Age estimated at somewhere between 90 and 100 when interviewed by Violet Kendig in 1915, so she must have been born around 1820. Orphaned as a child when her parents were poisoned accidentally by a medicine man. Raised by an aunt and uncle. Married an Indian who lived near Coburg (he already had two wives) but was in love with "Indian Jim" who lived with Riley Kirk. Liza and Jim had two children together, a boy and a girl-- both of whom died of tuberculosis. Jim killed a man, served a sentence at the Salem penitentiary, and was killed after his release in a brawl.
"... when one sees 'Old Lize'-- last survivor of the Calapooia Indians, squatted on a piece of old carpet by the side of a stove in which she continually keeps a fire to warm her thin blood, it seems a far cry to romance. Her hair is white and her bronze face seamed with many wrinkles, but her stout body is upright and her hands, small, bony and capable, work nervously and unceasingly with some tangled thread. She cannot untangle her thread, for her eyes are nearly sightless, only sensing a little of the difference between light and darkness. The mind of 'Old Lize' is keen and her memory seems good. As to her age, she does not know. 'You know, people these days, me poor people. No school. No nothing. I don't know.' Of one thing she is sure: 'I the last. My father gone! My mother gone! My children, all the Calapooia gone.' And she waves a long hand and turns her face with sightless eyes to follow its sweep." Everett Earle Stanard.
From Brownsville Cemetery records:
"A woman of remarkable intelligence and notable life. She was a member of the Calapooia tribe but was raised as a girl by the Spores family who ran a ferry on the Willamette not far from the present town of Coburg. Her exact age was never known, but at the time of the first settlement on the Calapooia she was described as being a 'big chunk of a girl', probably advancing towards maturity.
Eliza was at first married to a Yamhill chief who had several other wives. Later she became acquainted with Jim Indian who was residing with the family of Wm. R. Kirk at Brownsville. After that she would run away and come to Brownsville, and her husband, following her, would drive her home before his horse, 'whipping her every step of the way.' Finally, Wm. R. Kirk suggested to Jim that since they thought so much of each other, he, Jim, should buy Eliza for a wife. By the aid of Kirk, Jim did this, paying ten dollars in gold, fifteen ponies, and five gallons of whiskey. After the bargain was completed, the Yamhill husband, returning home, became drunk and in a quarrel with a companion was killed.
Eliza was a neat housekeeper, a good cook, and her cabin is being described as being kept very clean and orderly. 'I had just as soon eat a meal that Eliza had cooked than that by any white woman.' --Andrew Kirk.
Eliza died in 1922 at an estimated age of perhaps one hundred years. She had been blind for years before her death and was a ward of the county. She was know locally as 'The Last of the Calapooians.'
After the death of her husband and children, Eliza would often wail and lament the passing of her people. At one time, after the death of her son Alva, she had a dream in which she thought that someone had stolen her son's body from the grave. After that, though blind, she spent long periods at the graveyard, watching over their burial place. Finally, bothered by her dream, she commenced to dig at Alva's grave to ascertain if the body was still there. She dug for many days, indifferent to the protests of her friends. Finally, in conversation with Mrs. Whitehead, the care-taker, she declared that with her digging stick she could feel the box below. Still she was not quite satisfied and called in the man who dug the grave to learn how deep he had made it. His reply was 'Eliza, I dug it deeper than your cabin door is tall.' 'Well,' said Eliza, 'then I can't tell. I can never dig that deep.' Her friend finally persuaded her to cease her digging and refill the grave."
Gravesite Details Last surviving member of the Calapooia Indian tribe.
Sponsored by Ancestry