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E. J. Ricketts


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This photo of Edward John and Amanda (Brown) Ricketts was submitted by Marianne C. Brown. She is interested in corresponding with other Ricketts researchers.

Alley, B. F. and Munro-Fraser, J. P. "History of Clarke County, Washington Territory : compiled from the most authentic sources ; also biographical sketches of its pioneers and prominent citizens." Portland, Or. : Washington Publishing Co., 1885.

E. J. RICKETTS - Was born in Ohio, June 24, 1833, and afterwards lived in Osage county, Missouri, until 1853, when he crossed the plains to Oregon, arriving in Portland, August 23rd. Having resided on the bank of the Columbia, nearly opposite Vancouver until 1861, he then removed to Flatwoods, Clarke county where he now has his home. Married, May 20, 1855, Amanda M. Brown, who came to Oregon in 1847, and has four children, viz: S. Wilber, Malinda R., James M. and M. Florena.

Submitted by: Jenny Tenlen


Marianne C. Brown contributed an expanded biography of Edward James and Amanda (Brown) Ricketts, which is included below. She is happy to exchange information with anyone researching the Ricketts family.

Edward James Ricketts
Amanda Melvina Brown Ricketts

Edward James Ricketts was born on June 24, 1833, in Ohio, the son of Benjamin and Rachel Ricketts. In 1853 Edward was at the "jumping off place" in Osage County, Missouri for those heading for Oregon and California, and he signed on a Oregon bound wagon train with Mathias Ward the wagon master. He traveled by an ox team.

After arriving in Oregon, he settled on the south bank of the Columbia River near Portland. It was here that he met his future bride, Amanda Melvina Brown born March 22, 1838, in Iowa. The daughter of Alexander Monroe Brown and Rebecca Malinda Swayze Martin Brown. They were married in the home of her mother at the Alexander Brown homestead on May 20, 1855.

Amanda crossed the plains to Oregon in 1847 when she was nine. She was bare footed and walked where the wagon wheels had flattened the ground. A while after she arrived in Portland, Amanda had a row boat and rowed people across the Columbia River at Fort Vancouver. One famous passenger was Grant who she rowed across the river 3 different times. Amanda didn't like general Grant very much.

Edward and Amanda were married on May 20, 1855 on the Oregon side of the Columbia river. In the home of her mother in Multnomah County. Some soldiers at Fort Vancouver were going to chivaree them and took the only canon in the fort. About mid river, they tipped the boat over, nearly drowned and lost the cannon. Two of their children were born in Oregon (nearly opposite Vancouver) before they moved to a claim on the Clark County side of the river.

On April 3, 1861 Edward and Amanda made a claim to establish the first settlement in Flatwoods deriving it's name from the evenness of the land covered with a luxuriant growth of fir, ash, alder, cedar, and maple timber. It was actually Amanda who picked the name of flatwoods. This area by 1883 was changed to Manor, and later became a suburb of Vancouver. An interesting note is in the 1880 census of Clark County the population was 5,480 which included 134 Indians and 48 Chinese.

At this period of time, this land was innocent of roads, and in order to approach his claim with team and wagon, Edward was compelled to cut his way through the dense undergrowth of tall trees and blackberry vines for about two miles to connect to the road which led to Fort Vancouver, about ten miles away. Edward made a log cabin made from trees logged from their own property.

In choosing a site for settlement, Edward chose a 100 acre parcel with good farming potential and the natural resources for building, which is now the intersection of Northeast 72nd Avenue and 159th Street. Forty acres were cultivated to provide food for the family and livestock.

Amanda with her love for flowers soon planted a large flower garden. Amanda believed in making things attractive for their children at home. Amanda became the community midwife and helped 50 babies to be born.

In 1879 the Ricketts suffered a heartbreaking tragedy when their three youngest children were lost in a diphtheria epidemic. The only doctor who made calls in the rural areas in Clark County was Doctor Smith who lived in Vancouver. Joseph Higdon had a good three seated hack and a team of horses and was kept busy going to Vancouver to bring out coffins to bury the dead in the Manor Cemetery.

Both Edward and Amanda lived a long life. He was nearly 84 when he passed away on April 19, 1917. Amanda stayed in her house alone for a while. She liked to sew patchwork quilts. Since she didn't see well by this time her great-grandson, Donald Brown would come by after school on his way home and thread 50 needles on a spool of thread so she could sew the next day. Amanda was 84 when she died on August 16, 1922. The couple and several members of their family are buried in the Manor Wilson Bridge Cemetery in Clark County.

Submitted by: Marianne C. Brown


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