In the book, Building the Columbia River Highway, I devote one very short chapter to Margaret Henderson. I wish I knew more about her, as everything I read seems to describe a woman of exceptional courage and fortitude. I recently learned a bit more from her great-granddaughter, Judy Devasier.
Mrs. Henderson’s father was Henry L. Darling, (Darling is an English name) of Portland, OR. Mr. Darling was a homesteader in what is now called Sunnyside in Southeast Portland. He brought his family to Portland, OR in the early 1850s from Searsport, Maine. He was prominent in the woodworking trade, doing finish work on ships, buildings and homes.
Margaret’s mother was Hulda J. Deardorff. A family tree of the Deardorffs, among the Mrs. Henderson’s personal papers, revealed some family history; indicating that the members moved to America from Holland in 1754. The Deardorff family descended from the Harshberger family, according to the family tree. Hulda Deardorff married Henry L. Darling. They had five children, although only four names are given: Katherine Francis, Elizabeth Margaret (born 09-12-1872 near Mr. Scott in Portland), Charles L., and William H. The children were educated in Portland schools.
As a child Margaret was noted in the census report in 1880 as Bessie Darling. Interestingly, her name was given as Elizabeth Margaret Darling in some sources, and Margaret Elizabeth Darling in others.
Margaret married Harry A. Hackett, of Portland, OR (born: 11-1-1854) at the age of 15, in 1887. Mr. Hackett had come to Portland in 1871, where he was identified with early steam boat operations – specifically with the Jefferson and Stark Street ferries. Mr. Hackett and his young wife, Margaret, lived in Portland, Oregon for two years where they had two children, Henry N. and Lavine (Vina or Vine) Winifred.
Some sources say her husband left her and moved to the Hood River area where he retired from steamboat and ferry business and bought an orchard. Other sources say that she and her husband (both) moved to Hood River in 1891 or ‘92.
After Harry A. Hackett and Elisabeth Margaret were divorced (date not available), Mr. Hackett married Emma, a widow, and they had three children: Theodore A., Hattie A., and Mary Emma. Mr. Hackett died in his home in Hood River at the age of 81.
In the 1895 directory, Mrs. Bessie Hackett in Portland, Oregon was living in a boarding house on Holliday Ave. By 1903, there is a Mrs. Bessie Newell (the name of her second husband) living on the Ainsworth Block. And in 1904, she lived on Union Avenue, working as a clerk at Locke and Gullette.
After a time at Meier & Frank, Mrs. Henderson started her restaurant career operating the Chanticleer Inn, owned by the Morgan family, which opened in 1911. She went on to operate Falls Chalet beginning in June, 1912, which was owned by Mr. and Mrs. H.W. Moffett of Latourell. Falls Chalet burned to the ground a year later. In very short order, the building of Crown Point Chalet was begun.
The Crown Point Chalet was located on the hillside above the Vista House. Her father did the woodwork in the private apartment in the Crown Point Chalet for his daughter.
The chalet held both a beautiful dining area and lodging for Margaret’s family and some of the girls who worked for her.
Margaret’s daughter, Lavina (Vina or Vine) Winifred Hackett, married James Edward Holden of Portland, OR. They had two sons; Beryl Roland and Edward Leland (Lee). Lavina was born in 1891 and died in 1966. She helped her mother at the Crown Point Chalet, mostly on weekends. LaVina and her husband, lived in house on Alberta Street in Portland Oregon until 1923 when they purchased land and built a home in Lake Oswego, Oregon. They planted an orchard of walnut trees.
Mrs. Henderson’s son, Henry N. Hackett, married Mildred Metcalf. They had three children; Mell M, Helen Margaret Nelson, and Russell Allen Hackett. Henry worked as an engineer and as personal director of the state Oregon Highway Department and did reconnaissance surveys on the lower Columbia River Highway from Portland to Astoria. He passed away at age 53 in 1942.
Margaret has a number of descendants, some of whom still live in the area – and some of whom may not even realize they are descended from this lovely lady!
You can learn more of Margaret Henderson and the others involved in the construction of the Columbia River Highway in the book.