Stevens, Harley Crawford

Morning Oregonian, July 23, 1924
Harley C. Stevens.

stevens harley c
Harley Crawford Stevens, Sr.

OREGON CITY, Or., July 22 – (Special.)
Harley C. Stevens, well-known resident of Oregon City, died at the family home at Sixth and Washington Streets last night, after several months’ illness.
Mr. Stevens was born in Havana, now known as Montour Falls, Chemung county, New York, January 7, 1847, where he made his home until the spring of 1862, when he joined a company raised under special act of congress for the protection of emigrants to the Pacific northwest. In the fall of 1862 he was discharged at Fort Walla Walla, Wash., and spent the first winter in Butteville, Marion county.

He is survived by his widow, a daughter, Miss Mertie Stevens, of Oregon City; a son, Harley Stevens Jr., Portland; a brother, Clarence Stevens, of Ithaca, N. Y.
Funeral services will be held from the Elks’ temple Wednesday at 1 P. M., Rev. Caradoc Morgan, pastor of the Congregational church, officiating. Interment will be in the family lot in Mountain View cemetery.


In 1861 Medorem Crawford, an Oregon pioneer of 1842, was appointed Assistant Quartermaster for a military escort for the wagon trains heading west. Due to increased hostilities with the Native Americans along the Oregon Trail Congress appropriated funds for these escorts in the early 1860’s.

Medorem traveled to the East to form the escort and successfully conducted his party without incident to Oregon. In 1862 he was appointed Quartermaster for the second trip of the Emigrant Escort Service. In preparation for his duties, he visited his family in New York. His father, Samuel, as well as his brother Leroy joined the company from New York. Samuel, 64 years old, had never before left New York and wrote several colorful letters home to his wife in New York from the Oregon Trail.

Also in the party was Medorem’s sister, Elizabeth, and her son Harley Crawford Stevens. Elizabeth’s husband, Samuel Stevens, and her other son, Leroy, remained in New York. After arriving in Oregon, Elizabeth filed for a divorce from Samuel, which was granted.
Elizabeth made her home with her brother Medorem’s family in Yamhill County upon her arrival in Oregon and later moved to Oregon City to live with her son Harley and his wife. She died in Oregon City on August 29, 1897.

After arriving in the Oregon Territory in the fall of 1862, 15 year-old Harley Crawford Stevens remained in Walla Walla, Washington where he was discharged from the army in October 1862. He worked at various jobs in Oregon, Washington and Idaho for a period of time and then moved to Portland and enrolled in a school for telegraphy. On January 1, 1870 he was hired as a telegraph operator for the Oregon & California Railroad Company. He was soon appointed as the Station Agent in Oregon City and remained in this position after the O&C was purchased by Southern Pacific.

On January 26, 1871 Harley Crawford Stevens and his cousin, Mary Elizabeth Crawford, were married at the Medorem Crawford farm in Yamhill County. The young couple made their home in Oregon City after the wedding.

The Stevens had two children, Muriel “Mertie” Stevens, born October 26, 1872, and Harley Crawford Stevens, Jr., born November 28, 1874.

Harley Sr. retired from his job as a telegrapher in 1889. While still employed he had purchased several lots in downtown Oregon City and other property around the county. The family lived well on the income from these properties. Harley also dealt in stocks, bonds and insurance from his home office. He served several terms on the City Council and the Water Commission and was active in the Congregational Church. He died at home July 21, 1924.


Meade Post No. 2, G. A. R. Roster:

#321, H. C. Stevens, age 63, Born New York, lives in Oregon City.
Enlisted May 1861, Private, “Specially authorized by Sec. of War”.
Discharged October 25, 1862.
Mustered into Meade Post, November 19, 1910.


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