The Vose family came from England and were early settlers in the Lake Oswego area

SUBMITTED PHOTO - A photograph taken around 1900 shows members of the Vose family. Front row (from left): Emily, Abram (father), Mary Jane (mother) and Victor. Back row (from left): Burget, Martha, Hayes and Irma.  Robert and Jane Moss Vose sailed from England to America around 1653, settling in Dorchester, Mass., in 1654. Having purchased 500 acres of land in what is now Milton, Mass., they were the largest landowners in the area.

In 1905 and 1906, ninth-generation family members traveled by rail to Oregon. The family settled in Oswego at various times between 1906 and 1922 and became well known for its involvement in local education. Three members of the family were employed at Lakewood School at the same time.

Victor Vose and his brother, Burget, were both teachers/principals at Oswego School. In an interview with Theresa Truchot, longtime Lake Oswego resident Hortense (Tonsy) Sylvester recalls that "when I was having difficulty with Algebra, I called Mr. Vose and said I needed some 'explaining.' One session and I was on my way. He wouldn't have made much money tutoring if he could help students in only one session."

Irma Vose taught second grade at Oswego School and was closely involved with the Oswego Library Association, which was formed in 1924. Salary in those days was $25 a month plus room and board. To make ends meet, Irma (as she was referred to) became a very fast berry picker. Ben Vose told Truchot that "my Aunt Irma and my grandma Anna Messinger Vose would get up at 4 o' clock in the morning and pick like mad. I could never keep up."

Vose Elementary School and the Vose neighborhood in Beaverton were named for Annie Messinger Vose, who taught at McKay School in Beaverton for more than 30 years.


Settling in Oregon

After living in various parts of Oregon, Hayes and Rosanna (Mina) Vose and their children Carl, Mary, Harlo, Hazel and Emily moved to Oswego in 1922.

Carl married Helen Hammond and Harlo married Oswego native Sybil Rollins.

Carl and Harlo built several homes in Oswego and a commercial building on A Avenue. Mary married into the Denney family of Beaverton. Hazel married Bennet DeChaine. Emily and her husband, John Wittauer, built a home on Eighth Street in Oswego in 1931, but moved to Seattle in 1933. The house was sold to Emily's sister Hazel and her husband, Bennet DeChaine. The house is still owned by the DeChaine family.

The Wittauers returned to Lake Oswego in 1964 and purchased the Vose family home on Fifth Street. It remains in the family as well.

Learn more

Meet some of the descendants of the Vose family and visit one of the original historic landmark Vose family homes on this year's Oswego Heritage Council Historic Home Tour. It's scheduled from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, May 20. Reserve your tickets now at or by calling 503-635-6373.

"From Our Vault" is written by Nancy Dunis for the Oswego Heritage Council, using materials she's found in the council's archives; look for it on the third Thursday of every month. Have something you'd like to add to the vault? Leave a message for Dunis at 503-635-6373 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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