Alba Lyman was born in Illinois in 1844. Both of his parents died when he was an infant and he was taken in by his grandparents, Walter and Louisa Marsh. In 1847 the family, consisting of his grandparents, aunt Mary and Uncle Lucius, joined a wagon train traveling to the Oregon Territory. Louisa Marsh died at Soda Springs and was buried along the trail. Walter, with his eleven-year-old daughter Mary and two-year-old grandson Alba, stopped at the Whitman mission where they moved into a large house known as the “adobe”. The house held several families and bachelors who lived at the mission. Lucius continued on to the Willamette Valley. Walter was hired to work at the grist mill and other families at the mission helped him care for the children. In her memoir Mary Marsh Cason later wrote:
“It was on the 29th of November, about 2 o’clock in the afternoon that the Indians broke out and murdered the Doctor and Mrs. Whitman and eight others. Six families were living in the adobe not far from the doctor’s house. Father and I occupied an upper-room, where we cooked our meals and slept. He had come in and had his dinner, his last dinner, and had gone to work – attending the grist mill. That was the last time that I ever saw my poor dear father.”
Mary and Alba, along with the other survivors, were held as captives until a ransom was negotiated twelve days later. They were reunited with Lucius, who had joined the Oregon Riflemen, at The Dalles. He brought them to Oregon City, and shortly later he left for the California gold fields. Mary was cared for by Asa L. Lovejoy’s family in Oregon City until her marriage to James Pulliam Cason in 1853. Ahio S. Watt was appointed Alba’s guardian. Alba enlisted in the 1st Oregon Infantry at age 20, served to the end of the war and then made his home with his aunt Mary and her husband James Cason. Alba died at the Cason home on August 24, 1866, possibly of cholera or small pox which were common at the time, as his estate shows payments to two doctors in the week before his death.
No notice of his death is found in the local newspapers but his will is available:
To the Hon. County Court of Clackamas County in the State of Oregon.
The undersigned respectfully shows to the Court that heretofore to wit the 24th day of August A. D. 1866 Alba Liman died in said county at the residence of the undersigned; t hat t\at the time of his death said Alba Liman was an inhabitant of said Clackamas County, and had been for several months previous thereto.
That before his death said Liman executed a will which remains in force at and after his decease, that said will is herewith presented for Probate; that in and by said will the undersigned is nominated as Executor of the same.
That the only property belonging to deceased at the time of his death was a claim as heir of his deceased father’s estate in the State of Illinois, which claim has been ascertained to be $335 in currency, a check for which has come to the hands of the undersigned since the death of said Liman.
That it is necessary that letters testamentary should issue order that said check my be collected and the money disposed of according to said will.
Wherefore the undersigned prays that said will may be admitted to Probate, and that letters testamentary may be issued to him in usual form.
Jas. P. Cason
Subscribed and sworn to before me, Feb. 5, 1867, J. M. Bacon, Clerk
In the name of God, Amen: I Alba A. Lyman of lawful age to wit twenty one years old on the day of April A. D. 1866 a resident of Clackamas County State of Oregon and being of sound and disposing mind and memory do make publish and declare this to be my last Will and testament.
And I hereby declare that my estate consists wholly of property or money that descends to me from the estates of my Father and Mother late residents of the State of Illinois and is of the value of Three Hundred Dollars or thereabouts.
I direct that out of my said estate that all my just debts and the charges of my last sickness and funeral expenses be first paid.
I give and bequeath to my kind Aunt Amanda Gibson wife of Benjamin Gibson of Menard County State of Illinois the sume of (1).
I give and bequeath to my dear kind Aunt Mary E. Cason wife of James P. Cason of Clackamas County State of Oregon all the remainder of my estate of all kinds whatever.
I hereby nominate and appoint James P. Cason Executor of this my last will and testament.
I hereby revoke and annul all other and former wills by me made.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 22nd day of August A. D. 1866.
Alba A. Lyman
Expenses: Estate of Aba (sic) Lyman:
To Dr. H. Saffarrans
Aug 19th 1866 – To visit and Medicines for Dec’d – 3.00
Aug 20th 1866 – To visit and Medicines for Dec’d – 4.00
Aug 21st 1866 – To visit and Medicines for Dec’d – 4.00
Aug 23rd 1866 – To visit and Medicines for Dec’d – 4.00
Dr. H. W. Ross – $30.00
Dr. H. Saffarrans – $15.00
Hedges & Benjamin, Coffin & cem – $45.00
Alba A. Lyman
United States Civil War Soldiers Index
Name Alba A. Lyman
Event Type Military Service
Military Beginning Rank Private
Military Final Rank Private
Military Side Union
State or Military Term Oregon
Military Unit 1st Regiment, Oregon Infantry
Military Company E