1860 OR CENSUS - Mary Whitaker [Whiteaker], age 13, b. Illinois, is enumerated with B., age 63, occupation farmer, b. N. Carolina, and Mary, age 53, b. Virginia, along with J. R., male, age 23, farmer, b. Virginia, and G. W., male, age 7, b. Illinois.
PHOTOGRAPH NOTE: The photograph of Mary B. Whiteaker, is shown courtesy of James G. Pearson.
ED. ITEMIZER: Never having noticed anything relative to the death of "Old Mrs. Whiteaker" in the papers, I thought it due to herself and her friends that something of her domestic history should be given publicity, while yet some of her old pioneer associates still survive her; and some of whom regarded her with that high esteem which respected worth always merits. This thought was suggested by my wife, who in years past has been the recipient of Mrs. Whiteaker's unbounded hospitality, and who frequently recalls to min one incident in early life, when that hospitality was most generously extended, and most thankfully accepted. The remembrance of those pioneer days can never be olbiterated from the memory, either by time or circumstances. Let the pioneer retrospect the past; call to number his early associates, and attemp to number his survivors. He will find but few living of the many whth whom he was familiar in those early days, and with whom he felt a degree of intimacy amounting almost to that of consanguinity.
In 1852, now about thirty years ago, my wife and self, with our two little ones, were coming from Yamhill, when we were caught in a vey heavy rain storm. We were in an open wagon and pretty well drenched whenwe stopped at Mr. Whiteaker's house. Driving up to the fence we were met by Mr. Whiteaker, who in loud tones exclaimed: "Hallo! What the devil are you doing here? Get out of the wagon and come in the house; you are as wet as the devil." Well, we did as requested, and soon a blazing fire restored warmth to our chilled frames. Mrs. Whiteaker took my wife in charge, and she was quickly clothed in habiliments more congenial to the female sex than a water-saturated piece of calico. And now, after the lapse of thirty years, the kindly feelings manifested upon that occasion by Mr. and Mrs. Whiteaker are remembered by us with them most lively emotions of respect and regard; and more, not only the kindness and hospitality manifested upon that occasion entitled them to our highest regard, but during many years thereafter we recieved many manifestations of ther kindly disposition towards us, that make the remembrance therof pleasing reminiscences of the past.
But today where are they? Gone to that mysterious realm from which there is no return, and to which we are all hastening.
Time plies the oar from shore to shore,
Each day we're drawing nearer,
While through the gloom that veils the tomb
We see with vision clearer.
Across the stream we catch a cleam
Of golden sunlight falling,
From shore to shore we'll soon be o'er
We hear the loved ones callin.
Mr. Whiteaker was a man of a very jovial and merry disposition. Upon one occasion ex-Gov. Whiteaker called upon him and made inquiries to ascertain whether or not there was any relationship between them. Mr. Whiteaker remarked: "I do not claim kin with every scalwag that comes along, but as you are a pretty good looking man, and appear to have some sence, if you can show that we are any kin, I''ll acknowledge the corn." This was many years ago, and it occurs to my mind as one of the many incidents that go to show the natural tendencies of his disposition, for upon many occasions have his sallies of wit caused much merriment for his associates; yet., withal, he was a man of strict integrity, of unbounded hospitality, and his rule was to do as he would be done by. How often do the hearts of old settlers, when calling to mind the dtuggles and tois incident to pioneer life, bound with a fresh impulse at the remembrance of the social equality, the generous dispositions and disinterested sympathy which characterized them in their intercourse with each other. Almost isolated from civilized life, bound together in a common destiny, each felt for the other a warmer friendship than is much of a characteristic of society of the present day. The onward march of time is fast removing from the scenes of active life the "Old Pioneers." Soon the last one will have obeyed the dread summons, and the recoleection of their hardy toil and struggles will be but a matter of history.
In the death of Mrs. Whiteaker the ranks of the pioneers number one less of that noble band of women who braved the dangers of the wilderness with a heroic devotion to life's duties, worth a remembrance in he hearts of all who survive her. There is naught in the remembrance of her domestic life but what should bring consolation to all her surviving friends and relatives.
Mrs. Whiteaker was born in Washington County, Virginia, in 1808. HEr maiden name was Mary B. Hayter, she was married to Benjamin Whiteaker in 1823. They went to Illinois in 1836, where they resided about eleven years.
They then came to the conclusion that they would cross the plains to Oregon. In 1848 they bade adieu to friends and started the perilous trip with anguine hopes, that with patience and perserverance they would reach the goal of their desires and build them up a happy home, where peace, plenty and contenment might bless them through life's pilgrimage.
In October, 1848, they settled om Polk Copunty, where they made a continued residence up to the time of their death, known and respected by all their neighbors as kind, genial and hospitable in all life's associations.
On the 1st day of December, 1882, Mrs. Whiteaker yeilded up her spirit, to God who gabe it, serenely and calmly, with the precious hope of ascending
"To that grand immortal sphere"
Beyond this realm of broken ties.
She leaves seven children, to whom she leaves the priceless legacy of an honored name, and whose memory will be long cherished by all who knew her, for to have know her was to have formed a deep -seated friendship, and her friendship was indeed a boon, as was indicated by the warmth of her heart and a generousity that was without limit.
She is gone and we are left to linger for yet a brief hour before we join the vanished numbers of the pioneers that were.
We sigh and weep by those who sleep
The sleep that know no waking;
The dead are blest, they are at rest,
The while our hearts are breaking.
Newspaper clipping - not cited, from the Itemizer, circa Dec 1882.