Parrett Mountain has rich history dating to 1853
Parrett Mountain is the eastern arm of a long mountain chain which blocks the mighty Willamette River on its journey north to the Columbia River. Samuel and Maria Parrett, fresh off the three-masted schooner which their extended family had traveled on around the straights of Magellan, finally made it to John's Landing on the Willamette River in 1853. Instead of crossing the river south into French Prairie, Samuel and his brothers filed adjoining parcels of land on the top and east side of Wild Horse Mountain, known for the horses that got away in a horse drive by the Hudson's Bay Company in the late 1820s.
Samuel and Maria had ten children all together. Thomas, Samuel, Mary, John, Catherine, Sarah, and James were born in England. William was born before they left. Two of Samuel's brothers also joined them. They were Henry and William Parrett and also nephew Robert Everest. Robert joined his family who were already in Oregon. Samuel was a farm laborer who had dreams of having his own farm. The family took out a donation land claim of 320 acres.
The first child born in Oregon was Richard Parrett, born in 1854. He was the grandfather of the longest-lived Parrett who lived on the land. Her name was Crystal Smith Rilee.
When Grandfather Richard was just four years old, his father, Samuel, died. It was October of 1857. Maria had bad luck with her next two husbands. Alphonso Rhoades married Maria in 1861, but was wanted by the law and vanished. Her next husband, James (Jimmy) Quinn, also vanished. Maria decided to move off the Quinn place in French Prairie and move back up to the donation land claim. She lived on with her children and adopted children at the Parrett Mountain Farm. The name of the Mountain changed at the turn of the century from Wild Horse Mountain to Parrett Mountain since the extended family owned it and worked every day hauling the rocks off their land with a stone boat.
In 1909, Ella Parrett, Maria's daughter, married John Franklin Smith, also born on Parrett Mountain on April 17, 1887. John's sisters were Ida Swope (whose husband built many of Sherwood's Buildings), Della and Josie. John's brothers were Charley, William and Walter. The new Smith family moved into the old Parrett house which was located where Marla's Acres is today. They had Crystal, Curtis, Forrest, and John D. In May 23, 1923, there was a devastating fire at the house.
Ella was very much in shock as the house burned down, telling 4-year-old Crystal to take her little brother up the hill with a lantern and look for help. The fire was so hot that all that was left were coins, a watch, and a pipe.
These are on display at the Morback House Museum to this day. The Smith family were able to find an old house in Sherwood with the railroad tracks running through their back yard. On the other side of the tracks was Sherwood's first City Park.
The site of the old house is across from the old white Catholic Church on Oregon Street. On both sides of the track, there was an old natural grove of rare pines only known to this area. The seeds mays have been washed down during the Bretz Flood. A handful of the third or fourth growth of those trees still exist. Many of the second growth of those pine trees, some thirty feet tall, were felled by the Columbus Day Storm. Ella loved daffodils and she went up on the hill and dug up her bulbs and brought them down to plant around the Sherwood House. Today, in the spring some of those daffodils still flower.
The Sherwood Heritage Center is still closed due to COVID-19 but when we do open, we have a fantastic exhibit of the history of Sherwood Schools. We are still doing history research and maintenance of the buildings.
There will be some construction going on in the basement after July 1, as the City of Sherwood and the Heritage Center are going to do a foundation repair on the crumbling brick walls of the 129 year old structure. There will be periodic pop-up book sales on the porch this summer to fund the publishing of the Sherwood History Vol. III book, so watch for that on Facebook and other websites.
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