George Broughton

George Broughton portrait

Lockley, Fred. "History of the Columbia River Valley, From The Dalles to the Sea." Vol. 2. S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1928. p. 610.


Diligent and persevering George Broughton hewed his way through a forest of difficulties and is now enjoying the fruits of a well spent life. He was long identified with the lumber industry, stimulating the pulse of trade in Portland to a notable extent, and he has been a resident of the city for twenty-eight years. His birth occurred in Clackamas county, Oregon, on the 18th of January, 1858, and his father, William Broughton, was a native of Leicestershire, England in which country he was reared and became a carpenter. When a young man he responded to the call of adventure and came to the United States. He sought the opportunities of the Pacific northwest and obtained work at his trade in Oregon City. There he met and married Miss Sarah Ann Willis, whose parents had migrated to Oregon from Missouri. Previous to his marriage he was in the employ of a building contractor, and afterward cultivated a ranch in Clackamas county. While following agricultural pursuits he made pack saddles during the winter months for use in the mines of Idaho and in 1864 he returned to Oregon City to educate his children and ran a sawmill, which he operated for a number of years, and was also a builder of boats. He was an expert craftsman and a capable business man whose word was always to be relied upon. Of his seven children, five survive: George Broughton; Mrs. Albert Lacey, of Springwater, Oregon; Mrs. George Sansum, whose home is in Portland; Mrs. George Dedman, of Skagway, Alaska; and Mrs. Charles Burdick, a resident of San Francisco, California.

George Broughton, the only son, was educated in the old seminary at Oregon City and received his commercial training from his father, for whom he worked until the latter's death in 1876. At the age of eighteen the son took charge of the sawmill and assumed the burden of providing for his six sisters. He successfully conducted the business until 1890, when the old water mill was carried away during a flood, which also destroyed his box factory. The water rose fifteen feet in one night and at the time of the catastrophe Mr. Broughton had gone up the valley on a log drive. After the flood he purchased land in the lower section of Oregon City and there erected a steam sawmill, of which he was the owner until 1900. In that year he came to Portland and embarked in the piling business, remaining alone for some time. He then formed the firm of Broughton & Wiggins, which conducted two sawmills on the lower Columbia river and established a large coastwise trade, a considerable portion of which was derived from California and Mexico. Mr. Broughton was one of the foremost operators in this line in the northwest and remained at the head of the firm until 1925, when he sold his interest to his partner and retired because of failing health. Each step in the development of the industry was the outcome of carefully formulated plans and close attention to detail, while in the management of the larger factors in his affairs he manifested the wisdom, foresight and decisiveness of the successful executive.

On October 26, 1882, Mr. Broughton married Miss Clara L. Taylor, whose parents, James M. and Velonia (Foster) Taylor, came from Iowa to Oregon in 1874 and were numbered among the early settlers of Clackamas county. In the paternal line Mrs. Broughton is descended from Noah Chappell, who was a gallant soldier in the Continental army, and to his service in behalf of the colonists she owes her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution. Mr. and Mrs. Broughton have a family of four children. Vesta, the first born, is Mrs. Walter. Durham, of Portland, and the mother of two sons: Walter Jr. and George Broughton Durham. Alda is the wife of Samuel H. Pierce, attorney for the school board of Portland, and they are the parents of three children: Barbara L., Samuel Jr. and Clara Louise Pierce. Harold J. Broughton has a mill on the upper Columbia river and is a well known lumberman. He married Miss Rita Fraley, of Eugene, and they have two daughters, Emily Jean and Mildred. The fourth child of Mr. and Mrs. George Broughton is also named Mildred and has become the wife of Allan C. Hopkins, who is connected with the advertising department of The Oregonian.

Mr. Broughton gives his political allegiance to the republican party and his public spirit was expressed by service on the common council of Oregon City. In 1881 he became a member of the Odd Fellows lodge of that city and also belongs to the Hoo-Hoos, an organization composed of lumbermen. Although at times he met with difficulties and reverses of fortune, his buoyant spirit never succumbed to defeat and the prosperity which he now enjoys has been worthily won. He has a wide acquaintance and holds a high place in the esteem of his fellowmen.


Submitted to the Oregon Bios. Project in August 2010 by Diana Smith. Submitter has no additional information about the person(s) or family mentioned above.

ORBios Project