NOTE: I have no connection, no further information and am not seeking additional information.
History of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon and Washington; Elwood Evans, various volumes, 1889.
THOMAS OWENS, - Thomas Owens, a pioneer of 1843, was born in Tazewell county, Virginia, in 1808. His father, Thomas Owens, was born in Wyeth county, Virginia, in 1757, and with his family came to Floyd county, Kentucky, in 1814, where he lived to the age of ninety-four. Father Owens, as his Kentucky neighbors called him, was we are told, “A valued citizen, known as a good husband, affectionate father and kind master.”
Thomas Owens, the subject of this sketch, was a born pioneer, having the courage to bring his wife and three children across the plains with the immigration of 1843. All those who crossed to Oregon in that year will remember the familiar, tall, raw-boned, athletic Kentuckian as Thomas Owens might be said to be. He was the man who knew so well how to meet and overcome every difficulty, that it became a common saying among his comrades, “only give Tom Owens a piece of wet moss, and he will make a rousing camp fire.”
The immigration of 1843 was the first to bring wagons west of Fort Hall; and Thomas Owens, John Hobson (the present collector at Astoria), George Summers and Mr. Holly were the first immigrants to bring wagons into Oregon. Our sturdy pioneers were obliged, owing to the near approach of winter, to leave their wagons and stock at Walla Walla in charge of the Hudson’s Bay Company in the fall of 1843. They came on their westward way upon a raft to Vancouver, where they left their families, continuing their journey down the Columbia in a canoe in search of suitable homes. All went well until they reached Chinook Point, where a gale of wind wrecked their canoe and left them at the mercy of the many Indians who then possessed the land. Fortunately the Indians proved kindly, and were induced to ferry them across to Astoria, where they found Mr. James Birnie in charge of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s fort, and Colonel McClure, as the only white men at the town or station. By their advice, Owens and party went down to Clatsop Plains, and there found land to suit their wishes.
They immediately started back to Vancouver after their families. On their way up the Columbia in the canoe they met Gustavus Hines, Jason Lee and Robert Shortess coming down the river. We can easily imagine that those hardy adventurers had a merry night togegher as they camped where Columbia City now stands. In those days there was not a wingle white man between Fort Vancouver and Astoria. Arriving at Vancouver, Doctor McLoughlin very kindly furnished them with a full winter’s supply, and a bateau in which to carry their families and produce to their new homes on the verge of the Pacific Ocean. Christmas day, 1843, they landed on Port Adams, and in one day they built houses with which to accommodate their families.