Oregon Trail

The Elliott Wagon Train of 1853

Men seeking free land had been coming to Oregon Territory for some years    
when in 1852 viewers from Linn, Lane and Benton counties scouted a new      
cut-off from the Oregon Trail at the Malheur River west to the Willamette   
In 1853, contracts were let to build the new road which was believed to be  
over a hundred miles shorter than the old Oregon Trail. It was known as the 
Elliott Cut-off, and those who took it were often referred to as "The Lost  
Wagon Train of 1853".                                                       
The number in the immigration coming to Oregon in 1853 has been estimated   
as 8,000 men, women and children. Of these, about 275 remained on the       
Oregon Trail. Some 200 wagons left the Oregon Trail in Idaho and came into  
the Willamette Valley via the Southern or Applegate route, and 50 wagons    
split off to pioneer the first wagon road to Washington Territory.          
At Umatilla Indian Agency, Thomas K. Williams, acting Indian Agent,         
attempted to keep an accurate list of those passing the agency on the       
Oregon Trail. It was the only such list ever kept there, as far as known.   
This roster includes those known to have been members of the Elliott or     
"Lost Wagon Train of 1853" who took the new Cut-off. Added also are the     
names of those believed to have taken the new route, but not proven.        
The Elliott Wagon Train of 1853 turned off the Oregon Trail near the        
present-day town of Vale, Oregon and took the dry Eastern Oregon route that 
finally led them over the Cascades into Lane County.                        
                       ROSTER, LOST WAGON TRAIN, 1853                       
                      Pike County, Arkansas Immigrants                      
* BIDDIX, John - appears on list, Mrs. Capitola Glazier to Mrs. Dora Lee,   
  Eugene, Oregon, as leaving for Oregon with Brewers.                       
  BREWER, Mrs. Elvira (Alexander) - widow; b. 1799, Lincoln Co., N.C.; DLC  
  No. 2041, Lane Co., Or.; her husband, John Brewer b. 1787, N.C., had d.   
  1845 in Arkansas; she d. 15 Nov. 1857, Lane Co., Or.                      
  Reece A. - b. 28 Dec. 1835; d. 27 Dec. 1909; m. (1) Eliza Jane Johnson,   
  20  May 1858, Lane Co., Or.; (2) Flora E. who d. 3 Dec. 1873, aged 21 y.  
  6 mo.; (3) Eliza (b. 1842), who d. 23 Nov. 1906.                          
  Elvira - b. 29 April 1839; m. Joseph B.N. Riley, 23 Oct. 1854, Lane Co.,  
  Or.; d. 27 Dec. 1861; probably buried Lane Co., but stone is in           
  Rochester,  Wash., cemetery.                                              
  BREWER, Oliver P. - b. 6 May 1833, Pike Co., Ark.; minister; d. 6 June    
  1905; buried near Rochester, Wash.                                        
  BREWER, Margaretta (Stevens) - b. 6 Aug. 1834, Gwinnett Co., Ga.; m.      
  Oliver, 3 Feb. 1853, Pike Co., Ark.; d. 2 Feb. 1916; buried Rochester,    
  Wash. Their  first child, Sarah Elvira, was b. 26 Dec. 1853, after        
  reaching the Willamette Valley; (Sarah d. 1864).                          
  BREWER, William Alexander - b. Pike Co., Ark.; d. 1858, Lane Co., Or.;    
  DLC No. 1236, Lane Co., arrived Or. 23 Oct. 1853; taught. school, farmed, 
  worked as a cabinet maker.                                                
  BREWER, Margaret Isabelle (Scott) - b. 29 Oct. 1820, Abbeville, S.C.; m.  
  William, 26 Feb. 1841, Ark.; d. 29 Oct. 1913, Boisfort, Wash. After       
  William's death she moved her family to Douglas Co., Or., then to Grand   
  Mound, W.T., where she m. second, Henry S. Parmenter; moved to Boisfort,  
  W.T., where her husband d. abt.. 1867; she then m. third, Judge John G.   
  Sparks of Olympia, Wash., in 1868. They lived in Olympia for many years.  
  Children: All by first marriage.                                          
  Martha Anne - b. 15 Jan. 1843, Pike Co., Ark.; m. William P. Crow, of     
  Freewater, Or., 8 July 1857; resided in Walla Walla, Wash.; d. Black      
  River, Wash.                                                              
  John Fletcher - b. 2 May 1844, Pike Co., Ark.; m. Elvira Ann Axtell, of   
  Grand Mound, Wash., 26 April 1865; lived at Milton, Or., then took up a   
  timber claim at Lexington, Morrow Co., Or.; moved to Goshen, Lane Co.,    
  Or., 1890; d. 20 Dec. 1941, Molalla, Or.                                  
  Sarah Elvira - b. 10 Sept. 1846, Pike Co., Ark.; m. ------- Harper; d.    
  Nov., 1873 or 1875.                                                       
  Mary Lucinda - b. 29 March 1848, Pike Co., Ark.; m. (1) Martin D.         
  Rountree; (2) Edward Harris, Boisfort, Wash.                              
  Amanda Caroline - b. 6 Oct. 1849, Pike Co., Ark.; m. Eben Sherwood of     
  Satsop, Wash.                                                             
  James Henry - b. 20 Dec. 1850, Pike Co., Ark.; m. Emma Smith, 20 Dec.     
  1871, Chehalis, Wash.                                                     
  George Warren - b. 23 April 1852, Pike Co., Ark.; d. 13 June 1864,        
  Boisfort, Wash., of scarlet fever.                                        
  William Thomas - b. 1 Sept. 1853, en route to Or.; d. 29 May 1864,        
  Boisfort, Wash., of scarlet fever.                                        
  RILEY, Joseph B., - b. 1832, Union Co., Ark.; m. Elvira Brewer (see       
  roster), 23 Oct. 1854, Lane Co., Ore.; DLC No. 2044, Lane Co., Ore.; arr. 
  Ore. 20 Oct. 1853.                                                        
* Asterisk marks those who probably were in this party. Children listed are 
  only those brought to Oregon.                                             
Census of Elliott Train immigrants: W.W. Bristow, Pleasant Hill, Oregom     
counted the travelers (215 wagons) as they came down the Willamette River   
from the Cascade Mountains in the fall of 1853. There were 615 men and 412  
women and children.                                                         
Immigration Rosters of the Elliott Cut-Off: 1853 & 1854, and Immigration    
Registration at Umatilla Agency, 1853, compiled by Leah Collins Menefee,    
1984. Pike County, Arkansas extracts by David Kelley, preface condensed.    
David Kelley 2002