Quick Profiles of Early Beaverton Settlers

September 13, 2016 8:40 pm Published by

Compiled by Michael Wong

About Beaverton
According to Oregon Geographic Names, Beaverton got its name because of the settlement’s proximity to a large body of water resulting from beaver dams.

The first pioneers to settle in the area we now call Beaverton were Augustus Fanno and Lawrence Hall, both in 1847. In the decades to follow, dozens more would settle and stake out their donation land claim. In 1868, the area the early settlers fondly referred to as “Beaverdam” officially registered with the county as the township of Beaverton.

Over the next two decades, more families would settle the area primarily as farmers but also as shopkeepers and businessmen.

Below are short profiles of some of these individuals whose hard work and ingenuity helped build the wonderful city we know today.

Augustus Fanno
The first settler to file a claim in Washington County

  • Born March 26, 1804 in Cumberlain, Maine
  • Registered his claim on September 22, 1847 in what is now the Greenway area
  • Died June 29, 1884 in Oregon
  • Married to Martha Ferguson in 1833 and had one son, Eugene.
  • Martha died in childbirth shortly after arriving in Oregon in 1847.
  • Married to Rebecca Jane Denney in 1851
  • Had six children, including Augustus, Jr. and Alonzo
  • Most of the Fanno’s are buried at Crescent Grove Cemetery in Tigard, OR.
  • Augustus Fanno filed the first land claim in what is now Washington Co.
  • He pioneered the growing of onions in Oregon by developing a breed that adapted to the wet climate and soil of the area.
  • Fanno Creek and Fanno Street are named after him.
  • He built the Fanno Farmhouse in 1857.  It is now a historic home on the National Registry of Historical Places.
  • Fanno Creek is named after him

Lawrence Hall
The first settler in Beaverton but filed his claim afterA. Fanno

  •  Born March 10, 1800 in Bourbon County, Kentucky
  • Died February 11, 1867 in Portland, OR
  • Staked his claim in spring of 1847 in the north side of the present town.  Jenkins Rd. forms the southern boundary of the claim.
  • Married Lucy Davidson White in 1822 and had nine children.  She died in 1865.
  • Are buried at Union Cemetery of Cedar Mill in unmarked graves.
  • Primary professions include Politician, Postmaster and Captain in the Cayeuse War.
  • Hall Blvd is named after him

Thomas Denney
Built the areas first saw and gristmills leading to a mini-building boom of plank homes and becoming one of the leaders in Oregon’s timber industry

  • Born July 1, 1817 in Kentucky
  • Died November 15,1908 and buried in Tigard, Oregon
  • Married his cousin, Berrilla King, on January 4, 1849 in Indiana
  • Left Indiana for Oregon in March 1849 with his new bride.
  • Had seven children, their first being born just as they were about to cross the Cascades in September 1849.
  • Thomas and Berrilla are buried at Crescent Grove Cemetery in Tigard, OR.
  • Built the first sawmill in the area,
  • Son, Aaron Vasco Denney married Alice E. Smith
  • Descendant, Judy Donovan, still lives on the original land claim and regularly attends our historical society meetings.
  • Denney Rd is named after him

Orrin Sweet Allen
Helped establish meeting place for early Congregationists of Beaverton

  • Born  March 11, 1824 in New York
  • Died July 25, 1902
  • Married Frances Wade in 1856 and had 3 children
  • Fought for the Union in the civil war in 1862
  • Arrived in Beaverton in 1870
  • Home was located at the present-day intersection of Allen Blvd and Hall Blvd
  • Buried in Crescent Grove Cemetery in Tigard, OR
  • Early member of the Bethel Congregational Church and helped secure a place of worship for the congregation.
  • Primary profession was farmer, carpenter, cabinet maker and painter
  • Early Commissioner of ‘Streets in Beaverton’
  • Youngest son, Floyd, was born in Beaverton
  • Allen Blvd is named after him

Charles Angel
He assisted with the platting of Beaverton

  • Presumed born in 1826 in Oregon
  • Assisted Joshua Welch in platting the new town of Beaverton
  • An 1870 US Census entry for Washington County, OR lists a Charles Angell (with two L’s) as a 44 year old common laborer, born in Oregon.
  • Owned land worth $1000.
  • Angel St. is named after him

George Betts
He built Beaverton’s first store and was the city’s first postmaster

  • Born approximately 1826 in New York
  • Married to Hetty and had four children (she died in 1861)
  • Married to Elizabeth in 1862 and had four children
  • Came to Oregon in 1853 from Fort Vancouver in Washington where he was a soldier
  • Built Beaverton’s first commercial building as an incentive for the railroad to put a depot in
  • Assisted Joshua Welch in platting the new town of Beaverton in 1868
  • Primary Profession includes farmer, being the city’s first postmaster as well elected as justice of the peace
  • Betts Ave, where our Main Post Office is located, is named after him

William O. Hocken
Donated land for Beaverton City Park

  • Born in 1840 in England
  • Died in March 19, 1921 in Washington County
  • Emigrated to US in 1866
  • Came to Beaverton in 1870
  • Married to Emma Hicks and had two children
  • William and Emma are both buried at Crescent Grove Cemetery in Tigard, OR.
  • Donated land and helped build Beaverton’s first Methodist Church at 4th and Watson
  • The land donation included area that is now the Beaverton City Park
  • Served as mayor from 1914-1917 and as city treasurer before that.
  • Served on the school board
  • Last name is sometimes spelled ‘Hockins’ on US Federal Census records
  • Hocken Ave. is named for him.

Joshua Welch
Platted out a map of what would be the town of Beaverton

  • Born in 1825 in Brown County, Ohio
  • Died in 1908 in Washington
  • Staked his claim in the Oregon Territory in 1849
  • Married Olive Adline on December 5, 1850 and had six children (she died in 1896)
  • Married for third time in 1907.
  • Joshua and Olive are buried at Fairview Cemetery in Cheney, WA.
  • Played a key role in bringing the railroad to Beaverton
  • On December 26th, 1868, delivered the proposed town plat of Beaverton to the Washington County clerk
  • Farmed a small plot but in 1858 received 55 acres from Samuel Stott and even more land in 1859 from William Hall
  • There are no major roads named after Joshua Welch

William Penn Watson
Watson Avenue was named for him

  • Born on December 28, 1828 in Jacksonville, IL
  • Married Priscilla Patton on January 4, 1851 in Lafayette, OR
  • Priscilla was born on April 6, 1833 in Lafayette, IN (died 1924)
  • Raised five children: 3 sons and 2 daughters
  • Died in Long Beach, CA on April 14, 1910
  • Crossed the Oregon Trail in 1849
  • Settled in Yamhill County in the 1850’s
  • Farmed in Beaverton in the 1860’s
  • Moved to Hood River in the 1870’s to grow peaches before ending up in CA
  • Assisted Joshua Welch in platting the new town of Beaverton
  • Watson Ave. is named for William Penn Watson

Earl Fisher

  • Born September 18, 1879 in Beaverton
  • Died April 13, 1961 in Beaverton
  • Buried at Crescent Grove Cemetery in Tigard, OR.
  • Organized Beaverton’s first hook and ladder company
  • Organized the Beaverton Military Band
  • Helped construct a bandstand for open-air concerts community plays
  • Served five separate one-year terms as mayor
  • Served as State Representative and State Senator
  • Farmer
  • 1912-1914, Writer and editor of The Owl, Beaverton’s newspaper
  • Served 26 years teacher and principal
  • Served as Beaverton  Mayor, 1906-08, 1933, 1951

Francis Marion Robinson

  • 1885, Doctor in Beaverton
  • 1887, Built Victorian house and pharmacy on Broadway (Now Beaverton Bakery)
  • 1889, Married Lottie Danks

Alonzo Cady

  • 1892, Arrived in Beaverton
  • 1893, Beaverton’s first mayor
  • 1895, Beaverton Postmaster for 20 years
  • 1902, Potato and Onion broker
  • 1914, Youngest son, Fred W, built Beaverton’s first brick building (Cady Bldg)

Frank W. Livermore

  • 1896, owned sawmill near Weir Rd
  • 1905-1910, owned logging and sawmill on 280 acres of Cooper Mt.
  • 1910, owned lumber business where Nona Emilia’s currently is on TV Hwy
  • 1930’s, president of Beaverton Bank
  • His Daughter, Ivy, was born on Cooper Mt.

Otto Erickson

  • Came to Portland in1888-
  • 1890- Train engineer- Oregon Railway and Navigation
  • 1915- One of U.S.A.’s 1st Ford Dealerships, and ran the blacksmith shop on Farmington Road.
  • 1919- Otto Erickson became the Mayor of Beaverton

Guy Carr

  • Otto Erickson’s son-in-law.
  • 1919- came to Beaverton and worked for Erickson at Ford Dealership. Carr bought it in 1923. Carr helped W.E. Pegg the undertaker “collect” bodies
  • 1940- Purchased “Stipe’s Garage”- Chevy Dealership
  • 1950- Moved Chevy dealership to Canyon Rd. -current

G.E. Watts

  • 1913- Premium Picture Productions
  • First motion picture show in Beaverton.
  • 1920- 1929- Made 15 motion picture shows on 33 acres on 6th and Erickson.
  • 1929- Film studio closes, and he built Watts Airport

Charles Bernard

  • Pre-1912, family grew onions and vegs.
  • 1934 to 1969- Bernard Airport, on Cedar Hills Blvd.,
  • Oregon’s oldest operating private airport.
  • Most of the planes were amateur built by local men.
  • 1930-George Yates- instructor. Orville Wright signed his pilot’s license, #549.

John and Anunziata Merlo

  • 1910 came from Italy after their family (Reghitto) had settled here as big Onion farmers.
  • 1915- Bought the Beaverton Commercial Hotel and ran it as a boarding house. All 11 Merlo children helped out.

Rose Biggi (Merlo)

  • Came from Genoa, Italy with her family in 1910, and helped at the Hotel until 1920.
  • 1923- Rose married Louie Biggi, who later bought her father’s 14 acre vegetable/ horseradish farm.
  • At 30, her husband died, and Rose developed a recipe for Horseradish sauce that she learned how to market very creatively.
  • She started the Beaverton Horseradish Factory, which is now Beaverton Foods.
  • Her son, Gene, and grandson, Domonic, continue the family business which recently moved to Hillsboro.


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This post was written by Michael Wong