John Sellwood

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John Sellwood was a pioneer Episcopal minister who settled in the U.S. state of Oregon on a 321-acre (130 ha) donation land claim on the east bank of the Willamette River upstream from Portland.[1]

Sellwood, born in England, was brought up and educated by his mother after the death of his father in 1808.[2] In 1853, he, his mother, and his only brother, James R.W. Sellwood, emigrated to the U.S., settling first in Cincinnati, Ohio, and later in Illinois,[2] where he briefly served as a minister.[1] Emigrating to Oregon in 1856,[3] he was badly wounded during a riot in Panama, where the Sellwoods stayed during part of their journey west. He never fully recovered from his injuries.[2]

Sellwood and his brother, who was also a minister, went to Oregon to assist Thomas Fielding Scott, the Episcopal missionary bishop of Oregon and Washington.[4] Scott, who had arrived in Oregon in the early 1850s, founded a boys' school in Oswego and a girls' school in Milwaukie, both relatively near the Sellwood property.[4]

John Sellwood sold his property in 1882 to the Sellwood Real Estate Company, which began development of the land into the town of Sellwood.[1] Henry Pittock, owner of The Oregonian newspaper in Portland, was the majority stockholder in the real estate company.[5] Incorporated in 1887, the town became part of Portland in 1893[1][6] after the state legislature extended the Multnomah County border a bit south and east to allow Portland to assimilate all of Sellwood.[7] The Sellwood post office was established in October 1893 and became the Sellwood-Moreland post office in 1950.[8]

Sellwood died on August 27, 1892.[2] Sellwood Boulevard and Sellwood Road, as well as the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland, are named after him.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Snyder, Eugene E. (1979). Portland Names and Neighborhoods: Their Historic Origin. Portland, Oregon: Binford & Mort. p. 202. ISBN 0-8323-0351-8. 
  2. ^ a b c d Native Sons of Oregon (1899). Oregon Native Son and Historical Magazine, Volume 1. Portland, Oregon: Native Son Publishing Company. p. 610. Retrieved July 30, 2010. 
  3. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1888). The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, Volume XXX: History of Oregon, Vol. II, 1848–1888. San Francisco: The History Company, Publishers. p. 685. Retrieved July 30, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Gaston, Joseph (1912). The Centennial History of Oregon, 1811–1912, Volume I. Chicago, Illinois: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. p. 582. Retrieved July 30, 2010. 
  5. ^ MacColl, E. Kimbark (1976). The Shaping of a City: Business and Politics in Portland, Oregon 1885 to 1915. Portland, Oregon: The Georgian Press Company. p. 122. 
  6. ^ "Historic Sellwood". September 28, 2009. Retrieved July 30, 2010. 
  7. ^ Lansing, Jewel (2005) [2003]. Portland: People, Politics, and Power: 1851–2001. Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon State University Press. p. 511. ISBN 0-87071-559-3. 
  8. ^ McArthur, Lewis A.; Lewis L. McArthur (2003) [1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (7th ed.). Portland, Oregon, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. p. 860. ISBN 0-87595-277-1.