W. Harry Hembree was a ship builder and captain. His paternal grandfather was in the French Navy and traveled to America by private ship, selling his ship to the United States for 6,000 acres of land. In America, Hembree's grandfather owned eighty slaves, which were freed before the journey to Oregon. Hembree's grandfather, father and uncle traveled to Oregon from Missouri by wagon train, arriving in La Fayette, Oregon in 1843. The family became farmers and also built stores in La Fayette and McMinnville. Hembree's stepfather, Jason Kellogg, traveled to Oregon in 1849 from Maine. He worked as a fisherman in Maine, but came to Oregon and worked as a fur trapper. By the 1860s, the Kellogg family had built a boat and begun transporting freight along the Tualatin River. The family hauled freight with a barge along Lake Oswego, to the Willamette River, and to Portland. The Kellogg's cleared the rivers and built locks in the lake in order to run boats and barges along these waterways. They ran a successful company from 1875 to 1920, running a boat along the Cowlitz River. The Kelloggs maintained a variety of boats in the Portland area during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.
During the late 1800s, W. Harry Hembree went to high school at the Portland Academy. After high school he worked with his family on boats, before attending Willamette University for two years. Hembree traveled to Oakland, California, to work for the Mining Engineering School. Later, Hembree worked as a captain in Oregon delivering freight along the Willamette River. In his later years, Hembree became interested in pioneer wagon train journeys, and read accounts of journeys and attempted to retrace the route of a particular journey from Ft. Boise to Oregon.
The W. Harry Hembree Papers contain three recollections of Hembree's family and his work in Oregon as a ship captain and master builder. There is a seven page typed copy of Hembree's retelling of the 1843 overland journey that his paternal grandfather's family took from Fort Boise, Idaho to Lafayette, Oregon. This retelling, entitled The Blue Bucket Mine, includes Hembree's description of the trail after he retraced the overland journey route in the early 1900s. It is accompanied by a typed transcription of the diary of Jesse Harritt, who looked after the livestock on the 1843 overland journey.
The second item in the collection is a typed copy of the recollections of W. Harry Hembree in a four page interview by Mabel C. McClain in Portland, Oregon on March 1, 1947. The 1947 interview includes Hembree's discussion of his family's overland journey to Oregon, the family's work in shipbuilding and navigation of Oregon waterways, and a paragraph on the slaves that his grandfather owned. The third item is a typed copy of Hembree's log of the roundtrip cruise of the Althea from Portland, Oregon to Alaska in 1912, which is thirty-one pages. The log includes descriptions of places along the route, encounters with Native Americans, whale sightings, accidents, and narrow escapes.
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Collection is open to the public.
Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.Restrictions on Use :
Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.
Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.
Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.
If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.Preferred Citation :
[Identification of item], W. Harry Hembree Papers, CB H371, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
Collection is organized into the following series: Overland Journey, 1843; Reminiscences; Althea Voyage, 1912.
Detailed Description of the Collection