I recently posted about my cousin George Hall Flanders, prominent citizen of Portland, Oregon, whose residence is pictured at left. This evening I found some wonderful information about George on Find-A-Grave memorial # 102751958. Because it agrees with my own personal beliefs, my favorite comment in all that follows is this, ".. the thousands of beneficiaries can bear witness to the works of this good man. Let their silent tribute be as a monument---their prayers united for the departed soul that is now winging its way onward in that progression towards perfection absolute, that the soul that liveth obtains."
The Sunday Oregonian (Portland, OR), November 20, 1892 pg. 10
AN OLD SETTLER DYING: Captain George H. Flanders in a Critical Condition
Captain George H. Flanders, one of the pioneer settler of Portland, is confined to his home by a paralytic stroke. His condition is critical and there is no hope for his recovery, but his son, Mr. J. C. Flanders, said yesterday that there is no immediate cause for alarm.
Captain Flanders came to Portland in 1849 on the vessel Madonna, commanded by Captain Couch. This was the Madonna's third trip out from New York. Captain Flanders had been in the employ of John and Caleb Cushing. He is a man whose energy and enterprise have done much for the commerce of Portland. He was one of the few who erected brick buildings early in the history of the city. This was a two-story brick built on the southeast corner of Front and Burnside streets, in 1859, which is still standing. It was formerly occupied as the Masonic hall. He also owns a number of wharves and warehouses on the river front. He was one of the original members of the Portland Seaman's Friend Society.
Morning Oregonian (Portland, OR), November 21, 1892 pg. 6
FLANDERS – In this city, November 20, 1892, George H. Flanders, aged 71 years, 10 months, and 25 days. Funeral services from Trinity church, Tuesday, November 23, at 10 o'clock. Services at grave private.
Morning Oregonian (Portland, OR), November 22, 1892 pg. 8
In the bustle and turmoil of this world, in the struggle for existence and for preferment, one cannot but be continually impressed with man's inhumanity to man. Where one's individual interests are involved, how short a time it takes to decide in favor of self. But when there appears in the midst of the madding crowd one heart that beats with sympathy for its fellow-men, that spreads abroad the soft mantle of charity, of humility, of unselfishness, of chastity in thought and action, of disinterestedness and self-forgetfulness, the critic pauses, reflects, and modifies his sweeping condemnation of mankind. Now and again such a character is born, passes through this vale of trouble, partaking of its joys and sorrows, and finally, laying aside all that is mortal, takes on immortality.
Such was the life and character of George H. Flanders, who surrounded by his family, breathed his last Sunday morning, November 20. To those few who do not know it, let me say that he was and exception among men. His was a character so pure that it was almost beyond human comprehension. It was that of a soul that had been purified in worlds beyond that of ours – innate and never smirched by contact with impurity, a life spent in good actions to others. No seeker for assistance ever met with refusal. The unworthy, as well as the worthy, were ever aided. Practicing daily and always a secret charity, ashamed of praise, his humility gushed from the heart. In what contrast to the canting hypocrite who carries the advertisement of his good actions upon his sleeve – charitable for policy's sake, for the sake of what the world will say in praise. Without citing examples, the thousands of beneficiaries can bear witness to the works of this good man. Let their silent tribute be as a monument – their prayers united for the departed soul that is now winging its way onward in that progression towards perfection absolute, that the soul that liveth obtains.
Captain Flanders was born in Newburyport, Mass., December 25, 1821. From boyhood he followed the se, and finally, in the year 1849, accompanied his brother-in-law, Captain John H. Couch, to Portland, where he remained ever since, closely identified with the city and its interests. He never visited the Eastern states, curiously enough, since his departure for Oregon, contented always with his simple life, craving no variety. The humble tastes of his Puritan forefathers became his own. In the delirium of his last hours, of something passing in his mind, he said aloud: "If it is honorable I will do it; if it is not honorable I will not do it." A sentence beautifully fitted to be the final speech of such a man, and as the man Christ, by his pure example, influenced thousands for the right, so let us hope that with us the influence of a life such as has just now rendered its account may bear the good fruit of association to those who have been fortunate enough to come within the shadow of its shining effulgence. – W. –
Morning Oregonian (Portland, OR), November 26, 1892 pg. 7
DONE IN THE COURTS
DISPOSAL OF A LARGE ESTATE
Last Will of the Late G. H. Flanders Admitted to Probate – Some Very Interesting Suits
Maria L. Flanders and J. Couch Flanders have been authorized by the county court to settle up the estate of the late Captain George H. Flanders, whose last will and testament was admitted to court yesterday. .The document was drawn up August 7 last by deceased, with Captain Richard Hoyt, who since died, and N. B. Lappeus, as witnesses. Although it disposes of property valued at $350,000, it consists of only three widely written sheets of legal cap paper.
To his widow, Maria L. Flanders, the testator bequeaths the family home, all of his personal property, namely, notes and improvements, with these exemptions; To Caroline W. Flanders, lots numbered from 12 to 18 inclusive, block No. 291, and lots 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, block No. 291, Couch's addition. To J. Couch Flanders, lot numbered 1 to 10 in double block 310, in Couch's addition. To J. Couch Flanders is also given in trust for Alice F. Effinger and her minor children, lots numbered 11 to 18 inclusive, block 310, Couch's addition. All the rents and incomes from this property are to be paid to Mrs. Effinger, a daughter of the testator., and in case of her death it is to go to her children, but in case of the death of both Mrs. Effinger and her children the property is to be inherited by Caroline W. Flanders. The trustee is further empowered to sell or dispose of any or all of the property for the purpose of investing the proceeds in interest-bearing securities, or property which will earn an income.
The executor and executrix are named in the will and have control of the estate without bonds.
A few days ago as I was browsing Facebook, I noticed a reference to a "Vintage Portland" page. I have recently done some research for a daughter-in-law whose third great-grandfather, William Spencer Newbury, was the mayor of Portland 1877-1879. I thought I'd take a look at the Facebook page and consequently the web site to see if there was any mention of William Newbury. This photo appeared on the home page and carried the caption: Capt. George H. Flanders home, 1888. Well, my mother's maiden name was Flanders and I think most of the Flanders families in the US today are descendants of my eighth great-grandfather Steven Flanders (1600-1684).
When I saw that this was the home of George H. Flanders, I went into Ancestry.com to see what I could find on him. It turns out that he is also a descendant of Steven Flanders and George is my 4th cousin, 4 times removed. Here's a chart that shows our relationship.
The Vintage Portland site says this about the magnificent home:
"One of the grandest mansions in Northwest Portland was the home of Captain George H. Flanders which stood on the block bounded by NW 19th and 20th Avenues, Flanders and Glisan Streets. This view looks northwest from 19th and Flanders. Designed by Justus F. Krumbein and built in 1882, it was replaced in 1926 by the extant Temple Beth Israel. Much of the rock wall pictured here is still in place. Seen in the background is the belvedere atop the home of Cicero Hunt Lewis on the block between Glisan and Hoyt (now Couch Park)."
George H. Flanders's sister Caroline was married to John Heard Couch. The Fold3 web site tells us this about John H. Couch:
Oregon Native Son and Historical Magazine, Vol. 1 May, 1899 No. 1
Biographical * Captain John H. Couch
Captain Couch was born February 21, 1811, at Newburyport, Mass. Upon arriving at an age when he could set out for himself, he chose the seafaring life, and until 1840 his voyages were confined to the waters of the Atlantic. In that year he rounded the Horn in command of the brig Maryland, and was soon in the waters of the Columbia. This vessel was sold in the Sandwich islands, when he returned home. In 1843 his employers again sent him to this coast in the brig Chenamus, and on his arrival at Oregon City he opened a general merchandise store, remaining in charge of the same until 1847, in the meantime sending the vessel back to its home port. In 1848 he was again at Newburyport, when he received the commendation of his employers for his fidelity and prudence in the management of their affairs in this far away section. Again they tendered him further employment of a like nature, but he declined. He was, however, prevailed upon to again return in the interests of another firm, and in 1849 the Madonna unloaded cargo at Portland which he was to dispose of, leaving the ship in command of Captain Geo. H. Flanders, his brother-in-law. After Captain Flanders had made several trips, he also gave up following the sea, and went into co-partnership with Captain Couch. This firm remained unbroken until the death of the latter. Captain Couch was treasurer of the provisional government; he was commissioner of Multnomah county; he was the first appointee to the office of inspector of hulls, a position which he retained under all administrations until his decease. After the organization of the state government he served as port warden and pilot commissioner. In each and every trust confided to him, never did a custodian more wisely, honestly and with greater fidelity fulfill the duties devolving upon him. As in public employment, so in private life. He was an exemplary citizen, and so genial and whole-souled in disposition that he was personally known and esteemed by every man, woman and child in Portland. What is known as Couch's addition to Portland was his donation claim, but little of it now remains uncovered by residences or buildings devoted to the various trades, manufactories and enterprises known to the city. Early in life Captain Couch was married to Miss Caroline E. Flanders. The union was blessed with four daughters, the three eldest becoming the wifes of Dr. R.B. Wilson, C.H. Lewis and Dr. Rodney Glisan; the youngest, Miss Mary H., is a native daughter. Captain Couch died January 19, 1870; his wife survived him until July 19, 1885.
Mrs. Couch was also born in Newburyport, Mass. She was a little over three years older than her husband, having been born October 24, 1807.
Of all the people who have been Oregonians, and especially residents of Portland, none were more highly esteemed during life, or their death more regretted, than this pioneer father and mother.
FROM OREGON PIONEERS:
COUCH, Capt. John H. (1811-1870): m'd FLANDERS, Caroline E.; a sailor who made many voyages during the years preceding 1839; a representative of the Cushing family in Massachusetts; entered the Columbia River in the spring of 1840 on board the brig Maryland; arrived again in 1843 in command of the brig Chenamus of Boston; remained in Oregon country kept a store in Oregon City until 1845; moved to Portland and took up claim; went east in 1847; arrived back in Portland in August 1849 on the bark Madonna; located permanently in Portland; held many offices and positions.
The Oregon History project offers this information about John Heard Couch and his wife Caroline Flanders Couch, pictured at left:
"After making three voyages from New England to the Pacific Coast between 1840 and 1845, Captain John H. COuch became convinced that Portland's deepwater location made its harbor superior to that of other potential ports in the area. It was Couch who persuaded Asa Lovejoy* and Francis Pettygrove that their Portland townsite should be platted, and Couch filed an adjacent claim just to thh north of theirs. Mercantile speculation marked Portland's founding.
Couch returned to his native New England in 1847. He had been absent from his wife, Caroline E. Flanders Couch, and his family for three years, but when news reached him of the discovery of gold in California, probably in late 1848, he and his wife’s brother, Captain George H. Flanders, responded quickly. Couch and Flanders arranged to set sail for San Francisco in January 1849. They filled their ships’ holds with lumber and other commodities to sell in California.
After Couch sold his cargo in San Francisco at a substantial profit, he sailed to Portland, convinced of its superiority as a port city and of its value as a base for supplying the gold rush trade. He built a covered wharf and a warehouse on his own 640-acre claim. He then platted the claim at an angle to match a bend in the river and included five narrow blocks that were meant to complement the nearby park blocks surveyed by early pioneer, Daniel Lownsdale in 1848.
Couch’s family apparently joined him sometime in 1849 because in 1852, his daughter, Clementine, wrote to a friend on the East Coast that in Portland both houses and ladies were now “numberless” when only three years before there had been but two proper houses and no ladies.
Further Reading: MacColl, E. Kimbark. Merchants, Money and Power: The Portland Establishment 1843-1913. Portland, Oreg., 1988.
Written by Trudy Flores, Sarah Griffith, Oregon Historical Society, 2002.
* The Oregon History Project also tells us this about my 3rd cousin 5 times removed Asa Lovejoy: Asa Lovejoy (1808-1882): A lawyer from Massachusetts, Asa Lovejoy and his traveling companion William Overton split a claim to 640 acres along the Willamette River in 1843, and it was on this site that Portland was founded. Overton sold his share to Francis Pettygrove, and Lovejoy and Pettygrove tossed a coin to decide if the site would be named after Lovejoy’s hometown of Boston or Pettygrove’s hometown of Portland, Maine. Lovejoy sold his half to Benjamin Stark in 1845, but remained active in the development of Oregon, serving as mayor of Oregon City, chief justice of Oregon, and adjutant-general in the war against the Cayuse after the 1847 Whitman killings. He was also a major stockholder for many of Oregon’s earliest businesses, including the Oregon Telegraph.
I think it's ironic that as I initially investigated the "Vintage Portland" site to learn more about my daughter-in-law's ancestor, I was rewarded, instead, by learning some wonderful stories about my own cousins. Three of my step-children and seven grandchildren live in the Portland area. I never, in a million years, thought I had ancestral connections to Portland, Oregon. Imagine how excited I am to learn that my cousin Asa Lovejoy FOUNDED Portland, Oregon!