this case.
The Snows also owned a plot in Hillside Cemetery, Lot 4, Block 27, near the northeast corner of the cemetery and close to the vault. Two other bar pilots, A.C. Farnsworth and Charles Edwards, had lots in this block.
During the 1800s and well into the 20th Century, many families kept laying hens on their property, even in town. It was also a time when elaborate practical jokes between colleagues could reach levels of high art, to the delight of newspaper reporters if not the victim. The following June 18, 1874, article appeared in the Weekly Astorian:
“A few days ago some bright but naughty boys borrowed two eggs from the hennery of Capt. H.A. Snow, and after boiling them in a calico bag, returned them to the nest. The boiling process left the eggs covered with the pretty figures of the calico, and the excited owner exhibited these curiosities far and near, and sought in vain for an explanation for this ‘curious freak of nature.’ Whether an ineffectual attempt to hatch a calico chicken revealed to the Captain the stupendous joke or not cannot be told, but the hen fancier’s enthusiasm has subsided. When anybody says ‘calico chickens’ to Capt. Snow he immediately remembers that he has an appointment to keep. Capt. Irv. Stevens is accused of putting up this job on Snow.”
We like to think that Sarah may have discreetly shared in the general amusement enjoyed at her son-in-law’s expense. Whether Henry successfully plotted revenge is unknown to us, but the possibilities must have held his attention as he endeavored to dodge the unwelcome reminders.
Newspaper reports tell us that the Snows were active socially and that Eliza was well known as one of the local hostesses. Sarah probably watched these activities with interest and pride in her daughter’s social accomplish-ments, and may even have participated. There is some indication that she did.
Of greater interest to Sarah would have been the doings and evolutions of her three grandchildren: namesake Sarah, born in Portland, February 6, 1867; Helen, born in Portland, November 5, 1869; and Henry, born in Astoria, April 5, 1874. We do not know that Sarah was present when any of the children were born, but she would certainly have had some part and influence in their lives after coming to live with them, and they in hers.
The Weekly Astorian of February 9, 1878 raises the curtain to a view of the Snows set against the social scenery of 1870s Astoria, with Sarah on-stage as more than an elderly onlooker:
One of the most successful and undoubtedly the largest of birthday parties was held at the residence of Capt. H.A. Snow, Wednesday evening. It was the anniversary of the Captain’s birthday (the day previous), and Miss Sarah’s 11th birthday on Wednesday. The father and daughter went into partnership in the celebration business, and with Mrs. Snow as chief engineer and manager were enabled to give one of the jolliest parties we have ever attended. At an early hour the little friends of Miss Sarah commenced to arrive. Later in the evening the Capts. [sic] friends took possession of what room was left.
At 9:30 it was estimated there were 140 guests in the house, it was impossible to count them all, but there were 80 children in the front room at that hour. Games were introduced and “King William” appeared to be the favorite. Mr. George Cruikshank was there in full Highland costume with his bag-pipe and favored the company with some Scotch marches, etc. The venerable Mrs. Kelloch tripped the light fantastic with maiden nimbleness and astonished the youngsters.* Supper was served about 10:30 and there was plenty of it. Huge fruit cakes, coffee, cold meats, apples and an unlimited supply of nuts were furnished. The Astoria band appeared at this time and were cordially greeted, as they always are. They rendered some sweet music and there would have been some dancing if there had been any room for it. Many prominent citizens were present. Fond mothers and proud fathers who watched the kaleidoscopic scene in the parlor . . . [incomplete sentence]. Notwithstanding the crowded rooms, not an incident occurred to mar the festivities and everyone went home very happy.”
And the house settled back on its foundation with a groan of relief. As the happy people within prepared for bed, we enjoy imagining some of their thoughts: Eliza, that she’s just presided over a happening the likes of which Astoria may never see again; Henry, that 42 isn’t old at all for a river pilot and a few extra winks in the morning will surely be understood; the three little Snows, that Grandma sure is spry and who knew she could dance like that; and Sarah, that 86 years is a good beginning.
We hear echoes of Mark Twain in these lives and times, and in how they were reported. The erstwhile printer’s devil and Mississippi river pilot gone west, he would have known Astoria and been at home. We see him as the newspaper scribe, ferreting out and composing the calico egg story and freeloading at the birthday party as he writes another. With the unique American humor that he understood and chronicled so well, he reminds us that piloting was a proud and serious business, albeit the best job in all creation: “A pilot . . . was the only unfettered and entirely independent human being that lived in the earth.”
The Tri-Weekly Astorian of October 18, 1873, reminds us of this, too, as a sympathetic editor gives printed voice to the exasperation of a select fraternity:
“We understand that on his trip this week Capt. [Jansen?] of the United States steamer Shubrick again misplaced the buoys at the Hog’s back. It does not matter to the pilots where these buoys are placed by red-tape process, they know where the bottom of the river is, and will endeavor to keep off of it. But when any official comes along and moves the buoys without commenting to pilots about it, the incident is apt to mislead them and get a vessel into a “scrape.” This occurred with Capt. Snow a few days since, and some of the pilots demand that the light house department shall point out to them the reason why those buoys are misplaced.”
The notice below appeared in the Astoria newspapers in the 1870s,
COLUMBIA RIVER PILOTS
Office at the
M.M. GILMAN G. REED
H.A. SNOW RICHARD HOYT
P.E. FERCHEN C.S. WRIGHT, Agent
With measured formality and a touch of levity comes the unmistakable tone of affronted professionalism in the face of incompetence and officialdom. A pilothouse conference with Captain Jansen out on the river would no doubt have inspired even clearer commentary.
Sarah’s granddaughter Helen M. Snow was married to Louis H. Parsons September 4, 1884, by Samuel Woods, Minister of the Gospel. She later married Edward E. Kelley. Her sister Sarah J. Snow married William S. Randall November 25, 1892. Johnston McCormac, Chaplain to Seamen, officiated. Grandson Henry M. Snow and Nellie Enberg were married March 20, 1896, E.W. Garner, Presbyterian Minister, officiating.
All the weddings were performed in Clatsop County. It is almost a certainty that Sarah was present when Helen was married in 1884. The marriage certificate shows that the wedding took place in the home of Henry and Eliza Snow whose household she shared. Perhaps her thoughts that day turned to the application for bounty land she would sign nine days later, and what the legacy of that land might mean to her grandchildren after she was gone.**
Sarah Kalloch died at 94 in Astoria, September 25, 1885, still waiting for her land grant. This was before states were required to keep death records, and none exist for her. The newspaper notice of her death ventured the guess that she had been the oldest person in Western Oregon.
Sarah was buried in the Hillside Pioneer Cemetery, Astoria. She may rest beside her infant grandchild Jessie Warren Snow who died in 1872. There are no grave markers to answer this question. Many gravestones are now sunken and buried or were destroyed or removed during a period of cemetery neglect.
Captain Henry Snow died December 23, 1910. Eliza lived until February 27, 1926. They are buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery, Block 1, Lot 52, in Tillamook, directly across the road from the fair grounds.
Henry Snow was one of many New England mariners who brought their skills and experience to the northwest coast and rivers. His December 29, 1910, obituary in the Tillamook Headlight tells us he had been captain and pilot of a number of ships on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. His career included employment at different times by the Oregon Steam Navigation Company and by Captain George Flavel of Astoria.
For several years Henry captained the steamship John H. Couch on the Portland-Astoria run. From 1871 to 1873 he was captain on the new steamer Dixie Thompson. Between 1874 and 1880 he piloted foreign vessels on the Columbia and Willamette. While employed by George Flavel he was made pilot of the tug Astoria and piloted ships on the Columbia River bar. River traffic news in various issues of the Weekly Astorian add the names of other vessels under Captain Snow’s pilotage.
Eliza Snow outlived her children. After losing husband Henry in 1910, she made her home with grandson Herbert H. Parsons in Portland. Some time before her death in 1926 she became a member of the DAR, ID Number 123414. Her designated patriot was her paternal grandfather Matthew Kalloch - boy witness at Louisbourg, ranger, soldier, sailor, farmer, bear hunter. At this remove from the Revolution, it is interesting to reflect that Eliza had doubtless heard stories of Matthew from her mother Sarah. As his daughter-in-law, Sarah would have known him well. Our American beginnings were closer to us then.
# # #
Note to genealogists: In a few instances, I have been unable to resolve birth date conflicts in the written record. In these cases, I have either noted the discrepancy or have accepted the date used by authorities I consider reliable. An exception is Hanse Kalloch’s age at death; here I have used the age 90 from his gravestone (by other records, he was 88).
The 1880 Census records a Henry A. Snow and family in Knappa Precinct, Clatsop County. The data is strikingly close to that for Captain Henry A. Snow and his family, counted in the same census as living in Astoria in the same county. We have no information that would either establish or rule out the possibility that the two families were one and the same. We do think it probable that this was Captain Snow’s family, counted twice.
* emphasis added by the author
** Sarah appeared before Clatsop County Clerk C. J. Trenchard on September 13, 1884, to sign and swear to a “Claim of Widow for Bounty Land.” The document did not describe any particular land parcel. Its purpose was to support an application for a warrant which when received could be surrendered for 160 acres of public domain land of Sarah’s choosing - her entitlement as a war veteran’s widow. It seems reasonable that Sarah, advised by the Snows, would have prepared to select from the most valuable of those government lands still available in the Clatsop County area - but we have no way of knowing what locations she may have favored.
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