Vol. 1 May, 1899 No. 1
Biographical * Theodore Thurston Geer

Governor T.T. Geer was born in the Waldo hills of Marion county, March 12, 1851, soon after which he removed with his parents to Silverton, where he remained until 1861, when he went to Salem and attended the district school two years. On September 5, 1863, he entered the Willamette University, remaining until April, 1865. Professor T.M. Gatch, now president of the Agricultural College at Corvallis, was then at the head of that institution. Among his schoolmates were Lieutenant Fred Schwatka, Hon. C.B. Moores, Sam and Syl. Simpson, and others, now well known native sons. For a year and a half after leaving school, he worked on his uncle's farm in Marion county, at the expiration of which time he went with his father to Union county, where they engaged in the nursery business together, remaining there ten years. On June 16, 1870, he was married to Miss Nancy G. Batte, who died between the time of his election and inauguration as governor, and while they were on their way to visit her relatives in Missouri, whom she had not seen for 34 years. Two daughters and a son survive as the fruit of this union. In June, 1877, he returned to Marion county, since which time he has continued to reside on the old donation land claim of his uncle, George Eoff, within a mile of the place where he was born. In 1880, '88, '90 and '92, he was elected to the legislature, and during the session of 1891 was speaker of the house. In 1894 he was nominated by the republican state convention as a presidential elector, and canvassed the state for McKinley, establishing a reputation as a ready speaker of keen wit and convincing logic, winning the enthusiastic support of his friends and the respect and esteem of his opponents. Subsequent to the election he was chosen by his associates to carry the vote of the state to Washington, which he did. After the inauguration of McKinley he became a candidate for collector of customs for the port of Portland, but was refused the place and another was appointed, when another office was offered him, but was promptly declined. This brought him prominently before the people of the state, and at the convention of his party held the following April he was nominated for governor by acclamation, being the only time in the history of the republican party in Oregon when a governor was so nominated. While this convention was assembling and in session, he was quietly at work on his farm in the Waldo hills, where a committee subsequently found and notified him of the honor conferred by his party. Here Diogenes [sic] strayed, with a commission in hand, and, without a lantern, found an honest man tilling the soil, and called this Cincinnatus [sic] of the West to steer the ship of state. At the election in June, 1898, he received the largest majority ever cast for a governor in Oregon, and was inaugurated in January of the present year.

Governor Geer first attracted attention about fifteen years ago, by voluntary contributions to the Oregonian, in which he discussed live issues of the day, sometimes in protracted discussions with representatives of opposing parties. In this manner he commanded the attention of party leaders, by his freedom of thought and action, and deep knowledge of political questions, and his advice was sought in party councils.


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R. GESS SMITH