After the end of the Civil War, the property and buildings at Fort Hoskins were sold to the highest bidder. All of the buildings were either burned or demolished and the materials hauled off to make new homes and barns, or so it was thought. Recently it was discovered that one of the original Fort buildings still exists, not far away. One of the original officers houses, built under the direction of then Lieutenant Philip Sheridan, was not demolished but was moved intact 6 miles away to become a home. The current owner of the house has graciously decided to donate the house so that it can be moved back to its original location at the fort. The Phil Sheridan house, as it is called, is the only complete example of an Oregon Civil War Fort building in existence. A group of volunteers, many of them Civil War reenactors, is determined to save the Phil Sheridan house and return it to its original location at the Fort so that generations to come can have the opportunity to learn first hand about a piece of Oregon history. Some day, we hope to set up exhibits at the house where people of all ages can come and see Civil War-era living historians reenact life as our predecessors once lived it at the Fort. Everyone is welcome to join in our dream. If you would like to share in our dream, please contact our group leader Joe Sullivan, at j o e s @ p r o a x i s . c o m (please remove the extra spaces)
The following was taken from Polk County Pioneer Sketches, 1927
Told by Mrs. Elizabeth Collins’ As told to Blanche Eakin
While we were living at our home on the Pedee,
U.S. Grant, in company with General Wood stopped at our door, one day, to
inquire of mother the direction of Fort Hoskins, which was being built at that
time, a few miles father southeast from our house.
Grant was never stationed in Oregon, but often came from Vancouver, where he was located, to inspect the forts in the Willamette Valley. Lieut. Phil Sheridan often stopped at our house, and many times spent the night with us on his trips from Grand Ronde to Fort Hoskins. It was a days ride from Grand Ronde to our home, and seven miles farther on to Fort Hoskins.
Later he was stationed at Fort Hoskins and the house that he built there for him, was afterwards moved to my brother, Marcus Gilliam’s claim and is still used as part of the home of my nephew, Frank Gilliam.
1959 Newspaper article from when the Polk county Museum tried unsuccessfully to get the house for their new museum. Click on picture to see larger picture of the house
Capital Journal, Salem Oregon, Friday May 1, 1959, section 2
Group Seeks Hoskins House, by Ben Maxwell
DALLAS (Special) - The Polk county Historical Society is hard at work in a Centennial effort to preserve the 100-year-old Condron house now in the Pedee area. And another project of the group is to move the house to Dallas to become a museum.
Condron house was built at Fort Hoskins, the old Indian post in Kings Valley, about 1856. It occupied, according to tradition, a post near the main parade ground and probably served as headquarters or officers quarters for the post.
It is told that Lt. Philip Sheridan, who later was to become General Sheridan, the hero of Civil War fame, had the building built during his tour of duty at Fort Hoskins from July, 1856, to May, 1857. Actual construction on the house was done by Samuel Coad, a pioneer Polk County builder.
HOUSE MOVED - Elizabeth Collins, daughter of Cornelius Gilliam, a Polk county pioneer of 1844, recalled in 1926 that following evacuation of Ft. Hoskins in 1865 the house was sold and moved to its present location on Pedee road where her brother Marcus had a claim.
The house, Mrs. Collins said, later was used as home by her nephew, Frank Gilliam. William Condron acquired the farm and its old home from Frank Gilliam about 30 years ago.
So far as is known, the Condron house is the only surviving structure of many that stood at Ft. Hoskins 100 years ago. It has been maintained in a fair state of repair through the decades.
An original fireplace, with brick set in a mortar of clay, has been relined and is still in use. Vertical plank rather than studding was used in wall construction. Plane marks made by some long forgotten craftsman are still visible on foot-high mop boards. Inside doors are handmade.
Small window panes are fitted into handmade sash. One of the panes bear the date 1875, scratched into it 84 years ago. The balcony on Condron house was obviously intended for a reviewing stand and has seating capacity for a small group. Overall dimensions of the original part of the house are approximately 25 by 40 feet.
The present kitchen was added later and is served by no less than seven doors leading to adjacent rooms.
Condron house, probably the most imposing and best built structure at Ft. Hoskins, was tediously moved to its present site on log rollers, according to Mrs. Rittie Kerber, who has assembled history of the home. She is a granddaughter of Sebastian Ritner, a pioneer who came to Pedee area in the 1840s and from whom Ritner Creek is named.
Ex-Pvt.. W. M. Hilleary, in 1863, recalled that on Jan. 19, 1865, he and other rookies assembled at the Salem fairgrounds an started a three day march that took them to Ft. Hoskins. Since they had no tents they spent their first night in Sen. J. W. Nesmith's barn at Rickreall.
The only reason Hillearly could accept for sending recruits to Ft. Hoskins was to consume a lot of stale supplies left there by regulars who had departed for the East.
POST ABANDONED - At dress parade, April 6, 1865, orders were read for Hilleary's Company F to proceed to Vancouver. On April 13, Capt. A. Waters and the lieutenant climbed into an ambulance, the driver cracked his whip and the wagon rumbled away toward Cooper's Hollow. The company in charge of Sergeant Fox marched toward Corvallis.
"We left Ft. Hoskins without a sigh of regret." Hilleary recalled.
Mrs. Dick Dunn of Hoskins, a member of the Frantz family, recalled that her grandfather acquired the site of Ft. Hoskins about 1866 and that family lived for some time in the vacated post hospital.
The following was taken from the book Chronicles of Pedee by Lena BelleTarter
Phil Sheridan House in 1971
(Click on image for full size picture)
One of the nearest [homes ed.] was Aunt Sarah Price’s (nee Sarah Waters, widow of Marcus Gilliam; wife of Larkin Price) who lived with her son Frank, and daughters, Alice and Esther about a mile away.... The house was formerly Lt. Phil Sheridan’s home at Ft. Hoskins.
The house today (2005)
Phil Sheridan House in 2005
(Click on image for full size picture)
Interested in helping us restore this historic building to its original location? Donations are gladly accepted. Civil War reenacting groups around Oregon and Washington are collecting donations to restore the house. We are are an Oregon non-profit corporation, with a tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue code. This means that your donations are tax deductible.
Make your check out to "Phil Sheridan house Rescue"
and to Send to:
Phil Sheridan house rescue
24465 Gellatly Way
Philomath, OR, 97370