Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Oregon Republican League: History 104 Biographies

Every Wednesday, the Oregon Republican League will post the biographies of important figures, in the League's/State of Oregon's history. Feel free to comment or share stories of your family's Republican affiliation.

From the The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1912, Volume II published by The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, 1912.

L. Nelson Roney: Father of Lane County's Covered Bridges

Eugene had a population of only about nine hundred when in 1876. L. Nelson Roney became a resident of the city. With its development and growth he has been closely associated and as a contractor and dealer in building materials, he has been very actively connected with its improvement. Many of the finest business blocks and residences of Eugene stand as a monument to his enterprise, his progressive spirit, and his indefatigable energy. He was born in Wapakoneta, Auglaize county, Ohio, September 2, 1853, a son of Thomas and Caroline H. (Levering) Roney. The father was a native of New Jersey and learned the weavers trade in Jersey City. He afterward went to Ohio and settled on a farm, but in addition to cultivating his fields, he also engaged in weaving. This, however, was but a side issue as the greater part of his attention was given to his agricultural pursuits. In 1878 he located at Lost Valley, Oregon, where he died in 1885, at the advanced age of seventy-eight years. He was long survived by his widow who passed away in 1897 at the age of eighty-four years. In their family were four sons who served as soldiers of the Civil war -- John, Charles, Henry, and William. The last two were members of the Eleventh Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantry, while the first two were in the army for a shorter period.
L. Nelson Roney spent his youthful days on his father's farm and early became familiar with the best methods of tilling the soil and cultivating the crops. His educational opportunities, however, were limited, but in the school of experience he has learned many valuable lessons and early became familiar with the fact that industry and energy are indispensable elements of progress and success. He learned the carpenter's trade in early manhood and thinking to have better opportunities in the growing west, came to Oregon in 1876, settling in Eugene when its population was less than one thousand. Here he first began bridge building and continued along that line of construction work to the present time. He had built nearly all of the bridges now in use in this section of the state and his business operations have also largely extended to Idaho and Washington. He is also a large stockholder in the Eugene Electric & Heating Company and of the Bohemia gold mines of Oregon, and in 1912 was appointed by the county court superintendent of the Lane county bridges. Moreover, as a building contractor, he has had charge of the erection of many fine buildings, public and private, among the more important being the Lane County courthouse, the two McClurg buildings, the First National Bank building, the Lane County Bank, the Hoffman House, Hotel Smeede, the Episcopal and Methodist churches, the Eugene Opera House and many others of note, as well as a large number of the beautiful and attractive private residences of the city.

L. Nelson Roney was married in Boise City, Idaho, June 5, 1889, to Mrs. Orilla G. (Baker) Humphrey, a daughter of Captain John Baker of Salem, Oregon, who came across the plains in 1846 and was one of the first settlers of this state. Both Mr. and Mrs. Roney are widely known in Eugene and have a circle of friends almost coextensive with the circle of their acquaintances. Mr. Roney belongs to Eugene Lodge, No. 11, F. & A. M., of which he is past master; Eugene Chapter, No. 10, R. A. M., of which he is past high priest and was grand high priest of the state in 1894; Ivanhoe Commandery, No. 2, K. T., of which he is the past commander and also the past eminent grand commander of the grand commandery of Oregon; and Al Kader Temple of the mystic Shrine. He is also a charter member of Eugene Lodge, No. 357, B. P. O. E., and trustee of the lodge and Eugene Aerie, No. 275, F. O. E.

In his political views Mr. Roney has always been a stalwart republican, giving active support to the party and doing all in his power to promote its success. For eight or ten years he served as a councilman and exercised his official prerogatives in support of many progressive public measures which brought about needed reform and improvement. He was the president of the first young men's republican club organized in Eugene and he has frequently been a delegate to county conventions. His opinions carry weight in the councils of his party and his unfailing belief in its principles is manifested in his indefatigable efforts to secure the election of its candidates. In manner Mr. Roney is quiet and unassuming but is widely recognized as an able business man and one who has the entire confidence of the community. He deserves much credit for what he has accomplished for he started out in life empty-handed and has worked his way steadily upwards, undeterred by difficulties and obstacles in his path.


From the The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1912, Volume II published by The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, 1912.

Emil A. Koppe: The Eugene Woolen Mill

Emil A. Koppe is the secretary-manager and the principal stockholder of the Eugene Woolen Mill Company and is thus closely connected with the manufacturing interests of Lane county. This business has been in existence for about ten years and is now accounted one of the leading productive industries of the Willamette valley, its present secretary having been an active factor in its ownership and control for six years. He was born in Saxony, Germany, February 16, 1860, and is a son of Karl and Johanna (Winter) Koppe. He learned the weaver's trade in his native county and then, feeling that better business opportunities would be accorded him in the new world, he came to American in 1879, settling in Philadelphia. Five years were passed in that city, after which he came to the Pacific Coast in 1884, settling in Brownsville, Linn county. He there secured employment in a mill but subsequently removed to Salem. About six years ago he organized the Eugene Woolen Mill Company and took over the business of the Willamette Valley Woolen Manufacturing Company, which had been organized about four years before. The present buildings were then erected and since the enterprise has come under new management its growth and success have been continuous. The weaving and spinning building is forty by one hundred and ten feet and two stories in height, while the finishing and carding rooms occupy a building sixty by sixty feet and also two stories high. The output has always been blankets and flannels, robes and mackinaw, but the present company has also added to the line of manufactured good and now turns out ladies' dress goods and woolens for men's garments. The products are sold largely on the coast through jobber's and employment is given to seventy people in the factory in order to meet the growing demands of the trade. Under the present management a high standard is maintained in the personnel of the house, in the character of service rendered to the public and in the quality of goods manufactured. Aside from his connection with the Eugene Woolen Mill Company Mr. Koppe is one of the directors of the Bank of Commerce, which he aided in organizing, and his name is an honored one on commercial paper wherever he is known.

In 1883 Mr. Koppe was married to Miss Augusta Harzer, who is a native of Saxony, Germany, and at one time was a resident of Philadelphia, having come to the new world with her sister. Her father and mother are still living in Germany. Mr. and Mrs. Koppe now have eight children, Clara, Paul, Louis, Hattie, Otto, Nellie, Karl and Matilda. The second daughter is the wife of Lloyd Mitchell of McMinnville, Oregon. Mr. Koppe belongs to Eugene Aerie, No. 275, F. O. E., and also to Eugene Camp, No. 5837, M. W. A. In politics he is a republican but not an office seeker, although he is serving as a member of the city council of Eugene, in which connection he exercises his official prerogatives to support many valuable local measures. Whether in office or out of it, however, he stands for all that is most valuable and serviceable in the community and in this age of intense commercial and industrial activity he has won for himself a creditable position in business circles.

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