About Mary Smith Roelofson

When Thomas Roelofson (1825-1897) was six-months old, his mother Mary, went back to her old home in Kentucky for a visit. She traveled by horseback alone, except for the baby, Thomas, whom she carried before her on the saddle, guiding the horse with her free hand.

Lawrence’s home was always open to ministers. At the time of the Meteoric Shower (in 1832), a number of neighbors flocked to his house in fear.

About 1835, Mary, climbing a fence with a bundle of yarn she was taking to a loom to be woven, fell and broke her right leg just above the ankle, and was bitten on the leg by a sow, which became infected and would not heal. She was bedfast, suffering great and constant pain for about 7 years. Gangrene finally made amputation necessary. The operation was performed at the hands of an unskilled doctor and crude instruments, no anesthetic. Three operations were performed before it would heal. Young Thomas witnessed his mother’s agony and vowed revenge on the Doctor when he grew up, but the doctor died before he could carry out his threat.

Mary was described as of low stature, blue eyes, and of light complexion and red hair. She loved her home, used crutches when walking any distance after her injury. She did her housework with leg resting on a chair, which she shoved along so she could have it handy when she stopped.

“I have walked with her many times, carrying her knitting bag. I saw her for the last time in 1862; she was blind and feeble.” (Handwritten note in the Oregon State Archives, author unknown)

From Ancestors of Robert Carl Cook, by K. B. Cook

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