Marion County Pioneers
To submit a name for this page: e-mail [an error occurred while processing this directive]

Edward, John, Allen and Ai Porter

Theophilus Powell

Fanny Smith

Inez Poe Smith

James A. Hunt

Theophilus Powell

Marion County, Oregon Territory as early as 1845

From: Floyd Co., KY deed records, Book B, page #12, dated January 31,
1820 - "Theo Powell from James C. Madison"  - 500 acres on Marrow Bone

The 1823 Tax List of Pike County, Kentucky, listed Theophilus Powell as
a resident along with his father, CADAR, and his brothers George and

1850 Census, Marion County, Oregon Territory, page #90, taken on Jan 24,

259   259   Theophilus Powell  58  M Farmer  $1000 Kentucky
   Rachel Powell  32  F   Ohio
   William Powell  13  M   Illinois Attended School
   Polly Powell    9  F   Illinois Attended School
   Isaac Powell    7  M   MO. Attended School
   Martha Powell    4  F   Ore. Terr.
   John W. Powell             11/12  M   Ore. Terr.

The eldest boy, William, was actually named William Tull, son of Aaron
Tull and Rachel (Center) Tull. Rachel was married to Theophilus Powell
in 1840.  Aaron Tull must have died soon after William's birth in 1837.

Theophilus Powell,  child of Cader and Frances (Foote) was a preacher.
He received a certificate from the Methodist Church in 1833.   In 1836
he received a grant of 50 acres of land on  Big Begus Creek.  In 1837 he
received a grant of 250 acres on Powell Creek.   Soon after, about 1838,
Theophilis sold his land and went to Missouri with his brother, Allen
Powell, and Allen's wife, Mary (Johnson), their sons, David, James,
Jackson, John and William, and their three daughters, Frances, Malinda
and Mary (?).

In Missouri Theophilis was given a certificate by the Methodist Church,
he was a Circuit Rider on the frontier. Not long after arriving in
Missouri, Allen Powell's wife, Mary, died; leaving Allen with eight
children, and shortly thereafter Allen died while fighting a prairie

Another brother came and took the girls back to Kentucky (either Isaac
or George Powell).   Four of Allen's sons (all except James) followed
Theophilis to Oregon in 1847.

Theophilus was recorded on the 1845 and the 1850 Census in Marion
County, Oregon Territory.

 James, the lone son of Allen who did not follow Theophilus Powell to
Oregon in 1847, moved to Oregon in 1852.

William died on the plains, David married Almeda Harless and they had 6
children. He homesteaded on the Columbia River near Portland, OR., John
located near David.

About 1840 Theophilus Powell married a young widow, Rachel ( Center)
Tull, whose husband, Aaron Tull, had died of tuberculosis, leaving her
with a small son (named William).   Theophilus and his family probably
lived on a farm in Missouri, as he had done in Kentucky. However, lack
of markets for their crops, low prices for farm products, and the
prevalence of malaria, discouraged many of the settlers. While in
Missouri Rachel and Theo became the parents of two children, Mary b.
August 30, 1841, and Isaac Jamison b. April 11, 1843.   On May 11, 1845,
Theophilis and his family left Independence, MO, in one of the many
groups of wagons in that great wagon train of 1845.  (The wagon train
records show it left from St. Joseph, Buchannan County,  MO., on April
8, 1845, under command of Capt. Solomon Tetherow and later under the
command of Capt .English.)    Rachel's mother, Mary Center, rode in
their wagon, as did Lucy, Mary's crippled sister. Two young Center boys
rode horseback all the way. (On June 20, 1845, when they reached the
Platte River, Samuel Center was married to Elizabeth Evans Dillon.)

In Oregon Theophilus and Rachel took up Donation Land Claim No. 18, in
Waldo Hills, 12 miles east of Salem.   Here he built a house and a
school, which was also used for the church on Sundays.   He preached for
the Methodist Church in Oregon, as he had done in Kentucky and Missouri.
He died January 20, 1861.   Rachel died several years later at the age
of 71.

The children of  Theophilus and Rachel born in Oregon were:   Martha
Powell  b March 14, 1846, married James Perry Watkins and had children
Albert, Penny, Anna, Oscar, Bessie, John, Floyd and Lulu.   John Wesley
Powell  b 1849, went to Kansas to study medicine.While there he married
Angelina Browning and their children were: John, Martha, Gertrude,
Lilly, Myrtle, Stella, and Fred. Three of these children died of scarlet
fever in Kansas.   Later Dr. John Powell returned to Oregon and
practiced medicine in Oregon City, Oregon, where he died in 1923.

[Roberta Pruett Wallace Family Tree.FTW] [1778385[1].ged]

"At the time of Theophilus' first preaching, the Methodist
Church issued 1 year certificates to preach under.There was 1 in
Virginia in 1935," (Note: This should have been written as 1835)
"Between 1838 and 1845, he received several more certificates in

"In 1836 and 1837, Theophilus recieved a total of 450 acres in
Land Grants. All but 50 acres was on Powell Creek, Kentucky. The other
50, was on Begus Creek, Kentucky. The land, however, was not productive,
and sometime between 1838 and 1841, he moved to Missouri with his
brother Allen and Allen's family.  After arriving in Missouri,
Theophilus started preaching again. he was a "Circuit Rider" type of
minister on the American Frontier.  He officiated at many marriages. Not
long after going to Missouri, Allen's wife, Mary, became ill, and died,
leaving Allen with 8 children. Soon after, Allen lost his life in a
prairie fire he was fighting."

"Another of Theophilus' brothers came to Missouri and took the girls.
Theophilus moved in with the boys. There were 5 boys. In 1941,"  (NOTE:
Again, this should have been written as 1845) "Theophilus married a
young widow, Rachael Center Tull.  Her husband had died of tuberculosis,
leaving her with a baby boy, William Tull.  By 1843, They (sic) had 2
children of their own, Mary and Isaac. The young couple became
discouraged farming, due to low farm prices and lack of markets. The
area was rampant with Malaria cases. They started to hear stories about
Oregon, and in 1845, they left Independence, Missouri by wagon train to
Oregon.  Rachael's mother, Mary Center, a sister Lucy, and 2 brothers
went along. Their destination? Oregon City! By June 20,1845, they had
reached the Platte River.

The leader of the wagon train was Captain Solomon Tethrow.  After
only a few days, he resigned, and Captain English took his place. The
roads at first were in good shape, fuel for the oxen, and water was
plentiful. Things changed quickly. They travelled 10-20 miles a day, so
the trip was going to be a long one.  According to Palmer's Journal , at
Independence, (Some say this took place at Fort Hall.) the    wagon
train company decided to hold an election to choose a pilot for the
trip. They had 2 volunteers. Mr Adams, would pilot the train to the end
of the trail, for $500.00 in advance. Mr. Steven Meek, an old fur trader
who claimed to know the land well, offered to pilot the train for
$250.00 total, with only $30.00 in advance. They chose Mr. Meek.  The
book "Early Western Travels", says that on August 27, some 200 families
separated from the main train.  Mr. Meek was leading these 200,
promising a shortcut over the mountains to the Willamette Valley, from
Malhuer Creek. Soon the vegetation and water disappeared, along with the
good roads. The only water was stagnant pools, even the cattle didn't
want to drink. Those that did became ill, many dying, and many more so
weak they could barely travel.  The days were hot and the nights so cold
ice formed in their water buckets.  As if this weren't enough, it soon
began the fall rain and winter snows. Much to their discomfort.
According to family stories, this was the train that discovered the
"Blue Bucket" mine.  The stories say it was Theophilus that flattened a
piece of gold on his wagon wheel, saying "It may be gold, but I do not
know that it is."  No one since has found the mine   area, or any gold,
though many have tried.  By now the t rain was helplessly lost. A
scouting party returned saying they had found a way out, just in time to
save Mr. Meek from being hanged by the angry train member s. Mr. Meek
then left the train to fend for themselves.  According to "History Of
Oregon" by Harvey K. Hines,(on page 287) this was the ill-fated
emmigrant train that was lost on Meek's Cutoff.  After their rescue, the
scouts found the Dechutes River.  It took the wagon train about 2 weeks
to find a place to get across."