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James C. Brattain

The example of a successful, prominent and more than ordinarily endowed father is an heritage to be appreciated and emulated. The faculty for so doing is apparent in the lives of James C. and F. M. Brattain, sons of that honored pioneer, Paul Brattain, around whom centers much of interest and importance in the early history of Lane county. At present occupying the donation claim taken up by their sire in 1852, these two, the youngest in a family of ten children, are fulfilling the expectations  warranted by their early training and character inheritance, taking a foremost part in politics and social life, and maintaining a standard as progressive farmers not excelled in any part of the Willamette valley. In addition to the home place of one hundred and sixty acres, the brothers own jointly a stock farm of a section on the McKenzie river, and three hundred and twenty acres on Fall creek both of which places are given over to extensive stock-raising. Both men are in touch with the progress in all parts of the world, are well informed on current events, and to an exceptional degree enjoy the confidence of an enlightened and exacting agricultural community.

Paul Brattain was born in North Carolina, December 30, 1801, and at an early age went to Tennessee, at the age of sixteen making his way overland and by river to Hancock and Morgan counties, Ill., where his forceful personal characteristics were first recognized and approved. Taking up a large tract of land, he entered the arena of politics, and in time was elected to the constitutional convention of Illinois, where his opinions were valued and noted. He married Elizabeth Carter, who encouraged and applauded his success, and who lived to share and sympathize with the joys as well as the shadows of his life. He left his home to participate in the Black Hawk war, and about 1838 moved to Van Buren county, Iowa, where his son, James C., was born November 14, 1844. Taking up government land near Birmingham, he continued his political career as a member of the constitutional convention of Iowa, and at a later period became treasurer of the board of public improvements at Des Moines. This board had to do principally with river improvements, and at times large sums of money were left in the hands of the treasurer. To the intense chagrin of all concerned, the safe of the board was broken open during Mr. Brattain's administration, and several thousand dollars taken out.

In the spring of 1852 Mr. Brattain followed the example of two of his children who had come to the west in 1849 and 1850, and outfitted with four wagons, fourteen yoke of oxen, and one mule team, his wife and eight children being members of the party. It is not recalled that anything out of the ordinary marred the progress of the overland journey, and in fairly good condition the travelers spent the first winter near Peoria, locating on the donation claim now occupied by the two sons, the following spring. Here, as heretofore, Mr. Brattain caused his influence to be felt, and aside from various political offices of note, he served as county clerk from 1854 to 1859, and was finally a member of the constitutional convention of Oregon, making the third state in which he had helped to frame the laws. This was a record of which he was justly proud, for it is given to few men to be thus honored in three distinct parts of the country. Before the war he was devoted to the Democracy, but the wail of the southern slaves seemed to ring in his ears, and moved him to espouse the cause of the north. His death occurred August 29, 1882, at the age of four score and one years. With his wife he was a member of the Baptist Church, towards the support of which he generously contributed. John, the oldest of his ten children was a pioneer merchant of Baker City, Ore., and died there in 1893; Thomas J. is a stockman of Lake county, Oregon; Elizabeth, who married James Elbert, died July 29, 1902, in Lane county; Alfred is a rancher on the McKenzie river; William C. is a resident of Spokane, Wash.; Mary lives on the home place; Martha married Robert Hadley and died in 1868; Amelia A. is the wife of J. F. Smith, a rancher of Jasper, Lane county; Francis M., living on the home place with his brothers, and was a member of the legislature of 1899.

source - "Portrait and Biographical Record of the Willamette Valley", pages 1137-1138

This page last updated: May 4, 2003

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