Carson, Letitia(born: 1814 - died: 1888)
Letitia Carson was a free African American woman born in Kentucky. She was one of the early African Americans listed in the U.S. Federal Census as living in Oregon. Letitia's husband was an Irishman named David Carson (1800-1854). The pioneering couple and their two children lived in Benton, Oregon Territory, according to the 1850 U.S. Federal Census. The couple had come to Oregon in 1844. Their daughter Martha was born around 1845, their son Adam around 1853.
When David Carson died, Letitia and her children were left out of his estate settlement, so Letitia filed suit against the estate for her childrens' benefit. She won the lawsuit and settled on land she had purchased near South Myrtle Creek, today known as Letitia Creek. She is buried on the property.
Letitia Carson was a well-known midwife in the county. The Letitia Carson Pioneer Apple Tree was named in her honor; it is thought that Letitia planted the tree, and researchers named the tree while completing a cultural resource inventory of the property owned by Oregon State University.
For more see R. Casebeer, "African American widow demonstrates spirit," Jefferson Public Radio, 8/20/2009. See also the "Friends of Letitia Carson" Facebook page for additional information.