Way back in 1846 the United States government sent Capt. Nathaniel Crosby, one of a family of sea captains, in command of the brig O. C. Raymond, to take supplies to relieve the distress of those immigrants, who, illy prepared, as were all too many, had joined the wild rush to seek their fortunes on the Pacific Coast.
So impressed was Capt. Crosby with the prospects of fortunes to be gained in this land of opportunities for the venturesome, that he decided to have his kinsmen join him. After sending back for his brothers to buy and fit out a brig with everything needful for a home in the West, he waited with what patience he might, the arrival of his family.
Clanrick Crosby, an elder brother, bought the brig Grecian, 270 tons capacity, and the start was made in 1849. Clanrick was captain of the brig, with a brother-in-law, Washington Hurd, first officer and Alfred Crosby second officer. In the cabin were: Captain Nathaniel Crosby, Sr., father of Captain Clanrick and Officer Alfred Crosby, who remained in the West a couple of years before returning to his home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where he died, Mrs. Clanrick Crosby, Phoebe, and their three children, Clanrick, Phoebe Louisa and Cecelia, Mrs. Elizabeth Hurd and little daughter, Ella, Mrs. Hurd was Captain Crosby's sister, Mrs. Clara Nickerson Crosby, wife of Alfred Crosby, Mrs. Mary Crosby, wife of Capt. Nathaniel, Jr., and their three children, Nathaniel, Mary L. and Martha R., Mrs. Holmes, companion and housekeeper, and one passenger, Mr. Converse Lilly. Before the mast were Richard Hartley, Joseph Taylor and Poster [Foster] and Nathaniel Lincoln, brothers of Mrs. Nathaniel Crosby, Jr. The Grecian arrived at Portland in March, 1850.
The two elder Crosby brothers came on to Tumwater. Capt. Nathaniel remaining in Oregon. Among the Crosby children who made the famous trip in the Grecian was the little Martha, then nine years of age. That child is now Mrs. Andrew J. Burr and the reminiscences contributed by this lady were among the most interesting of the many related by pioneer men and women during the preparation of this volume. After living in Portland until she was 11 years old, her father, Capt. Nathaniel Crosby, took a cargo of spars from St. Helens, Oregon, to Hong Kong, China, the first big sticks that were ever sent from the Pacific Coast forests to the Orient. After a couple of years of wandering in various ports, Capt. Crosby, leaving his family in China, came to Olympia and loaded his ship with a second cargo of spars for China, this second load having been cut from Butlers Cove, and was the first shipment of Puget Sound timber. In Hong Kong the Crosby family remained for several years. Martha and the other children were sent to school there and the child became a young woman. Here Capt. Crosby died, the family still making their home in this foreign land.