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Biography of
Nicholas Augustus Young & Wilhelmina Schreiner


BIRTH, NATIONALITY & PARENTS

Nicholas Augustus Young was born Nicolas Jung on April 26, 1823 in Rohrbach-les-bitche, Moselle, Lorraine, France to Jean/Johann Jung and Jeanne/Johanna Eb/Epp. In Jackson County, Oregon records, he is recorded as having been born April 27, 1824 in Robaque, Moselle, France (Robaque is the phonetic spelling found in his donation land file; see page 1, page 2); On his headstone, his birthplace is given as Lorraine, Germany. In some census records, Nicholas A. indicates that he was born in France, and in others, Germany.

There is a logical reason for this Nicholas A. having recorded his nationality as both French and German. The town in which he was born is located in the Alsace-Lorraine region of Europe (see map 1, map 2 , map 3 ). Occupation of this area had gone back and forth between France and Germany. Rohrbach-les-bitche, currently located in France, is just miles from the present-day French-German border. Therefore, it was not uncommon for immigrants from this area to have considered themselves either French, German, or both. Records indicate that Nicholas A. was bilingual. In one census record, Catherine Young Givan, Nicholas A. Young's daughter, reported that her father spoke French. In another census, she said her father spoke German.

No U.S. records specifically pertaining to Nicholas A. which I have found document his parents' names. Finding the names of Nicholas A. Young's parents was accomplished by documenting his connection to his brother Nicholas Young in Missouri, then documenting the Missouri Nicholas Young’s connection to their brother Thomas Young in New Orleans. Parentage was documented in Thomas Young/Jung and Caroline Keiffer's 1854 Catholic marriage record.

           
IMMIGRATION & COMING WEST

According to Nicholas A. Young’s donation land grant application, he came to the United States in 1841; however, according to his naturalization papers, he came to the U.S. in 1842.  This is consistent with French records. According to Joel Beck's book Les Jung Des origines a nos jours, Nicholas A. was living in America in 1843. We do not know what ship he sailed on or which port he arrived at; however, by the wording in the donation land patent application, he implies that he arrived at the New Orleans port. It is possible that he could have arrived at another port and then sailed down to Louisiana. His donation land application reveals that he stayed in New Orleans for about 5 years and naturalized there. His naturalization papers provide several important details about him. It gave is middle name as Augustus, and indicated that he had naturalized in 1847 in the 5th District Court of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Although a ship passenger record of his arrival to the United States has not been located, we have found a record of passengers who left New Orleans heading to Chagres (Panama) aboard the brig M. C. Draper on July 10, 1849. A person named N.A. Young was listed; no other Youngs were aboard the ship (Although we don’t know if this is him for sure, the timeline does fit). Ships would take passengers to Panama, drop them off, and then passengers would, with the help of natives, make their way across the 50-mile Panamanian Isthmus, board another ship on the Western side, and sail up to California or Oregon.  If he did cross the Isthmus of Panama, then he crossed the Isthmus prior to the building of the railroad. His journey would have most likely been by canoe and foot, traversing mosquito-infested, swampy land filled with wild animals and life-threatening diseases.

If he did not cross the Isthmus at Chagres, the destination of Chagres could have been a stopping point as the ship sailed around Cape Horn and onto California, a considerably longer journey. This might be the more likely scenario given the family story related to me by Jeanne Owens Deller, great-granddaughter of Nicholas Augustus Young. She told me in a telephone interview in Oct. 2005 that there is a story passed down in her family which says that when Nicholas A. came West, his ship foundered around Cape Horn and that he had to find another means of transportation to finish his journey. More research is needed to see if this was indeed Nicholas Augustus Young aboard that ship.

Regardless of how he got to the West, we know from Nicholas A. Young’s donation land grant application papers that his naturalization papers had been burned in a fire in 1850 in San Francisco. Presumably the papers were his own copy.  He must have obtained another copy from New Orleans before he applied for his homestead land grant, because a copy of his naturalization papers were included in that land file. As of this writing, I have not yet searched for the copy of his naturalization papers which should be located in New Orleans.

A little surfing on the internet yielded some information about San Francisco having had a series of very big, very expensive fires during the time frame of 1849-1851. This was a result of the rapid increase of people and buildings in the city at the time of the gold rush. Apparently the city of San Francisco did not have an operating fire department until after several of the fires had taken their toll. Whole sections of the city would be scorched at one time. Nicholas A. Young's account of his naturalization papers having been destroyed by fire in San Francisco is possible.

Although we don’t know anything about Nicholas A. Young's stay in San Francisco, we know from his donation land grant application that he said he arrived in Oregon July 2, 1852.  One of the first settlers in Southern Oregon, he appears in Jackson County Oregon (Eagle Point area) census records starting in 1853. He settled his donation land claim in June/July of 1853.


NICHOLAS AND HIS BROTHER

Nicholas A. Young was living with John Nicholas Young in the Jackson County, Oregon 1860 federal census.  Nicholas A. was listed as a farmer; John as a teamster. Early Jackson County Oregon tax records (1858, 1859, 1863, 1864) list Nicholas A. Young and bro. [brother] as having been taxed as one household. This is the best documentation I have found in Oregon records that Nicholas A. and John were brothers. French records support this conclusion.

I have found many connections between Nicholas and John which suggest they are related. For example, in Catholic records, John Young is listed as the godfather of Thomas Felix Young, son of Nicholas A. Young. Second, Anna Young (probably Anna Byrne Young, John’s wife) is listed as the godmother of Catherine Anna Young, Nicholas A. Young’s daughter. Third, Timothy Charles Dugan, John’s nephew, was involved in Nicholas A. Young's estate settlement. Fourth, John and Nicholas A. both have birthplaces of France/Lorraine, Germany. Fifth, their names appear next to each other in many of the censuses (suggesting they may have lived next to or near each other). Sixth, both John and Nicholas A. are repeatedly named in James Fryer’s journal, often in the same paragraph and in the same context. Seventh, the legal land descriptions of their land are very similar (both in sections 4 and 9). I have wondered, but haven’t documented, whether Nicholas A. sold or gave his brother some of his land. After reviewing all the records collectively, I have determined that John and Nicholas A. were brothers. John married Anna Byrne and had no children (read more about John).


EARLY BUSINESS VENTURES

Nicholas Augustus Young’ early business ventures are outlined in Gaynell Krambeal’s book The History of Eagle Point and Surrounding Communities, an out of print book. A copy is located at the Rogue Valley Genealogical Society in Phoenix, Oregon. Krambeal writes, “The Youngs owned and operated the first mercantile store in Eagle Point which was originally built in 1854 in partnership with Frederick Westgate and a man named Little. A second store was opened in Jacksonville and the merchandise was packed in for these ventures by mule train” (page 60). 

Presumably, some of this information was taken from the obituary of Nicholas A. Young’s daughter Annie Young Owens (see obituary). Furthermore, in indexes to Jackson County deeds, I have seen evidence of transactions between Young, Little, and Westgate. More research is needed to see if the actual deeds exist and if they provide additional information about Nicholas A. Young’s business ventures. In all census records, he is listed as being a farmer.


MARRIAGE

According to the inscription on Nicholas A. and Wilhelmina Schreiner Young’s headstone, located in the Jacksonville Historic Cemetery (Jackson County, Oregon), he and his wife married Nov. 04, 1865. While researching in Jackson County, I came across a secondary source which reported that Nicholas A. had married his wife, a governess, in San Francisco and that he had brought her to Eagle Point where they raised their family. I expect that they would have married in a Catholic church as they had all of the their children christened in St. Joseph's Catholic church in Oregon. More research is needed to confirm their marriage date and to see if they in fact married in San Francisco.

In addition, more research is needed to document Wilhelmina’s birthplace, parents, and siblings. I know very little about her.  I know that she was from Bavaria, spoke German, and died very young (44 yrs old).  I know that the Schreiner surname is NOT in the early Jackson County records. I know that either Nicholas A. or Wilhelmina had extended family members named William/Bill Braun and G. Braun who resided in or near Buffalo, New York in 1913 & 1914. If you know more about Wilhelmina Schreiner’s family or the Braun family, please contact me.


LAND, FARM, & HOME

Nicholas A. Young obtained three land patents from the federal government.  He acquired 166 acres in 1866 (donation claim), 39 acres in 1870 (cash-sale claim), and another 160 acres in 1878 (homestead claim). In the affidavit included in his homestead application, two witnesses reported that Nicholas A. had made settlement on the land in Oct 1870 and had built a home. The home is described as being “a box house 32 X 12 feet with kitchen full length with 2 rooms in each one story high.” The witnesses reported the many improvements that Nicholas A. had made to the property. He had plowed, fenced, and cultivated 25 acres of land and had built “one fram [frame?] barn 32 X 20 feet shedded all round. Smoke house, about 36 fruit trees planted. The probable value of improvements five hundred dollars.” The witnesses also attested to Nicholas A. being a naturalized citizen, a married man, and the father of seven children. More research is needed to see if he in fact had seven children; only six have been documented. All the land he acquired was in Jackson County, Oregon.

Helen Harnish Wolgamott, a long-time resident of Eagle Point who personally knew some of Nicholas A. and Wilhelmina’s children when she was a child, told me in an interview in Oct. 2005 that the old homestead was located on Linn Road in Eagle Point. Linn Road is just up from Nick Young Road (named after either Nicholas A. Young, or his son Joseph Nicholas Young. Both went by Nick). As of 2006, the land is still beautiful and open (see photos 1, 2, 3, 4).


CHILDREN & GRANDCHILDREN

Nicholas A. and Wilhelmina had their six children christened by F.X. Blanchet in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Jackson County, Oregon. This same priest was active in the area for about 25 years and was involved in the Catholic sacraments of the Young children throughout their lives.

Daughter Annie Young Owens

Nicholas A. and Wilhelmina had Annie Young Owens in the Eagle Point, Jackson County, OR area Sept/Oct. 17, 1866 and died Feb. 8, 1948 in Jackson County. Annie married James Owens, son of William and Sarah Harper Owens on Nov. 20, 1895 in Jackson County, OR. James was born in Harrisburg, OR on Oct. 24, 1866 and died Dec. 5, 1935 in Jackson County. They are both buried in the Central Point Cemetery, Central Point OR (located on Hamrick Rd). They are buried there along with James’ parents, some of James’ siblings, and some of Annie’s siblings (Clara and Peter).


They farmed a 2000 acre ranch in the Weller District of Jackson County. Annie and James had three kids: Henry A. Owens, Lillian Owens Bleil, and James Vern Owens.

Henry married Minnie Yolanda Rummell and later Signa Day.  Henry and Minnie adopted two children. Henry is buried in the Jacksonville Oregon Cemetery.

At the time of James Owens' death, daughter Lillian was living in Knoxville, TN.  She also lived in Modesto, CA, but died in Napa, California. Lillian married Clarence Bleil and they did not have children. Lillian and Clarence are buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, San Mateo, CA.

James Vern Owens married Rozina E. Blake and they had two children. They died in Klamath Falls, Klamath, Oregon.

Read the Annie's letters to her Young cousins, and learn more about Annie.

Son Peter Francis Young

Nicholas A. and Wilhelmina had Peter Francis Young on Jan. 12, 1868 in Jackson County OR. He lived his life in the Eagle Point area. He was also a farmer. He lived for many years during the 1920s and 1930s as a single man with his single sister Clara. He died on July 4, 1939 in Jackson County, Oregon.  He never married. Peter is buried in the Central Point Cemetery, Central Point, OR (see headstone).

Son Thomas Felix Young


Thomas Felix Young, was born Jan. 31, 1869 in Butte Creek area of Jackson County OR to Nicholas A. and Wilhelmina Young. He lived in Butte Creek, near Eagle Point, OR. He died Jan. 21, 1908 of typhoid fever at the age of 35 years old. He never married. He is buried in Central Point (see headstone front, headstone back).

Daughter Catherine Young Givan

Catherine Anna/Johanna Young was born to Nicholas A. and Wilhelmina Schreiner Young in the Butte Creek area of Jackson County OR, near Eagle Point on Aug. 1, 1870. Her middle name, Johanna, is the Americanized-version of her paternal grandmother's French name, Jeanne. Catherine died Dec. 30, 1957 in Jackson County.

She married George A. Givan on 25 Jun 1890, Jackson, OR. George is the son of Martha and Lindzey Givan. George was born June 15, 1862 in Oskaloosa, Iowa and died April 19, 1957 in Jackson County.

Catherine and George had 5 children: Charley Lindsey, Fay Augustas, Ruth, Dewey G., and Tommy R. Givan. Sons Dewey, Charley, and Tommy never married. Ruth married Arthur Kneass who had had children with his first wife, but they did not have any of their own. Fay married Dorris Ellen Perkins, but I do not believe that they had any children.

There is a scholarship in the name of Fay Augustas Givan at the University of Idaho. There is a scholarship at Southern Oregon University in the name of Ruth Givan Kneass.

Since George and Catherine did not have any grandchildren, the family’s land was donated to the county. The property, called Givan Park, is located down a remote, shady dirt road near the Rogue river and the Elk’s picnic ground (see newspaper article).

When I visited the property in June 2006, the Givan home and barns still stood. I was told by locals that many of the old pieces of farm equipment had been stolen and the barns vandalized. At the time of my visit, the county had not yet cleared or developed the land, and the home was being leased. The county has examined the property and has considered different development options, one of which is building a golf course.

Catherine Young and George Givan family photo

Sons Charley and Fay in their 8th grade photo

Givan boys pictured in front of Long Mountain School

(All three Givan photos courtesy of the Eagle Point Historical Society.)

Both George and Catherine are buried in the Central Point Cemetery, Central Point OR, along with some members of George’s family, as well as several of the Givan children (Fay, Dewey, Charley, and Tommy). Ruth is buried in Rose City Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.

Son Joseph Nicholas Young

Joseph Nicholas Young was born to Nicholas A. and Wilhelmina April 24, 1875 in the Antelope Creek area of Jackson County OR. He married Ruby L. Haley, daughter of Patrick W. Haley, on Dec. 23, 1925 in Jackson county OR. I think Ruby’s mother’s name was Alice. Ruby and Joseph Nicholas (also known as Nick Jr.) did not have any children. After his death on April 17, 1944, Ruby married a second time to George H. Stowell. Both Nicholas Jr. and Ruby are buried in Central Point Cemetery, Central Point, Oregon.

Helen Harnish Wolgamott, a long-time resident of Eagle Point, personally knew Nick Jr. and Ruby Young when she was a child. She told me in an interview in Oct. 2005 that the children in the town affectionately called them Uncle Nick and Aunt Ruby. She said that one of Ruby’s arms was paralyzed, but that she was still able to raise and care for her chickens.

Daughter Clara Wilhelmina Young

Clara Wilhelmina Young was born April 14, 1877 in Little Butte Creek area of Jackson County OR, near Eagle Point, to Nicholas A. and Wilhelmina. An entry in the neighbor James Fryer’s journal mentions her birth. James Fryer's wife Vi went up to stay the night at the Youngs. The next day he reports in his journal that the Youngs had had a baby. A few days later, Nicholas sent a ham down to the Fryers, presumably to thank them for their assistance. Clara's life with her mother was short. Clara was about 6 years old when her mother died.

In every census, Clara is living with her parents and/or her siblings. She lived with her brother Peter later in life because she never married. She died Nov. 9, 1952 in Jackson County and is buried in the Central Point Cemetery, Central Point, OR (see headstone).

DEATHS

Nicholas A. Young’s wife Wilhelmina died Mar. 5, 1883 of consumption (tuberculosis) at the age of 44 years, preceding him in death. Entries in James Fryer’s journal report her illness a couple of weeks prior to her death. In that same journal, Fryer indicates that her funeral was held at the Catholic church in Jacksonville, which is still in operation (see photos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Nicholas A. died Nov. 4, 1902 at 78 yrs old of heart trouble. After Nicholas’ death, Mr. Fryer went to the Young’s home to lay out his body. Nicholas A. and Wilhelmina are buried in the Jacksonville Oregon Historic Cemetery, and they share a headstone.

In one of his obituaries, Nicholas A. was characterized as “a man of strictest integrity, a good neighbor, just and accommodating.” Wilhelmina’s tombstone inscription reads, “She was a kind and affectionate wife, a fond mother, and a friend to all.”


CLAIM TO FAME

Jim Owens and Jeanne Owens Deller, great grandchildren of Nicholas A. Young, told me in Oct. 2005 that the Western author Ernest Haycox visited their grandmother Annie Young Owens to inquire about her pioneer father, Nicholas A. It is the family’s understanding that the main character in Haycox’s book Canyon Passage was based on Nicholas A., or at least influenced by the author’s interview with their grandmother. This book was later made into a movie.

There are several similarities between the main character in Canyon Passage and Nicholas A. Young. The story was set in the mining town of Jacksonville, Oregon. The main character was a single man who ran a mule-train operation, packing in goods from larger cities.  The main character transported a lady back to Oregon from a larger city.

Ernest Haycox’s widow donated his files to the University of Oregon. Copies of several files have been ordered, but no mention of Haycox’s interview with Annie Young Owens was mentioned. Further research is needed to determine if Haycox recorded his interview with Annie.

Updated September 15, 2006