Bonser, Stephen D. (Sauvie Island)

Stephen D. Bonser (1830-1917) (Sauvie Island)

In a 1915 interview he told how he emigrated west in a 1847 wagon train and his family settled on Sauvies Island in 1849. “In about 1860 or 1861, I was up in the Salmon river country mining.” He got tired of his partners and returned to Sauvies Island. “I took up photography, but my eyes wouldn’t stand it, so I went back on the river as the pilot of the steamer Ohio.” “In 1867 I moved to St. Helens. For the past 18 years I have lived here in Portland.” Bonser is listed as a photographer on Sauvies Island in the 1888 state directory. Portland directories begin listing him in 1899. He died in early March 1917. His obituary noted he was “a well known photographer in the early days of Portland” but that is probably family legend since he was professionally a druggist during his Portland years.