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Salem Pioneer Cemetery ~ John Minto ~ part of the Marion County Pioneer Cemeteries of Oregon
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John Minto
BORN: 10 Oct 1822 DIED: 25 Feb 1915 BURIED: 27 Feb 1915
ETHNICITY:   OCCUPATION:  Rancher; Orchardist; State Legislator; Marion Co. Sheriff
BIRTH PLACE:  Wylam, Northumberland, England
DEATH PLACE: Salem, Marion Co., Oregon
Name of father John Minto
MARRIAGE - to Martha Ann Morrison, 7 Jul 1847
1900 OR CENSUS - John Minto, age 77, occupation stock raiser, b. Oct 1822 in England, year of immigration 1848, is enumerated with his wife of 53 years, Martha M. Minto, age 68, mother of 9 children 5 of whom are living at the time of the census, b. Dec 1831 in Missouri, along with daughter-in-law, Ella Minto, age 46, b. Dec 1854 in Illinois.
John Minto was a pioneer who knew how to cultivate the land
Written by
Scott Bassett
Special to the Statesman Journal 2 April 1911
John Minto was a pioneer who arrived in Oregon by wagon in 1844 and the acres he planted in orchard gave him a deep sense of satisfaction during his lifetime.
He and his family initially homesteaded in the Sunnyside/Battle Creek area outside Salem, and he, along with many other Willamette Valley men, spent time in the California gold fields in 1849.
Upon his return to Salem, he became a successful apple grower and merchant, selling apples in Portland and as far away as the California mining camps. In 1867 he bought property along the Willamette River near town, where he planted fruit trees and raised Merino sheep. Eventually he served four terms in the Oregon Legislature and is credited with being key in bringing the state fair to Salem.
When Minto purchased the property, which is now part of Minto-Brown Island Park, it was known in Salem as "The Island." The Minto family crossed the water to get to the property following the same route that is proposed for the bike and pedestrian foot bridge connecting Riverfront Park to Minto-Brown Park.
"The south arm of Mill Creek (now called Pringle Creek) flows into the river near the north end of The Island, and across this outflow John's sons ferried their teams, hauling sand and gravel as building material," Willamette professor Sharon Rose wrote in "A Natural History of Minto Brown Island Park." Rose wrote that in a ddition to growing hops and establishing a dairy farm,"John Minto and his sons also started an orchard..."
Minto was such a knowledgeable and respected orchardist and sheep rancher that he served as the Secretary of the State Board of Horticulture and in 1869 was the first editor of an agricultural publication called the "Willamette Farmer."
Minto made the first successful grafts of many varieties of fruit and included the following story in his papers which are permanently housed at the Oregon Historical Society.
This is also described in Beverly Lowe's book, "John Minto, Man of Courage, 1822-1915":
John returned jubilant from the 1849 gold strike with enough "yellow dirt" to make it possible to buy the finest in rare fruits and flowers to plant on his acreage. When a Methodist minister came upon him three years later as he was loosening the graft bands of a crabapple tree on which he had worked six varieties of popular apples, and he was singing at his work, the minister remarked:
"You seem happy, Brother John."
"Yes, Brother Roberts," he answered. "Just now I would not swap with Adam before his fall."
The preacher made no reply.
"Perhaps he thought me irreverent," John remarked later, "but I had no such thought, and that had been the experience of my life when working to enrich and beautify the earth."
At Minto's 90th birthday party S.T. Richardson offered the following sentiment of respect and tribute that was particularly fitting given his fondness for orchards: "May John Minto have many more years in which to enjoy the fruits of his labor."

England to America in 1840, to Oregon 1844, raised pure-bred Merinos. Helped organize State Fair persuaded it to move to Salem. State representative.
See also:
Born in Wylam, Northumberland, England, in October, 1822; came to Oregon "with Americans and as an American" across the plains, in 1844, and settled at the old mission, near Wheatland. On July 7, 1847, he married Martha Ann Morrison, a native of Montgomery County, Missouri, born December 17, 1831, the daughter of R. W. Morrison, also an emigrant of 1844. Mr. Morrison was one of the captains in Gilliam's overland trains, and served in the Cayuse was, and afterwards represented Clatsop, Tillamook, and Yamhill in the Legislature. Mr. and Mrs. Minto reside now five miles south of Salem. Their children were --John Wilson, Mary Ellen, Robert Burns, William Jasper, Irwin, Douglas, Harry Percy, and May. Of these Robert Burns, Irwin, and May, are deceased. Mr. Minto's services to the State have been very great, and his standing as an old pioneer is hardly second to any one. He has always been regarded as an authority on Oregon's history. He has held several civil offices of importance. 
Lang, p. 625, 626. 

Minto brought with him plenty of law enforcement experience. He was Salem City Marshal from 1876 to 1880 and a Marion County Deputy from 1880 to 1882. After leaving the Sheriff's Office, Minto apparently worked for U.S. Customs in Portland and at one time served as Chief of Police in Portland. 
A History of the Oregon Sheriffs 1841-1991, by Linda McCarthy, p. 158 (photo included)
OSBH DC (Marion County 1915) #629 - John Minto, male, widower, b. England, d. 25 Feb 1915 in Salem, Oregon (821 Saginaw) at the age of 92 y's 4 m's 15 d's, occupation farmer, name of father John Minto (b. England), interment IOOF 29 Feb, undertaker Lehman & Clough, informant H. P. Minto of Salem, Oregon.
One of Oregon's Builders Passes Away at Age of Ninety-two Years -- 
Funeral is Tomorrow--
Came With Parents From England in 1840 - 
Crossed plains and arrived in Oregon City in 1844--
Elected to House of Legislature four times. 
His Passing marks end of one of most useful lives of the State. John C. Minto, Oregon pioneer of 1844, and prominently identified for more than three score and ten years with the commercial industrial and political growth of Oregon and the Pacific northwest, died here yesterday at the home of his son, Douglas C. Minto, 281 Saginaw street, at the age of 92 years. Funeral services will take place tomorrow at 2 p.m. in the Odd Fellows' hall, with burial in the Odd Fellows' cemetery. 
Death Comes Quietly 
Death came to Mr. Minto with gentle step and was due to his advanced years. Throughout his entire life he took the keenest interest in the political welfare of the state, and this was manifested at the recent legislative assembly, which he attended almost every day during the entire forty days' session. On one of his visits to the recent legislature, Mr. Minto fainted while sitting with his friend, John Gill, representative from Multnomah county, and was revived with difficulty. That excitement and exhaustion caused by his attendance upon the legislative sessions may have hastened his end, is believed. 
Four Children Living 
Mr. Minto's wife died a number of years ago. Eight children were born to them, of whom four are living. The surviving children are: John Wilson Minto, Portland; Mary E., wife of Robert C. Halley, Salem; Douglas C., and Harry P. Minto, of this city. Two sisters, Mrs. Belle Wain of West Union, Iowa, and Mrs. Anna Arnett of Anthony, Kan., also survive, and also eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. Mrs. Wain is in Salem and was present when her brother passed away. The surviving grandchildren: John Douglas Minto, Salem; Mrs. Edith Southwick, Mrs. Laura Irwin, and Mrs. Ernestine McNerney, of Portland; Mrs. Floy Beemish of Sylvan, Wash.; Frank Minto, Dayton, Or.; Eugene Halley, Salem, and Mrs. Beura Weitherbeer of southern Oregon.
Was Born in England 
John C. Minto was born in Wyland, England, October 10, 1822, and as a lad he worked in the coal mines of England. In 1840 he came to America with his parents, who for some years farmed in New York state. In those early years young Minto mined in the coal regions of Pennsylvania. Later, when the family moved to Iowa, he continued the west journey by joining the Gilliam caravans, driving the leading teams of this company across the plains. He arrived in Oregon City, October 18, 1844. In 1847 he was married to Martha Ann Morrison, daughter of Captain R. W. and Nancy Morrison, Oregon pioneers. He survived Mrs. Minto by several years. 
Purchased Methodist Mission In 1845 
Mr. Minto purchased the original Methodist Mission claim, but later sold it and took up a donation land claim four miles south of Salem. He planted part of this tract to fruit. Mr. Minto was one of the first men to introduce Merino sheep into Oregon. In 1867 he bought what is known as the Island property in the Willamette river near Salem. 
Found Minto Pass 
He was appointed by the Marion county court to find a pass through the mountains into eastern Oregon in 1873, and the pass which he found, today is called Minto pass. In his young manhood Mr. Minto was a Democrat in politics and was a strond admirer and supporter of Stephen A. Douglas during his campaign against Lincoln. With the outbreak of the civil war, however, Mr. Minto became an ardent republican and throughout the war was warm in his advocacy of the cause of the north. From that time he always was a staunch believer in the Republican party and its principles. 
Devoted to Adopted Country 
Although both in England, Mr. Minto was intensely patriotic and ever was unswerving in his devotion for his adopted country. As in everything with which he was connected, Mr. Minto influenced greatly in shaping the legislative history of Oregon. He served four times as a member of the Oregon legislature, first in 1862, and then at the sessions of 1868, 1880 and 1890. He was formerly a member of the state board of horticulture, being appointed by the late Governor W. P. Lord. He served as secretary of this board for three years. 
Liked to Attend Champoeg 
It was one of Mr. Minto's regrets, as he often told his friends, that he did not arrive in Oregon until the year following the organization of the provisional government of Oregon at Champoeg. One of Mr. Minto's delights was to attend the celebration held annually at Champoeg in honor of this event. Mr. Minto was an especial friend of Dr. McLoughlin and F. X. Matthieu during their lifetime and perhaps these three men can safely be said to have done more in the upbuilding of Oregon and the northwest, than any other of this state's long list of pioneers. 
Gifted With Prophetic 
Vision Gifted with a singularly prophetic vision, Mr. Minto long ago foresaw the wonderful future awaiting the Pacific northwest, industrially and commercially. It was his frequent prediction that before many years Oregon would rank among the first in wealth and productivity. He early realized the immense natural resources with which the state is endowed. 
Was Admirer of Burns 
Despite the handicap of having but few educational opportunities, Mr. Minto was naturally of a literary disposition and by patient application won for himself a broad knowledge in the realm of literature. Of Scotch extraction, Mr. Minto was an admirer and student of Burns. He organized the Burns society in Salem twenty-five years ago, and only a few weeks ago took a prominent part in the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the poet's birth. Mr. Minto was poetically gifted himself, and wrote poems of merit. He also wrote for newspapers. He was a member of the Odd Fellows and Elks lodges of this city and was the oldest member of the latter order in Oregon. 
Oregon Statesman 26 February 1915 1:4, 3:5 

Beautiful Tributes Paid Memory of Late John Minto at Funeral Service--
Many From Other Points--
Floral Offerings Show Esteem 
The final chapter in the life of one of Oregon's most illustrious pioneers and upbuilders was written yesterday when hundreds of friends and acquaintances of Hon. John Minto paid honor to his memory at funeral services held in Odd Fellows' hall, Hight and Court streets. Following the services at the hall, the body was laid to rest in a plot at Rural cemetery. Floral offerings in profusion testified to the love and veneration in which this last of the state's first pioneers was held. Old Friends Speak Rev. Carl Elliott, pastor of the First Presbyterian church of Salem, officiated at the obsequies, and Judge P. H. D'Arcy of Salem and John Gill of Portland, close personal friends of the late pioneer, delivered eulogistic addresses. Judge D'Arcy reviewed the life and early history of Mr. Minto, while Mr. Gill gave personal reminiscences in connection with his later life. Musical numbers including "Abide With Me" and "Nearer My God to Thee" were sung by a quartet composed of H. V. Compton, Charles Knowland, Mrs. William P. Babcock and Mrs. Hallie Parrish Hinges. Miss Beatrice Shelton was accompanist. Pallbearers were Judge P. H. D'Arcy, Dr. R. E. Lee Steiner, August Hucklestein, Milton W. Meyers, Fred Rice, all of Salem, and John Gill of Portland. 
Out of Town People 
Members of the Elks and Odd Fellows' lodges of Salem, of which orders Mr. Minto was a member, attended the services in a body. Among the out of town friends and relatives of the late pioneer who attended the final services were: John Hampshire, John Gill, Arley Twohy, Albert Tozer, all of Portland; Mrs. Clark Carnahan of Astoria, and Mr. And Mrs. William Morrison of Warrenton, Or. 
Oregon Statesman 28 February 1915 3:3
John Minto 
1822 - 1915 
A Pioneer of 1844
J. Plant Register
OSBH DC (Marion County 1915) #629
S&H pg 39 
1886 Salem Directory pg 8 
1886 Salem Directory pg 73 
1900 OR CENSUS (Marion Co., S. Salem, ED 144, sheet 1A)
WOS 26 Feb 1915 1:4, 3:5
WOS 26 Feb 1915 3:3 
McCarthy, p. 158 (photo included)
SJ 2 April 2011

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