For many years Isaac Ham was one of the oldest and best known river men on the Columbia river, but now retired
from that life he is running a garden truck and fruit farm about one half mile from Milwaukie. He is a native of
Illinois, born in that state in 1841, a son of John and Jane (Copeland) Ham. After the death of his parents Captain
Ham, as he is commonly known, accompanied his uncle to The Dalles in 1852, thereby becoming a pioneer of Oregon.
On reaching Oregon Captain Ham worked on a farm but soon gave that up to become a river man. He received his license
as pilot and as engineer and served in both capacities for many years. During this time he won hosts of friends
and admirers and was widely noted for his cheerful, pleasant disposition and his reliability, and for more than
half a century enjoyed the confidence and esteem of every vessel owner and river man. In 1908 he determined to
spend the rest of his life on shore and he purchased a farm on the edge of the city, one and one half miles from
the post office, where despite his age he raises garden truck and fruits. In the year 1919 his orchard Yielded
two tons of cherries, one and one half tons of prunes and a ton of pears. Captain Ham is seventy nine years of
age and this hardy veteran puts in his own crops and does his own pruning. His farm is one of the choicest pieces
of land in the section in which it is located and is thoroughly drained on all sides.
Much of the captain's success in life is due to the encouragement and cooperation of his wife, who was before her
marriage Miss Mary Bacon, a daughter of Jesse Bacon, a farmer of much ability, who enjoyed the high esteem of the
community in which he resided. The following children were born to the union of Captain and Mrs. Ham: Ellen, their
first daughter, is the wife of Thomas Mayhew and they reside at Portland; George is a resident of Waco, Texas;
Clara is the wife of John Wilson of Boise, Idaho; Jane May married Valentine Brown of Portland; and Louis, the
last member of the family is a resident of Oakland, California.
Captain Ham has never been active in politics but fraternally he has been an Odd Fellow for fifty years and has
held all the chairs in that lodge and represented his lodge in the Grand Lodge. Captain Ham is also a popular and
active member of the Oregon Pioneer Society and the Clackamas County Pioneers. Mrs. Ham is a zealous worker in
the Baptist church and in all of its societies. Both Mr. and Mrs. Ham are held in high regard by their fellow citizens
and have done much toward the improvement of the community in which they reside. They have witnessed many changes
in Oregon and Captain Ham is proud of those which have been made on the Columbia river. As one of the pioneer river
men he guided many a craft to the Celilo Falls and portaged them beyond, long before the canal was built. He is
acquainted with every rock and shoal of the great river from The Dalles to Vancouver. Captain Ham has been an indefatigable
worker and diligence and industry have won him place among the prominent men of his county.
History of Oregon Illistrated
BY: Charles H. Carney
The Pioneer Historical Publishing Company
Chicago - Portland 1922
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