DEATH OF HON. R. W. WILSON
Having but short acquaintance with the deceased and know little of his history, we extract the following item from the Mercury, of the 27th inst:
Hon. R. W. Wilson, of Tillamook county, was laid away to his last rest today in the Odd Fellows' Cemetery, near this city, by the Masonic fraternity, of which the deceased was an honored and worthy member. Mr. Wilson was born in the State of New York in the year 1815 and was 61 years of age at the time of his death, which took place last Thursday night at his home in Tillamook county. The deceased, many years ago, animated by the desire to view and make his home in the 'far west,' emigrated from his native State to California and from thence to Oregon. He largeassisted in building up those around him and while a resident of Salem has honored and respected by her citizens for his honest of purpose and rectitude of conduct in all the walks of life. He moved to Tillamook county a few years ago and engaged in stock raising, and with credit represented that and Clatsop county in the last Legislature, his popularity running him far ahead of his ticket and electing him, although his party was largely in the minority of the district he represented.
"Mr. Wilson was a good and upright Mason, having joined that ancient and honorable Order many years ago, and endeavored to act upon the square with all mankind. He was a member of the Baptist Church, beingan attentive and deevoted member. He leaves a large family and circle of relatives and acquaintances to mourn his untimely death. May the earth rest lightly over his remains."
R. W. Wilson, late of this city, deceased, was buried Tuesday, by the Masonic Fraternity. A large concourse of people followed his remains to the Odd Fellows' Cemetery, south of the city. The Masonic Fraternity had charge of the services and ceremonies after leaving the church.
Weekly Oregon Statesman 30 March 1877 6:1
Rowley Winfield Wilson was born in Middlebury, Genessee county, New York. His father, Ebenezer Wilson, was a military man, being a Major under Winfield Scott, in the war of 1812. He was taken prisoner by the French, and sent to Halifax, where he was kept until exchanged, when he returned to his family in Middlebury, where the subject of the present sketch was born, March 21, 1816. In 1828 he moved with his parents to Oakland county Michigan, then a wilderness. There he remained until he started out for himself. He was an expert marksman, and often made his living hunting, of which he was very fond. Like Daniel Boone, his dog and gun were his companions, and he was always at home in the woods.
Having returned to New York, he was married (January 22, 1840) to Miss Adaline Harrington, daughter of Dr. John M. Harrington, of Aldin, Erie county, New York. That same year he emigrated to Cain county, Illinois, where in two short years he buried his family, wife and child in one month.
Afterwards he married Miss Eveline Harrington, sister of his first wife, who still survives him. In 1845 he removed to Joe Davis county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming until the California excitement. Leaving his family with his friends, he started in 1850 for California across the plains, meeting with the usual difficulties incident to a six months' journey in those days; such as losing his teams and getting out of provisions. At one time he was seven days without food, excepting carrion, rose-buds, and frogs; traveling 160 miles with two animals with one gallon of water, traveling the distance in thirty-six hours, not stopping but once, and then giving his horses the water. He passed hundreds dying for water. On arriving at some springs he stopped and refreshed his team over night, and then started back with relief, taking a full load of water.
Arriving at Ragtown, in a starving condition, he found some flour, for which he paid one dollar per pound. Mising the same with cold water into a batter and baking it, he expected to ease the gnawing of his stomach. But just then a little boy, who had stood the trip, looked so wistful that he gave it to him, and thus saved another human from starving.
He then went to Downieville, Sierra county, California, where he engaged in mining for two years, and then returned for his family, recrossing the plains in 1852, having little difficulty excepting the loss of his stock, being again six months on the journey. Arriving at Sacramento on the 28th of October, he was just in time to be stripped of everything by the great fire, which left him a stranger in a strange land, without money and with a helpless family; after living two weeks in a wagon which served as a house, he hired out to keep hotel. In the spring he went into the hotel business for himself, soon accumulating a fortune. He kept hotel at Humbolt Bay, Weaverville, Red Bluffs and various places in California.
Retiring from that he went into a broker business until the war, when the greenback system "broke him up." Gathering his remaining means he started, July 12, 1865, for Oregon, reachin Salem, August 12, where he resided ten years, engaged in farming and other occupations.
Two years before his death, he removed to Tillamook, where he engaged entensively in sheep and wool growing, until "like Cincinnatus," he was called to "serve the public" and was by large majority, elected to the Legislature of 1876. He was nominated on the Democratic ticket, but a contemporary journal says that his personal popularity caused him to receive much more than a strictly party vote, those counties having been previously Republican.
He was for many years a member of the Baptist Church, having joined at Batavia, Illinois in 1845. In 1855 he bacame a Mason, having joined that order at Weaverville, Trinity county, Cal. He loved the order, and was not satisfied until far advanced in it, receiving the thirty second degree at Portland, Oregon, on 21st of March 1871, and remaining an honored member until his death.
After a lingering illness, during which he was for a long time unable to take any nourishment, and during which he was fully conscious of his approaching death, he finally passed away a little before midnight on Thursday, March 22, 1877.
His remains were brought to Portland, where they were escorted from the Clarendon hotel to the Eastside depot, by a large deputation of the Masonic fraternity from the several Lodges in that city. On Wednesday, March 28th, his funeral was attended at the Baptist Church, in Salem, by a large concourse of friends, after which he was buried with the impressive ceremonies of the Order he loved so well; thus fulfilling a wish he had so often expressed, that he might receive a Masonic burial. Some newspaper notices now lie before the writer of these lines. One of them speakes of him as a man of "unusual intelligence." Another says: "In all the relations of life, deceased was an honored and upright citizen, and his death will be sincerely regretted."
May he rest peacefully until He who has promised to reward even a cup of cold water given to a little one, shall come to awaken the sleeping dean -- and then he will rise again in the "resurrection at the last day."
Weekly Oregon Statesman 13 April 1877 2:3