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Wilkes East History

The Tale of Two Wilkes Neighborhoods

The Tale of Two Wilkes Neighborhoods. William C Wilkes Donation Land Grant 1846, Portland Oregon. Info here!
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Love, Heartbreak, and Renewal

Local history says un the summer of 1845 Payton & Anna Wilkes and their seven children left Independence Missouri in a two-yolk oxen-drawn covered wagon and headed west on the Oregon Trail for Oregon.

They arrived by late fall after crossing the Cascade Mountains during a particularly strong snow storm and settled into their new life style in Oregon City. More than 3,000 wagons arrived in Oregon that year.

In 1850 their son William Wilkes took a Donation Land Claim on Sandy Road east of Portland.

The Donation Land Claim Act (DLC) became law on September 27, 1850 as a means to promote homestead settlements in the Oregon Territory (comprising the resent-day states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and part of Wyoming).

The Act granted 320 acres of designated areas free-of-charge to every unmarried male citizen eighteen or older, and 640 acres to every married couple arriving in the Oregon Territory before December 1, 1850. A total of 7,437 land claims were issued under the Act which expired in late 1855.

Soon after receiving his land, William gave up his claim after his wife died and headed to California to mine gold.

Rich with cash, William Wilkes returned to east Portland and purchased the Milton Frazer DLC (see photo above), which was located immediately to the east of his original claim. And that's why there are two Wilkes neighborhoods.

Wilkes, the original land claim. And, Wilkes East, the purchased land to the east of William Wilkes original claim.

William C Wilkes, east Portland pioneer 1850's. Click to enlarge
William C Wilkes
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William C Wilkes, east Portland pioneer 1850's. Click to enlarge
William C Wilkes grave
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William C Wilkes, east Portland pioneer 1850's. Click to enlarge
Sarah A Wilkes
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To learn more about local history, read "Gresham, Stories of our Past". Available from the Gresham Historical Society, area book stores, and Amazon.com

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