The Oregon statesman. (Salem, Or.) 1916-1980, March 28, 1931, Page 18, Image 18

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Dr. Keil Leader in Unique Settlement in This County; 150 Followers Came to Settle
In 9 55 ; Thriving Community Founded; Common Ownership Later Abolished by Group
By Helen Sadler
THE unusual history of Aurora is synonomous with that
of a man who from birth was destined to become a lead
er of men. The history of the man and the town cannot be
The place Aurora situated in the northeast corner of
Marion county on the Pacific highway, prior to 1857, was
only a tract of heavily wooded timberland, with a sparkling
mill pond nestling: on its bosom. Here was supplied power
for a modest grist mill and a sawmill perched upon its
banks and owned by George White and George Smith.
The man. Dr. William Kell,
bora March 4, 1811, In Erfurst,
Prussia, who came to America
tit the age ot 30 years and set
tled in Pittsburgh. Pa., where he
plied his trade as a tailor. He
became the leader or a group to
whom he preached his doctrine
of Christianity as practiced by
the disciples. His philosophy of
life embraced communistic prin
ciples, where there should be all
things in common, there should
be no poverty, nor riches. He
demonstrated his ability to sway
men when that radiance within
himself caused them to endure
hardships and ridicule and fol
low him with religious seal to
Bethel. Missouri where he es
tablished a colony in 184 S.
Forbears of Today in
Early Scouting Party
Years later he heard rumors
of good sol!, cheap land, and a
moderate climate in the far west
and sent a scouting party out.
Among , them were Chris Gelsy
and wife, Henry Giesy, Michael
Schaefer; Adam Knight, John
and Hans Staufer, Adam Scheule,
Joseph Knight and George Link,
and later John Giesy and family
arrired by way ot Panama.
George Link returned with re
ports from Willapa, Washington,
which caused a caravan led by
Dr. Keil with 35 wagons and ISO
persons to start for the land of
promise by ox team, in 185;.
William, a son of Dr. Keil, who
had losged to go west, died just
before the start, and at his re
quest, his body was taken along
in an alcohol filled casket. The
trains were orranixed in com
panies, a few families constitut
ing a compan, who camped to
gether. After fire months they
reached Willapa where they win
tered. In 'the spring. Dr. Keil
with a few men came to Port
land in a scow. Upon approach
ing the city, they took out their
musical instruments and played
while coming up the river.
Crowds gathered on the bank and
greatly appreciated the music
80 More Years Wished Paper
By Bernard Main waring
Editor, Baker Democrat-Herald
'TTthe Oregon Statesman of Salem, Ore., one of the
A few morning papers to weather the tendency
toward consolidation during the past few years, will
be 80 years old March 28. It is the second oldest
publication in the state, the Portland Oregonian being
less than a year its senior.
"The Statesman was founded in 1851, when Ore
gon was a semi-civilized wilderness, only recently a
territory and not to be admitted to statehood for
nearly eight years. For a time it followed the state
capitol when it was moved from place to place, pick
ing Salem as its permanent location when the capitol
was finally settled there for keeps.
"The Statesman was for many years published
by Asahel Bush, one of Oregon's grand old men. Fol
lowing him R. J. Hendricks piloted the paper for
years. A few years ago it passed into the hands of
younger men who have raised it to new standards of
achievement.. The Statesman is one of the state's
best papers. Its editorial policy is vigorous, courte
ous and fair. In typographical appearance it ranks
with the best to be found -in a city of similar size
anywhere. The Democrat-Herald joins with the press
of Oregon in wishing this great old pioneer newspaper
80 years more of life and service."
Dr. , Keil was offered half of
the land of Portland if he would
locate his colony there. It is told
that the tree to which the scow
was tied was never allowed 'to be
cut down.
Northern Lights'
RmU for Kami
A suitable - locatjRy on the
stage road half way.between Sal
em and Portland 4 Vig , purchased,
consisting of land, "grist mill and
saw mill. Land was cleared and
houses built. March 20 the Ger
man colony was - founded and
named Aurora in reference to the
northern lights Tot ' some time
it' was known as Aurora Mills,
bdt"fh'ew Mills was soon' dropped
In 1863 and 1865 larger
trains followed and others kept
coming every two years. Aurora.
became a thriving, independent
manufacturing center, operating
entirely upon a communistic bas
is, expense and profits divided
A shoe shop, harness shop, grist
mill, tin shop, glove shop, hat
factory, blacksmith shop, tailor
shop, tannery, ' furniture store
and a colony store where the
colonists received needed supplies
The colony church was a wood
en replica of the brick church of
Bethel, Mo. Dr. Keil had the
chimes shipped and placed in the
belfry of the church here. One of
the bells' now hangs at a . street
intersection and was formerly
used as a fire bell, now mute,
having given way to the more
modern fire siren. The work on
the church was the labor of lov
Ing hands as testified by the huge
hand turned columns which sup
ported the ceiling and the bal
cony, used by the band. .
Musical Groups Were
Finest in the West
Two platforms on the steeple,
75 and 100 feet above ground
were lighted Christmas Eve, and
the band played before the
Christmas exercises. Music play
ed a large and happy part in the
lives of the colonists. Prof. Fink
was only ; one of the Instructors
In music. The orchestra and band
were the finest In the west.' Ben
jamin Halladay. president of the
O. v 4k. C railroad, took the band
on numerous excursions to Brit
ish Columbia. Washington and
Oregon points. Among the famil
iar names of bandsmen were Hen
jry ;Ehlen, Chas. Snyder, George
and William Kraus, Emanual
Keil, Fred Giesy, -Charles Becke
; As the stages met hers and
changed horses, a hotel, restau
rant and livery barn were built
and later! a store to dispose of
colony supplies to transients;,
which afterwards became the Fred
Giesy store. , j
After the. death of Dr. Keil
In, 1877 the absence' of a leader
and the desire t the younger
members to work out life's prob
lems Individually, caused prop
erty assessed in 1870 at $120,000
to be placed in the hands of five
directors f or. division. The ad
ministrators were John Giesy,
George Kraus, Henry Ehlen,
Capt. Henry Will, and Sam Mil
ler. Men were sent ' to Bethel,
Missouri, to settle up that branch
of the colony; and . in 1881 the
-."" '. . ,"A '
affairs" ot the Aurora Colony
were closed and finis written on
one of the greatest experiments
in communism which lasted over
a period of 36 years.1
Half-Day School j (
Yields to Full-Time
With the years of training in
thrift and industry members be
gan starting1 life anew and grad-4
ually began to prosper and built
the present Aurora. The home of
the Aurora Observer, I published
by E. P. Mitchell, editor, was the
former location of the , school
which held'a half day 'session In
colony times. The half day school
slowly but surely gave way to
more advanced methods until
now a modern building and large
gymnasium and playgrounds
equipment serves two districts
and supplies buses for the Wood-
burn high school. A large per
centage of the high school grad
uates are students of higher ed
ucational institutions and. many
of them are there practically
through their own efforts.
There yet remain a number of
quaint landmarks old - houses
with large rooms: comfortable
fireplaces and tiny window panes,
to link the past and present.
Such a home belonged to Andrew
Giesy who succeeded Dr. Keil as
minister In Bethel for years. This
house and the one afterwards
owned by Fred Peters Were the
two manufacturing centers of the
colony before they were (occupied
as homes. - -
Many antiques have become
the' property of the younger gen
eration to whom they are price
less and will grace the . homes.
bringing the atmosphere of the
old to the new.
"wi H in-.
Walden Able to
Get Many Kinds
X)i Fruit on Tree
Those who are fond of calling
attention to the progress made dur.
ing the past eighty years often for
get one industry which is so im
portant now but which, had to be
built up through! the years in spite
of much discouragement and slow
growth. This is the fruit raising
industry, now ohe of the most im
portant in the tWillamette valley.
In the reminiscences of Sarah
J. Cummins, who moved to a farm
in the Waldo Hijls in 1871, we find
this: "Mr. WaWen was familiar
with orchard work and was in de
mand for budding and grafting
among the many seedling' trees
that were everywhere being cul
tivated. W Jiad sweet apples
growing on the same tree with sour
waxen-gate apples, and Seckel
pears growing on the same tree
with Bartletts, lalso one tree of
seedless apples Baldwins, Wine
saps, Winter pearmains and Gloria
Mondis were among our first tree
plantings and these varieties still
survive." 1
Large Tracts! Planted
to Prune Trees
The first prunes were planted in
this territory in the first half of
the 80's. Pioneers in this were S,
A. Clarke who lived south of Sa
lem, Dr. Reynolds who lived north
of town and R. p. Allen of Silver
ton. - ' ' ' 4 - . .
' Later the 'Oregon land company
bought wheat land in what is now
the ' Liberty-Rosdale district and
in the .early &0's planted nearly
6000 acres to prunes. This land
was subdivided and sold to invest
ors at $125 per acre, the company
agreeing to care for the orchards
until the trees wpe four years old.
It is interesting? to note that
most people thought the price of
$125 per acre wis beyond all rea-
son.. I
Logans First jWere
Hard to Can
About 1897 ths first loganberry
plants were brought to Marion
county , from California. These
were new to the .people of .Oregon
and were slow in gaining favor but
gradually the demand increased. As
they gained in favor the canneries
tried to use ; them but could not.
The berry was so acid that it
worked on the tjin of the cans.
Later they were evaporated - and
still later a type of can was de
veloped that could be used even for
such acid fruits.- .
. Strawberries .were popular ; be
fore - the .. loganberry was 'every
heard of but their culture was con
fined to the fhojme garden and
home canning" stage for many
years. Commercial canning has 1
j " V
- - t.
on Iv developed on a larco srslo in
recent years. ' ; jj.;. j j'
Hops Went to $1
Pound in 1888
Hops were first planted in Ore-,
gon in the early 10'n. A man by
the name of Wells is said to have
grown the first hops on his farm
near Beunaj Vista and Ralph Geer
of Macleay was one of the early
pioneers in the industry. In 1886.
T. B. Jones, now of Salem, set out
his first hops on his farm near
In 1888 the hop market 'went to
$1 per pound and of course there
was a" great rush to plant more
hops. In 1890 the price was 40
cents per pound and 18,600 bales
were produced. The acreage con
tinued to increase until in 1895
there were 100,000 bales produced.
Then the slump came and records
reveal that. in 1899 hops brought
only two and one-half cents per
pound. : .' '. ' I.-
Banks All Put in
Daily Ads; Keen
Race for Money
In the ISSo's: V
Salem had three banks, they all
advertised every day: . First Na
tional, Lttdd and Bush, Capital Na
tional. , j .
Seanier N. S. Bentley was run
ning a Fourth of J uly excursion
to Corvall is, round, trip 2.00.
P. H. D'Arcy, Tilmon Ford, Geo.
H., Burnett? lawyers, had profes
sional cards. , -
Lute Savage and T. McF. Patton
had big ads about their bookstores.
J. D. McCully was running a "clear
ance sale of summer suits at cost."
S. Friedman and E. L. L. Johnson
sold dry goods. Beer was 5 cents
a glass at Belvedere saloon and .
Dugan Bros, were plumbers, God
frey and Moores and E. M. Waite
job printers. Robert Ford rani a
livery stable, A. dinger & Son
were contractors and buildings, E.
C. Cross ran the Franklin meat
market. '
Foreign ads consisted of S.S.S."
Acker's Baby Soother, Colgate's
toilet f$ap. Royal Baking Powder,
Columbiaj bicycles, Simmons LlVer
Regulator. , - :
"Revival Meetings The Baptist
church was. again crowded last
night to hear. Dn Graves on the
subject of 'Holiness and Sanctifi-
cation.' He took for his text Heb.
12, 14, showing the experience of
the second blessing as well as the
growth of holiness in the soul . . .
Tonight the subject will be "The
Unpardonable SinV Statesman.
Feb. 4, 1886. ;