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JOHN HARRISON VANBIBBER

HISTORY: Fields of Flowers and Forests of Firs, Woodland History Committee, published May 13, 1958, p. 227; copy provided by Lois Kullberg, Aug 1995: "John Henry Van Bebber of New York Dutch stock appears to have arrived on Lewis River with the earliest settlers. In 1853 or 54 he married Rhoda John and four children resulted from this union".

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Notes on John Harrison VAN BEBBER

John Harrison (or Henry) VAN BEBBER (or VAN BIBBER), b 1834, LA; m/1 24 Sep 1853 (divorced) in Lancaster Pct, Clark Co., WA to Rhoda Ruth JOHN, d/o Jacob JOHN and Rachel WHITAKER, b 20 Feb 1839, Danville, Vermilion Co., IL, d 13 Jan 1901, Woodland, Cowlitz, WA, buried,  Odd Fellows Cemetery
Woodland, Cowlitz, WA; allegedly m/2 to Marinda YOUNGER of MO, sister of Cole YOUNGER.

Children of John and Rhoda:

1. Francis Marion (Frank) VAN BEBBER, b 1854, WA; m 1876 at Martin's Bluff, Cowlitz Co, WA to Zerelda STEWART

2. Emma Teresa VAN BEBBER, b 1857, OR; d 1928, Woodland, Cowlitz Co., WA; m 1883 to Sam CONRAD

3. Edith Bell VAN BEBBER, b 1859, Lewis River, Clark Co., WA; m Norman MERRILL

4. Ida Eleanora VAN BEBBER, b 1862, Lewis River, Clark Co., WA; m R. A. PARENT M.D.

"For some reason, not passed on down the family history, John Henry disappeared. Probably the quiet Lewis River scene palled and he struck out for greener pastures. He must have been a reader of Captain Kidd and Jesse James stories and maybe he helped create the Jesse James legend. Anyway thru the mist of fact and fiction as related by his grandson Lloyd. He and some others outfitted a ship in San Francisco and were about ready to put to sea when grandfather was tipped off that the U. S. Government was preparing to arrest the entire crew as pirates. He beat the law to Mexico and I don't believe ever came back till after Grandmother Rhoda got a divorce in 1862, granted by the Washington Legislature. CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS BOZARTH was a member of the Legislature at that time and secured the passage of the bill that authorized the divorce." (Chris and Rhoda were married the following year.) Lloyd continues, "Later Grandfather was associated with the James boys, Jesse and Frank in Missouri and married Marinda Younger, full sister of Cole Younger, who is credited with being the brains of the James Boys gang. I remember my father saying that his father was the fastest and best shot with a rifle or revolver he had ever seen."

 

Notes on Francis Marion (Frank) VAN BEBBER

From "Clark County Pioneers: A Centennial Salute", by Clark Co. Genealogical Society, SLC FHL 979.786/H2c,

Profile of Francis "Frank" Marion Van Bebber, p 135:

Francis "Frank" Marion Van Bebber grew up in Clark County just across the Lewis River from Woodland. He attended school about three months each year, first in a log schoolhouse to which he walked six miles each way and he played alto horn in the Woodland band. He worked on his step-father's farm until he was about nineteen years old and then in 1875 struck out on his own, working in the mines in Idaho for one year. He returned home for a short time and then joined his father working in the woods near Sumner, Washington, and also working in the mills in Pierce County for about three years. Again he returned home and worked in his step-father's store in Woodland and also farmed.

"He married Zerelda Stewart from Ohio in 1876, daughter of C.H. and Clara Stewart of Martin's Bluff. In 1881 they went to Spokane and pioneered on a homestead 30 miles north of the city. While Frank proved up his claim he worked on the railroad and they remained in the area for eight years. Over the years Frank almost completed a road from his homestead to the town of  Spokane. He joined the Masons at Spokane in 1890 and later belonged to the lodge at Tacoma. He was also a member of the Odd Fellows and both he and his wife were members of the Order of Eastern Star.

"In 1892 Frank once again returned home and clerked in his step-father's store. He then went to Alaska where he lived for a period of twelve years. On his first trip to the Klondike he traveled over the Dyea Trail and shot the rapids at White Horse. For a time he acted as a pilot taking other boats through the dangerous rapids. He came away with a tidy sum and was able to pay off his debts and invested in property. He returned to Alaska the following year and while at Nome he hauled freight for several years and was superintendent of dredging at the Three Friends Mine for four years. In 1909 he left Alaska and moved to Portland, Oregon where he became partners in the establishment of Leisure and Van Bebber, dealers in stirrups and saddles. During the ten years he stayed in Portland he spent part of each year at his ranch in Spokane. In 1919 he bought his step-father's home and moved to Woodland.

HISTORY: Fields of Flowers and Forests of Firs, Woodland History Committee, published May 13, 1958, p. 227-228, from Lois Kullberg:

"Frank worked in his step-father's (C. C. Bozarth's) store - did prospecting around Mt. St. Helens in 1894 and 95 but this venture did not pan out. In 1882 he and his brother-in-law Jake Stewart took up homesteads 30 miles North of Spokane. They were poor and lived mostly on venison. (Frank like his father was a good shot.) In 1896 Frank made his first trip to the Klondike over the Dyea Trail or Chillcot pass. Quoting Lloyd again, "He (Frank) put his scow together with 5 Swedes at Lake Lindeman and was the first man in the party to shoot White Horse Rapids. He took 50 other boats through the rapids, as pilot for 50 or 150 dollars depending on the size of the boat. He was practically broke at Dyea but landed at Dawson with his entire outfit weighing about one ton and a trained team of 7 shepard (sic) dogs. He staked out some good claims and made a fair cleanup. (He) came back to Woodland in the fall with enough to clean up his debts and leave him a tidy sum, most of which he invested in property. He returned the next year to find that during his absence his claims had been taken over by Sharpers and worked out. He prospected, worked claims, etc. till steamboats appeared on the Yukon at which time he worked on the boats, mostly as pilot. Later he went to Nome when they had the Beach strike".

He was foreman on the first dredge operated on Salmon River or anywhere in Alaska. Lloyd just returned from the sea, became fireman. Frank had the reputation of being the only one from this vicinity coming back with a full poke.

 

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