Edward C. Luce

E. C. Luce portrait

Lockley, Fred. "History of the Columbia River Valley, From The Dalles to the Sea." Vol. 2. S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1928. p. 228.


One of the most highly esteemed citizens of Washington county, Oregon, is the present county clerk, Edward C. Luce, who has lived practically all of his life in this county and whose record has gained for him an enviable reputation for ability and trustworthiness. He was born at Olympia, Washington, on the 1st of May, 1873, a son of Henry Buckle and Candace (Neal) Luce. In the Oregon Daily Journal of September 9, 1926, Fred Lockley published the following article, after an interview with H. B. Luce: "Here is where I scoop the Oregon Exchanges, which have been writing up old-time newspaper men. A day or so ago, while in Forest Grove, I interviewed a newspaper man who is eighty-five years old and who was a city editor more than fifty years ago. His name is Henry B. Luce. When I interviewed him at his home at Forest Grove, he said, 'My name is Henry Buckle Luce. My mother's maiden name was Ruhama Buckle. She was born in Virginia. My father, Jacob Luce, was born in Kentucky. I was born on Green river, about twenty miles from Russellville, Kentucky, on September 21, 1841. My brother Isaac, who was born in 1847 and who now lives in California, and myself are the only members of the family of eight children now living.

"'I crossed the plains with my parents in 1863, when I was twelve years old. We settled on the Long Tom, in Lane county. When I was twenty-one years old I went to Canyon City, where my brothers, William and David, were running a store and a pack train to The Dalles, taking out gold dust from the rich placers at Canyon City. I tried my hand at mining for a while, but didn't make much at it, so I took up a ranch on the John Day, five miles below Canyon City. Among the men I knew well at Canyon City was Tom Brentz, who carried mail, later a county official. While living in Walla Walla some years later he was elected to Congress. C. H. Miller, or Hiner Miller, as we called him, ran an express train and later became county judge of Grant county. He used to write verse, which he contributed to the Blue Mountain Eagle. He and his wife, Minnie Myrtie Miller, both wrote poetry. He later took the name of "Joaquin" and became known as "The Poet of the Sierras." The first two books of poetry he published met with a very cold reception. One was called "Specimens," the other "Joaquin, Et Al." When he failed of election to the Oregon supreme court he went to England, where he made a big hit as a poet. When I knew him he wore a long black beard and was a very unique and picturesque character.

"'I lived in or about Canyon City from 1861 to 1866. There were a great many sympathizers with the Confederate cause at Canyon City and there were also many strong Union men, so fist fights and shooting scrapes were not uncommon. I got mixed up in quite a few of these saloon fights, but not as an active participant. When they pulled their guns and began shooting I always headed for the back door as fast as I could run, as I wasn't anxious to stop any bullets. My brother John had several fights. He was a strong Union man. At a public speaking held at Canyon City one of the speakers spoke disparagingly of Lincoln and the Union cause. My brother John spoke right up in the meeting and told the speaker where to head in. After the speaking, five or six Southern sympathizers decided to lick my brother. He knocked two of them out, but the others got him down. He succeeded in getting his gun into action and they made themselves scarce.

"'In 1866, when I was twenty-five years old, I came back to the valley to get an education. I started to school at the Tualatin Academy here in 1867. President Marsh, Dr. Condon and Professors Lyman, Collier and Marsh were my teachers. I attended the academy, or Pacific University, as it is now called, for six years, graduating in 1872, when I was thirty-one years old. A week after I graduated I married Candace Neal. We went to Olympia, where I landed a job as city editor on the Puget Sound Courier. C. B. Bagley, at present secretary of the board of public works in Seattle, was editor of the Courier.

"'I taught one year in the public school at Forest Grove. This was during the time I was going to college. I had to stop to earn some money. After putting in a year on the Puget Sound Courier, I came back to Forest Grove and became editor and proprietor of the Forest Grove Independent. In 1874 I moved it to Hillsboro. I ran it for about the next twenty years.

"'In 1894 I went to the mines in southern Oregon. I mined at Grants Pass for awhile and later mined in California, Nevada and Idaho. The year 1900 found me at Atlin, Alaska. In 1901 I was mining in the ruby sand in the beach diggings at Nome. I came away too soon, for shortly after I left they struck the second beach, which proved very rich and made fortunes for many of those who took claims there.

"'During the time I was running the Independent I advocated prohibition. I was nominated by the prohibition party, and also the people's party, for state senator, but in those days prohibition had comparatively few supporters, so naturally I wasn't elected. Governor Sylvester Pennoyer appointed me dairy and food commissioner and I served for five years. We moved back to Forest Grove four years ago. My wife will tell you about our children."'

Henry B. Luce is a member of the Grange and his religious connection is with the Congregational church. - His wife, whose mother had died, came to Oregon with S. H. Marsh, founder of Pacific University, and later in the '80s her father, William Neal, came to this state. She became a successful school teacher and prior to her marriage had taught in various places in this part of the state. To Mr. and Mrs. Luce were born nine children, as follows: Edward C., of this review; Mary, who is the wife of R. W Moulton, of Toppenish, Washington; Sidney, of Plush, Oregon, is a veteran of the Spanish-American war; Laura, the widow of Peter Egoscue, late of Winnemucca, Nevada; Ruth, who is a professional nurse and lives at home; Inez, the wife of W. E. Toney; Helen, the wife of E. A. Priday of Lake View, sheriff of Lake county, Oregon; Henry Roy and David, who died in infancy. All of these children, excepting Edward C., were born in Washington county. Mr. and Mrs. Henry B. Luce are still living in Forest Grove and are greatly esteemed by all who know them.

Edward C. Luce was about six months old when the family came to Washington county, Oregon, and he received his educational training in the public schools of Hillsboro and Tualatin Academy and Pacific University, as it was then called. During the five years that he spent in that institution he paid his own way by working at any employment he could find, and after his graduation he taught school for three months in eastern Oregon. He then entered the law office of S. B. Huston at Hillsboro, with whom he remained for four years, during which time he served as Mr. Huston's stenographer in order to pay his expenses. He was admitted to the bar in 1903 and began the practice of law in Hillsboro. About a year later, however, because of eye trouble and poor health generally, he relinquished his practice and went to Sumpter, Washington, where he became traveling representative for the Oregon Condensed Milk Company. Two years of this outside work built up his health, and in 1908 he accepted the appointment as deputy county clerk of Washington county under J. W. Bailey. He served in that capacity for four and a half years, and was then elected county clerk, which office he filled for two terms, from 1912 to 1916. During the following two years he was variously employed, and in 1919 again entered the county clerk's office as deputy, serving as such until 1924, when he was elected county clerk and is still filling that position. His long experience and close familiarity with the details of the office enables him to render a high type of service, and his uniform courtesy and accommodation have gained for him the esteem and good will of all who have business with the office..

Mr. Luce has been a member of the Knights of Pythias for twenty years and served for many years as keeper of records and seal. He is a member of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce and no movement for the advancement of the community's interests has ever lacked for his support. He is a cordial and affable man in his social relations and has a,host of warm and loyal friends throughout Washington, county.


Submitted to the Oregon Bios. Project in June 2008 by Diana Smith. Submitter has no additional information about the person(s) or family mentioned above.