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Nathaniel Coe family papers, 1821-1968

Overview of the Collection

Coe, Nathaniel, 1788-1868
Nathaniel Coe family papers
1821-1968 (inclusive)
1845-1926 (bulk)
2 cubic feet (3 document cases, 1 custom box, 1 oversize folder)
Collection Number
Mss 431
Papers of the family of Nathaniel Coe, Oregon pioneer farmer and founder of Hood River, Oregon; his wife Mary White Coe; his sons Henry Clay Coe, Charles Carrol Coe, and Eugene Francis Coe; and relatives Daniel Schenck Dubois and Herbert Earle Barrett. Materials include correspondence, writings, diaries, notebooks, financial records, and legal papers. Also included are farm journals and records, 1852-1907, and accounts of the Hood River Manufacturing Company, 1907-1920.
Oregon Historical Society, Davies Family Research Library
Davies Family Research Library
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Nathaniel Coe, farmer, fruit grower, and founder of Hood River, Oregon, was born in Mendham, New Jersey, on September 6, 1788 and grew up in rural New York State. He taught school and attended the Aurora Academy, intending at first to become a lawyer, but after a religious conversion he decided to enter the Baptist ministry. After a tour of the southern states he returned to New York State, settling in Nunda, Livingston County, and marrying Mary White. He served in various public offices, including Justice of the Peace, state legislator, and State Auditor. In 1851 he went to Oregon after his appointment as Special Postal Agent by President Fillmore. He lived at first in Portland, and was joined in 1853 or 1854 by his wife and two sons, who had come by ship via Panama. The family moved to Hood River in 1855, where Nathaniel remained the rest of his life. Among his children were Lawrence W. Coe (d. 1899, married Louisa Graves in 1859), Henry Clay Coe (1844-1928), Eugene Francis Coe (married Roxa Cock, 1868), and Charles Carrol Coe (1834-1872).

Henry Clay Coe was born August 11, 1844, in Livingston County, New York. He came to Oregon with his mother and brother in 1853 and lived with his family in Hood River. After graduating from the Forest Grove Academy he went to work on river steam boats and eventually became a well-known captain, being employed by the Oregon Steam Navigation Company and Oregon Railroad Navigation Company. He also ran a cattle ranch in Yakima County, Washington and established a residence in Portland. In 1869 he married Kittie Catton, a native of New York City, and the couple had five children: Katherine (Mrs. Lindsley Hoyt), Irma, Nell, Mollie, and Charles. Toward the end of his life Henry Coe lived in Redondo Beach, California, where he died in 1928.

Daniel Schenck DuBois (possibly the husband of Nell Coe) was born October 29, 1878. He was an agent of the Franklin automobile company around 1909-1910, and lived in Freehold, New Jersey.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection includes farm journals, accounts and weather reports, 1852-1907; Hood River Manufacturing Company account book of Henry C. Coe, 1907-1920; family genealogies; financial records, land deeds, and memorabilia of Henry C. Coe, 1821-1910; account of the battle of the Cascades, March 26, 1856, by Lawrence White Coe (typewritten copy); plat of Coe's Addition, Hood River, 1853; notebooks and diaries, including Mary Coe's detailed hand written journal of her voyage from Panama to Oregon, circa 1853-1854; appointment books of Daniel Schenck DuBois, 1909-1911; and letters from relative Herbert Earle ("Billy") Barrett in Hermosa Beach, California, 1924-1928.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

Farm journals, volumes 1-4, 1852-1874, also available on microfilm, Mss 431 Microfilm, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Restrictions on Use

The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library before any publication use. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Nathaniel Coe Family Papers, Mss 431, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series A:  Correspondence, 1841-1968Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Nathaniel and Mary Coe correspondence
Charles Carrol Coe and Eugene Francis Coe correspondence
Family correspondence
Includes account of "Battle of the Cascades," 1856 March 26 (typescript copy of letter); also includes the following items:
  • Autograph letter signed, Oct. 31, 1845; Angelica (N. Y. ?), from John G. Collins to Nathaniel Coe: political re: Nunda, N. Y., Whigs, Mr. Grover. 2 p.
  • Autograph letter signed, March 20, 1851 from J. Marron, postmaster, to Nathaniel Coe, Nunda: pertains to Coe's appointment as Special Agent of the Post Office Department to Oregon; pages 2-3, added sometime later, consist of brief biographical sketch of Coe, changing of the name of Dog River to Hood River, mapmaker Mr. Beldin. 4 pp.
  • Autograph letter signed, May 1851, Nunda, Mary W. Coe to Mrs. Rogers, offering condolences on the death of a son. 2 pp.
  • Autograph letter signed, July 6, 1851, Pacific City, Ore., Eugene F. ("Francis") Coe to mother, Mary Coe: Eugene accompanied father to Oregon; writes of Fourth of July, trip from Oregon City to Pacific City on sloop Diana, Astoria, Indian fishing, scenic view, etc. 4 pp.
  • Autograph letter, Dec. 31, 1851, portion of letter to "Dear Dr. " (Lawrence), possibly from Mrs. Coe, Nunda: reminiscences of childhood, refers to sister Ellen, poetry on back. 2 pp.
  • Autograph letter signed, Dec. 8, 1851, New York, undeterminable signature of PLSS Co. agent to L. W, Coe: regarding passage Coe: Mrs. Coe and two children to Oregon. This letter apparently sent to. Mary J. Coe, Feb. 27, 1852, who superimposed her letter upon it and sent it to Nathaniel Coe in Oregon.
  • Autograph letter signed, probably 1851, portion of letter from Nathaniel Coe, apparently copied by C. C. Coe and sent to Lawrence Coe. Mrs. Coe aknowledged another portion. Nathaniel writes about trip from Astoria to Portland in October, mentions preparations for trip to Oregon by rest of family and other matters. 4 pp.
  • Autograph letter signed, probably 1853, portion of letter from Nathaniel Coe to his family still in Nunda; full of advice on the upcoming trip across the Isthmus to Oregon.
  • Autograph letter signed, January 19, 1853, Representative Hall, Benjamin Stark to Nathaniel Coe: mention prison bill, Mr. Avery to be successor to Coe, possibility of son renting house that Stark apparently owns.
  • Autograph letter signed, March 6, 1856, Fort Dalles, signature torn array, two different handwritings -- one of which seems to be Mary Coe, to Joel McCollum., a judge, probably residing in Hillsdale, Mich., and addressed as "Friend and Cousin": Account of the Yakima war, Chief Cameacen, Bradford's store (Lawrence Coe was a clerk there), the Steamer Mary incident, plans of Lt. Davidson, etc. 2 pp.
  • Autograph letter signed, June 18, 1859, Hood River, "Aunt Mary" Coe to "My Dear child": family, religious matters. 4 pp.
  • Autograph letter signed, August 3, 1856, Hood River, Mary Coe to "My Dear Friend & Sister Louisa": The Indian troubles, condolences, temperance matters. 4 pp.
  • Autograph letter signed, May 11, 1872, Hood River, Charles C. Coe to brother Henry C. Coe, Long Island, Columbia River: family, farming, business, small talk. 2 pp.
  • Autograph letter signed, June 10, 1886, Sedalia, Mo., W. Y. Cloud to Mrs. M. S. Coe [sic], addressed as "Dear Mother which is the followup of our new relationship problems in settling wife's estate.
Family correspondence
1874-1901, undated
Letters from Herbert Earle ("Billy") Barrett to "Coe" [possibly Coe family in Portland]
General correspondence

Series B:  General papers, legal and financial records, 1837-1923Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Documents and records
Includes the following items:
  • Autograph letter signed, November 30, 1865, Miller & Sambert per A. T. Miller, Milwaukie to C. C. Coe: price list for pear and peach trees, grape vines, others.
  • Land Donation Claim (copy), Territory of Oregon to Nathaniel Coe: south bank of Columbia R., west of White Salmon River mouth, junction of west branch of Hood R., 1855.
  • Constitution of Nunda [N. Y.] Female Reform Society; Mary W. Coe, Recording Secretary; 1837.
  • Miscellaneous farm, business and property records of Coe family.
1837-1920; undated
Essays and poems
1848-1880, undated
Henry C. Coe financial records
1886-1912, undated
Hood River County history and Coe family history clippings
Legal documents--mostly related to land ownership
Mary White Coe journal of voyage from Panama to Oregon
There is some question as to whether Mary Coe and her sons came to Oregon in 1853 or 1854.
circa 1853
Nathaniel Coe biographical materials, and DuBois family genealogy
1868; 1897; undated
Notes and ephemera, general
1889-1907, undated
Plat of Coe's Addition, Hood River, Oregon
Poetry and reminiscences
Includes the following items:
  • Autograph letter, possibly a. draft of a letter in response to a Weekly Tribune editorial, April 5 [1857 ?] on "The Indian War on the Pacific": writer (probably Nathaniel Coe) gives his reasons for the Indian uprising, particularly that of the Yakimas in 1856: among them, fear of the increase of "White population and "murder" of a chief' son. 6 pp.
  • Account of exploring party into White Salmon River/Mt. Adams region: no date, "in these times of Rebellion & . Bloodshed, " Aug. 19-[25] 10 p.
  • Account of Cascade Indian custom of revenge against doctor responsible for death. Incomplete. Poetry on reverse. 1 p. Miscellaneous poetry, notes., etc.
circa 1857, undated
Nathaniel Coe, visa and passport to Cuba

Series C:  Journals, diaries and notebooks, 1821-1910Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Nathaniel Coe, personal notebook, journal, essays
circa 1821-1822
Mary White Coe, autograph album
circa 1827-1890
Mary White Coe personal notebooks
Poetry, biblical notes, clippings, other writings
circa 1855-1868
Poetry, essays, biographical and Biblical notes, recipes, and other writings
circa 1835-1870
Journal, essays, Biblical and other notations
The early portions seem to be in Nathaniel Coe's hand writing.
Poetry, memorials, clippings, other materials
circa 1840-1890
Poetry, clippings, family memorials, other writings
Materials pasted over pages of an old ledger, circa 1840; items added probably by Henry Coe after Mary Coe's death, circa 1850-1895; photograph on second page probably Nathaniel and Mary Coe.
circa 1840-1895
Daniel Schenck DuBois diaries, including appointments and cash account
1907, 1909
Daniel Schenck DuBois diary and address book, and Franklin automobile specifications with notes
Hood River Manufacturing Company records
Farm journals
Farm records, temperature readings, accounts, memoranda, weather (old volume 1)
Farm records, temperature readings, accounts, memoranda, weather (old volume 2)
Similar to above, plus clippings (old volume 3)
Farm accounts (old volume 4)
Thermometer book
"Thermometer book / opened January 1st 1871 / Hood River, Wasco County / Oregon" through 1882; 190 pages plus ten loose pages; includes temperature readings, plantings, and other memoranda, farm accounts, recipes, clippings, and other materials.
Farm accounts, weather, temperature, recipes, clippings, and other materials