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Captain Joseph Kellogg

Captain Joseph Kellogg was born June 24, 1812, in Canada, though by action of congress he is declared to be American born. The circumstances will be found in the biographical sketch of his father, Captain Orrin Kellogg, in this number. The most of his life up to 1847 was passed in the state of Ohio, leading the life of a farmer. In 1844 he met and married Miss Estella A. Bushnell, a young lady of noble character, who was born February 22, 1818, at Litchfield, N. Y., and who moved to Ohio in 1820. Mrs. Kellogg still survives to bless his home. In 1847 he caught the western fever, and made one of the party of which his father's family were members, to rendezvous at St. Joseph, Mo., expecting to begin their journey in the spring following. In May, 1848, the march was begun, and after an uneventful trip, though trouble with the Indians, who were reported to be on the war path, was looked for, they arrived at Oregon City in the following fall. He took up a land claim near Milwaukee, and at once began that career of activity which has made him one of the foremost business men of the state.

With Lot Whitcomb and William Torrence he platted the town of Milwaukee and built a sawmill. He also built for the firm a schooner, which was loaded with produce from the. adjacent farms and taken to California where they sold both schooner and cargo. In the spring of 1850 they commenced the construction of the first large steamer built in Oregon, and known as the Lot Whitcomb, which was launched on Christmas day, with great festivities and rejoicing. In the midst of the exercises, however, a cannon exploded and killed Captain Morse, master of a ship lying at Milwaukee.

The business of the firm prospered, a flouring mill was built and two brigs were kept busy carrying lumber to Sacramento, where it was sold at $200 per 1000. Withdrawing from the firm of Whitcomb, Kellogg & Torrence, he formed a partnership with Bradbury & Eddy, with whom he put up the Standard flour mills, for many years the most extensive in Oregon. About 1857 he became interested in the construction of a telegraph line from San Francisco to Portland. He was also interested in the construction of the old Macadam road from Portland to the White House, the first of its kind built in the Northwest, and still the best road out of Portland. About 1864 he united his efforts with those of the People’s Transportation Company, and superintended the construction by that corporation, of the basin above the falls of the Willamette, which stands today as a monument to his engineering skill.

Captain Kellogg began with Captain Pease the navigation of the Tualatin river, with the little steamer Onward, and constructed the canal from that river to Sucker lake, making it possible to bring freight to Oswego from the Willamette. In connection with this enterprise, he bought the ground and platted the town of Oswego, then made an agreement with the Iron Works Company, by which they were able to resume business. In 1870 the People's Transportation Company sold out to Ben Holladay, and the Willamette Transportation Company was formed, of which Cap-tam Kellogg was vice-president and a director. He subsequently sold his interests in this company and formed the Joseph Kellogg Transportation Company, composed of himself, his brother and his sons. Under his direction the steamers Joseph Kellogg and Toledo were built, and operate on the Cowlitz river route to Toledo, 40 miles from the Columbia river. Although nearly four score and ten years age, he is still hale and hearty, and is actively engaged in business in this city.

Source: Oregon Native Son and Historical Magazine, June 1899

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