Mrs. Charlotta (Monteith) Pipe, daughter of Thomas
Monteith, one of the founders of Albany, adds her memories to the fund
of knowledge about early Linn County pioneers (68):
“... Thomas Monteith was of Scotch decent. His
father was Archibald Monteith, born in Scotland. Together they came to
America at a date not definitely known and settled in New York State.
Archibald, and his wife Mary McLain, were the parents of ten children.
Those who came to Oregon were - Thomas Monteith, born near Broadalbin,
Fulton County, New York, April 23, 1824, Oregon in 1847. Walter Monteith,
born in New York, 1816, Oregon in 1847, with Thomas Monteith; died June
11, 1876. George Monteith, arrival in Oregon undetermined. William J.
Monteith, arrival in Oregon undetermined, Presbyterian minister, first
president of Albany College, serving from 1867 to 1868; he died in
Idaho. John Monteith, arrival in Oregon undetermined.
“Walter Monteith and his brother Thomas come to
Oregon together in 1841. Crossing the plains in the same party was
Samuel Althouse, later a prominent Albany citizen. As soon as they
bought their claim they platted a town site which they named Albany. At
first the county government had its seat at Calapooia (Brownsville)..
Later, officers elected from the more northern part of the county met at
Albany for convenience. In order that the county seat might permanently
remain at Albany the Monteiths contributed land for a courthouse site,
and other blocks of land to be sold to the settlers and the proceeds
used to build a county building. The Monteiths also contributed lots to
be used by various religious denominations, and later gave a large block
of land as a site for Albany College. One of the first important
business enterprises in Albany was the Magnolia Flouring Mill erected by
Monteith Brothers in 1851. A partner was Samuel Althouse. Later Thomas
Monteith built the Albany City Mills in 1865.
“In the year 1849, it is believed, Thomas and
Walter Monteith began the construction of the first frame house in
Albany. It was a large and important house but owing to the rush of
labor to the California gold mines they were unable to complete it for a
number of years. It was situated at the corner of Second and Calapooia
streets. It is still standing and in use (1940) but has since been moved
about half a block west.
“The Monteith Brothers established a ferry across
the Willamette just east of the Magnolia Mill, in order to facilitate
travel to town. The street leading to the ferry is now called Ferry
“About 1853 Thomas Monteith and Samuel Althouse
went back east; when they returned each had with him a bride. The wife
of Thomas Monteith was Christina Maria Dunbar, born at Providence,
Indiana and married at Oskaloosa, Iowa, June 29, 1854.
“The couple had five children: — Archibald
Monteith, who never married and made his home in Portland and Albany,
and who died in 1938 or 39.
“Charlotta A. Monteith, who married J. V. Pipe, an
Albany business man, and with him had a son, J. M. Pipe.
“Christina A. Monteith, who married W. H. Keading.
“Montrose D. Monteith who died at Albany when 24
years of age.
“For many years there was a strong rivalry between
the Hackleman eastern part of Albany and the Monteith western part.
The Monteiths named the place Albany first. Then the Hackleman faction
had a bill passed by the legislature changing the name to Takenah - a
word of Calapooia Indian derivation and supposed to indicate a ‘deep
and placid pool’, referring to the deep basin at the confluence of the
Willamette and Calapooia rivers. Some of the people hooted at the name
and claimed it really meant ‘hole in the ground’. In a year or two
the name of Albany was restored.
“Thomas Monteith retired from active business about
1882. In 1863 he was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel in the Oregon State
Militia, and in 1864 received his Colonel’s commission. He died July
The following additional information helps to round
out the picture of early Albany (69):
“... In the winter of 1850—51
Isaac Hutchens built a house in Albany which he rented to Rev. J. P.
Miller; in this house the first court ever held in Linn County was
convened in 1852. In 1853 the famous Octagon Court House in Albany was
built, a famous sight until it burned down in 1861.
“In 1853 Rev. J. P. Miller built what was known as
the Round House, an eight-sided structure having sixteen large rooms to
be used as a Presbyterian girls boarding school. Before the school was
ready to start Miller was killed aboard the steamer Gazelle when
this vessel blew up at the wharf at Canemah - so the school never began.
The old eight-sided house, notable for its age and for the fact that
more than 300 couples had been married within its walls, was still used
as a residence in 1914.
“The Methodist Church was the first to be built in
Albany, in 1857, followed by the United Brethren church in 1861, and the
Congregational church in 1864.
“Albany people raised $50,000 to induce Ben
Holladay to run his railroad through the town; the first train entered in December, 1870.”