William H. Boring

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William H. Boring
William H. Boring.png
Birth name William Harrison Boring
Born (1841-02-26)February 26, 1841
Greenfield, Illinois, U.S.
Died December 1, 1932(1932-12-01) (aged 91)
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Place of burial Damascus Pioneer Cemetery, Damascus, Oregon, U.S.45°25′03″N 122°27′32″W / 45.417621°N 122.458978°W / 45.417621; -122.458978
Allegiance United States United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1861 – 1863
Rank Private
Unit Illinois 33rd Regiment, Illinois Infantry
Battles/wars Siege of Vicksburg
Sarah Elizabeth Wilder
(m. 1867; d. 1922)
Children 2

William Harrison Boring (February 26, 1841 – December 1, 1932)[1] was an American Union soldier who fought in the American Civil War, and who was a member of the distinguished battalion in the 33rd Illinois Infantry Regiment that helped lead the fall of Vicksburg in 1863. Boring would later come to be known as a pioneer after settling the town of Boring, Oregon in 1874, which took its namesake after him.[2]


Early life[edit]

Boring was born in Greenfield, Illinois on February 26, 1841. His mother was originally from Tennessee, and his father was from Maryland.[3] Boring enlisted as a Union soldier during the American Civil War with the 33rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment, beginning in 1861 under Bvt. Major General Charles Edward Hovey and Colonel Charles E. Lippincott.[4]

He was a member of the battalion that distinguished itself in the fall of Vicksburg in 1863, during which 11 of its 32 members died in battle.[5][6] Boring sustained near-life-threatening injuries to his face and throat in the Siege of Vicksburg,[7] which led to his discharge.[6] The severity of the scars he received from his battle injuries would lead him to wear a beard for the remainder of his life.[7]

After his discharge, Boring returned to Greenfield, where he worked on his mother's farm. On December 11, 1867, Boring married Sarah Elizabeth Wilder in Greene County, Illinois.[8][9]

Settlement of Boring, Oregon[edit]

In the early 1870s, president Ulysses S. Grant began offering incentives to homesteaders in the Western United States, which attracted William Boring; he and his wife Sarah left Illinois for San Francisco, California, and then traveled north to Portland, Oregon. William's elder half-brother, Joseph (b. 1829), who had traveled across the Oregon Trail in 1853, had already settled there and been living in the area for nearly two decades.[10] William and Sarah joined Joseph at his home in 1874, twelve miles east of Portland. There, William and Sarah settled on 160 acres (65 ha) of land.[11] They gave birth to two children: Elsie in October 1875, who only lived for nine days; and Orville, born in 1879.[6]

The settlement occupied by the Boring family came to be known as Boring, Oregon[12] after William donated land for a schoolhouse to be built in 1883,[13] after which the community was granted the name "Boring."[8][14] By the turn of the twentieth century, the town had become a thriving logging community, and the construction of an interurban railroad to the town by the Portland Railway, Light and Power Company brought further residents and business.[15]

Later life and death[edit]

According to the 1910 U.S. census, William (then aged 69) and Sarah (then aged 65) shared their home with son Orville, his wife, Lucy, and the couple's three-year-old son, Lester. Also living in the home was Thomas Field, a hired handyman from Minnesota, and Robert Bishop, a boarder from Maine.[16]

Boring was widowed after Sarah's death on February 12, 1922.[17] He relocated to Portland sometime between 1923 and 1930, moving into the home of close friends Lester and Emma Armstrong.[18] Boring died in Portland in 1931 at age 91, after an undisclosed eight-month illness.[19]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "William Harrison Boring". Ancestry.com. Retrieved October 1, 2016. 
  2. ^ Curry, Colleen (April 26, 2012). "A Dull & Boring Story". Good Morning America. ABC News. Retrieved January 28, 2017. 
  3. ^ "United States Census, 1930", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XCS7-XTK : 8 December 2015), William H Boring in entry for Lester C Armstrong, 1930.
  4. ^ "Soldier Details: Boring, William H". National Park Service (NPS). Retrieved October 2, 2016. 
  5. ^ Huttes, Celeste (Summer 2011). "In Tune with History". Illinois Wesleyan University Magazine. 
  6. ^ a b c Bosserman 2014, p. 15.
  7. ^ a b Bosserman 2014, p. 17.
  8. ^ a b Bosserman, p. 15.
  9. ^ "Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q292-69K6 : 4 March 2016), W H Boring and Sarah E Wilder, 11 Dec 1867; citing , Greene, Illinois, United States, county offices, Illinois; FHL microfilm 1,310,037.
  10. ^ Bosserman 2014, p. 16.
  11. ^ Metzler 1986, p. 146.
  12. ^ Engeman 2009, p. 53.
  13. ^ Hathcock, Marcus (August 22, 2006). "A tale of two Borings". The Portland Tribune. Retrieved October 8, 2016. 
  14. ^ Campbell, Glenn (August 8, 2014). "Dull, Scotland, makes Boring, Oregon, more interesting". The BBC. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  15. ^ McArthur 2003, p. 100.
  16. ^ "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MLYK-K4G : 29 October 2015), William H Boring, Boring, Clackamas, Oregon, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 19, sheet 3B, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,375,292.
  17. ^ Bosserman 2014, p. 22.
  18. ^ "United States Census, 1930", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XCS7-XTK : 8 December 2015), William H Boring in entry for Lester C Armstrong, 1930.
  19. ^ "William H. Boring Dies" (December 1, 1932). The Morning Oregonian, Portland, Oregon.


External links[edit]