Sally Rae Bradford-Simmons, Federal Way, Washington
Honoring Pioneer - James Gerrish
James Gerrish was born in England in 1799. With his wife, he arrived in the United States in 1825. A 20 year migration through several States followed, ending up in Missouri in 1842. He joined the Cornelius Gilliam Wagon train in 1844 to come to Oregon with his wife, three daughters and two sons. The eldest son, John Jones Gerrish was born in 1828. This is the son in the line leading to our certificate recipient, Sally Rae.
Upon reaching the Willamette Valley, the family settled for several years in Tuality District, neighbors to Rev. John Griffin. By 1847, both father and son settled separate claims, James in Yamhill County and his son in Washington County.
In 1850, James Gerrish was commissioned by the Methodist-Episcopal Church as a circuit rider. Changing yearly, Gerrish was assigned to 8 different circuits. Each circuit would start from his Yamhill County home and he would travel as far as The Dalles, or Astoria being away from home for weeks at a time. While the Reverend struggled on his circuits, his wife struggled with the cattle they were raising at home.
Each of the daughters had good marriages; The oldest daughter, Mary Ann, married their Tuality neighbor, Henry Sewell; Martha married Alanson Hinman. The youngest daughter, Ellen Texanna, married Darling Smith, a prominent farmer in Yamhill/Washington County; James William, the youngest Gerrish child, married Mary Patton. He died early and she married Robert Nixon, a prominent Forest Grove dentist.
James Gerrish kept diaries of his daily activities while on his circuits which have been invaluable in recording his life.