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Frank McAtee

Birth place or City of origin:
State of origin:
Last known City: Portland
Last known State: OR
Start/Birth date: 1844
Death/End date:

This subject is listed variously as a saddler and at other times, a harness maker. An interesting
history follows, as we are able to trace much of his life through the US Federal Census and a few
City Directories. Most likely his name was Francis Xavier McAtee, and he was born in
Georgetown (District of Columbia), in 1844. He was most likely the son of Samuel McAtee who
was born in Kentucky circa 1825, and may have been a harness maker. Enumerator script in 1850
makes this occupational determination very difficult.
About 1853, Samuel I. McAtee and his wife Ann and nine children relocated to Ralls County,
Missouri, occupied with farming. This County is north of St. Louis and borders on the
Mississippi - the same Ralls County of Hannibal, Missouri and Mark Twain fame. Our subject
was living at home in Spencer, Missouri in 1860.
At the ripe age of 17, he apparently enlisted in the Confederate Army during the War of the
Rebellion. The best available records show that he was a private in the 3rd Regiment, Company
A, of the Virginia Cavalry, from August 1861 until March of 1864. 4
Like many of the defeated South, he moved West to a more prosperous future. About 1870, he
married Mary S. [?], who was born in Missouri about 1844. By that date, he had settled in Colusa,
Colusa County, California, making harnesses. In 1878 he was operating a livery stable in
Williams. 1880 shows his family in the little town of Adin, Modoc County (south of Alturas),
California. This must have been a very small town in that period. There was no railroad, and it
was not on the main route of the Oregon & California Stage. Adin today is a very sleepy little
village in the sage brush hills, far from anyone except coyotes and snakes. Frank was the local
saddler. There may have been a desperate need for a saddle maker to serve the ranchers of this
remote area. They had two children, a daughter Zela [?], born 1869 in California, and a son
Frank, born about 1873.
After only a few years in Adin, Frank relocated to Portland, Oregon. His first professional title is
that of harness maker, residing at 388 Water Street. [East Portland]. Between 1887 and 1890, he
joined the firm of R.O. Collis as a saddle maker, at 170 Front Street. 1892 shows only a residential
address on Russell Street. In 1893, he was a harness maker for R.F. Fichtner & Co., at 245 Front.
An unusual entry in 1897 lists Frank as a “Special” Policeman in Portland.
Only a few short years later, by 1900, he and his wife Mary, moved to Newburg, Yamhill County,
Oregon. There he became a hotel keeper. Frank L. was 21, and remained with his parents. He
was a salesman.
4 Organized with 11 companies in state service for one year as the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in May and June 1861.
Transferred to Confederate service on July 1, 1861. Designated as the 3rd Cavalry Regiment ca. October 31, 1861.
Reorganized on April 26, 1862. It fought in many conflicts from Williamsburg to Fredericksburg, was involved in the
engagements at Kelly's Ford, Chancellorsville, Brandy Station, Upperville, Gettysburg, Bristoe, Mine Run, The
Wilderness, Todd's Tavern, Spotsylvania, Haw's Shop, and Cold Harbor. The 3rd went on to participate in Early's
operations in the Shenandoah Valley and the Appomattox Campaign. Surrendered at Appomattox Court House on
April 9, 1865.
[No maker’s marks are known by this author ]
[This saddle maker/ harness maker may have worked alone in Portland, only circa 1892]
US Federal Census for 1850, Washington, DC
US Federal Census for 1860, Missouri
US Federal Census for California, 1870 and 1880
US Federal Census, Special Veterans enumeration of 1890, Multnomah Co., Oregon
US Federal Census for Oregon, 1900
Colusa County, California History;
History of the 3rd Virginia Cavalry;;read=4970
Polk’s and McCormick’s City Directories, Portland, Oregon, 1887-1897

Research by Richard and Dorothy Egan


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