I've received requests for information about T. J. Shadden, so I thought I would post for those interested. I'm relatively new to genealogy and some of the information I've gleaned is unsourced. This is a work in progress and open to revision. Much has come from other researchers who have been generously willing to share.
Unsourced information states:
Thomas Jefferson Shadden b. 6 Apr 1809
Pulaski, Giles Co., Tennessee d.4 Feb. 1894, possibly buried in the Masonic Cemetery of McMinnville, Oregon.
Parents probably Martin Shadden b. 1784 Tennessee d.23 Jan 1824, rumored to have died in a "sparring" match, and Alice (Ailcey) Dodson b. 1792 d.21 Nov. 1862 Tennessee. Through Alice, T.J. may (or may not, since this is not verified) have roots in common with Patrick Henry and directly with John Dods, possibly an early settler of Jamestown. It is unknown if the name "Shadden" is Irish, Scotch Irish or French. Some researchers thought it may be a corruption of the French Chaudoin.
He married Martha Sumner b.1814 d.1899 in 1830
Verified records are from the U.S. Federal Census
1850 Sacramento, California under the name O.J. Shaddon
1860 Sacramento, California under the name Thomas Shadder
1870 McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon under the name Thomas Shadden
1880 McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon under the name Thos. J. Shadden
The following data is extracted from History of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon and Washington, 1889.
THOMAS J. SHADDEN. - The subject of our sketch has reached the age of eighty years. He is a pioneer of 1842, and has seen, and had a part in, the changes of nearly half a century upon the Northwest Coast. During this time Oregon has passed from a region of savages and a few scattered settlements to a great and productive state, - one of the most promising in the Union.
As the memory of this venerable pioneer passes back over his life, and traverses his many experiences, it lingers longest upon the "crossing of the plains." It is only a dim and shadowy picture that we can reproduce of that now historic period. It is little less than bringing to life one of the old heroes of the Revolutionary war, to sit for an hour and listen to the accounts which come from the lips of the early heroes of Oregon. the crossing of the plains seems scarcely less distant than the war of Independence. Both alike belong to a period and a phase of life that have passed away, and have become foreign to our methods of existence and activity. It is amazing how quickly the rush of American life buries the acts and manners of yesterday. It was then an ox-team, or even a pack-saddle, and six months. Now it is a railroad and scarcely six days. But, if the honest hearts and strong hands of yesterday do not pass away, we need not repine.
Mr. Shadden is a native of Pulaski, Giles county, Tennessee, and was born in 1809. His wife was born in Mississippi in 1814. Fortune dealt roughly with the pair. First it was fire. Their house was consumed with all the contents except a bed; and the young farmer himself was turned out-of-doors in his shirt-sleeves. The ox-team and the cow were the sole nucleus for a new home and fortune. But, no sooner was a point reached nearly up to the old mark, than flood, a water spout, dropped out of the sky immediately above the Shadden farm, washing away buildings and drowning stock. Feeling now that he owed nothing to a country that thus demolished the results of his labor, the Tennesseean listened tot he advice of one Owen Sumner, who had made a study of Lewis & Clarke's explorations, and Irving's Bonneville, and never ceased to speak of the greatness and wonders of Oregon.
With the frontiersman's sublime boldness, Sumner and Shadden were canvassing the project of coming to the Columbia, when the news that Doctor White's party was to go through decided them to be ready and meet the Doctor at Independence, Missouri, about May 1st. On the last day of March, 1842, Sumner and Shadden, with their families, and with two recruits, Joseph Gibbs and Alexander Copeland, set out from Sumner's farm, twenty-five miles north of Van Buren, Arkansas, to cross mountains and plains of which they knew comparatively nothing.
They found eight persons in Doctor White's party, among them Medorem Crawford of Dayton, Oregon, Mr. Robb, of East Portland, and a Mrs. Brown and her daughter. Hastings' party soon arrived, consisting of some twenty-five persons, prominent among them being S.W. Moss and A.L. Lovejoy.
Here is the beginning for a most interesting history of six months of adventures. But this is only a sketch. We are forbidden by narrow limits to tell in detail of the formal and decorous organization of the party; of the killing of the dogs; of a "heroic woman" who started alone on horseback to join the little cavalcade, but who was thrown from her horse on the way; and the wretched beast ran away, carrying off with him, in the saddle-pockets, all her money. Nor can we linger upon the march; nor speak of the death of Bailey, who was accidentally shot; nor relate at length the capture of Hastings and Lovejoy at Independence Rock by the Sioux; nor tell how, upon the halt of the company and arrangement for battle, at the command of the guide, Fitz Patrick, the two hundred or three hundred savages, armed heavily with bow and arrows, long shining spears and fusees, came forward amicably and delivered their captives up for a present of a blanket and two shirts.
F.X. Matthieu, a mountain man, had joined the emigrants on the Platte, and in this emergency acted as interpreter, speaking firmly and authoritatively to the chiefs, and assuring them that his company was ready to fight if necessary. The Sioux thereupon grew friendly, visited the camp, offered to buy a married woman, and the next day set off upon a raid against the Crows. It is in truth a striking picture, - the forty-two Americans on the immense plain utterly alone in the wilderness, confronting six times their number of irresponsible savages, and by simple force of will turning them from their purpose. they had previously learned from Buisnett, at Fort Laramie, that the intention of the Sioux was to kill all of the men and make captives of the women. Fitz Patrick himself, and F.X. Matthieu, who appear prominently in this scene, deserve lengthy mention; but all this matter, together with the account of the final abandonment of the wagons at the rendezvous, and at Fort Hall, is all of such historical value as to find a place in the main body of the history. To this we must refer the reader.
On the west slope of the Rocky Mountains Mr. Shadden became very much interested in many of the ways of the Indians, who were friendly, particularly their manner of capturing antelope by forming a great circle, and closing in upon them until within shooting distance. At Whitman's the exhausted stores were replenished; and at The Dalles the thieving Wasco plan of driving off horses and bringing them back for a reward was successfully worked, - Mr. Shadden's bell mare being the subject.
Upon reaching Oregon City, October 3, 1842, and meeting with the Methodist missionary at Salem, and finding employment with Sidney Smith, at Chehalem, our pioneer felt the most keen and bitter disappointment. Oregon seemed to him wild, lonesome and dreary. After an uncomfortable winter, much exposed to the storms, and living much on boiled wheat, Mr. Shadden embraced the first opportunity to leave the country. this appeared in June, a party leaving form George Gay's place on the Willamette for California. There were nineteen in the company capable of bearing arms; and at the end of their march on the Sacramento river, they had a battle with the Indians, laying twenty-seven of the hostiles dead upon the field. Not one of their number was either killed or wounded.
Seven years did Mr. Shadden remain in California, returning finally to the state of his first choice, and settling in Yamhill county, near McMinnville, Oregon, where he still lives. The changes and improvements which he has witnessed upon this coast seem to him wonderful, as indeed they are. There were not a thousand Whites on the whole coast, and but a little over one hundred Americans, in1842. There are now a million. Well may this pioneer take pride in his state, and in his own part in making it what it is."
He is listed in "The early history and settlement of Alameda County" pg.105 and in the "History of San Jose, California : narrative and biographical" V. The foreigners take a hand (1840-45) pg.56.
He is also listed in the Congressional Record of the House of Representatives 1860, unknown volume, pg. 347 "Military Receipts and Expenditures" as being a mounted rifleman serving under John C. Fremont.
Apparently after ranching and prospecting in California, he returned to Oregon and built his house in McMinnville, Yamhill County. The attached photos were sent to me by a distant cousin. The two individuals in the older Shadden House photograph are unidentified. The charcoal sketch is purported to be Thomas Jefferson Shadden. If anyone has positive identification of the people in the Shadden house photo, or positive identification of the charcoal sketch subject, it would be greatly appreciated.