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Ellis W. Dixon Scrapbook

Identifier: MS-34

Scope and Contents

The scrapbook includes a handwritten autobiographical sketch by Reverend Ellis W. Dixon, as well as newspaper clippings relating to his activities and family members.

The autobiography describes his parents and other family members; his early childhood in Bond County, Illinois; farm and carpentry work as a teenager; leaving for California in 1850 at the age of 19; getting sick and nearly being abandoned during the overland journey; an encounter with Native Americans near the Humboldt River; catching cholera in California; coming to Portland, Oregon in 1853; meeting up with his brother Samuel A. Dixon in Forest Grove, Oregon; marriage to Mary Jane Catchings; the births of their children; death of his wife while the children were still young; becoming a preacher at the United Brethren Church in Washington County; a dispute with another minister named J. Conner; being ordained in the Presbyterian Church of Douglas County; moving to Yakima City, Washington in 1880; preaching there and at Wenas and Ahnatun; travelling by train across the country to visit relatives he had not seen in years; more work for the church and the Yakima Mission in Washington; marriage in 1886 to Sarah W. Hiatt; moving back to Forest Grove in 1888; having a stroke and being in poor health while keeping a store near Gales Creek.

The clippings include one of his own sermons and other articles that he wrote, articles relating to his church appointments, obituaries of family members, and articles related to inventions.


  • 1881-1895


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Pacific University owns the copyright to some, but not all, of the materials housed in its archives. Copyright for materials authored or otherwise produced as official business of Pacific University is retained by Pacific University and requires its permission for publication. Copyright status for other collection materials varies. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical Note

Ellis Watson Dixon was a pioneer and a clergyman who lived in various locations in Oregon, California and Washington between 1850-1905. He was born in Bond County, Illinois, on November 18, 1830. At the age of 19, he emigrated to California with a company led by two men named King and Pierce. He fell seriously ill with a fever along the way and was nearly abandoned en route. After arriving in California, he caught cholera and was barely able to work for several months. He moved to Oregon and joined his brother, Samuel A. Dixon, who was a minister living in Forest Grove. There he married Mary Jane Catchings in 1854 and had four children named Charles, Ellen, William and George. Mary died while they were still young, in 1867.

While living in Washington County, Oregon in the 1860s, Dixon became involved with various protestant churches, including the Congregationalists and the Presbyterians. He had a falling out with a prominent member of the Congregationalist Church in Oregon, a "J. Conner," in 1869. Although he believed he got the better of his opponent, he writes in his autobiography that Conner "persecuted me out of the Church." Dixon was next ordained by the Presbyterians, and preached for them in Douglas County. He returned to preaching for the Congregationalists at Yakima City, Washington, in 1880. He helped to revitalize two other churches nearby in Ahtanum and Wenas.

Dixon remarried in 1886 to Sarah W. Hiatt. In increasingly poor health, he eventually left the Yakima area and moved back to Forest Grove in 1888. He kept a store near Gales Creek before his death in 1905.


0.25 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Ellis Watson Dixon was a pioneer and a clergyman who lived in various locations in Oregon, California and Washington between 1850-1905. His scrapbook includes a handwritten autobiographical sketch, as well as newspaper clippings relating to his activities and family members.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Stamped "Pacific University Museum." Mrs. Maners of Yakima was a former owner, according to an inscription on the inside cover.


No accruals are expected.
Guide to the Ellis W. Dixon Scrapbook
Eva Guggemos
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Sponsored by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission

Repository Details

Part of the Pacific University Archives Repository

2043 College Way
Forest Grove OR 97116 United States