S. B. COBB
1859 – 1950
(December 6, 1859 – February 18, 1951)
I have been asked to write of my life and the trials and incidents that occurred during that period of time. My first thoughts are of my father
and mother, both of whom died in Pensacola, Florida, in the year 1882. I have much to write later on of my father, who experienced a life
of hardship and toil but never faltered in his duty to his family and community. My mother was of New England parentage. Born and raised
in Maine, she could easily qualify as a state pioneer.
For myself and my heritage, I don't know that a close descendant of the members of the Pilgrim Fathers adds to the longevity of such persons,
but most persons, however, that live to great age claim if based on the truth of their near heritage that they do live to greater age than
otherwise, the vicissitudes of life being equal.
I hesitate to claim that it has proven so in my case, even though I am now living through my 91st year.
I find that evidence shows that my father descended from, several sources of the notable Pilgrim Fathers, among them being John Alden,
William Brewster, Thomas Rogers and Richard Warren. My father was the son of Jonathan Cobb, who died at Warren, Maine, at the
age of 84 years.
James S. Cobb, my father, married Caroline Robinson of Lincolnville Center, Maine, in the year of 1846. They settled on a farm 2 ½ miles
from Searsmont, Maine, on the road to Belfast, that being the place where I was born December 6th, 1859.
My earliest recollection of my parents was the year my sister Angie died, the year being 1864. About that time my father had been discharged
from the army. I remember the funeral was in the winter time. They put hot rocks in the bed of the sleigh for needed warmth. At that time
there were four boys in the family. Two more brothers, George and Will, and Sister Caroline were born after we moved to Searsmont.
My father was born in Pennsylvania and his parents, my grandfather, moved to Warren, Maine, in about 1826. Father served an apprenticeship
of three years in a shipyard in Belfast. For his services he received his board and fifty dollars a year. He graduated as a skilled ironworker.
In politics he was a staunch republican and often wrote political letters for publication.
He was a vocal and instrumental musician of high order and in after years in Cambridge, Illinois, he enlisted local talent and produced the
cantata, "Queen Esther". After leaving the farm he started blacksmithing in Searsmont. For years he and his bass viola were the only music
that the Baptist church had. Again in a visit to my old home I met an old-timer that knew father and on being asked what he could say of him
he quickly replied that he was the best blacksmith and had the most musical tenor voice of any man in the state of Maine. Again in 1912,
with my wife, we visited Searsmont and had for company C. C. Woodcock and his family. He and I had gone to the same school in Searsmont
in our early life. In Portland, years before, we had become partners in the lumber and box business. While there in Searsmont we called on a
man who was 104 years of age. He had lived there some 75 years and Mr. Woodcock remembered him.
On this trip I met my school teacher, who had lived in Searsmont since 1869. She had snow-white hair and was quite active. I enjoyed seeing
her. She said she remembered me and my black, snappy eyes and also my winning of the prize of 25 cents in silver in the spelling class. I did
not go to school until I was nine years old. My parents taught me so that I was well up in the intermediate grades, especially so in reading and
One of my early joys came while living here. I had some earnings, to-wit: I drove cows about a half mile to pasture mornings and returned them
at night, and for this service I received for the season two dollars for each cow driven. Late in the fall, when I was paid, one evening father
took me to a store and I came home wearing red-top, copper-toed boots. No boy was ever happier and prouder than I at that time.
I have always had fond recollections of Searsmont. While it was only a small village, yet it provided those things that bring joy to the hearts of
youth. It had two small rivers, several water lily ponds, a small island in one river that could be reached by wading, also a water dam, plenty
of eels and fish at the cost of bait and wait.
We often stood at the water's edge with spear held aloft and hope in our skill to land a pickerel or trout.
Many times in the early evening I, with others, waded the river driving the fish, if any, into a net stretched across it lower down.
Winter brought its joys in skating and bob-sledding down the street hills. Many hearts were filled with pleasure on these occasions. I have
visited Searsmont twice since 1900 but doubt if I ever see it again.
In the spring of the year 1869 with my parents I arrived at Port Byron, located on the Mississippi River 18 miles above Moline, Illinois. At this
place, in 1870, I saw my first eclipse of the sun. Here, also, was the beginning of my business life. My mother advanced me 15 cents with
which I bought apples from a farmer. I did well the first day to bring home from my sales 30 cents. My customers were on the river boats
The times were hard; we were poor. Father, a good smith, received $1.25 a day of 10 hours. Jim, a brother, worked in a drug store for his
board and $9.00 a month pay. John worked in a mill packing shingles at 75 cents a day, and so on.
A year later, the year of the Chicago fire, we moved to Cambridge, Illinois. This time proved the beginning of my start in life's trials and
vicissitudes. I worked at any kind of a job, hoeing gardens, picking fruit and going to school in the winter months. The following year I worked
on a farm and was paid $12.00 per month and had to enjoy fat pork, potatoes and corn bread with blessings three times a day.
I came home every Sunday on the backbone of an old gray horse. I walked and rode sideways every trip to save the old horse.
I drew one dollar for Fourth of July celebration, so when my four months were completed I had some $47.00 due me. Of this amount of money,
father thought it was too much for me so he took $17.00, leaving me the rest. Mother rushed me to the stores to preserve the balance, due to
her knowledge of father's weakness. I was well clothed for the winter after the purchases were made.
Until 1876 or '77 I lived in Cambridge, working at various kinds of jobs, and finally became interested in carpentering. I did very well at this
work, being apt and anxious to succeed in earning more money. I soon became capable of doing ordinary work pertaining to house
construction. By the late summer of '77 I had saved a few dollars, in amount about $45.00.
At this date Horace Greeley, editor of a New York paper, was advising young men to go west. The thought of following his advice was
uppermost in my mind. Brothers John and James had gone to the Black Hills in Dakota. My brother Horace had gone with the Lemly people,
whom he was working for, to southeast Kansas.
The urge to follow Greeley's advice was calling me to seek new territory and new opportunities. I had talked of this to many of my boy
friends, among whom was Frank Ball. He said to me one day: "Do you mean what you say?" I replied: "Sure I do.” He dared me to go
west with him. I went to a store and bought yardage enough of percale to make two shirts. I laid the goods in my mother's lap and
said: "Two shirts, please, I am going out west."
When we left Cambridge we each had a basket of food, prepared by our mothers. We knew that Jim Palmer, who had married Martha
Pettys and who had lived in Cambridge all his life, had a farm at Oak Grove, 10 miles west of Scandia, Kansas, so we were soon off to
his place. We arrived there O.K., both of us broke. We found Martha getting supper and Jim milking the cow. Mrs. Pettys was living
with them. We were happy and supposedly at the end of westward travel.
In going west I bought in Atchison, Kansas, more needed carpenter tools. After arrival at the Palmers I learned that Mrs. Pettys had let
a contract for $35.00 for the work of building a house for the Palmers. They wanted me to do the work so they induced the contractor to
accept $2.50 and give up the contract. In a few words, I was to build a house l6 x 24, one and half stories, for $32.50. I was to be boarded
in addition to this price. It seems ridiculous to think of building a house for that amount of money, but I did.
Dr. S. P. Morse, who was my parents' doctor in Cambridge, had taken up a claim next and adjoining the Palmers. This added greatly to
my restless spirit, for I was among friends that I knew. My stay was prolonged for nearly a year. During this time Frank Ball had gone to
Abilene, Kansas. The day he left was a sad one for me, homesickness fell to my lot and regardless of those present the tears trickled down
my face. I packed my tools and went with them to Scandia, where Frank took passage for Abilene. Returning to work I soon forgot my
feelings over his departure.
I finished Palmers' house and did considerable work for the farmers in that vicinity and when winter came I had earned more money. In
the meantime I had taken up home with Dr. Morse as a handy Andy man. Mrs. Morse, a very motherly woman, took me to a town nearby
and had me fitted out in clothes for the winter. I never will forget the Doctor and his wife. They had two small boys, Sandy and Joe. Their
house was a one-room building about 14 x 26 feet, the stove was in the center, a curtain hung in a corner was their sleeping quarters. The
boys and I climbed a ladder nailed to the wall for the cross beams' above, our sleeping place. Notwithstanding the cold and wind we enjoyed
the months I was with them. During the time I stayed with them I had typhoid fever, but they doctored and nursed me to health again.
During the winter one of my jobs was to haul corn from the farmers in payment for the Doctor's service. It was to feed the stock and for
fuel for the stove. Corn on the cob makes a very hot fire. The price of the corn was six cents a bushel in the field or eight cents when taken
from the crib.
Notwithstanding the extreme cold and blustering weather the winter spent with the Morses was quite enjoyable. We often went several miles
to entertainments held in church or schoolhouse. Our conveyance was a bob-sled filled with straw, in which we were seated with blankets
for lap coverings.
In the early spring the urge to move was again in my mind and soon thereafter I moved further west and finally landed in Cawker City on the
Central Branch of the U. P. Railway.
On my arrival at this place I soon learned there was not much hope for men wanting work. I was told that all lines were overrun with labor;
wages were low. This was not a very encouraging outlook, added to this I was flat broke. Nothing daunted, I struck out and found a frame
house partly erected. No they did not want any carpenters. I finally agreed to put siding on the house for 25 cents a square 10 x 10 feet.
This brought a job. A Mr. Holden was the builder. After finishing the siding job he hired me as a steady worker. He had a son named Luke.
We soon became good friends. They also had a daughter named Cynthia. Without any additional attractions I went to board and room with
them. Once again I felt life was worth living.
The railway company put in a branch road 6 miles from Cawker City and called it Downs Junction. At this time I was at age 18. I secured a
job of building a livery barn at the Junction, for which I received $3.00 a day of ten hours. The treacherous winds of Kansas were well known
to builders and great care was taken to protect construction by bracing and carrying up evenly all walls. Even with much observance of the
power of Kansas winds one morning we found the building off its foundation about 16 inches. We simply raised it up, put new piers under the
frame and finished it on the place it had been moved by the wind. My next operation was the building of a drug store building for Dr. Taylor,
who was from Waukesau, Wisconsin. He was to pay $3.00 a day but when night came the first day he voluntarily raised it to $3.50. My
association with Dr. Taylor was one of the very pleasant periods of my life. When the building was completed and stocked as a drug store
he went back to Wisconsin (leaving me in charge), got married and brought his wife to Downs. She was a very fine woman, perfect in
manners and social qualities.
I continued to work in the store for nearly a year without any knowledge of the pay to be received. I boarded with them in the rooms above
the store. Downs Junction was a small country town with but few inhabitants; among them was the Brinsons, Jonathan and David, who had
lived on the Kansas plains many years, their occupation being buffalo hunting, which they had followed for several years. Their field of
hunting was around Dodge City, one of the wildest and roughest towns at that time in the U. S. They wore the typical beards of the border
men. They were deadly accurate in their shooting of buffalo and seldom missed their game when hunting. They had settled in Downs and
intended to make that place their home town. In the course of time a friend of theirs, who came from Idaho, called on them and told of his
success in finding a gold mine, which he had sold for $6000.00, and he related that it was not a difficult job to find a mine. The Brinson’s
were deeply interested and in time concluded to try for a mine and were soon on their way. In due time they arrived in Blackfoot, Idaho,
and settled down to await future developments. One of them had a son living in Downs that I knew and he told me his father had sent for
him and he would soon be on his way. I envied my friend. My thoughts reverted to the advice of Horace Greeley to go west young man.
I had no money and how much was I entitled to receive from my employer I did not know. I notified him of my desire and expectation.
The amount of wages he paid me was of his own appraisal. It was just sufficient to get me to Blackfoot, Idaho. I took with me my carpenter
tools, which I knew would always keep the wolf from the door. On the trip, my first Chinaman to see was near Ogden, where we took the
train going north to Blackfoot. The time was early May and I enjoyed at Brigham City a sight never to be forgotten. Crowded on double
steps to a platform leading to a school building was a large number of girl students— happy, joyful girls singing spring songs amid
We arrived at Blackfoot at 7 AM. The Brinsons met us. I was broke, save 15 cents. After breakfast they took me to a saloon where
they were trying to build a bar with a rounded end enclosure. I was dressed in a black suit, white shirt and narrow black bow tie. My
box of tools was brought and inside of an hour after arrival I was working at $4.00 a day. Blackfoot was a wild town— headquarters
of all cow punchers in that part of Idaho, who delighted in shooting the glass insulators on the top of wire-carrying poles. The town was
on the Snake River and was filled with plenty of places to eat and drink. It depended on raising of cattle for business revenue.
I had only been in Blackfoot a short time when I gained considerable publicity in this way: A child two years old died, there was no funeral
director there and no coffin could be bought. So I made one, lined the inside with cotton batting and covered both inside and outside with silk.
I found suitable handles at a store. The parents were very thankful and the public was equally so. I worked at my trade and found plenty of
work. My largest job was building an addition to the Keaney and Hanson Hotel.
A wide platform the full length of the hotel provided the station or stopping place for all passenger trains. On one of these stops of the train
I was treated to a gun fight taking place on the platform. I was shingling near the top of the added addition to the hotel when I heard the
firing of revolver shots. Without thinking of danger I slid from staging to staging until I had top view of the situation and the shooting parties.
It did not last long. Mr. Keaney of the hotel, after emptying his gun load, retired to his bar room. The train moved on and I climbed to my
I had been in Blackfoot about three months when Mr. Marsters, who owned the main store in Blackfoot, treated me to a ride with him to
Fort Hall, 12 miles east of Blackfoot. In going he told me a friend of his was suffering from rheumatism and was going to the springs near
Salt Lake City and he needed a person to take charge of his store (a regular sutler store). The Fort Hall post had a full company of soldiers
and the necessary officers. We arrived in due time and I met Mr. Fay, who was the owner of the store.
We came to an agreement quickly. I came back to Blackfoot and the next day, again with Mr. Marsters, I went to Fort Hall. Mr. Fay gave
me but few instructions. Prices were on all goods to be sold and government regulations were on the wall placards. He emphasized one
thing: don't ever let two Indian women come in to trade at the same time— they are great shoplifters.
Peter Fay went back with Mr. Marsters and that night took the train for Salt Lake and I took over operation of the store. It seems almost
incredible that I, coming 20 years old, should have been selected to take charge of the store during Mr. Fay's absence. With some aid from
the Fort's officers I managed well and on Mr. Fay's return I had accumulated some four hundred dollars. He was profuse in his thankfulness.
Many of the Fort buildings needed repairs and I was hired by officers in charge and paid $90.00 a month and found to do the necessary work.
Again I took over and worked some four months, when winter set in and I went back to Blackfoot. In the early next spring a bridge across
the Snake River was being built by a contracting company from Salt Lake City. I secured a job from them and shortly after one morning I
froze a finger on my left hand and it was two months before it healed. The thermometer registered 14° below. In the meantime some friends
of mine were going west to the mountains some 150 miles away to prospect for gold or silver mines. I joined with them. We crossed the
great lava beds, Big and Little Lost Rivers and in due time arrived at Ketchum, now Sun Valley, in the Wood River district, a rather wild
and unexplored country at that time. We pushed on to Galena, 16 miles farther. Here I stored my tools, which I had sacked and brought along.
We made Galena our camp quarters and roamed the hills, near and far, for a mine. This continued for some three months. On one occasion
we had to cross the Queen's River, a wild mountain stream. On the opposite side was a flat bar of about four acres. We had hopes of placer
gold. Just above our river approach we found a large tree that had been fallen across the stream. This was a foot bridge which we used to
get our equipment across to the opposite side. This left the two horses to go over. One of the men crossed on the bridge and I and a companion
were to ride the horses across, which we did on horse back. In the middle of the stream my horse turned upstream, the strong current raised
his fore body and I felt he would turn over backwards, so I slid from his back into the cold mountain water. I should have held to his tail but
I did not and soon I was alone in the stream, striving to gain the shore. I was helped in so doing by the man on shore, who ran along the shore
with a pole, which was eagerly grasped by me, and in this way I reached the shore, cold, wet and shaking from fear, I dried my clothes on my
body, which was anything but pleasant.
The river made two parts of the land acreage and to get across to the second part we felled a large fir tree to the opposite side. It landed
perfectly and we went to sleep with hope for the morrow. About one o'clock that night we heard a terrible roar and rush and in the morning
found the tree washed away. This was a bad omen and we turned back to Galena. On arrival there I quit prospecting. My shoes were red,
half worn out, my hair was long, ditto my beard. My clothes were ragged and my hat was tattered and open at the top. I was broke, but youth
and hope were still of my part.
I quickly found work building a smelter up in a canyon about 1 ½ miles from Galena and soon I was on top again. The smelter was being built
for a company in Ohio and when the payroll was sent them they ordered work to stop, as they never had heard of such wages, four dollars
a day and board. So we quit, drew our pay and went to Saw Tooth, 18 miles beyond Galena, to work on a quartz mill, where we received
six dollars a day. This was in the summer of '81. I was in Saw Tooth that winter and in the early spring I went to Vienna, where they were
building an ore mill for the Johnson mine. I arrived there about April first. Soon after in a new building the owner gave a dance party on May
first. For women there was Mrs. Cruze and her two daughters living in Vienna, not enough for a quadrille, so we went to Saw Tooth, nine
miles away, and hauled Mrs. Tony on a sled over the snow to make the required number. At this date there was nine feet of solid snow.
The dance was held two nights and was much enjoyed.
Mining camp life in those days was devoid of any semblance of culture, no society except men, no place to spend time except in a saloon
or your cabin with open door to all, good, bad or otherwise.
In the beginning of my life in Vienna I built a log store building for a Salt Lake merchant. I built a floor in a saloon and other jobs and in
most cases the logs and lumber was made from whipsawing small logs, if dressed it was by hand planing, very hard work. While at work
on the ore mill I was startled by gun fire. Looking down the ravine not far distant I saw a small man totter, then fall to the ground. It
proved to be Johnny Behind the Rock, as he was known, and the firer of the gun was a man named Hardy, of much doubtful character.
The motive was jealousy over an immoral woman. Hardy was convicted and paid the death penalty. The mill was being erected by
Owens & Hamilton, contractors from San Francisco. I was selected as foreman to superintend the raising. On completion of the building
I was rewarded by being offered a similar position in their future operations. While I appreciated their offer I did not accept.
Vienna was at the head or source of the middle fork of the Salmon River, the waters of which eventually found their way to the Pacific
Ocean. The salmon that came here to spawn were usually bruised and weak from the long trip and were easy prey for the bears that
waded the stream and with their paws threw the fish on the bank for their needed meals.
In the summer, while at work on the mill, I received a letter postmarked Moline, Illinois. It was from my sister Caroline, who had been
married to T. E. Welles in Pensacola and was north on her wedding trip. The black fever had broken out in Pensacola and she was stopping
at Moline with Elizabeth Ammam, her school chum years before in Cambridge, Ill. She wrote that Ev, her husband, had gone back to Florida,
that our father and mother had died within three days and that brothers George and Will had been taken aboard a fishing vessel and taken
out in the Gulf of Mexico. Years afterward brother William came to Portland, got married, raised a family and died there in a hospital from
In the autumn of 1882 I left Vienna in company with Frank McCracken, who, in mining parlance, was my partner. We had heard that the
reservation at Pendleton, Oregon, was to be opened for homesteading, so we came out, bound for Pendleton. In due time we arrived there,
but were informed it would be a year or more before it was done as Congress as yet had not opened it for settlement. In our travel to
Pendleton we passed La Grande and came over the Blue Mountain chain. We were on a buckboard stage and at times Frank and I walked
ahead of the stage. One bright moonlight night we could plainly hear the coyotes howl and at times we imagined we could see their forms
on the hillside silhouetted in the moonlight.
Our stay in Pendleton was short. I read in the paper that railroad shops were to be built in Albina, near Portland. We boarded a car of the
Oregon Railway & Navigation Company. The road's length at that time was from Pendleton to Bonneville. There we rook the company's
boat to Portland, arriving at Ash Street dock in the early evening on November 3rd, 1882. Our luggage was our packs and our money was
limited to $1.50. A hotel bus took us to a hotel still standing at the southwest corner of First and C Street, now Couch. Our worldly goods
were as stated. The next day Frank unexpectedly met his stepfather, who was here on a visit from California. Frank was in sore need of
clothes and when he came to the hotel one night he was wearing a new suit, hat and shoes. His father was to outfit me next day, but I
said no, I would rather have $20.00 in money, which I received, and turned it all over to the clerk for board and lodging.
All the time I was looking for a job at my trade and in a couple of days I was hired but I had no tools, so Frank's stepfather stood good
for what I needed, some $35.00 worth, and the next morning I was on a job at three dollars a day. A few days later Frank and his
stepfather left for 'Frisco. I never saw Frank afterward. Frank was of a very even temperament. He had but little, he wanted nothing,
he never complained, which of itself was a fine virtue. I worked steadily and soon was on sound footing, financially. I gradually paid for
the tools I bought, also a suit of clothes, white shirts, etc. My employer, Mr. Hyland, soon was paying me $21.00 a week. I was in clover,
to use that saying. This continued until spring. In the meantime I became acquainted with Jim Wilson, who persuaded me to join Hassalo
Lodge of I.O.O.F. I was taken into the lodge in April, 1883, and have belonged to that lodge to date, a period of 67 years. In the lodge I
met D. W. Crandall, my new employer, who operated a carpenter job shop at 5th and Washington Street, where the Perkins hotel now
To be near my work I moved to a rooming house situated in an orchard in the center of the block surrounded by Washington, Stark,
6th and 7th Streets. Soon after I was joined in the same apartment by C. C. Woodcock, who was a school mate of mine in Searsmont,
While working for Mr. Crandall I met Sam Wren, who with a partner was operating a box making plant in the rear of Smith Bros. sawmill,
located at the foot of Montgomery Street. He wanted me for a partner. I had saved about $180.00 and I told him that was all I had.
That was enough, he said. He gave his partner $50.00 for his interest and I became a part owner. We agreed to draw $50.00 a month
as wages. I paid $7.00 for my room rent and $20.00 for eats at the Louisville restaurant. The balance was spread over many items,
such as baths, 25 cents; shaving, 15 cents at barber shops.
I continued in this business until after I was married. Soon after this event I sold my interest for $5,250.00. This was a lot of money for
me, so I went into the brokerage and loan business and how the hawks lit on me. I bought land on the west slope of Mt. Tabor. Before
I was broke I went to work for the mill company as superintendent at $125.00 a month.
I married my wife, Florence Madden, May 3, 1888. She was living with her brother, his wife and her mother, Mary P. Madden, at
347 Third Street. I worked for Smith Bros. for about a year, when I bought an interest with D. W. Crandall, my old employer.
Orville Cobb was born December 18, 1889. I traded some lots at Mt. Tabor for a house and lot and mortgage at the corner of Grover
and Kelly Street. Here were born Earl, Cecil and Everett.
My interest with Mr. Crandall was very good. For three years we each had drawn about $9.00 a day. We were partners up to 1895.
The last three years were very poor. Mr. Crandall was unable to do much work and I was dividing, of course, my earnings with him.
I saw no hope for the future, so I turned over to him my interest in the friendliest manner.
A Mr. Jones, a house mover, had used our shop as his headquarters, at which time he became a one-third interest partner in a box
factory located on the east side. He had no knowledge of that type of business, so depended on the other interests for its management.
It was not successful and the East Portland Bank took it over. Mr. Jones, interested in protecting his one-third interest, urged me to
buy it from the bank. I had no money but did investigate to the extent of invoicing plant machinery and visiting the bank. Our talk
was a satisfactory one and I was told to come again next day, which I did. At this meeting they told me that to buy the plant I would
have to assume bank indebtedness of $14,000.00 and some outstanding bills, so without any down payment they agreed to turn the
plant over to me. In the meantime my schoolboy friend, C. C. Woodcock, had been married and was in the real estate business.
He knew that I was to open the factory and asked to join me, which I agreed to. We neither of us had any money, so he suggested
a person that would furnish $1500.00 cash. So on February 29, 1898, we organized a stock company of $20,000.00 fully paid stock
and started operating. Later on we renamed the corporation as the Standard Box and Lumber Co. The operation of the plant was
successful. The first year we paid off part of the bank debt and also paid $1000.00 to each of the three stockholders. During that
time we each drew $75.00 a month as salary.
Our business and profits grew and we soon had paid off the bank debt and we were anxious to enlarge, which we soon did by leasing
five blocks north of Oak Street, owned by the Ladd estate. We had some of the streets vacated, obtained a $20,000.00 credit at Ladd
& Tilton Bank and in the year 1900 we were operating a sawmill in addition to the box plant at Washington Street, which burned to
the ground shortly afterward. We already planned to build a box factory at our new location and soon we were operating in full force.
Both the box and lumber business continued to grow in volume and profit. Early in 1900 I moved to 12th and East Ash Street. Here
Edna was born, after which event we moved to 13th and East Yamhill. For many years prior to this time my wife's mother,
Mary P. Madden, had lived with us. At this time she passed away. She was a fine woman and mother and we deeply felt the loss.
In 1901 I bought ground at 17th and East Washington Street and built a house, which we occupied until 1911. Grace was born here
In 1913 our company bought a large tract of timber located near Schofield, Washington County. This cost us $458,000.00. Building
sawmills seemed to be our hobby and before the end of the year we were in full operation there. We were located on the Tillamook
branch of the S. P. railroad. We continued to operate both plants in Portland until June, 1914, when this mill and factory were both
destroyed by fire. We could not rebuild, as the city ordinance called for all-steel construction. Having a mill at Schofield we did not
deem it advisable to rebuild. We then quit box making and devoted our full time to the lumber business.
Our office was saved from fire and it was moved from the old setting to First and Oak Streets. When the first war broke out we
leased our grounds to a shipbuilding company and this continued until 1919, the end of the war.
Earl, Cecil and Everett were called for war service. Cecil joined the Aviation Corps and later was stationed in Memphis, Tennessee.
Earl was married in 1914 to Ada Kendall and their union brought a son, Kendall Cobb, who now lives in Portland. Earl, in October,
1918, in service, went to Louisville, Ky., where he shortly afterward died from the flu at age of 27. His body was brought back by his
brother Everett, who also had been assigned to Louisville, an officers' training camp. Cecil was also attacked by the flu, but survived
to get married and died in Los Angeles in March, 1933.
My wife died in 1920. Her body rests in a grave plot in Riverview cemetery, which is also the burial place for Earl, his wife and my
daughter Edna. Time moves on.
Late in 1919 we lost the mill at Schofield by fire. Undaunted, in 1920 we rebuilt and continued operations there until the first of
December, 1928. At that time we closed down on account of no available timber. I sold our lumber on hand, logging and mill equipment,
this being our last lumber manufacturing operation.
During our operations at Schofield the S. P. R. R. was one of our good customers, as they used many carloads of lumber and piling.
When they built their office building in San Francisco we furnished the required piling to be over 100 feet long. It took three open cars
to carry these lengths.
We also shipped several carloads of long, smooth piling to Pensacola, Florida, where they were shaped for booms and masts. In July,
1924, in company with my sister, Mrs. T. E. Welles, and her companion, Elizabeth Ammerman, I went to southern Europe. It was not
only a pleasant trip but a very informative one, as we visited in Egypt, Cairo and Jerusalem, to Athens in Greece and all the places of
interest on the Mediterranean Sea.
Italy, Rome, Naples, Florence, Milan, Venice. All of these places were full of interest. Our homeward trip through Lake Como, Interlaken
and Lucerne and then to Paris. We left Europe at Cherbourg and soon were in New York. Shortly after arriving home our
Mr. C. C. Woodcock died. He, in our company, had charge of logging operations. His death added to my work by my taking
over his duties. I had brought him a watch from Lucerne, one that could be read without light. He had use for it for a few months
One year from the day of his funeral Mr. Grattan was killed in an auto accident near Pendleton, Oregon. I thus became the sole
manager of our company.
Several men in our employ had grown old in our service. Of course, I relied on them to a considerable extent for the future as in
the past. I now spent from two to four days in each week at the mill. This routine continued for several years. However, time brought
an end to our operations at Schofield and the first of December, 1928, we sawed the last log. I have never been to the scene of
operations since that time.
In the early part of 1929 I was asked to build and lease a building to be erected on our block of ground, corner of Oak and Water
Street. We also owned the adjoining block north and a lot lying between Oak and Stark at East 3rd Street. None of these properties
had any income and they comprised the major assets of the company. I was in favor of the lease under satisfactory terms. The trustee
for the Grattan estate favored the leasing. Mr. Woodcock's estate declined to accept or reject the making of a contract, so I bought
their interest and paid them an agreeable price of $27,000. My estimate of the building cost was around $100,000.00. It ran to $109,000.00,
some changes being added. I had to borrow $90,000.00. Mr. Grattan's estate had moved to the First National Trust Department. That
proved very unpleasant for me, so the company sold the lease to Hudson & Duncan, who were occupying the premises. A settlement
was made with Grattan estate through division of the land properties. In due time full payment for the ground and building was made.
The Grattan estate received their entitled share and I became a retired citizen.
I have always been politically minded; always a republican, so the natural thing for me was to join and give my influence to the Republican
Party. In time this brought much activity for me in politics.
In my early residence in Portland there were two factions in politics, both republican, each striving to gain control of the elective offices
of the state, county and city. The result was that both factions used every means known in bad political action to win: brutal assaults at
the polls, buying votes, corrupt judges were but a few of the many means used to secure control.
In 1902 I was elected a representative to the state legislature and was again elected to serve in the 1915 session. At this session I was
appointed chairman of the Ways and Means committee by my good friend, Ben Selling, who was speaker at that session.
Soon after this time dirty politics again became an issue, so a group of five good republican citizens formed a committee for good
government. I was chosen chairman. Our selected ticket was called the White ticket. Its recommendations were well followed as
we elected 33 candidates out of 35 to be chosen. Two years later we were again in the field and elected 28 out of 34 chosen for
When Geo. H. Williams was mayor I was selected by him to fill a vacancy on the board of directors.
In a contest for the United States Senatorship between Robert Stanfield, who was at the time Senator from Oregon, and Fred Steiwer,
I wrote an article condemning Stanfield, who had been defeated in the primaries by Steiwer, for his action in running as an independent
against Steiwer, who had won over Stanfield by a large majority in the primaries. My part in Steiwer's election was appreciated by
him and in a luncheon meeting in the Imperial hotel he told me that he was naturally obligated to me, that I had been a great factor
in securing his election. "What can I do for you?" he said. I replied: "There is nothing I want. Just go to Washington, do your best
and that will please me as well as the people of Oregon." This ended my political life. Time marches on and nears the end of my
Camp Namanu of the Camp Fire Girls organization, of which I am a member, is located on land given by me. It lies on the bank of
the Sandy River near Bull Run.
I enjoy in all its fullness the pleasure and friendship the gift has brought me.
I am proud of their achievements and beneficent acts, which are most worthy and of high order.
My life in Portland brought me many friends, many of whom have departed. To those and to the living ones I have always in action
and memory cherished their friendship. The one great duty of my life has been devoted to my family of my wife and children, four
boys and two daughters. The First World War took Earl and later Cecil and shortly afterward, in October, 1920, my wife died and
was followed by Edna, who died in 1942. I have still living, to give me blessings and comfort, my sons Orville and Everett, and daughter
Grace, also many near relatives, whose love and kindnesses have endeared them to me. In addition, there are ten grandchildren and
three great-grandchildren living, all of whom bring pleasure to me.
Throughout my life I never have intentionally given harsh or undue criticism to fellow man or mankind. With this in my mind I quote:
Faith and tolerance are virtues ground in patience and their meaning should be observed by all for a full rich life.
In closing this history of my life I am not unmindful of the love and devotion of my children and others, which has given me great
pleasure and which I shall continue to enjoy throughout life.
With faith in God and our Redeemer I await the call.
SAMUEL BEDLINGTON COBB
I wish you would linger, setting sun,
As my day's work was late begun;
Grant me light through your brilliant ray
So that I may fulfill my labor day.
We all should do our dailies best,
For night will bring sleep and rest;
Again in tomorrow's rain or sun
We will still find work not yet done.
Then, let's be up and doing
Though sometime the hour be late,
Still keep working, working,
Let not labor ever wait.
March, 1948. S.B.C
When the evening shadows are past-----------------------------
And the quiet of night begins,
Hearts should be filled with gratitude
For the blessings that sleep will bring.