100 Years Ago
MARY: Letter to the editor — I am very much interested in the discussion going on in your paper and the Oregonian concerning the naming of Marys Peak and Marys River. My mother came to Oregon in 1847 and they were both named as they are now when she came. My father and mother, William and Mary Wyatt, started to cross the plains from Henderson, Illinois, April 25, 1847, with one wagon drawn by four yoke of oxen, and a drove of dairy cattle.
After coming to Oregon, they became very well acquainted with the man who named Marys Peak and Marys River. His name was Adam Whimple. He had a niece named Mary Whimple, who was a great favorite with him. She used to spend her spare time sitting by the river's bank watching the rippling stream, the grandeur of the hills and especially the (then) unnamed mountain.
When referring to either the river or the mountain, her uncle said that she always playfully called them "her river" or "her mountain." People were scarce and she looked upon them as real friends and called them hers. She was a frail little body and after coming to Oregon, she lived but a short time. Her uncle grieved terribly over her death. He missed her greatly and he told my mother that he named the river and the mountain in her honor, continuing to refer to them, as she had done herself, as "Mary's river" and "Mary's mountain."
Oregon's early history was a fad with my mother, and she often repeated this occurrence to me, even frequently saying, "You may be called upon some time to tell how these things happened, and I want you to remember whom the river and mountain are named after. Since Mr. Whimple is gone, there is nobody else here who knows. None of this early Oregon history is in print, but some day people will want to put it in print and you must remember it. Signed, Mary Eva Wyatt.
Miss Wyatt's evidence seems to be incontrovertible. This is the first positive evidence from anybody making a claim deliberately to having named either the river or the mountain. The river must have been named before the town was laid out (Corvallis was originally named Marysville), for it is quite likely that Mr. Avery named the town after the river. The town was started in 1847.
This little bit of history from Miss Wyatt carries the date of the naming of the river and mountain back farther than any of the evidence yet produced. The fact that Mr. Whimple left Benton thus early no doubt accounts for the fact that there has ever been any question as to these names. It also accounts for the fact that he is not mentioned in the written early history of Benton County. (Published Nov. 8, 1917, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times).
Editor's note: This letter to the editor and the newspaper's conclusion from 1917 is just one story concerning the possible origin of the naming of the river and mountain. As for Adam Whimple (spelled Wimple in other historical accounts), there was a man by the same name hung in 1852 in Polk County for murdering his 13-year-old wife (who coincidentally, was named Mary).
PIONEER: Charles Barton Crosno was born March 14, 1845 and died at his home in Toledo Nov. 4, 1917, age 72 years, 9 months and 7 days. Came to Oregon by ox team and schooner wagons in 1865 and to Benton County in 1868 and was a student at Philomath till 1872, leaving the school a short time prior to his graduation. He taught school a while in the Belknap settlement and afterwards in Kings Valley. He located in Kings Valley in the fall of 1873 and carried on a general merchandise store for eight years under the firm name of Connor & Crosno. (Except taken from story published Nov. 9, 1917, in the Lincoln County Leader, Toledo).
COLLEGE: Philomath College this morning received her first Japanese student, Miss Jessie Sueko Kimura, direct from Kyoto, Japan. After three weeks on the ocean, she reached Seattle last Saturday and left there yesterday morning. She is a young lady of culture and refinement, good musical ability, and well educated in Japanese, and has taught kindergarten successfully in Kyoto. She will specialize in English and music. (Published Nov. 9, 1917, in the Corvallis Gazette-Times).