[or-roots] Bio of Thomas Fields, Linn Co., OR.
Nancy Lee Adams
nancydean at columbia-center.org
Wed Mar 10 14:37:03 PST 2010
Laura, Looks like your ancestors? BONNIE BARTLETT who wrote this Bio has a family tree on line with Elizabeth A Carter in it, looks like she has pictures too if interested I can send you that site.? Nancy
BIOGRAPHY OF THOMAS FIELDS
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>From there they headed for Brush Creek Valley in Linn County, Oregon where ... Their daughters Nancy Jane married George Fields, Mary Catherine married ...
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Thomas Fields, the elder son of Ebenezer and Sarah (Burden) Fields was born the 4th of May 1809, Bourbon County, Kentucky. Thomas's Oregon Donation Claim say's he was born in Ohio, but other records indicate that he was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky. His siblings were Betsy, Dorcas, Peggy, James, Lizey, Ebenezer Jr., Stephen and Eldridge. All the children except Stephen and Eldridge were born in Kentucky and they were born in Ray County, Missouri.
Ebenezer and family removed to Missouri about 1815, which they may have came by the Tennessee River to the Ohio River, then the Mississippi River as that's the route most of the pioneers from Kentucky came to Missouri.
The family settled in Crooked River Township, Ray County, Missouri after a short stay in Howard County, Missouri where some of the Fields that had came to Missouri before they did.
Thomas Fields married Rebecca Riggs, daughter of Thomas & Leah (Hunt) Riggs, January 1st 1829 in Ray County, Missouri. They had eight children, William, Harvey, John, Eliza, Reuben, Nancy Jane, Preston and Thomas Newton while in Ray County, Missouri.
When the Heatherly War of 1836 started, Thomas Fields joined Mathew T Long's outfit that commanded a Militia Company from Ray County, Missouri formally called Longs Independent Company, Missouri Mounted Militia, War of 1832.
Shortly before or after Thomas Fields father, Ebenezer died in 1847, Thomas had decided to go west to the wild frontier and the promise of free land. His wife Rebecca's parents had left for Oregon in 1846 where Rebecca's father Thomas Riggs died on the way on Oregon Trail near the Iowa Point.
According to records, each pioneer heading out west, loaded their wagon with a grub box with a lid, that each wagon had that sat in the front of the wagon. At the end of this box was a place for the Dutch oven, coffee pot and kettle that were packed in a sack. There was usually a outside box attached to the front of the wagon bed for halters, hobbles, rope, axe, shovel, hammer, chain, bell, a rack for the guns, a small keg with a lid in which was their drinking water. They put their frying pans, water bucket and a kettle at the rear of the wagon. They hung their tar buckets for greasing the wheels beneath the wagon. Their food they bought was flour, beans, sugar, coffee, lard, ham and bacon that had been cured, corn meal, dried fruit, molasses, butter, vegetables, homemade soap, salt and medicine. Each wagon. Each wagon team had at least four oxen's, a couple horses and a couple milk cows.
After getting their wagon ready for the trip out west, Thomas Fields and family joined the Nathaniel Bowman Company at Caples Landing, twelve miles above St. Joseph, Missouri May 2, 1847. They crossed the Big Blue on May 8th and came into the Independence road the next day, arriving on the evening of May 16, at the head of the Little Blue River. Before reaching Fort Laramie, Wyoming, the company split up into three divisions.
After crossing the Missouri River, they were in Indian Territory and the
Indians were very hostile. After many nights of trouble with the Indians, Thomas
Fields and family decided to stay back behind the wagon train.
They used buffalo chips for fuel when there was no wood. There was a lot of cholera and other sickness on the Oregon Trail.
In some places on the trail, there were herds of antelope and buffalo. The men or boys would kill them for meat. Crossing the rivers was quite a chore. They would have to raise their wagons several inches, attach ropes to the front so that the horseman riding along could help if it was needed to urge the teams into the water. Some places the roads were so sandy, that they would be knee deep in sand.
In what few places there were to buy food along the trail, they'd stop and reload what they could get by with. They'd have to stop, feed and rest their cattle and horses. At this time they would do various other things, such as reset their wheels as they had to be taken off and soaked over night to keep them from falling off. They also had to grease the wheels and brake blocks had to be built and tighten
In the evening time they'd play their guitars, fiddles, singing, and dancing. They'd have a lit campfire that they'd gather around and visit.
On Sundays, they had church services for the ones that wanted to attend. They gathered for the services in a group, by one of their wagons.
After months crossing the Oregon Trail, the dust, heat, sometimes lack of water, food, just before the real hard snow hit the mountains, they came to a place four miles above Willow Creek on the Columbia River, some of the wagon train went by raft down the Columbia River. Thomas Fields and his family headed to Tygh Valley, to the Cascade's and crossed over the Barlow Road. The cost to go over the Barlow Road was $5.00 a wagon, 10 cents a head for cattle. Some of the pioneers sold their rifles, quilts or anything they could use for payment. The ones that were flat broke were able to use IOU's. This Barlow Road saved the pioneers from going down the Columbia River, on the make shift rafts as going down the river was a terrible experience that many drowned. There were some terrible places
going over the Barlow Road. One of those places was called Laurel Hill. It was the worst part of this road. The way the pioneers got down this hill was by cutting a tree down and chaining a tree behind the way for it would slow the wagon down. Even then some lost their belongings.
Many women went out of their minds under the hardship of the Oregon Trail.
After arriving in the fall at the end of the Oregon Trail, Thomas Fields and family spent a short time in Oregon City, Oregon. From there they headed for Brush Creek Valley in Linn County, Oregon where Thomas's wife Rebecca's mother and brothers were living. During the fall and winter of 1847 the Indians annoyed the Thomas Fields family so they moved down the Calapooia River and stayed with Rebecca's mother and brothers, Leah, Timothy and Thomas Riggs till the spring of 1848. Then in the summer of 1848, Thomas applied for an Oregon
Donation land claim, near Chandler Mountain. He was granted 640 acres in 14 S Range East, located in Section 13 and 14. Their neighbors were, R. C. Finley family, James McHargue family, Robert Montgomery family and Rebecca Fields mother and brothers, Leah, Timothy and Thomas Riggs.
After Thomas and Rebecca Fields moved to Oregon, they had four more children, Mary, Lucinda, Louise and Franklin.
Thomas farmed the land and raised bees, hogs, and cattle.
Thomas and Rebecca Fields joined the Reorganized Latter Day Saints Church. Thomas and Rebecca were baptized May 25, 1868. Thomas was an elder in the church.
Before Thomas and Rebecca Fields passed away, they had lost two children, Eliza and John. John drowned in the Calapoola River July 18, 1867.
Rebecca (Riggs) Fields passed away January 29, 1874 and Thomas Fields passed away July 1, 1875. Where they are buried is unknown so far as I write this story.
Thomas and Rebecca's sons William married Elizabeth Carter, Harvey married Nancy Jane Carsner, Franklin married Syrena Davis, Reuben married, Catherine Fields later married Mary Black, Thomas Newton Fields married Louisa Ellen Fields, Franklin married Syrena Davis. Their daughters Nancy Jane married George Fields, Mary Catherine married Jason Butler, Lucinda married Charles Aldrich.
(This information came from Court, land, census records, Harvey Fields obit stories and what Harvey told his family. Some of the deceased Harvey Fields family claim that his grandfather, Ebenezer was a brother to the Joseph and Ruben Fields that was on the Lewis & Clark Expedition but so far I have not found any information to verify this. Some of this information came from records on what little that I could find out on the Nathaniel Bowman train.)
WRITTEN BY BONNIE BARTLETT @ MAY 29, 2005
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