Cochran, Annie “Nan” Cornelia – Newspaper Woman

Enterprise-Courier, July 24, 1957


One of the best known newspaperwomen of the state is dead.

Miss Nan Cochran died about 6:30 PM Tuesday at the Oregon City hospital from a heart ailment where she had been a patient for several days.

Miss Cochran, a member of a pioneer family, the late Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Jerome (Frances Louise Kelly) Cochran, was a former society editor for the old Oregon City Enterprise for many years and also the Banner-Courier and was a former Oregon Journal correspondent.

She had lived at the family home at 1115 Washington Street in Oregon City since the day of her birth. The original house was constructed in 1852, with much of the material brought around Cape Horn by Albion Post and still stands.

The corner site consisted of two lots sold by Dr. John McLoughlin in 1851 to Joseph Jeffries for $400. In 1852 the property was sold for $800 to Albion Post who erected the house and sold it to John C. Ainsworth for $1,350 on February 15, 1856. In August that year the home was sold to Amory Holbrook for $1,700 who on March 23, 1872 sold it to the Cochrans for $1,400.

Miss Cochran liked to tell acquaintances that during the Willamette River flood of 1860-1861 when the residences on the lower level of the city were caught in the onrushing waters, Governor Abernethy and his family took refuge in the house. The spreading English elm tree still stands on the north side of the house and had been shipped from England.

Mr. Cochran was a postmaster at Vancouver, Wash., and a member of the Washington Legislature. Having been graduated from Alleghany college in Pennsylvania where he was born he was a skilled workman and some of his cabinet work may be seen in the old home today. He was a ship builder and building contractor in Oregon City, served as mayor and was a member of the Society of the Sons of the Revolution. He died on August 22, 1895.

Her only survivors include a niece and two nephews.

Enterprise-Courier, July 25, 1957

People, Places and Things

by Vera F. Criteser

Nan Cochran is gone. Many people in Clackamas County are saddened to learn of her passing. For many years Nan had her fingers on the pulse of community life. She wrote up the “marryin’s” and the “buryin’s” and kept track of who was born, who moved in and who went away, for the old Enterprise and later for the Banner Courier.

When a young girl she got newspapering in her blood – setting type for Grant Dimick when he ran the Western Stock Journal. She afterwards went to work for E. E. Brodie on the Enterprise.

It is told now that Brodie let her go once because she took too much time off from work to help unfortunates find jobs and to hunt homes for stray dogs and kittens.

Her heritage of kindliness came from her pioneer parents and grandparents. Her mother, Frances Kelly was a member of the Kelly who family who came originally from St. Thomas, Canada to Fort Vancouver, where her grandfather was a member of the Eighth Cavalry. Her father, Hiram J. Cochran, was Postmaster at Vancouver before he moved his young family to Oregon City and purchased the Albion Post home on Washington Street. That was in 1872, and the house was old then, having been built in 1852. It has been Nan’s home ever since she was born. She grew up with her six older sisters and survived them all.

For years she lived with Harriet, or Hat as she was called, who taught school, and Louis, or Lou, who had a business college in the upstairs of the Barclay building – which houses offices above and Jones drug store below. Nan worked on the newspaper.

Pete Laurs said during World War I, when he was working as a printer’s devil on the Enterprise, she taught him to knit in her spare time. Many socks and sweaters Nan made for the boys “over there.”

cochran-nanHer old friends remember many instances of the warm Cochran heart under the fiery temper and stubborn exterior. Miss Mertie Stevens tells about a quarrel the sisters had with a neighbor with whom they shared their newspaper. The sisters never apologized for the bitter words but they never failed to leave the paper on her doorstep when they had finished with it.

Such was the character of Nan Cochran. Although we saw her but a few times in her last years of retirement, she leaves a place in her community no one else can fill.

Oregon City Enterprise, January 26, 1917


Miss Nan Cochran Carried On Train – Her Protests to No Avail

By swinging from the Anti-Division special train just as it was gaining speed Thursday afternoon, Miss Nan Cochran, Enterprise reporter, escaped from the hundred men on the train who had kidnapped her. They did carry her, bodily, from the Southern Pacific station to the train, and watched her closely until they thought the train was moving so rapidly she would not dare to jump. She landed safely, none the worse for her experience.

Miss Cochran went to the Southern Pacific station to get a list of those who made the trip. Judge Grant B. Dimick, M. J. Lee, B. T. McBain, Walter A. Beck, George Gregory, Sheriff Wilson and M. D. Latourette surrounded her, picked her up and carried her across the station yards and into the train.

“Let me down, “ demanded Miss Cochran.

“You are going to Salem with us,” one kidnapper informed her.

“I’ve got to work, “ she said, changing her plea.

“Oh, that’s all right,” replied M. J. Lee, “We’ll telephone your boss that you’re going to Salem with us.”

“I haven’t even got a pair of gloves, and I’m not dressed well enough to go up there with you,” she retorted.

Three members of the party handed her pairs of gloves – men’s gloves, it is true, but they were gloves.

They sat her down and appointed Mr. Beck, Molalla real estate man, her guardian. Sheriff Wilson stationed himself at the door of the car. The train started, her guards relaxed their vigilance, and Miss Cochran escaped.



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