Jacob C. and Nancy (Orndorf) Spores

Spores portrait

Gaston, Joseph. "The Centennial History of Oregon, 1811 - 1912." Vol. 4. Chicago, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1912. p. 1000.


All credit and honor is due to the worthy pioneer settlers who planted the seeds of civilization in the northwest, braving not only hardships and difficulties but dangers in establishing their homes upon the Pacific coast at a period when this region was much more thickly inhabited by Indians than by representatives of the white race. Among the pioneers were Jacob C. and Nancy (Orndorf) Spores, who arrived in Oregon in I847. The former was born in Onondaga county, New York, July 23, 1795, and the latter in Logan county, Kentucky, in 1812. Mr. Spores was a son of Jacob Spores, a native of Germany, who when very young emigrated to America, settling on the Mohawk river. He lived to the remarkable old age of one hundred and fifteen years. In the veins of Mrs. Nancy Spores flowed the blood of German, Welsh and Scotch ancestry. Jacob Spores, Sr., followed the occupation of farming and to that pursuit his son Jacob C. Spores turned his attention. He had been educated in the public schools and from New York state he removed to Ohio, when the latter state was practically an unbroken wilderness. Subsequently he became a resident of Illinois, settling on the present site of the city of Bloomington, where he remained until he came to Oregon in 1847. He arrived in this state in September of that year and took up his abode about a mile south of where the city of Coburg now stands. As the party traveled westward they had no trouble with the Indians, for a Flathead Indian acted as their guide. Mr. Spores was captain of the train and the Indian was the interpreter for the company. Mr. Spores was well qualified to direct the party, for he had previously had some military experience, being a veteran of the War of 1812. He served under General Scott and participated in the battles of Lundys Lane, Sacket Harbor and other engagements until honorably discharged at the close of the war.

At length the journey to the northwest was accomplished in safety and Mr. Spores secured a donation claim of six hundred and forty acres, which he at once began to cultivate and improve. As the years passed he added to this until he was the owner of two thousand acres, largely devoted to stock-raising, chiefly cattle and horses. The unsettled country offered an excellent open range for the stock and the business was carried on successfully for a long period of years. With the work of general improvement Mr. Spores was also connected. He built the first ferry across the Mackenzie river and operated the line for many years, this being known as Spores Ferry.

Mr. Spores was married twice. On the 11th of August, 1816, he wedded Eliza Hand, of the state of New York, and to them were born the following named: Cornelia, born April 1, 1819; Eliza, October 1, 1821; Catharine, June 9, 1824; John and Esther, twins, September 1, 1826; Electa Ann, July 25, 1828; Jacob, May 17, 1831; Nancy, April 5, 1833; James Madison, May 19, 1835; and Martha J., November 20, 1836. Of these only one is now living, Nancy, who is the widow of William Griffith and makes her home in Dexter. The mother of these children having passed away Mr. Spores afterward wedded Mrs. Nancy (Orndorf) Trimmer, a daughter of Frederic and Mary Orndorf, the former of German and Scotch descent. Her parents were pioneers of Kentucky, whence they removed to Illinois, where both died. Her father was prominent in political affairs, as were his sons in Illinois. One of the sons, William, became a Presbyterian minister. Mrs. Spores was born in Kentucky and accompanied her parents on their removal to Illinois in early life. By her first marriage she had three children: Caturia, Malinda and William Frederic. The two daughters died In infancy but the son lived to manhood and married, although he has now passed away. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Spores were born four children. Lewis, born November 2, 1843, is now deceased. Henry, born February 6, 1846, is mentioned elsewhere in this work. Mary E., born November 17, 1848, probably the first white child born in Lane county, is the wife of William Bogard and lives near Coburg. Arminda, born April 25, 1851, was the youngest.

Mr. Spores held membership with the Masonic fraternity when in New York, being one of the first to join that order in the Empire state. His wife was a member of the Presbyterian church. He died in December, 1890, at the age of ninety-five and a half years, while Mrs. Spores passed away in March, 1891, aged seventy-nine and a half years. They were, indeed, worthy pioneer people of Oregon, widely known in the state and deserving of much credit for the part which they took in its early development.


Transcriber's additional notes:

Oregon Donation Land Claim # 1325
Jacob C. Spores, Lane Co, b 1795 Montgomery Co, NY; settled claim March 10, 1849, married Nancy June 29, 1842 in McClean Co, IL; affidavits by Wm. N. Griffith and Jacob Spores. 321.76 acres, Range 17S, Twp 3W, section 3.

1840; McLean Co, IL, p 251
Jacob Spaur
1 m 20-30
1 m 30-40
3 f -5
1 f 5-10
1 f 10-15
1 f 20-30

1850, Sept. 15; Linn Co, OR; p 65
Jacob C. Spores, 55, NY, farmer
Nancy, 38, KY
Jacob, 19, IL
Madison, 16, IL
Martha T, 14, IL
Wm. S, 13, IL
Louis, 7, IL
Henry, 5, IL
Mary E, 2, Or. Terr.
Matilda, 7, IL
Wm. Trimmer, 14, KY

1860, August 1; Lane Co, OR; Williams Pct, p 282, Willamette Fork PO
Jacob C. Spores, 66, NY, farmer, $9000 / $4000
Nancy, 47, KY
Lewis, 16, IL, att. school
Henry, 14, IL, att. school
Mary E, 11, OR, att. school
A, 9, OR, att. school

1870, July 25; Lane Co, OR; Willamette Twp, p 503
Jacob Spores, 75, NY, ferryman, $14,100 / $3000
Nancy, 57, KY, keeps house, $4800 real estate
Arminda, 18, OR
Wm. Trimmer, 33, IL, works on farm, $100 pers

1880, June 1; Lane Co, OR; Willamette, p 201
J. C. Spores, 84, NY, NY, NY, farmer
Nancy, wife, 67, KY, MD, MD
A. W. Williams, s in l, 35, MD, NY, ??, farmer
Arminda, wife, 29, OR, NY, KY, housekeeper
Tessa A, gr dau, 7, OR, MD, OR
Millie T, gr dau, 1, OR, MD, OR
Hiram Herriott, 65, PA, PA, PA, farm laborer


Submitted to the Oregon Bios. Project in July 2007 by Diana Smith. Submitter has no additional information about the person(s) or family mentioned above.