Make your own free website on Tripod.com
CLYMER
CLYMERS on the OREGON TRAIL

HOME

Descendants of Henry Clymer & Mary Benner
Mennonites to Pennsylvania
7 Generations of Clymers in Bucks County
Mary Ella Clymer
OREGON TRAIL LITE
CLYMERS on the OREGON TRAIL
Reunions Then and Now
Contact Me
Clymer/Weir/Null/Basinger

 
 
 
Our ancestor Henry Johnson Clymer (1788-1869)
 lived his entire life within twenty miles of his  place of birth in Pennsylvania.  But his first cousin, Christian Clymer (1795-1877), moved from Virginia to Indiana,
to Iowa,
and finally to Oregon.
 
 
 

sdhouseblessipray.jpg

             
 After a recent trip to Oregon
(my first) 
I have written a story about Christian's son
Henry Vance Clymer and his wife Mary Johnson.
 
 

covered2.jpg

         

 

 

 

          In April of 1846, three years after Presbyterian physician Marcus Whitman guided the first wagon train of pioneers along the Oregon Trail, twenty-two year old Henry Vance Clymer left Iowa to travel the Oregon Trail. In April of 1846, twenty year old Mary Johnson from Indiana helped her parents, William and Elizabeth,  load their wagon for the journey to Oregon. She carefully packed the treasured  linen table cloth that her mother had embroidered into the trunk to be opened once they reached Oregon. Elizabeth embroidered the head of President George Washington in the center  with various decorative emblems in the corners. Both wagon trains stayed close together on the Oregon Trail and exchanged information and goods until the California Trail cutoff where Henry Clymer's train turned south onto the California Trail. Henry and Mary met four years later in the Willamette Valley of Oregon and married in 1851. Although they had many things in common, they did not share a tragic and harrowing experience on the last leg of the Oregon Trail.   

 

 

        

oregontrail.jpg

          

 

 

         Henry was the first of the Clymers to venture across the Rockies.  Abner Hackleman organized trains from Iowa and it is possible that the Clymers traveled with one of his trains. Within six years Henry's parents and siblings traveled over the Oregon Trail. Henry's father helped organize Primitive Baptist Churches in Indiana and Iowa and in a few years would help establish  Primitive Baptist Churches in Oregon Henry's grandparents sat under the preaching of notable pioneer Baptist ministers, the Rev. John Garrard and the Rev. John Corbly in Virginia and western Pennsylvania. The Rev. John Wesley Short, Henry's brother-in-law, was converted in 1843 and was the minister at the Sublimity, Pleasant Hill, and French Prairie Baptist churches.

           

          Mary's father, William Johnson, was a Baptist minister as well as her Uncle Hezekiah Johnson, Grandfather Eleazor Johnson, and Grandfather Jacob Layman! Hezekiah's family was on the same wagon train to Oregon and Mary loved the extra time with her cousins. Elizabeth, Mary's mother, was paralyzed in 1845, a year before the trip, which meant she had to ride on a feather bed in the wagon instead of walking beside the wagon like everyone else.  The wagon had no shocks and was bumpy enough to churn the cream into butter every single day. Even with blisters, Mary would choose to walk beside the wagon for twelve to fifteen miles any day than bounce around in the wagon. When the Wagon Train stopped at the Whitman Mission in Waillatpu on the Walla Walla River the Johnson family chose to remain behind for the fall and winter. William worked in a saw mill at the mission and the girls attended the school taught by Narcissa Whitman.         

whitmans.jpg
Narcissa and Marcus Whitman

     

          In June of 1847 William and Elizabeth Johnson and their youngest children joined another wagon train heading for the Willamette Valley on the newly opened Barlow Road.  The Barlow Road took immigrants from The Dalles, around the south side of Mt. Hood and into Oregon City. The Johnsons took a claim in an area now called Lents. (Lents is east of Portland and in 1936 the Mount Scott Cemetery was on William Johnsons land).  Hezekiah, Williams brother, had already begun the task of planting Baptist churches. Narcissa Whitman requested that Mary remain at the mission to assist her and continue her schooling.  In the fall of 1847 Narcissa and Marcus sent her to Lapwai where the Rev. Henry Harmon Spalding and his wife Eliza were missionaries to the Nez Perce Indians. Besides translating the Bible into their language in response to a specific request from the Nez Perce, Henry Spalding built a grist mill, established a school, introduced the potato, and taught the Indians how to use irrigation for farming. At Lapwai Mary attended classes and worked for Mrs. Spalding as she did for Mrs. Whitman.

          The large number of whites coming into Oregon brought with them numerous diseases which ravaged the Cayuse, and the Whitmans' aid to the wagon trains made the Cayuse especially suspicious of them. Even Narcissa observed this, noting in July 1847 that "the poor Indians are amazed at the overwhelming numbers of Americans coming into the country... They seem not to know what to make of it."

          The Indians' suspicions gave way to rage in late 1847, when an epidemic of measles struck nearby whites and Cayuse alike. Although the Whitmans ministered to both, most of the white children lived while about half of the Cayuse, including nearly all their children, died. On November 29, 1847 several Cayuse, under the leadership of the chief Tiloukaikt, took revenge for what they perceived as treachery. They killed fourteen whites, including the Whitmans, and burnt down the mission buildings. On November 29, 1847, several of the Indians went to the Whitman dwelling under pretext of asking for medicine, and started the attack. Before all was said and done, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman lay dead, as did eleven men and two little girls who died within a few days from measles. Marys life was spared because she was at the Lapwai Mission with Mrs. Spalding and her children. It was when she returned to the horrible carnage that she was taken captive for over a month by the Cayuse with seven other women, five men, and thirty-four children. Public indignation ran high and retribution became the number one topic of conversation.

          On January 2, 1848, after negotiations and trading "fifty blankets, fifty shirts, ten guns, ten fathoms of tobacco, ten handkerchiefs, and one hundred balls and powder" with the Indians,  Peter Skene Ogden of the Hudson Bay Company managed to affect the release of all the captives. The payment was not made until three of the teenage girls who had been taken as wives were reluctantly freed by their captors. Peter Ogden then took the group to Fort Walla Walla. The Spaldings abandoned the Lapwai station on December 28. A group of Nez Perce traveled with them in order to guarantee their safety. The Spaldings joined the others at Ft. Walla Walla on January 1, 1848. The following day the group - Ogden and his 16 boatmen, 14 other men, 11 women, and 42 children left by boat for Ft. Vancouver.

vancouverjpg.jpg
Fort Vancouver

      Some of the captives, particularly the young women, had been grossly mistreated, and all were in a state of terror and nervous collapse. In fact, the complete story of the massacre was never fully learned, because even some time later when their testimony was taken at Oregon City, they were in such a mental state that a coherent story could not be told. Five Cayuse were hung for the crime.

          From Fort Vancouver Mary was able to unite with her parents and cousins not far from Oregon City. She brought with her a lovely chair which had been given to her by Dr. Whitman. The chair was made at the Whitman Mission and the seat was made of braided whang leather. Henry Clymer lived nearby and on March 6, 1851, as daffodils and crocuses bloomed, Henry and Mary were united in marriage. They acquired a Donation Land Claim nine miles east of Albany in May and in the fall of 1851 Henry's brother William arrived in the Valley.  Henry donated part of his land for the McAlpine School, named after Robert McAlpine, the school clerk.       

about_ourtowns-20.gif
The Clymers settled in Linn and Marion Counties, OR

       The following spring Henry and Mary's first child was born. Sarah Ellen was born in April 1852, about the same time that Henry's parents, Christian and Elizabeth Clymer, left Iowa for the Oregon Trail. Traveling with Christian and Elizabeth were their grown children Christian, Sarah, Lucinda and Beverly Ward Gilmore (Lucindas husband), and two of the Thompson children. Rachel, David, Margaret, Esther, and John Thompson were orphaned and living with Christian and Elizabeth Clymer in Iowa. Rachel and David accompanied Christian and Elizabeth Clymer to Oregon in 1852 and the other three Thompson children accompanied Henry's sister Mary Ann and her husband John Wesley Short to Oregon in 1853. Henrys brother John remained in Iowa for a while before moving to Kansas.

          Christian and Elizabeth Clymer settled on a Donation Land Claim in an area of Marion County, Oregon called the Waldo Hills. They were members of the Little Bethel Primitive Baptist Church when they first settled in Oregon and in 1873 Christian was a founding member of the Scio Primitive Baptist Church. Elizabeth died a few months after arriving in Oregon at the age of 61. She is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Lebanon, Oregon.

          Henry's brother Christian Jr. arrived in Oregon with Christian and Elizabeth in 1852. On November 16, 1854 Christian married his traveling companion Rachel Thompson. Rachel's sister Margaret arrived in Oregon in 1853 with Henry's sister Mary Ann and her husband John Wesley Short.  In 1858 Margaret Thompson married Henry's brother, William, who had been in Oregon since 1851.

map.gif

       Before 1863 Christian Clymer Jr. bought land in Steilacoom, Washington and from 1865 to 1873 served as a member of the House of Representatives for the state of Washington

       In 1863 Henry made a fateful trip to Steilacoom to visit Christian. He crossed Gray's Bay from Oysterville with Captain Wells and the small boat hit a sandbar and capsized.  Both men drowned. Because it is said that Henry died with 600 dollars worth of gold in his pocket it is possible he intended to purchase  land in Washington near his brothers land.

          After Henry's death, Mary and her eight children moved to Waldo Hills, near the farm of her father-in-law Christian Clymer b.1795 and his second wife, Elizabeth Crowley. Mary became the postmaster of Clymer Post Office in northwest Marion County, a coveted job for a widow with eight children. Wherever she moved she took the well used rocking chair from Dr. Whitman and her mother's hand embroidered linen table cloth that was carefully packed in the wagon along the Missouri River in 1846. The chair was so well worn that the arms and rockers had to be replaced at least once.         

     In 1869 Mary's daughter (Sarah) Ellen married Chris Zumwalt.  After his death she married Sherman Warren Walker.  Mr. Walker was a secretary for Joseph Supplee, the well known yacht builder . In 1934 and 1936 Fred Lockley, with the Oregon Journal, interviewed Mrs. Ellen Clymer Zumwalt Walker at her home at 1022 Southeast 33rd Avenue, Portland. In 1936 Ellen was 84 and still doing all her housework as well as running a greenhouse that she started in 1912. She proudly showed Mr. Lockley a painting that she made of the Clymer farmhouse in Waldo Hills and her mother's hand made rocking chair, hand embroidered table cloth, and handkerchiefs 
embroidered in her  eighties.  
 
 
      
 
   In the literature at the Linn County Historical Museum Christian Clymer b. 1795 is said to be related to George Clymer, the signer o the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution.

         

The FACT is:
  • Christian Clymer who was born in 1795 in Virginia is the son of German-speaking Christian Clymer born in Philadelphia (now Montgomery) County, Pennsylvania about 1746 in a home that is still standing (2004).
  • He is the grandson of Heinrich Clemmer who came to Pennsylvania in 1717 and
  • the great grandson of Valentine Clemmer/Klemmer, a Mennonite Bishop who founded Mennonite Churches in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Most of Bishop Valentine Clemmer/Klemmers descendants remained in Montgomery and Bucks Couny, Pennsylvania for generations. But Christian (c. 1746) was one of the first Clymers to take the wagon road west across the Allegheny Mountains and south to Loudon County, Virginia. He is also one of the first to leave the Mennonite Church. Although he did  not leave the Christian faith he would have been shunned by his relatives in Pennsylvania.  He became a Baptist either in Pennsylvania or Virginia and is buried at Garrard's Fort (Goshen Baptist Church) in Greene County, PA. It is possible that he married outside the Mennonite Church in Pennsylvania and that decision led to his desire to move to Virginia. Perhaps it was in Loudon County, Virginia that he joined the revival taking place at Ketoctin Baptist Church.     

 

 

 

           

 

The 1934/1936 interviews with Mrs. Ellen Clymer Zumwalt Walker can be found in LINN COUNTY, OREGON PIONEERS WHO SETTLED ON DONATION LAND CLAIMS THROUGH TO THE END OF 1855 Vol 31   by John Miles and Richard R. Milligan. 
 
I purchased a copy at the Linn County Historical Museum, P.O. Box 607, Brownsville, Oregon 97327
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Descendants of Christian & Elizabeth Clymer who came to Oregon in 1852

1 Christian (OREGON 1852) Jr. Clymer b: March 10, 1795 in Catactin, Loudon County, Virginia

. +Elizabeth Wolsey (OREGON 1852) Vance b: August 26, 1792 in Maryland

... 2 Mary Ann Vance (OREGON 1853) Clymer b: January 17, 1822 in Rush, Indiana

....... +John Wesley (OREGON 1853) Rev. Short b: August 26, 1816 in Sussex, Delaware

......... 3 Mary Catherine Clymer Short b: July 30, 1859

............. +Jacob Edwin Adams

......... 3 Lucinda Jane Clymer Short b: January 19, 1861 in Marion County, Oregon

............. +Tunis Theodore Hadley (OREGON) Hinshaw b: May 03, 1857 in Monrovia, Morgan County, Indiana

............... 4 Lelia Short Hinshaw b: 1886

................... +Robert D. Gray b: in Indiana

..................... 5 Muriel Hinshaw Gray

......................... +James Richardson

............... 4 Mabel Short Hinshaw b: 1889

............... 4 Essie Short Hinshaw b: 1884

............... 4 Guy Short Hinshaw b: 1884

............... 4 Ernest Short Hinshaw b: 1891

................... +Ina Johnson b: Abt. 1893

............... 4 Laurie Short Hinshaw b: 1895

............... 4 Alice Short Hinshaw b: 1897

............... 4 Agnes Short Hinshaw b: April 25, 1897 in Klickitat County, WA

................... +Dan Coughlin b: January 29, 1886

..................... 5 Colleen Hinshaw Coughlin

..................... 5 Joseph Hinshaw Coughlin

..................... 5 Daniel Hinshaw Coughlin

............... 4 Hazel Short Hinshaw b: October 19, 1899

................... +William (OREGON) (Schramm) Shrum b: January 27, 1895 in Evanston, Cook County, Illinois

......... 3 Susan M. Clymer Short b: February 26, 1869

............. +H. Howard Smith

......... 3 Jacob Robins Clymer Short b: October 27, 1841

............. +Tabitha Jane (Hause) Haas

............... 4 John Franklin Hause Short b: September 05, 1868

................... +Mary Willetta Meechum Watkins b: September 22, 1870

..................... 5 Gordon Franklin Watkins Short b: November 27, 1891

......................... +Alice (Carpenter) Carpenter/Zimmerman

........................... 6 Joseph Gordon Carpenter Short b: February 27, 1917

............................... +June Ray Newman

........................... 6 Mary Lois Carpenter Short b: July 25, 1918

............................... +George Harvey Muntz b: September 22, 1907 in Linn County, Oregon

................................. 7 Phyllis Jean Short Muntz

..................................... +Jenson

........................... *2nd Husband of Mary Lois Carpenter Short:

............................... +Luther R. Shanks b: in Texas

........................... 6 John Carpenter Short b: April 27, 1920

............................... +Eula B. McCroskey b: Abt. 1921

........................... 6 Helen Carpenter Short b: January 27, 1926

............................... +Clifford E. Pratt

..................... *2nd Wife of Gordon Franklin Watkins Short:

......................... +Myrtle Ophus

............... 4 Charles Hause Short

......... 3 William Clymer Short

............. +Lutitia (OREGON) Owen

............... 4 Horace W. Owen Short

... 2 Henry Vance (OREGON 1846) Clymer b: March 28, 1824 in Rush County, Indiana

....... +Mary Layman (OREGON 1846) Johnson b: November 25, 1826 in Ohio

......... 3 Jacob Melancthon Johnson Clymer b: Abt. 1851 in Oregon

......... 3 Sarah Ellen Johnson Clymer b: April 19, 1852

............. +Chris (OREGON 1845) Zumwalt b: Abt. 1851

......... *2nd Husband of Sarah Ellen Johnson Clymer:

............. +Sherman Warren Walker b: Abt. 1852

......... 3 Elbridge Morgan Johnson Clymer b: May 10, 1853 in Marion County, Oregon

............. +Mary Jane Patton

............... 4 Eldridge Edward Patton Clymer

............... 4 Julia Elizabeth Patton Clymer

......... 3 George W. Johnson Clymer b: Abt. 1855

......... 3 Mary Johnson Clymer b: 1856 in Marion County, Oregon

............. +Elza M. Coffey Blackerby b: January 18, 1851

............... 4 Mary V. Clymer (CALIFORNIA) Blackerby b: November 14, 1879 in Oregon

......... 3 Julia Johnson Clymer b: 1859 in Marion County, Oregon

......... 3 Eugene Johnson Clymer b: 1861 in Marion County, Oregon

......... 3 Julian Johnson Clymer b: 1861

......... 3 Henry Vance Johnson (CALIFORNIA) Jr. Dr. Clymer b: August 05, 1863 in Waldo Hills, Marion County, Oregon

............. +Ida Florence Geer b: Abt. 1863

... 2 Lucinda "Katie" Vance (OREGON 1852) Clymer b: October 20, 1827 in Rush, Indiana

....... +Beverly Ward Williams (OREGON 1852) Gilmore b: Abt. 1825 in Boone County, KY

......... 3 Sarah Clymer (OREGON 1852) Gilmore b: Abt. 1846 in Yellow Springs, Des Moines County, Iowa

......... 3 William H. Clymer (OREGON 1852) Gilmore b: November 14, 1847 in Yellow Springs, Des Moines, Iowa

............. +Alcey Unknown

......... *2nd Wife of William H. Clymer (OREGON 1852) Gilmore:

............. +Sally Unknown

......... 3 James L. Clymer (OREGON 1852) Gilmore b: December 17, 1850

......... 3 Elizabeth L. Clymer Gilmore b: April 15, 1854

............. +Josiah J. Halpenny

......... 3 Lot Clymer Gilmore b: Abt. 1856

......... 3 Jane Ann Clymer (OREGON 1852) Gilmore b: May 05, 1856

............. +Charles Nathaniel Hess

............... 4 Jane Lorinne Gilmore Hess

................... +Ole Albert Jeldness

..................... 5 Jerrold Ole Hess Jeldness

......................... +Thelma E. Trotter

........................... 6 Jerrilyn Trotter Jeldness

......... 3 Mary Clymer Gilmore b: Abt. 1858

......... 3 Christian Clymer Gilmore b: Abt. 1860

... 2 John Vance (KANSAS) Clymer b: January 13, 1826 in Rush County, Indiana

....... +Mary Jane Williams Gilmore b: Abt. 1830 in DesMoines, Iowa

......... 3 Dennis Gilmore Clymer

......... 3 Son Gilmore Clymer

......... 3 Joseph Gilmore Clymer b: Abt. 1852 in Henry County, Iowa

......... 3 William Gilmore Clymer b: Abt. 1856

......... 3 Charles Gilmore Clymer b: Abt. 1858

......... 3 Sarah Luella Gilmore Clymer b: Abt. 1860

... *2nd Wife of John Vance (KANSAS) Clymer:

....... +Sarah Elizabeth (NO PROOF) Wasner b: December 28, 1834 in Topeka, Kansas

... *3rd Wife of John Vance (KANSAS) Clymer:

....... +Emily Unknown b: Aft. 1840

......... 3 John E. Clymer b: Abt. 1873

......... 3 Robert H. Clymer b: Abt. 1876

......... 3 Anna Mae Clymer b: Abt. 1877

......... 3 Mary A. Clymer b: Abt. 1879

......... 3 Ruth E. Clymer b: 1880

... 2 Minerva Vance Clymer b: 1829 in Rush, Indiana

... 2 William Vance (OREGON 1851) Clymer b: 1831 in Rush, Indiana

....... +Margaret (OREGON 1853) Thompson b: 1839

......... 3 Margaret Thompson Clymer

......... 3 Mary Thompson Clymer

......... 3 Louisa Thompson Clymer

......... 3 Lucinta Thompson Clymer

............. +A. D. McQueen

......... 3 Clara Thompson Clymer b: September 30, 1859

... 2 Christian Vance (OREGON 1852) Clymer b: October 11, 1833 in Rush, Indiana

....... +Rachel (OREGON 1852) Thompson b: Abt. 1837 in Linn County, Oregon

......... 3 Horace Thompson Clymer b: Abt. 1855

......... 3 Perry Thompson Clymer

......... 3 John Thompson Clymer b: Abt. 1860

......... 3 Rachel Thompson Clymer b: in Oregon

............. +Arekellas Dollans (OREGON 1865) Hartley b: March 01, 1860 in Franklin County, Illinois

............... 4 Mary Wenona Clymer Hartley b: in Linn County, Oregon

... 2 Sarah Emeline Vance Clymer b: May 17, 1835 in Rush County, Indiana

... 2 George Washington Vance Clymer b: August 16, 1838 in Des Moines County, Iowa

... 2 Minerva Vance Clymer b: November 13, 1829 in Rush County, Indiana

*2nd Wife of Christian (OREGON 1852) Jr. Clymer:

. +Elizabeth McClain (OREGON) Crowley b: January 13, 1804