St. Paul, Sauvies Island, Historical Tour

June 14, 1984

Thirty-two members and 10 nonmembers plus narrator, Mrs. Victor P. Morris, drove north via motorcoach in the Willamette Valley to points of interest.

First stop at St. Paul, a very old historical country town and most beautiful. Here we visited two early-day renovated residences, followed by a visit to the 1846 brick Catholic Church; a magnificent building for our time and theirs, and nicely, kept. The Postmaster, a descendent of the early pioneers, conducted the tour.

Lunch (sack) enjoyed at Champoeg State Park, and early childhood place of Mrs. Morris, as well as Mary Mallery.

Second highlight was a visit to the Bybee-Howell House, now the oldest standing residence on Sauvie Island. It has become a popular tourist attraction since plans for its restoration were proposed by the Oregon Historical Society in June 1962.

The two-story, nine-room frame house was built in 1856 by James F. and Julia Ann Miller Bybee. James was born in 1818 in Clark County, Kentucky, and married Julie Ann Miller in 1842 before coming to the Oregon Territory. In 1847 they, accompanied by several small children, migrated to Oregon, settling almost immediately on Sauvie Island. According to records, Bybee made his fortune in the California gold fields in 1848. After his return in 1854 he was appointed one of three first Multnomah County Commissioners. In 1856 he and Julia began construction of their home facing Multnomah Channel (the Willamette River). His other interest was investing in thoroughbred horses, and he directed workmen toward the completion of a large race track on a portion of his property. Hundreds of hours of research, study, and detailing were devoted to a comprehensive restoration of the native and regional character of this mid-nineteenth century Territorial house.

This rich bottomland was a favored place of Indian tribes from the Columbia and Willamette Valleys. Some of the great finds of stone carvings, implements, weapons, and ceremonial pieces have been recorded on this historic island.

Mrs. (Grace) Morris gave a continuous commentary, on Oregon history as we traveled north and south. She was presented with a book of historical interest of the St. Paul area.

History buffs were Lois Baker, Ewart and Margaret Baldwin, Rita Baxter, Jane Hilt, Jessie Bork, Glenndora Burbank, Ingrid Carmichael, Sophie Christopher, Clair Cooley, Virginia DeMers, Irene Flynn, Marjorie Eaton, Harriet Friday, Emily Gropp, Jan Gund, Bette Hack, Art and Lillian Johnson, Virginia Horton, Helen Hughes, Grace Miller, Catherine Jones, Frances Ness, Frances Newsom, Liz Officer, Jan Pattison, Clarence and Dorothy Scherer, D Lu Reynolds, Bonnie Rickard, Lois Schreiner, Evelyn Smith, Grace Smith, Lila Smith, Paula Vehrs, Ethel and Robin Steussy, Margaret Wiese, Mildred Weatherby, commentator Grace Morris, and co-leaders Bill Eaton and Mary Mallery.

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