James Gerrish Diaries
Scope and Contents
Arrose, visted my son John and returned home. Children convalesent. The day warm. Come holy spirit, warm my poor heart, fill it with thy love.
Some of the entries are longer and give greater detail about events and family relationships. For example, his entry for January 6, 1860, reads:
Frost this morning and fine sun all the day as I travelled to my Daughters Hinmans at Forest Grove whose Husband was upon the steemer Northerner which was wrecked on her way from San Francisco to Portland. He saved his life by swiming to shore but lost some 4000 Thousand dollars worth of merchandise which was upon her. He has returned home with his life [which is] most precious. Thank God for his mercyful good providence who cared for him.
The diaries were donated by George Williams, who is the descendant of another Tualatin Valley pioneer, Alanson Hinman. The Hinmans were related to the Gerrishes by marriage. George Williams' research notes and transcripts of the diaries and included at the end of the collection.
- Gerrish, James (Person)
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A native of England, James Gerrish was born on March 14, 1799, in Frome, Somersetshire. His father was also named James, and his mother was named Ann. Gerrish moved with his wife, Mary Ann Jones, to the United States in 1825. They migrated through several states including Alabama (1820s) and Texas (1830s), before arriving in Missouri in 1842. Along with his wife and children, Gerrish joined the Cornelius Gilliam Expedition to Oregon two years later. They first settled in the Tualatin Plains, in the area of what is now Hillsboro in Washington County. There they were neighbors to John Smith Griffin, another notable early pioneer.
By 1850, Gerrish gained employment working for the Methodist Episcopal Church as a circuit preacher. He would serve in many assignments across Oregon and Washington, while his wife and family remained home on the family farm. His first assignment was in the Yamhill District of northwestern Oregon. Two years later, he was working along the Columbia River, serving The Dalles and Vancouver. He visited many other locations including Astoria, Oswego, Portland, St. Helens, McMinnville, Clatsop Plains.
James and Mary Ann Gerrish had three daughters and one son: Mary Ann, who married Henry Sewell of the Tualatin Plains; Martha, who married Alanson Hinman of Forest Grove; Ellen Texanna, who married Darling Smith of Yamhill/Washington County; and James William, who married Mary Patton.
0.5 Cubic Feet (1 box)
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Guide to the James Gerrish Diaries
- 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