THE YODERS IN
The first years in Southwest
Missouri were spent in working for a bachelor neighbor who was
breaking prairie and planting crops on new sod.
About 1871 his brother L. D, Yoder
came to visit in Missouri and soon planned to join forces with
4. S. and rent land and work together at whatever came their
About this time they both worked
for Joe Winters the bachelor above mentioned. Here they drove ox
teams. hitched to breaking plows and broke up more of the new
Late in 1871 L. D. Yoder went back
to Illinois and was married to Jacobine Fry on January 1872. In
a few weeks L. D. Yoder was back in Missouri with his bride who
was a sister of Barbara Fry Yoder, the wife of J.S, Yoder. These
two couples lived and worked together for about ten years and
during this time they lived on a rented farm of about 120 acres.
In 1874 A. J. YUoder came to Dade
County with a large family.
Along about 1882 J. S. Yoder bought
80 acres of land near the rented land and built a small house
and moved to the new home. About 1991 the Joseph Swartz family
consisting of a father, mother and two daughters arrived from
Illinois to make their home here in Dade County. With the
Swartz's arrival, the moving of the Yoder relatives to Missouri
came to an end.
The Swartzes rented a while then
bought land in 'Dade County, Mo. and started to build a home.
All during this time the crops were poor and drought conditions
seemed to get worse as the land was put into cultivation. It was
said there was only one big wheat year in those 18 years from
1870 to 1888. The other years were only part crop and some years
were a total failure in such crops as Corn and wheat.
In 1886 Will Yoder and Joseph
Schwartz decided to make .a trip into Nebraska and South Dakota
to see if the farming conditions might not be better in those
states, but their report was discouraging and all hands stayed
with the Missouri farms for another year or two and tried again
to raise corn, wheat, hogs, sorghum and anything else that might
make them a living, such as castor beans and seed flax.
Early in 1887 Mrs. Mary Swartz
wrote-to' her aunt, Katherine Yoder Lantz, who with her husband
Gideon Lantz and family came to Clackamas County, Oregon in
about 1873 and these letters from Oregon gave the Yoder tribe in
Missouri the "Oregon fever". More letters were exchanged and in
the summer of 1887 Joe Swartz and Dave Yoder came to Oregon and
visited with the Lantzes who were located near the present Yoder
store. Joe Swartz sent such glowing reports of the wonderful
Oregon back to his wife and family in Mo, and told them to pack
up and come to Oregon for he had already found a farm of 80
acres for them to move onto and that he would stay in Oregon and
wait for them to come by train as soon as they could arrange
Early in November 1887 Mary Swartz,
having sold, and 4 daughters boarded the train and made the
trip. Since she was starting alone on the long train trip, it
was decided that Ed H. Yoder her cousin, would accompany her to
Oregon and be with the family on their trip. The train trip
lasted a short week and the happy family were soon united in
Oregon and busy in their new home of 80 acres, nearly all big
trees and heavy brush.
Here during the winter of 1887 and
1888 Mary Swartz wrote glowing letters of the wonderful Oregon
country to her brothers J. S., L. D., and Uncle A. J. Yoder, so
that by June of 1888 J. S, Yoder decided he must see this
wonderful Oregon that had so many good features over the arid,
barren, wastes of Southwest Missouri.
In June of 1888 J. S. Yoder
borrowed $80.00 on a lot of hogs he was feeding and left wife
and family to run the farm while he made a trip to spy out the
land and lay plans for moving to this wonderful country of big
trees and heavy rains. J. S. Yoder spent about four weeks in
Oregon visiting with his sister Mrs. Mary Swartz and with his
Uncle Gideon Lantz and really examined the land and crops and
with Will Yoder, his cousin, who had arrived at the Swartzes in
February 1888 with his bride, Jennie Reagan Yoder, J. S. Yoder
planned on a certain 80 acres on Cedar Creek that was for sale
and gave Will Yoder instructions to purchase the same when and
if J. S. Yoder sold his farm in Missouri.
By July 5, 1888, J. S. Yoder was
back home and enthused about selling out and moving to Oregon.
Now the first thing was to sell the Missouri farm which at that
time consisted of an 80 acres, the home place on which was a
small house and a small farm and a nice bearing apple orchard.
Also a young apple orchard of about 6 acres that was just one
year old. Besides the home 80 acres there was a 40 acre tract
1/2 mile north of the place, also about four miles away he had
title to a six acre tract of hard wood timber along a branch
where he got his supply of firewood to burn during the summer
months as the coal that he used in winter made too much heat for
Now he offered the whole 126 acres
for $2,500 and by September of 1888 he made the sale and had his
$2,500 with which to buy in Oregon, He gave Will Yoder the
word to go ahead and close the deal for the 80 acres they
planned on during the visit to Oregon. The big thing now was to
get organized and decide on what all should be taken along to
this new land and new way of life.
J. S. Yoder had a family of six
boys and two girls with the baby girl just three years old. He
asked his family if they wanted to make the move to Oregon? Yes,
Yes, they sure wanted to go.
During the winter of 1888 and 1889
he was busy making plans to build a house in Oregon. First he
would charter a freight car and load it with things needed in a
new country. Public sale was made February 1889. When time came
to load the car he decided on livestock and farm machinery and
wagons and household goods and on top of that he decided to take
the irons and circle saw for a sawmill to be erected on Cedar
Creek. The sawmill irons were castings for the husk, with
mandrel and feed rack irons, carriage wheels and tracks and
necessary pulleys, head blocks, etc.
The livestock that was taken along
consisted of a Shorthorn bull calf, a Poland China boar and two
gilts of same breed and White Pekin ducks about a dozen and
brown Leghorn hens and rooster, about a doz. The car containing
the 1ivestock required attention for feed and water on the long
freight trip so Louis Yoder, the oldest son of J. S. Yoder was
chosen to make the trip which lasted about two weeks. The
Emigrant train that brought the Yoders from Missouri to Oregon
was boarded by the following persons at Kansas City, Missouri
about February 27, 1889, Asa J. Yoder, Mrs. Asa J. Yoder, Thomas
M. Yoder, Hattie H. Yoder, J. Wesley Yoder, Nettie
Yoder, Della Reagan, Randolph Henley and wife, Susan Yoder
Henley and baby daughter, Maude Henley, Jonathan S. Yoder and wife Barbara
and family as follows: John J. Yoder, Aaron L. Yoder, O. Perry
Yoder, Rosa B. Yoder, Ralph E. Yoder, Albert G. Yoder and Nellie
There were the following neighbor
boys who came in the same car hoping to find, work in Oregon.
Edward Garber, Roscoe Peebles and his brother Harry Peebles.
These families did not quite fill
one Emigrant car so there were a few strangers in the car who
were also on their way to Oregon.
On the 3d of March, 1889, these
travellers arrived in Portland, Oregon and after a wait of about
eight hours they boarded a train for Aurora, Oregon which was
their nearest station to the Yoder community, At Aurora they
were met by four teams and wagons which took all hands as far as
L. I. Bower's farm just one mile north of Needy, Oregon, It was
late at night when the travelers arrived at the Bower's home.
The Bower's house was a large log house with the big living room
containing a huge fire place. The travelers had plenty of
bedding that was carried along in the emigrant train. Here at
the Bower home the bedding was spread on the floor of the big
room and thus the first night in Oregon near their new home was
During the winter of 1888 and 1889,
Will Yoder and other carpenters were busy building a house for
J. S. Yoder on the newly purchased 80 acres so by the time the
travelers arrived the shell of the house was up and J. S. and
family moved in.
A. J. Yoder, uncle of J. S., L. D.
and J.. P. Yoder, and family moved in with his son Will who had
built a house on his small farm. L. D. Yoder and family came to
Oregon in September of 1888 and was located on a rented farm
that was close to the Yoder community. Here were located three
of Elias Yoder's children, close together, the farms joined, and
the Yoder Community came into being.
From a paper written by J. S. Son, Orlando Perry Yoder in the 1950s.