Truax House

July 18, 2017

For half dozen years in the 1850s, the core of the house at 410 North 5th Street in Jacksonville was home to pioneer civil engineer, Sewell Truax. Raised and educated in Vermont, Truax caught “Oregon fever” while on a surveying trip after encountering emigrants at Council Bluffs. A day later he joined them, arriving in Jackson County in August 1853. For 7 years he was U.S. Deputy Surveyor in Southern Oregon. When the Civil War broke out, he entered the U.S. volunteer cavalry as a captain, was soon promoted to major, was made commander of Fort Walla Walla in the Washington Territory, and then commander of Fort Lapwai in Lewiston. After the War, he remained in Lewiston as a merchant in the gold fields but by 1870 had returned to engineering. He supervised construction for the Walla Walla and Columbia River railroad, laid out the town of Morengo and invented and built grain shutes along the Snake River to load steam wheelers. He was also elected to the Washington Territory Legislature and served as President of the Assembly in the 1880s.