T.D. Keizur Statue
Thomas Dove Keizer and his wife Mary were born on the same day in 1793 in North Carolina. Working their way west the Keizurs traveled to Tennessee then to Arkansas before heading north to Missouri.
The Keizurs traveled over 900 miles from their home in North Carolina to reach Independence, Missouri in time to join the Oregon Emigration Company of 1843 and the “great migration”. The wagon train of 1843 was the first wagon train to complete the overland trek all the way to the Willamette Valley in the Oregon Territory. These pioneers blazed what was to become known as the Oregon Trail. In the years to follow, thousands would follow in their footsteps.
At the time they left Independence the family consisted of 22: five sons and five daughters, eight grandchildren, two sons-in-law and a brother of one of the sons-in-law.
In mid-November of 1843, after six months on the trail, they arrived in what is now the City of Keizer. The family spent their first winter in Oregon on the west bank of the Willamette River. They re-crossed the river in the spring of 1844 and claimed approximately 2725 acres on the east bank of the Willamette River (from River Road west to the river in present day Keizer).
Thomas Dove Keizer served two terms as a legislator in the Territorial Provisional Government. He was elected to train and lead the first military organization in the Oregon Territory. Captain T.D. Keizer was the first commander of what later became the Oregon National Guard. However, Thomas Keizer saw himself as a farmer and horse breeder. He is, in fact, credited with planting the first apple orchard in the Willamette Valley and bringing the first Morgan horses to the northwest.
Thomas Dove Keizer passed away in 1871 at the age of 78. Mary Keizer preceded him by eighteen years. His legacy of pride, spirit and volunteerism lives on today in the community that bears his name and is the official motto of the City of Keizer.
By Jerry McGee
Olympia, Washington artist Gareth Curtiss was chosen in 2007 to create the statue of Thomas Dove Keizer. He forged it in bronze at his Montana studio. The statue was installed at the Keizer Civic Center on January 30, 2010. For more information about Mr. Curtiss, visit his website at www.garethcurtiss.com.
TD’s claim boundary ran east from the Willamette River along Cummings Lane to River Road then southerly along Cherry Avenue to Salem Industrial then west to what is now the south boundary River Road Park to the Willamette River.
Keizer Rapids Park is located on the Claim of J.B. Keizer (DLC 37). The boundaries are east from the Willamette River along Chemawa to River Road; south on River Road to Cummings; west on Cummings to the Willamette River. As a side note, JB’s claim was the first surveyed DLC in Oregon. (Submitted by David Louden PLS)