Royal family papers, 1827-1937

Overview of the Collection

Royal family
Royal family papers
1827-1937 (inclusive)
0.45 cubic feet, (1 legal document case)
Collection Number
Coll 975
Papers of the Royal family of Oregon. Brothers Charles Royal (1798-1878) and William Royal (1796-1870) emigrated to Oregon in 1852 and 1853, respectively. William Royal was a Methodist minister who founded the Centenary Methodist Church (later Centenary-Wilbur Methodist Church) in East Portland; his sons Thomas Fletcher Royal (1821-1911) and James Henry Bascom Royal (1830-1910) were also Methodist ministers.
Oregon Historical Society Research Library
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

William Royal (1796-1870) and Charles Royal (1798-1878) were born in Monongahela County, Virginia (later West Virginia). Charles Royal emigrated to Oregon in 1852. William Royal emigrated from Illinois to Oregon in 1853, along with family members including his wife, Barbara Royal (née Ebey, 1800-1890), and sons Thomas Fletcher Royal (1821-1911), James Henry Bascom Royal (1830-1910), and Jason Lee Royal (1839-1913). William Royal, T. F. Royal, and James H. B. Royal all worked as Methodist ministers in Oregon and Washington. In 1867, William Royal founded the Centenary Methodist Church (later Centenary-Wilbur Methodist Church) in East Portland.

Sources: Vital records on; articles in the Oregonian, 1910-1927; "The Royal Way West," by Violet Coe Mumford and the Royal Family Association, Inc. (Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1988); "The Preacher Train," by Robert Livingston Casebeer,,; "Emigrants to Oregon in 1852, Surnames R-Z," compiled by Stephanie Flora,,

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of the papers of the Royal family. While some papers of Charles Royal are included, the collection primarily relates to William Royal; his wife, Barbara Royal; and their descendants. Descendants who are well-represented in the collection are T. F. Royal and Jason Lee Royal. Other descendants of William Royal represented in the collection include James H. B. Royal, Charles W. Royal, William B. Royal, and John Flinn and Mary E. Flinn (née Royal). The bulk of the collection is correspondence to and from the Royals, discussing family matters and religious activities. The collection also holds several of William Royal's notebooks, which contain diary entries, financial notes, and religious subscription records; and a notebook belonging to T. F. Royal with diary entries and financial notes.

Other written materials in the collection are letters from William Royal to the editor of the Pacific Christian Advocate; receipts and promissory notes, some of which predate the family's emigration to Oregon; tax records for property Jason Lee Royal owned in Port Townsend, Washington; a handwritten book of speeches, proverbs, and advice belonging to George Asbury Royal; Centenary-Wilbur Methodist Church programs mentioning the Royal family; a poem by James H. B. Royal; poems read at Royal family reunions; a list of letters loaned to Emma J. Royal; and a Sons of Temperance certificate for William B. Carter, whose connection to the Royal family is unknown. The collection also includes two photographs: one is a group photograph in front of the Umpqua Academy in Wilbur, Oregon, with T. F. Royal and Annie Royal Smith identified; the other is a photograph of a seventh-grade class at Mt. Tabor School in Portland, Oregon, though its connection to the Royal family is unknown.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Royal family papers, Coll 975, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Restrictions on Use

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

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Gift of the Royal Family Association, June 2023 (RL2023-028).

Preservation Note

Due to fragility, some items in the collection may require assistance to view. Contact library staff.

Related Materials

Other collections at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library relating to the Royal family include: the Royal family papers, Mss 1628; the William Royal diary and bible census, Coll 915; two vertical files, Genealogy - Royal family and Biography - Royal, Thomas Fletcher; and a book, "The Royal Way West," by Violet Coe Mumford and the Royal Family Association, Inc.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Families--Oregon
  • Frontier and pioneer life--Oregon
  • Methodist Church--Oregon--Clergy
  • Pioneers--Oregon

Personal Names

  • Royal, Barbara, 1800-1890--Correspondence
  • Royal, Jason Lee, 1839-1913--Correspondence
  • Royal, T. F. (Thomas Fletcher), 1821-1911--Correspondence
  • Royal, William, 1796-1870--Correspondence

Family Names

  • Royal family--Correspondence

Form or Genre Terms

  • correspondence
  • diaries