Harvey Gordon Starkweather

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Harvey Gordon Starkweather

Birthdate: (83)
Birthplace: Clackamas, Clackamas, Oregon, United States
Death: November 13, 1951 (83)
Milwaukie, Clackamas, Oregon, United States
Place of Burial: Portland, Multnomah, Oregon, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of William Austin Starkweather and Eliza Starkweather
Husband of Mary Alice Starkweather; Eva M Starkweather and Edna Starkweather
Father of Mary Eliza Starkweather; Ada Risley Johnson; Hugh Gordon Starkweather; Hazel Jean Vermilye; Ruby Alice Starkweather and 2 others
Brother of Lydia Jane Starkweather; John Hugh Starkweather; Eliza Ellen Whipple; William Lincoln Starkweather; Mary Marie Starkweather and 2 others

Managed by: Alice Zoe Marie Knapp
Last Updated:

About Harvey Gordon Starkweather

HARVEY G. STARKWEATHER. Among the distinguished citizens of the Columbia River Valley stands Harvey Gordon Starkweather of Portland, who in various fields of effort has been of distinctive service to the community and is uniformly regarded as one of its representative men. He was born in Clackamas county, Oregon, on the 20th of June, 1868, a son of William A. and Eliza (Gordon) Starkweather. He is a nephew of Harvey Gordon, who designed the seal for the state of Oregon and who was also the first state printer.

    William A. Starkweather, who came from an old New England family, was born near Preston City, Connecticut, February 16, 1822, and was there reared and educated. When twenty-four years old he went to Ohio, where for three 

years he taught in the schools of Lockland and Reading, near Cincinnati, while during the summer seasons he was engaged in farm work. In 1850 he joined the great gold rush to California, where he spent three months in the mines, but, not being satisfied with the returns for his labor, he took a boat for Oregon, disembarking at Tompkins' Landing, at the foot of Clackamas rapids. He secured a donation claim at the forks of the Santiam river in Linn county, but later sold that claim and moved to Clackamas county, buying a tract of land near Molalla. He taught school in that locality during the winter months, the summers being devoted to the improvement and cultivation of his farm, in the operation of which he was successful. In 1861 he sold that place and moved to Oregon City. He early showed great interest in public affairs of the territory, and his fellowmen gave evidence of their appreciation of his ability and interest by electing him as their representative to the territorial legislature in 1854 and 1856, while in 1857 he was made a member of the constitutional convention, in the deliberations of which he took an active and effective part. Subsequently he served six terms in the lower house of the legislature and two terms in the state senate. In 1861 he was appointed register of the United States land office under Lincoln, and in that capacity he served until 1865, when he again turned his attention to agriculture, buying a farm south of Milwaukie, on which he lived until his death in 1905.

In his political views he was a democrat up to the time of the Civil war, when he joined the republican party, which he supported ever afterward. He was an earnest member of the Baptist church. Of him it was said: "His life was indeed a useful one and the public service of few Oregon men has extended over a longer period, while none has been more faultless in honor, fearless in conduct or stainless in reputation. In manner he was particularly free from ostentation or display. He believed that each individual should be judged by his true worth and he was ever content with conscientious duty well performed. He did not seek the plaudits of the multitude, but in every act of his public life sought so to discharge his duties that they should result not only for present but also for permanent good."

    On September 22, 1853, at Molalla, Oregon, William A. Starkweather married Miss Eliza Gordon, who was born near Vernon, Indiana, January 17, 1831. In 1845 she accompanied her parents to Independence, Missouri, where a 

winter was passed, and in the spring of the following year they started across the plains, arriving in Oregon in the fall. Here her father, Hugh Gordon, who was a native of North Carolina, secured a donation claim which included one of the since famous four corners of Molalla, his claim being one of the first in Clackamas county. In 1865 he moved to Milwaukie with his daughter and lived there until his death, which occurred in 1880. He was a republican in politics and a Presbyterian in his religious faith. To Mr. and Mrs. Starkweather were born eight children, namely: Lydia Jane and John Hugh, both of whom died early in life; Ella Eliza, who became the wife of Gardner Whipple and resided at Canby, Oregon, until her death; William Lincoln, a farmer and later a letter carrier in Portland, who died in 1926; Victoria Belle, a teacher who died in 1890 at the age of twenty-four years; Harvey Gordon, of this review; Mary M., who died in 1864, at the age of three years; and Ida A., who is the wife of George W. Derry and resides at Garthwick, Oregon.

    Harvey G. Starkweather received a good public school education, after which he taught school successfully for fifteen years. During two years of that time he served as superintendent of the schools at La Grande and also served as county superintendent of schools of Clackamas county. In 1901 he turned his attention to farming, to which vocation he had been reared, and in this line of effort he was rewarded with abundant success. Later he turned his attention to real estate and is now one of the owners of the Broadway building in Portland, in which he has his offices. He is devoting his attention mainly to the management of his extensive property interests.
    In 1894 Mr. Starkweather was united in marriage to Miss Alice M. Risley, a daughter of Jacob S. and Mary (Scholl) Risley, to whom further reference is made in the sketch of Mrs. Starkweather's brother, John F. Risley, on another page of this work. To this union were born five children, namely: Mary E., who is a nurse in the Free Medical Dispensary in Portland; Ada R., who is the wife of Louis Johnson, of East Morland, Oregon; Hugh G., who lives in Portland and is connected with the Ladd Estate; Hazel Jean, who is the wife of Hobart P. Vermilye, of Yakima, Washington; and Ruby A., who is a student in the Oregon Agricultural College. The mother of these children died in 1920, and in 1922 Mr. Starkweather married Miss Eva Newman, of Forest Grove, Oregon, to which union in 1923 was born a daughter, Barbara Ellen.
    In his political views Mr. Starkweather is an ardent democrat and has long been prominent in the councils of that party. In 1916 and 1918 he was chairman of the democratic central committee of Clackamas county and was chairman of the democratic state committee from 1918 to 1920, when he resigned. In 1920 he was a candidate for the nomination for United States senator but was defeated by George E. Chamberlain. Early in President Wilson's 

first term, on the recommendation of the State Grange of Oregon, Mr. Starkweather was made a member of a United States commission which made a tour of Europe to study rural credits and country life conditions. The report of this commission was the basis for the federal farm loan act. Mr. Starkweather is a member of Milwaukie Lodge No. 109, A. F. & A. M.; Portland Consistory, A. A. S. R.; Al Kader Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.; Oswego Lodge No. 93, I. O. O. F.; Oregon City Lodge No. 1189, B. P. O. E.; Milwaukie Grange, No. 268, the City Club and the Portland Realty Board. He served as a school director for seventeen years and was for six years a member of the board of regents of the Oregon State Normal schools. He has been an active member of the Sons and Daughters of Oregon Pioneers, of which he was president in 1921, and was for two years president of the Jackson Democratic Club. He has always been interested in whatever has tended to advance the public welfare along material, civic or moral lines, and no resident of this community commands to a greater measure than he the confidence and regard of the people.

Source: History of the Columbia River Valley From The Dalles to the Sea, Vol. III, Published 1928, Pages 274 - 278


H. G. Starkweather, well known as a representative agriculturist living at Risley Station, a son of W. A. and Eliza (Gordon) Starkweather, of whom mention is made above, was born in Clackamas county in 1868. The public schools afforded him his educational privileges and later he made returns to the school system of the state by the excellent work which he did as a teacher. He devoted fifteen years to the profession, was county superintendent of Clackamas county for two years and was superintendent of the city schools of La Grande, Oregon. He did excellent work in this direction and his labors brought him substantial returns. Retiring from the profession of teaching in 1901 Mr Starkweather turned his attention to farming and in this follows the more progressive methods which ever characterize his work. He married Miss Mary Alice Risley, a daughter of Jacob Risley, of whom mention is made elsewhere in this volume and unto them have been born five children; Mary, Ada, Hugh, Jean and Ruby. Both Mr and Mrs Starkweather are representatives of old pioneer families and are widley known, their social qualities and genuine worth gaining for them the favorable regard of all with whom they have come in contact.

Source: Portland, Oregon, Its History and Builders, Volume 2. By Joseph Gaston, page 771-772.


MILWAUKIE (AP) -- Harvey G Starkweather, for many years a prominent in Oregon Democratic party affairs, died here Monday. He was 83.

He was found unconscious beside his car. He apparenlty became ill while driving, stopped his car, got out and collapsed.

He was a native of Clackamas county, born June 20, 1868. He taught for 15 years before becoming Clackamas county superintendent. Later he was superintendent of schools at LaGrande and for many years was a regent of the state normal schools.

He was Oregon Democratic central committe chairman from 1918 to 1920 when he resigned to run for nomination to the U.S. Senate. He was defeated.

Source: Walla Walla Union-Bullentin. Walla Walla, WA. Tuesday 13 Nov 1951, page 9.

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Harvey Gordon Starkweather's Timeline

June 20, 1868
Clackamas, Clackamas, Oregon, United States
December 4, 1894
Age 26
Milwaukie, Clackamas, OR, USA
October 1895
Age 27
May 19, 1900
Age 31
La Grande, Union, Oregon, United States
June 14, 1904
Age 35
Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, United States
Age 38
Age 57
November 13, 1951
Age 83
Milwaukie, Clackamas, Oregon, United States