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In close proximity to the pretty little village of St. Johns is to be seen the broad acreage comprising Mr. Gatton's possessions in Multnomah county, the land aggregating six hundred and fifty-two acres, all in one body. In referring to his early history we find that his birth occurred September 26, 1831, in Holmes county, Ohio, and there the first six years of his life were spent. At that age in his career his parents changed the family abode to Muscatine county, Iowa, and there he grew to manhood and was initiated in the duties that fall to the lot of the farmer, as there his father settled down to follow the life of an agriculturist. He was granted and eagerly accepted such an education as the district schools afforded, adding thereto much valuable information gained by observation in later years.
1850 was a memorable year in the life of Mr. Gatton, as in that year was celebrated his marriage to Miss Nancy J. Hendrickson. Filled with a spirit of adventure, and hoping to find in the far west a realization of their young hopes of founding a home where the climate and other natural advantages were better than in Iowa, we find them headed for Oregon in the spring of 1852. The party landed in Oregon in October of that year, and the ensuing winter was spent near Portland. Mr. Gatton met with a loss there, as nearly all of his cattle died that winter. Nothing daunted, however, in the spring of 1853, he came to St. Johns and took up three hundred and twenty acres, which now form a part of his large holdings. Heavy timber covered a portion of this tract, and a small one-room log house was the only improvement, so that in comparing the present with the past appearance one can easily appreciate that the intervening years have not been idle ones so far as Mr. Gatton is concerned. Since his first purchase on a half section he has added other land until his holdings now comprise more than a section of land, all of which is in one body. A large portion of it is bottom land and especially adapted for dairying purposes. During the "60's he engaged quite extensively in the transporting of wood on the Columbia river, going as far as Portland. During the past fifteen years Mr. Gatton has rented his farm and has spent his time in different places, living retired from active labor. Private life has not consumed all of his time and attention, but he has, on the other hand, found time to devote to bettering the community in which he lives and for a number of years served as school director and in many other school offices. In his political inclinations he votes in favor of the Democratic party and fraternally is identified with the Pioneers.
In March, 1871, Mrs. Gatton was called to her final reward. She became the mother of eleven children, six of whom grew to maturity, and five of the number are now living, namely; Samuel R., who makes his home on the old homestead; George G., also at home; Lucretia, now Mrs. Lewis Brooks of Multnomah county; Minor W., who lives at Wind River, Wash.; and Clarissa J., who married Alexander McClure of Multnomah county.
"Portrait and Biographical Record of Portland and Vicinity, Oregon." A "compilation" written by "a number of writers." Chicago: Chapman Pub. Co., 1903. pg. 542
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