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Pioneer of 1852


1829- 1902

Clinton Bonser was born on April 20th, 1829 in Covington, Kentucky, the son of Samuel and Hannah (Mead) Bonser. One story says that Clinton and his brother Hilton were orphaned at an early age and raised by their grandparents, Major Isaac and Abigail (Burt) Bonser. (Birth info from family records of Joan Cotterell and others).1855-56

Military Service.

During this period Clinton served in the Oregon Volunteer Infantry under Captain Curtis (family records).

Clinton had a land claim on Sauvie Island in Columbia County (Warrant #823). The legal description is T3N, R1W, Lots 7 and 8 and SE 14 of SE 14 of Section 30. It was above the claim of Alexander McQuinn, his future father in law.

1854         Marriage of Settler.

Mary Ann McQuinn, daughter of Alexander and Rebecca (Enyart) McQuinn married Clinton on December 5th. They were married by John Lisle, J.P. (Multnomah County, Oregon Early Marriage Records, 1855-70).

Mary Ann’s sister, Sarah, was married to George Ham, another early settler.

1855         Birth of Son.

Alexander Hamilton Bonser was bom to Clinton and Mary Ann on August 21. At that time the family was living at Willow Bar on Sauvie Island.


During the 1880’s Alexander joined his relatives and worked on the steamboats on the river. Sometime in the early 1900’s he left the river and went to his farm in Scappoose. There he raised champion Ayrshire cattle.

In 1943 Alexander was killed by a train near Rocky Point. He always came home along the railroad tracks and this one night he didn’t hear the train (family records).

1857 Birth of Son.

Thomas B., second son of Clinton and Mary Ann, was bom on December 24 at Willow Bar on the island (family records).

1857         Birth of Son.

Robert Clinton, third son of Clinton and Mary Ann, was bom on December 24th at Willow Bar. He passed away on February 2nd, 1943.

He was survived by his wife, Minnie E. Presto She was the daughter of a Pioneer Steamboat Captain, Jeremiah Preston. Robert and Minnie buried at Fairview Cemetery in Scappoose, Oregon (Columbia County Cemetery Records, pg 147).

Robert began working for Multnomah County in 1915 after many years as a surveyor with the firm of McQuinn and Gradon. John A. McQuinn was his uncle (Lockley, Columbia River Valley).

1858        Sauvie Island, Columbia Countq, Oregon Census

Bonser, Clinton 31, Mary 20, Alex H 03, Thomas B 01, Robert C newborn, Isabella McQuinn 7 (Isabella was the sister of Mary)

1859       Birth of Daughter.

Ada M. was born on September 27 (family records).

1860         Land Transactions

Clinton sold his property on Sauvie Island to George Knox. With the money he bought the Michael Jones D.L.C. (RKT)

1864         Death of Daughter.

Ada passed away on July 18 in Scappoose at age 3. She is buried in the Fairview cemetery. (family records).

1865         Birth of Daughter.

Emma C. was born on March 8 (family records).

1866         Death of Daughter.

Emma passed away on April 24 and is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Scappoose, Oregon (family records). We don’t know the exact cause of death.

1863         'New Home!

During 1866 Clinton built a new home in Scappoose. Family members say he was very clever and the house had all sorts of modem conveniences that weren’t common in that era.

1864         Birth of Daughter.

Eva Ione was born on May 6, 1867 (family records).

1865         Birth of Daughter.

Mary Ann was born on Novemr 17 (family records).


1866        Death of Daughter.

Mary Ann passed away on April 15 and is buried at Fairview Cemetery in Scappoose, Oregon. She died of Whooping Cough (Info in “Oregon Bound”).

1867        Multnomah County Census.

Bonser, Clinton 41, Mary 30, Alexander H 13,  Thomas B 11, Robert C 10. Effie 3.

1868      Birth of Daughter.

Viola Adele was born on July 10th. She passed away in 1959 (family records).

1871         Birth of Son.

John Alexander was born on September 5 (family records).

1875 Death of Son.

Thomas passed away on April 11. He was accidentally shot by his brother while on a hunting trip (Democratic Oregon, 13 April 1875, 3:1).

1888       Marriage of Daughter.

Eva Ione (Effie) married Lewis L. Endicott in 1888. They were the parents of two children, a daughter Mary Ann and a son , Clinton. Mary Ann was born on September 26, 1900 and passed away on June 5th, 1954. She married a Mr. Glaum. Clinton B. Endicott was bom on April 14th, 1898 passed away in 1981 (Family records).

1889         Marriage of Daughter.

Viola married Douglas O. Nash on August 16 (Multnomah County, OR Marriages, Sept 1888 - July 1890, pg 239 of the original, pg 50 of the GFO book). They were the parents of two children; Norwood Bonser Nash and Mary Marguerite Nash.

Additional information on the Clinton Bonser family can be found in “Clark County Pioneers ”, a publication of the Clark County Genealogical Society and “Oregon Bound.” This is the story of the McQuinn family, which is being reissued in 1997. It is available locally from members of the McQuinn Cemetery Association.

1902 Death of Settler.

Clinton Bonser passed away on February 27. His obituary is reprinted with the permission of “The Oregonion ” It was in the March 6th edition, page 5.


Scappoose, Or. March 3 - Clinton Bonser, who died at his home near here, Febraury 27, crossed the plains to Oregon from St. Louis, Mo. In 1852. He made the journey with an ox team, arriving at Portland, in September.

Mr. Bonser was bom in Greenup County, Kentucky in 1829. His parents moved to Ohio when he was quite young, and he resided in that state until he set out for the West.

On coming to Oregon, Mr. Bonser made his home with his uncle, John Bonser, a pioneer of 1847. The Yakima Indian war was breaking out, young Bonser enlisted and during 1855-56 rendered valiant service.

On returning from the war he settled on Willow Bar, Sauvie Island, Oregon, where he engaged in farming. In December of 1856 he married Mary Ann McQuinn, who crossed the plains with her parents in 1847. In January of 1863, Mr. & Mrs. Bonser moved to this station and settled upon the farm, where they have since lived. Deceased is survived by Mrs. Bonser and five children.

(Clinton is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Scappoose, Oregon.)

1911 Death of Son.

John A. Bonser died on October 22, at the age of 48, as the result of a hunting accident. He was hunting with a friend and walked into the line of fire. He was a widower at the time.

(Hillsboro Argus, October 26, 1911, Hillsboro, Oregon)

1914 Death of Widow.

Mary Ann Bonser, widow of Clinton, passed away in September of 1914. Her obituary lists her as a “Pioneer of 1844.”

Her surviving children were: A.H. Bonser, Scappoose, Oregon; R. C. Bonser, 724 Gantenbein Avenue, Portland, Oregon; Eva Endicott, 268 Chapman Street, Portland and Viola Nash of 256 Stout Street, Portland, Oregon.

Mary Ann is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Scappoose, Oregon.

(Oregonian Obituary, September 24th, 1914, pg 14)

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