Hon. William Milton Killingsworth, whose name is inseparably interwoven with the history of Portland and its
development, is now a well known capitalist of the city and his present enviable financial position is attributable
entirely to his own efforts and keen business sagacity. Moreover, his activities have been directed along many
lines in which the city has been the immediate beneficiary. He was associated with and assisted in the building
of the first electric car line in Oregon, has been identified with the promotion of legislation of great value
to the state, has contributed to the improvement of harbors and the promotion of navigation and along various other
lines has given tangible evidence of his great interest in the city and the commonwealth. Mr. Killingsworth comes
to the northwest from Springfield, Missouri, in which city his birth occurred September 16, 1850, his parents being
John and Eliza (Shields) Killingsworth. The father, a native of Tennessee, resided for some years in Missouri and
then started across the plains with his family in 1852, but on account of cholera they did not proceed that year.
In the following year Mr. and Mrs. Ellingsworth started again, arriving in Oregon in 1853, with their three children.
William Milton Killingsworth of this review has two sisters. Sophronia is the widow of D. C. Belch, a pioneer settler
near Colfax, Washington, and the first settler on the Ribble flat to engage in the sheep business. He also conducted
a nursery business there for a number of years but has now departed this life. His widow is a resident of Seattle
and by her marriage became the mother of two sons and five daughters. The other daughter of John Killingsworth
who came with the parents to Oregon was Cornelia, now the widow of R. M. Robertson and a resident of Los Angeles,
California. She has one daughter, Vivia. When the family reached Oregon, John Killingsworth decided to locate at
Eugene, which at that time contained but one house. He took a homestead and engaged in the business of sheep raising
but afterward returned to Eugene, where he and his son took active part in the improvement of the city by setting
out nearly all of the shade trees there. They also established the Star bakery, which was the first in the county.
This was before the era of railroad travel and transportation and Mr. Ellingsworth had to haul goods from Portland.
He would take a load of bacon, wool and other products and return with flour and similar lines of goods.
William Milton Killingsworth was but three years of age when brought to Oregon, so that he has practically spent
his entire life in the northwest and has been a witness of the entire growth and development of the state. He became
the active assistant of his father in the conduct of a bakery, and in 1880 he left Eugene and removed to Portland,
where he established a real estate business. In this he has since engaged making a specialty of developing real
estate for homes between the two rivers. He believed that Portland would in time become a great city and that Greater
Portland would be located between the two rivers. He accordingly secured property in this district covered by a
dense forest and staked his all upon the future growth. Many of his friends argued against the course, protesting
that he would never live to see the timber cleared from the section now known as Walnut Park district. Their predictions,
however, were soon proven false, as with Portland's rapid growth the land has been reclaimed and Mr. Killingsworth
has lived to see many men win prosperity through handling property which he sold to them. He operated extensively
in this district and there is no man who has been more largely responsible for the development and improvement
of Portland than has Mr. Killingsworth. He was identified in building the first car line operated by electricity
in Oregon, the line extending from Stanton street to the Albina ferry and a little steam road from Stanton to St.
John. He still owns a ten acre tract of land in the midst of which stands a palatial modern residence. When this
property came into his possession it was covered with a dense growth of forest trees, which he cut away and then
began the development of the place, which stands on high ground that slopes to both rivers. He has one of the largest
and most beautiful homes of the city, containing sixteen rooms and recognized as one of Portland's
In 1875 Mr. Killingsworth was married to Miss Dora Simpson, a daughter of General Ben Simpson, surveyor general
of Oregon. Tbey became the parents of five daughters, and one son: Nina; Fay; William, a leading physician of the
city of Portland; Alice, who is the wife of C. L. Shorno; Lou, the wife of Harry Swart; and Flawnice, the wife
of Dell O'Holon.
In 1905 Mr. Killingsworth was elected to the state legislature and was the first man appointed to the port of Portland
commissions to take up the project of digging a channel to the sea, which is perhaps the greatest piece of constructive
legislation ever passed in the legislative halls of Oregon. This bill gave the State Board of Railroad Control
the power, when a contributary railroad was built, to compel the main lines to haul the contributary line cars
to their destination at a fair rate. This was fought "tooth and nail" by all railroads, was not supported
by one of the other members from Multnomah county, and did not become a law until 3:30 in the afternoon of the
last day of the session. He was also a member of the emigration committee for several years and while in the legislature
he introduced a bill which became known as the Ellingsworth bill. He stood stanchly for all measures which he deemed
of value to the commonwealth and his position upon any vital question was never an equivocal one. He was the organizer
of the Portland Board of Trade and it was due to this board that the Lewis and Clark Exposition was held in Portland.
At all times Mr. Ellingsworth has manifested a most progressive spirit, seeking in every way to promote the welfare
of his city and state, and the great commonwealth that stands today is the result of the united efforts of such
men as he whose name introduces this review.
History of Oregon Illistrated
BY: Charles H. Carney
The Pioneer Historical Publishing Company
Chicago - Portland 1922
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