Abram Coovert

Name: Abram (Abraham) Coovert
Born: 24 April 1819 / Butler County, Ohio
Died: 30 January 1907 / Dayton, Oregon
Spouse: Martha Ann Odell Coovert
Married: 02 January 1845 / Carroll County, Indiana
Arrived in Ore.: 26 September 1851
DLC: OC 978 / 241.02 acres
Occupation: Farmer

“Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of his Saints”

Abram Coovert was born in Butler County, Ohio, in 1819. His mother died when he was only ten years old, after which Abram was sent to live with another family where he was bound to work until he was twenty-one years old. Upon his release, he was given a suit of clothes and $100 (approximately $3,000 today), and sent on his way.

In search of work, Abram moved to Deer Creek Township, Indiana in 1840.  There he met 18-year-old Martha Ann Odell, daughter of respected farmer John Odell. Abram and Martha were married in Wayne County, Indiana, in 1845.

In 1851, the Cooverts joined the Odell Family on their journey to seek a new home in Oregon. They joined a wagon train led by Captain Elder in the Spring of 1851, bringing with them two wagons, six yoke of oxen and two horses. Six months later, in September of 1851, they arrived in Oregon.

The Coovert family settled on a 241-acre Donation Land Claim located four miles southeast of Dayton.  The area was populated with waterfowl, and came to be known as “Webfoot”.  In 1857, Abram built the first grist-mill in the area.  The flour produced at Abram’s mill was so high in quality that it was given a name so that buyers could discern it from other flour on the market.  Thus, Webfoot Flour was born.  Due to the mill’s convenient location on what was known as the Dayton-Salem Road, it served as a natural meeting place for the early settlers of the community.

Advertisement: Morning Oregonian, 29 Mar 1901

The Cooverts had an a total of seven children, three of whom were born prior to the family’s move to Oregon: John Q., who died at the age of 4 and is buried in Indiana,  Sarah Catherine, and Mary Ellen.  Henrietta R., Wilbur Lee, Ida Elizabeth, and Ora M. were born on the family homestead in Dayton.  Sadly, daughters Henrietta and Ora both died in 1863, only a few months apart.

In 1872, Abram’s brother Johnson E. Coovert and family arrived in Oregon. They also settled in the Webfoot area, where Johnson died in 1878.  Johnson’s wife, Elizabeth, died in 1913 and is buried next to him at the Odell Pioneer Cemetery.

As avid supporters of the community, Abram and Martha donated two small portions of their land to build a church and a schoolhouse. Construction on Webfoot Church began in 1878. Before the church could be completed, however, some troublemaking neighborhood boys burned it to the ground. A new church was rebuilt on the same site, largely from funds raised by noted Webfoot pioneer Mary Gilkey. Mary Gilkey rode from house to house in the area to gather the funds to rebuild the church. A new church was completed before the end of the year. It was noted to be the second oldest Church in Oregon when it was sold to the Grange Organization at Webfoot in 1929.

  The Webfoot School was in use until 1945.

Martha Coovert died in 1903, and Abram followed her in 1907, dying at the age of 87. Both Martha and Abram, as well as five of their seven children, are buried in the Odell Pioneer Cemetery.


Dayton Tribune, 20 September 1976, p.2


Sunday Oregonian, 03 Feb 1907

Abram Coovert, a pioneer of 1851, died at his home three miles south of Dayton, Wednesday, aged nearly 88 years, and will be buried today, the funeral occuring at the Webfoot M.E. Church. His wife died two years ago of paralysis. Two daughters, Mrs. Nichols of Dayton and Mrs. Lambert of this city, are the only children of Mr. And Mrs. Coovert now living.

– News Reporter, Friday, February 1, 1907

Tombstone inscription:

“Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of his Saints”

Photo: © Gods Art Photography

Do you have any information about Abram Coovert, Webfoot School or Webfoot Church? Or, do you love researching and would be willing to donate your time to the Odell Pioneer Cemetery Research Project? If so, please contact: info@odellpioneercemetery.com.
Reference: 1860, 1870, 1880, & 1900, United States Federal Census; Early Oregonian Search, Oregon Secretary of State; Genealogical material in Oregon donation land claims, Genealogical Forum, Portland, Oregon, 1957; Indiana Compiled Marriages (1802-1850); Indiana Marriage Index (1800-1941); Oregon, Biographical and Other Index Card File, Oregon Historical Society, Portland, Oregon; Oregon Death Index, 1903-1998, Oregon State Archives and Records Center; Probate Records, Yamhill County Court; Federal Land Patents (State Volumes), Bureau of Land Management, Washington D.C.; findagrave.com; Photos of Webfoot School & Church: Some Dayton Chapters in the Oregon History, Dayton Reading Club, 1953; Obituary: Genealogical Forum of Oregon, Odell Cemetery Biographies, p.39