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Mrs. Charlotta Pipe
remembers Albany



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 Street.

 “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 21, 1889.”

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.”


Albany Quick Facts

Location:  Twp 11S, Rge 3W, Sect 5-6, 7-8

Name Origin:  Albany, New York

Other Names:  Takenah, New Albany

Post Office Established:  8 Jan 1850

First Postmaster:  John Burkhart

Incorporation Date:  1864

Population 1999:  40,010


Sketches & Photos:   M.V. Brown, J.P. Finlayson, Magnolia Mills, Mrs. W. Monteith, Monteith & Sons, C. D. Simpson Albany Street Scene, Albany Construction Scene, Mills on Calapooia River

More Links:

Further Reading: (see bibliography for full citations)  

Remembering When, Vols 1-5, by Robert Potts -- Lots of photos!

Land of Linn, Floyd C. Mullen

Old Time Albany, Fred Nutting articles from the Albany Democrat-Herald



Town histories were  abstracted from:  "History of Linn County", Compiled by Workers of the Writer’s Program, Works Progress Administration, 1941.  See bibliography for above-cited references.  All photos from the collection of Lisa L. Jones, unless otherwise noted.  Lisa L. Jones contributed and is solely responsible for the content of these pages.  Copyright 2001.