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Thomas Chavner memoir

 Collection — Multiple Collection Box: [35025042618864], Folder: 1 of 1
Identifier: Coll 926

Content Description

This collection contains a 17-page manuscript, written circa 1870-1880 by Thomas Chavner's daughter, Margaret. In great detail, she writes of his frontier pioneering in the 1840s and 1850s, at first in Texas and California, then in Oregon. The memoir contains information about Chavner's gold strike at Gold Hill, Oregon, and his journey to becoming a wealthy land-owner and farmer. Chavner mentions names such as Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, and other notable frontiersman. Margaret Chavner writes in the memoir that the words she recorded were written as told directly to her by her father.


  • circa 1870s


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Chavner was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, in 1814 and emigrated to the United States at age six. He worked through the west, first as a river boatman on the Mississippi, later as a Comanche interpreter, and as a soldier in the Mexican-American War of 1848. He moved to Oregon in 1857 and settled in the Dardanelles, on the Rogue River. In 1860, he found gold and established a mining claim, eventually making over $700,000 on the gold he extracted. He purchased and homesteaded hundreds of acres in the area, before selling right-of-way to some of his land to railroad companies in the 1880s. The Chavner family also sold plats of land to what became the city of Gold Hill, and remained wealthy land-owners and ranchers. Thomas Chavner died in 1888, leaving four adult children, including Margaret.

Source: "City of Gold Hill," Dennis Powers, Oregon Encyclopedia, A Project of the Oregon Historical Society, March 2022.


0.1 linear feet (1 container) : 1 folder

Language of Materials



Seventeen-page manuscript, written circa 1870-1880, by Margaret Chavner, daughter of Thomas Chavner, as told to her directly by her father. The Chavner family established the community of Gold Hill, Oregon, and owned many mining claims and farming properties in the area.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase from Charles Apfelbaum, 2001.

Processing Information

Processed by Mahala Ruddell in February 2023.

Guide to the Thomas Chavner memoir
Complete Description
Mahala Ruddell
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA