Cary Family: Oregon History and Stories

Cyrene and Miles Cary

Cyrene Taylor Cary

Cyrene (Syrene) Taylor Cary
Cyrene (Syrene) Taylor Cary 1815-1911

Cyrene Taylor was born in Richmond City Virginia in 1815. Her Father was William B. Taylor B. 1784 D. 1823. Her Mother Lucy Perkins, was born in 1791 at Powhatan, VA  and died in Missouri in 1848. Cyrene married Miles Cary on August 18th 1831 at Christian, Kentucky.  She died in 1911 at the age of 96 and is buried at Lafayette Pioneer Cemetery.

There is some confusion in many of the records due there being three women named Cyrene. They are often confused in some written records. The daughter of Cyrene Taylor Cary, Cyrene B. Cary, was born in 1849 and died in 1865 at the age of 16. Cyrene B’s sister, Lucy Cary Hembree had a daughter she named Cyrene Ann Hembree, who later became Cyrene A. Hembree Bird. Cyrene A. Hembree was raised by her grandmother and her Aunt Maryette. 

Another confusing item is a document I pulled from that lists a Parthenia Turner as a child of Cyrene. In the Toal book, Cyren’s sister is listed as “priscilla. I think this may have been mis labeled in the records Mrs. Toal researched as the card I found on ancestry is handwritten by Cyrene Cary. It is most likely that Priscilla is actually Parthenia. On the same card, Cyrene has listed a “Robert” b. 1854. Cyrene and Miles did have a son named Robert, howevr, he died in 1839 before they began their journey west. The Robert mentioned here is most likely, Robert Hussey.  More can be found in the Robert Hussey story.

Miles Cary
Miles Cary

The Children

Miles Rand Cary 1843-1872

Miles Rand Cary, the eldest son of Miles and Cyrene Cary, was born in Missouri on January 2nd, 1843. Miles would have been approximately 6 months old when the family left for the Oregon trail. Miles was never married and died at the age of 29 in Yamhill, CO. He is buried at the Lafayette Masonic Cemetery.

Cyrene B. Cary

Cyrene B. Cary died at the age of 16 and is buried in Lafayette Pioneer Cemetery. 

Maryetta Cary

Lucy Cary Hembree

Lucy Married Joel Hembree whose family came across from Missouri on the same wagon trail. They had one daughter Cyrene Ann Hembree (Bird). Lucy died  at the age of 25, shortly after the birth of her daughter and is buried at Lafayette Masonic Cemetery. Cyrene Ann Hembree, according to research conducted by Kolene Williams, was raised by Cyrene T. Cary and her Aunt Maryette Cary. She married into the Bird family. 


Alice “Kolene” Williams (Cary)

Captain Alice (Kolene) Williams was instrumental in researching the Cary family history and managing the Lafayette Pioneer cemetery for many years along with other members of the Rebekah Lodge of Lafayette. She worked over many years to maintain the cleanliness and integrity of the cemetery. There is a tree planted in her honor in the Lafayette Pioneer Cemetery which has yet to be commemorated.


Kolene (Cary) Williams Obituary
Kolene (Cary) Williams Obituary
Kolene Williams at Lafayette Pioneer
Kolene Williams as a young girl at Lafayette Pioneer Cemetery
The Story of Robert Hussey Accounts, Facts, and Theory


Robert Hussey was the son of a former slave. It is believed that she is mentioned in Cyrene’s account of their travels in the History of the Willamette valley as “ A negro woman who accompanied me”. In the 1840 census from Missouri, Miles Cary is noted as having one female slave.

The family account says that she was freed or sold prior to the family leaving for Oregon. It is most likely that she was sold. Missouri, at that time was not a free state and any person of color would have been a good target for slave traders.  At some point she escaped or managed to leave Missouri and joined the Cary family on the wagon train. The account of her existence on the train with the Cary family in Cyrene’s narrative is the only mention of this black woman going forward in the Cary history. Due to the politics of the time. The Cary family would have most likely been very careful to insure that Robert’s mother, regardless of her status, maintain a very low profile. This would have been especially important if she was in fact a runaway slave.

We know that she passed away sometime between 1854 and 1858. According to the Cary family records accounts, she is buried in Dayton, Oregon on the original land plot, under an Oak tree.   Robert Hussey was born in 1854, 11 years after the family arrived in Canadian and British controlled Oregon in 1843. 

There are considerable Oregon politics of note beginning in 1843 when the Cary family arrived, Oregon’s first provisional government was formed in July of 1843.  In 1848 Oregon became a United States Territory, and in 1850 was admitted to the Union. The ratification of Oregon’s Constitution and the decision on the status of slaves in Oregon was voted on in 1857, the same year a decision was handed down by the Supreme Court in Dred Scott vs. Sandford.   

In 1857, Robert Hussey was three years of age. Oregon had voted to Outlaw slavery and ban free blacks from residing in the State. The Dred Scott V. Sandford decision in 1857 reinforced slavery, even if a slave had been freed. It upheld that congress had no power to prevent the spread of slavery and that the 5th amendment protected the rights of slave owners.

Miles Cary died in 1858, one year after the Dred Scott decision. In his assets, was listed “one colored boy Robert.” Robert was four years of age. The Dred Scott decision of 1857 would have made Robert Hussey vulnerable to the slave trade, especially if his mother had been a runaway slave. This would have made Robert the property of whomever had “purchased” his mother in 1843. Had he not been listed as an asset of the Cary family, and having no guardian, he most likely would have been given over to the slave trade and removed from the State of Oregon.

In the 1860 Census, one year after Oregon had officially voted down joining the Confederate States, Robert Hussey is listed as a child of Cyrene and Miles Cary, this is documented in the census record as well as the index from the Oregon Secretary of State. Robert was six years old.

Family Account of Robert Hussey
Family Account of Robert Hussey



Excellent Paper

Dred Scott v. Sanford

Yamhill County Constitutional ratification and Slavery Vote 1857 (Total Votes Page 2)

Find a Grave entry for Lucy Cary Hembree’s daughter, Cyrene Ann Hembree Bird. 

Find a Grave entry for Cyrene B. Cary Age 16. Buried at Lafayette Pioneer Cemetery. Daughter of Cyrene T. Cary.

PDF Files and Images
1843 List of Names from the Cary Wagon Train
1843 List of Names from the Cary (Carey) Wagon Train
Miles Cary and Cyrene Taylor Marriage
Miles Cary and Cyrene Taylor Marriage, 1831
Handwritten Card: Robert and Pathenia. Circa Unknow,n after 1854.
Maryette Cary Death Certificate
Maryette Cary Death Certificate
Cyrene Taylor Cary Obituary
Cyrene Taylor Cary Account of Wagon Train Incident. Part 1
Cyrene Taylor Cary Account of Wagon Train Incident. Part 1
Cyrene Taylor Cary Account of Wagon Train Incident. Part 2
Cyrene Taylor Cary Account of Wagon Train Incident. Part 2

This account from The History of the Willamette valley is the only reference we’ve found recording the mother of Robert Hussey, other than familial accounts of her burial place under an Oak Tree on the original homestead owned by the Cary Family.


Hussey as Robert Hussey Cary
Hussey as Robert Hussey Cary
Robert Cary 1860 Census
Robert Cary 1860 Census
Cary Hussey 1870 Census
Cary Hussey 1870 Census

Yamhill County Constitutional ratification and Slavery Vote 1857

This is an interesting document. It shows just how divided Oregon was on the slavery issue. While most wanted no slavery in Oregon, they also felt that slaves need not be freed. 

Source: Oregon Secretary of State archives.

Miles Cary Assets 1858

This list was most likely compiled by Cyrene Taylor Cary and her son in law Joel Hembree, who was the executor of the Estate, and husband of Lucy Cary Hembree. This list includes an entry for “One colored boy Robert.” In 1858 Robert (Cary) Hussey was four years old.

Source: Oregon Secretary of State Archives

Map of Yamhill Co, Oregon, 1879

Shows details including landowners. JJ Cary plot is shown. This area was a part of the original Land grant.

Source: Library of Congress. (