During the 1850’s, Jeff Campbell’s family had a homestead in the Fernridge Lake area of Veneta. Jeff’s grandfather, Chester Lieu (“Cap”) Campbell lived on River Road in Eugene and often fished on the Siuslaw River. Fishing was always a good way to spend the day, and he would rent a boat at the Cushman dock for salmon trolling. This was fine for a time, but by 1946, he grew dissatisfied with, or some would say, “outgrew” the motor used on rental boats. This being the case, he purchased his own new Johnson Sea Horse motor. He continued to fish on the Siuslaw, but thereafter brought his own motor to use on whatever boat he rented.
As far as fishing goes, few memories are better than catching one’s first fish. Jeff remembers that day. He was fishing on the Siuslaw River with his father (Chester) and grandparents (Chester L. and Hazel Gertrude) when he was 6 or 7 years old. With the Johnson motor on board, they were fishing just “down from Cushman, where the North Fork runs into the Siuslaw.”
At a navigation marker on the south slough, his grandmother hooked a fish, and handed the pole to Jeff. He reached for the pole, and with a little encouragement, managed to land the 11-pound silver! Jeff still remembers that moment . . . “it was a fun experience for me.” That day, it was the only fish caught on their boat.
Jeff continues to fish on the Siuslaw River whenever possible. The spot he caught his first fish has proved lucky for him in more recent years as well.
The Johnson motor was recently donated to the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum by Jeff Campbell, and is on display with the Marine exhibits on the Museum’s first floor.