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Victor, Frances Auretta Fuller (1826–1902) - Local History

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Frances Victor was born in Rome, New York, to Adonijah and Lucy A. (Williams) Fuller. The family eventually moved to Ohio, and Frances attended a female seminary. She and her sister, Metta, published poems and fiction and, encouraged by several editors and critics, moved to New York City. Before her career could blossom, however, Frances’s father died and she was forced to rejoin her family when they relocated in St. Clair, Michigan. She married Jackson Barritt on June 16, 1853, and although the marriage was short-lived she did not officially obtain a divorce until 1862. She returned to New York, where her sister’s husband, Orville James Victor, was editor of Beadle’s Dime Novels. Frances wrote a number of dime novels and in May 1862, married Orville’s brother, Henry Clay Victor, a navy engineer. The two moved to San Francisco, and Frances resumed her writing under the name “Florence Fane.” When her husband’s health forced him to resign from the navy, the Victors moved to Oregon, where Frances became interested in local history. She wrote a history of mountain man Joe Meek in The River of the West in 1870 as well as a travel book, a temperance book, and some fiction. After her husband’s death by drowning in the wreck of the Pacific in 1875, Frances was offered a position by historical promoter Huber Howe Bancroft in 1878. She would help prepare his History of the Pacific States . She worked on the project until the twenty-eighth volume was published in 1890; although Bancroft was cited as author of the entire series, it was eventually learned that Victor had written the two volumes on Oregon, the volumes on Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming, as well as large portions of other volumes on California, the Northwest Coast, and British Columbia.

Frances Victor returned to Oregon in 1890 and was commissioned by the legislature to write a history of the native Indians. This resulted in The Early Indian Wars of Oregon in 1894. She died in Portland on November 14, 1902. In 1947 the Portland chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Board of the Oregon Historical Society erected a marker at her grave at Riverview Cemetery, Portland, Oregon.

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