George Washington Maxwell

George Washington Maxwell was born in Dayton, Ohio, July 29, 1832. The family moved from there to Indiana, and later in 1850, to southeastern Iowa. In 1851, he left for the West, telling his mother he would return in two years. He never returned or ever again saw any of his people, except one nephew and a cousin, many years later.

He spent his first winter in the Far West in northern California, where he mined near Yreka, and then came north to Yamhill County, Oregon. A few years later, he joined a regiment made up in that county to take part in the Cayuse Indian War of 1855-56. He served with the rank of lieutenant in that war.

In the late eighteen fifties, he married Joann Caples, a daughter of early Oregon pioneers. They had two sons, Lawrence C., born near Dayton, Oregon in 1860. Chester B., born in 1868 at Maxwell’s Landing on the Washington side of the Columbia River, west of Woodland to which the family had moved in 1867.

He spent time mining in Idaho in the early eighteen seventies, also mined in British Columbia, and made many short trips in later years, into the hills nearer home, in search of gold.

He was always interested in thoroughbred horses and raised some very fine trotters. It mighty easily be said that mining and raising horses were his two hobbies, though he was always keenly interested in politics and all world events. He kept well informed on all local and national affairs as long as he lived. In 1872, he served in the Territorial Legislature of Washington. In 1882 and 1883, he had charge of a general store at Pekin on the Lewis River. There were not many stores in those days, so people came in their wagons from far and near to do their trading.

There were many peaceful Indians in the country then, and since he could speak their language or “jargon,” he had many of them as his customers and friends.

Interview ca 2008 – 2012 by Candy Falk

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