Local History: Our Town – Our Story: Arthur Byron Clement, 1885 – 1959

by Ann Koppy, BHSoc HistorianBeaverton-Historical-Society-logo

He was a business owner, farmer, municipal official, husband, father, and brother-in-law. His parents and siblings were distinguished residents of early Beaverton, but their story isn’t well-known in city history.

This is what we have learned

Arthur Byron Clement (usually identified as A.B. Clement) was born in Wisconsin in 1885 to John, a bank cashier, and Susan, a homemaker. The family, which included sisters Bertha, age 16; Alice, age 12; and Arthur, age 15, was living in his hometown of Racine in 1900. They journeyed to Portland to enjoy the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition, liked what they saw of Oregon, and decided to relocate. John and Susan purchased H.G. Vincent’s 47-acre tract on Lombard Street in south Beaverton that summer. The property later became known as Clement’s Subdivision.

Alice taught piano locally, then directed the Conservatory of Music at Albany College (now Lewis & Clark in Portland), and later headed the Linfield College music department. Bertha moved to Cornelius, teaching elementary grades in Forest Grove before marrying Dr. C.E. Mason. The couple went on to make enduring contributions to local heritage.

We next learn of A.B.’s achievements in 1906 when he was elected City Recorder on the People’s Progressive ticket at the young age of 21, working with Mayor Earl Fisher, Treasurer A.H. Spraner, and Councilmen Will Squires, August Rossi, Bob Hocken, and George Hughson. He stayed on in this position until about 1908.

One year later, he married Caroline Hocken, who parents were William and Emma, prominent Beaverton citizens remembered for donating land for the city park. The next year was 1910; he listed his federal census occupation as a farmer who owned their home adjacent to his parents’ acreage free and clear of a mortgage.

The next decade or so was full: starting a dairy route in Beaverton that delivered milk at $2.00 a month for quarts and $1.00 for pints in airtight, modern bottles; farming in Waterloo, a tiny agricultural town in Linn County; returning to Lombard Street; working for Union Oil Co.

Caroline gave birth to four sons and a daughter between 1911 and 1923 and eventually took an active role in the 1st United Methodist Ladies’ Aid Society. After their 1921 return to Beaverton, A.B. began a 25-year career as a gas station owner, a career interrupted by World War II.

The United States declared war on Japan in 1941 and by late 1942 required all 18 to 64 year-old males to register for the draft. Clement was 57 and filled out a form designated for men born between 1877 and 1897, indicating he was working for Oregon Shipbuilding Co. in Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood. The corporation was one of Henry Kaiser’s several West Coast facilities building U.S. Navy ships for the war effort. It’s unclear when A.B. retired, but he and Caroline remained in Beaverton until their deaths.

Caroline, born in 1886, died in 1974 and A.B. in 1959, four months after celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. They are buried in Crescent Grove Cemetery, Tigard.

Interested in more local history? Visit www.historicbeaverton.org