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Charles Augustus Sehlbrede
Pioneer Oregon Professional
By Charles Dailey - Revision 2, May 2001

C. A. Sehlbrede at a Glance:
Born: 1852 in Louisville, KY.
Oregon: 1877
Located: Portland
Skagway, AK
Married: Ianthe Downing
Family:See list
Buried:Oak Lawn Memorial Park
Corvallis, Oregon

Charles Sehlbrede is a lasting example of a professional person using his life for the Lord. Almost everywhere he went, he established a church if one was not already there.

Our subject person was born in Louisville, Kentucky to Henry and Marie A. Sehlbrede. He was one of ten children. His brothers included Henry, William, and George, a Presbyterian minister. The family moved to Jefferson, Indiana where Henry farmed and, at age 21, Charles entered New Albany Business College to study law under J. K. Waltz.

He was admitted to the bar in 1874 and practiced law in New Albany for three years. He took the train to Oregon in 1877 and passed the Oregon Bar the next year.

C. A. Sehlbrede practiced law in Portland and Salem until 1884, then moved to Roseburg, Oregon. His Salem residence may have actually been at Brooks, because in 1882 he organized a prohibitionist (anti-drinking) society there.

While still living in Salem, Gus, as he was called in the family, fell in love with and married Ianthe Downing, daughter of the widely-loved George S. Downing and Missouri Evans Downing of Sublimity, Oregon. Perhaps her parents chose her name from the writings of Walter Savage Landor.

From you, Ianthe, little troubles pass
Like little ripples down a sunny river;
Your pleasures spring like daisies in the grass,
Cut down, and up again as blithe as ever.

George was an overlander of 1853 with family roots in Scotland and Ireland. He had worked in mines in his younger years, including gold mines. He had become wealthy by purchasing and developing land near Sublimity. He was a deacon in the Christian Church and a justice of the peace. When Missouri died, Downing married her widowed sister, Mary Evans.

Charles Augustus Sehlbrede
C. A. Sehlbrede

The Sehlbrede's had two daughters, Emma and Bertha.

When the Sehlbrede's moved to Roseburg in 1884 he set up a law office in nearby Oakland. They attended the Oakland Church of Christ because he was a spokesperson for the church in 1886 and 1887. The membership was 46 at that time.

Mr. Sehlbrede was Recorder for the City of Oakland during 1886. He served one term as alderman for Roseburg and also served as Roseburg's City attorney.

In 1892 and 1893 C. A. Sehlbrede was President of the Christian Missionary Convention in Turner, Oregon.

He was elected to the Oregon Legislature for the 1894/95 session.

Because of the recommendation of U. S. Senator George W. McBride (son of Dr. James McBride), he was appointed as U. S. Commissioner at Skagway, Alaska by President McKinley. The gold rush was on. While on that appointment, he presided over the coroner's inquest for Soapy Smith. C. A. Sehlbrede was there from 1898 - 1901. His family was with him.

C. A. Sehlbrede's name can be found on the list of those in Alaska during the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush.

Those same years, Ianthe's brother W. H. Downing was mining in Skagway and Dawson. He returned to Portland and joined an architectural firm.

After returning to Oregon, Mr. Sehlbrede again practiced law at Roseburg from 1902 to 1904.

Following her graduating from Roseburg High School in 1905, Emma married William A. Reed in 1906 and they settled in Seward, Alaska until 1912. From there they joined her parents in Corvallis in 1922 and later moved to Mariposa, California. Bertha married Mr. Gettins and they settled for a while in Arlington, Oregon during the 1920s.

After Emma graduated in 1905, the Sehlbrede's moved to Marshfield (Coos Bay). They were there by 1907. His signature is on the documents that initialized the Church of Christ in 1907. In 1910 his office was in the Douglas Building in Marshfield.

Following his stay in Marshfield, Mr. Sehlbrede moved to Benton County and was a leader in the Corvallis First Christian Church.

This fine couple finished their days in Corvallis and are buried side-by-side in the Oak Lawn Memorial Park in the southwest section of Corvallis. Other family members are buried near by.

The stonecutters spelled Mrs. Sehlbrede's name: IANTHE. This is her legal name. However, someone has removed the face of the "I" -- we guess that she was known to her friends as Anthe.

This entry is based largely on the personal correspondence of the late Jim Cook of Fairbanks, AK. Jim was an avid researcher and loved to follow the lives of those pioneers of the Stone-Campbell Movement who spent some time in Alaska.

For more on Mr. Sehlbrede's professional life, see Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon, published by Chapman Publishing Company, Chicago. 1904. Pages 237- 238.

Another source of information is History of the Bench and Bar in Oregon, published in 1910.

- Charles Dailey
Northwest College of the Bible 2000

Henry Sehlbrede  & Marie Meyers 
|    Charles Augustus Sehlbrede (c.1877-1922) & Ianthe J. Downing (1860-1936)
|    |    Emma Lucrecia (Mimi) Sehlbrede (1887-1980) & William A. Reid 
|    |    |    Helen Elizabeth Reid (1910-1993)
|    |    |    Warren Reid 
|    |    Bertha Lucille (Winks) Sehlbrede  & Harold Gettins 

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