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Clark Moor Will papers, 1871-1981

Overview of the Collection

Will, Clark M. (Clark Moore), 1893-1982
Clark Moor Will papers
1871-1981 (inclusive)
3.8 linear feet, (13 containers)
Collection Number
Coll 062
The Clark Moor Will papers contain materials concerning the Aurora Colony of Marion County, Oregon and the Salem Water Department. The Aurora Materials cover all aspects of the colony, including the band, music, women, daily life, site maps, correspondence and architecture. The collection also includes manuscripts and articles written by other authors concerning the Aurora Colony. The Salem Water Department materials cover the history of the department and Salem's water supply, as well as speech transcripts. The collection includes two solander cases of oversize materials.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
UO Libraries--SPC, 1299
University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Fax: 541-346-3485
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

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

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Clark ("Willie") Moor Wier Will's life-long hobby, and labor of love, was to probe the history of Dr. William Keil's Aurora Colony, a communal and non-denominational Christian settlement that flourished in Marion County, Oregon, form 1856 to 1883. Mr. Will's father, John William Will, was a member of the Aurora Colony.

Clark Will was born on May 9, 1893, in Corvallis, Oregon. He was orphaned before he was a year old and was raised by his father's sister and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. George Wolfer, of nearby Hubbard, Oregon. A veteran of World War I, Will served in Scotland and France as a member of a highly acclaimed military band that was attached to the Headquarters of the 326th Field Artillery 84th Lincoln Division.

Clark Will supported himself and his family with various jobs as a printer-pressman, plumber-electrician, and, finally, maintenance-installation foreman for the Salem Water Department; yet the enduring avocation of this self-taught artist and historian was to depict the architecture and past of the Aurora Colony.

Mr. Will was an ardent musician and possessed a gregarious personality. He played with several local bands and the Salem Symphony Orchestra, in addition to being a member of the Marion County Historical Society, the Aurora Colony Historical Society, and numerous other organizations such as the Knights of Pythias, the Masonic Lodge, and the Salem Men's Garden Club.

Always keen to propagate information about his beloved Aurora, Mr. Will gave frequent lectures about the Colony's history, and provided numerous articles and illustrations for several Northwest historical publications.

Clark Moore Will died in Salem, Oregon on June 30, 1982. He was 89 years old.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection contains an array of documents and drawings devoted, on the whole, to the two main focuses in Will's life, namely the Colony at Aurora and his thirty years with the Salem Water Department. The correspondence forms a separate series and is arranged chronologically from 1877 to 1981. It consists largely of letters from Frederick Skiff, an Americana specialist who shared an interest in Aurora.

The bulk of the collection consists of material relating to the settlement at Aurora, including articles, manuscript and printed, written by Will; voluminous, though at times repetitive, notes on the history of Aurora; a scrapbook of obituaries and newspaper clippings about the Aurora colonists and their descendants; papers about Aurora by other writers; Clark Will's portraits, drawings, and maps of Aurora's settlers, their homes and their life on the Oregon Trail; and music scores, both handwritten and printed, used by the Aurora band from its inception in Bethel, Missouri, to its demise in 1920.

Will's articles in their final, or near-final, form have been grouped together while the assorted notes have been arranged in a rough chronological order that takes the Aurora settlers from Germany to Oregon by way of Bethel, Missouri and the Oregon Trail. While there are some primary resources in the collection, Mr. Will mostly collated the work of others in his study of Aurora. As a result, a wealth of secondary information is provided on the history of Aurora, pioneer life in the Pacific Northwest, and the joys and tensions of communal living. Of special interest to historians of the Oregon Trail is the information on the Aurora Colonists' trek across the United States. With the preserved body (literally pickled in alcohol) of Dr. Keil's son, Willie, at the van of their wagon train, hymns constantly on their lips and a habit of sharing their meals with Indians they encountered, the settlers of Aurora crossed the American continent unscathed at a time when a goodly percentage of their fellow migrants were being attacked by the native tribes. It appears that the Indians, who were in awe of the corpse, intrigued by the singing, and won over by the food, made a point of distinguishing between Germans (and French Canadians) whom they tolerated and Americans whom they cordially detested.

A second interest of Will's is reflected in the manuscripts and research materials relating to the history of Salem's water supply, including several maps and drawings of Salem's aquatic arteries and the machinery that services them.

One box of negatives, prints, and slides, mostly concerned with the architecture of Aurora, though some slides of Salem's waterworks are also included. Of note are a glass plate photograph of Dr. Keil and a picture of the Aurora Colony band.

A World War II United Way broadside has been removed to the Broadside Collection.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Clark Moor Will papers, Coll 062, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I:  CorrespondenceReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 2
Biographical Materials
1 3
1877 1923-1927
1 4
1 5
1 6
1 7
1 8
1 9
Collected materials by and about Frederick W. Skiff

Series II:  Aurora Colony MaterialsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries A: Manuscripts
Box Folder
1 10
Colony Mothers Help Write Colony History
Horticulture Beginnings in Oregon
Influence Toward Communal Organizations in the United States
Willapa Has "Willie" and This
Subseries B: Printed Articles
Box Folder
1 11
Printed Articles
"The Aurora Colony Band," "The Sou'wester" Vol. XI, No. 3
Autumn 1974
"The Aurora Story," "Marion County History" Vol. 1
"The Aurora Story," "Aurora Colony Centennial Celebration" (program)
"Prelude to the Burial," "The Sou'wester" Vol. III, No. 4
Winter 1968
"Willapa Valley Has 'Willie' and This." "The Sou'wester" Vol. II, No. 2
Summer 1967
Subseries C: Notes on the History of Aurora
Box Folder
1 12
Typescript of immigration shipping contract and other materials
1 13
Printed materials relating to Bethel, Missouri Colony
1 14
Notes on early scouts sent West from Bethel
1 15
Collation of three diaries written by Aurora Colony members on the Oregon Trail
2 1
Information on the burial of "Willie" Keil at Willapa, Washington
2 2
Materials on Willapa settlement
2 3
Notes on the history of Aurora (1)
2 4
Notes on the history of Aurora (2)
2 5
Notes on the history of Aurora (3)
2 6
Notes on the history of Aurora (4)
2 7
Notes on the history of Aurora (5)
2 8
Materials about Dr. Keil including transcribed lyrics to a song he wrote in 1864
2 9
Copies of letters from Colony members to friends in Bethel
2 10
Transcriptions of documents concerning early Aurora real property transactions
2 11
Materials on the story of a "little black box" that was found to contain legal documents relating to the Aurora Colony
2 12
Notes and sketches concerning Colony women about the home
2 13
Photos, notes, and maps of historic sites and buildings of Aurora
2 14
Collected materials relating to the church at Hubbard, Oregon
Subseries D: Manuscripts and Articles by Other Authors
Box Folder
3 1
Darrel Boone. The Life of Dr. Wilhelm Keil
3 2
Betty Keeler. The Cultural Landscape of Aurora, a German Settlement, 1856-1881
3 3
John E. Simon. "Wilhelm Keil and Communist Colonies." "Oregon Historical Quarterly. 36 p. 119-153
June 1935
3 4
J.F. Zieglschmid, "Dr. Wilhelm Keil's Communal Enterprises; Bethel, Missouri, and Aurora, Oregon." "The American-German Review", p. 28-31
December 1947
Subseries E: Aurora Band Materials
Box Folder
3 5
Materials on the "Jingling Johnny," a Turkish musical instrument used by the Aurora Band
3 6
Printed articles on the Aurora band, and other early musical groups
3 7
Thomas F. Love. The Growth of Music in Oregon: The Early Years
Handwritten musical scores
Printed musical scores

Series IV:  Oversized MaterialsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Aurora Colony Maps and Drawings
"Pioneer Trail Map of Lower French Prairie"
"Trail Map-St. Jo. to Aurora"
"Aurora's Famous Colony Hotel"
"Das Grose Hous"
"Train Time-Aurora 1870"
Map-"A Part of Pacific County, Washington"
Map-"Bethel Colony, Missouri"
"Ye Old Bake Oven"
"The Old Park House"
"The Old Leonard Will Home"
"The Kraus House, Aurora"
"Dr. Wilhelm Keil, Grunder der Aurora Colonie"
"The Steinbach Log Cabin"
"Taking Bread from the Old Bake Oven"
"Sam Stauffer of Near Donald"
"Making Candles in a Colony Kitchen"
"Wolfgang Will"
"John Stauffer, Jr., 1853 Scout"
"Henry Theophilus Finck, at age 16"
". . . At the sound of the Trumpet-'Willie' Goes Before and We Follow . . ."
"Christian Giesy"
"Pioneer Home of John Walker Grimm" (see also Folio)
[Drawing of a house]
"Elevation View-Keil's Home, Aurora"
"Old Skiff Homestead in Connecticut" verso. "Steamer Gypsy"
"Steamer Gypsy" (smaller version)
"The Shellenbaum Was Carried Ahead of the Band"
2 drawings of the Shellenbaum
"Aurora Band Boarding the Echo"
15 maps of 1863 route of Capt. Chris Wolff's wagon train
Map-Bethel, Missouri. Location listing
Map-"Heart of Aurora" (see also Folio)
Map-"Early Settlements Around Woodburn, Hubbard, and Aurora"
ca. 30 sketches, drawings and maps of Salem's waterworks
Aurora Scrapbook
Marion County marriage records
Ted Carlson, "How Communism Came to Oregon," "Eugene Register-Guard,"
February 27, 1966
"Oregon Native Son"
October 1900
Aurora Band music scores
Miscellaneous items, such as a 1935 contemporary affairs test
Aurora Drawings
"Heart of Aurora"
"Pioneer Home of John Walker Grimm"
Series III: Salem Water Department Materials
Box Folder
6 1
Research contract with a Mr. Gerens, manager, Salem Water Department
6 2
How Salem Got Its Water. Transcript of radio broadcast, KOAL Salem
March 3, 1958
6 3
How Salem Got Its Water. Manuscript and notes for speech to the Marion County Historical Society
April 7, 1958
6 4
Notes on the history of the Salem water supply system (1)
6 5
Notes on the history of the Salem water supply system (2)
6 6
Notes on the history of the Salem water supply system (3)
6 7
Business letters and documents relating to the Salem Water Company
6 8
Obituaries of R.S. Wallace, President of Salem Water Co., and wife
6 9
Miscellaneous Materials
7 1
Scrapbook on Salem Water Department

Photographs (PH049), 1871-1981Return to Top

0.3 linear feet
Will, Clark M. (Clark Moore), 1893-1982
Container(s) Description Dates
Prints, slides, Keil daguerreotype, wrappers
Negative, Aurora Colony Church
Nitrate Negatives

World War II broadsideReturn to Top

1.0 item