Martha Jane Carson

Martha Jane Carson (1845–1911)

Some census records indicate that Martha Jane Carson was born in the Rocky Mountains in 1845 during her parents (David and Letitia Carson) trip from Missouri to Oregon. After her father’s death, she, her mother, and younger brother moved to Douglas County. On November 26, 1864, Martha bore a daughter, Mary Alice. Mary Alice is listed with the surname Bingham in numerous records and it is believed that she was the daughter of Solomon Bingham who also lived in Douglas County during this time.
On January 19, 1868, Martha married Narcisse Lavadour, who was the son of retired Hudson Bay employee, Joseph Lavadour and a Native American woman, Lisette, of the Walla Walla tribe. Martha and Narcisse continued to live in Douglas County until 1886 when they moved to the Umatilla Indian Reservation and Narcisse took an allotment of land on the reservation. Narcisse and Martha had ten children:​

  1. Agnes (1870–1941); married Frank Morrisette in 1892
  2. Ira (1872–n.d.)
  3. Ada (1873–n.d.); married Robert Adams in 1892
  4. Albert (1875–n.d.)
  5. Ida Ethel (1877–n.d.); married McGinnis
  6. Fred (1879–n.d.)
  7. Millie (1883–n.d.); married Lewis
  8. Nelson (1886–n.d.)
  9. Grace (1888–n.d.)
  10. Thomas (1890–n.d.)

Although Narcisse and the children are mentioned on the reservation census schedules, Martha does not appear consistently and there is no indication of her race. Narcisse died in 1893 and Martha married Charles Carpenter in 1894. She divorced him in 1910. Martha died in 1911 and is buried in the Athena Cemetery in Umatilla County.

Martha’s eldest daughter, Mary Alice whose father was Soloman Bingham, married Narcisse’s younger brother, Joseph Armand Lavadour in 1884, in Douglas County. This marriage made Mary and Martha sisters-in-law as well as mother and daughter. Mary Alice and Joseph also moved to the Umatilla Reservation in 1886 and can be found on census records through 1940. She is listed in all these censuses as “Indian.” Mary Alice died May 16, 1942 and is buried in the Athena Cemetery. 

A bearded man sits in a chair with his son and wife standing to his left.
Narcisse Lavadour, Martha and son
Oregon certificate of death for Martha J. Carpenter, female, color "mixed blood," date of death 7-17-11.
Martha Carpenter's 1911 death certificate. Enlarge image