Coquille Valley Pioneers


Search Aids

Search Terms

(Use for computer searches)

·        Coos County Pioneers

·        Coquille Valley Settlers

·        Overland Emigration

·        Pioneer Diaries Oregon

Subject Headings

(Use in card catalogs and print indexes)

·        Coos County (Or.) -- Biography

·        Coos County (Or.) -- History

·        Frontier and Pioneer Life -- Oregon


Call Number

·        979.523 Coos County (Dewey Decimal)

·        978 Frontier & Pioneer Life

·        910.92 Pioneers

·        F 884.C (Library of Congress)


Key to Library Holdings*

·        Bndn – Bandon Public Library

·        CBay – Coos Bay Public Library

·        Coq – Coquille Public Library

·        Dora – Dora Public Library

·        MP – Myrtle Point Public Library

·        NB – North Bend Public Library

·        Powers – Powers Public Library

·        SWOCC – SW Oregon Community College Library

·        Coos Hist Soc  – Coos Maritime and Historical Society

·        Coquille Valley Museum

* Names in bold type have copies to check out. Regular type indicates library use only. 


February 2010


The information in this pathfinder will help you locate Internet resources as well as local publications on the Coquille Valley pioneers – those hardy souls who emigrated to Oregon between 1840 and 1875 and then settled in the Coquille Valley. Most of the families that settled in the valley during this period came to the Oregon territory in search of gold or land ownership. A significant number of them came on the Oregon Trail, but there are other very old families that came by way of ships to San Francisco and then overland to Douglas County and from there, came to the Coquille Valley.  


Key Resources at a Glance:

  • Pioneer History of Coos and Curry Counties by Orvil Dodge, historian (1898).

A collection of biographies and personal letters collected and published for the Pioneer Association in 1898 by Orvil Dodge documenting the history of Coos and Curry Counties. The index to the narrative and biographies is available in print and the biographies may be requested to be transcribed online. An online version is available on Google books here.


Library Holdings:

Bndn   CBay   Coq    Dora  MP   NB   Powers   SWOCC

Coos Hist Society    Coquille Valley Museum

Note: This book available online from ProQuest with a valid Coos County library card.


  • Pioneers and Incidents of the Upper Coquille Valley, 1890 - 1940 by Alice Wooldridge (1971).

A collection of obituaries and anecdotes as printed in the early Myrtle Point newspapers that referred to the original pioneers of the upper Coquille Valley (Myrtle Point, Arago, the Forks, Stringtown, Bridge, Rowland’s Prairie and Broadbent)


Library Holdings:

Bndn   CBay   Coq    Dora  MP   NB   Powers   SWOCC

Coos Hist Society    Coquille Valley Museum



Census | Oregon Trail | Local Oregon Trail Settlers | Marriage Records | OR Vital Records | Indexes | | Worldconnect | LDS | Rootsweb Lists | OR-ROOTS Listserv | SSDI



Web Pages and Web Portals

Jennifer Shank's Census listing for Coos County (part of the Oregon GenWeb Project)

This site is an ongoing project that focuses on the pioneers of the Oregon Territory up to and including 1855.

The Coquille Valley website includes links to other Coos County organizations, as well as a wealth of local information. Newly transcribed material is added on a regular basis. Consult the Site Map for a summary of material on the site as well as an up-to-date list of new material.

The goal of is to help researchers track your ancestors through time by transcribing genealogical and historical data for the free use of all researchers.

“The documents (41 publications and indexes February 2008) in this archive are presented as graphic images of the original pages.  Although the images take longer to load, they give the viewer a more complete impression of the document, while appearing more authentic and accurately displaying the text.”

Locating where people lived

When the Coquille Valley was settled, families either took out new claims, or purchased existing claims from settlers that decided to try their luck elsewhere. Claims were legally identified by their Township, Range and Section number. Each township is a six mile square block, and is counted from a point just outside Portland. Most of the Coquille Valley is located in Townships 26-30 south and Range 11-15 west – or roughly 156 miles south and 66 miles west of Portland.

The simplest description I’ve located for understanding Townships, Range and Sections.

Digital Copies of the Survey Maps for Oregon, produced by the General Land Office from about 1855 through 1910. These are large JPEG images in .zip files (1-2.5MB), but these maps not only show property boundaries, but often list the land owner’s name and occasionally even show the location of the house on the claim.

Image access to more than two million Federal land title records for Eastern Public Land States, issued between 1820 and 1908. These records include only the ‘proved’ land claims. Once you have located the patent information, you can request copies of the application from the National Archives. For ‘unproved’ or sold claims, you can request lookups from the tract books also held in the National Archives using the same link.

A list of Post Offices in the United States in 1870 that also includes the names of the Postmasters and their salaries. In Coos County, there are only 4; Empire City, Coquille, Hermansville (Broadbent), and Randolph (Gaylord). All mail was then distributed from these points to the people in the Coquille Valley.


Additional Books

  • History of southern Oregon : comprising Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, Curry and Coos Counties by A.G. Waling (1884)

Information on the settling of the southern Oregon area, origins and principal development of communities and short biographies of prominent families in the counties listed in the title.

Library Holdings:  Bndn    CBay    COQ    MP    NB   SWOCC

Note: This book is available online 


  • The Baltimore Colony and pioneer recollections : taken from the original notes of the Honorable Binger Hermann, by Baltimore Colony Centennial Committee (1959).

Recollections of early Coos County as recorded by one of the Baltimore Colony members. Hon. Binger Hermann was the first school teacher in the Coquille Valley and had the first store in what would become Myrtle Point. He went on to become a lawyer and the only Congressional Representative to have lived in the Coquille Valley.

Library Holdings:  Bndn    CBay      Dora   Lakeside    MP    NB   Powers  

  • After the covered wagons : recollections of Russell C. and Ellis S. Dement, by E.R. Jackman (1962).

“In 1934, at the age of eighty-three, Russell [C. Dement]...record[ed] some of his early day experiences...this is his story. It is in his exact words, except for some explanatory material, so indicated, supplied by his son Ellis.... Two years later Russell gave some other details to the Myrtle Point Herald. These are added to the original." -- Foreword, E.R. Jackman.

Library Holdings:   MP     


  • Destination, West! : A pioneer woman on the Oregon Trail, by Agnes Ruth Sengstacken (1942)

“This is my mother's true life story. It is the record of a long and eventful life lived in the remote and primitive Coos country of Oregon territory” – Agnes Sengstacken

Library Holdings:   Bndn     CBay    Coq     MP    NB   Powers  


  • Some cemetery records of Coos and Curry counties Oregon : the Alice Hoover Wooldridge collection, by The Genealogical Forum of Portland (1982).

List of cemeteries indexed in this book:

Allegany, Bandon Catholic, Bandon IOOF, Bandon Knights of Pythias, Bandon Pioneer, Bear Creek, Beaver Hill, Brack, Breen, Breuer, Bullard, Catching Creek, Clarno Springs, Collver, Cook, Coos River Pioneer, Coquille IOOF, Coquille Masonic, Coquille Pioneer, Davis, Dement, Dora, Eddy, Eden Valley, Edson, Enchanted Prairie, Fairview, Fetter, Fox Bridge a.k.a. Lee Valley, GAR Bandon, Garrett, Gibbs, Grandma Wells, Gravelford, Green, Greene, Haines, Hansen, Hayes, Haynes, Hermann, Hoffman, Hultin-Thrush, IOOF, Lakeside, Lampa Creek, Lett, Lowery, Mast, Masters, McGlone, Merriman, Miller, Morris, Myrtle Creek, Myrtle Point, Neal, Norris-Barker, Norway, Old Empire, Old Pioneer, Pallaske, Parkersburg, Pioneer, Poland, Powers, Quosanta Creek, Rackleff, Randolph, Red Barn, Riverton, Robbins, Robison, Russell, Sacchi, Skaggs, Skookum House, Smith, South Slough, Steward, Sumner School, Templeton, Thomas, Upper Fish Trap, Warner, Wasson, Waterman,  West, Whittington, Wigent Family, Wise, Wheeler, Yoakum Family

Library Holdings:   CBay    Coq    Dora   MP    NB   Powers  


  • Coos Bay Wagon Road : historical investigations and identification of interpretive origins, , by Stephen Dow Beckham (1997).

On cover: Submitted to Coos Bay District, Bureau of Land Management, North Bend, OR.; Roseburg District, Bureau of Land Management, Roseburg, OR; U.S. Department of the Interior "October 1997."

Library Holdings:   Bndn     CBay    Coq     MP    NB   Powers  

  • Life on the plains of the Pacific. Oregon: its history, condition and prospects: containing a description of the geography, climate and productions, with personal adventures among the Indians during a residence of the author on the plains bordering the Pacific while connected with the Oregon mission: embracing extended notes of a voyage around the world, by Rev. Gustavus Hines (1851).

While this book does not describe the people living on the Coquille Valley, it is none-the-less an excellent history of the state and of the conditions of the time. It is available online here.

Library Holdings:    CBay    Coq    Dora   MP    NB   Powers  


·        Oregon Historical Quarterly (Available from most libraries)

·        Coos Genealogical Society (Available at the Coos Bay Library and Coos Historical Museum)

Organizations and Special Collections

·        ORCOOS-L ListServ

ORCOOS is a forum for Coos County researchers to assist each other in locating and researching Coos County biographies, obituaries, vital records, photographs and to share stories of Coos County ancestors.

To Subscribe: Send an email message to In the message ***subject*** put either "subscribe" (for regular version--without the quotes) or "subscribe digest" (for the digest version--without the quotes). Send your questions to after you have subscribed.

·        OR-ROOTS ListServ

OR-ROOTS is a list for discussion of research and writing about Oregon genealogy and family history. OR-ROOTS is an electronic forum where genealogists can share the results of research, assist newcomers to the field, inquire about the location of resources, debate issues, raise questions, and learn about current events in the field.

To Subscribe: Send an email message to In the message ***subject*** put either "subscribe" (for regular version--without the quotes) or "subscribe digest" (for the digest version--without the quotes). Send your questions to the same address after you have subscribed to have the other list members help you in your research.

·        Coquille Valley Historical Society

The Coquille Valley Historical Society meets on the first and third Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm in the Coquille Valley Museum in Coquille. Meetings focus on sharing new historical items donated to the museum and on business related to running the society and museum.

·        Coquille Valley Genealogy Club

The Coquille Valley Genealogy Club meets on the first Thursday of the month at 7:00 pm in the Myrtle Point Library. Meetings include guest speakers and a chance to share historical information about the area with others, as well as refreshments.

Multimedia Resources and Photographs

Not many photographs or multimedia materials exist for this eary time period in the Coquille Valley. There are some family CDV and Lithographs which are preserved at the following locations:

The Coos County Historical Society was founded in November of 1891 and is one of the oldest continuously operating local historical societies in the state of Oregon. The Society operated a museum for ten years in Coquille prior to moving to our current North Bend location in 1958. You will find the Coos Historical and Maritime Museum just off Highway 101 in North Bend, Oregon at the north end of town near Simpson Park and the Visitor Information Center.

Built in 1847, the John D. Boon House is believed to be the oldest single family residence in Salem. Boon served as Oregon Territorial Treasurer and later as Oregon State Treasurer from 1851-1862.

  • Seven Alone [videorecording] / Doty-Dayton Productions (1974)

This is a story of the Sager family. Caught up in the westward migration, they left their Missouri home in 1843 for the "black soil" of Oregon. The pursuit of their dream brings a multitude of challenges. Based on the book "On to Oregon" by Honore Morrow.

A copy of this document, in a Microsoft Word format, is available here.

Copyright 2006-2010 – Robyn Greenlund.
For historical and genealogical purposes only. Commercial use of any portion of this site is prohibited. The Pathfinder Project was funded in part by Library Services and Technology Act money administered through the State Library of Iowa.

Additional resources, comments and/or corrections are welcomed.