William Elze Weekly

To see my research notes about William click here.

Born 17 May 1812 - According to The Pioneer History of Coos and Curry Counties, OR (Dodge, 1898), William was born "near Louisville, KY".  Other sources indicate that he was born in Bardstown, Nelson County, KY, about 40 miles away from Louisville.  The book, Genealogical Material in Oregon Donation Land Claims, states that William was born in Nelson Co, KY.  The land claim paperwork would have been filled out by an employee at the land office, who would have interviewed William.  Also, when Irene applied for a widow's pension for William's service in the Indian War, she listed his birthplace as Bardstown, Nelson Co, KY.

Assuming that William was born in Bardstown, Nelson County, KY, then Abraham and Nancy Ann (Bull, Marks) Weekly (also spelled Weekley or Weakly) may be his parents.  There is a record of a Nelson County, KY marriage of Abraham Weekley and Nancy Marks on 12 Apr 1802, 10 years before William was born.  Abraham is in Nelson Co, KY in the 1800, 1810 and 1820 census records.

In the 1880 Census record, William's father's birthplace is listed as Pennsylvania, and his mother's, Virginia.  It was said that William was the youngest of three children.  I wonder if this last detail, (published after his death in "The Pioneer History of Coos and Curry Counties,  OR" (Dodge, 1898). p. 98) is accurate.  At any rate, there are more than three children in the census records for Abraham Weakly's household, some probably from a previous marriage(s).

Nancy Marks who married Abraham Weekly is probably Nancy "Ann" Bull. According to Ancestry.com's OneWorld tree, Nancy married Isaac Marks, 21 Oct 1791 in Shenandoah Co, VA.  JoanneIkeda50 at Ancestry.com lists the children as being 3 girls
: Betsy, Polly, and Susannah (no birth dates given) and a boy named Isaac, who was born 10 Feb 1798.  Isaac Marks (the husband) died 10 Nov 1798, 10 months after his son was born. 

3 years and 4 months after Isaac died, Nancy Marks married Abraham Weekly on 12 Apr 1802.  Abraham was a little bit younger than Nancy.  Based on census records alone, Abraham's birth year falls between 1775-1784. Records from Abraham's service in the War of 1812 give a birth year of about 1781. Nancy was born between 1766-1770, judging from age categories given on census records.  She was at least 9 years older than Abraham.

Abraham disappears from Nelson County, KY Census records after 1820, though he is on tax lists at least through 1825. Later years have not been checked. Nancy can be found next door to her son, Isaac Marks, in the 1830 and 1840 Censuses in Nelson Co, Kentucky.  Interestingly, Isaac's son (Nancy's grandson) was named Isaac Taylor, as was one of William and Irene Weekly's sons.  I have found other connections of the Marks and Weekly families, which you can find on my Research Notes page, under the subheading Marks Family.

It's possible that there was another Weekly family that lived in Nelson Co, between the 1810 and 1820 Censuses, but was not there when either Census was taken.

14 March 1841 - William married Irene Jane Skaggs, Johnson County, Missouri.  The record does not have any names of parents or personal information.  It is difficult to read: State of Missouri [illegible word], County of Johnson, I, William White, preacher of the gospel do certify that I solemnized the Rites of Matrimony between William E Weekley and _ _ _ Skaggs on the 14th of March 1841.  [illegible word] under my hand this the 15th day of March 1841.
William White
On the left side is written: Wm E Weekley and _ _ _ Skaggs.
[In the Douglas County, Oregon land claim, it is stated that they were married In Jackson County.  The name of the preacher, William White, appears in the 1840 Census in Jackson County but not in Johnson County.]

1850 Census: Fristo (Fristoe?), Benton County, Missouri
Listed as Wicklee: William, 35, born in Kentucky, Irene, 26, born in Tennessee, and son John, 7, Born in Missouri.

I believe the location to be Township 40, Range 21-W, Section 29.  
Click here to see a map of section 29. The land purchased by John S Weekly in 1849 was in section 29, the SE quarter of the NW quarter; and the SE quarter of the NE quarter.  Adjacent land was purchased by Temperance Swift, who is listed as a next door neighbor of William and Irene in the 1850 Census.  So I think that William and Irene were living on the land purchased by John S Weekly.

John S Weekly may have been the one born 13 Feb 1813, Enock, Clay Co, VA.  He died in Belmont Co, Ohio on 16 Mar 1894.  He was living in Ohio in the 1860, 1870 and 1890 Censuses.  I've been unable to find him in the 1850 Census. John's parents, according to at least one researcher, are William Weekley and Susannah Grigsby. Interestingly, one researcher names Abraham as one of John's brothers, however, since no source is given and Abraham's birth predates the marriage of William and Susannah, I will have to do more research on this one.

Two Children Died in Infancy

William and Irene must have lost their daughter, Nancy Jane, and their son, Stephen, before the 1850 census.  I got the birth dates of Nancy (born 1845) and Stephen (born 1849) from the notes of Verna Weekly, daughter of Jefferson Davis Weekly.  I have no records of their deaths, but The Pioneer History of Coos and Curry Counties,  OR - (Dodge, 1898) stated that Nancy and Stephen were deceased.  They do not appear in any census records with William and Irene.  Isaac was born in 1850, but does not appear in the Census, because he was born after the cutoff date. In The Centennial History of Oregon, here, Edmond's biography states that two of William and Irene's children died in infancy.

On the Oregon Trail

After leaving Missouri in 1853 (a journey of about 6 months), they arrived in Oregon in August, originally settling in Portland, Oregon.  According to Irene's obituary, they stayed there for about a year.  (I have read a different pioneer family's account that the Umpqua Valley was considered more fertile than the Willamette, so this may have been a reason for moving.) They settled in Tenmile, Douglas County, Oregon in 1854.

A new school district was organized in the Ten Mile area in 1854.  The first school was built of logs; it was east of Porter Creek and approximately half way between Highway 42 and Tenmile Valley Road.  In April 1863, it was decided to build a school house near the NE corner of the Thomas Coats Donation Land Claim.  It was of box construction, with hand-made benches, and heated by a fireplace. Those sitting in the front were too warm and those sitting in the back were too cold. (From files kept at the Douglas County Museum.)

The Weeklys lived next to Robert and Elizabeth [Anthony] Gurney.  The Gurneys were from Iowa and I have not found any family connections or evidence of prior acquaintance with the Weeklys.  Mrs. Gurney made her own medicinal herbs and was called "Dr, Gurney" by some. Robert Gurney is mentioned as having worked on the Coos Bay Wagon Road.
(Taken from essay written by Asa Gurney, which can be found at Douglas County Museum)

From the book, Genealogical Material in Oregon Donation Land Claims, Vol 3: 
#761, Weekly, William E; Douglas co; b 1812 Nelson Co, Ky; Arr Ore 5 Aug 1853; SC [Settled Claim] 19th June 1854/ 1 Apr 1855; m Arene (Irene) Jane 14 Mar 1839, Jackson Co, Mo.


Indian War of 1855/6

In the book "
History of Southern Oregon" by AG Walling, pg 289, Chapter: Indian Wars, (War of 1855/6) the name William Weekley is listed among the men of Company H, under Captain Samuel Gordon.  Mustered at Roseburg, Nov 25, 1855.  Discharged February 16, 1856. 

Roseburg is near Tenmile, OR.

Irene may have stayed at a fort during this time with the children: John, 12; Isaac Taylor, 5; Ursula, 2; and Mary, who was born in October 1855 and was perhaps two months old in early December, when area residents fled their homes.  Most residents in the area fled to a fort, according to Walling. One fort was in the west part of Tenmile, and the other on present-day Lockwood Road in east Tenmile. The latter was the closest in proximity to the Weekly's land. Both forts had year round springs.

Residents may have fled the Tenmile area entirely when given the opportunity. "Pioneer History" by Orvil Dodge, states that William was compelled to leave his home in 1855 on account of the Indian outbreak, and returned the next year to find his place in ashes.

While there would have been opportunities to reenlist, I don't find William's name on other records of recruits at later dates.  The records are incomplete, though.  William was older than most who were volunteering.  Most were in their early 20's, while William was 43 in 1855.

From the book "Land of the Umpqua" by Beckham, page 102:
As news spread on December 1 of the attack on Rice Creek, the settlers throughout the region of Civil Bend, Tenmile Prairie and Olalla fled their farms.  When the Indians passed by and found no one at home, they took food and whatever they could carry.  In a number of instances they set fire to the houses, granaries, barns, and other outbuildings.  The Indians damaged the property of [long list of names] and William Weekly.  Additional losses included livestock, a schoolhouse, and improvements at the Weekly sawmill. [End notes cite Gaston, vol 4, 332-37]
Indian War Pension File
Here, you can see that Irene applied for an Oregon Indian War pension.  http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~jkidd/articles/indwpens/w-z.htm

1325    Weekly, Irene Jane (William E.)

I sent for the file from Oregon Historical Society. 

It has been microfilmed and I got it copied and mailed to me for $4.  Highlights:
Birthplace for Irene is given as (Town left blank), Henry county, Tennessee 11 Oct 1823.
Marriage to William: 6 March 1840 (which is different from the records I have found, I think that this form was filled out after William had died so perhaps the date had faded from memory.)
Birthplace for William: Bards (on the line for "Town" - so I'm assuming Bardstown) - Nelson Co, KY, 17 May 1812.

Enlisted in Company ----(blank)--- Commanded by Capt Gordon
Honorably discharged at Roseburg on the ____ day of April 1856.

Husband's height was "about 5 feet 6 inches"
Blue eyes
Light hair
Light complexion

His occupation was "Farming and lumbering"

Signed by RM Parrish of Myrtle Point, Or
and RL Weekly of Gravelford, Or
and Irene Weekly

Another page again says that William was "late a private in Capt Samuel Gordon's Company H of the 2nd Regiment of Oregon.
This page is signed by IE Rose and I(?) A Eagan.



The Eighteen Mile House
While living near Roseburg in Tenmile, Douglas Co, Oregon, the Weeklys conducted the Eighteen Mile House (stage station) until about 1873 (moving to Gravelford, Coos County).  See reference to the Weekly place in Tenmile below in the comments from William P. Mast. There was also a Post Office at this location, known simply as Weekly.

Queen Victoria Krantz's obituary (she married Willliam and Irene's son, Isaac Taylor Weekly) reads: "In coming into Coos county, Miss Krantz who was the oldest child, drove a team of mules, the second team that ever came into Coos county over the Coos Bay Wagon Road.  The family had camped at the 18 Mile House, that distance west of Roseburg and had been waiting 6 weeks for the opening of the road."

Edmond Weekly's obit reads, "The house in which he was born was known for many years as the Eighteen Mile House stage station."

Eventually Edmond bought part of the old claim in Tenmile.  Apparently his purchase included the old Eighteen Mile House, which was used as a stage station under his ownership.  The area was served by the Tenmile Post Office until Edmond opened the Reston Post Office.  It was at that time that the area became known as Reston, as the name came about only because the Post Office needed a name.  Edmund became the first postmaster of Reston on August 25,1890.

Click above to see maps.

The Weeklys and the Coos Bay Wagon Road:

In company with Captain Harris, Marple, Wat Bagley, Martin Davis, William Jackson and R.M. Gurney, [William Weekly] helped to locate the trail known as the Old Coos Bay trail, from the Weekly place through to the South Fork of the Coos river. (-Pioneers of Coos and Curry Counties, Oregon (Dodge, 1898), pg 98)

From "Pioneers of Coos and Curry Counties, Oregon" (Dodge, 1898) these are accounts that mention the Weekly place and the trail that eventually became the Coos Bay Wagon Road:


About April 25th, 1872, the subject of this sketch, William P. Mast, with his family, and several other families, numbering about sixty-six persons besides the little children, set their faces westward, from western North Carolina, bound for [Oregon]....In course of time they arrived, by the accommodation of the "Emigrant Car", at the City of Sacramento; from there to Red Bluff and then by wagon twenty miles out into the country where they camped and proceeded to invest in horses and wagons to continue [to Oregon]. After a long, tedious journey, with wagons piled high with trunks, boxes, etc., they pulled up at the foot of the Coast Range, in Douglas county, at what was then Wm. Weeklie's farm, about June 10, 1872, where they pitched their tents and the head of the families proceeded on horseback to explore the wilds of Coos county.
... The Coos Bay wagon road was not opened when we first arrived but was during that year.
p. 406
In the latter part of June, 1866, the writer, in company with Rev. W.M. Palmer, started from Douglas county to Coos river. There was no wagon road from Weekly, in Douglas county to our destination, nothing but a mountain trail and very poor at that.

-C.B. Marsters (writing for Orvil Dodge's book), p. 454

From "Land of the Umpqua" (Beckham) page 166: The Coos Bay Wagon Road Company organized in 1870 in Roseburg to build a road by way of Reston, Dora, Sitkum, and Sumner to tidewater at Coos City near Marshfield (Coos Bay), Oregon. Dr. Salatheil Hamilton, the first physician to settle in Douglas County and proprietor of the Hamilton Drug Company, served as the firm's president. Short on funds and unable to build an adequate road through the rain-drenched Coast Range, this company received as much criticism as the other four land-grant road firms in the state. The road officially opened in 1873 and qualified the company owners for the standard subsidy of three square miles of land for every mile. Altogether the owners anticipated receiving approximately 105,000 to 115,000 acres in Douglas and Coos counties for their investment.  

The public outcry against the awarding of the land grant arose almost everywhere in southwestern Oregon. Settlers along the surveyed right-of-way feared that their preemption lands, homesteads yet awaiting proof, and squatter claims would be lost if the road company gained its patents. Travelers knew that the road was scarcely passable. Residents of the Coquille watershed feared that the flow of eggs, butter, and other commodities from the Umpqua Valley would ruin their local markets. Thus, in a short time - coincident with inability of the original wagon road company to make needed road improvements - the pressure was on the federal government to cancel the grant. 

The sale of the road to absentee owners did little to increase the faith of Douglas County residents in the project....

1860 Census: Weeklys are living Tenmile, Douglas County, Oregon

1870 Census: Ten Mile Precinct, Douglas County, Oregon

1872 - Coos Bay Wagon Road opened.

1873 - Moved to Coos County, Oregon.  In the 1880 Census you will find William and Irene's daughter, Ursula, her husband, Innis Rose (married in '72), as well as William and Irene's sons, Isaac (Taylor), John, and Edmond living in Missouri Precinct in the same area as William and Irene, who still have the three youngest boys at home.  In fact their daughter Mary was the only child of theirs who did not live in Missouri Precinct at that time.  James and Angeline Bright, parents of their future daughter-in-law, Mary (who married Robert), lived there as well.

A land record shows that William obtained property in Coos County from the Government on 3/30 1882 (28S, 11W, section 30, aliquot parts 7, 8, 9, 10 on the East Fork of the Coquille River - click on "property" above to see the map.  In section 30, William owned every lot south of the Coquille River. 

I ordered the file on this land from National Archives.  There is no genealogical information in the paperwork...
Affidavits were filled out from John S Weekly, William and Irene's son; and Innis E Rose, husband of Ursula Weekly, William and Irene's daughter.
Facts included:
Price paid for the land: $15.02
Crops grown: Corn, wheat, oats, barley, tobacco, and "all kinds of garden stuff".
The date of residence was given as "about the last day of October" 1873, according to William.
According to John's affidavit (Innis Rose's is essentially the same), the first house was built the summer after they went there.  Improvements to the property included 2 barns, 75 acres cleared, 30 acres in cultivation, an orchard.  About 50 acres fenced.  Total value of the improvements, about $1500.00.

William estimated the improvements differently: nearly 100 acres cleared, about 50 acres in farm, an orchard.  He notes: the house that I know [now] live in was built about 3 years ago.  My first house was built as soon as I went there. (It was common to build a crude cabin initially, and to later build a nicer house.)

Weekly Creek was later said to be on his son Robert's property, so he may have inherited part of the land or obtained a lot that included another part of the same creek).  Here is a link to Weekly Creek on Mapquest.  This is probably a better map to the area, though.

The Homestead Act allowed people to obtain land after homesteading on it for 5 years.  The paperwork was submitted in a timely fashion, but the land was not granted to William from BLM until they had been there for 9 years.  There was a backlog on land grant paperwork at the time and it was common for it to take years to complete the process.


What was it like in the Missouri Precinct in 1873?  I found a story entitled "The Sturdivant Homestead" in the publication "Early Day Stories" by Coos-Curry Pioneer Historical Association, 1944-45 [Story] Contest.  The Studivants also arrived in 1873, the same year that William and Irene moved there.  The Sturdivants were close neighbors of the Weekly family.

 Here are some excerpts from "The Sturdivant Homestead"


1880 Census: Missouri Precinct (also called GravelFord), Coos County, Oregon. 
Re: William, in the disability column it says "BrainFvr" - Brain Fever? 

23 November 1889: William died in Gravelford, Coos County, Oregon. 

William is buried at Dora Cemetery, Dora, Coos County, Oregon.

While there may have been other area newspapers in publication in 1889, Coquille City Herald is the only one from that time period that is available on microfilm at this time.  This paper was full of short snippets of news from all around.  They did not run obituaries but I found these items in the paper:

Tues Nov 26, 1889

Grandpa Weeky of North Coquille was lying at the point of death at last accounts, with no hopes of his recovery.  He had sent for all his children.

Dec 10, 1889

DIED.- At his home near Gravel Ford, this county.  November 23, 1889, Wm. E. Weekly, aged 77 years.  Mr. W. was an Oregon pioneer and one of the best men that we ever met.  His family have the sympathy of the entire county.


From "The Pioneer History of Coos and Curry Counties,  OR", Dodge, 1898. p. 98:

Weekly, William Elze, was born near Louisville, Ky., May 17, 1812, and was the youngest of three children. By trade he was a mill wright. He came to Oregon in 1853. In 1854, through the misrepresentation of others, he sunk $600 [adjusted for inflation, this is about $15,800 in 2009] in the Randolph mines*. On the old Weekly place, in the Ten-mile precinct, he built one of the first saw mills in Douglas county. In company with Captain Harris, Marple, Wat Bagley, Martin Davis, William Jackson and R.M. Gurney, he helped to locate the trail known as the Old Coos Bay trail, from the Weekly place through to the South Fork of the Coos river. In 1855 he was compelled to leave his home on account of the Indian outbreak. On his return the next year he found his place in ashes. He was one of the share holders and contractors in the Coos Bay wagon road, which was opened for travel in 1872. He moved to his farm at Gravel Ford, and remained there until his death, which took place Nov. 23, 1889. His wife's maiden name was Irene Jane Skaggs, and they were married in 1841. Their children's names are John Samuel, Nancy Jane (deceased), Isaac Taylor, Ursula, Stephen (deceased), Mary, Francis**, Edmund E., Jefferson D., Robert L., and William Elze.

*The Randolph Mines were gold mines that initially seemed promising.
**Francis was just Mary's middle name.

Books that mention William and his family:

Pioneer History of Coos and Curry Counties, by Orvil Dodge, 1898

The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911, by Joseph Gaston - two of William's sons are featured, and there is some detail about William and Irene.

Pioneers and Incidents of the Upper Coquille Valley, by Wooldridge - contains edited obituaries of many individuals from William's family, including Irene.  William died in 1889, and the book starts with 1890.

 Newspaper articles:

Fast Stage Line, Oregon Sentinel, July 2, 1879