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VOL. II. 1848-1888 



Entered according to Act of Congress in the Year 1888, by 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington. 

All Rights Reserved. 






Population Products Places of Settlement The First Families of Ore 
gon Stock-raising and Agriculture Founding of Towns Land 
Titles Ocean Traffic Ship-building and Commerce Domestic 
Matters: Food, Clothing, and Shelter Society: Religion, Educa 
tion, and Morals Benevolent Societies Aids and Checks to Prog 
ress Notable Institutions Character of the People 1 

" v v * 




The Magic Power of Gold A New Oregon Arrival of Newell Sharp 
Traffic The Discovery Announced The Stampede Southward 
Overland Companies Lassen s Immigrants Hancock s Manuscript 
Character of the Oregonians in California Their General Suc 
cess Revolutions in Trade and Society Arrival of Vessels In 
crease in the Prices of Products Change of Currency The Ques 
tion of a Mint Private Coinage Influx of Foreign Silver Effect 
on Society Legislation Immigration * 42 




Indian Affairs Troubles in Cowlitz Valley Fort Nisqually Attacked 
Arrival of the United States Ship Massachusetts A Military Post 
Established near Nisqually Thornton as Sub-Indian Agent Meet 
ing of the Legislative Assembly Measures Adopted Judicial Dis 
tricts A Travelling Court of Justice The Mounted Rifle Regiment 
Establishment of Military Posts at Fort Hall, Vancouver, Steil- 
acoom, and The Dalles The Vancouver Claim General Persifer F 
Smith His Drunken Soldiers The Dalles Claim Trial and Execu 
tion of the Whitman Murderers 66 







The Absence of Judges Island Mills Arrival of William Strong Oppo 
sition to the Hudson s Bay Company Arrest of British Ship Cap 
tainsGeorge Gibbs The Albion Affair Samuel R. Thurston 
Chosen Delegate to Congress His Life and Character Proceeds 
to Washington Misrepresentations and Unprincipled Measures 
Rank Injustice toward McLoughlin Efficient Work for Oregon 
The Donation Land Bill The Cayuse War Claim and Other Appro 
priations Secured The People Lose Confidence in their Delegate 
Death of Thurston 101 



An Official Vacancy Gaines Appointed Governor His Reception in Ore 
gon The Legislative Assembly in Session Its Personnel The Ter 
ritorial Library Location of the Capital Oregon City or Salem 
Warm and Prolonged Contest Two Legislatures War between the 
Law-makersand the Federal Judges Appeal to Congress Salem 
Declared the Capital A New Session Called Feuds of the Public 
Press Unpopularity of Gaines Close of his Term Lane Appointed 
his Successor 139 




Politics and Prospecting Immigration An Era of Discovery Explora 
tions on the Southern Oregon Seaboai-d The California Company 
f The Schooner Samuel Roberts at the Mouths of Rogue River and the 
Umpqua Meeting with the Oregon Party Laying-out of Lands and 
Town Sites Failure of the Umpqua Company The Finding of 
Gold in Various Localities The Mail Service Efforts of Thurston 
in Congress Settlement of Port Orford and Discovery of Coos Bay 
The Colony at Port Orford Indian Attack The T Vault Expedi 
tion Massacre Government Assistance 174 



Politics Election of a Delegate Extinguishment of Indian Titles Ind 
ian Superintendents and Agents Appointed Kindness of the Great 
Father at Washington Appropriations of Congress Frauds Arising 



from the System Easy Expenditure of Government Money Un 
popularity of Human Sympathy Efficiency of Superintendent Dart 
Thirteen Treaties Effected Lane among the Rogue River Indians 
and in the Mines Divers Outrages and Retaliations Military 
Affairs Rogue River War The Stronghold Battle of Table Rock 
Death of Stuart Kearney s Prisoners 205 




Officers and Indian Agents at Port Orford Attitude of the Coquilles 
U. S. Troops Ordered out Soldiers as Indian- fighters The Savages 
too Much for Them Something of Scarface and the Shastas Steele 
Secures a Conference Action of Superintendent Skinner Much 
Ado about Nothing Some Fighting An Insecure Peace More 
Troops Ordered to Vancouver 233 




Proposed Territorial Division Coast Survey Light-houses Established 
James S. Lawson His Biography, Public Services, and Contribu 
tion to History Progress North of the Columbia South of the 
Columbia Birth of Towns Creation of Counties Proposed New 
Territory River Navigation Improvements at the Clackamas Rap 
idsOn the Tualatin River La Creole River Bridge-building 
Work at the Falls of the Willamette Fruit Culture The First 
Apples Sent to California Agricultural Progress Imports and Ex 
portsSociety f 247 



The Donation Law Its Provisions and Workings Attitude of Congress 
Powers of the Provisional Government Qualification of Voters 
Surveys Rights of Women and Children Amendments Preemp 
tion Privileges Duties of the Surveyor-general Claimants to 
Lands of the Hudson s Bay and Puget Sound Companies Mission 
Claims Methodists, Presbyterians, and Catholics Prominent Land 
Cases Litigation in Regard to the Site of Portland The Rights of 
Settlers The Caruthers Claim The Dalles Town-site Claim Pre 
tensions of the Methodists Claims of the Catholics Advantages 
and Disadvantages of the Donation System 260 






Legislative Proceedings Judicial Districts Public Buildings Tenor of 
Legislation Instructions to the Congressional Delegate Harbors 
and Shipping Lane s Congressional Labors Charges against Gover 
nor Gaines Ocean Mail Service Protection of Overland Immigrants 
Military Roads Division of the Territory Federal Appoint 
ments New Judges and their Districts Whigs and Democrats 
Lane as Governor and Delegate Alonzo A. Skinner An Able and 
Humane Man Sketch of his Life and Public Services 296 




Impositions and Retaliations Outrages by White Men and Indians 
The Military Called upon War Declared Suspension of Business 
Roads Blockaded Firing from Ambush Alden at Table Rock- 
Lane in Command Battle The Savages Sue for Peace Armistice 
Preliminary Agreement Hostages Given Another Treaty with 
the Rogue River People Stipulations Other Treaties Cost of the 
War 311 




John W. Davis as Governor Legislative Proceedings Appropriations 
by Congress Oregon Acts and Resolutions Affairs on the Ump- 
qua Light-house Building Beach Mining Indian Disturbances 
Palmer s Superintendence Settlement of Coos Bay Explorations 
and Mountain-climbing Politics of the Period The Question of 
State Organization The People not Ready Hard Times Deca 
dence of the Gold Epoch Rise of Farming Interest Some First 
Things Agricultural Societies Woollen Mills Telegraphs River 
and Ocean Shipping Interest and Disasters Ward Massacre Mil 
itary Situation 322 




Resignation of Governor Davis His Successor, George Law Curry 
Legislative Proceedings Waste of Congressional Appropriations 
State House Penitentiary Relocation of the Capital and Univer 
sity Legislative and Congressional Acts Relative thereto More 



Counties Made Finances Territorial Convention Newspapers 
The Slavery Sentiment Politics of the Period Whigs, Democrats, 
and Know-nothings A New Party Indian Affairs Treaties East 
of the Cascade Mountains 343 




Indian Affairs in Southern Oregon The Rogue River People Extermi 
nation Advocated Militia Companies Surprises and Skirmishes 
Reservation and Friendly Indians Protected by the U. S. Govern 
ment against Miners and Settlers More Fighting Volunteers and 
Regulars Battle of Grave Creek Formation of the Northern and 
Southern Battalions Affair at the Meadows Ranging by the Vol 
unteersThe Ben Wright Massacre 369 




Grande Ronde Military Post and Reservation Driving in and Caging the 
Wild Men More Soldiers Required Other Battalions Down upon 
the Red Men The Spring Campaign Affairs along the River 
Humanity of the United States Officers and Agents Stubborn Brav 
ery of Chief John Councils and Surrenders Battle of the Meadows 
Smith s Tactics Continued Skirmishing Giving-up and Coming- 
in of the Indians.... 397 




Legislature of 1855-6 Measures and Memorials Legislature of 1856-7 
No Slavery in Free Territory Republican Convention Election 
Results Discussions concerning Admission Delegate to Congress 
Campaign Journalism Constitutional Convention The Great Ques 
tion of Slavery No Black Men, Bond or Free Adoption of a State 
Constitution Legislature of 1857-8 State and Territorial Bodies 
Passenger Service Legislatures of 1858-9 Admission into the 
Union 413 




Appointment of Officers of the United States Court Extra Session of the 
Legislature Acts and Reports State Seal Delazon Smith Re^ 


publican Convention Nominations and Elections Rupture in the 
Democratic Party Shell Elected to Congress Scheme of a Pacific 
Republic Legislative Session of 1860 Nesmith and Baker Elected 
U. S. Senators Influence of Southern Secession Thayer Elected 
to Congress Lane s Disloyalty Governor Whiteaker Stark, U. S. 
Senator Oregon in the War New Officials ...................... 442 




War Departments and Commanders Military Administration of General 
Harney Wallen s Road Expeditions Troubles with the Shoshones 

Emigration on the Northern and Southern Routes Expeditions 
of Steen and Smith Campaign against the Shoshones Snake River 
Massacre Action of the Legislature Protection of the Southern 
Route Discovery of the John Day and Powder River Mines Floods 
and Cold of 1861-2 Progress of Eastern Oregon ............. , . . . . 460 



Appropriation Asked for General Wright Six Companies Raised At 
titude toward Secessionists First Oregon Cavalry Expeditions of 
Maury, Drake, and Curry Fort Boise Established Reconnoissance 
of Drew Treaty with the Klamaths and Modocs Action of the 
Legislature First Infantry Oregon Volunteers .......... .......... 488 




Companies and Camps Steele s Measures Halleck Headstrong Battle 
of the Owyhee Indian Raids Sufferings of the Settlers and Trans 
portation Men Movements of Troops Attitude of Governor Woods 

Free Fighting Enlistment of Indians to Fight Indians Military 
Reorganization Among the Lava-beds Crook in Command Ex 
termination or Confinement and Death in Reservations .......... ., 512 




Land of the Modocs Keintpoos, or Captain Jack Agents, Superintend 
ents, and Treaties Keintpoos Declines to Go on a Reservation i 
Raids Troops in Pursuit Jack Takes to the Lava-beds Appoint-* 



ment of a Peace Commissioner Assassination of Canby, Thomae, 
and Sherwood Jack Invested in his Stronghold He Escapes 
Crushing Defeat of Troops under Thomas Captain Jack Pursued, 
Caught, and Executed , 555 




Republican Loyalty Legislature of 18G2 Legal-tender and Specific Con 
tract Public Buildings Surveys and Boundaries Military Road 
Swamp and Agricultural Lands Civil Code The Negro Question 
Later Legislation Governors Gibbs, Woods, Grover, Chadwick, 
Thayer, and Moody Members of Congress * 637 




Recent Developments in Railways Progress of Portland Architecture 
and Organizations East Portland Iron Works Value of Property 
Mining Congressional Appropriations New Counties Salmon 
Fisheries Lumber Political Affairs Public Lands Legislature 
Election . . .746 







Hastings Or. and Cnl **_<? +T, 
WCh ch to er w f farms ia P> at 500 


company and the American merchants. One writer 
estimated the company s stock in 1845 at 20,OOC 
bushels, and that this was not half of the surplus. 
As many farmers reap from sixty to sixty-five bushels 
of wheat to the acre, 2 and the poorest land returns 
twenty bushels, no great extent of sowing is required 
to furnish the market with an amount equal to that 
named. Agricultural machinery to any considerable 
extent is not yet known. Threshing is done by driv 
ing horses over the sheaves strewn in an enclosure, 
first trodden hard by the hoofs of wild cattle. In the 
summer of 1848 Wallace and Wilson of Oregon City 
construct two threshing-machines with endless chains, 
which are henceforward much sought after. 3 The usual 
price of wheat, fixed by the Hudson s Bay Company, 
is sixty-two and a half cents ; but at different times it 
has been higher, as in 1845, when it reached a dollar 
and a half a bushel/ owing to the influx of population 
that year. 

The flouring of wheat is no longer difficult, for there 
are in 1848 nine grist-mills in the country. 5 Nor 
is it any longer impossible to obtain sawed lumber 
in the lower parts of the valley, or on the Columbia, 
for a larger number of mills furnish material for build 
ing to those who can afford to purchase and provide 
the means of transportation. 6 The larger number of 

. 2 Hines Hist. Oregon, 342-6. Thornton, in his Or. and CaL, i. 379, gives 
the whole production of 1846 at 144,803 bushels, the greatest amount raised 
in any county being in Tualatin, and the least in Clatsop. Oats, pease, and 
potatoes were in proportion. See also Or. Spectator, July 23, 1846; Iloivixon s 
Coast and Country, 29-30. The total wheat crop of 1847 was estimated at 
180,000 bushels, and the surplus at 50,000. 

3 Crawford s Nar., MS., 164; AW Nar., MS., 10. 

*EHn s Saddle-Maker, MS., 4. 

5 The grist-mills were built by the Hudson s Bay Company near Vancouver; 
McLoughlin and the Oregon Milling Company at Oregon City; by Thomas 
McKay on French Prairie; by Thomas James O Neal on the Ricknall in the 
Applegate Settlement in Polk County; by the Methodist Mission at Salem; by 
Lot Whitcomb at Milwaukee, on the right bank of the Willamette, between 
Portland and Oregon City; by Meek and Luelling at the same place; and by 
Whitman at Waiilatpu. About this time a flouring-mill was begun on Puget 
Sound. Thornton s Or. and CaL, i. 330; S. F. Calif ornian, April 19, 1848. 

6 These saw-mills were often in connection with the flouring-mills, as at 
Oregon City, Salem, and Vancouver. But there were several others that were 


houses on the land-claims, however,, are still of hewn 
logs, in the style of western frontier dwellings of the 
Mississippi states. 7 

separate, as the mill established for sawing lumber by Mr Hunsaker at the 
junction of the Willamette with the Columbia; by Charles McKay on the 
Tualatin Plains, and by Hunt near Astoria. There were others to the number 
of 15 in different parts of the territory. Thornton s Or. and Cal., i. 330; Craw 
ford s Nar., MS., 164. 

7 George Gay had a brick dwelling, and Abernethy a brick store; and 
brick was also used in the erection of the Catholic church at St Pauls. Craw 
ford tells us a good deal about where to look for settlers. Reason Read, he 
says, was located on Nathan Crosby s land-claim, a mile below Pettygrove s 
dwelling in Portland, on the right bank of the Willamette, just below a high 
gravelly bluff, that is, in what is now the north part of East Portland. Two 
of the Belknaps were making brick at this place, assisted by Read. A house 
was being erected for Crosby by a mechanic named Richardson. Daniel 
Lownsdale had a tannery west of Portland town-site. South of it on the 
same side of the river were the claims of Finice Caruthers, William Johnson, 
Thomas Stevens, and James Terwilliger. On the island in front of Stevens 
place lived Richard McCrary, celebrated for making blue ruin whiskey oat 
of molasses. James Stevens lived opposite Caruthers, on the east bank of the 
Willamette, where he had a cooper-shop, and William Kilborne a warehouse. 
Three miles above Milwaukee, where Whitcomb, William Meek, and Luelling 
were settled, was a German named Piper, attempting to make pottery. 
Opposite Oregon City lived S. Thurston, R. Moore, H. Burns, and Judge 
Lancaster. Philip Foster and other settlers lived on the Clackamas River, 
east of Oregon City. Turning back, and going north of Portland, John H. 
Couch claimed the land adjoining that place. Below him were settled at 
intervals on the same side of the river William Blackstone, Peter Gill, Doane, 
and Watts. At Linnton there were two settlers, William Dillon and Dick 
Richards. Opposite to Watt s on the east bank was James Loomis, and just 
above him James John. At the head of Sauve" Island lived John Miller. 
Near James Logic s place, before mentioned as a dairy-farm of the Hudson s 
Bay Company, Alexander McQuinn was settled, and on different parts of the 
island Jacob Cline, Joseph Charlton, James Bybee, Malcolm Smith a Scotch 
man, Gilbau a Canadian, and an American named Walker. On the Scappoose 
plains south of the island was settled McPherson, a Scotchman; and during 
the summer Nelson Hoyt took a claim on the Scappoose. At Plymouth Rock, 
now St Helen, lived H. M. Knighton who the year before had succeeded to 
the claim of its first settler, Bartholomew White, who was a cripple, and 
unable to make improvements. A town was already projected at this place, 
though not surveyed till 1849, when a few lots were laid off by James Brown 
of Canemah. The survey was subsequently completed by N. H. Tappau 
and P. W. Crawford, and mapped by Joseph Trutch, in the spring of 1851. 
A few miles below Knighton were settled the Merrill family and a man named 
Tulitson. The only settler in the region of the Dalles was Nathan Olncy, 
who in 1847 took a claim 3 miles below the present town, on the south side 
of the river. On the north side of. the Columbia, in the neighborhood of 
Vancouver, the land formerly occupied by the fur company, after the settle 
ment of the boundary was claimed to a considerable extent by individuals, 
British subjects as well as Americans. Above the fort, Forbes Barclay and 
Mr Lowe, members of the company, held claims as individuals, as also Mr 
Covington, teacher at the fort. On the south side, opposite Vancouver, John 
Switzler kept a ferry, which had been much in use during the Cayuse war as 
well as in the season of immigrant arrivals. On Cathlapootle, or Lewis, river 
there was also a settler. On the Kalama River Jonathan Burpee had taken 
a claim; he afterward removed to the Cowlitz, where Thibault, a Canadian, 


Only a small portion of the land being fenced, almost 
the whole Willamette Valley is open to travel, and 
covered with the herds of the settlers, some of whom 
own between two and three thousand cattle and 
horses. Though thus pastured the grass is knee-high 
on the plains, and yet more luxuriant on the low 
lands; in summer the hilly parts are incarnadine with 
strawberries. 8 Besides the natural increase of the first 
importations, not a year has passed since the venture 
of the Willamette Cattle Company in 1837, without 
the introduction of cattle and horses from California, 
to which are added those driven from the States an 
nually after 1842, 9 whence come likewise constantly 
increasing flocks of sheep. The towns, as is too often 
the case, are out of proportion to the rural population. 
Oregon City, with six or seven hundred inhabitants, is 
still the metropolis, having the advantage of a central 

was living in charge of the warehouse of the Hudson s Bay Company, and 
where during the spring and summer Peter W. Crawford, E. West, and one 
or two others ^settled. Before the autumn of 1849 several families were located 
near the mouth of the Cowlitz. H. D. Huntington, Nathaniel Stone, David 
Stone, Seth Catlin, James Porter, and Pv. C. Smith were making shingles 
here for the California market. Below the Cowlitz, at old Oak Point on the 
south side of the river, lived John McLean, a Scotchman. Oak Point Mills 
on the north side were not built till the following summer, when they were 
erected by a man named Dyer for Abernethy and Clark of Oregon City. At 
Cathlamet on the north bank of the river lived James Birnie, who had 
settled there in 1846. There was no settlement between Cathlamet and 
Hunt s Mill, and none between Hunt s Mill, where a man named Spears was 
living, and Astoria, except the claim of Robert Shortess near Tongue Point. 
At Astoria the old fur company s post was in charge of Mr McKay; and 
there were several Americans living there, namely, John McClure, James 
Welch, John M. Shively, Van Dusen and family, and others; in all about 
30 persons; but the town was partially surveyed this year by P. W. Craw 
ford. There were about a dozen settlers on Clatsop plains, and a town had 
been projected on Point Adams by two brothers O Brien, called New York, 
which never came to anything. At Baker Bay lived John Edmunds, though 
the claim belonged to Peter Skeen Ogden. On Scarborough Hill, just 
above, a claim had been taken by an English captain of that name in the 
service of the Hudson s Bay Company. The greater number of these items 
have been taken from Crawford s Narrative, MS.; but other authorities have 
contributed, namely: Minto s Early Days, MS,; Weed s Queen Charlotte I. 
Exped., MS.; Deady s Hist. Or., MS.; Pettygrove sOr., MS,; Lovcjoy s Port 
land, MS.; Moss Pioneer Times, MS.; Brown s Willamette Valley, MS.; 
Or. Statutes; Victor s Oregon and Wash.; Murphy s Or. Directory, 1 ; S. I. 
friend, Oct. 15, 1849; Wilkes Nar.; Palmer s Journal; Home Missionary 
Mag., xxii. 63-4. 

s The most beautiful country I ever saw in my life. Weed s Queen Char 
lotte I. Exped., MS., 2. 

*Clyman f s Note Book, MS., 6; W. B. He s Biog., 34. 


position between the farming country above the falls 
and the deep-water navigation twelve miles below; 
and more capital and improvements are found here 
than at any other point. 10 It is the only incorporated 
town as yet in Oregon, the legislature of 1844 having 
granted it a charter; 11 unimproved lots are held at 
from $100 to $500. The canal round the falls which 
the same legislature authorized is in progress of con 
struction, a wing being thrown out across the east 
shoot of the river above the falls which form a basin, 
and is of great benefit to navigation by affording quiet 
water for the landing of boats, which without it were 
in danger of being carried over the cataract. 12 

Linn City and Multnomah City just across the 
river from the metropolis, languish from propinquity 
to a greatness in which they cannot share. Milwaukee, 
a few miles below, is still in embryo. Linnton, the 
city founded during the winter of 1843 by Burnett 
and McCarver, has had but two adult male inhabit 
ants, though it boasts a warehouse for wheat. Hills- 
boro and Lafayette aspire to the dignity of county- 
seats of Tualatin and Yamhill. Corvallis, Albany, and 
Eugene are settled by claimants of the land, but do 
not yet rejoice in the distinction of an urban appel- 

10 Thornton counts in 1847 a Methodist and a Catholic church, St James, a 
day-school, a private boarding-school for young ladies, kept by Mrs Thornton, 
a printing-press, and a public library of SCO volumes. Or. and Cal. , i. 329-80. 
Crawford says there were 5 stores of general merchandise, the Hudson s Bay 
Company s, Abernethy s, Couch s (Cushing& Co. ), Moss , and Robert Caniield s; 
and adds that there were 3 ferries across the Willamette at this place, one 
a horse ferry, and 2 pulled by hand, and that all were kept busy, Oregon 
City being the great rendezvous for all up and down the river to get flour, 
Narrative, MS., 154; .V. /. Friend, Oct. 15, 1849. Palmer states in addition 
that McLoughlin s grist-mill ran 3 sets of buhr-stones, and would com 
pare favorably with most mills in the States; but that the Island Mill, 
then owned by Abernethy and Beers, was a smaller one, and that each had a 
saw-mill attached which cut a great deal of plank for the new arrivals. Jour 
nal, 85-6. There were 2 hotels, the Oregon House, which was built in 1844, 
costing $44,000, and which was torn down in June 1871. The other was 
called the City Hotel. McLoughlin s residence, built about 1845, was a large 
building for those times, and was later the Finnegas Hotel. Moss Pioneer 
Times, MS., 30; Portland Advocate, June 3, 1871; Bacon s Merc. Life Or. City, 
MS., 18; Harvey s Life of McLougMin, MS., 34; Nilet? Reg., Ixx. 341. 

11 Abernethy was the first mayor, and Lovejoy the second; McLoughlin 
was also mayor. 

l *Niles Reg., Ixviii. 84; Or. Spectator, Feb. 19, 1846. 


lation. Champoeg had been laid off as a town by 
Newell, but is so in name only. Close by is another 
river town, of about equal importance, owned by 
Abernethy and Beers, which is called Butteville. Just 
above the falls Hedges has laid off the town of Canemah. 
Besides these there are a number of settlements named 
after the chief families, such as Hembree s settlement 
in Yamhill County, Applegate s and Ford s in Polk, 
and Waldo s and HowelTs in Marion. Hamlets prom 
ising to be towns are Salem, Portland, Vancouver, 
and Astoria. 

I have already mentioned the disposition made of 
the missionary claims and property at Salem, and that 
on the dissolution of the Methodist Mission the Ore 
gon Institute was sold, with the land claimed as be 
longing to it, to the board of trustees. But as there 
was no law under the provisional government for the 
incorporation of such bodies, or any under which they 
could hold a mile square of land for the use of the in 
stitute, W. H. Wilson, H. B. Brewer, D. Leslie, and 
L. H. Judson resorted to the plan of extending their 
four land-claims in such a manner as to make their 
corners meet in the centre of the institute claim, 
under that provision in the land law allowing claims 
to be held by a partnership of two or more persons; 
and by giving bonds to the trustees of the institute to 
perform this act of trust for the benefit of the board, 
till it should become incorporated and able to hold 
the land in its own right. 

In March 1846 Wilson was authorized to act as 
agent for the board, and was put in possession of the 
premises. In May following he was empowered to 
sell lots, and allowed a compensation of seven per 
cent on all sales effected. During the summer a por 
tion of the claim was sold to J. L. Parrish, David 
Leslie, and C. Craft, at twelve dollars an acre; and 
Wilson was further authorized to sell the water-power 
or mill-site, and as much land with it as might be 


thought advisable; also to begin the sale by public 
auction of the town lots, as surveyed for that pur 
pose, the first sale to take place September 10, 1846. 
Only half a dozen families were there previous to 
this time. 13 

In July 1847 a bond was signed by Wilson, the 
conditions of which were the forfeiture of $100,000, or 
the fulfilment of the following terms : That he should 
hold in trust the six hundred and forty acres thrown off 
from the land-claims above mentioned; that he should 
pay to the missionary society of the Methodist Epis 
copal church of Oregon and to the Oregon Institute 
certain sums amounting to $6,000; that he should use 
all diligence to perfect a title to the institute claim, 
and when so perfected convey to the first annual con 
ference of the Methodist church, which should be 
established in Oregon by the general conference of 
the United States, in trust, such title as he himself 
had obtained to sixty acres known as the institute 
reserve/ on which the institute building was situated 

7 O 

for which services he was to receive one third of the 
money derived from the sale of town lots on the un 
reserved portion of the six hundred and forty acres 
comprised in the Salem town-site and belonging to the 
several claimants. Under this arrangement, in 1848, 
Wilson and his wife were residing in the institute 
building on the reserved sixty acres, Mrs Wilson 
having charge of the school, while the agency of the 
town property remained with her husband. 

The subsequent history of Salem town-site belongs 
to a later period, but may be briefly given here. 
When the Oregon donation law was passed, which 
gave to the wife half of the mile square of land em 
braced in the donation, Wilson had the dividing line 
on his land run in such a manner as to throw the 
reserve with the institute building, covered by his 
claim, upon the wife s portion; and Mrs Wilson being 

13 Davidson s Southern Route, MS., 5; Broivn s Autobiography, MS., 31; 
Rabbison s Growth of Towns, MS., 27-8. 


under no legal obligation to make over anything to 
the Oregon conference, in trust for the institute, re 
fused to listen to the protests of the trustees so neatly 
tricked out of their cherished educational enterprise. 
In this condition the institute languished till 1854, 
when a settlement was effected by the restoration of 
the reserved sixty acres to the trustees of the Willa 
mette University, and two thirds of the unsold re 
mains of the south-west quarter of the Salem town- 
site which Wilson was bound to hold for the use of 
that institution. Whether the restoration was an act 
of honor or of necessity I will not here discuss; the 
act of congress under which the territory was organ 
ized recognized as binding all bonds and obligations 
entered into under the provisional government. 14 In 
later years some important lawsuits grew out of the 
pretensions of Wilson s heirs, to an interest in lots 
sold by him while acting agent for the trustees of the 
town-site. 15 

Portland in 1848 had but two frame buildings, 
one the residence of F. W. Pettygrove, who had re 
moved from Oregon City to this hamlet on the river s 
edge, and the other belonging to Thomas Carter. 
Several log-houses had been erected, but the place 
had no trade except a little from the Tualatin plains 
lying to the south, beyond the heavily timbered high 
lands in that direction. 

The first owner of the Portland land-claim was 
William Overton, a Tennesseean, who came to Oregon 
about 1843, and presently took possession of the 
place, where he made shingles for a time, but being 
of a restless disposition went to the Sandwich Islands, 
and returning dissatisfied and out of health, resolved 
to go to Texas. Meeting with A. L. Lovejoy at Van 
couver, and returning with him to Portland in a canoe, 
he offered to resign the claim to him, but subsequently 

14 Or. Laws, 1843-72, 61; Hines Or. and Inst., 165-72. 

15 Thornton s Salem Titles, in Salem Directory for 1874, 2-7. Wilson died 
suddenly of apoplexy, in 1856. Id., 22. 


changed his mind, thinking to remain, yet giving 
Lovejoy half, on condition that he would aid in im 
proving it; for the latter, as he says in his Founding 
of Portland, MS., 30-34, observed the masts and 
booms of vessels which had been left there, and it 
occurred to him that this was the place for a town. 
So rarely did shipping come to Oregon in the^e days, 
and more rarely still into the Willamette River, that 
the possibility or need of a seaport or harbor town 
away from the Columbia does not appear to have been 
seriously entertained up to this time. 

After some clearing, preparatory to building a 
house, Overton again determined to leave Oregon, 
and sold his half of the land to F. W. Petty grove for 
a small sum and went to Texas, where it has been said 
he was hanged. 16 Lovejoy and Petty grove then erected 
the first house in the winter of 1845, the locality 
being on what is now Washington street at the corner 
of Front street, it being built of logs covered with 
shingles. Into this building Pettygrove moved half 
of his stock of goods in the spring of 1845, and with 
Lovejoy opened a road to the farming lands of Tual 
atin County from which the traffic of the imperial 
city was expected to come. 

The town was partially surveyed by H. N. V. 
Short, the initial point being Washington street and 
the survey extending down the river a short distance. 
The naming of it was decided by the tossing of a cop 
per coin, Pettygrove, who was from Maine, gaining 
the right to call it Portland, against Lovejoy, who was 
from Massachusetts and wished to name the new town 
Boston. A few stragglers gathered there, and during 
the Cayuse war when the volunteer companies organ 
ized at Portland, and crossing the river took the road 
to Switzler s ferry opposite Vancouver, it began to be 
apparent that it was a more convenient point of de 
parture and arrival in regard to the Columbia than 

16 Deady, in Overland Monthly, i. 36; Nesmith, in Or. Pioneer Assoc., Trans., 
1875, 57. 


Oregon City. But it made no material progress till 
a conjunction of remarkable events in 1848 called it 
into active life and permanent prosperity. Before 
this happened, however, Lovejoyhad sold his interest 
to Benjamin Stark; and Daniel Lownsdale in Sep 
tember of this year purchased Pettygrove s share, 
paying for it $5,000 worth of leather which he had 
made at his tannery adjoining the town-site. The 
two founders of Portland thus transferred their own 
ership, which fell at a fortunate moment into the 
hands of Daniel Lownsdale, Stephen Coffin, and W. 
W. Chapman. 17 

In 1848 Henry Williamson, the same who claimed 
unsuccessfully near Fort Vancouver in 1845, employed 
P. W. Crawford to lay out a town on the present site 
of Vancouver, and about five hundred lots were sur 
veyed, mapped, and recorded in the recorder s books 
at Oregon City, according to the law governing town- 
sites ; the same survey long ruling in laying out streets, 
blocks, and lots. But the prospects for a city were 
blighted by the adverse claim of Amos Short, an 
immigrant of 1847, who settled first at Linnton, then 
removed to Sauve Island where he was engaged in 
slaughtering Spanish cattle, but who finally took six 
hundred and forty acres below Fort Vancouver, Will 
iamson who still claimed the land being absent at the 
time, having gone to Indiana for a wife. The land 
law of Oregon, in order to give young men this oppor 
tunity of fulfilling marriage engagements without 
loss, provided that by paying into the treasury of the 
territory the sum of five dollars a year, they could 
be absent from their claims for two consecutive years, 
or long enough to go to the States and return. 

In Williamson s case the law proved ineffectual. 

17 Lovejoy s Founding of Portland, MS. , passim ; Brigg s Port Toivnsend, 
MS., 9; Sylvester s Olympia, MS., 4, 5; Hancock s Thirteen Years, MS., 94. 
For an account of the subsequent litigation, not important to this history, 
see Burke v. Lownsdale, Appellee s Brief, 12; Or. Laws, 1866, 5-8; Deady s 
Hist. Or., MS., 12-13. Some mention will be made of this in treating of the 
effects of the donation law on town-sites. 


She whom he was to marry died before he reached 
Indiana, and on returning still unmarried, he found 
Short in possession of his claim; and although he was 
at the expense of surveying, and a house was put up 
by William Fellows, who left his property in the 
keeping of one Kellogg, Short gave Williamson so 
much trouble that he finally abandoned the claim and 
went to California to seek a fortune in the mines. 
The cottonwood tree which Crawford made the start 
ing-point of his survey, and which was taken as the 
corner of the United States military post in 1850, 
was standing in 1878. The passage of the donation 
law brought up the question of titles to Vancouver, 
but as these arguments and decisions were not con 
sidered till after the territory of Washington was set 
off from Oregon, I will leave them to be discussed in 
that portion of this work. Astoria, never having 
been the seat of a mission, either Protestant or Cath 
olic, and being on soil acknowledged from the first 
settlement as American, had little or no trouble about 
titles, and it was only necessary to settle with the 
government when a place lor a military post was tem 
porarily required. 

The practice of jumping, as the act of trespassing 
on land claimed by another was called, became more 
common as the time was supposed to approach when 
congress would make the long-promised donation to 
actual settlers, and every man desired to be upon the 
choicest spot within his reach. It did not matter to 
the intruder whether the person displaced were Eng 
lish or American. Any slight flaw in the proceedings 
or neglect in the customary observances rendered the 
claimant liable to be crowded off his land. But when 
these intrusions became frequent enough to attract 
the attention of the right-minded, their will was made 
known at public meetings held in all parts of the ter 
ritory, and all persons were warned against violating 
the rights of others. They were told that if the 


existing law would not prevent trespass the j gisla- 
ture should make one that would prove effectual. 18 
Thus warned, the envious and the grasping were gen 
erally restrained, and claim-jumping never assumed 
alarming proportions in Oregon. Considering the 
changes made every year in the population of the 
country, public sentiment had much weight with the 
people, and self-government attained a position of 

Although no claimant could sell the land he held, 
he could abandon possession and sell the improve 
ments, and the transaction vested in the purchaser all 
the rights of the former occupant. In this manner 
the land changed occupants as freely as if the title 
had been in the original possessor, and no serious in 
convenience was experienced 19 for the want of it. 

Few laws were enacted at the session of 1847, as 
it was believed unnecessary in view of the expected 
near approach of government by the United States. 
But the advancing settlement of the country demand 
ing that the county boundaries should be fixed, and 
new ones created, the legislature of 1847 established 
the counties of Linn and Benton, one extending east 
to the Rocky Mountains, the other west to the Pacific 
Ocean, and both south to the latitude 42. 20 

The construction of a number of roads was also au 
thorized, the longer ones being from Portland to Mary 
River, and from Multnomah City to the same place, 
and across the Cascade Mountains by the way of the 
Santiam River to intercept the old emigrant road in 
the valley of the Malheur, or east of there, from 
which it will be seen that there was still a conviction 
in some minds that a pass existed which would lead 
travellers into the heart of the valley. That no such 
pass was discovered in 1848, or until long after annual 
caravans of wagons and cattle from the States ceased 

18 Or. Spectator, Sept. 30, 1847. 

19 Holders Or. Pioneering, MS., 6. 

20 Or. Laws, 1843-9, 50, 55-G; Benton County Almanac, 1876, 1, 2; Or. 
Pioneer Assoc., Trans., 1875, 59. 


to ck iand it, is also true. 21 But it was a benefit to 
the country at large that a motive existed for annual 
exploring expeditions, each one of which brought 
into notice some new and favorable situations for 
settlements, besides promoting discoveries of its min 
eral resources of importance to its future develop 
ment. 22 

On account of the unusual and late rains in the 
summer of 1847, the large immigration which greatly 
increased the home consumption, and the Cayuse war 
which reduced the number of producers, the colony 
experienced a depression in business and a rise in 
prices which was the nearest approach to financial 
distress which the country had yet suffered. Farm 
ing utensils were scarce and dear, cast-iron ploughs 
selling at forty-five dollars. 23 Other tools were equally 
scarce, often requiring a man who needed an axe to 
travel a long distance to procure one second-hand at 
a high price. This scarcity led to the manufacture 
of axes at Vancouver, for the company s own hunters 
and trappers, before spoken of as exciting the suspi 
cion of the Americans. Nails brought from twenty 
to twenty -five cents per pound; iron twelve and a 
half. Groceries were high, coffee bringing fifty cents 
a pound; tea a dollar and a half; coarse Sandwich 
Island sugar twelve and fifteen cents; common mo 
lasses fifty cents a gallon. Coarse cottons brought 
twenty and twenty -five cents a yard; four -point 
blankets five dollars a single one; but ready-made 
common clothing for men could be bought cheap. 
Flour was selling in the spring for four and five 
dollars a barrel, and potatoes at fifty cents a bushel; 

21 It was discovered within a few years, and is known as Minto s Pass. A 
road leading from Albany to eastern Oregon through this pass was opened 
about 1877. 

22 Mention is made at this early day of discoveries of coal, iron, copper, 
plumbago, mineral paint, and valuable building and lime stone. Thornton s 
Or. and Gal, i. 331-47; S. F. Californian, April 19, 1848. 

23 Brown says: We reaped our wheat mostly with sickles; we made wooden 
mould-boards with a piece of iron for the coulter. Willamette Valley, MS., 6. 


high prices for those times, but destined to become 
higher. 24 

The evil of high prices was aggravated by the 
nature of the currency, which was government scrip, 
orders on merchants, and wheat; the former, though 
drawing interest, being of uncertain value owing to 
the state of the colonial treasury which had never 
contained money equal to the face of the government s 
promises to pay. The law making orders on mer 
chants currency constituted the merchant a banker 
without any security for his solvency, and the value 
of wheat was liable to fluctuation. There were, be 
sides, different kinds of orders. An Abernethy order 
was not good for some articles. A Hudson s Bay 
order might have a cash value, or a beaver-skin value. 
In making a trade a man was paid in Couch, Aber 
nethy, or Hudson s Bay currency, all differing in 
value. 25 The legislature of 1847 so far amended the 


currency act as to make gold and silver the only law 
ful tenddr for the payment of judgments rendered in 
the courts, where no special contract existed to the 
contrary; but making treasury drafts lawful tender 
in payment of taxes, or in compensation for the ser 
vices of the officers or agents of the territory, unless 
otherwise provided by law; and providing that all 
costs of any suit at law should be paid in the same kind 
of money for which judgment might be rendered. 

This relief was rather on the side of the litigants 
than the people at large. Merchants paper was worth 
as much as the standing of the merchant. Nowhere 
in the country, except at the Hudson s Bay Company s 
store, would an order pass at par. 26 The inconvenience 
of paying for the simplest article by orders on wheat 
in warehouse was annoying both to purchaser and 
seller. The first money brought into the country in 
any quantity was a barrel of silver dollars received at 

**S. F. California Star, July 10, 1847; Crawford s Nar., MS., 119-20. 
25 Lovejoy s Portland, MS., 35-6. 
"Briyg tPort Townsend, MS., 11-13. 


Vancouver to be paid in monthly sums to the crew 
of the Modeste* 1 The subsequent overland arrivals 
brought some coin, though not enough ta remedy the 

One effect of the condition of trade in the colony 
was to check credit, which in itself would not have 
been injurious, perhaps, 28 had it not also tended to 
discourage labor. A mechanic who worked for a 
stated price was not willing to take whatever might 
be given him in return for his labor. 29 

Another effect of such a method was to prevent 
vessels coming to Oregon to trade. 30 The number of 

Z1 Roberts Recollections, MS., 21; Ebbert s Trapper s Lift, MS., 40. 

28 Howison relates that he found many families who, rather than incur debt, 
had lived during their first year in the country entirely on boiled wheat and 
salt salmon, the men going without hat or shoes while putting in and harvest 
ing their first crop. Coast and Country, 16. 

29 Moss gives an illustration of this check to industry. A man named 
Anderson was employed by Abernethy in his saw-mill, and labored night and 
day. Abernethy s stock of goods was not large or well graded, and he would 
sell certain articles only for cash, even when his own notes were presented. 
Anderson had purchased part of a beef, \vhich he wished to salt for family 
use, but salt being one of the articles for which cash was the equivalent at 
Abernethy s store, he was refused it, though Abernethy was owing him, and 
he was obliged to go to the fur company s store for it. Pioneer Times, MS., 

30 Herewith I summarize the Oregon ocean traffic for the 14 years since the 
first American settlement, most of which occurrences are mentioned elsewhere. 
The Hudson s Bay Company employed in that period the barks Ganymede, 
Forager, Nereid, Columbia, Cowlitz, Diamond, Vancouver, Wave, Brothers, 
Janet, Admiral Moorsom, the brig Mary Dare, the schooner Cadboro, and the 
steamer Beaver, several of them owned by the company. The Beaver, after 
her first appearance in the river in 1836, was used in the coast trade north 
of the Columbia. The barks Cowlitz, Columbia, Vancouver, and the schooner 
Cadboro crossed the bar of the Columbia more frequently than any other ves 
sels from 1836 to 1848. The captains engaged in the English service were 
Eales, Royal, Home, Thompson, McNeil, Duncan, Fowler, Brotchie, More, 
Darby, Heath, Dring, Flere, Weyington, Cooper, McKnight, Scarborough, and 
Humphreys, who were not always in command of the same vessel. There 
was the annual vessel to and from England, but the others were employed in 
trading along the coast, and between the Columbia River and the Sandwich 
Islands, or California, their voyages extending sometimes to Valparaiso, from 
which parts they brought the few passengers coming to Oregon. 

The first American vessel to enter the Columbia after the arrival of the 
missionaries was the brig Loriot, Captain Bancroft, in Dec. 1836; the second 
the Diana, Captain W. S. Hinckley, May 1837; the third the Lausanne, 
Captain Spaulding, May 1840. None of these came for the purpose of trade. 
There is mention in the 2oth Cong., 3d Sess., U. S. Com. Kept. 101, 58, of 
the ship Joseph Peabody fitting out for the Northwest Coast, but she did not 
enter the Columbia so far as I can learn. In August 1840 the first American 
trader since Wyeth arrived. This was the brig Maryland, Captain John H. 
Couch, from Newburyport, belonging to the house of Gushing Co. She took 
a few fish and left the river in the autumn never to return. In April 1841 


American vessels which brought goods to the Colum 
bia or carried away the products of the colony was 
small. Since 1834 the bar of the Columbia had been 
crossed by American vessels, coming in and going 
out, fifty-four times. The list of American vessels 
entering during this period comprised twenty-two of 

the second trader appeared, the Thomas H. Perkins, Captain Varney. She 
remained through the summer, the Hudson s Bay Company finally purchas 
ing her cargo and chartering the vessel to get rid of her. Then came the U. S. 
exploring expedition the same year, whose vessels did not enter the Columbia 
owing to the loss of the Peacock on the bar. After this disaster Wilkes bought 
the charter and the name of the Perkins was changed to the Oregon, and she 
left the river with the shipwrecked mariners for California. On the 2d of 
April 1842 Captain Couch reappeared with a new vessel, the Chenamus, named 
after the chief of the Chinooks. He brought a cargo of goods which he took 
to Oregon City, where he established the first American trading-house in the 
Willamette Valley, and also a small fishery on the Columbia. She sailed for 
Newburyport in the autumn. On this vessel came Richard Ekin from Liver 
pool to Valparaiso, the Sandwich Islands, and thence to Oregon. He settled 
near Salem and was the first saddle-maker. From which circumstance I call 
his dictation The Saddle-Maker. Another American vessel whose name does 
not appear, but whose captain s name was Chapman, entered the river April 
10th to trade and fish, and remained till autumn. She sold liquor to the Clatsop 
and other savages, and occasioned much discord and bloodshed in spite of the 
protests of the missionaries. In May 1843 the ship Fama, Captain Nye, arrived 
with supplies for the missions. She brought several settlers, namely: Philip Fos 
ter, wife, and 4 children; F. W. Petty grove, wife, and child; Peter F. Hatch, 
wife and child; and Nathan P. Mack. Pettygrove brought a stock of goods and 
began trade at Oregon City. In August of the same year another vessel of the 
Newburyport Company arrived with Indian goods, and some articles of trade 
for settlers. This was the bark Pallas, Captain Sylvester; she remained until 
November, when she sailed for the Islands and was sold there, Sylvester 
returning to Oregon the following April 1844 in the Chenamus, Captain Couch, 
which had made a voyage to Newburyport and returned. She brought from 
Honolulu Horace Hold en and family, who settled in Oregon; also a Mr Cooper, 
wife and boy; Mr and Mrs Burton and 3 children, besides Griffin, Tidd, and 
Goodhue. The Chenamus seems to have made a voyage to the Islands in the 
spring of 1845, in command of Syh ester, and to have left there June 12th 
to return to the Columbia. This was the first direct trade with the Islands. 
The Chenamus brought as passengers Hathaway, Weston, Roberts, John Crank- 
bite, and Elon Fellows. She sailed for Newburyport in the winter of 1845, 
and did not return to Oregon. In the summer of 1844 the British sloop-of- 
war Modeste, Captain Baillie, entered the Columbia and remained a short time 
at Vancouver. On the 31st of July the Belgian ship U Infatigable entered 
the Columbia by the before undiscovered south channel, escaping wreck, to 
the surprise of all beholders. She brought De Smet and a Catholic reenforce- 
ment for the missions of Oregon. In April 1845 the Swedish brig Bull visited 
the Columbia ; she was from China : Shilliber, supercargo. Captain Worn- 
grew remained but a short time. On the 14th of October the Amer 
ican bark, Toulon, Captain Nathaniel Crosby, from New York, arrived 
with goods for Pettygrove s trading-houses in Oregon City and Portland: 
Benjamin Stark jun., supercargo. In September the British sloop-of-war 
Modeste returned to the Columbia, where she remained till June 1847. The 
British ehip-of-war America, Captain Gordon, was in Puget Sound during 
the summer. In the spring of 1846 the Toulon made a voyage to the Ha 
waiian Islands, returning June 24th with a cargo of sugar, molasses, coffee, 


all classes. Of these in the first six years not one 
was a trader; in the following six years seven were 
traders, but only four brought cargoes to sell to 
the settlers, and these of an ill-assorted kind. From 
March 1847 to August 1848 nine different American 
vessels visited the Columbia, of which one brought a 

cotton, woollen, goods, and hardware; also a number of passengers, viz.: Mrs 
Whittaker and 3 children, and Shelly, Armstrong, Rogers, Overton, Norris, 
Brothers, Powell, and French and 2 sons. The Toulon continued to run to 
the Islands for several years. On the 2Gth of June 1846 the American bark 
Moriposa, Captain Parsons, arrived from New York with goods consigned to 
Benjamin Stark jun. , with Mr and Miss Wadsworth as passengers. The Mari- 
posa remained but a few weeks in the river. On the 18th of July the U. S. 
schooner Shark, Captain Neil M. Howison, entered the Columbia, narrowly 
escaping shipwreck on the Chinook Shoal. She remained till Sept., and was 
wrecked going out of the mouth of the river. During the summer the British 
frigate Fisfjard, Captain Duntre, was stationed in Puget Sound. About the 1 at of 
March 1847 the brig Henry, Captain William K. Kilborne, arrived from New- 
buryport for the purpose of establishing a new trading-house at Oregon City. 
The Henry brought as passengers Mrs Kilborne and children; G. W. Lawton, a 
partner in the venture; D. Good, wife, and 2 children; Mrs Wilson and 2 
children; H. Swasey and wife; R. Douglas, D. Markwood, C. C. Shaw, B. 
R. Marcellus, a d S. C. Reeves, who became the first pilot on the Columbia 
River bar. The goods brought by the Henry were of greater variety 
than any stock before it ; but they were also in great part second-hand arti- 
sles of furniture on which an enormous profit was made, but which sold 
readily owing to the great need of stoves, crockery, cabinet-ware, mirrors, 
and other like conveniences of life. The Henry was placed under the com 
mand of Captain Bray, and was employed trading to California and the 
[slands. On the 24th of March the brig (Jommodore Stockton, Captain Young, 
from San Francisco, arrived, probably for lumber, as she returned in April. 
The Stockton was the old Pallas renamed. On the 14th of June the American 
ship Brutus, Captain Adams, from Boston and San Francisco, arrived, and 
remained in the river several weeks for a cargo. On the 22d of the same 
month the American bark Whiton, Captain Gelston, from Monterey, arrived, 
also for a cargo; and on the 27th the American ship Mount Vernon, Captain 
0. J. Given, from Oahu, also entered the river. By the Whiton there came 
as settlers Rev. William Roberts, wife and 2 children, Rev. J. H. Wilbur, 
wife, and daughter, Edward F. Folger, Richard Andrews, George Whitlock, 
and J. M. Stanley, the latter a painter seeking Indian studies for pictures. 
The Whiton returned to California and made another visit to the Columbia 
River in September. On the 13th of August there arrived from Brest, France, 
the bark UEtoile du Matin, Captain Menes, with Archbishop Blanchet and a 
Catholic reeni orcement of 21 persons, viz.: Three Jesuit priests, Gaetz, 
Gazzoli, Menestrey, and 3 lay brothers; 5 secular priests, Le Bas, Mc- 
Cormick, Deleveau, Pretot, and Veyret; 2 deacons, B. Delorme, and J. F. 
Jayol; and one cleric, T. Mesplie; and 7 sisters of Notre Dame cle Namur. 
Captain Menes afterwards engaged in merchandising in Oregon. U&toile du 
Matin was wrecked on the bar. On the 10th of March 1848 the U. S. trans 
port Anita, Midshipman Woodworth in command, arrived in the Columbia to 
recuit for the army in Mexico, and remained until the 22d of April. About 
this time the American brig Eveline, Captain Goodwin, entered the Columbia 
for a cargo of lumber; she left the river May 7th. The Hawaiian schooner 
Mary Ann, Captain Belcham, was also in the river in April. The 8th of May 
the Hudson s Bay Company s bark Vancouver, Captain Duncan, was lost after 
crossing the bar, with a cargo from London vaLu4 at 30,000, and unin- 
HWT. OK., VOL. II. 2 


stock of general merchandise, and the rest had come 
for provisions and lumber, chiefly for California. All 
the commerce of the country not carried on by these 
few vessels, most of them arriving and departing but 
once, was enjoyed by the British fur company, whose 
barks formed regular lines to the Sandwich Islands, 
California, and Sitka. 

It happened that during 1846, the year following 
the incoming of three thousand persons, n,ot a single 
ship from the Atlantic ports arrived at Oregon with 
merchandise, and that all the supplies for the year 
were brought from the Islands by the Toulon, the 
sole American vessel owned by an Oregon company, 
the Chenamus having gone home. This state of 
affairs occasioned much discontent, and an examina 
tion into causes. The principal grievance presented 
was the rule of the Hudson s Bay Company, which 
prohibited their vessels from carrying goods for per 
sons not concerned with them. But the owners of 
the only two American vessels employed in transpor 
tation between the Columbia and other ports had 

sured. She was in charge of the pilot, but missed stays when too near the 
south sands, and struck where the Shark was wrecked 2 years before. On the 
27th of July the American schooner Honolulu, Captain Newell, entered the 
Columbia for provisions; and about the same time the British war-ship Con 
stance, Captain Courtenay, arrived in Puget Sound. The Hawaiian schooner 
Starling, Captain Menzies, arrived the 10th of August in the river for a cargo 
of provisions. The Henry returned from California at the same time, with the 
news of the gold-discovery, which discovery opened a new era in the traffic of 
the Columbia. The close of the period was marked by the wreck of the whale- 
ship Maine, Captain Netcher, with 1,400 barrels of whale-oil, 150 of sperm-oil, 
and 14,000 pounds of bone. She had been two years from Fairhaven, Mass., 
and was a total loss. The American schooner Maria, Captain De Witt, was 
in the river at the same time, for a cargo of flour for San Francisco; also the 
sloop Peacock, Captain Gier; the brig Sabine, Captain Crosby ; and the schooner 
Ann, Captain Melton; all for cargoes of flour and lumber for San Francisco. 
Later in the summer the Harpooner, Captain Morice, was in the river. The 
sources from which I have gleaned this information are McLoughlin a Private 
Papers, 2d ser., MS.; Douglas 1 Private Papers, 2d ser., MS; a list made 
by Joseph Hardisty of the Hudson s Bay Company, and published in the 
Or. Spectator, Aug. 19, 1851; Parker s Journal; Kelley s Colonization of Or.; 
Townsend s Nar.; Lee and Front s Or. ; Hines Or. Hist.; 27th Cong., 3d Sess., 
H. Com. Rept. 31, 37; Niks Reg., Ixi. 320; Wilkes Nar. U. S. E.rplor. Ex., 
iv. 312; Athcy s Workshops, MS., 3; Honolulu Friend; Monthly Shipping List; 
Petty: trove s Or., MS., 10; Victor s River of the West, 392, 398; Honolulu News 
Shipping List, 1848; Sylvester s Olympia, MS., 1-4; Deady s Scrap-booh, 140; 
Jlonolulu Gazette, Dec. 3, 1836; Honolulu Po ynexian, i. 10, 39, 51, 54; Mack s 
Or., MS., 2; Blanche? s Hist. Cath. Church in Or., 143, 158. 


adopted the same rule, and refused to carry wheat, 
lumber, or any other productions of the country, for 
private individuals, having freight enough of their 

The granaries and flouring -mills of the country 
were rapidly becoming overstocked; lumber, laths, and 
shingles were being made much faster than they could 
be disposed of, and there was no way to rid the colony 
of the over-production, while money was absolutely 
required for certain classes of goods. As it was de 
clared by one of the leading colonists, "the best families 
in the country are eating their meals and drinking 
their tea and coffee when our merchants can afford 
it from tin plates and cups; 31 many articles of cloth 
ing and other things actually necessary for our con 
sumption are not to be purchased in the country; our 
children are growing up in ignorance for want of 
school-books to educate them ; and there has not been 
a plough-mould in the country for many months." 

In the autumn of 1845 salt became scarce, and was 
raised in price from sixty-two and a half cents a bushel 
to two dollars at McLoughlin s store in Oregon City. 
The American merchants, Stark and Pettygrove, saw 
an opportunity of securing a monopoly of the salmon 
trade by withholding their salt, a cash article, from 
market, at any price, and many families were thereby 
compelled to dispense with this condiment for months. 
Such was the enmity of the people, however, toward 
McLoughlin as a British trader, that it was seriously 
proposed in Yarnhill County to take by force the salt 
of the doctor, who was selling it, rather than to rob 
the American merchants who refused to sell. 32 

It was deemed a hardship while flour brought from 
ten to fifteen dollars a barrel in the Hawaiian Islands, 

31 McCarver, in Or. Spectator, July 4, 1846. Thornton says Mr Waymire 
paid Pettygrove, at Portland, $2.50 for 6 very plain cups and saucers, which 
could be had in the States for 25 cents; and the same for 6 very ordinary and 
plain plates. Wheat at that time was worth $1 per bushel. Or. and Cal., ii. 

32 Bacon s Merc. Life in Or. City, MS., 22. 


and New York merchants made a profit by shipping 
it from Atlantic ports where wheat was worth more 
than twice its Oregon price, that for want of shipping, 
the fur company and two or three American mer 
chants should be privileged to enjoy all the benefits 
of such a market, the farmers at the same time being 
kept in debt to the merchants by the low price of 
wheat. Many long articles were published in the 
Spectator exhibiting the enormous injury sustained on 
the one hand and the extraordinary profits enjoyed 
on the other, some of which were answered by James 
Douglas, who was annoyed by these attacks, for it 
was always the British and not the American traders 
who were blamed for taking advantage of their oppor 
tunity. The fur company had no right to avail them 
selves of the circumstances causing fluctuation; only 
the Americans might fatten themselves on the wants 
of the people. If the fur company kept down the 
price of wheat, the American merchants forced up the 
price of merchandise, and if the former occasionally 
made out a cargo by carrying the flour or lumber of 
their neighbors to the Islands, they charged them as 
much as a vessel coming all the way out from New 
York would do, and for a passage to Honolulu one 
hundred dollars. In the summer of 1846 the super 
cargo of the Toulon, Benjamin Stark, jun., after carry 
ing out flour for Abernethy, refused to take the return 
freight except upon such terms as to make acceptance 
out of the question; his object being to get his own 
goods first to market and obtain the price consequent 
on the scarcity of the supply. 33 Palmer relates that 
the American merchants petitioned the Hudson s Bay 
Company to advance their prices; and that it was 
agreed to sell to Americans at a higher price than 
that charged to their own people, an arrangement that 
lasted for two years. 34 

83 Or. Spectator, July 23, 1846; Howison s Coast and Country, MS., 21; 
Waldo s Critiques, MS., 18. 

81 Palmer s Journal, 117-18; Roberts Recollections, MS., 67. 


The colonists felt that instead of bein<y half- clad, 


and deprived of the customary conveniences of living, 
they ought to be selling from the abundance of their 
farms to the American fleet in the Pacific, and 
reaching out toward the islands of the ocean and to 
China with ships of their own. To remedy the evil 
and bring about the result aspired to, a plan was pro 
posed through the Spectator, whereby without money 
a joint-stock company should be organized for carry 
ing on the commerce of the colony in opposition to 
the merchants, British or American. This plan was 
to make the capital stock consist of six hundred 
thousand or eight hundred thousand bushels of wheat 
divided into shares of one hundred bushels each. 
When the stock should be taken and officers elected, 
bonds should be executed for as much money as 
would buy or build a schooner and buy or erect a 

A meeting was called for the 16th of January 1847, 
to be held at the Methodist meeting-house in Tuala 
tin plains. Two meeting were held, but the conclu 
sion arrived at was adverse to a chartered company ; 
the plan adopted for disposing of their surplus wheat 
being to select and authorize an agent at Oregon City 
to receive and sell the grain, and import the goods 
desired by the owners. A committee was chosen to 
consider proposals from persons bidding, and Governor 
Abernethy was selected as miller, agent, and importer. 
Twenty-eight shares were taken at the second meet 
ing in Yamhill. An invitation was extended to other 
counties to hold meetings, correspond, and fit them 
selves intelligently to carry forward the project, which 
ultimately would bring about the formation of a char 
tered company. 35 The scheme appeared to be on the 

33 The leaders in the movement seem to have been E. Lennox, M. M. Mc- 
Carver, David Hill, J. L. Meek, Lawrence Hall, J. S. Griffin, and Caffen- 
burg of Yamhill; David Leslie, L. H. Judson, A. A. Robinson, J. S. Smith, 
Charles Bennett, J. B. McClane, Robert Newell, T. J. Hubbard, and E. 
Dupuis of Champoeg. Or. Spectator, March 4 and April 29, 1847; S. F. Cali 
fornia Star, Feb. 27, 1847. 


way to success, when an unlooked-for check was re 
ceived in the loss of a good portion of the year s crop, 
by late rains which damaged the grain in the fields. 
This deficiency was followed by the large immigration 
of that year which raised the price of wheat to double 
its former value, and rendered unnecessary the plan of 
exporting it; while the Cayuse war, following closely 
upon these events, absorbed much of the surplus 
means of the colony. 

Previous to 1848 the trade of Oregon was with the 
Hawaiian Islandsprincipally, and the exports amounted 
in 1847 to $54,784.99. 36 This trade fell off in 1848 
to $14,986.57; not on account of a decrease in ex 
ports which had in fact been largely augmented, as 
the increase in the shipping shows, but from being 
diverted to California by the American conquest and 
settlement; the demand for lumber and flour begin 
ning some months before the discovery of gold. 37 

The colonial period of Oregon, which may be likened 
to man s infancy, and which had struggled through 
numerous disorders peculiar to this phase of existence, 
had still to contend against the constantly recurring 
nakedness. From the fact that down to the close of 
1848 only five ill-assorted cargoes of American goods 
had arrived from Atlantic ports, 38 which were partially 

36 Polynesian, iv. 135. I notice an advertisement in S. 7. Friend, April 
1845, where Albert E. Wilson, at Astoria, offers his services as commission 
merchant to persons at the Islands. 

37 Thornton s Or. and Cat., ii. 63. 

38 The cargo of the Toulon, the last and largest supply down to the close of 
1845, consisted of 20 cases wooden clocks, 20 bbls. dried apples, 3 small mills, 
1 doz. crosscut-saws, mill-saws and saw-sets, mill-cranks, ploughshares, and 
[ itchforks, 1 winno wing-machine, 100 casks of cut nails, 50 boxes saddler s 
tacks, b boxes carpenter s tools, 12 doz. hand-axes, 20 boxes manufactured 
tobacco, 5,000 cigars, 50 kegs white lead, 100 kegs of paint, i doz. medicine- 
chests, 50 bags Rio coffee, 25 bags pepper, 200 boxes soap, 50 cases boots and 
shoes, 6 cases slippers, 50 cane-seat chairs, 40 doz. wooden-seat chairs, 50 doz. 
sarsaparilla, 10 bales sheetings, 4 cases assorted prints, one bale damask tartan 
shawls, 5 pieces striped jeans, 6 doz. satinet jackets, 12 doz. linen duck pants, 
10 doz. cotton duck pants, 12 doz. red flannel shirts, 200 dozen cotton hand 
kerchiefs, 6 cases white cotton flannels, 6 bales extra heavy indigo-blue cot 
ton, 2 cases negro prints, 1 case black velveteen, 4 bales Mackinaw blankets, 
150 casks and bbls. molasses, 450 bags sugar, etc., for sale at reduced prices 
for cash. Or. Spectator, Feb. 5, 1846. 


replenished by purchases of groceries made in the 
Sandwich Islands, and that only the last cargo, that 
of the Henry in 1847, brought out any assortment of 
goods for women s wear, 89 it is strikingly apparent 
that the greatest want in Oregon was the want of 

The children of some of the foremost men in the 
farming districts attended school with but a single gar 
ment, which was made of coarse cotton sheeting dyed 
with copperas a tawny yellow. During the Cayuse 
\var some young house-keepers cut up their only pair 
of sheets to make shirts for their husbands. Some 
women, as well as men, dressed in buckskin, and in 
stead of in ermine justice was forced to appear in blue 
shirts and with bare feet. 40 And this notwithstanding 
the annual ship-load of Hudson s Bay goods. In 1848 
not a single vessel loaded with goods for Oregon 
entered the river, and to heighten the destitution the 
fur company s bark Vancouver was lost at the en 
trance to the river on the 8th of May, with a valuable 
cargo of the articles most in demand, which were agri 
cultural implements and dry-goods, in addition to the 
usual stock in trade. Instead of the wives and daugh 
ters of the colonists being clad in garments becoming 
their sex and position, the natives of the lower Columbia 
decked in damaged English silks 41 picked up along the 
beach, gathered in great glee their summer crop of 
blackberries among the mountains. The wreck of the 
Vancouver was a great shock to the colony. A large 
amount of grain had been sown in anticipation of the 

39 The Henry brought silks, mousseline de laines, cashemeres, d dcosse, 
balzarines, muslins, lawns, brown and bleached cottons, cambrics, tartan and 
net- wool shawls, ladies and misses cotton hose, white and colored, cotton and 
silk handkerchiefs. Id., April 1, 184t>: 

40 These facts I have gathered from conversations with many of the pio 
neers. They have also been alluded to in print by Burnett, Adams, Moss, 
Nesmith, and Minto, and in most of the manuscript authorities. Moss tells 
an anecdote of Straight when he was elected to the legislature in 1845. He 
had no coat, and was distressed on account of the appearance he should make 
in a striped shirt. Moss having just been so fortunate as to have a coat made 
by a taUor sold it to him fur $40 in scrip, which has never been redeemed. 
Pioneer Times, MS., 43-4. 

"Crawford s Nar., MS., 147; S. F. Calif ornian, May 24, 1848. 


demand in California for flour, which it would be im 
possible to harvest with the means at hand; and al 
though by some rude appliances the loss was partially 
overcome it could not be wholly redeemed. To add to 
their misfortunes, the whale-ship Maine was wrecked 
at the same place on the 23d of August, by which the 
gains of a two years cruise were lost, together with 
the ship. 

The disaster to this second vessel was a severe blow 
to the colonists, who had always anticipated great 
profits from making the Columbia River a rendezvous 
for the whaling-fleet on the north-west coast. Some 
of the owners in the east had recommended their sail 
ing-masters to seek supplies in Oregon, out of a desire 
to assist the colonists. But it was their ill-fortune to 
have the first whaler attempting entrance broken up 
on the sands where two United States vessels, the 
Peacock and Shark, had been lost. 42 Ever since the 
wreck of the Shark eiforts had been made to inaug 
urate a proper system of pilotage on the bar, and 
one of the constant petitions to congress was for a 
steam-tug. In the absence of this benefit the Oregon 
legislature in the winter of 1846 passed an act estab 
lishing pilotage on the bar of the Columbia, creating 
a board of commissioners, of which the governor was 
one, with power to choose four others, who should 
examine and appoint suitable persons as pilots. 43 

The first American pilot was S. C. Reeves, who 
arrived in the brig Henry from Newburyport, in 
March 1847, and was appointed in April. 44 He went 
immediately to Astoria to study the channel, and was 
believed to be competent. 45 But the disaster of 1848 

42 During the winter of 1845-6, 4 American whalers were lying at Vancou 
ver Island, the ships Morrison of Mass. , Louise of Conn. , and 2 others. Six 
seamen deserted in a whale-boat, but the Indians would not allow them to 
land, and being compelled to put to sea a storm arose and 3 of them per 
ished, Robert Church, Frederick Smith, and Rice of New London. Niles* 
Re<j., Ixx. 341. 

43 Or. Spectator, Jan. 7, 1847; Or. Laws, 1843-9, 46. 

44 The 8. /. Friend of Feb. 1849 said that the first and third mates of the 
Maine had determined to remain in Oregon as pilots. 

45 The Hudson s Bay Company had no pilots and no charts, and wanted 


caused him to be censured, and removed on the charge 
of conniving at the wreck of the Vancouver for the 
sake of plunder; a puerile and ill-founded accusation, 
though his services might well be dispensed with on 
the ground of incompetency. 48 

If the sands of the bar shifted so much that there 
were six fathoms in the spring of 1847 where there 
were but two and a half in 1846, as was stated by 
captains of vessels, 47 1 see no reason for doubting that 
a sufficient change may have taken place in the winter 
of 1847-8, to endanger a vessel depending upon the 
wind. But however great the real dangers of the Co 
lumbia bar, and perhaps because they were great, 48 the 

none, though they had lost 2 vessels, the William and Ann, in 1828, and 
the Isabella in 1830, in entering the river. Their captains learned the north 
channel and used it; and one of their mates, Latta, often acted as pilot to new 
arrivals. Parrish says, that in 1840 Captain Butler of the Sandwich Islands, 
who came on board the Lausanne to take her over the Columbia Bar, had not 
been in the Columbia for 27 years. Or. Anecdotes, MS., 6, 7. After coining 
into Baker Bay the ship was taken in charge by Birnie as far as Astoria, 
and from there to Vancouver by a Chinook Indian called George or King 
George, who knew the river tolerably well. A great deal of time was lost 
waiting for this chance pilotage. See Townsend s Nar., 180. 

46 The first account of the wreck in the Spectator of May 18, 1848, fully 
exonerates the pilot; but subsequent published statements in the same paper 
for July 27th, speak of the removal on charges preferred against him and 
others, of secreting goods from the wreck. Reeves went to California in the 
autumn in an open boat with two spars carried on the sides as outriggers, as 
elsewhere mentioned. In Dec. he returned to Oregon in charge of the Span 
ish bark Jtiven Guipuzcoana, which was loaded with lumber, flour, and pas 
sengers, and sailed again for San Francisco in March. He became master of a 
small sloop, the Flora, which capsized in Suisun Bay, while carrying a party 
to the mines, in May 1849, by which he, a young man named Loomis, from 
Oregon, and several others were drowned. Crawford s Nar., MS., 191. 

47 Howison declared that the south channel was almost closed up in 1846, 
yet in the spring of 1847 Reeves took the brig Henry out through it, and con 
tinued to use it during the summer. Or. Spectator, Oct. 14, 1847; Hunt s 
Merck. May., xxiii. 358, 560-1. 

48 Kelley and Slacum both advocated an artificial mouth to the Columbia. 
25th Cong., 3d Sess., H. Com. Kept. 101, 41, 56. Wilkes reported rather 
adversely than otherwise of its safety. Howison charged that Wilkes charts 
were worthless, not because the survey was not properly made, but because 
constant alterations were going on which rendered frequent surveys neces 
sary, and also the constant explorations of resident pilots. Coast and Coun 
try, MS., 8-9. About the time of the agitation of the Oregon Question in the 
United States and England, much was said of the Columbia bar. A writer 
in the Edinburgh Review, July 1845, declared the Columbia inaccessible for 
8 months of the year. Twiss, in his Or. Ques., 370, represented the entrance 
to the Columbia as dangerous. A writer in ffiilfii 1 Recj. , Ixx. 284, remarked 
that from all that had been said and printed on the subject for several years 
the impression was given that the mouth of the Columbia was so dangerous 
to navigate as to be nearly inaccessible. Findlay s Directory, i. 357-71; 8. /. 


colonists objected to having them magnified by rumor 
rather than alleviated by the means usual in such 
cases, and while they discharged Reeves, they used 
the Spectator freely to correct unfavorable impressions 
abroad. There were others who had been employed 
as branch pilots, and who still exercised their vocation, 
and certain captains who became pilots for their own 
or the vessels of others; 49 but there was a time fol 
lowing Reeves dismissal, when the shipping which 
soon after formed a considerable fleet in the Colum 
bia, ran risks enough to vindicate the character of the 
harbor, even though as sometimes happened a vessel 
was lost at the mouth of the river. 

Friend, Nov. 2, 184G; Id., March 15, June 1, 1847; Album Mexicana, i. 573-4; 
S. F. Polynesian, iv. 1 10; S. F. Califorman, Sept. 2, 1848; Thorntons Or. and Cat., 
i. 305; Ni!t8\ Reg., Ixix. 381. Senator Benton was the first to take up the 
championship of the river, which he did in a speech delivered May 28, 1846. 
He showed that while Wilkes narrative fostered a poor opinion of the entrance 
to the Columbia, the chart accompanying the narrative showed it to be good; 
and the questions he put in writing to James Blair, son of Francis P. Blair, 
one of the midshipmen who surveyed it (the others were Reynolds and Knox), 
proved the same. Further, he had consulted John Maginn, for 18 years pilot 
at New York, and then president of the New York association of pilots, 
who had a bill on pilotage before congress, and had asked him to compare the 
entrance of New York harbor with that of the Columbia, to which Maginn 
had distinctly returned answer that the Columbia had far the better entrance 
in everything that constituted a good harbor. Cot/fj. Globe, 1845-6, 915; Id., 
921-2. When Vancouver surveyed the river in 1792 there existed but one 
channel. In 1839 when Belcher surveyed it 2 channels existed, and Sand 
Island was a mile and a half long, covering an area of 4 square miles, where 
in Vancouver s time there were 5 fathoms of water. In 1841 Wilkes found 
the south channel closed with accretions from Clatsop Spit, and the middle 
sands had changed their shape. In 1844, as we have seen, it was open, and 
in 1846 almost closed again, but once more open in 1847. Subsequent gov 
ernment surveys have noted many changes. In 1850 the south channel was 
in a new place, and ran in a different direction from the old one; in 1852 the 
new channel was fully cut out, and the bar had moved three fourths of a 
mile eastward with a wider entrance, and 3 feet more water. The north 
channel had contracted to half its width at the bar, with its northern line. on 
the line of 1850. The depth was reduced, but there was still one fathom 
more of water than on the south bar; and other changes had taken place. In 
1859 the south channel was again closed, and again in 1868 discovered to be 
open, with a fathom more water than in the north channel, which held pretty 
nearly its former position. From these observations it is manifest that the 
north channel maintains itself with but slight changes, while the south chan 
nel is subject to variations, and the middle sands and Clatsop and Chinook 
spits are constantly shifting. Report of Bvt. Major Gillespie, Engineer Corps, 
U. S. A., Dec. 18, 1878, in Dally Astorian. 

49 Captain N. Crosby is spoken of as taking vessels in and out of the river. 
This gentleman became thoroughly identified with the interests of Oregon, 
and especially of Portland, and of shipping, and did much to establish a trade 
with China. 


In the matter of interior transportation there was 
not in 1848 much improvement over the Indian canoe 
or the fur company s barge and bateau. The maritime 
industries seem rather to have been neglected in early 
times on the north-west coast notwithstanding its 
natural features seemed to suggest the usefulness if 
not the necessity of seamanship and nautical science. 
Since the building of the little thirty-ton schooner 
Dolly at Astoria in 1811 for the Pacific Fur Com 
pany, few vessels of any description had been con 
structed in Oregon. Kelley related that he saw in 
1834 a ship-yard at Vancouver where several vessels 
had been built, and where ships were repaired/ which 
is likely enough, but they were small and clumsy 
affairs, 51 and few probably ever went to sea. Some 
barges and a sloop or two are mentioned by the 
earliest settlers as on the rivers carrying wheat from 
Oregon City to Vancouver, which served also to con 
vey families of settlers down the Columbia. 52 The 
Star of Oregon built in the Willamette in 1841, was 
the second vessel belonging to Americans constructed 
in these waters. 

The first vessel constructed by an individual owner, 
or for colonial trade, was a sloop of twenty-five tons, 
built in 1845 by an Englishman named Cook, and 
called the Calapooya. I have also mentioned that she 
proved of great service to the immigrants of that year 
on the Columbia and Lower Willamette. The first keel- 
boats above the falls were owned by Robert Newell, 
and built in the winter of 1845-6, to ply between Ore- 

50 25th Cong., 3d Seas., H. Sup. Kept. 101, 59. 

51 The schooner (not the bark) Vancouver was built at Vancouver in 1829. 
She was about 150 tons burden, and poorly constructed; and was lost on Rose 
Spit at the north end of the Queen Charlotte Island in 1834. Captain Dun 
can ran her aground in open day. The crew got ashore on the mainland, and 
reached Fort Simpson, Nass River, in June. Robert^ He collections, MS., 43. 

* 2 Mack s Or., MS., 2; Ebberttt Trapper s Life, MS., 44; Or. Spectator, 
April 16, 1846. There is mention in the Spectator of June 25, 1846, of the 
launching at Vancouver of T/ie Prince of Wales, a vessel of 70 feet keel, 18 
feet beam, 14 feet below, with a tonnage register of 74. She was constructed 
by the company s ship - builder, Scarth, and christened by Miss Douglas, 
escorted by Captain Baillie of the Modeste, amidst a large concourse of people. 


gon City and Champoeg, the Mogul and the Ben 
Franklin. From the fact that the fare was one dollar 
in orders, and fifty cents in cash, may be seen the esti 
mation in which the paper currency of the time was 
held. Other similar craft soon followed, 53 and were 
esteemed important additions to the comfort of trav 
ellers, as well as an aid to business. Other transpor 
tation than that by water there was none, except the 
slow-moving ox-wagon. 54 Stephen H. L. Meek ad 
vertised to take freight or passengers from Oregon 
City to Tualatin plains by such a conveyance, the 
wagon being a covered one, and the team consist 
ing of eight oxen. 55 Medorum Crawford transported 
goods or passengers around the falls at Oregon City 
for a number of years with ox-teams. 66 

The men in the valley from the constant habit of 
being so much on horseback became very good riders. 
The Canadian young men and women were especially 
fine equestrians and sat their lively and often vicious 
Cayuse horses as if part of the animal; and on Sun 
day, when in gala dress, they made a striking appear 
ance, being handsome in form as well as graceful riders. 57 
The Americans also adopted the custom of loping 
practised by the horsemen of the Pacific coast, which 
gave the rider so long and easy a swing, and carried 
him so fast over the ground. They also became 
skilful in throwing the lasso and catching wild, cat 
tle. Indeed, so profitable was cattle-raising, and so 

63 Or. Spectator, May28, 1846. TheGreat Western ran in opposition to Newell s 
boats in May; and two other clinker-built boats were launched in the same month 
to run between Oregon City and Portland. In June following I notice men 
tion of the Salt River Packet, Captain Gray, plying between Oregon and Astoria 
with passengers. Id., June 11, 184G; Brown s Will. Valley, MS., 30; Bacon s 
Merc. Life Or. City, MS., 12; Weed s Queen Charlotte I. Exped., MS., 3. 

54 Brown, in his Willamette Valley, MS., 6, says that before 1849 there was 
not a span of horses harnessed to a wagon in the territory; and that the first 
set of harness he saw was brought from California. On account of the 
roadless condition of the country at its first settlement, horses were little used 
in harness, but it is certain that many horse-teams came across the plains 
whose harnesses may c having been hanging unused, or made into gearing for 
riding-animals or for horses doing farm -work. 

55 Or. Spectator, Oct. 29, 1840. 

66 Crawford s Missionaries, MS., 13-15. 

^Minto s Early Days, MS., 31. 


agreeable the free life of the herdsman or owner of 
stock, who flitted over the endless green meadows, clad 
in fringed buckskin, with Spanish spurs jingling on 
his heels, and a crimson silk scarf tied about the 
waist, 58 that to aspiring lads the life of a vaquero of 
fered attractions superior to those of soil-stirring. 

He who would a wooing go, if unable to return the 
same day, carried his blankets, and at night threw 
himself upon the floor and slept till morning, when he 
might breakfast before leave-taking. 

If there were none of the usual means of travel, 
neither were there mail facilities till 1848. Letters 
were carried by private persons, who received pay or 
not according to circumstances. The legislature of 
1845 in December enacted a law establishing a gen 
eral post-office at Oregon City, with W. G. TVault 59 
as postmaster-general, but the funds of the provisional 
government were too scanty and the settlements too 
scattered to make it possible to carry out the inten 
tion of the act. 60 

68 If we may believe some of these same youths, no longer young, they were 
not always so gayly apparelled and mounted. Says one: We rode with a 
rawhide saddle, bridle, and lasso. The bit was Spanish, the stirrups wooden, 
the sinch horse-hair, and over all these, rider and all, was a blanket with a 
hole in it through which the head of the rider protruded. Quite a suitable 
costume for rainy weather. McMinnville Reporter, Jan. 4, 1877. 

c9 W. G. T Vault was born in Arkansas, whence he removed to Illinois in 
1843, and to Oregon in 1844. He was a lawyer, energetic and adventurous, 
foremost in many exploring expeditions, and also a strong partisan with 
southern-democracy proclivities. He possessed literary abilities and had 
something to do with early newspapers, first with the Spectator, as president 
of the Oregon printing association, and as its first editor; afterward as editor of 
the Table Rock Sentinel, the first newspaper in southern Oregon; and later of 
The Intelligencer* He was elected to the legislature in 1840. After the 
establishment of the territory he was again elected to the legislature, being 
speaker of the house in 1858. He was twice prosecuting attorney of the 1st 
judicial district, comprising Jackson County, to which he had removed after 
the discovery of gold in Rogue River Valley, and held other public positions. 
When the mining excitement was at its height in Idaho, he was practising 
his profession and editing the Index in Silver City. Toward the close of 
his life, he deteriorated through the influence of his political associations, and 
lost caste among his fellow-pioneers. He died of small-pox at Jacksonville in 
18G9. Daily Salem Unionist, Feb. 1869; Deathfs Scrap-book, 122; Jacksonville, 
Or., Sentinel, Feb. 6, 1869; Dallas Polk Co. Signal, Feb. 16, 1869. 

60 By the post-office act, postage on letters of a single sheet conveyed for a 
distance not exceeding 30 miles was fixed at 15 cents; over and not exceeding 
80 miles, 25 cents; over and not exceeding 200 miles, 30 cents; 200 miles, 50 
cents. Newspapers, each 4 cents. The postmaster-general was to receive 10 


The first contract let was to Hugh Burns in the 
spring of 1846, who was to carry the mail once to 
Weston, in Missouri, for fifty cents a single sheet. 
After a six months trial the postmaster-general had 
become assured that the office was not remunerative, 
the expense of sending a semi-monthly mail to each 
county south of the Columbia having been borne 
chiefly by private subscription; and advertised that 
the mail to the different points would be discontinued, 
but that should any important news arrive at Oregon 
City, it would be despatched to the several offices. 
The post-office law, however, remained in force as 
far as practicable but no regular mail service was in 
augurated until the autumn of 1847, when the United 
States department gave Oregon a deputy-postmaster 
in John M. Shively, and a special agent in Cornelius 
Gilliam. The latter immediately advertised for pro 
posals for carrying the mail from Oregon City to 
Astoria and back, from the same to Mary River 61 and 
back, including intermediate offices, and from the same 
to Fort Vancouver, Nisqually, and Admiralty Inlet. 
From this time the history of the mail service belongs 
to another period. 

The social and educational affairs of the colony had 
by 1848 begun to assume shape, after the fashion of 
older communities. The first issue of the Spectator 
contained a notice for a meeting of masons to be held 
the 21st of February 1846, to adopt measures for 
obtaining a charter for a lodge. The notice was issued 
by Joseph Hull, P. G. Stewart, and William P. 
Dougherty. A charter was issued by the grand lodge 
of Missouri on the 19th of October 1846, to Mult- 
nomah lodge, No. 84, in Oregon City. This charter 

per cent of all moneys by him received and paid out. The act was made con 
formable to the United States laws regulating the post-office department, so 
far as they were applicable to the condition of Oregon. Or. Spectator, Feb. 
5, 1846. See T Vault s instructions to postmasters, in Id., March 5, 1846. 

til Mary River signified to where Corvallis now stands. When that town 
was first laid off it was called Marysville. 


was brought across the plains in an emigrant wagon 
in 1848, intrusted to the care of P. B. Cornwall, who 
turning off to California placed it in charge of Orrin 
Kellogg, who brought it safely to Oregon City and 
delivered it to Joseph Hull. Under this authority 
Multnomah lodge was opened September 11, 1848, 
Joseph Hull, W. M.; W. P. Dougherty, S. W., and 
T. C. Cason, J. W. J. C. Ainsworth was the first 
worshipful master elected under this charter. 62 

A dispensation for establishing an Odd Fellows 
lodge was also applied for in 1846, but not obtained 
till 1852. 63 The Multnomah circulating library was 
a chartered institution, with branches in the different 
counties; and the members of the Falls Association, 
a literary society which seems to have been a part of 
the library scheme, contributed to the Spectator prose 
and verse of no mean quality. 

The small and scattered population and the scarcity 
of school-books were serious drawbacks to education. 
Continuous arrivals, and the printing of a large 
edition of Webster s Elementary Spelling Book by the 
Oregon printing association, removed some of the 
obstacles to advancement 64 in the common schools. 
Of private schools and academies there were already 
several besides the Oregon Institute and the Cath 
olic schools. Of the latter there were St Joseph 65 for 

62 Address of Grand Master Chad wick, in Yreka Union, Jan. 17, 1874; 
Seattle Tribune, Aug. 27, 1875; Olympla Transcript, Aug. 2, 1875. 

63 This was on account of the miscarriage of the warrant, which was sent 
to Oregon in 1847 by way of Honolulu, but which did not reach there, the 
person to whom it was sent, Gilbert Watson, dying at the Islands in 1848. 
A. V. Fraser, who was sent out by the government in the following year to 
supervise the revenue service on the Pacific coast, was then appointed a special 
commissioner to establish the order in California and Oregon; but the gold 
discoveries gave him so much to do that he did not get to Oregon, and it was 
not until 3 years afterward that Chemeketa lodge No. 1 was established at 
Salem. The first lodge at Portland was instituted in 1853. E. M. Barnum s 
Early Hist. Odd Fellowship in Or., in Jour, of Proceedings of Grand Lod<ie 
I. 0. 0. F. for 1877, 2075-84; H. H. Gilfrey in same, 2085; C. D. Moore s 
Historical Review of Odd Fellowship in Or., 25th Anniversary of Chemeketa 
Lodge, Dec. 1877; S. F. New Age, Jan. 7, 1865; Constitution, etc., Portland, 

64 S. I. Friend, Sept. 1847, 140; Or. Fvrctator, Feb. 18, 1847. 

65 Named after Joseph La Roque of Paris who furnished the funds for its 
erection. DeSmet s Or. Hiss., 41. 


boys at St Paul on French Prairie, and two schools 
for girls, one at Oregon City and one at St Mary, 
taught by the sisters of Notre Dame. An academy 
known as Jefferson Institute was located in La Creole 
Valley near the residence of Nathaniel Ford, who 
was one of the trustees. William Beagle and James 
Howard were the others, and J. E. Lyle principal. 
On the Tualatin plains Rev. Harvey Clark had opened 
a school which in 1846 had attained to some prom 
ise of success, and in 1847 a board of trustees was 
established. Out of this germ developed two years 
later the Tualatin Academy, incorporated in Septem 
ber 1849, which developed into the Pacific University 
in 1853-4. 

The history of this institution reflects credit upon 
its founders in more than an ordinary degree. Har 
vey Clark, it will be remembered, was one of the 
independent missionaries, with no wealthy board at 
his back from whose funds he could obtain a few 
hundred or thousand of dollars. When he failed to 
find missionary work among the natives, he settled 
on the Tualatin plains upon a land-claim where the 
academic town of Forest Grove now stands, and 
taught as early as 1842 a few children of the other 
settlers. In 1846 there came to Oregon, by the 
southern route, enduring all the hardships of the be 
lated immigration, a woman sixty-eight years of age, 
with her children and grandchildren, Mrs Tabitha 
Brown. 66 Her kind heart was pained at the num 
ber of orphan s left to charity by the sickness among 

66 Tabitha Moffat Brown was born in the town of Brinfield, Mass., May 1, 
1780. Her father was Dr Joseph MofFat. At the age of 19 she mar- 
Rev. Clark Brown of Stonington, Conn., of the Episcopal church. In 
the changes of his ministerial life Brown removed to Maryland, where he 
died early, leaving his widow with 3 children surrounded by an illiterate 
people. She opened a school and for 8 years continued to teach, support 
ing her children until the 2 boys were apprenticed to trades, and assisting 
them to start in business. The family finally moved to Missouri. Here her 
children prospered, but one of the sons, Orris Brown, visited Oregon 
in 1843, retuming to Missouri in 1845 with Dr White and emigrating with 
his mother and family in 1846. His sister and brother-in-law, Virgil K. 
Pringle, also accompanied him ; and it is from a letter of Mrs Pringle that 
this sketch has been obtained. 


the immigrants of 1847, with no promise of proper 
care or training. She spoke of the matter to Harvey 
Clark who asked her what she would do. " If I had 
the means I would establish myself in a comfortable 
home, receive all poor children, and be a mother to 
them," said Mrs Brown. " Are you in earnest?" asked 
Clark. " Yes." " Then I will try with you, and see 
what can be done." 

There was a log meeting-house on Clark s land, and 
in this building Mrs Brown was placed, and the work 
of charity began, the settlers contributing such articles 
of furnishing as they could spare. The plan was to 
receive any children to be taught; those whose parents 
could afford it, to pay at the rate of five dollars a week 
for board, care, and tuition, and those who had noth 
ing, to come free. In 1848 there were about forty 
children in the school, of whom the greater part were 
boarders; 67 Mrs Clark teaching and Mrs Brown 
having charge of the family, which was healthy and 
happy, and devoted to its guardian. In a short time 
Rev. Gushing Eells was employed as teacher. 

There came to Oregon about this time Rev. George 
H. Atkinson, under the auspices of the Home Mission 
ary Society of Boston. 68 He had in view the estab- 

67 In 1851, writes Mrs Brown, I had 40 in my family at $2.50 per week; 
and mixed with my own hands 3,423 pounds of flour in less than 5 months. 
Yet she was a small woman, had been lame many years, and was nearly 
70 years of age. She died in 1857. See Or. Aryus, May 17, 1856; Portland 
West Shore, Dec., 1879. 

68 Atkinson was born in Newbury, Vermont. He was related to Josiah 
Little of Massachusetts. One of his aunts, born in 1760, Mrs Anne Harris, 
lived to within 4 months of the age of 100 years, and remembered well the 
feeling caused in Newburyport one Sunday morning by the tidings of the 
death of the great preacher Whitefield; and also the events of the French 
empire and American revolution. Mr Atkinson left Boston, with his wife, 
in October 1847, on board the bark Samoset, Captain Hollis, and reached 
the Hawaiian Islands in the following February, whence he sailed again for 
the Columbia in the Hudson s Bay Company s bark Cowlitz, Captain Weying- 
ton, May 23d, arriving at Vancouver on the 20th of June 1848. He at once 
entered upon the duties of his profession, organized the Oregon association of 
Congregational ministers, also the Oregon tract society, and joined in the 
effort to found a school at Forest Grove. He corresponded for a time with 
the Home Missionary, a Boston publication, from which I have gathered some 
fragments of the history of Oregon from 1848 to 1851, during the height of the 
gold excitement. Mr Atkinson became pastor of the Congregational church in 
Oregon City in 1853; andwasfor many years the pastorof the first Congregational 

HIST. OB., VOL. II. 3 


lishment of a college under the patronage of the Con 
gregational church and finding his brethren in Oregon 
about to erect a new building for the school at Tua 
latin plains, and to organize a board of trustees, an 
arrangement was entered into by which the orphan 
school was placed in the hands of the trustees as the 
foundation of the proposed college, which at first 
aspired only to be called the Tualatin academy. 

Clark gave two hundred acres of his land-claim for 
a college and town-site, and Mrs Brown gave a lot 
belonging to her, and five hundred dollars earned by 
herself. Subsequently she presented a bell to the 
Congregational church erected on the town-site; and 
immediately before her death gave her own house and 
lot to the Pacific University. She was indeed earnest 
and honest in her devotion to Christian charity; may 
her name ever be held in holy remembrance. 

Mr Clark also sold one hundred and fifty acres of 
his remaining land for the benefit of the institution 
of which he and Mrs Brown were the founders. It 
is said of Clark, " he lived in poverty that he might 
do good to others." He died March 24, 1858, at 
Forest Grove, being still in the prime of life. 69 What 
was so well begun before 1848 continued to grow 
with the development of the country, and under the 
fostering care of new friends as well as old, became 
one of the leading independent educational institu 
tions of the north-west coast. 70 

church in Portland. His health failing about 1866, he gave way to younger men; 
but he continued to labor as a missionary of religion and temperance in newer 
fields as his strength permitted. Nor did he neglect other fields of labor in 
the interest of Oregon, contributing many valuable articles on the general 
features and resources of the country. Added to all was an unspotted repu 
tation, the memory of which will be ever cherished by his descendants, 2 sons 
and a daughter, the latter married to Frank Warren jun. of Portland. 

*Evan* ffist. Or., MS., 341; Gray s Hist. Or., 231; Deady s Hist. Or., MS., 
54; Or. Argus, April 10, 1858. Clark s daughter married George H. Durham 
of Portland. 

70 The first board of trustees was composed of Rev. Harvey Clark, Hiram 
Clark, Rev. Lewis Thompson, W. H. Gray, Alvin T. Smith, James M. Moore, 
Osborne Russell, and G. H. Atkinson. The land given by Clark was laid 
out in blocks and lots, except 20 acres reserved for a campus, the half of 
which was donated by Rev. E. Walker. A building was erected during the 
reign of high prices, in 1850-1, which cost, unfinished, $7,000; $5,000 of which 


A private school for young ladies was kept at Ore 
gon City by Mrs N. M. Thornton, wife of Judge 
Thornton. It opened February 1, 1847. The pupils 
were taught " all the branches usually comprised in a 
thorough English education, together with plain and 
fancy needle-work, drawing, and painting in mezzotints 
and water- colors." 71 Mrs Thornton s school was patro 
nized by James Douglas and other persons of distinc 
tion in the country. The first effort made at estab 
lishing a common-school board was early in 1847 in 

came from the sale of lots, and by contributions. In 1852 Mr Atkinson went 
east to solicit aid from the college society, which had promised to endow to 
some extent a college in Oregon. The Pacific University was placed the ninth 
on their list, with an annual sum granted of $600 to support a permanent pro 
fessor. From other sources he received 800 in money, and $700 in books for 
a library. Looking about for a professor, a young theological student, S. H. 
Marsh, son of Rev. Dr Marsh of Burlington College, was secured as principal, 
and with him, and the funds and books, Mr Atkinson returned in 1853. In 
the mean time J. M. Keeler, fresh from Union college, Schenectady, New 
York, had taken charge of the academy as principal, and had formed a pre 
paratory class before the arrival of Marsh. The people began to take a lively 
interest in the university, and in 1854 subscribed in lands and money $0,500, 
and partially pledged $3,500 more. On the 13th of April 1854 Marsh was 
chosen president, but was not formally inaugurated until August 21, 1855. 
This year Keeler went to Portland, and E. D. Shattuck took his place as 
principal of the academy which also embraced a class of young ladies. The 
institution struggled on, but in 1856-7 some of its most advanced students 
left it to go to the better endowed eastern colleges. This led the trustees and 
president to make a special effort, and Marsh went to New York to secure 
further aid, leaving the university department in the charge of Rev. H. Ly- 
man, professor of mathematics, who associated with him Rev. C. Eells. The 
help received from the college society and others in the east, enabled the uni 
versity to improve the general rtaime of the university. The first graduate 
was Harvey W. Scott, who in 1863 took his final degree. In 1866 there were 
4 graduates. In June 1867 the president having again visited the east for 
further aid, over $25,000 was subscribed and 2 additional professors secured: 
G. H. Collier, professor of natural sciences, and J. W. Marsh, professor of 
languages. In May 1868 there were $44,303.60 invested funds, and a library 
of 5,000 volumes. A third visit to the east in 1869 secured over $20,000 for 
a presidential endowment fund. The university had in 1876, in funds and 
other property, $85,000 for its support. The buildings are however of a poor 
character for college purposes, being built of wood, and not well constructed, 
and $100,000 would be required to put the university in good condition. 
President Marsh died in 1879, and was succeeded by J. R. Herrick. Though 
founded by Congregationalists, the Pacific University was not controlled by 
them in a sectarian spirit; and its professors were allowed full liberty in their 
teaching. Forest Grove, the seat of this institution, is a pretty village nestled 
among groves of oaks and firs near the Coast Range foot-hills. Centennial 
Year Hist. Pacific University, in Portland Oregonian, Feb. 12, 1876; Victor s 
Or. and Wash., 189-90; Or. Argus, Sept. 1, 1855; Deady s J/ist. Or., MS., 54. 
71 Mrs Thornton wrote to the S. I. Friend that she was very comfortably 
settled in a log-house, walked a mile to her school every morning, and was 
never more contented in her life. 


Tualatin County, Kev. J. S. Griffin secretary; 72 but 
no legislative action was taken until a later period. 
Besides the spelling-book printed in 1847, Henry H. 
Evarts printed an almanac calculated for Oregon and 
the Sandwich Islands. 73 It was printed at the Spec 
tator office by W. P. Hudson. 

Professional men were still comparatively rare, 
preachers of different denominations outnumbering 
the other professions. 74 In every neighborhood there 
was preaching on Sundays, the services being held in 
the most commodious dwellings, or in a school-house 
if there was one. There were as yet few churches. 
Oregon City, being the metropolis, had three, Catholic, 
Methodist, and Congregationalist. 75 There was a 
Methodist church at Hillsboro, and another at Salem, 
and the Catholic Church at St Paul s, which com 
pleted the list in 1848. 

The general condition of society in the colony was, 
aside from the financial and Indian troubles which I 
have fully explained, one of general contentment. 
Both Burnett and Minto declare in their accounts of 
those times that notwithstanding the hardships all 

72 Or. Spectator, Feb. 18, 1847. 

73 S. I. Friend, Feb. 1848; Thornton s Hist. Or., MS., 27. 

74 1 find in the S. I. Friend, Sept. 1847, the following computation: Inhabi 
tants (white), 7,000. This, according to immigration statistics, was too small 
an estimate. About 400 were Catholics. Methodists were most numerous. ^ 
There were 6 itinerating Methodist Episcopal preachers, and 8 or 10 local 
preachers, besides 2 Protestant Methodist clergymen. Baptist missionaries, 2 ; 
Congregational or Presbyterian clergymen, 4; and several of the Christian 
denomination known as Campbellites ; regular physicians, 4; educated lawyers, 
4; quacks in both professions more numerous. I have already mentioned the 
accidental death of Dr Long by drowning in the Willamette at Oregon City, 
he being at the time territorial secretary. lie was succeeded in practice and 
in office by Dr Frederick Prigg, elected by the legislature in December 1846. 
He also died an accidental death by falling from the rocky bluff into the river, 
in October 1849. He was said to be a man of fine abilities and education, but 
intemperate in his habits. Or. Spectator, Nov. 2, 1849; Johnson s Gal. and 
Or., 274. 

Deadtfs Hist. Or., MS., 71. Harvey Clark first organized the Congre 
gational church at Oregon City in 1844. Atkinson s Address, 3; Oregon City 
Enterprise, March 24, 1876. In 1848 Rev. Horace Lyman, with his wife, left 
Boston to join Atkinson in Oregon. He did not arrive until late in 1849. He 
founded the first Congregational church in Portland, but subsequently became 
a professor at the Pacific University. Home Missionary, xxii. 43-4; Or. Spec 
tator, Nov. 1, 1849. 


endured, there were few who did not rejoice sincerely 
that they had cast their lot in Oregon. 76 Hospitality 
and good-fellowship prevailed; the people were tem 
perate 77 and orderly; and crime was still rare. 78 

Amusements were few and simple, and hardly nec 
essary in so free and unconventional a community, 
except as a means of bringing the people together. 

76 Minto, in Camp Fire Orations, MS., 17; Burnett s Recollections, MS., i. 
170; White s Emigration to Or., MS., 11; Simpson s Nar., i. 170. 

77 The missionaries, the women of Oregon city, and friends of temperance 
generally, were still laboring to effect prohibition of the traffic in spirituous 
liquors. The legislature of 1847 passed an amendment to the organic law, 
enacting that the word prohibit should be inserted in the place of regulate 
in the 6th section, which read that the legislature should have power to 
regulate the introduction, manufacture, and sale of ardent spirits. Or. Laws, 
1843-9, 44. No change could be made in the organic law without submitting 
it to the vote of the people at the ensuing election, which being done, a 
majority were for prohibition. Grover s Or. Archives, 273-4. When the matter 
again came before the colonial legislature at its last session, that part of the 
governor s message referring to prohibition was laid on the table, on motion 
of Jesse Applegate. A bill to amend the organic laws, as above provided, was 
subsequently introduced by Samuel R. Thurston, but was rejected by vote, 
on motion of Applegate. Id., 293. Applegate s independent spirit revolted 
at prohibition, besides which he took a personal gratification from securing 
the rejection of a measure emanating from a missionary source. Surely all 
good people would be naturally averse to hearing an uncultivated savage who 
was full of bad whiskey, singing in Chinook: 

Nah ! six, potlach blue lu (blue ruin), 
Nika ticka, blue lu, 
Hiyu blue lu, 
Hyas olo, 
Potlach blue lu. 

Which freely translated would run : 

Hallo ! friend, give me Borne whiskey; 
I M ant whiskey, plenty of whiskey; 
Very thirsty ; give me some whiskey. 

Moss* Pioneer Times, MS., 56-7. 

78 In the Spectator of July 9, 1846, there is mention of an encounter with 
knives between Ed. Robinson and John Watson. Robinson was arrested and 
brought before Justice Andrew Hood, and bound over in the sum of $200. 
In the same paper of July 23d is an item concerning the arrest of Duncan 
McLean on suspicion of having murdered a Mr Owens. An affray occurred at 
Salem in August 1847 between John H. Bosworth and Ezekiel Popham, in 
which the latter was killed, or suddenly dropped dead from a disease of the 
heart. Id., Sept. 2, 1847. In 1848 a man named Leonard who had pawned 
his rifle to one Arim, on Sauve* Island, went to recover without redeeming it, 
when Arim pursued him with hostile intent. Leonard ran until he came 
to a fallen tree too large for him to scale in haste, and finding Arim close upon 
him he turned, and in his excitement fired, killing Arim. Leonard was arrested 
and discharged, there being no witnesses to the affair. Arim was a bully, and 
Leonard a small and usually quiet man, who declared he had no intention of 
killing Arim, but fired accidentally, not knowing the rifle was loaded. Leonard 
left the country soon after for the gold-mines and never returned. Crawford s 
Nar., MS., 167. I cite these examples rather to show the absence than the 
presence of crime. 


Besides church-going, attending singing-school, 79 and 
visiting among the neighbors there were few assem 
blages. There was occasionally a ball, which was not 
regarded by the leading Protestant citizens as the 
most unquestionable mode of cultivating social rela 
tions. The Canadian families loved dancing, and balls 
were not the more respectable for that reason; 80 but 
the dancers cared little for the absence of the elite. 
Taking them all in all, says Burnett, " I never saw 
so fine a population;" and other writers claimed that 
though lacking in polish the Oregon people were at 
this period morally and socially the equal of those of 
any frontier state. 81 From the peculiar conditions of 
an isolated colony like that of Oregon, early mar 
riages became the rule. Young men required homes, 
and young women were probably glad to escape from 
the overfilled hive of the parental roof to a domicile 
of their own. However that may have been, girls 
were married at any age from fourteen upward, and 
in some instances earlier; 82 while no widow, whether 

79 James Morris, in Camp Fire Orations, MS. , 20, says that the first sirig- 
ing-scliool in the country was taught by a Mr Johnson, and that he went to 
it dressed in a suit of buckskin dyed black, which looked well, and did not 
stretch out over the knees like the uncolored skin. 

80 J/os Pioneer Times, MS., 32. In Minto s Early Days, MS., and Mrs 
Minto s Female Pioneering, MS., there are many pictures of the social condi 
tion of the colony. The same in Camp Fire Orations, MS., a report by my 
stenographer, of short speeches made at an evening session of the pioneers at 
their annual meeting in 1878. All the speakers except Mrs Minto declared 
they had enjoyed emigrating and pioneering. She thought both very hard 
on females; though throughout all she conducted herself as one of the 
noblest among women. 

81 Home Missionary, xx. 213-14. 

82 As a guide to descent in the pioneer families I here affix a list of the 
marriages published in the Spectator from the beginning of 1846 to the close 
of 1848. Though these could not have been all, it may be presumed that 
people of social standing would desire to publish this momentous event: 
1846 Feb. 25, Samuel Campbell to Miss Chellessa Chrisman; March 29, 
Henry Sewell to Miss Mary Ann Jones Gerish ; April 2, Stephen Staats to 
Miss Cordelia Forrest; April 12, Silas Halght to Mrs Rebecca Ann Spalding; 
May 4, Pierre Bonnin to Miss Louise Rondeau; May 10, Isaac Staats to Miss 
Orlena Maria Williams; May 10, Henry Marlin to Miss Emily Hipes; June 
4, David Hill to Mrs Lucinda Wilson ; June 14, J. W. Nesmith to Miss Caro 
line Goff; June 17, Alanson Hinman to Miss Martha Elizabeth Jones Gerish; 
June 28, Robert Newell to Miss Rebecca Newman ; July 2, Mitchel Whit- 
lock to Miss Malvina Engle ; July 4, William C. Dement to Miss Olivia 
Johnson; J. B. Jackson to Miss Sarah Parker; July 25, John G. Campbell 
to Miss Rothilda E. Buck; July 26, Joseph Watt to Miss Sarah Craft; Aug. 


young or middle-aged, long remained unmarried. This 
mutual dependence of the sexes was favorable to the 
morals and the growth of the colony; and rich and 
poor alike had their houses well filled with children. 
But what of the diseases which made such havoc 
during the early missionary occupation? Strangely 
enough they had disappeared as the natives died or 
were removed to a distance from the white race. Not 
withstanding the crowded state of the settlers every 
winter after the arrival of another immigration, and 
notwithstanding insufficient food and clothing in many 
instances, there was little sickness and few deaths. 
Dr White, after six years of practice, pronounced the 
country to be the healthiest and the climate one of 
the most salubrious in the world. 83 As to the tem 
perature, it seems to have varied with the different 
seasons and years. Daniel Lee tells of plucking a 
strawberry-blossom on Christmas-day 1840, and the 

2, Sidney Smith to Miss Miranda Bayley; Aug. 16, Jehu Davis to Miss Mar- 
garette Jane Moreland; Sept. 1, H. H. Hyde to Miss Henrietta Holman; 
Oct. 26, Henry Buxton to Miss Rosannah Woolly; Nov. 19, William P. 
Dougherty to Miss Mary Jane Chambers ; Nov. 24, John P. Brooks to Miss 
Mary Ann Thomas. 1847^Jan. 21, W. H. Rees to Miss Amanda M. F. 
Hall ; Jan. 25, Francis Topair to Miss Angelique Tontaine ; Feb. 9, Peter H. 
Hatch to Miss S. C. Locey (Mrs Charlotte Sophia Hatch, who came to Oregon 
with her husband by sea in 1843, died June 30, 1840); April 18, Absalom F. 
Hedges to Miss Elizabeth Jane Barlow; April 21, Joseph B. Rogers to 
Miss Letitia Flett; Henry Knov/land to Mrs Sarah Knowland; April 22, 
N. K. Sitton to Miss Priscilla A. Rogers; June 15, Jeremiah Rowland to Mrs 
Mary Ann Sappington ; July 8, John Minto to Miss Martha Ann Morrison ; 
Aug. 12, T. P. Powers to Mrs Mary M. Newton this was the Mrs Newton 
whoso husband was murdered by an Indian in the Umpqua Valley in 1846; 
Oct. 14, W. J. Herren to Miss Eveline Hall; Oct. 24, D. H. Good to Miss 
Mary E. Dunbar; Oct. 29, Owen M. Mills to Miss Priscilla Blair; Dec. 28, 
Charles Putnam to Miss Rozelle Applegate. 1848 Jan. 5, Caleb Rodgers 
to Miss Mary Jane Courtney; Jan. 20, M. M. McCarver to Mrs Julia Ann 
Buckalew ; Jan. 27, George M. Baker to Miss Nancy Duncan ; Jan. 30, George 
Sigler to Miss Lovina Dunlap; Feb. 19, R. V. Short to Miss Mary Geer; 
March 18, Moses K. Kellogg to Mrs Elizabeth Sturges; April 16, John 
Jewett to Mrs Harriet Kimball Mrs Kimbali was the widow of one of the 
victims of the Waiilatpu massacre ; May 4, John R. Jackson to Mrs Matilda 
N. Coonse ; May 22, John H. Bosworth to Miss Susan B. Looney ; June 28, 
Andrew Smith to Mrs Sarah Elizabeth Palmer; July 2, Edward N. White to 
Miss Catherine Jane Burkhart; July 28, William Meek to Miss Mary Luel- 
ling; Dec. 10, C. Davis to Miss Sarah Ann Johnson; Dec. 26, William Logan 
to Miss Issa Chrisman. The absence of any marriage notice for the 4 months 
from the last of July to the 10th of December may be accounted for by the 
rush of the unmarried men to the gold-mines about this time. 
83 Ten Years in Or., 220. 


weather continued warm throughout the winter ; but on 
the 12th of December 1842 the Columbia was frozen 
over, and the ice remained in the river at the Dalles 
till the middle of March, and the mercury was 6 below 
zero in that month, while in the Willamette Valley 
the cold was severe. On the other hand, in the winter 
of 1843 there was a heavy rainfall, and a disastrous 
freshet in the Willamette in February. The two 
succeeding winters were mild and rainy, 84 fruit form 
ing on the trees in April; and again in the latter part 
of the winter of 18467 the Columbia was frozen 
over at Vancouver so that the officers of the Modeste 
played a curling match on the ice. The winter of 
1848-9 was also cold, with ice in the Columbia. The 
prevailing temperature was mild, however, when taken 
year by year, and the soil being generally warm, the 
vegetables and fruits raised by the first settlers sur 
prised them by their size and quality. 85 If any fault 
was to be found with the climate it was on the score 
of too many rainy or cloudy days; but when by com 
parison with the drier climate of California it was 
found to insure greater regularity of crops the farm 
ing community at least were satisfied. 86 The cattle- 
raisers had most reason to dread the peculiarities of 
the Oregon climate, which by its general mildness 
flattered them into neglecting to provide winter food 
for their stock, and when an occasional season of snow 
and ice came upon them they died by hundreds ; but 
this was partly the fault of the improvident owner. 

The face of nature here was beautiful; pure air 
from the ocean and the mountains; loveliness in the 

84 Clyman s Note Book, MS., 82-98; Palmer s Journal, 119. 

85 A potato is spoken of which weighed 3J Ibs., and another 3| Ibs. ; while 
turnips sometimes weighed from 10 to 30 Ibs. Blanchet raised one of 17f Ibs. 

66 The term web-foot had not yet been applied to the Oregonians. It 
became current in mining times, and is said to have originated in a sarcastic 
remark of a commercial traveller, who had spent the night in a farm-house on 
the marshy banks of the Long Tom, in what is now Lane County, that 
children should be provided with webbed feet in that country. We have 
thought of that, returned the mistress of the house, at the same time dis 
playing to the astonished visitor her baby s feet with webs between the toes. 
The story lost nothing in the telling, and Web-foot became the pseudonyme 
for Oregonian. 


valleys dignified by grandeur in the purple ranges 
which bordered them, overtopped here and there by 
snowy peaks whose nearly extinct craters occasionally 
threw out a puff of smoke or ashy flame, 87 to remind 
the beholder of the igneous building of the dark cliffs 
overhanging the great river. The whole country was 
remarkably free from poisonous reptiles and insects. 
Of all the serpent class the rattlesnake alone was 
armed with deadly fangs, and these were seldom seen 
except in certain localities in the western portion of 
Oregon. Even the house-fly was imported/ 8 coming 
like many plants, and like the bee, in the beaten trail 
of white men. 

Such was the country rescued from savagism by 
this virtuous and intelligent people; and such their 
general condition with regard to improvement, trade, 
education, morals, contentment, and health, at the 
period when, after having achieved so much without 
aid from congress, that body took the colony under 
its wing and assumed direction of its affairs. 

87 Mount St Helen and Mount Baker were in a state of eruption in March 
1850, according to the Spectator of the 21st of that month. The same paper 
of Oct. 18, 1849, records a startling explosion in the region of Mount Hood, 
when the waters of Silver Creek stopped running for 24 hours, and also the 
destruction of all the fish in the stream by poisonous gases. 

68 McClaue says that when he came to Oregon there was not a fly of any 
kind, but fleas were plenty. First Wagon Train, MS., 14. W. H. Rector has 
said the same. Lewis and Clarke, and Parker, expiate upon the fleas about 
the Indian camps. 




AND now begins Oregon s age of gold, quite a dif 
ferent affair from Oregon s golden age, which we must 
look for at a later epoch. The Oregon to which 
Lane was introduced as governor was not the same 
from which his companion Meek had hurried in pov 
erty and alarm one year before. Let us note the 
change, and the cause, before recording the progress 
of the new government. 

On the 31st of July 1848, the little schooner Hono 
lulu, Captain Newell, from San Francisco, arrived in 
the Columbia, and began to load not only with pro 
visions, but with shovels, picks, and pans, all that 
could be bought in the limited market. This created 
no surprise, as it was known that Americans were 
emigrating to California who would be in want of 
these things, and the captain of the schooner was 
looked upon as a sharp trader who knew how to turn 
an honest penny. When he had obtained everything 
to his purpose, he revealed the discovery made by 
Marshall in California, and told the story how Ore- 



gon men had opened to the world what appeared an 
inexhaustible store of golden treasure. 1 

The news was confirmed by the arrival August 9th 
of the brig Henry from San Francisco, and on the 
23d of the fur company s brig Mary Dare from the 
Hawaiian Islands, by the way of Victoria, with Chief 
Factor Douglas on board, who was not inclined to 
believe the reports. But in a few days more the 
tidings had travelled overland by letter, ex-Governor 
Boggs having written to some of his former Missouri 
friends in Oregon by certain men coming with horses 
to the Willamette Valley for provisions, that much 
gold was found on the American River. No one 
doubted longer; covetous desire quickly increased to a 
delirium of hope. The late Indian disturbances were 
forgotten; and from the ripening harvests the reap 
ers without compunctions turned away. Even their 
beloved land-claims were deserted; if a man did not 
go to California it was because he could not leave his 
family or business. Some prudent persons at first, 
seeing that provisions and lumber must greatly in 
crease in price, concluded to stay at home and reap 
the advantage without incurring the risk; but these 
were a small proportion of the able-bodied men of the 
colony. Far more went to the gold mines than had 
volunteered to fight the Cayuses; 2 farmers, mechanics, 
professional men, printers every class. Tools were 
dropped and work left unfinished in the shops. The 
farms were abandoned to women and boys. The two 
newspapers, the Oregon Spectator and Free Press, held 

1 J. W. Marshall was an immigrant to Oregon of 1844. He went to Cali 
fornia in 1846, and was employed by Sutter. In 1847 he was followed by 
Charles Bennett and Stephen Staats, all of whom were at Sutter s mill when 
the discovery of gold was made. Brown s Will. VaL, MS., 1; Parsons Life of 
Marshall, 8-9. 

2 Burnett says that at least two thirds of the population capable of bear 
ing arms left for Calif ornia in the summer and autumn of 1848. Recollections, 
MS., i. 325. About two thousand persons, says the California Star and 
Californian, Dec. 9, 1848. Only five old men were left at Salem. Brown s 
Will. Vol., MS., 9. Anderson, in his Northwest Coast, MS., 37, speaks of 
the great exodus. Compare Crawford s Nar., MS., 166, and Victor s River of 
the West, 483-5. Barnes, Or. and Cal., MS., 8, says he found at Oregon City 
only a few women and children and some Indians. 


out, the one till December, the other until the spring 
of 1849, when they were left without compositors 
and suspended. 3 No one thought of the outcome. 
It was not then known in Oregon that a treaty had 
been signed by the United States and Mexico, but it 
was believed that such would be the result of the 
war; hence the gold-fields of California were already 
regarded as the property of Americans. Men of 
family expected to return; single men thought little 
about it. To go, and at once, was the chief idea. 4 
Many who had not the means were fitted out by 
others who took a share in the venture; and quite dif 
ferent from those who took like risks at the east, the 
trusts imposed in the men of Oregon were as a rule 
faithfully carried out. 5 

Pack-trains were first employed by the Oregon gold- 
seekers; then in September a wagon company was 
organized. A hundred and fifty robust, sober, and 
energetic men were soon ready for the enterprise. 
The train consisted of fifty wagons loaded with mining 
implements and provisions for the winter. Even 
planks for constructing gold-rockers were carried in 
the bottom of some of the wagons. The teams were 
strong oxen; the riding horses of the hardy native 
Cayuse stock, late worth but ten dollars, now bringing 
thirty, and the men were armed. Burnett was elected 
captain and Thomas McKay pilot. 6 They went to 
Klamath Lake by the Applegate route, and then 
turned south-east intending to get into the California 
emigrant road before it crossed the Sierra. After 
travelling several days over an elevated region, not 
well watered nor furnishing good grass, to their surprise 

8 The Spectator from February to October. I do not think the Free Press 
was revived after its stoppage, though it ran long enough to print Lane s 
proclamation. The Oregon American had expired in the autumn of 1848. 

4 Atkinson, in the Home Missionary, 22, 64; Bristow s Rencounters, MS., 
2-9; Ryan s Judges and Criminals, 79. 

5 There was the usual doggerel perpetrated here as elsewhere at the time. 
See Brown s Or. MisceL, MS., 47. 

6 Ross* Nar., MS., 11; Lovejotfs Portland, MS., 26; Johnson s Cal. and 
Or., 185-6. 


they came into a newly opened wagon-road, which 
proved to be that which Peter Lassen of California 
had that season persuaded a small party immigrating 
into the Sacramento Valley to take, through a pass 
which would bring them near his rancho. 7 

The exodus thus begun continued as long as 
weather permitted, and until several thousand had 
left Oregon by land and sea. The second wagon com 
pany of twenty ox-teams and twenty-five men was 
from Puget Sound, and but a few days behind the 
first/ while the old fur-hunters trail west of the 

7 After proceeding some distance on Lassen s trail they found that others 
\vho had preceded them were as ignorant as they of what lay before them; 
and after travelling westward for eight miles they came to a sheer wall of 
rock, constituting a mountain ridge, instead of to a view of the Sacramento 
Valley. On examination of the ground it was found that Lassen and his com 
pany had been deceived as well as they, and had marched back to within half 
a mile of the entrance to the valley before finding a way out of it. After 
exploring for some distance in advance the wagons were allowed to come on, 
and the summit of the sierra was reached the 20th of October. After passing 
this and entering the pine forest on the western slope, they overtook Lassen 
and a portion of his party, unable to proceed. He had at first but ten wagons 
in his company, and knew nothing more about the route than from a generally 
correct idea of the country he could conjecture. They proceeded without 
mishap until coming to the thick timber on the mountains; and not having 
force enough to open the road, they were compelled to convert their wagons 
into carts in order to make the short turns necessary in driving around fallen 
timber. Progress in this manner was slow. Half of the immigrants, now fear 
fully incensed against their leader, had abandoned their carts, and packing 
their goods on their starving oxen, deserted the other half, without knowing 
how they were to reach the settlements. When those behind were overtaken 
by the Oregouians they were in a miserable condition, not having had bread 
for a month. Their wants were supplied, and they were assured that the road 
should be opened for them, which was done. Sixty or eighty men went to 
the front with axes, and the way was cleared for the wagons. When the for 
est was passed, there \vere yet other difficulties which Lassen s small and 
exhausted company co^ld never have removed. A tragedy like that of Don- 
ner Lake was averted by these gold-seekers, who arrived in the Sacramento 
Valley about the 1st of November. Burnett s Recollections, MS., i. 328-366; 
Lovfjoy s Portland, MS., 27; Barnes Or. ami Gal, MS., 11-12; Palmer s 
War/on Trains, MS., 43. 

8 Hancock s Thirteen Years Residence on the Northwest Coast, a thick 
manuscript volume containing an account of the immgration of 1845, the 
settlement of the Puget Sound country by Americans, the journey to 
California of the gold-hunters, and a long list of personal adventures with 
In.dians, and other matter of an interesting nature, is cne of my authorities 
on this period. The manuscript was written at the dictation of Samuel Han 
cock, of Whidbey Island, by Major Sewell. See Morse s Notes of the History 
and Resources of Washington Ter., ii. 19-30. It would seem from Hancock s 
MS. that the Puget Sound Company, like the Willamette people, overtook 
and assisted a party of immigrants who had been forsaken by that pilot in 
the Sierra Nevada, and brought them through to the Sacramento Valley. 


sierra swarmed with pack-trains 9 all the autumn. 
Their first resort was Yuba River; but in the spring 
of 1849 the forks of the American became their prin 
cipal field of operations, the town of Placerville, first 
called Hangtown, being founded by them. They 
were not confined to any localities, however, and made 
many discoveries, being for the first winter only more 
numerous in certain places than other miners; and as 
they were accustomed to camp-life, Indian-fighting, 
and self-defence generally, they obtained the reputa 
tion of being clannish and aggressive. If one of them 
was killed or robbed, the others felt bound to avenge 
the injury, and the rifle or the rope soon settled 
the account. Looking upon them as interlopers, the 
Californians naturally resented these decided meas 
ures. But as the Oregonians were honest, sober, and 
industrious, and could be accused of nothing worse 
than being ill-dressed and unkempt and of knowing 
how to protect themselves, the Californians mani 
fested their prejudice by applying to them the title 
1 Lop-ears, which led to the retaliatory appellation 
of Tar-heads/ which elegant terms long remained in 
use. 10 

It was a huge joke, gold-mining and all, including 
even life and death. But as to rivalries they signi 
fied nothing. Most of the Oregon and Washington 
adventurers who did not lose their life were success 
ful; opportunity was assuredly greater then in the 

This may have been the other division of Lassen s company, though Hancock 
says there were 25 wagons, which does not agree with Burnett. 

9 One of the first companies with pack-animals was under John E. Ross, 
an immigrant of 1847, and a lieutenant in the Cayuse war, of whom I shall 
have more to say hereafter. Ross states that Levi Scott had already settled 
in the Umpqua Valley, and was then the only American south of the Cala- 
pooya Mountains. From Scott s to the first house in California, Reading s, 
was 14 days travel. See Ross Nar., MS., passim. 

I0 fios8 Nar., MS., 15; Crawford s Nar., MS., 194, 204. The American 
pioneers of California, looking fgr the origin of the word Oregon in a Spanish 
phrase signifying long-ears, as I have explained in vol. i. Hist. Or. , hit upon 
this delectable sobriquet for the settlers of that country. With equal justice, 
admitting this theory to be correct, which it is not, the Oregonians called 
them tar-heads, because the northern California Indians were observed to 
cover their heads with tar as a sign of mourning. 


Sierra Foothills than in the Valley Willamette. Still 
they were not hard to satisfy ; and they began to re 
turn early in the spring of 1849, when every vessel 
that entered the Columbia was crowded with home- 
loving Oregonians. 11 A few went into business in 
California. The success of those that returned stimu 
lated others to go who at first had not been able. 12 

11 Among those who went to California in 1848-9 are the following: 
Robert Henderson, James McBride, William Carpenter, Joel Palmer, A. L. 
Lovejoy, F. W. Pettygrove, Barton Lee, W. W. Bristow, W. L. Adams, 
Christopher Taylor, John E. Ross, P. B. Cornwall, Walter Monteith, Horace 
Burnett, P. H. Burnett, John P. Rogers, A. A. Skinner, M. M. McCarver, 
Frederick Ramsey, William Dement, Peter Crawford, Henry Williamson, 
Thomas McKay, William Fellows, S. C. Reeves, James Porter, I. W. Alder 
man, William Moulton, Aaron Stanton, J. R. Robb, Aaron Payne, J. Math- 
eney, George Gay, Samuel Hancock, Robert Alexander, Niniwon Evermau, 
John Byrd, Elisha Byrd, William Byrd, Sr, William Byrd, Jr, T. R. Hill, 
Ira Patterson, William Patterson, Stephen Bonser, Saul Richards, W. H. 
Gray, Stephen Staats, J. W. Nesmith, J. S. Snooks, W. D. Canfield, Alanson 
Husted, John M. Shivcly, Edmund Sylvester, James O Neal, Benjamin 
Wood, William Whitney, W. P. Dougherty, Allen McLeod, John Edmonds, 
Charles Adams, John Inyard, Miriam Poe, Joseph Williams, Hilt. Bonser, 
William Shaw, Thomas Carter, Jefferson Carter, Ralph Wilcox, Benjamin 
Burch, William H. Rector, Hamilton Campbell, Robert Newell, John E. 
Bradley, J. Curtis, H. Brown, Jeremiah McKay, Priest, Turney, Leonard, 
Shurtzer, Loomis, Samuel Cozine, Columbia Lancaster Pool, English, Thomp 
son, Johnson, Robinson, and others. 

12 P. W. Crawford gives the following account of his efforts to raise the 
means to go to California: He was an immigrant of 1847, and had not yet 
acquired property that could be converted into money. Being a surveyor he 
spent most of his time in laying out town sites and claims, for which he re 
ceived lots in payment, and in some cases wheat, and often nothing. He 
had a claim on the Cowlitz which he managed to get planted in potatoes. 
Owning a little skiff called the E. West, he traded it to Geer for a hundred 
seedling apple-trees, but not being able to return to his claim, he planted 
them on the land of Wilson Blain, opposite Oregon City. Having considerable 
wheat at McLoughlin s mill he had a portion of it ground, and sold the flour 
for cash. He gave some wheat to newly arrived emigrants, and traded the 
rest for a fat ox, which he sold to a butcher at Oregon City for twenty-five 
dollars cash. Winter coming on he assisted his friend Reed in the pioneer 
bakery of Portland. In February he traded a Durham bull which he pur 
chased of an Indian at Fort Laramie and drove to Oregon, for a good sailing 
boat, with which he took a load of hoop-poles down the Columbia to Hunt s 
mill, where salmon barrels were made, and brought back some passengers, 
and a few goods for Capt. Crosby, having a rough hard time working his way 
through the floating ice. On getting back to Portland, Crawford and Will 
iams, the former mate of the Starling, engaged of the supercargo Gray, at 
sixty dollars each, steerage passage on the Undine then lying at Hunt s mill. 
The next thing was to get supplies and tools, such as were needed to go to 
the mines. For these it was necessary to make a visit to Vancouver, which 
could not be done in a boat, as the river was still full of ice, above the mouth 
of the Williamette. He succeeded in crossing the Columbia opposite the 
head of Sauve" Island, and walked from the landing to Vancouver, a distance 
of about six miles. This business accomplished, he rejoined his companion 
in the boat, and set out for Hunt s mill, still endangered by floating ice, but 


There was a complete revolution in trade, as re 
markable as it was unlocked for two years before, 
when the farmers were trying to form a cooperative 
ship-building association to carry the products of their 
farms to a market where cash could be obtained for 
wheat. No need longer to complain of the absence of 
vessels, or the terrible bar of the Columbia. I have 
mentioned in the preceding chapter that the Henry 
and the Toulon were the only two American vessels 
trading regularly to the Columbia River in the spring 
of 1848. Hitherto only an occasional vessel from Cal 
ifornia had entered the river for lumber and flour; 
but now they came in fleets, taking besides these ar 
ticles vegetables, butter, eggs, and other products 
needed by the thousands arriving at the mines, 
the traffic at first yielding enormous profits. Instead 
of from three to eight arrivals and departures in a 
year, there were more than fifty in 1849, of which 
twenty were in the river in October awaiting car 
goes at one time. 13 They were from sixty to six or 
or seven hundred tons burden, and three of them 
were built in Oregon. 14 Whether it was due to their 

arriving in time to take passage. Such were the common incidents of life in 
Oregon before the gold products of the California mines came into circulation. 
Narrative, MS., 179-187. 

13 About the last of December 1848 the Spanish bark J6ven Guipuzcoana, 
S. C. Reeves captain, arrived from San Francisco to load with Oregon pro 
ductions for the California markets. She was fastened in the ice a few miles 
below the mouth of the Willamette until February, and did not get out of 
the river until about the middle of March. Crawford s Nar., MS., 173-91. 
The brig Maleck Adhel, Hall master, left the river with a cargo Feb. 7, 1849. 
Following are some of the other arrivals of the year: January 5th, schr. 
Starling, Captain Menzies; 7th, bk. Anita, Hall; brig Undine, Brum; May 
8th, bks. Anita, Hall; Janet, Dring; ship Mercedes; schrs. Milwaukie; V<d- 
dova; 28th, bk. J. W. Carter; brig Mary and Ellen; June 16th, schr. Pio 
neer; bk. Undine; 23d, bk. Columbia; brigs Henry, Sacramento, El Placer; 
July 2d, ship Walpole; 10th, brigs Belfast, L Etotte du Matin; ship Silvie de 
Grasse; schr. 0. C. Raymond; brig Quito; 28th, ship Huntress; bk. Louisi 
ana; schr. Gen. Lane; Aug. 7th, bk. Carib; llth, bks. Harpooner, Madonna; 
ship Aurora; brig Forrest; bks. Ocean Bird, Diamond, Helen M. Leidler; 
Oct. 17th, brigs Quito, Hawkes; 0. C. Raymond, Menzies; Josephine, Melton; 
Jno. Petit; Mary and Ellen, Gier; bks. Toulon, Hoyt; Azim, McKenzie; 
22d, brig Sarah McFarland, Brooks; 24th, brig Wolcott, Kennedy; Nov. 
12th, bk. Louisiana, Williams; brigs Mary Wilder; North Bend, Bartlett; 
13th, ship Huntress, Upton; 15th, bks. Diamond, Madonna; 25th, brig Sac 
ramento; bk. Ser/uin, Norton; brig Due de Lorqunes, Travillot. 

"The schooner Milwaukie, built at Milwaukie bj Lot Witcomband Joseph 


general light draft, or to an increased knowledge of 
the channels of the mouth of the river, few accidents 
occurred, and only one American vessel was wrecked 
at or near the entrance this year; 15 though two 
French ships were lost during the summer, one on 
the bar in attempting to enter by the south channel, 
then changed in its direction from the shifting of the 

O O 

sands, and the other, by carelessness, in the river 
between Astoria and Tongue Point. 16 

That all this sudden influx of shipping, where so 
little had ventured before, meant prosperity to Oregon 
tradesmen is unquestionable. Portland, which Petty- 
grove had turned his back upon with seventy-five 
thousand dollars, was now a thriving port, whose 

Kelly, was of planking put on diagonally in several thicknesses, with a few 
temporary sawed timbers and natural crooks, and was sold in San Francisco 
for $4,000. The General Lane was built at Oregon City by John McClellan, 
aided by McLoughlin, and ran to San Francisco. Her captain was Gil- 
man, afterward a bar pilot at Astoria. She went directly to Sacramento with 
a cargo of lumber and farm products. The Pioneer was put together by a 
company at Astoria. Honolulu Friend, Sept. 1, 1849. 

15 The brig Josephine was becalmed, whereupon her anchor was let down; 
but a gale blowing up in the night she was driven on the sand and dashed to 
pieces in the breakers. She was loaded with lumber from the Oregon City 
Mills, which was a total loss to the Island Milling Company. Or. Spectator, 
Jan. 10, 1850. 

16 This latter wreck was of the Silvie de Grasse which brought Thornton 
home from Boston. She was formerly a packet of 2,000 tons, built of live- 
oak, and running between New York and Havre. She loaded with lumber 
for San Francisco, but in descending the river ran upon a rock and split. 
Eighteen years afterward her figure-head and a part of her hull stood above 
the water. What was left was then sold to A. S. Mercer, the iron being still 
in good order, and the locust and oak knees and timbers perfectly sound. 
Orer/onian, in Purjp.t Sound Gazette, April 15, 1867. The wreck on the bar was 
of L Etoile du Matin, before mentioned in connection with the return to 
Oregon of Archbishop Blanchet, and the arrival of the Catholic reenforce- 
ment in 1847. Returning to Oregon in 1849, the captain not rinding a pilot 
outside undertook to run in by the south channel, in which attempt he was 
formerly so successful, but its course having shifted, he soon found his ship 
fast on the sands, while an American bark that had followed him, but drew 
10 feet less water, passed safely in. The small life-boats were all lost in 
lowering, but after passing through great dangers the ship was worked into 
Baker Bay without a rudder, with a loosened keel and most of the pumps 
broken, aid having been rendered by Latta of the Hudson s Bay Company and 
some Indians. A box rudder was constructed, and the vessel taken to Port 
land, and landed where the warehouse of Allen and Lewis later stood. The 
cargo belonged to Francis Menes, who saved most of it, and who opened a 
store in Oregon City, where he resided four years, finally settling at St Louis 
on French Prairie. He died December 1867. The hull of the Morning Star 
was sold to Couch and Flanders, and by them to Charles Hutchins, and was 
burned for the iron and copper. Eugene La Forrest, in Portland Oregonian, 
March 28, 1868. 

HIST. OB., VOL. II. 4 


shore was lined with a fleet of barks, brigs, and ships, 
and where wharves and warehouses were in great 
demand. 17 In Oregon City the mills were kept busy 
making flour and lumber, 18 and new saw-mills were 
erected on the Columbia. 19 

The farmers did not at first derive much benefit 
from the change in affairs, as labor was so high and 
scarce, and there was a partial loss of crops in conse 
quence. Furthermore their wheat was already in 
store with the merchants and millers at a fixed price, 
or contracted for to pay debts. They therefore could 
not demand the advanced price of wheat till the crop 
of 1849 was harvested, while the merchant -millers 
had almost a whole year in which to make flour out 
of wheat costing them not more than five eighths of 
a dollar a bushel in goods, and which they sold at ten 
and twelve dollars a barrel at the mills. If able to 
send it to San Francisco, they realized double that 
price. As with wheat so with other things, 20 the 
speculators had the best of it. 

17 Couch returned in August from the east, in the bark Madonna, with 
G-. A. Flanders as mate, in the service of the Shermans, shipping merchants 
of New York. They built a wharf and warehouse, and had soon laid the founda 
tion of a handsome fortune. Eugene La Forrest, in Portland Oregonian, Jan. 
29, 1870; Deady, in Trans. Or. Pioneer Assor., 1876, 33-4. Nathaniel Crosby, 
also of Portland, was owner of the 0. C. Raymond, which carried on so profit 
able a trade that he could afford to pay the master 300 a month, the mate 
$200, and ordinary seamen $100. He had built himself a residence costing 
$5,000 before the gold discovery. Honolulu Friend, Oct. 15, 1849. 

18 McLoughlin s miller was James Bachan, a Scotchman. The island grist 
mill was in charge of Robert Pentland, an Englishman, miller for Abernethy. 
Crawford s Nar., MS. 

19 A mill was erected in 1848 on Milton Creek, which falls into Scappoose 
Bay, an inlet of the lower Willamette at its junction with the Columbia, where 
the town of Milton was subsequently laid off and had a brief existence. It 
was owned by T. H. Hemsaker, and built by Joseph Cunningham. It began 
running in 1849, and was subsequently sold to Captain N. Crosbey and Thomas 
W. Smith, who employed the bark Louisiana, Captain Williams, carrying 
lumber to San Francisco. Crawford s Nar., MS. , 217. By the bark Diamond, 
which arrived from Boston in August, Hiram Clark supercargo, Abernethy 
received a lot of goods and took Clark as partner. Together they built a saw 
and planing mill on the Columbia at Oak Point, opposite the original Oak 
Point of the Winship brothers, a more convenient place for getting timber or 
loading vessels than Oregon City. The island mill at the latter place was 
rented to Walter Pomeroy, and subsequently sold, as I shall relate hereafter. 
Another mill was erected above and back of Tongue Point by Henry Marland 
in 1849. Id.; Honolulu Friend, Oct. 3, 1849. 

20 In the Spectator of Oct. 18, 1849, the price of beef on foot is given at 
6 and 8 cents; in market, 10 and 12 cents per pound; pork, 16 and 20 cents; 


When the General Lane sailed from Oregon City 
with lumber and provisions, there were several tons 
of eggs on board which had been purchased at the 
market price, and which were sold by the captain at 
thirty cents a dozen to a passenger who obtained for 
them at Sacramento a dollar each. The large increase 
of home productions, with the influx of gold by the 
return of fortunate miners, soon enabled the farmers 
to pay off their debts and improve their places, a labor 
upon which they entered with ardor in anticipation of 
the donation law. Some of those who could arrange 
their affairs, went a second time to California in 1849; 
among the new companies being one of several hun 
dred Canadians and half-breeds, under the charge of 
Father Delorme, few of whom ever returned alive, 
owing to one of those mysterious epidemics, developed 
under certain not well understood conditions, attack 
ing their camp. 21 

On the whole the effect of the California gold dis 
covery was to unsettle the minds of the people and 
change their habits. To the Hudson s Bay Company 
it was in some respects a damage, and in others a 
benefit. The fur-trade fell off, and this, together with 
the operation of the treaty of 1846, compelling them 
to pay duties on goods from English ports, soon 
effected the abandonment of their business in United 
States territory. For a time they had a profitable 
trade in gold-dust, but when coined gold and American 
and Mexican money came into free circulation, there 
was an end of that speculation. 22 Every circumstance 
now conspired to drive British trade out of Oregon 

butter, 62 and 75 cents; cheese, 50 cents; flour, $14 per barrel; wheat, $1.50 
and $2 per bushel, and oats the same. Potatoes were worth $2.50 per bushel; 
apples, $10. These were the articles produced in the country, and these 
prices were good. On the other hand, groceries and dry goods, which were 
imported, cost less than formerly, because, while consumption was less, more 
cargoes were arriving. Iron and nails, glass and paint were still high, and 

cooking-stoves brought from $70 to $130. 
21 F. X. Matthieu, ^ 

who was one of the company, says that out of COO only 
150 remained alive, and that Delorme narrowly escaped. Refugee, MS., 15; 
Blanche? s Hist. Cath. Ch. in Or., 180. 

22 Roberts Recollections, MS., 81; Anderson s Northwest Coast, MS., 38. 


as fast as the country could get along independently 
of it ; and inasmuch as the fur company had, through 
the dependence of the American community upon 
them, been enabled to make a fair profit on a large 
amount of goods, it was scarcely to be regretted that 
they should now be forced to give way, and retire to 
new territory where only fur companies properly be 

Among the events of 1849 which were directly 
due to the mining episode was the minting of about 
fifty thousand dollars at Oregon City, under an act 
of the colonial legislature passed at its last session, 
without license from the United States. The rea 
sons for this act, which were recited in the preamble, 
were that in use as currency was a large amount of 
gold-dust which was mixed with base metals and im 
purities of other kinds, and that great irregularities 
in weighing existed, to the injury of the community. 
Two members only, Medorum Crawford and W. J. 
Martin, voted against the bill, and these entered on 
the records a formal protest on the ground that the 
measure was unconstitutional and inexpedient. 23 The 

23 Graver s Or. Archives, 311, 315. The act was approved by the governor 
Feb. 16, 1849. According to its pi-ovisions the mint was to be established at 
Oregon City; its officers, elected annually by the house of representatives, 
were to give each $30,000 bonds, and draw a salary of $1 ,999 each perannum, to 
be paid out of proceeds of the institution. The director was empowered to 
pledge the faith of the territory for means to put the mint in operation ; and 
was required to publish in some newspaper in the territory a quarterly state 
ment, or by sending such a report to the county clerk of each county. The 
act provided for an assayer and melter and coiner, the latter being forbidden 
to use any alloys whatever. The weight of the pieces was to be five penny 
weights and ten pennyweights respectively, no more and no less. The dies 
for stamping were required to have on one side the Roman figure five, for 
the pieces of five pennyweights, and the Roman figure ten, for the pieces of 
ten pennyweights, the reverse sides to be stamped with the words Oregon 
Territory, and the date of the year around the face, with the arms of Ore 
gon in the centre. What then constituted the arms of Oregon is a ques 
tion. Brown, Will. Valley, MS., 13, says that only parts of the impression 
remain in the Oregon archives, and that it has gone out of the memory of 
everybody, including Holderness, secretary of state in 1848. Thornton says 
that the auditor s seal of the provisional government consisted of a star in 
the centre of a figure so arranged as to represent a larger star, containing the 
letters Auditor 0. T., and that it is still preserved in the Oregon archives. 
Relics, MS. , 6. But as the law plainly described the coins as having the arms 
of Oregon on the same side with the date and the name of the territory, then 
if the idea of the legislators was carried out, as it seems to have been, a beaver 


reason for the passage of the act was, really, the low 
price of gold-dust, the merchants having the power 
to fix the rate of gold as well as of wheat, receiving 
it for goods at twelve dollars an ounce, the Hudson s 
Bay Company buying it at ten dollars and paying in 
coin procured for the purpose. 24 

The effect of the law was to prevent the circulation 
of gold-dust altogether, as it forbade weighing. No 
steps were taken toward building a mint, which would 
have been impossible had not the erection of a terri 
torial government intervened. But as there was 
henceforth considerable coin coming into the country 
to exchange at high prices for every available product, 
there was no serious lack of money. 25 On the con 
trary there was a disadvantage in the readiness with 
which silver was introduced from California, barrels 
of Mexican and Peruvian dollars being thrown upon 
the market, which had been sent to California to pay 
for gold-dust. The Hudson s Bay Company allowed 
only fifty cents for a Peruvian dollar, while the Amer 
ican merchants took them at one hundred cents. Some 
of the Oregon miners were shrewd enough to buy up 
Mexican silver dollars, and even less valuable coins, 
with gold-dust at sixteen dollars an ounce, and take 

must have been the design on the territorial seal, as it was on the coins. 
All disbursements of the mint, together with the pay of officers, must be made 
in the stamped pieces authorized by the act; and whatever remained of profits, 
after deducting expenses, was to be applied to pay the Cayuse war expenses. 
Penalties were provided for the punishment of any private person who should 
coin gold or attempt to pass unstamped gold. The officers appointed were 
James Taylor, director; Truman P. Powers, treasurer; W. H. Willson, 
melter and coiner, and G. L. Curry, assayer. Or. Spectator, Feb. 22, 1849. 

24 Barnes Or. and Gal., MS., 9; Buck s Enterprises, MS., 8; Brown s Will. 
VaL, MS., 14. This condition of the currency caused a petition to be drawn 
up and numerously signed, setting forth that in consequence of the neglect of 
the United States government the colonists must combine against the greed 
of the merchants in this matter. There was gold-dust in the territory, they 
declared, to the value of two millions of dollars, and more arriving. Besides 
the losses they were forced to bear by the depreciation of gold - dust, there 
was the inconvenience of handling it in its original state, and also the loss 
attending its frequent division. These objections to a gold-dust currency 
being likely to exist for some time, or as long as mining was followed, they 
prayed the legislature to pass a coinage act, which was done as I have said. 
Or. Archives, MS., 188. 

t. Or., MS. 


them to Oregon where dust could be readily obtained 
at twelve or fourteen dollars an ounce. 26 The gold 
coins in general circulation were Spanish doubloons, 
halves, and quarters. Such was the scarcity of con 
venient currency previous to this overplus that silver 
coin had been at a premium of ten per cent, 27 but fell 
rapidly to one per cent. 

The act of the legislature did not escape criticism. 28 
But before the law could be carried into effect Gov 
ernor Lane had issued his proclamation placing the 
territory under the government of the United States, 
and it became ineffectual, as well as illegal. The 
want, however, remaining the same, a partnership 
was formed called the Oregon Exchange Company, 
which proceeded to coin money after its own fashion, 
and on its own responsibility. The members were 
W. K. Kilborne, Theophilus Magruder, James Tay 
lor, George Abernethy, W. H. Willson, W. H. Rector, 
J. G. Campbell, and Noyes Smith. Rector "being the 
only member with any mechanical skill " was depu 
tized to furnish the stamps and dies, which he did, 
using a small machine for turning iron. The engrav 
ing was done by Campbell. When all was in readi 
ness, Rector was employed as coiner, no assaying 
being done or attempt made to part the silver from 
the gold. Indeed, it was not then known in Oregon 
that there was any silver in the crude metal, and all 
the pieces of the same denomination were made of the 
same weight, though the color varied considerably. 
About thirty thousand dollars were made into five- 

26 W. H. Rector s Oregon Exchange, Company, in Or. Archives, MS., 193. 

27 Moss 1 Pioneer Times, MS., 59. 

28 Some severe strictures were passed upon it by A. E. Wait, a lawyer, 
and at that time editor of the Spectator, who declared with emphasis that the 
people of Oregon desired no law which conflicted with the laws of the United 
States; but only asked for the temporary privilege under the provisional gov 
ernment of coining gold to meet the requirements of business for the present; 
raid that if this act was to be numbered among those which congress was 
asked to confirm, it was a direct insult to the United States. Wait may have 
been right as to the general sentiment of the people, or of the best and most 
patriotic men of the American party, but it is plain from the language of the 
memorial to the legislature that its framers were in a mood to defy the gov 
ernment which had so long appeared to be unmindful of them. 



dollar pieces ; and not quite the same amount into ten- 
dollar coins. 29 This coinage raised the price of dust 
from twelve to sixteen dollars an ounce, and caused a 
great saving to the territory. Being thrown into cir 
culation, and quickly followed by an abundance of 
money from California, the intended check on the 
avarice of the merchants was effected. 30 The Oregon 
Exchange coinage went by the name beaver money/ 
and was eventually all called in by the United States 
mint in San Francisco, a premium being paid upon it, 
as it was of greater value than the denominations on 
the coins indicated. 31 

I have said that the effect of the gold discovery 
was to change the habits of the people. Where all 

29 The ten-dollar pieces differed from the fives by having over the beaver 
only the letters K. M. T. R. C. S. underneath which were seven stars. Be- 



neath the beaver was 0. T., 1849. On the reverse was Oregon Exchange 
Company around the margin, and 10 D. 20 G. Native Gold with Ten D. in 
the centre. Thornton s Or. Relics, MS., 5. 

30 Or. Archives, MS., 192-5; Buck s Enterprises, MS., 9-10. Rector says: 
I afterward learned that Kilborne took the rolling-mill to Umpqua. John 
O. Campbell had the dies the last I knew of them. He promised to destroy 
them; to which J. Henry Brown adds that they were placed in the custody 
of the secretary of state, together with a $10 piece, and that he had made 
several impressions of the dies in block tin. A set of these impressions was 
presented to me in 1878 by Mr Brown, and is in my collection. 

31 Or. Archives, MS., 191, 196. Other mention of the beaver money is 
made in Or. Pioneer Asso. Trans., 1875, 72, and Portland Oregonian, Dec. 8, 


was economy and thrift before, there was now a ten 
dency to profligacy and waste. This was natural. 
They had suffered -so long the oppression of a want 
that could not be relieved, and the restraint of desires 
that could not be gratified without money, that when 
money came, and with such ease, it was like a draught 
of brandy upon an empty stomach. There was in 
toxication, sometimes delirium. Such was, especially 
the case with the Canadians, 32 some of whom brought 
home thirty or forty thousand dollars, but were unable 
to keep it. The same was true of others. The pleasure 
of spending, and of buying such articles of luxury 
as now began to find their way to Oregon from an 
overstocked California market, was too great to be 
resisted. If they could not keep their money, how 
ever, they put it into circulation, and so contributed 
to supply a want in the community, and enable those 
who could not go to the mines, through fear of losing 
their land claims, or other cause, to share in the golden 
harvest. 33 

It has been held by some that the discovery of 
gold at this time seriously retarded the progress of 
Oregon. 34 This was not the case in general, though 
it may have been so in particular instances. It 
took agriculturists temporarily from their farms and 
mechanics from their shops, thereby checking the 
steady if slow march of improvement. But it found 
a market for agricultural products, raising prices 
several hundred per cent, and enabled the farmer to 
get gold for his produce, instead of a poor class of 
goods at exorbitant prices. It checked for two or 
three years the progress of building. While mill- 
owners obtained enormous prices for their lumber, 
the wages of mechanics advanced from a dollar and a 
half a day to eight dollars, and the day laborer was 
able to demand and obtain four dollars per day 33 

32 Anderson s Northwest Coast, MS., 37-9; Johnson s Cal and Or., 206-7. 
83 Saywardjs Pioneer Remin., MS., 7. 

34 Deady, in Overland Monthly, i. 36; Honolulu Friend, May 3, 1851. 
85 Brown s Autobiography, MS., 37; Strong s Hist. Or., MS., 15. 


where he had received but one. Men who before were 
almost hopelessly in debt were enabled to pay. By 
the amended currency law, all debts that had to be 
collected by law were payable in gold instead of 
wheat. Many persons were in debt, and their credit 
ors hesitated to sell their farms and thus ruin them; 
but all the same the dread of ruin hung over them, 
crushing their spirits. Six months in the gold mines 
changed all, and lifted the burden from their hearts. 
Another good effect was that it drew to the country 
a class, not agriculturists, nor mechanics, nor profes 
sional men, but projectors of various enterprises bene 
ficial to the public, and who in a short time built 
steamboats in place of sloops and flatboats, and estab 
lished inland transportation for passengers and goods, 
which gradually displaced the pack-train and the 
universal horseback travel. These new men enabled 
the United States government to carry out some of 
its proposed measures of relief in favor of the people 
of Oregon, in the matter of a mail service, to open 
trade with foreign ports, to establish telegraphic com 
munication with California, and eventually to introduce 
railroads. These were certainly no light benefits, and 
were in a measure the result of the gold discovery. 
Without it, though the country had continued to fill 
up with the same class of people who first settled 
it, several generations must have passed before so 
much could have been effected as was now quickly 
accomplished. Even with the aid of government the 
country must have progressed slowly, owing to its 
distance from business and progressional centres, and 
the expense of maintaining intercourse with the parent 
government. Moreover, during this period of slow 
growth the average condition of the people with re 
spect to intellectual progress would have retrograded. 
The adult population, having to labor for the support 
of families, and being deprived through distance and 
the want of money from keeping up their former 
intellectual pursuits, would have ceased to feel their 


former interest in learning and literature. Their chil 
dren, with but poor educational facilities and without 
the example, would have grown up with acquire 
ments inferior to those of their parents before emi 
grating. Reared in poor houses, without any of the 
elegancies of life, 36 and with but few of the ordinary 
conveniences, they would have missed the refining 
influences of healthy environment, and have fallen 
below the level of their time in regard to the higher 
enjoyments of living. The people being chiefly agri 
cultural and pastoral, from their isolation would have 
become fixed in their ideas and prejudices. As the 
means of living became plenty and little exertion was 
required, they would become attached to an easy, 
careless, unthinking mode of existence, with a ten 
dency even to resent innovations in their habits to 
which a higher degree of civilization might invite 
them. Such is the tendency of poverty and isolation, 
or of isolation and rude physical comforts, without 
some constant refining agency at hand. 

One of the immediate effects of the mining exodus 
of 1848 was the suspension of the legislature. 37 On 
the day appointed by law for the assembling of the 
legislative body only nine members were present, 
representing four counties; and this notwithstanding 
the governor had issued proclamations to fill vacan 
cies occurring through the resignation of members- 
elect. 38 Even after the sergeant-at-arrns had com 
pelled the appearance of four members from Cham- 

56 Strong s Hist. Or., MS., 21. 

37 The members elect of the legislature were : from Clackamas, A. L. Love- 
joy, G. L. Curry, J. L. Snook; Tualatin, Samuel R. Thurston, P. H. Bur 
nett, Ralph Wilcox; Champoeg, Albert Gains, Robert Newell, W. J. Bailey, 
William Porter; Yamhill, A. J. Hembree, L. A. Rice, William Martin; 
Polk, Harrison Linville, J. W. Nesmith, 0. Russell; Linn, Henry J. Peter 
son, Anderson Cox; Lewis, Levi L. Smith; Clatsop, A. H. Thompson; Van 
couver, Adolphus L. Lewis. Grovels Or. Archives, 258. 

38 The members elected to fill vacancies were Samuel Parker, in Cham 
poeg County; D. Hill, in Tualatin; A. F. Hedges and M. Crawford, in Clack 
amas. Id., 260. Two other substitutes were elected Thomas J. Lovelady 
of Polk county, and A. M. Locke of Benton, neither of whom served. 


poeg, Polk, and Linn counties, there were still but 
thirceen out of twenty-three allowed by the appor 
tionment. After organizing by choosing Ralph Wil- 
cox speaker, W. G. T Vault chief clerk, and William 
Holmes sergeant-at-arms and door-keeper, the house 
adjourned till the first Monday in February, to give 
time for special elections to fill the numerous vacan 

The governor having again issued proclamations to 
the vacant districts to elect, on the 5th of February 
1849 there convened at Oregon City the last session 
of the provisional legislature of the Oregon colony. 
It consisted of eighteen members, namely: Jesse 
Applegate, W. J. Bailey, A. Cox, M. Crawford, G. 
L. Curry, A. F. Hedges, A. J. Hembree, David 
Hill, John Hudson, A. L. Lewis, W. J. Martin, S. 
Parker, H. J. Peterson, William Portius, L. A. Rice, 
S. R. Thurston, J. C. Avery, and Ralph Wilcox. 39 

Lewis County remained unrepresented, nor did 
Avery of Benton appear until brought with a war 
rant, an organization being effected with seventeen 
members. Wilcox declining to act as speaker, Levi 
A. Rice was chosen in his place, and sworn into office 
by S. M. Holderness, secretary of state. T Vault 
was reflected chief clerk; James Cluse enrolling clerk; 

39 Ralph Wilcox was born in Ontario county, New York, July 9, 1818. He 
graduated at Geneva medical college in that state, soon after which he re 
moved to Missouri, where on the llth of October 1845 he married, emigrat 
ing to Oregon the following year. In January 1847 he was appointed by 
Abernethy county judge of Tualatin vice W. Burris resigned, and the same 
year was elected to the legislature from the same county, and re-elected in 
1848. Besides being chosen speaker at this session, he was elected speaker of 
the lower house of the territorial legislature in 1850-1, and president of the 
council in 1853-4. During the years 1856-8 he was register of the U. S. 
land office at Oregon City, and was elected in the latter year county judge of 
Washington (formerly Tualatin) county, an office which he held till 1862, 
when he was again elected to the house of representatives for two years. In 
July 1865 he was appointed clerk of the U. S. district court for the district 
of Oregon, and U. S. commissioner for the same district, which office he con 
tinued to hold down to the time of his death, which occurred by suicide, 
April 18, 1877, having shot himself in a state of mental depression caused by 
paralysis. Notwithstanding his somewhat free living he had continued to 
enjoy the confidence of the public for thirty years. The Portland bar 
passed the usual eulogistic resolutions. Oregon City Enterprise, April 26, 1877; 
S. F. Alta, April 19, 1877; Cal. Christian Advocate, May 3, 1877; Portland 
Oreyonian, April 21, 1877; Deady, in Or. Pioneer Asso. Trans., 1875, 37-8. 


Stephen H. L. Meek sergeant-at-arms, and Wilson 
Blain chaplain. 

Abernethy in his message to the legislature informed 
them that his proclamation had called them together 
for the purpose of transacting the business which 
should have been done at the regular session, relating 
chiefly to the adjustment of the expenses of the 
Cayuse war, which it was expected the United States 
government would assume; and also to act upon the 
amendments to the organic law concerning the oath 
of office, the prohibition of the sale and manufacture 
of ardent spirits, and to make the clerks of the sev 
eral counties recorders of land claims, which amend 
ments had been sanctioned by the vote of the people 
at the regular election. Information had been re 
ceived, he said, that the officers necessary to establish 
and carry on the territorial government, for which 
they had so long hoped, were on their way and would 
soon arrive; 40 and he plainly indicated that he expected 
the matters pointed out to be settled in a certain way, 
before the new government should be established, 
confirming the acts of the retiring organization. 41 

The laws passed relating to the Cayuse war were 
an act to provide for the pay of the commissioned offi- 

40 This information seems to have been brought to Oregon in January 
1849, by 0. C. Pratt, one of the associate- judges, who happened to be in Cali 
fornia, whither he had gone in pursuit of health. His commission met him 
at Monterey about the last of Nov., and in Dec. he left for Oregon on the 
bark Undine which after a long voyage, and being carried into Shoalwater 
Bay, finally got into the Columbia in Jan. Salem Or. Statesman, Aug. 7, 1852; 
Or. Spectator, Jan. 25, 1849. 

41 He submitted the report of the adjutant-general, by which it appeared 
that the amount due to privates and non-commissioned officers was $109,- 
311.50, besides the pay of the officers and those persons employed in the 
different departments. He recommended that a law should be passed author 
izing scrip to be issued for that amount, redeemable at an early date, and 
bearing interest until paid. The belief that the general government would 
become responsible would, he said, make the scrip salable, and enable the 
holders to whom it should be issued to realize something immediately for 
their services. Graver s Or. Archives, 273. This was the beginning of specu 
lation in Oregon war scrip. As to the report of the commissary and quarter 
master-general, the governor left that for the legislature to examine into, and 
the accounts so far as presented in these departments amounted to something 
like $57,000, making the cost of the war without the salaries of the commis 
sioned officers over $166,000. This was subsequently much reduced by a 
commission, as I shall show iu the proper place. 


cers employed in the service of the territory during 
the hostilities, and an act regulating the issuing and 
redemption of scrip, 42 making it payable to the person 
to whom first issued, or bearer, the treasurer being 
authorized to exchange or redeem it whenever offered, 
with interest. Another act provided for the manner 
of exchange, and interest payments. An act was 
passed making a change in the oath of office, and 
making county clerks recorders of land claims, to 
which the governor refused his signature on the plea 
that the United States laws would provide for the 
manner of recording claims. On the other hand the 
legislature refused to amend the organic law by put 
ting in the word prohibit in place of regulate, but 
passed an act making it necessary for every person 
applying for a license to sell or manufacture ardent 
spirits, to take an oath not to sell, barter, or give 
liquor to any Indian, fixing the penalty at one hundred 
dollars; and no distilleries were to be allowed beyond 
the limits of the white settlements. With this poor 
substitute for the entire interdiction he had so long 
desired, the governor was compelled to be so far sat 
isfied as to append his signature. 

Besides the act providing for weighing and stamp 
ing gold, of which I have spoken, little more was done 
than is here mentioned. . Some contests took place 
between members over proposed enactments, and 
Jesse Applegate, 43 as customary with him, offered 

42 The first act mentioned here I have been unable to find. I quote the 
Or. Spectator, Feb. 22, 1849. In place of it I find in the Or. Laws, 1843-9, 
56-8, an act providing for the final settlement of claims against the Oregon 
government for and on account of the Cayuse war, by which a board of com 
missioners was appointed to settle and adjust those claims; said commission 
ers being Thomas Magruder, Samuel Burch. and Wesley Shannon, whose 
duty was to exhibit in detail a statement of all accounts, whether for money 
or property furnished the government, or for services rendered, either as a 
citizen, soldier, or officer of the army. This might be construed as an act 
to provide for the pay of commissioned officers. 

^ 43 Ever since first passing throtigh southern Oregon on his exploring expe 
dition, he had entertained a high opinion of the country; and he brought in 
a bill to charter an association called the Klamath Company, which was to 
have power to treat with the natives and purchase lands from them. Mr 
Hedges opposed the bill, and offered a resolution, that it was not in the 
power of the house to grant a charter to any individual, or company, for 


resolutions and protests ad arbitrium et propositum. 
Another man, Samuel R Thurston, an emigrant of 
1847, displayed indications of a purpose to make his 
talents recognized. In the course of proceedings A. 
L. Lewis, of Vancouver county, offered a resolution 
that the superintendent of Indian affairs be required 
to report, 44 presently asking if there were an Indian 
superintendent in Oregon at all. 

The governor replied that H. A. G. Lee had re 
signed the superintendency because the compensation 
bore no proportion to the services required, and that 
since Lee s resignation he had performed the duties of 
superintendent, not being able to find any competent 
person who would accept the office. In a second com 
munication he reported on Indian affairs that the 
course pursued had been conciliatory, and that the 
Indians had seemingly become quiet, and had ceased 
their clamor for pay for their lands, waiting for the 
United States to move in the matter; and the Cay use 
murderers had not been secured. With regard to the 
confiscation of Indian lands, he returned for answer 

treating for wild lands in the territory, or for holding treaties with the Indian 
tribes for the purchase of lands, all of which was very apparent. But Mr 
Applegate introduced the counter resolution that if the doctrine in the reso 
lution last passed be true, then the powers of the Oregon government are un 
equal to the wants of the people, which was of course equally true, as it was 
only provisional. 

44 He wished to know, he said, whether the superintendent had upon his 
own or the authority of any other officer of the government confiscated to 
the use of the people of Oregon any Indian country, and if so, why ; if any 
grant or charter had been given by him to any citizen or citizens for the set 
tlement of any Indian country, and if so, by what authority; and whether he 
had enforced the law prohibiting the sale of liquor to Indians. A. Lee Lewis, 
says Applegate, a bright young man, the son of a chief factor, afterward 
superintendent of Indian affairs, was the first representative of Vancouver 
district. Views of Hist., MS., 45. Another British subject, who took a part 
in the provisional government, was Richard Lane, appointed by Abernethy 
county judge of Vancouver in 1847, vice Dugald McTavish resigned. Or. Spec 
tator, Jan. 21, 1847. Lane came to Oregon in 1837 as a clerk to the Hudson s 
Bay Company. He was a ripe scholar and a good lawyer. He lived for 
some time at Oregon City, and afterward at Olympia, holding various offices, 
among others those of clerk of one branch of the territorial legislature of 
Washington, clerk of the supreme and district courts, county auditor, and 
clerk of the city corporation of Olympia. He died at The Dalles in the 
spring of 1877, from an overdose of morphine, apparently taken with sui 
cidal intent. He was then about sixty years of age. Dalles Mountaineer, 
in Seattle Pacific Tribune, March 2, 1877. 


that he believed Lee had invited the settlement of 
Americans in the Ca}nise country, but that he knew 
nothing of any charter having been granted to any 
one, and that he presumed the settlement would have 
been made by each person locating a claim of six 
hundred and forty acres. He reiterated the opinion 
expressed to Lee, when the superintendent sought 
his advice, that the Cayuses having been engaged in 
war with the Americans the appropriation of their 
lands was justifiable, and would be so regarded by the 
neighboring tribes. As to liquor being sold to the 
Indians, though he believed it was done, he had never 
yet been able to prove it in a single instance, and 
recommended admitting Indian testimony. 

The legislature adjourned February 16th, having 
put, so far as could be done, the provisional govern 
ment in order, to be confirmed by act of congress, 
even to passing an act providing for the payment of 
the several departments a necessary but hitherto 
much neglected duty of the organization 45 and also 
to the election of territorial officers for another term. 46 
These were never permitted to exercise official func 
tions, as but two weeks elapsed between the close of 
the session and the arrival of Lane .with the new order 
of things. 

Note finally the effect of the gold discovery on 
immigration. California in 1849 of course offered 

45 The salary of the governor was nominally $500, but really nothing, as 
the condition of the treasury was such as to make drafts upon it worthless 
except in a few cases. Abernethy did not receive his pay from the provisional 
government, and as the territorial act did not confirm the statutes passed by 
the several colonial legislatures, he had no redress. After Oregon had become 
a state, and when by a series of misfortunes he had lost nearly all his posses 
sions, after more than 20 years waiting Abernethy received his salary as 
governor of the Oregon colony by an appropriation of the Oregon legislature 
Oct. 1872. The amount was $2,986.21, which congress was asked to make 
good to the state. 

46 A. L. Lovejoy was elected supreme judge in place of Columbia Lan- 

treasurer; John G. Campbell, auditor; W. H. Bennett, marshal, and A. Lee 
Lewis, superintendent of Indian affairs. Or. Spectator, Feb. 22, 1849. 


the great attraction. The four or five hundred who 
were not dazzled with the visions of immediate 
wealth that beckoned southward the great army of 
gold-seekers, but who suffered with them the common 
discomforts of the way, were glad to part company 
at the place where their roads divided on the western 
slope of the Rocky Mountains. 

On the Oregon part of the road no particular dis 
couragement or distress befell the travellers until 
they reached The Dalles and began the passage of the 
mountains or the river. As no emigration had ever 
passed over the last ninety miles of their journey to 
the Willamette Valley without accident or loss, so 
these had their trials with floods and mountain de 
clivities, 47 arriving, however, in good time, after having 
been detained in the mountains by forest fires which 
blocked the road with fallen timber. This was an 
other form of the inevitable hardship which year 
after year fell upon travellers in some shape on this 
part of their journey. The fires were an evidence 
that the rains came later than usual, and that the 
former trials from this source of discomfort were thus 
absent. 43 Such was the general absorption of the 
public mind in other affairs that the immigration re 
ceived little notice. 

Before gold was discovered it was land that drew 
men to the Pacific, land seen afar off through a rosy 
mist which made it seem many times more valuable 
and beautiful than the prolific valleys of the middle 
and western states. And now, even before the dona 
tion law had passed, the tide had turned, and gold was 
the magnet more potent than acres to attract. How 
far population was diverted from the north-west, and 
to what extent California contributed to the develop- 

47 Gen. Smith in his report to the secretary of war said that the roads to 
Oregon were made to come into it, but not to go out of it, referring to the steep 
descents of the western declivities of the Cascade Mountains. 

48 A long dry autumn in 1849 was followed by freshets in the Willamette 
Valley in Dec. and Jan., which carried off between $40,000 and 50, 000 worth 
of property. Or. Spectator, Jan. 10, 1850. 


ment of the resources of Oregon, 49 the progress of this 
history will show. Then, perhaps, after all it will be 
seen that the distance of Oregon from the Sierra 
Foothills proved at this time the greatest of blessings, 
being near enough for commercial communication, and 
yet so far away as to escape the more evil conse 
quences attending the mad scramble for wealth, such 
as social dissolution, the rapine of intellect and prin 
ciple, an overruling spirit of gambling a delirium of 
development, attended by robbery, murder, and all 
uncleanness, and followed by reaction and death. 

49 When J. Q. Thornton was in Washington in 1848, he had made a seal 
for the territory, the design of which was appropriate. In the centre a shield, 
two compartments. Lower compartment, in the foreground a plough; in 
the distance, mountains. In the upper compartment, a ship under full sail. 
The crest a beaver; the sinister supporter an Indian with bow and arrow, 
and a mantle of skins over his shoulders; the dexter supporter an eagle 
with wings displayed; the motto alls volet proprOs I fly with my own wing. 
Field of the lower compartment argent; of the upper blue. This seal was 
presented to the governor and secretary in 1850, and by them adopted. By 
act of Jan. 1854, it was directed to be deposited, and recorded in the office 
of the secretary, to remain a public record; but so far as can be ascertained 
it was never done. Or. Gen. Laws, 1845-1864, p. 627. For fac-simile of seal 
see p. 487, this vol. 

HIST. OR., VOL. II. 5 




GOVERNOR LANE lost no time in starting the political 
wheels of the territory. First a census must be taken 
in order to make the proper apportionment before or 
dering an election; and this duty the marshal and his 
deputies quickly performed. 1 Meanwhile the governor 
applied himself to that branch of his office which made 
him superintendent of Indian affairs, the Indians 
themselves those that were left of them being 
prompt to remind him of the many years they had 
been living on promises, and the crumbs which were 
dropped from the tables of their white brothers. The 
result was more promises, more fair words, and further 
assurances of the intentions of the great chief of the 
Americans toward his naked and hungry red children. 
Nevertheless the superintendent did decide a case 

J The census returns showed a total of 8,785 Americans of all ages and 
both sexes and 298 foreigners. From this enumeration may be gathered 
some idea of the great exodus to the gold mines of both Americans and Brit 
ish subjects. Indians and Hawaiians were not enumerated. Honolulu Friend, 
Oct. 1849, 51. 



against some white men of Linn City who had pos 
sessed themselves of the site of a native fishing village 
on the west bank of the Willamette near the falls, 
after maliciously setting fire to the wretched habita 
tions and consuming the poor stock of supplies 
contained therein. The Indians were restored to 
their original freehold, and quieted with a promise 
of indemnification, which, on the arrival of the first 
ten thousand dollar appropriation for the Indian ser 
vice in April, was redeemed by a few presents of small 
value, the money being required for other purposes, 
none having been forwarded for the use of the terri 
tory. 2 

In order to allay a growing feeling of uneasiness 
among the remoter settlements, occasioned by the 
insolent demeanor of the Kliketats, who frequently 
visited the Willamette and perpetrated minor offences, 
from demanding a prepared meal to stealing an ox or 
a horse, as the Molallas had done on previous occa 
sions, Lane visited the tribes near The Dalles and 
along the north side of the Columbia, including the 
Kliketats, all of whom at the sight of the new white 
chief professed unalterable friendship, thinking that 
now surely something besides words would be forth 
coming. A few trifling gifts were bestowed. 3 Pres 
ently a messenger arrived from Puget Sound with 
information of the killing of an American, Leander C. 
Wallace, of Cowlitz Valley, and the wounding, of two 
others, by the Snoqualimichs. It was said that they 
had concocted a plan for capturing Fort Ni squally 
by fomenting a quarrel with a small and inoffensive 
tribe living near the fort, and whom they employed 
sometimes as herdsmen. They reckoned upon the com 
pany s interference, which was to furnish the oppor 
tunity. As they had expected, when they began the 

* Honolulu Friend, Oct. 1849, 58; Lane s Kept, in 31st Cong., 2d Sess. y 
H. Ex. Doc. 1, 156. 

3 Lane says the amount expended on presents was about $200; and that he 
made peace between the Walla Wallas and Yakimas who were about to go 
to war. 


affray, the Indians attacked ran to the fort, and Tolmie, 
who was in charge, ordered the gates opened to give 
them refuge. At this moment, when the Snoquali- 
michs were making a dash to crowd into the fort on 
the pretence of following their enemies, Wallace, 
Charles Wren, and a Mr Lewis were riding toward 
it, having come from the Cowlitz to trade. On seeing 
their danger, they also made all haste to get inside, 
but were a moment too late, when, the gates being 
closed, the disappointed savages fired upon them, as I 
have said, besides killing one of the friendly Indians 
who did not gain the shelter of the fort. 4 Thibault, 
a Canadian, then began firing on the assailants from 
one of the bastions. The Indians finding they had 
failed retreated before the company could attack them 
in full force. There was no doubt that had the Sno- 
qualimichs succeeded in capturing the fort, they would 
have massacred every white person on the Sound. 
Finding that they had committed themselves, they 
sent word to the American settlers, numbering about 
a dozen families, that they were at liberty to go out 
of the country, leaving their property behind. But 
to this offer the settlers returned answer that they 
intended to stay, and if their property was threatened 
should fight. Instead of fleeing, they built block 
houses at Tumwater and Cowlitz prairie, to which 
they could retire in case of alarm, and sent a messen 
ger to the governor to inform him of their situation. 
There were then at Oregon City neither armies nor 
organized courts. Lieutenant Hawkins and five men 

4 This is according to the account of the affair given by several authorities. 
See Tolmie in the Feb. 3d issue of Truth Teller, a small sheet published at 
Fort Steilacoom in 1858; also in Hist. Puget Sound, MS., 33-5. A writer in 
the Olympia Standard of April 11, 1868, says that Wren had his back against 
the wall and was edging in, but was shut out by Walter Ross, the clerk, 
who with one of the Nisquallies was on guard. This writer also says that 
Patkanim, a. chief of the Snoqualimichs, afterward famous in the Indian wars, 
was inside the fort talking with Tolmie, while the chief s brother shot at and 
killed Wallace. These statements, while not intentionally false, were colored 
by rumor, and by the prejudice against the fur coinpany, which had its origin 
with the first settlers of the Puget Sound region, as it had had in the region 
south of the Columbia. See also Roberts Recollections, MS., 35; Rabbison s 
Growth of Towns, MS., 17. 


who had not deserted constituted the military force at 
Lane s command. Acting with characteristic prompt 
ness, he set out at once for Puget Sound, accompanied 
by these, taking with him a supply of arms and 
ammunition, andjeaving George L. Curry acting sec 
retary by his appointment, Pritchett not yet having 
arrived. At Tumwater he was overtaken by an ex 
press from Vancouver, notifying him of the arrival 
of the propeller Massachusetts, Captain Wood, from 
Boston, by way of Valparaiso and the Hawaiian 
Islands, having on board two companies of artillery 
under Brevet-Major Hathaway, who sent Lane word 
that if he so desired, a part of his force should be 
moved at once to the Sound. 5 

Lane returned to the Columbia, at the same time 
despatching a letter to Tolniie at Fort Nisqually, re 
questing him to inform the hostile Indians that should 
they commit any further outrages they would be vis 
ited with chastisement, for now he had fighting men 
enough to destroy them; also making a request that 
no ammunition should be furnished to the Indians. 6 
His plan, he informed the secretary of war after 
ward, was, in the event of a military post being 
established on the Sound, to secure the cooperation 
of Major Hathaway in arresting and punishing the 
Indians according to law for the murder of American 

On reaching Vancouver, about the middle of June, 
he found the Massachusetts ready to depart, 7 and 
Hathaway encamped in the rear of the Hudson s Bay 
Company s fort with one company of artillery, the 
other, under Captain B. H. Hill, having been left at 
Astoria, quartered in the buildings erected by the 

5 The transport Massachusetts entered the Columbia May 7th, by the sail 
ing directions of Captain Gelston, without difficulty. Honolulu Friend, Xov. 
1, 1849. This was the first government vessel to get safely into the river. 

6 Lane s liept. to the Sec. War., in 31st Cong., 2d Sess., II. Ex. Doc. 1, 157. 

7 The Massachusetts went to Portland, where she was loaded with lumber 
for the use of the government in California in building army quarters at Beni- 
cia; the U. S. transport Anita was likewise employed. IiiyoU s llept., in Slat 
Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, 284. 


Shark s crew in 1846. 8 It was soon arranged between 
Hathaway and Lane that Hill s company should es 
tablish a post near Nisqually, when the Indians would 
be called upon to surrender the murderer of Wallace. 
The troops were removed from Astoria about the mid 
dle of July, proceeding by the English vessel Har- 
pooner to Nisqually. 

On the 13th of May the governor s proclamation 
was issued dividing the territory into judicial districts ; 
the first district, to which Bryant, who arrived on the 
9th of April, was assigned, consisting of Vancouver 
and several counties immediately south of the Colum 
bia; the second, consisting of the remaining counties 
in the Willamette Valley, to which Pratt was assigned ; 
and the third the county of Lewis, or all the country 
north of the Columbia and west of Vancouver county, 
including the Puget Sound territory, for which there 
was no judge then appointed. 9 The June election 
gave Oregon a bona fide delegate to congress, chosen 
by the people, of whom we shall know more presently. 

When the governor reached his capital he found 
that several commissions, which had been intended to 
overtake him at St Louis or Leaven worth, but which 
failed, had been forwarded by Lieutenant Beale to 
California, and thence to Oregon City. These related 
to the Indian department, appointing as sub-Indian 
agents J. Q. Thornton, George C. Preston, and 
Robert Newell, 10 the Abernethy delegate being re 
warded at last with this unjudicial office by a relenting 
president. As Preston did not arrive with his com 
mission, the territory was divided into two districts, 

8 The whole force consisted of 161 rank and file. They were companies L 
and M of the 1st regiment of U. S. artillery, and officered as follows: Major 
J. S. Hathaway commanding; Captain B. H. Hill, commanding company M; 
1st lieut., J. B. Gibson, 1st lieut., T. Talbot, 2d lieut., G. Tallmadge, com 
pany M; 2d lieut., J. Dement, company L; 2d lieut., J. J. Woods, quarter 
master and commissary; 2d lieut., J. B. Fry, adjutant. Honolulu Polynesian, 
April 14, 1849. 

9 Evans, in New Tacoma Ledger, July 9, 1880. 

10 American Almanac, 1850, 108-9; Or. Spectator, Oct. 4, 1849. 


and Thornton assigned by the governor to the north 
of the Columbia, while Newell was given the country 
south of the river as his district. This arrangement 
sent Thornton to the disaffected region of Puget 
Sound. On the 30th of July he proceeded to Nis- 
qually, where he was absent for several weeks, ob 
taining the information which was embodied in the 
report of the superintendent, concerning the numbers 
and dispositions of the different tribes, furnished to 
him by Tolmie. 11 While on this mission, during 
which he visited some of the Indians and made them 
small presents, he conceived it his duty to offer a 
reward for the apprehension of the principal actors 
in the affair at Nisqually, nearly equal to the amount 
paid by Ogden for the ransom of all the captives 
after the Waiilatpu massacre, amounting to nearly 
five hundred dollars. This assumption of authority 
roused the ire of the governor, who probably ex 
pressed himself somewhat strongly, for Thornton re 
signed, and as Newell shortly after went to the gold 
mines the business of conciliating and punishing the 
Indians again devolved upon the governor. 

On the 16th of July the first territorial legislative 
assembly met at Oregon City. According to the act 
establishing the government, the legislature was 
organized with nine councilmen, of three classes, 
whose terms should expire with the first, second, and 
third years respectively- and eighteen members of 
the house of representatives, who should serve for one 
year; the law, however, providing for an increase in 
the number of representatives from time to time, in 
proportion to the number of qualified voters, until the 
maximum of thirty should be reached. 12 After the 

11 Slat Cong., ZdSess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, 161. 

12 The names of the councilmen were: W. U. Buck, of Clackamas; Wilson 
Blain, of Tualatin; Samuel Parker and Wesley Shannon, of Champoeg; J. 
Graves, of Yamhill; W. B. Mealey, of Linn; Nathaniel Ford, of Polk; Norris 
Humphrey, of Ben ton; S. T. McKean, of Clatsop, Lewis, and Vancouver coun 
ties. The members of the house elected were: A. L. Lovejoy, W. D. Holman, 


usual congratulations Lane, in his message to the 
legislature, alluded briefly to the Cayuses, who, he 
promised, should be brought to justice as soon as the 
rifle regiment then on its way should arrive. Con 
gress would probably appropriate money to pay the 
debt, amounting to about one hundred and ninety 
thousand dollars. He also spoke of the Wallace 
affair, and said the murderers should be punished. 

His suggestions as to the wants of the territory 
were practical, and related to the advantages of good 
roads; to a judicious system of revenues; to the re 
vision of the loose and defective condition of the 
statute laws, declared by the organic act to be opera 
tive in the territory; 13 to education and common 
schools; to the organization of the militia; to election 
matters and providing for apportioning the repre 
sentation of counties and districts to the council and 
house of representatives, and defining the qualifica 
tion of voters, with other matters appertaining to 
government. He left the question of the seat of gov 
ernment to their choice, to decide whether it should 
be fixed by them or at some future session. He re 
ferred with pleasure to the return of many absentees 
from the mines, and hoped they would resume the 
cultivation of their farms, which from lying idle 
would give the country only a short crop, though 
there was still enough for home consumption. 14 He 

and G. Walling, of Clackamas; D. Hill and W. W. Eng, of Tualatin; W. 
W. Chapman, W. S. Matlock, and John Grim, of Champoeg; A. J. Hem- 
bree, R. Kinney, and J. B. Walling, of Yamhill; Jacob Conser and J. S. 
Dunlap, of Linn; H. N. V. Holmes and S. Burch, of Polk; J. Mulkey and 
G. B. Smith, of Benton ; and M. T. Simmons from Clatsop, Lewis, and Van 
couver counties. Honolulu Friend, Nov. 1, 1849; American Almanac, 1849, 312. 
The president of the council was Samuel Parker; the clerk, A. A. Robinson; 
sergeant-at-arms, C. Davis; door-keeper, S. Kinney; chaplain, David Leslie. 
Speaker of tho house, A. L. Lovejoy; chief clerk, William Porter; assistant 
clerk, E. Gendis; sergeant-at-arms, William Holmes; door-keeper, D. D. Bai 
ley; chaplain, H. Johnson. Honolulu Friend, Nov. 1, 1849; Or. Spectator, Oct. 
18, 1849. 

13 Lane s remarks on the laws of the provisional government were more 
truthful than flattering, considering what a number had been simply adopted 
from the Iowa code. Message in Or. Spectator, Oct. 4, 1849; 31st Cong., 1st 
Sess., S. Doc. 52, xiii. 7-12; Tribune Almanac, 1850-51. 

14 Patent Office Hept., 1849, ii. 511-12. 


predicted that the great migration to California would 
benefit Oregon, as many of the gold-seekers would re 
main on the Pacific coast, and look for homes in the 
fertile and lovely valleys of the new territory. And 
last, but by no means least in importance, was the 
reference to the expected donation of land for which 
the people were waiting, and all the more anxiously 
that there was much doubt entertained of the tenure 
by which their claims were now held, since the only 
part of the did organic law repealed was that which 
granted a title to lands. 15 He advised them to call 
the attention of congress to this subject without 
delay. In short, if Lane had been a pioneer of 1843 
he could not have touched upon all the topics nearest 
the public heart more successfully. Hence his imme 
diate popularity was assured, and whatever he might 
propose was likely to receive respectful consideration. 
The territorial act allowed the first legislative as 
sembly one hundred days, at three dollars a day, in 
which to perform its work. A memorial to congress 
occupied it two weeks; still, the assembly closed its 
labors in seventy-six days, 16 having enacted what the 
Spectator described as a " fair and respectable code of 
laws," and adopted one hundred acts of the Iowa stat 
utes. The memorial set forth the loyalty of the peo 
ple, and the natural advantages of the country, not 
forgetting the oft-repeated request that congress 
would grant six hundred and forty acres of land to 
each actual settler, including widows and orphans; 
and that the donations should be made to conform to 
the claims and improvements of the settlers; but if 
congress decided to have the lands surveyed, and to 
make grants by subdivisions, that the settler might be 
permitted to take his land in subdivisions as low as 
twenty acres, so as to include his improvements, with 
out regard to section or township lines. Jhe govern- 

15 Or. Gen. Laws, 1843-9, 60. 

16 The final adjournment was on the 29th of September, a recess having 
been taken to attend to gathering the ripened wheat in August, there being 
no other hands to employ in this labor. Deady s Hist. Or., MS., 3-5. 


merit was reminded that such a grant had been long 
expected; that, indeed, congress. was responsible for 
the expectation, which had caused the removal to 
Oregon of so large a number of people at a great cost 
to themselves; that they were happy to have effected 
by such emigration the objects which the government 
had in view, and to have been prospectively the pro 
moters of the happiness of millions yet unborn, and 
that a section of land to each would no more than pay 
them for their trouble. The memorial asked payment 
for the cost of the Cayuse war, and also for an appro 
priation of ten thousand dollars to pay the debt of 
the late government, which, adopted as a necessity, 
and weak and inefficient as it had been, still sufficed to 
regulate society and promote the growth of whole 
some institutions. 17 A further appropriation of twenty 
thousand dollars was asked for the erection of public 
buildings at the seat of government suitable for the 
transaction of the public business, which was no more 
than had been appropriated to the other territories 
for the same purpose. A sum sufficient for the erec 
tion of a penitentiary was also wanted, and declared 
to be as much in the interest of the United States 
as of the territory of Oregon. 

With regard to the school lands, sections sixteen 
and thirty-six, which would fall upon the claims of 
some settlers, it was earnestly recommended tjiat 
congress should pass a law authorizing the township 
authorities, if the settlers so disturbed should desire, 
to select other lands in their places. At the same 
time congress was reminded that under the distribu 
tion act, five hundred thousand acres of land were 
given to each new state on coming into the union; 
and the people of Oregon asked that the territory be 
allowed to select such lands immediately on the public 

17 Congress neVer paid this debt. In 1862 the state legislature passed an 
act constituting the secretary commissioner of the provincial government 
debt, and register of the claims of scrip-holders. A report made in 1864 
shows that claims to the amount of $4,574.02 only had been proven. Many 
were never presented. 


surveys being made, and also that a law be passed 
authorizing the appropriation of said lands to the 
support of the common schools. 

A military road from some point on the Columbia 
below the cascades to Puget Sound was asked for; 
also one from the sound to a point on the Columbia, 
near Walla Walla; 18 also one from The Dalles to the 
Willamette Valley; also that explorations be made 
for a road from Bear River to the Humboldt, crossing 
the Blue Mountains north of Klamath Lake, and 
entering the Willamette Valley near Mount Jefferson 
and the Santiam River. Other territorial and post 
roads were asked for, and an appropriation to make 
improvements at the falls of the Willamette. The 
usual official robbery under form of the extinguish 
ment of the Indian title, and their removal from the 
neighborhood of the white settlements, was unblush- 
ingly urged. The propriety of making letters to 
Oregon subject to the same postage as letter.8 within 
the States was suggested. Attention was called to 
the difficulties between American citizens and the 
Puget Sound Agricultural Company with regard to 
the extent of the company s claim, which was a large 
tract of country enclosed within undefined and imagi 
nary lines. They denied the right of citizens of the 
United States to locate on said lands, while the people 
contended that the company had no right to any 
lands except such as they actually occupied at the 
time of the Oregon treaty of 1846. The government 
was requested to purchase the lands rightfully held 
by treaty in order to put an end to disputes. The 
memorial closed by coolly asking for a railroad and 
telegraph to the Pacific, though there were not people 
enough in all Oregon to make a good-sized country 
town. 19 

This document framed, the business of laying out 

18 Pierre C. Pambrun and Cornelius Rogers explored the Nisqually Pass a3 
early as 1839, going from Fort Walla Walla to Fort Nisqually by that route. 
Or. Spectator, May 13, 1847. 

19 Or&joti Archives, MS., 176-186; Slat Cong.,2d Sess., Sen. Mis. Doc. 5, 6. 


the judicial districts was attended to. Having first 
changed the names of several counties, 20 it was decreed 
that the first judicial district should consist of Clack- 
amas, Marion, and Linn; the second district of Ben- 
ton, Polk, Yamhill, and Washington ; and the third of 
Clarke, Clatsop, and Lewis. The time for holding 
court was also fixed. 21 

While awating a donation law an act was passed 
declaring the late land law in force, and that any per 
son who had complied or should thereafter comply 
with its provisions should be deemed in possession to 
every part of the land within his recorded boundary, 
not exceeding six hundred and forty acres. But the 
same act provided that no foreigner should be en 
titled to the benefits of the law, who should not 
have, within six months thereafter, filed his declara 
tion of intention to become a citizen of the United 
States. 22 

The new land law amended the old to make it con 
form to the territorial act, declaring that none but 
white male citizens of the United States, over eigh 
teen years of age, should be entitled to take claims 
under the act revived. The privilege of holding 
claims during absence from the territory by paying 
five dollars annually was repealed ; but it was declared 
not necessary to reside upon the land, if the claimant 
continued to improve it, provided the claimant should 
not be absent more than six months. It was also de- 

20 The first territorial legislature changed the name of Champoeg county to 
Marion; of Tualatin to Washington, and of Vancouver to Clarke. Or. Spec 
tator, Oct. 18th. 

21 As there was yet no judge for the third judicial district, and the time 
for holding the court in Lewis county had been appointed for the second Mon 
day in May and November, Governor Lane prevailed upon the legislature to 
attach the county of Lewis to the first judicial district which was to hold 
its first session on the first Monday in September^ and to appoint the first 
Monday in October for holding the district court at Steilacoom in the county 
of Lewis. This change was made in order to bring the trial of the Snoqua- 
limichs in a season of the year when it would be possible for the court to travel 
to Puget Sound. 

22 During the month of May several hundred foreigners were naturalized. 
Honolulu Friend, Oct. 1, 1849. There was a doubt in the mind of Judge 
Bryant whether Hawaiians could become naturalized, the law of congress being 
explicit as to negroes and Indians, but not mentioning Sandwich Islanders. 


clared that land claims should descend to heirs at law 
as personal property. 

An act was passed at this session which made it 
unlawful for any negro or mulatto to come into or 
reside in the territory; that masters of vessels bring 
ing them should be held responsible for their conduct, 
and they should not be permitted to leave the port 
where the vessel was lying except with the consent 
of the master of the vessel, who should cause them 
to depart with the vessel that brought them, or some 
other, within forty days after the time of their ar 
rival. Masters or owners of vessels failing to observe 
this law were made subject to fine not less than five 
hundred dollars, and imprisonment. If a negro or 
mulatto should be found in the territory, it became 
the duty of any judge to issue a warrant for his 
arrest, and cause his removal ; and if the same negro 
or mulatto were twice found in the territory, he should 
be fined and imprisoned at the discretion of the court. 
This law, however, did not apply to the negroes already 
in the territory. The act was ordered published in the 
newspapers of California. 23 

The next most interesting action of the legislative 

<3 O 

assembly was the enactment of a school law, which 
provided for the establishment of a permanent irre 
ducible fund, the interest on which should be divided 
annually among the districts; but as the school lands 
could not be made immediately available, a tax of two 
mills was levied for the support of common schools in 
the interim. The act in its several chapters created 
the offices of school commissioner and directors for each 
county and defined their duties; also the duties of 
teachers. The eighth chapter relating to the powers 
of district meetings provided that until the counties 
were districted the people in any neighborhood, on 
ten days notice, given by any two legal voters, might 
call a meeting and organize a district; and the district 

23 Or. Statutes, 1850-51, 181-2, 246-7; Dix. Speeches, i. 309-45, 372, 377-8. 


meeting might impose an ad valorem tax on all taxa 
ble property in the district for the erection of school 
houses, and to defray the incidental expenses of the 
districts, and for the support of teachers. All chil 
dren between the ages of four and twenty-one years 
were entitled to the benefits of public education. 24 

It is unnecessary to the purposes of this history to 
follow the legislature of the first territorial assembly 
further. No money having been received 25 for the 
payment of the legislators or the printing of the laws, 
the legislators magnanimously waived their right to 
take the remaining thirty days allowed them, and thus 
left some work for the next assembly to do. 28 

On the 21st of September the assembly was noti 
fied, by a special message from the governor, of the 
death of ex-President James K. Polk, the friend of 
Oregon, and the revered of the western democracy. 
As a personal friend of Lane, also, his death created a 
profound sensation. The legislature after draping 
both houses in mourning adjourned for a week. Pub 
lic obsequies were celebrated, and Lane delivered a 
highly eulogistic address. Perhaps the admirers of 
Polk s administration and political principles were all 
the more earnest to do him honor that his successor 

24 Says Buck in his Enterprises, MS., 11-12: They had to make the first 
beginning in schools in Oregon City, and got up the present school law at the 
first session in 1849. It was drawn mostly after the Ohio law, and subsequently 

Abernethy, A. L. Lovejoy, James Taylor, Hiram Clark, G. H." Atkinson, 
Hezekiah Johnson, and Wilson Blain as trustees. 

25 Lane s Rept. in 31st Cong., 2d SPSS., If. Ex. Doc., i. 

26 One of the members tells us something about the legislators: I have 
heard some people say that the lirst legislature was better than any one we 
have had since. I think it was as good. It was composed of more substan 
tial men than they have had in since; men who represented the people better. 
The second one was probably as good. The third one met in Salem. It is 
my impression they had deteriorated a little; but I would not like to say so, 
because I was in the first one. I know there were no such men in it as go to 
the legislature now. Buck s Enterprises, MS., 11. The only difference among 
members was that each one was most partial to the state from which he had 
emigrated, and with the operations of which he was familiar. This difficulty 
proved a serious one, and retarded the progress of business throughout. Or. 
Spectator, Oct. 18, 1849. 


in office was a whig, with whose appointments they 
were predetermined not to be pleased. The officers 
elected by the legislature were: A. A. Skinner, com 
missioner to settle the Cayuse war debt; Bernard 
Genoise, territorial auditor; James Taylor, treasurer; 
Wm. T. Matlock, librarian; James McBride, superin 
tendent of schools; C. M. Walker, prosecuting attor 
ney first judicial district; David Stone, prosecuting 
attorney second judicial district; Wilson Blain, public 
printer; A. L. Lovejoy and W. W. Buck, commission 
ers to let the printing of the laws and journals. Other 
offices being still vacant, an act was passed providing 
for a special election to be held in each of the several 
counties on the third Monday in October for the 
election of probate judges, clerks, sheriffs, assessors, 
treasurers, school commissioners, and justices of the 

As by the territorial act the governor had no veto 
power, congress having reserved this right, there was 
nothing for him to do at Oregon City; and being 
accustomed of late to the stir and incident of military 
camps he longed for activity, and employed his time 
visiting the Indians on the coast, and sending couriers 
to the Cayuses, to endeavor to prevail upon them to 
give up the Waiilatpu murderers. 27 The legislative 
assembly having in the mean time passed a special 
act to enable him to bring to trial the Snoqualimichs, 
and Thornton s munificent offer of reward having 
prompted the avaricious savages to give up to Captain 
Hill at Steilacoom certain of their number to be dealt 
with according to the white man s law, Lane had the 
satisfaction of seeing, about the last of September, 
the first district court, marshal and jurymen, grand 
and petit, on the way to Puget Sound, 28 where the 

27 Lane s Autobiography, MS., 55; 31st Cong., 1st Sess., Sen. Doc. 47, viii. 
pt. iii. 112. 

28 There was a good deal of feeling on the part of the Hudson s Bay Com 
pany concerning Lane s course, though according to Tolmie s account, in 
Truth Teller, the Indians were committing hostilities against them as well aa 


American population was still so small that travelling 
courts were obliged to bring their own juries. 

Judge Bryant provided for the decent administra 
tion of justice by the appointment of A. A. Skinner, 
district attorney, for the prosecution, and David Stone 
for the defence. The whole company proceeded by 
canoes and horses to Steilacoom carrying with them 
their provisions and camping utensils. Several Indians 
had been arrested, but two only, Quallawort, brother of 
Patkanim, head chief of the Snoqualimichs, and Kas- 
sas, another Snoqualimich chief, were found guilty. 
On the day following their conviction they were 
hanged in the presence of the troops and .many of 
their own and other tribes, Bryant expressing himself 
satisfied with the finding of the jury, and also with 
the opinion that the attacking party of Snoqualimichs 
had designed to take Fort Nisqually, in which attempt, 
had they succeeded, many lives would have been lost. 29 
The cost of this trial was $1,899.54, besides eighty 
blankets, the promised reward for the arrest and de 
livery of the guilty parties, which amounted to $480 
more. Many of the jurymen were obliged to travel 
two hundred miles, and the attorneys also, each of 
whom received two hundred and fifty dollars for his 
services. Notwithstanding this expensive lesson the 
same savages made away in some mysterious manner 
with one of the artillerymen from Fort Steilacoom the 
following winter. 30 

against the Americans. Roberts says that when Lane was returning from 
the Sound in June, he, Roberts, being at the Cowlitz farm, rode out to meet 
him, and answered his inquiries concerning the best way of preserving the 
peace of the country, then changing from the old regime to the new. I was 
astonished, says Roberts, to hear him remark "Damn them ! (the Indians) it 
would do my soul good to be after them." This would never have escaped 
the lips of Dr McLoughlin or Douglas. Recollections, MS., 15. There was 
always this rasping of the rude outspoken western sentiment on the feelings 
of the studiously trained Hudson s Bay Company. But an Indian to them 
was a different creature from the Indian toward whom the settlers were 
hostile. In the one case he was a means of making wealth; in the other of 
destroying property and life. Could the Hudson s Bay Company have changed 
places with the settlers they might have changed feelings too. 

29 Bryant s Kept, to Gov. Lane in 31st Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc., i. 
166-7; Hayes Scraps, 22; Or. Spectator, Oct. 18, 1849. 

80 TolmiJs Puget Sound, MS., 36. 


The arrest of the Cayuse murderers could not pro 
ceed until the arrival of the mounted rifle regiment 
then en route, under the command of Brevet-Colonel 
W. W. Loring. 31 This regiment which was provided 
expressly for service in Oregon and to garrison posts 
upon the emigrant road, by authority of a congressional 
act passed May 19, 1846, was not raised till the spring 
of 1847, and was then ordered to Mexico, although 
the secretary of war in his instructions to the gov 
ernor of Missouri, in which state the regiment was 
formed, had said that a part if not the whole of it 
would be employed in establishing posts on the route 
to Oregon. 32 Its numbers being greatly reduced dur 
ing the Mexican campaign, it was recruited at Fort 
Leaven worth, and at length set out upon its march to 
the Columbia in the spring of 1849. On the 10th of 
May the regiment left Fort Leavenworth with about 
600 men, thirty-one commissioned officers, several 
women and children, the usual train agents, guides, 
and teamsters, 160 wagons, 1,200 mules, 700 horses, 
and subsistence for the march to the Pacific. 33 

Two posts were established on the way, one at Fort 

31 The command was first given to Frdmont, who resigned. 

32 See letter of W. L. Marcy, secretary of war, in Or. Spectator, Nov. 11, 

33 The officers were Bvt. Lieut. Col. A. Porter, Col. Benj. S. Roberts, Bvt. 
Major C. F. Ruff, Major George B. Crittenden, Bvt. Major J. S. Simonson, 
Bvt. Major S. S. Tucker, Bvt. Lieut. Col. J. B. Backenstos, Bvt. Major 
Kearney, Captains M. E. Van Buren, George McLaue, Noah Newton, Llewellyn 
Jones, Bvt. Captain J. P. Hatch, R. Ajt., Bvt. Captains Thos. Claiborne Jr., 
Gordon Granger, James Stuart, and Thos. G. Rhett; 1st Lieuts Charles L. 
Denman, A. J. Lindsay, Julian May, F. S. K. Russell; 2d Lieuts D. M. Frost, 
R. Q. M., I. N. Palmer, J. McL. Addison, W. B. Lane, W. E. Jones, George 
AV. Rowland, C. E. Ervine; surgeons I. Moses, Charles H. Smith, and W. F. 
Edgar. The following were persons travelling with the regiment in various 
capacities: George Gibbs, deputy collector at Astoria; Alden H. Steele, who 
settled in Oregon City, v/here he practised medicine till 1803, when he became a 
surgeon in the army, finally settling at Olympia in 1868, where in 1878 I met 
him, and he furnished a brief but pithy account in manuscript of the march 
of the Oregon Mounted Rifle Regiment; W. Frost, Prew, Wilcox, Leach, 
Bishop, Kitchen, Dudley, and Raymond. Present also was J. D. Haines, a 
native of Xenia, Ohio, born in 1828. After a residence in Portland, and 
removal to Jacksonville, he was elected to the house of representatives from 
Jackson county in 1862, and from Baker county in 1876, and to the state sen 
ate in 1878. He married in 1871 and has several children. Salem Statesman, 
Nov. 15, 1878; U. S. Off. Reg., 1849, 160, 167. 

HIST. OK., VOL. II. 6 


Laramie, with two companies, under Colonel Benja 
min Roberts; and another at Cantonment Loring, 
three miles above Fort Hall, 34 on Snake River, with 
an equab number of men under Major Simonson, 
the command being transferred soon after to Colonel 
Porter. 35 The report made by the quartermaster is 
an account of discomforts from rains which lasted to 
the Rocky Mountains; of a great migration to the 
California gold mines 36 where large numbers died of 
cholera, which dread disease invaded the military 
camps also to some extent; of the almost entire worth- 
lessness of the teamsters and men engaged at Fort 
Leavenworth, who had no knowledge of their duties, 
and were anxious only to reach California; of the 
loss by death arid desertion of seventy of the late re 
cruits to the regiment ; 37 and of the loss of property and 
life in no way different from the usual experience of 
the annual emigrations. 33 

It was designed to meet the rifle regiment at Fort 
Hall, with a supply train, under Lieutenant G. W. 
Hawkins who was ordered to that post, 39 but Hawkins 

34 Cantonment Loring was soon abandoned, being too far from a base of 
supplies, and forage being scarce in the neighborhood. Brackets Cavalry, 
120-7; 31st Cong., 1st Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 5, pt. i. 182,. 185-6, 188. 

35 Steele says that Simonson was arrested for some dereliction of duty, and 
came to Vancouver in this situation; also that Major Crittenden was arrested 
on the way for drunkenness. Rifle Regiment, MS., 2. 

36 Major Cross computed the overland emigration to the Pacific coast at 
35,000; 20,000 of whom travelled the route by the Platte with 50,000 cattle. 
31st Cong., 2d Sess., PI. Ex. Doc. 1, 149. 

37 Or. Spectator, Oct.. 18, 1849; Weed s Queen Charlotte Island Exped., 
MS., 4. 

38 On reaching The Dalles, the means of transportation to Vancouver was 
found to be 3 Mackinaw boats, 1 yawl, 4 canoes, and 1 whale-boat. A raft 
was constructed to carry 4 or 5 tons, and loaded with goods chiefly private, 
8 men being placed on board to manage the craft. They attempted to run 
the cascades and six of them were drowned. Or. Spectator, Oct. 18, 1849. A 
part of the command with wagons, teams, and riding horses crossed the Cas 
cade Mountains by the Mount Hood road, losing nearly two thirds of the 
broken-down horses on the way. The loss on the journey amounted to 45 
wagons, 1 ambulance, 30 horses, and 295 mules. 

39 Applegate s Views, MS., 49. There were fifteen freight wagons and a 
herd of beef cattle in the train. Gen. Joel Palmer acted as guide, the com 
pany taking the southern route. Palmer went to within a few days of Fort 
Hall, where another government train was encountered escorting the customs 
officer of California, Gen. Wilson and family, to Sacramento. The grass 
having been eaten along the Humboldt route by the cattle of the immigration, 


missed Loring s command, he having already left Fort 
Hall when Hawkins arrived. As the supplies were 
needed by the companies at the new post they were 
left there, in consequence of which those destined to 
Oregon were in want of certain articles, and many of 
the men were barefoot and unable to walk, as their 
horses were too weak to carry them when they ar 
rived at The Dalles. 

On reaching their destination, and finding no accom 
modations at Fort Vancouver, the regiment was quar 
tered in Oregon City, at a great expense, and to the 
disturbance of the peace and order of that moral and 
temperate community; the material from which com 
panies had been recruited being below the usual stan 
dard of enlisted men. 40 

The history of the establishment of the Oregon 
military posts is not without interest. Under orders 
to take command of the Pacific division, General Per- 
sifer F. Smith left Baltimore the 24th of November, 
and New Orleans on the 18th of December 1848, pro 
ceeding by the isthmus of Panama, and arriving on 
the 23d of February following at Monterey, where 
was Colonel Mason s head-quarters. Smith remained 
in California arranging the distribution of posts, and 
the affairs of the division generally. 

In May Captain Rufus Ingalls, assistant quarter 
master, was directed by Major H. D. Vinton, chief 

Palmer was engaged to conduct this company by the new route from Pit 
River, opened the previous autumn by the Oregon gold-seekers. At the 
crossing of a stream flowing from the Sierra, one of the party named Brown 
shot himself through the arm by accident, and the limb was amputated by 
two surgeons of an emigrant company. This incident detained Palmer in the 
mountains several weeks at a cabin supposed to have been built by some of 
Lassen s party the year before. A son of Gen. Wilson and three men re 
mained with him until the snow and ice made it dangerous getting down to 
the Sacramento Valley, when Brown was left with his attendants and Palmer 
went home to Oregon by sea. The unlucky invalid, long familiarly known as 
one-armed Brown, has for many years resided in Oregon, and has been con 
nected with the Indian department and other branches of the public service. 
Palmer s Wagon Train, MS., 43-8. 

40 This is what Steele says, and also that one of them who deserted, named 
Riley, was hanged in San Francisco. Rifle Regiment, MS., 7. 


of the quartermaster s department of the Pacific divis 
ion, to proceed to Oregon and make preparations for 
the establishment of posts in that territory. Taking 
passage on the United States transport Anita, Cap 
tain Ingalls arrived at Vancouver soon after Hatha 
way landed the artilleymen and stores at that place. 
The Anita was followed by the Walpole with two 
years supplies; but the vessel having been chartered 
for Astoria only, and the stores landed at that place, 
a difficulty arose as to the means of removing them 
to Vancouver, the transfer being accomplished at 
great labor and expense in small river craft. When 
the quatermaster began to look about for material 
and men to construct barracks for the troops already 
in the territory and those expected overland in the 
autumn, he found himself at a loss. Mechanics and 
laboring men were not to be found in Oregon, and 
Captain Ingalls employed soldiers, paying them a 
dollar a day extra to prepare timber from the woods 
and raft lumber from the fur-company s mill to build 
quarters. But even with the assistance of Chief 
Factor Ogden in procuring for him Indian labor, and 
placing at his disposal horses, bateaux, and sloops, at 
moderate charges, he was able to make but slow 
progress. 41 Of the buildings occupied by the artillery 
two belonged to the fur company, having received 
alterations to adapt them to the purposes of bar 
racks and mess-rooms, while a few small tenements 
also owned by the company 42 were hired for offices 
and for servants of the quarter-master s department. 
It was undoubtedly believed at this time by both 

41 Vinton, in 31st Cong. , 2d Sess. , S. Doc. 1, pt. ii. 263. Congress passed 
in September 1850 an act appropriating $325,854 to meet the unexpected 
outlay occasioned by the rise in prices of labor and army subsistence in 
California and Oregon, as well as extra pay demanded by military officers. 
See U. 3. Acts and Res., 1850, 122-3. 

42 In the testimony taken in the settlement of the Hudson s Bay Com 
pany s claims, page 186, U. S. Ei\, H. B. Co. Claims, Gray deposed that the 
U. S. troops did not occupy the buildings of the company but remained in 
camp until they had erected buildings for their own use. This is a misstate- 
ment, as the reports of the quarter-masters Vinton and Ingalls show, in 31st 
Cong., 2d Sess., S. Doc. 1., pt. ii. 123, 285. 


the Hudson s Bay Conipay and the officers of the 
United States in Oregon, that the government would 
soon purchase the possessory right of the company, 
which was a reason, in addition to the eligibility of 
the situation, for beginning an establishment at Van 
couver. This view was entertained by both Vinton 43 
and Ogden. There being at that time no title to land 
in any part of the country except the possessory title 
of the fur company under the treaty of 184G, and the 
mission lands under the territorial act, Vancouver 
was in a safer condition, it might be thought, with 
regard to rights, than any other point; rights which 
Hathaway respected by leasing the company s lands 
for a military establishment, while the subject of 
purchase by the United States government was in 
abeyance. And Ogden, by inviting him to take pos 
session of the lands claimed by the company, not in 
closed, may have believed this the better manner of 
preventing the encroachments of squatters. At all 
events, matters proceeded amicably between Hatha 
way and Ogden during the residence of the former at 

The same state of tenancy existed at Fort Steila- 
coom where Captain Hill established himself August 
27th, on the claim of the Puget Sound Agricultural 
Company, at a place formerly occupied by a farmer 
or herdsman of the company named Heath. 44 Tolmie 
pointed out this location, perhaps with the same views 
entertained by Ogden, being more willing to deal with 
the officers of the government than with squatters. 

On the 28th of September General Smith arrived 
in Oregon, accompanied by Vinton, with the purpose 
of examining the country with reference to the loca 
tion of military posts ; Theodore Talbot being ordered 
to examine the coast south of the Columbia, looking 

43 Vinton said in his report: It is peculiarly desirable that we should be 
come owners of their property at Fort Vancouver. 31st Cong., 2d Sess., 8. 
Doc. 1, pt. ii. 263. 

u Sylvester s Olympia, MS., 20; Morse s Notes on Hist, and Resources, 
Wash. Tcr., MS., i. 109; Olympia Wash. Standard, April 11, 1868. 


for harbors and suitable places for light-houses and 
defences. 45 The result of these examinations was the 
approval of the selections of Vancouver and Steila- 
coom. Of the "acquisition of the rights and prop 
erty reserved, and guaranteed by the terms of the 
treaty," Smith spoke with the utmost respect for the 
claims of the companies, saying they were specially 
confirmed by the treaty, and that the public interest de 
manded that the government should purchase them; 46 
a sentiment which the reader is aware was not in 
accord with the ideas of a large class in Oregon. 

It had been contemplated establishing a post on 
the upper Willamette for the protection of companies 
travelling to California, but the danger that every 
soldier would desert, if placed directly on the road to 
the gold mines, caused Smith to abandon that idea. 
He made arrangements, instead, for Hathaway s com 
mand to remove to Astoria as early in the spring as 
the men could work in the forest, cutting timber for 
the erection of the required buildings, and for station 
ing the riflemen at Vancouver and The Dalles, as well 
as recommending the abandonment of Fort Hall, or 
Cantonment Loring, owing to the climate and unpro 
ductive nature of the soil, and the fact that immi 
grants were taking a more southerly route than 
formerly. Smith seemed to have the welfare of the 
territory at heart, and recommended to the govern 
ment many things which the people desired, among 
others fortifications at the mouth of the Columbia, in 
preparation for which he marked off reservations at 
Cape Disappointment and Point Adams. He also 
suggested the survey of the Rogue, Umpqua, Alseya, 
Yaquina, and Siletz rivers, and Shoalwater Bay; and 
the erection of light-houses at Cape Disappointment, 
Cape Flattery, and Protection Island, representing 
that it was a military as well as commercial necessity, 

Cong., 1st Sess., S. Doc. 47, viii. 108-16; Rep. Com. Ind. A/., 1S65, 

46 31st Cong. 1st Sess., S. Doc. 47, viii. 104. 


the safety of troops and stores which must usually 
be transported by sea requiring these guides to navi 
gation. He recommended the survey of a railroad to 
the Pacific, or at least of a wagon-road, and that it 
should cross the Rocky Mountains about latitude 38, 
deflect to the Humboldt Valley, and follow that direc 
tion until it should send off a branch to Oregon by 
way of the Willamette Valley, and another by way of 
the Sacramento Valley to the bay of San Francisco. 47 

Before the plans of General Smith for the distribu 
tion of troops could be carried out, one hundred and 
twenty of the riflemen deserted in a body, with the 
intention of going to the mines in California. Gov 
ernor Lane immediately issued a proclamation for 
bidding the citizens to harbor or in any way assist the 
runaways, which caused much uneasiness, as it was 
said the people along their route were placed in a 
serious dilemma, for if they did not sell them provi 
sions they would be robbed, and if they did, they 
would be punished. The deserters, however, having 
organized with a full complement of officers, travelled 
faster than the proclamation, and conducted them 
selves in so discreet a manner as to escape suspicion, 
imposing themselves upon the farmers as a company 
sent out on an expedition by the government, getting 
beef cattle on credit, and receiving willing aid instead 
of having to resort to force. 48 

47 Before leaving California Smith had ordered an exploration of the coun 
try on the southern boundary of Oregon for a practicable emigrant and mili 
tary road, and also for a railroad pass about that latitude, detailing Captain 
W. H. Warner of the topographical engineers, with an escort of the second 
infantry under Lieutenant- Colonel Casey. They left Sacramento in August, 
and examined the country for several weeks to the east of the head-waters of 
the Sacramento, coming upon a pass in the Sierra Nevada with an elevation 
of not more than 38 feet to the mile. Warner explored the country east and 
north of Goose Lake, but in returning through the mountains by another 
route was killed by the Indians before completing his work. His name 
was given to a mountain range from this circumstance. Francis Bercier, the 
guide, and George Cave were also killed. Lieut. R. S. Williamson of the 
expedition made a report in favor of the Pit River route. See 31st Cong., 1st 
Sess., Sen. Doc. 2, 17-22, 47. 

"Stele s Rifle Regiment, MS., 7; Brackets U. S. Cavalry, 127; Or. Spec 
tator, May 2, 1850. 


But their success, like their organization, was of brief 
duration. Colonel Loring and the governor went in 
pursuit and overtook one division in the Umpqua 
valley, whence Lane returned to Oregon City about 
the middle of April with seventy of them in charge. 
Loring pursued the remainder as far as the Klamath 
River, where thirty-five escaped by making a canoe 
and crossing that stream before they were overtaken. 
He returned two weeks after Lane, with only seven 
teen of the deserters, having suffered much hardship 
in the pursuit. He found the fugitives in a miserable 
plight, the snow on the Cascade Mountains being still 
deep, and their supplies entirely inadequate to such 
an expedition, for which reason some had already 
started on their return. Indeed, it was rumored that 
several of those not accounted for had already died 
of starvation. 49 How many lived to reach the mines 
was never known. 

Great discontent prevailed among all the troops, 
many of whom had probably enlisted with no other 
intention than of deserting when they reached the 
Pacific coast. Several civil suits were brought by 
them in the district court attempting to prove that 
they had been enlisted under false promises, which 
were decided against them by Judge Pratt, vice Bry 
ant, who was absent from the territory when the suits 


came on. 

Later in the spring Hathaway removed his artillery 
company to Astoria, and went into encampment at 
Fort George, the place being no longer occupied by 
the fur company. A reserve was declared of certain 
lands covered by the improvements of settlers, among 
whom were Shively, McClure, Hensill, Ingalls, and 
Marlin, for which a price was agreed upon or allowed. 51 

49 Or. Spectator, April 18, 1850. 

50 See case of John Curtin vs. James S. Hathaway, Pratt, Justice, in Or. 
Spectator, April 18, 1850. 

51 Ingalls remarked concerning this purchase: I do not believe that any 
of them had the slightest right to a foot of the soil, consequently no right to 
have erected improvements there. Whether he meant to say that 110 one 


Here the troops had a free and easy life, seeing 
much of the gold hunters as they went and came in 
the numerous vessels trading between San Fran 
cisco and the Columbia River, and much too of the 
most degraded population in Oregon, both Indian and 
white. A more ill-selected point for troops, even for 
artillery, could not have been hit upon, except in the 
event of an invasion by a foreign power, in which case 
they were still too far inside the capes to prevent the 
enemy s vessels from entering the river. They were 
so far from the real enemy dreaded by the people it 
was intended they should defend the interior tribes 
of Indians that much time and money would be 
required to bring them where they could be of service 
in case of an outbreak, and after two years the place 
was abandoned. 

The mounted riflemen, being transferred to Van 
couver, whither the citizens of the Willamette saw 
them depart with a deep sense of satisfaction, 52 cele 
brated their removal by burning their old quarters. 53 
At their new station they were employed in building 
barracks on the ground afterward adopted as a mili 
tary reservation by the government. 

The first reservation declared was that of Miller 
Island, lying in the Columbia 54 about five miles above 
Vancouver. It contained about four square miles, and 
was used for haymaking and grazing purposes, in con 
nection with the post at that place. This reserve was 
made in February 1850. No reservation was declared 

had a right to build houses in Oregon except military officers, or that the 
ground belonged to the Hudson s Bay Company, I am unable to determine 
from the record. See 32d Cong., 2d Sets., H. Ex. Doc. 1, i. pt. ii. 123. 

62 Says the Spectator, Nov. 1, 1849, the abounding drunkenness in our 
streets is something new under the sun, and suggests that the officers do 
something to abate the evil. But the officers were seldom sober themselves, 
Hathaway even attempting suicide while suffering from mania a potu. Id., 
April 18, 1850. 

53 Xtrontfs Hist. Or., MS., 3. 

54 Much trouble had been experienced in procuring grain for the horses of the 
mounted troops; only 6,000 bushels of oats being obtainable, and 100 tons of hay, 
owing to the neglect of farming this year. It was only by putting the sol 
diers to haymaking on the lowlands of the Columbia that the stock of the 
regiment was provided for; hence, 110 doubt, the reservation of Miller Island. 


at Vancouver till October 31st of that year, or until 
it was ascertained that the government was not pre 
pared to purchase without examining the claims of 
the Hudson s Bay Company. On the date mentioned 
Colonel Loring, in command of the department, pub 
lished a notice that a military reservation had been 
made for the government of four miles square, " com 
mencing where a meridian line two miles west from 
the flag-staff at the military post near Vancouver, O. 
T., strikes the north bank of the Columbia River, 
thence due north on said meridian four miles, thence 
due east four miles, thence south to the bank of the 
Columbia River, thence down said bank to the place 
of beginning." 55 The notice declared that the reserve 
was made subject alone to the lawful claims of the 
Hudson s Bay Company, as guaranteed under the 
treaty of 1846, but promised payments for improve 
ments made by resident settlers within the described 
limits, a board of officers to appraise the property. 

This large reserve was, as I have before indicated, 
favorable to the British company s claims, as the only 
American squatter on the land was Amos M. Short, 
the history of whose settlement at Vancouver is given 
in the first volume of my History of Oregon. Short 
took no notice of the declaration of reserve, 56 think 
ing perhaps, and with a show of justice, that in this 
case he was trespassed upon, inasmuch as there was 
plenty of land for government reservations, which did 
not include improvements, or deprive a citizen of his 
choice of a home. He remained upon the land, con 
tinuing to improve it, until in 1853 the government 
restricted the military reservations to one mile square, 
which left him outside the limits of this one. 

65 Or. Spectator, Oct. 31, 1850; 32d Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, pt. 
ii. 124. 

56 Short had shot and killed Dr D. Gardner, and a Hawaiian in his service, 
for trespass, in the spring of 1850. He was examined and acquitted, of all of 
which Colonel Loring must have been aware. Or. Spectator, April 18, 1850; 
Id., May 2, 1850. He was himself regarded as a trespasser by the fur com 
pany. U. S. Ev. Hudson s Bay Company Claims, 90. 


The probate court of Clarke county made an appli 
cation for an injunction against Loring and Ingalls at 
the first term of the United States district court held 
at Vancouver, beginning the 29th of October 1850, to 
stop the further erection of buildings for military pur 
poses on land that was claimed as the county seat. 
The attorney for the United States denied that the 
legislative assembly had the power to give lands for 
county seats, did the territorial act permit it, or that 
the land could be taken before it was surveyed; and 
declared that the premises were reserved by order of 
the war department, which none might gainsay. 57 
The court sustained the opinion. At a later period a 
legal contest arose between the heirs of A. M. Short 
and the Catholic missionaries. The military reserva 
tion/ however, of one mile square, remains to-day the 
same as in 1853. 

On the 13th of May Major Tucker left Vancouver 
with two companies of riflemen to establish a supply 
post at The Dalles. 53 The officers detached for that 
station were Captain Claiborne, Lieutenants Lindsay, 
May, and Ervine, and Surgeon C. H. Smith. A 
reservation of ten miles square was made at this 
place, and the troops employed in erecting suitable 
store-houses and garrison accommodations to make 
this the head-quarters for the Indian country in the 
event of hostilities. Both the Protestant and Cath 
olic missions were found to be abandoned, 59 though 
the claims of both were subsequently revived, which 
together with the claim of the county seat of Wasco 
county occasioned lengthy litigation. The military 
reservation became a fourth factor in an imbroglio out 
of which the Methodist missionary society, through 

67 The solicitor for the complanants in this case was W. W. Chapman; the 
attorney for the U. S., Amory Holbrook. The decision was rendered by 
Judge William Strong in favor of the defendants. Or. Spectator, Nov. 7, 1850. 

** Steel s Rifle Regiment, MS., 5; CardweWs Emigrant Company, MS., 2; 
Coke s Ride, 313; 31st Cong., M Sess., If. Ex. Doc. 1, pt. ii. 123. 

Deadtfs Hist. Or., MS., 6. 


its agents in Oregon and in Washington, continued to 
extort money from the government and individuals 
for many years. Of The Dalles claim, as a case in 
chancery, I shall speak further on in my work. 

As if Astoria, Vancouver, and The Dalles were not 
enough of Oregon s eligible town sites to condemn for 
military purposes, Loring declared another reservation 
in the spring of 1850 upon the land claims of Meek 
and Luelling at Milwaukie, for the site of an arsenal. 
This land was devoted to the raising of fruit trees, 
a most important industry in a new country, and one 
which was progressing well. The appropriation of 
property which the claimants felt the government 
was pledged to confirm to them if they desired, was 
an encroachment upon the rights of the founders of 
American Oregon which they were quick to resent, 
and for which the Oregon delegate in congress was 
instructed to find a remedy. And he did find a 
remedy. The complainants held that they preferred 
fighting* their own Indian wars to submitting to mill- 

o o o 

tary usurption, and the government might withdraw 
the rifle regiment at its earliest convenience. All of 
which was a sad ending of the long prayer for the 
military protection of the parent government. 

And all the while the Cay use murderers went un 
punished. Lane was enough of a military man to 
understand the delays incident to the circumstances 
under which Loring found himself in a new country 
with undisciplined and deserting troops, but he was 
also possessed of the fire and energy of half a dozen 
regular army colonels. But before he had received 
any assistance in procuring the arrest of the Indians, 
he had unofficial information of his removal by the 
whig administration, which succeeded the one by 
which he was appointed. 

This change, though eagerly seized upon by some 
as a means of gaining places for themselves and secur 
ing the control of public affairs, was not by any means 


agreeable to the majority of the Oregon people. No 
sooner had the news been received than a meeting 
was held in Yamhill precinct for the purpose of ex 
pressing regret at the removal of General Lane from 
the office of governor. 60 The manner in which Lane 
had discharged his duties as Indian agent, as well as 
executive, had won for him the confidence of the peo 
ple, with whom the dash, energy, and democratic 
frankness of his character were a power and a charm. 
There was nothing that was of importance to anv in 
dividual of the community too insignificant for his 
attention; and whether the interest he exhibited was 
genuine, whether it was the suavity of the politician, 
or the irrepressible activity of a true nature, it was 
equally effective to make him popular with all but 
the conservative element to be found in any commu 
nity, and which was represented principally in Oregon 
by the Protestant religious societies. Lane being a 
Catholic could not be expected to represent them. 61 
As no official notice of his removal had been re 
ceived, Governor Lane proceeded actively to carry 
into execution his plans concerning the suppression 
of Indian hostilities, which were interrupted tem 
porarily by the pursuit of the deserting riflemen. 
During his absence on this self-imposed duty a diffi 
culty occurred with the Chinooks at the mouth of the 
Columbia, in which, in the absence of established 
courts in that district, the military authorities were 
called upon to act. It grew out of the murder of Will 
iam Stevens, one of four passengers lost from the brig 
Forrest while crossing the bar of the Columbia. Three 
of the men were drowned. Stevens escaped alive but 

60 The principal movers in this demonstration were: Matthew P. Deady, J. 
McBride, A. S. Watt, J. Walling A. J. Hembree, S. M. Gilmore, and N. M. 
Oeighton. Or. Sijectator, March 7, 1850. 

61 It is told to me by the person in whose interest it was done, that Lane, 
while governor, permitted himself to be chosen arbitrator in a land- jumping 
case, and rode a long distance in the rain, having to cross swollen streams on 
horseback, to help a woman whose husband was absent in the mines to resist 
the attempt of an unprincipled tenant to hold the claim of her husband. His 
influence was sufficient with the jury to get the obnoxious tenant removed. 


exhausted to the shore, where the Chinooks murdered 
him. Jones, of the rifles, who was at Astoria with 
a small company, hearing of it wrote to the governor 
and his colonel, saying that if he had men enough 
he would take the matter in hand at once; but that 
the Indians were excited over the arrest of one of 
the murderers, and he feared to make matters worse 
by attempting without a sufficient force to apprehend 
all the guilty Indians. On receiving the information, 
Secretary Pritchett called for aid on Hathaway, who 
sent a company to Astoria to make the arrest of all 
persons suspected of being concerned in the murder; 62 
but by this time the criminals had escaped. 

Negotiations had been in progress ever since the 
arrival of Lane for the voluntary delivery of the guilty 
Cayuses by their tribe, it being shown them that the 
only means by which peace and friendship could ever 
be restored to their people, or they be permitted to 
occupy their lands and treat with the United States 
government, was the delivery of the Whitman mur 
derers to the authorities of Oregon for trial. 63 At 
length word was received that the guilty members of 
the tribe, who were not already dead, would be sur 
rendered at The Dalles. Lane went in person to 
receive them, escorted by Lieutenant Addison with a 
guard of ten men. Five of the murderers, Tiloukaikt, 
Tamahas, Klokamas, Isaiachalakis, and Kiamasu nip- 
kin, were found to be there with others of their people. 
They consented to go to Oregon City to be tried, offer 
ing fifty horses for their successful defence. 64 

The journey of the prisoners, who took leave of 
their friends with marked emotion, was not without 
interest to their escort, who, anxious to understand the 

62 Or. Spectator, March 21, and April 4, 1850. 

63 Lane s Autobiography, MS., 56. 

64 Blanchet asserts that the Cayuses consented only to come down and 
have a talk with the white authorities, and denies that they were the actual 
criminals, who he says were all dead, having been killed by the volunteers. 
Catfi. Ch. in Or., 180. There appears to be nothing to justify such a state 
ment, except that the murderers submitted to receive the consolations of the 
church in their last moments. 


motives which had actuated the Indians in Surrender 
ing themselves, plied them with questions at every 
opportunity. Tiloukaikt answered with a singular 
mingling of savage pride and Christian humility. 
When offered food by the guard from their own mess 
he regarded it with scorn. "What hearts have you," 
he demanded, "to offer to eat with me, whose hands 
are red with your brother s blood?" When asked 
why he gave himself up, he replied: "Did not your 
missionaries teach us that Christ died to save his 
people? So die we to save our people." 

This apparent magnanimity produced a deep impres 
sion on some minds, who, not well versed in Indian or 
in any human character, could not divest themselves 
of awe in the presence of such evidences of moral 
greatness as these mocking answers evinced. 

The facts are these: The Cayuses, weary of wan 
dering, with the prospect before them of another war 
with white men, had prevailed upon those who among 
themselves had done most to bring so much wretched 
ness upon them, to risk their lives in restoring them 
to their former peace and prosperity. Doubtless the 
representations which had been made, that they would 
be defended by white counsel, had had its influence in 
inducing them to take the risk. At all events it was 
a case requiring a desperate remedy. They were not 
ignorant that between twenty and thirty thousand 
Americans, chiefly men, and several government expe 
ditions had traversed the road to the Pacific the year 
previous ; nor that their attempt to expel the few white 
people from the Walla Walla valley had been an igno 
minious failure. There was scarcely a chance that 
white men s laws would acquit them; but on the other 
hand there was the apparent certainty that unless the 
few gave up their lives, all must perish. Could a chief 
face his people whom he had ruined without an effort 
to save them ? All that was courageous or manly in 
the savage breast was roused by the emergency; and 
who shall say that this pride, which doggedly accepted 


a terrible alternative, did not make a moral hero, or 
present an example equivalent to the average Chris 
tian self-sacrifice? 

The trial was set for the 22d of May. The pris 
oners in the mean time were confined on Abernethy 
Island, in the midst of the falls, the bridge connect 
ing it with the mainland being guarded by Lieutenant 
Lane, of the rifles, who was assigned to that duty. 65 
The prosecution was conducted by Amory Holbrook, 
district attorney, who had arrived in the territory 
in March previous, and the defence by Secretary 
Pritchett, R. B. Reynolds, of Tennessee, paymaster 
of the rifle regiment, and Captain Claiborne, also of 
the rifles, whom Judge Pratt assigned to this duty; 
and whether from a sense of justice, or from a desire 
to win the fifty horses offered, the trio made a vigor 
ous effort to clear their clients. 

The plea first set up was that the United States, 
at the time the massacre was committed, possessed 
no jurisdiction over Oregon. This was overruled by 
showing that an act of congress had been passed in 
1844, which declared all the Indian territory west of 
the Mississippi subject to the laws regulating inter 
course with the Indians, and that the territorial act 
of 1848 gave jurisdiction to the district courts to take 
cognizance of the crimes of which the prisoners were 
accused. Counsel for the defence then pleaded not 
guilty to three indictments for murder, brought to 
show the killing of Dr Whitman, Mrs Whitman, and 
Mr Saunders, and attempted to procure a change of 
venue to Clarke county, on the ground of the excited 
state of the public mind in Clackamas. This petition 
was also overruled. 

On the second day a continuance of the case 
was asked for on an insufficient affidavit, and denied. 
Much difficulty was experienced in securing a jury, 
twenty persons being challenged. At length the trial 
proceeded. When the women who had witnessed the 

3 Lam s Autobiography, MS., 139. 


butchery of their husbands, sons, fathers, and brothers 
were put upon the stand to identify the murderers, 
the feeling was intense; and was heightened by the 
evident sympathy for the prisoners of certain persons 
who had come in with the new order of things, and 
who thought it more shocking to convict the Indians 
than that they should have committed the crimes for 
which they w r ere being tried. The witnesses for the 
defence were few. Sticcas testified to having given 
Whitman a warning similar to that which he gave 
Spalding, but which he had no time to take. Spald- 
ing told his story of the warning received by him. 
Dr McLoughlin was called upon to say that he had 
counselled Whitman to remove to the Willamette as 
early as 1840 or 1841; and Osborne, after having been 
a witness for the prosecution, was made to state that 
he knew Whitman to be anxious about his situation 
among the Cayuses. But all this did not change the 
nature of the crimes committed, rather confirming the 
theory of premeditated guilt than helping the case of 
the criminals. 

The solemnity and quiet of religious services char 
acterized the trial, at which between two and three 
hundred persons were present. At its close, when the 
jury had returned the verdict of guilty, there was no 
unseemly approval; only a long drawn sigh of relief 
that the dreadful business was approaching the close. 

Attending this episode were the usual hypocrisies 
of society. It was predetermined by the people that 
these Indians should die. For myself I think they 
were guilty and ought to have died. But I would not 
on that account as a narrator of facts indulge in divers 
little fictions to make the affair more pathetic. Nor 
was it at all necessary for the Spectator to pat the 
judge on the back for being "so firm and fearless." 
There was not the slightest danger that Pratt would 
go against the people in this matter. But he ruled 
as he did, not so much from any just or noble senti 
ment, as, first, because there was present no inducement 

HIST. OB., VOL. II. 7 


to do otherwise, the fifty horses not going to the 
judge; and secondly, he well knew the country would 
be too hot to hold him should he do otherwise. 

Sentence of death was passed upon each of the five 
prisoners, the 3d of June being appointed for their 
execution. Soon after their condemnation, which 
they received some in sullen silence, some with signs 
of terror, all confessed to having shared in the mur 
ders except Kiamasumpkin, who, while admitting 
that he was present at the massacre, persistently de 
clared that his hands were not imbued in the white 
man s blood. 66 

When Lane had signed the death warrants, he pre 
pared his resignation, to take effect the 18th of June; 
and leaving Pritehett acting governor, for the clerical 
duties of which office Lane had little liking, he set 
out on an expedition to southern Oregon, where he 
thought he might do something to pacify the Rogue 
River Indians, now as formerly committing depreda 
tions upon travellers. 67 His personal affairs were left 
in charge of his son. 68 

No sooner was he well away than Pritehett began 
to talk of a reprieve, and even of liberating the Ca- 
yuses, but the marshal was incorruptible. 69 It was 

66 Blanchet s attempts to excuse his neophytes are open to reproach. Not 
withstanding that three men were assigned to their defence, and that the 
trial was regular and even solemn in its proceedings, and the evidence clear, 
he calls it a sham trial which deceived no one. He relates, with a simplicity 
that would be affecting if it were not absurd after the proofs, that Tiloukaikt 
and the four others on the eve of their death made a declaration in duplicate 
before two witnesses, a sergeant and a corporal of the R. M. 11. , that each of 
the five was innocent. Cath. Ch. in Or., 181. 

^ Or. Spectator, May 30, 1850; Lane s Autobiography, MS., 58; Steele, in 
Or. Council Jour., 1857-8, app., 42-3. 

68 Nathaniel Lane, who accompanied his father to Oregon, resided perma 
nently in the country to the date of his death, the 22d of July 1878, at the age 
of 54 years. His home was in East Portland. His character was that of an 

Jeorge Hay] 

were Nat. and Harry Lane, and Jane, wife of Stephen Bailey. Rostburg Plain- 
dealer, July 24, 1878. 

69 Meek, on being approached upon this subject, at first talked in an oblig 
ing tone, and expressed his willingness to do any favor for the secretary, who 
was about to write a reprieve at once. But, Pritehett, said Meek, seeing the 
effect of his professions of friendship, let us now talk like men. I have in 


even feared that a rescue might be attempted by the 
Indians on the day of execution, and men coming in 
from the country round brought their rifles, hiding 
them in the outskirts of the town, not to create 
alarm. 70 Nothing occurred, however, to cause excite 
ment. The Catholic priests took charge of the spir 
itual affairs of the condemned savages, administering 
the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, Father 
Veyret attending them to the scaffold, where prayers 
for the dying were offered. "Touching words of en 
couragement," says Blanchet, " were addressed to 
them on the moment of being s\vung into the air: 
Onward, onward to heaven, children; into thy hands, 
Lord Jesus, I commend my spirit. " 71 Oh loving 
and consistent Christians ! While the world of Prot 
estantism regarded the victims slain at Waiilatpu as 
martyrs, the priests of Catholicism made martyrs of 
the murderers, arid wafted their spirits straight to 
heaven. So far as the sectarian quarrel is concerned 
it matters nothing, in my opinion, and I care not 
whose converts these heathen may have been, if of 
either; but sure I am that these Cayuses were mar 
tyrs to a destiny too strong for them, to the Jugger 
naut of an incompressible civilization, before whose 
wheels they were compelled to prostrate themselves, 
to that relentless law, the survival of the fittest, be 
fore which, in spite of religion or science, we all in 
turn go down. 

With the consummation of the last act of the 
Cayuse tragedy Lane s administration may be said to 
have closed, though he was for several weeks occupied 
with his duties as Indian agent in the south, a full 
account of which I shall give later. Having made a 

my pocket the death-warrant of them Indians, signed by Governor Lane. 
The marshal will execute them men as certain as the clay arrives. Pritchett 
looked surprised and remarked: That is not what you just said, that you 
would do anything for me. You were talking then to Meek, Joe returned, 
not to the marshal, who always does his duty. V ictor s River of the West, 
496. The marshal s honor was less corrupt than his grammar. 

^Bacon s Merc. Life Or., MS., 25. 

71 Cath. Ch. in Or., 182. 


treaty with the Rogue River people, he went to Cal 
ifornia and busied himself with gold mining until the 
spring of 1851, when his friends and admirers recalled 
him to Oregon to run for delegate to congress. About 
the time of his return the rifle regiment departed to 
return by sea to Jefferson barracks, near St Louis, 
having been reduced to a mere remnant by deser 
tions, 72 and never having rendered any service of im 
portance to the territory.^ 

U. S. Cavalry, 129-30. It was recruited afterward and sent 
to Texas under its colonel, Brevet General P. F. Smith. 




DURING the transition period through which the 
territory was passing, complaint was made that the 
judges devoted time to personal enterprises which was 
demanded for the public service. I am disposed to 
think that those who criticised the judges of the 
United States courts caviled because they overlooked 
the conditions then existing. 

The members of the territorial supreme court 
were Chief Justice Bryant and Associate Justice 
Pratt. 1 Within a few months, the chief justice s health 

1 0. C. Pratt was born April 24, 1819, in Ontario County, New York. Ho 
entered West Point, in the class of 1837, and took two years of the course. 
His stand during this time was good, but he did not find technical military 
training congenial to his tastes, excepting the higher mathematics, and ho 
obtained the consent of his parents to resign his cadetship, in order to com 
plete his study of law, to which he had devoted two years previous to enter 
ing the Military Academy. He passed his examination before the supremo 
court of New York in 1840, and was admitted to the bar. During thia year 
he took an active part in the presidential campaign as an advocate of the 
election of Martin Van Buren. In 1843 ho moved to Galena, Illinois, and 
established himself as an attorney at law. In 1844 ho entered heartily into 
politics, as a friend of Polk, and attracted attention by his cogent discussion 
of the issues then uppermost, the annexation of Texas, and the Oregon ques 
tion. In 1847 he was a member of the convention to make the first revision 



having become impaired, lie left Oregon, returned to 
Indiana, resigned, and soon after died. Associate 
Justice Burnett, being in California, and very lucra 
tively employed at the time that he learned of his 
appointment, declined it; and as their successors, 
Thomas Nelson and William Strong, 2 were not soon 
appointed, and came ultimately to their field of duty 
around Cape Horn, Judge Pratt was left unaided 
nearly two years in the judicial labors of the territory. 

By act of congress, March 3, 1859, it was provided, in 
the absence of United States courts in California, viola 
tions of the revenue laws might be prosecuted before the 
judges of the supreme court of Oregon. Under this stat 
ute, Judge Pratt went to San Francisco, by request of 
the secretary of the treasury, in 1849, and assisted in 
the adjustment of several important admiralty cases. 
Also, about the same time, in his own district, at Port 
land, Oregon, as district judge of the United States 
for the territory of Oregon, he held the first court of 
admiralty jurisdiction within the limits of the region 
now covered by the states of Oregon and California. 

Another evil to the peace and quiet of the commu 
nity, and to the security of property, arose soon after 
the advent of the new justices Strong, 3 in August 

of the constitution of Illinois. In the service of the government he crossed 
tho plains to Santa Fe; thence to California. In 1848 he became a member 
of the supreme court of Oregon, as noted. He was a man of striking and 
distinguished personnel, fine sensibilities, analytic intelligence, eloquent, 
learned in the law, and honorable. 

^William Strong was born in St Albans, Vermpnt, in 1817, where he re 
sided in early childhood, afterward removing to Connecticut and New York. 
He was educated at Yale college, began life as principal of an academy at 
Ithaca, New York, and followed this occupation while studying law, remov 
ing to Cleveland, Ohio, in the mean time. On being appointed to Oregon he 
took passage with his wife on the United States store-ship Supply in Novem 
ber 1849 for San Francisco, and thence proceeded to the Columbia by the 
sloop of war Falmouth. Judge Strong resided for a few years on the north 
side of the Columbia, but finally made Portland his home, where he has long 
practised law in company with his sons. During my visit to Oregon in 1878 
Judge Strong, among others, dictated to my stenographer his varied experi 
ences, and important facts concerning the history of Oregon. The manu 
script thus made I entitled S Irony s History of Oregon. It contains a long 
series of events, beginning August 1850, and running down to the time 
when it was given, and is enlivened by many anecdotes, amusing and curi 
ous, of early times, Indian characteristics, political affairs, and court notes. 

3 Strong, who seems to have had an eye to speculation as well as other offi- 


1850, and Nelson, in April 1, 1851 from the inter 
ference of one district court with the processes of 
another. Thus it was impossible, for a time, to main 
tain order in Judge Pratt s district (the second) in two 
instances, sentences for contempt passed by him being 
practically nullified by the interference of the judge 
of the first district. 

Among the changes occurring at this time none 
were more perceptible than the diminishing import 
ance of the Hudson s Bay Company s business in 
Oregon. Not only the gold mania carried off their 
servants, but the naturalization act did likewise, and 
also the prospect of a title to six hundred and forty 
acres of land. And not only did their servants desert 
them, but the United States revenue officers and Ind 
ian agents pursued them at every turn. 4 When Thorn 
ton was at Puget Sound in 1849 he caused the arrest 
of Captain Morris, of the Harpooner, an English ves 
sel which had transported Hill s artillery company to 
Nisqually, for giving the customary grog to the Ind 
ians and half-breeds hired to discharge the vessel in 
the absence of white labor. Captain Morris was held 
to bail in five hundred dollars by Judge Bryant, to 
appear before him at the next term of court. What 
the decision would have been can only be conjectured, 
as in the absence of the judges the case never came 
to trial. Morris was released on a promise never to 
return to those waters. 5 

But these annoyances were light compared to those 
which arose out of the establishment of a port of 

cials, had purchased a lot of side-saddles before leaving New York, and other 
goods at auction, for sale in Oregon. His saddles cost him $7.50 and 13, and 
he sol I them to women whose husbands had been to the gold mines for 650, 
$GO, and 75. A gross of playing cards, purchased for a cent a pack at auc 
tion, sold to the soldiers for 1.50 a pack. Brown sugar purchased for 5c. a 
pound by the barrel brought ten times that amount; and so on, the goods 
ueing sold for him at the fur company s store. Strony s Hist. Or., MS , 27-30. 

4 Roberts says, in his Recollections, MS., that Douglas left Vancouver just 
in time to save his peace of mind; and it was perhaps partly with that object, 
for he was a strict disciplinarian, and could never have bent to the new order 
of things. 

5 Roberts Recollections, MS., 16. 


entry, and the extension of the revenue laws of the 
United States over the country. In the spring of 
1849 arrived Oregon s first United States revenue 
officer, John Adair, of Kentucky; and in the autumn 
George Gibbs, deputy-collector. 6 No trouble seems 
to have arisen for the first few months, though the 
company was subjected to much inconvenience by 
having to go from Fort Victoria to Astoria, a distance 
of over two hundred miles, to enter the goods designed 
for the American side of the strait, or for Fort Nis- 
qually to which they must travel back three hundred 

About the last of December 1849 the British ship 
Albion, Captain Richard O. Hinderwell, William 
Brotchie, supercargo, entered the strait of Fuca with 
out being aware of the United States revenue laws 
on that part of the coast, and proceeded to cut a cargo 
of spars at New Dungeness, at the same time trading 
with the natives, for which they were prepared, by 
permission of the Hudson s Bay Company in London, 
with certain Indian goods, though not allowed to buy 
furs. The owners of the Albion, who had a govern 
ment contract, had instructed the captain and super 
cargo to take the spars wherever they found the best 
timber, but if upon the American side of the strait, to 
pay for them if they could be bought cheap. But 
during a stay of about four months at Dungeness, as 

6 Gibbs, who came with the rifle regiment, was employed in various posi 
tions 011 the Pacific coast for several years. He became interested in philology 
and published a Dictionary of the. Chinook Jargon, and other matter concern 
ing the native races, as well as the geography and geology of the west coast. 
In Suckley and Cooper s Natural History it is said that he spent two years in 
southern Oregon, near the Klamath; that in 18.33 he joined McClellan s sur 
veying party, and afterward made explorations with I. I. Stevens in Wash 
ington. In 1859 he was still employed as geologist of the north-west boundary 
survey with Kennedy. He was for a short time collector of customs at 
Astoria. He went from there to Puget Sound, where he applied himself to 
the study of the habits, languages, and traditions of the natives, which study 
enabled him to make some valuable contributions to the Smithsonian Insti 
tution. Mr Gibbs died at New Haven, Conn. , May 1 1 , 1873. He was a man of 
fine scholarly attainments, says the Olympia Pacific Tribune, May 17, 1873, 
and ardently devoted to science and polite literature. He was something of a 
wag withal, and on several occasions, in conjunction with the late Lieut. 
Derby (John Phcenix) and others, perpetrated "sells" that obtained a world 
wide publicity. His friends were many, warm, and earnest. 


no one had appeared of whom the timber could be 
purchased, the wood-cutters continued their work un 
interruptedly. In the mean time the United States 
surveying schooner Ewing being in the sound, Lieu 
tenant McArthur informed the officers of the Albion 
that they had no right to cut timber on American 
soil. When this came to the ears of deputy-collector 
Gibbs, Adair being absent in California, he appointed 
Eben May Dorr a special inspector of customs, with 
authority to seize the Albion for violation of the 
revenue laws. United States district attorney Hoi- 
brook, and United States marshal Meek, were duly 

The marshal, with Inspector Dorr, repaired to 
Steilacoom, where a requisition was made on Cap 
tain Hill for a detachment of men, and Lieutenant 
Gibson, five soldiers, and several citizens proceeded 
down the sound to Dungeness, and made a formal 
seizure of the ship and stores on the 22d of April. 
The vessel was placed in charge of Charles Kinney, 
the English sailors willingly obeying him, and navi 
gating the ship to Steilacoom. Arrived here every 
man, even to the cook, deserted, and the captain and 
supercargo were ordered ashore where they found 
succor at the hospitable hands of Tolmie, at Fort 

It was not a very magnanimous proceeding on the 
part of officers of the great American republic, but 
was about what might have been expected from Indian 
fighters like Joe Meek raised to new dignities. 7 We 
smile at the simple savage demanding pay from navi 
gators for wood and water; but here were officers of 
the United States government seizing and confiscating 
a British vessel for cutting a few small trees from 

7 See 31st Conq.< %d Sess., 8. Doc., 30, 15-16. We have met before, said 
BrotcMe to Meek as the latter presented himself. You did meet me at 
Vancouver several years ago, but I was then nothing but Joe Meek, and 
you ordered me ashore. Circumstances are changed since then. I am Colonel 
Joseph L. Meek, United States marshal for Oregon Territory, and you, sir, 
are only a damned smuggler ! Go ashore, sir ! Victor s River of the West, 505. 


land lately stolen from the Indians, relinquished by 
Great Britain as much through a desire for peace as 
from any other cause, and which the United States 
government afterward sold for a dollar and a quarter 
an acre, at which rate the present damage could not 
possibly have reached the sum of three cents ! 

Kinney proved a thief, and not only stole the goods 
intrusted to his care, but allowed others to do so, 8 and 
was finally placed under bonds for his appearance to 
answer the charge of embezzlement. The ship and 
spars were condemned and sold at Steilacoom Novem 
ber 23d, bringing about forty thousand dollars, which 
was considerably less than she was worth; the money, 
according to common report, never reaching the treas 
ury. 9 A formal protest was entered by the captain 
and supercargo immediately on the seizure of the 
Albion, and the whole correspondence finally came 
before congress on the matter being brought to the 
attention of the secretary of state by the British 
minister at Washington. 

In the mean time congress had passed an act Sep 
tember 28, 1850, relating to collection matters on the 
Pacific coast, and containing a proviso intended to 
meet such cases as this of the Albion, 10 and by virtue 
of which the owners and officers of the vessel were 
indemnified for their losses. 

This high-handed proceeding against the Albion , as 
we may well imagine, produced much bitterness of 
feeling on the part of the British residents north 
of the Columbia, 11 and the more so that the vessels 

8 Or. Spectator, Dee. 19, 1850. 

9 This money fell into bad hands and was not accounted for. According 
to Meek the officers of the court found a private use for it. Victor s River 
of the West, 506. 

10 That where any ship or goods may have been subjected to seizure 
by any officer of the customs in the collection district of Upper California or 
the district of Oregon prior to the passage of this act, and it shall be made 
to appear to the satisfaction of the secretary of the treasury that the owner 
sustained loss by reason of any improper seizui-e, the said secretary is author 
ized to extend such relief as he may deem just and proper. 31st Cony., 1st 
Sess., United States Acts and Res., 128-9. 

11 I fancy I a,m pretty cool about it now, says Roberts, but then it did 
rather damp my democracy. Recollections, MS., 17. 


of the Hudson s Bay Company were not exempt 
from these exactions. When the troops were to be 
removed from Nisqually to Steilacoom on the estab 
lishment of that post, Captain Hill employed the 
Forager, one of the company s vessels, to transport 
the men and stores, and the settlers also having some 
shingles and other insignificant freight, which they 
wished carried down the sound, it was put on board 
the Forager. For this violation of the United States 
revenue laws the vessel was seized. But the secretary 
of the treasury decided that Hill and the artillerymen 
were not goods in the meaning of the statute, and 
that therefore the laws had not been violated. 12 

Soon after the seizure of the Albion, the company s 
schooner Cadboro was seized for carrying goods direct 
from Victoria to Nisqually, and that notwithstanding 
the duties were paid, though under protest. The 
Cadboro was released on Ogden reminding the col 
lector that he had given notice of the desire of the 
company to continue the importation of goods direct 
from Victoria, their readiness to pay duties, and also 
that their business would be broken up at Nisqually 
and other posts in Oregon if they were compelled to 
import by the way of the Columbia River. 13 

In January 1850 President Taylor declared Port 
land and Nisqually ports of delivery ; but subsequently 
the office was removed at the instance of the Oregon 
delegate from Nisqually to Olympia, when there 
followed other seizures, namely, of the Mary Dare, 
and the Beaver, the latter for landing Miss Rose 
Birnie, sister of James Birnie formerly of Fort George, 
at Fort Nisqually, without first having landed her at 
Olympia. 14 The cases were tried before Judge Strong, 
who very justly released the vessels. Strong was 
accused of bribery by the collector; but the friends 
of the judge held a public meeting at Olympia sus- 

12 Letter of N. M. Meridcth to S. R. Thurston, in Or. Spectator, May 2, 1850* 

13 31th Confl., 2d Setts., Sen. Doc. 30, 7. 
^Roberts Recollections, MS., 16. 


taining him. The seizure cost the government twenty 
thousand dollars, and caused much ill-feeling. This 
was after the appointment of a collector for Puget 
Sound in 1851, whose construction of the revenue 
laws was even more strict than that of other Oregon 
officials. 15 

Thus we see that the position of the Hudson s Bay 
Company in Oregon after the passage of the act 
establishing the territory was ever increasingly pre 
carious and disagreeable. The treaty of 1846 had 
proven altogether insufficient to protect the assumed 
rights of. the company, and was liable to different 
interpretations even by the ablest jurists. The com 
pany claimed their lands in the nature of a grant, and 
as actually alienated to the British government. 
Before the passage of the territorial act, they had 
taken warning by the well known temper of the 
American occupants of Oregon toward them, and had 
offered their rights for sale to the government at one 
million of dollars; using, as I have previously inti 
mated, the well known democratic editor and politician, 
George N. Sanders, as their agent in Washington. 

As early as January 1848 Sir George Simpson 
addressed a confidential letter to Sanders, whom he 
had previously met in Montreal, in which he defined 
his view of the rights confirmed by the treaty, as the 
right to "cultivate the soil, to cut down and export 
the timber, to carry on the fisheries, to trade for furs 
with the natives, and all other rights we enjoyed at 
the time of framing the treaty." As to the free navi 
gation of the Columbia, he held that this right like 
the others was salable and transferable. " Our 
possessions," he said, "embrace the very best situa 
tions in the whole country for offensive and defensive 
operations, towns and villages." These were all in- 

15 S. P. Moses was the first collector on Puget Sound. Roberts says con 
cerning him that he took almost every British ship that came. His conduct 
was beneath the government, and probably was from beneath, also. Recol 
lections, MS., 16. 


eluded in the offer of sale, as well as the lands of the 
Puget Sound Agricultural Company, together with 
their flocks and herds; the reason urged for making 
the offer being that the company in England were 
apprehensive that their possession of the country 
might lead to " endless disputes, which might be pro 
ductive of difficulties between the two nations," to 
avoid which they were willing to make a sacrifice, and 
to withdraw within the territory north of 49. 16 

Sanders laid this proposition before Secretary 
Buchanan in July, and a correspondence ensued 
between the officers and agents of the Hudson s Bay 
Company and the ministers of both governments, in 
the course of which it transpired that the United 
States government on learning the construction put 
upon the company s right to transfer the navigation 
of the Columbia, was dissatisfied with the terms of 
the treaty and wished to make a new one in which 
this right was surrendered, but that Great Britain 
declined to relinquish the right without a considera 
tion. "Her Majesty s government," said Addington, 
"have no proposal to make, they being quite content 
to leave things as they are." 

The operation of the revenue laws, however, which 
had not been anticipated by the British companies or 
government, considerably modified their tone as to 
the importance of their right of navigation on the 
Columbia, and their privileges generally. Instead of 
being in a position to dictate terms, they were at the 
mercy of the United States, which could well afford 
to allow them to navigate Oregon waters so long as 
they paid duties. Under this pressure, in the spring 
of 1849, a contract was drawn up conveying the 
rights of the company under their charter and the 
treaty, and appertaining to forts Disappointment, 
George, Vancouver, Umpqua, Walla Walla, Boise*, 
Okanagan, Colville, Kootenai, Flat Head, Nisqually, 
Cowlitz, and all other posts belonging to said com- 

16 31st Cong., 2d Sess., Sen. Doc. 20, 4-5. 


panies, together with their wild lands, reserving only 
their shipping, merchandise, provisions, and stores of 
every description, and their enclosed lands, except 
such portions of them as the United States govern 
ment might wish to appropriate for military reserves, 
which were included in the schedule offered, for the 
sum of seven hundred thousand dollars. The agree 
ment further offered all their farms and real property 
not before conveyed, for one hundred and fifty thou 
sand dollars, if purchased within one year by the 
government; or if the government should not elect 
to purchase, the companies bound themselves to sell 
all their farming lands to private citizens of the 
United States within two years, so that at the end 
of that time they would have no property rights 
whatever in the territories of the United States. 

Surely it could not be said that the British com 
panies were not as anxious to get out of Oregon as 
the Americans were to have them. It is more than 
likely, also, that had it not been for the persistent 
animosity of certain persons influencing the heads 
of the government and senators, some arrangement 
might have been effected; the reason given for re 
jecting the offer, however, was that no purchase 
could be made until the exact limits of the company s 
possessions could be determined. In October 1850, 
Sir John Henry Pelly addressed a letter to Webster, 
then secretary of state, on the subject, in which he 
referred to the seizure of the Albion, and in which he 
said that the price in the disposal of their property 
was but a secondary consideration, that they were 
more concerned to avoid the repetition of occurrences 
which might endanger the peace of the two govern 
ments, and proposed to leave the matter of valuation 
to be decided by two commissioners, one from each 
government, who should be at liberty to call an 
umpire. But at this time the same objections existed 
in the indefinite limits of the territory claimed which 
would require to be settled before commissioners 


could be prepared to decide, and nothing was done 
then, nor for twenty years afterward, 17 toward the 
purchase of Hudson s Bay Company claims, during 
which time their forts, never of much value except 
for the purposes of the company, went to decay, and 
the lands of the Puget Sound Company were covered 
with American squatters, who, holding that the rights 
of the company under the treaty of 1846 were not in 
the nature of an actual grant, but merely possessory 
so far as the company required the land for use until 
their charter expired, looked upon their pretensions 
as unfounded, and treated them as trespassers, 18 at 
the same time that they were compelled to pay taxes 
as proprietors. 19 

Gradually the different posts were abandoned. The 
land at Fort Umpqua was let in 1853 to W. W. 
Chapman, who purchased the cattle belonging to it, 20 
which travellers were in the habit of shooting as 

17 32d Cong., 1st Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 2, pt. iii. 473-4. 

"Roberts, who was a stockholder in the Puget Sound Company, took 
charge of the Cowlitzfarm in 1846. Matters went on very well for two years. 
Then came the gold excitement and demoralization of the company s servants 
consequent upon it, and the expectation of a donation land law. He left the 
farm which he found it impossible to carry on, and took up a land claim as a 
settler outside its limits, becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States. 
But pioneer farming was not either agreeable or profitable to him, and was 
besides interrupted by an Indian war, when he became clerk to the quarter 
master general. When the Frazer River mining excitement came on he 
thought he might possibly make something at the Cowlitz by raising provis 
ions. But when his hay was cut and put up in cocks it was taken away by 
armed men who had squatted on the land; and when the case came into 
court the jury decided that they knew nothing about treaties, but did under 
stand the rights of American citizens under the land law. Then followed 
arson and other troubles with the squatters, who took aw r ay his crops year 
after year. The lawyers to whom he appealed could do nothing for him, and 
it was only by the interference of other people who became ashamed of seeing 
a good man persecuted in this manner, that the squatters on the Cowlitz 
farm were linally compelled to desist from these acts, and Roberts was left in 
peace until the Washington delegate, Garfield, secured patents for his clients 
the squatters, and Roberts was evicted. There certainly should have been 
some way of preventing outrages of this kind, and the government should 
have seen to it that its treaties were respected by the people. But the peo 
ple s representatives, to win favor with their constituents, persistently helped 
to instigate a feeling of opposition to the claims of the British companies, or 
to create a doubt of their validity. See Robert^ Recollections, MS., 7o. 

19 The Puget Sound Company paid in one year 7,000 in taxes. They were 
astute enough, says Roberts, not to refuse, as the records could be used to 
show the value of their property. Recollection*, MS., 91. 

20 A. C. Gibbs, in U. S. Ev. H. B. C. Claims, 29; W. T. Tolmie, Id., 104; 
W. W. Chapman, Id., 11. 


game while they belonged to the company. The 
stockade and buildings were burned in 1851. The 
land was finally taken as a donation claim. Walla 
Walla was abandoned in 1855-6, during the Indian 
war, in obedience to an order from Indian Agent 
Olney, and was afterward claimed by an American 
for a town site. Fort Boise was abandoned in 1856 
on account of Indian hostilities, and Fort Hall about 
the same time on account of the statute against selling 
ammunition to Indians, without which the Indian 
trade was worthless. Okanagan was kept up until 
1861 or 1862, when it was left in charge of an Indian 
chief. Vancouver was abandoned about 1860, the 
land about it being covered with squatters, English 
and American. 21 Fort George went out of use before 
any of the others, Colville holding out longest. At 
length in 1871, after a tedious and expensive ex 
amination of the claims of the Hudson s Bay and 
Puget Sound companies by a commission appointed 
for the purpose, an award of seven hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars was made and accepted, there being 
nothing left which the United States could confirm 
to any one except a dozen dilapidated forts. The 
United States gained nothing by the purchase, unless 
it were the military reserves at Vancouver, Steila- 
coom, and Cape Disappointment; for the broad acres 
of the companies had been donated to squatters who 
applied for them as United States land. As to the 
justice of the cause of the American people against 
the companies, or the companies against the United 
States, there will be always two opinions, as there 
have always been two opinions concerning the Oregon 
boundary question. Sentiment on the American side 
as enunciated by the Oregon pioneers was as follows: 
They held that Great Britain had no rights on the 
west shore of the American continent; in which 
opinion, if they would include the United States in 
the same category, I would concur. As I think I 

21 /. L. Meek, in U. S. Ev. II. B. C. Claims, 90. 


have clearly shown in the History of the Northwest 
Coast, whether on the ground of inherent rights, 
or rights of discovery or occupation, there was little 
to choose between the two nations. The people of 
Oregon further held that the convention of 1818 
conferred no title, in which they were correct. They 
held that the Hudson s Bay Company, under its 
charter, could acquire no title to land only to the 
occupancy of it for a limited time; in which position 
they were undoubtedly right. They denied that the 
Puget Sound Company, which derived its existence 
from the Hudson s Bay Company, could have any title 
to land, which was evident. They were quick to per 
ceive the intentions of the parent company in laying 
claim to large bodies of land on the north side of the 
Columbia, and covering them with settlers and herds. 
They had no thought that when the boundary was 
settled these claims would be respected, and felt that 
not only they but the government had been cheated 
the latter through its ignorance of the actual facts in 
the case. So far I cannot fail to sympathize with 
their sound sense and patriotism. 

But I find also that they forgot to be just, and to 
realize that British subjects on the north side of the 
Columbia were disappointed at the settlement of the 
boundary on the 49th parallel; that they naturally 
sought indemnity for the distraction it would be to 
their business to move their property out of the 
territory, the cost of building new forts, opening new 
farms, and laying out new roads. But above all they 
forgot that as good citizens they were bound to re 
spect the engagements entered into by the govern 
ment whether or not they approved them ; and while 
they were using doubtful means to force the British 
companies out of Oregon, were guilty of ingratitude 
both to the corporation and individuals. 

The issue on which the first delegate to congress 
elected in Oregon, Samuel B,. Thurston, received his 

HIST. OB., VOL. II. 8 


majority, was that of the anti-Hudson s Bay Com 
pany sentiment, which was industriously worked up 
by the missionary element, in the absence of a large 
number of the voters of the territory, notably of the 
Canadians, and the young and independent western 
men. 22 Thurston was besides a democrat, to which 
party the greater part of the population belonged; 
but it is the testimony of those who knew best that 
it was not as a democrat that he was elected. 23 As a 
member of the legislature at its last session under the 
provisional government, he displayed some of those 
traits which made him a powerful and useful champion, 
or a dreaded and hated foe. 

Much has been said about the rude and violent 
manners of western men in pursuit of an object, but 
Thurston was not a western man ; he was supposed to 
be something more elevated and refined, more cool 
and logical, more moral and Christian than the peo 
ple beyond the Alleghanies; he was born and bred 
an eastern man, educated at an eastern college, 
was a good Methodist, and yet in the canvass of 

22 Thurston received 470 votes; C. Lancaster, 321; Meek and Griffin, 46; 
J. W. Nesmith, 106. Thurston was a democrat and Nesmith a whig. Tribune 
Almanac, 1850, 51. 

23 Mrs E. F. Odell, nee McClench, who came to Oregon as Thurston s 
wife, and who cherishes a high regard for his talents and memory, has fur 
nished to my library a biographical sketch of her first husband. Though 
strongly tinctured by personal and partisan feeling, it is valuable as a view 
from her standpoint of the character and services of the ambitious young man 
who first represented Oregon in congress how worthily, the record will 
determine. Mr Thurston was born in Monmouth, Maine, in 1816, and reared 
in the little town of Peru, subject to many toils and privations common to 
the Yankee youth of that day. He possessed a thirst for knowledge also 
common in New England, and became a hard student at the Wesleyan semi 
nary at Readfield, from which he entered Bowdoin college, graduating in the 
class of 1843. He then entered on the study of law in Brunswick, where he 
was soon admitted to practice. A natural partisan, he became an ardent 
democrat, and was not only fearless but aggressive in his leadership of the 
politicians of the school. Having married Miss Elizabeth F. McClench, of 
Fayette, he removed with her to Burlington, Iowa, in 1845, where he edited 
the Burlington Gazette till 1847, when he emigrated to Oregon. From his 
education as a Methodist, his talents, and readiness to become a partisan, he 
naturally affiliated with the Mission party. Mrs Odell remarks in her Biog 
raphy of Thurston, MS., 4, that he was not elected as a partisan, though his 
political views were well understood; but L. F. Grover, who knew him well 
in college days and afterward, says that he ran on the issue of the missionary 
settlers against the Hudson s Bay Company. Public Life in Or., MS., 95. 


1849 he introduced into Oregon the vituperative and 
invective style of debate, and mingled with it a species 
of coarse blackguardism such as no Kentucky ox- 
driver or Missouri flat-boatman might hope to excel. 24 
Were it more effective, he could be simply eloquent 
and impressive; where the fire-eating style seemed 
likely to win, he could hurl epithets and denuncia 
tions until his adversaries withered before them. 25 

And where so pregnant a theme on which to rouse 
the feelings of a people unduly jealous, as that of the 
aggressiveness of a foreign monoply? And what easier 
than to make promises of accomplishing great things 
for Oregon ? And yet I am bound to say that what 
this scurrilous and unprincipled demagogue promised, 
as a rule he performed. He believed that to be the 
best course, and he was strong enough to pursue it. 
Had he never done more than he engaged to do, or 
had he not privately engaged to carry out a scheme 
of the Methodist missionaries, whose sentiments he 
mistook for those of the majority, being himself a 
Methodist, and having been but eighteen months in 
Oregon when he left it for Washington, his success 
as a politician would have been assured. 

Barnes, in his manuscript entitled Oregon and Cali 
fornia, relates that Thurston was prepared to go to 
California with him when Lane issued his proclama 
tion to elect a delegate to congress. He immediately 

24 I have heard an old settler give an account of a discussion in Polk 
county between Nesmith and Thurston during the canvass for the election of 
delegate to congress. He said Nesmith had been accustomed to brow 
beat every man that came about him, and drive him off either by ridicule or 
fear. In both these capacities Nesmith was a strong man, and they all 
thought Nesmith had the field. But when Thurston got up they were 
astonished at his eloquence, and particularly at his bold manner. My inform 
ant says that at one stage Nesmith jumped up and began to move toward 
Thurston; and Thurston pointed his finger straight at him, after putting it 
on his side, and said: " Don t you take another step, or a button-hole will be 
seen through you," and Nesmith stopped. But the discussion proved that 
Thurston was a full match for any man in the practices in which his antago 
nist was distinguished, and the result was that Thurston carried the election 
by a large majority. Grover s Pub. Life, MS., 96-7. 

23 He was a man of such impulsive, harsh traits, that he would often carry 
college feuds to extremities. I have known him to get so excited in recount 
ing some of his struggles, that he would take a chair and smash it all to pieces 
over the table, evidenfly to exhaust the extra amount of vitality. Id., 94. 


decided to take his chance among the candidates, with 
what result we know. 26 

The first we hear of Thurston in his character of 
delegate is on the 24th of January 1850, when he 
rose in the house and insisted upon being allowed to 
make an explanation of his position. When he left 
Oregon, he said, he bore a memorial from the legisla 
tive assembly to congress which he could not produce 
on account of the loss of his baggage on the Isthmus. 
But since he had not the memorial, he had drawn up 
a set of resolutions upon the subjects embraced in the 
memorial, which he wished to offer and have referred 
to their appropriate committees, in order that while 
the house might be engaged in other matters he 
might attend to his before the committees. He had 
waited, he said, nearly two months for an opportunity 
to present his resolutions, and his territory had not 
yet been reached in the call for resolutions. He 
would detain the house but a few minutes, if he might 
be allowed to read what he had drawn up. On leave 
being granted, he proceeded to present, not an abstract 
of the memorial, which has been given elsewhere, but 
a series of questions for the judiciary committee to 
answer, in reference to the rights of the Hudson s 
Bay Company, and Puget Sound Agricultural Associ 
ation. 27 This first utterance of the Oregon delegate, 
when time was so precious and so short in which to 
labor for the accomplishment of high designs, gives 
us the key to his plan, which was first to raise the 
question of any rights of British subjects to Oregon 
lands in fee simple under the treaty, and then to 
exclude them if possible from the privileges of the 
donation law when it should be framed. 28 

26 Thurston was in ill-health when he left Oregon. He travelled in a small 
boat to Astoria, taking six days for the trip; by sailing vessel to San Francisco, 
and to Panama by the steamer Carolina, being ill at the last place, yet having 
to ride across the Isthmus, losing his baggage because he was not able to look 
after the thieving carriers. His determination and ambition were remarkable. 
OdelVs Biography of Thurston, MS., 56. 

27 For the resolutions complete, see Cong. Globe, 1849-50, 21, pt. i. 220. 

28 That Thurston exceeded the instructions of tjhe legislative assembly 
there is no question. See Or. Archives, MS., 185-6. 


The two months which intervened between Thurs- 
ton s arrival in Washington and the day when he in 
troduced his resolutions had not been lost. He had 
studied congressional methods and proved himself an 
apt scholar. He attempted nothing without first hav 
ing tried his ground with the committees, and pre 
pared the way, often with great labor, to final success. 
On the 6th of February, further resolutions were 
introduced inquiring into the rights of the Hudson s 
Bay Company to cut and manufacture timber growing 
on the public lands of Oregon, and particuarly on 
lands not inclosed or cultivated by them at the time 
of the ratification of the Oregon treaty; into the 
right of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company to 
any more land than they had under inclosure, or in a 
state of actual cultivation at that time; and into the 
right of the Hudson s Bay Company, under the sec 
ond article of the treaty, or of British subjects trad 
ing with the company, to introduce through the port 
of Astoria foreign goods for consumption in the ter 
ritory free of duty, 29 which resolutions were referred 
to the judiciary committee. On the same day he in 
troduced a resolution that the committee on public 
lands should be instructed to inquire into the expedi 
ency of reporting a bill for the establishment of a 
land office in Oregon, and to provide for the survey 
of a portion of the public lands in that territory, con 
taining such other provisions- and restrictions as the 
committee might deem necessary for the proper man 
agement and protection of the public lands. 30 

In the mean time a bill was before the senate for 
the extinguishment of the Indian title to land west 
of the Cascade Mountains. This was an important 
preliminary step to the passage of a donation act. 31 

29 Cong. Globe, 1849-60, 295. 

30 Id., 295. A correspondent of the New York Tribune remarks on 
Thurs ton s resolutions : There are squalls ahead for the Hudson s Bay 
Company. Or. Spectator, May 2, 1850. 

31 See Or. Spectator, April 18, 1850; 31st Cong., 1st Sess., U. S. Acts and 
Res., 26-7; Johnson s Cal. and Or., 332; Cong. Globe, 1849-50, 1076-7; Id., 
1610; Or. Spectator, Aug. 8, 1850. 


It was chiefly suggested by Mr Thurston, and was 
passed April 22d without opposition. Having se 
cured this measure, as he believed, he next brought 
up the topics embraced in the last memorial on which 
he expected to found his advocacy of a donation law, 
and embodied them in another series of resolutions, 
so artfully drawn up 32 as to compel the committee to 
take that view of the subject most likely to promote 
the success of the measure. Not that there was 
reason to fear serious opposition to a law donating a 
liberal amount of land to Oregon settlers. It had for 
years been tacitly agreed to by every congress, and 
could only fail on some technicality. But to get up a 
sympathetic feeling for such a bill, to secure to Ore 
gon all and more than was asked for through that 
feeling, and to thereby so deserve the approval of the 
Oregon people as to be reflected to congress, was the 
desire of Thurston s active and ardent mind. And 
toward this aim he worked with a persistency that 
was admirable, though some of the means resorted to, 
to bring it about, and to retain the favor of the party 
that elected him, were as unsuccessful as they were 

From the first day of his labors at Washington this 
relentless demagogue acted in ceaseless and open hos 
tility to every interest of the Hudson s Bay Company 
in Oregon, and to every individual in any way con 
nected with it. 33 

Thurston, like Thornton, claimed to have been the 
author of the donation land law. I have shown in a 

32 Cong. Globe, 1849-50, 413; Or. Statesman, May 9, 1851. 

33 Here is a sample of the ignorance or mendacity of the man, whichever 
you will. A circular issued by Thurston while in Washington to save letter- 
writing, says, speaking of the country in which Vancouver is located: It 
was formerly called Clarke county; but at a time when British sway was in 
its palmy days in Oregon, the county was changed from Clarke to Vancouver, 
iu honor of the celebrated navigator, and no less celebrated slanderer of our 
government and people. Now that American influence rules in Oregon, it is 
due to the hardy, wayworn American explorer to realter the name of this 
county, and grace it again with the name of him whose history is interwoven 
with that of Oregon. So our legislature thought, and so I have no doubt 
they spoke and acted at their recent session. Johnson s Col. and Or., 267. 
It was certainly peculiar to hear this intelligent legislator talk of counties 


previous chapter that a bill creating the office of sur 
veyor-general in Oregon, and to grant donation rights 
to settlers, and for other purposes, was before congress 
in both houses in January 1848, and that it failed 
through lack of time, having to await the territorial 
bill which passed at the last moment. Having been 
crowded out, and other affairs pressing at the next 
session, the only trace of it in the proceedings of con 
gress is a resolution by Collamer, of Vermont, on the 
25th of January 1849, that it should be made the 
special order of the house for the first Tuesday of 
February, when, however, it appears to have been 
forgotten; and it was not until the 22d of April 1850 
that Mr Fitch, chairman of the committee on territo 
ries, again reported a bill on this subject. That the 
bill brought up at this session was but a copy of the 
previous one is according to usage; but that Thurston 
had been at work with the committee some peculiar 
features of the bill show. 34 

There was tact and diplomacy in Thurston s char 
acter, which he displayed in his short congressional 

in Oregon before the palmy days of British sway, and of British residents 
naming counties at all. While Thurston was in Washington, the postmaster- 
general changed the name of the postolfice at Vancouver to Columbia City. 
Or. Statexman, May 28, 1851. 

34 Thornton alleges that he presented Thurston before leaving Oregon with 
a copy of his bill, Or. Hist., MS., 13, and further that the donation law we 
now have, except the llth section and one or two unimportant amendments, 
is an exact copy of the bill I prepared. Or. Pioneer Asso. Trans. 1874, 94. 
Yet when Thurston lost his luggage on the Isthmus he lost all his papers, 
and could not have made an exact copy from memory. In another place he 
says that before leaving Washington he drew up a land bill which he sent to 
Collamer in Vermont, and would have us believe that this was the iden 
tical bill which finally passed. Not knowing further of the bill than what 
was stated by Thornton himself, I would only remark upon the evidence 
that Collamer s term expired before 1850, though that might not have pre 
vented him from introducing any suggestions of Thornton s into the bill 
reported in January 1849. But now comes Thornton of his own accord, and 
admits he has claimed too much. He did, he says, prepare a territorial and 
also a land bill, but on further reliction, and after consulting others, I 
deemed it not well to have these new bills offered, it having been suggested 
that the bills already pending in both houses of congress could be amended 
by incorporating into them whatever there was in my bills not already pro 
vided for in the bills which in virtue of their being already on the calendar 
would be reached before any bills subsequently introduced. From a letter 
dated August 8, 188:2, which is intended as an addendum to the Or. llit>t. t 
MS., of Thornton. 


career. He allowed the land bill to drift along, mak 
ing only some practical suggestions, until his resolu 
tions had had time to sink into the minds of members 
of both houses. When the bill was well on its way 
he proposed amendments, such as to strike out of 
the fourth section that portion which gave every set 
tler or occupant of the public lands above the age of 
eighteen a donation of three hundred and twenty acres 
of land if a single man, and if married, or becoming 
married within a given time, six hundred and forty 
acres, one half to himself in his own right, and the 
other half to his wife in her own right, the surveyor- 
general to designate the part inuring to each; 35 and 
to make it read " that there shall be, and hereby is 
granted to every white male settler, or occupant of the 
public lands, American half-breeds included, members 
and servants of the Hudson s Bay and Puget Sound 
companies excepted," etc. 

He proposed further a proviso "that every foreigner 
making claim to lands by virtue of this act, before 
he shall receive a title to the same, shall prove to 
the surveyor-general that he has commenced and com 
pleted his naturalization and become an American 
citizen." The proviso was not objected to, but the 
previous amendment was declared by Bowlin, of Mis 
souri, unjust to the retired servants of the fur com 
pany, who had long lived on and cultivated farms. 
The debate upon this part of the bill became warm, 
and Thurston, being pressed, gave utterance to the 
following infamous lies: 

"This company has been warring against our gov 
ernment these forty years. Dr McLoughlin has been 
their chief fugleman, first to cheat our government 
out of the whole country, and next to prevent its 
settlement. He has driven men from claims and from 

35 This was the principle of the donation law as passed. The surveyor- 
general usually inquired of the wife her choice, and was gallant enough to 
give it her; hence it usually happened that the portion having the dwelling 
and improvements upon it went to the wife. 


the country to stifle the efforts at settlement. In 
1845 he sent an express to Fort Hall, eight hundred 
miles, to warn the American emigrants that if they 
attempted to come to Willamette they would all be 
cut off; they went, and none were cut off. . . I was 
instructed by my legislature to ask donations of land 
to American citizens only. The memorial of the 
Oregon legislature w r as reported so as to ask dona 
tions to settlers, and the word was stricken out, and 
citizens inserted. This, sir, I consider fully bears me 
out in insisting that our public lands shall not be 
thrown into the hands of foreigners, who will not 
become citizens, and who sympathize with us with 
crocodile tears only. 36 ... I can refer you to the su 
preme judge of our territory 37 for proof that this Dr 
McLouofhlin refuses to file his intention to become an 


American citizen. 38 If a foreigner would bona fide 
file his intentions I would not object to give him land. 
There are many Englishmen, members of the Hudson s 

36 The assertion contained in this paragraph that the word settler was 
altered to citizen in the memorial was also untrue. I have a copy of the 
memorial signed by the chief cherk of both the house and council, and in 
scribed, Passed July 26, 1849, in which congress is asked to make a grant of 
640 acres of land to each actual settler, including widows and orphans. Or. 
Archives, MS., 177. 

37 Bryant was then in Washington to assist in the missionary scheme, of 
which, as the assignees of Abernethy, both he and Lane were abettors. 

88 Thurston also knew this to be untrue. William J. Berry, writing in 
the Spectator, Dec. 26, 1850, says: Now, I assert that Mr Thurston knew, 
previous to the election, that Dr McLoughlin had filed his intentions. I 
heard him say, in a stump speech at the City Hotel, that he expected his (the 
doctor s) vote. At the election I happened to be one of the judges. Dr 
McLoughlin came up to vote; the question was asked by myself, if he had 
filed his intentions. The clerk of the court, George L. Curry, Esq. , who was 
standing near the window, said that he had. He voted. Says McLoughlin: 
I declared my intention to become an American citizen on the 30th of May, 
1849, as any one may see who will examine the records of the court. Or. 
Spectator, Sept. 12, 1850. Waldo, testifies: Thurston lied on the doctor. 
He did it because the doctor would not vote for him. He lied in congress, 
and got others to write lies from here about him men who knew nothing 
about it. They falsified about the old doctor cheating the people, setting the 
Indians on them, and treating them badly. Critiques, MS., 15. Says Apple- 
gate: Thurston asserted among many other falsehoods, that the doctor utterly 
refused to become an American citizen, and Judge Bryant endorsed the asser 
tion. Historical Correspondence, MS., 14. Says Grover: The old doctor 
was looking to becoming a leading American citizen until this difficulty oc 
curred in regard to his land. He had taken out naturalization papers. All 
his life from young manhood had been spent in the north-west; and he was 
not going to leave the country. Public Life in Or., MS., 91. 


Bay Company, who would file their intention merely 
to get the land, and then tell you to whistle. Now, 
sir, I hope this house, this congress, this country, will 
not allow that company to stealthily get possession of 
all the good land in Oregon, and thus keep it out 
of the hands of those who would become good and 
worthy citizens." 39 

Having prepared the way by a letter to the house 
of representatives for introducing into the land bill a 
section depriving McLoughlin of his Oregon City 
claim, which he had the audacity to declare was first 
taken by the Methodist mission, section eleventh of 
the law as it finally passed, and as it now stands upon 
the sixty-eighth page of the General Laws of Ore 
gon, was introduced and passed without opposition. 
Judge Bryant receiving his bribe for falsehood, by 
the reservation of Aberi>ethy Island, which was "con 
firmed to the legal assigns of the Willamette Milling 
and Trading Company," while the remainder, except 
lots sold or given away by McLoughlin previous to 
the 4th of March 1849, should be at the disposal of 
the legislative assembly of Oregon for the establish 
ment and endowment of a university, to be located 
not at Oregon City, but at such place in the territory 
as the legislature might designate. Thus artfully did 
the servant of the Methodist mission strive for the 
ruin of McLoughlin and the approbation of his con 
stituents, well knowing that they would not feel so 
much at liberty to reject a bounty to the cause of 
education, as a gift of any other kind. 40 

39 Cong. Globe, 1849-50, 1079. 

40 In Thurston s letter to the house of representatives he appealed to them 
to pass the land bill without delay, on the ground that Oregon was becoming 
depopulated through the neglect of congress to keep its engagement. The 
people of the States had, he declared, lost all confidence in their previous belief 
that a donation law would be passed; and the people in the territory were 
ceasing to improve, were going to California, and when they were fortunate 
enough to make any money, were returning to the Atlantic States. Our pop 
ulation, he said, is dwindling away, and our anxieties and fears can easily be 
perceived. Of the high water of 1849-50, which carried away property and 
damaged mills to the amount of about 300,000, he said: The owners who have 
means dare not rebuild because they have no title. Each man is collecting 
his means in anticipation that he may leave the country. And this, although 


In his endeavor to accomplish so much villany the 
delegate failed. The senate struck out a clause in the 
fourth section which required a foreigner to emigrate 
from the United States, and which he had persuaded 
the house to adopt by his assertions that without it 
the British fur company would secure to themselves 
all the best lands in Oregon. Another clause insisted 
on by Thurston when he found he could not exclude 
British subjects entirely, was that a foreigner could 
not become entitled to any land notwithstanding his 
intentions were declared, until he had completed his 
naturalization, which would require two years; and 
this was allowed to stand, to the annoyance of the 
Canadian settlers who had been twenty years on their 
claims. 41 But the great point gained in Thurston s 
estimation by the Oregon land bill was the taking- 
away from the former head of the Hudson s Bay 
Company of his dearly bought claim at the falls of 
the Willamette, where a large portion of his fortune 
was invested in improvements. The last proviso of 
the fourth section forbade any one claiming under the 
land law to claim under the treaty of 1846. McLough- 
lin, having declared his intention to become an Ameri 
can citizen was no longer qualified to claim under the 
treaty, and congress having, on the representations of 
Thurston, taken from McLoughlin what he claimed 
under the land law there was left no recourse what 
ever. 42 

he had told Johnson, California, and Oregon, which see, page 252, exactly 
the contrary. See Or. Spectator, Sept. 12th, and compare with the following: 
There were 38 mills in Oregon at the taking of the census of 1850, and a fair 
proportion of them ground wheat. They were scattered through all the 
counties from the sound to the head of the Willamette Valley. Or. Statesman, 
April 25, 1851; and with this: The census of 1849 showed a population of 
over 9,000, about 2,000 being absent in the mines. The census of 1850 
showed over 13,000, without counting the large immigration of that year or 
the few settlers in the most southern part of Oregon. Or. Statesman, April 
10th and 25, 1851. 

" Cong. Globe, 1849-50, 1853. 

42 Says Applegate: It must have excited a kind of fiendish merriment in 
the hearts of Bryant and Thurston; for notwithstanding their assertions to 
the contrary, both well knew that the doctor by renouncing his allegiance to 
Great Britain had forfeited all claims as a British subject. Historical Cor 
respondence, MS., 15. 


I have said that Thurston claimed the Oregon land 
bill as his own. It was his own so far as concerned 
the amendments which damaged the interests of men 
in the country whom he designated as foreigners, but 
who really were the first white persons to maintain a 
settlement in the country, and who as individuals, 
were in every way entitled to the same privileges 
as the citizens of the United States, and who had 
at the first opportunity offered themselves as such. 
In no other sense was it his bill. There was not an 
important clause in it which had not been in contem 
plation for years, or which was not suggested by the 
frequent memorials of the legislature on the subject. 
He worked earnestly to have it pass, for on it, he 
believed, hung his reelection. So earnestly did he 
labor for the settlement of this great measure, and for 
all other measures which he knew to be most desired, 
that though they knew he was a most selfish and 
unprincipled politician, the people gave him their 
gratitude. 43 

A frequent mistake of young, strong, talented, but 
inexperienced and unprincipled politicians, is that of 
going too fast and too far. Thurston was an exceed 
ingly clever fellow ; the measures which he took upon 
himself to champion, though in some respects unjust 
and infamous, were in other respects matters which lay 
very near the heart of the Oregon settler. But like 
Jason Lee, Thurston overreached himself. The good 
that he did was dimmed by a sinister shadow. In 
September a printed copy of the bill, containing the 
obnoxious eleventh section, with a copy of his letter 
to the house of representatives, and other like matter, 
was received by his confidants, together with an in 
junction of secrecy until sufficient time should have 

43 Grover, Public Life in Oregon, MS., 98-9, calls the land bill Thurston >s 
work, based upon Linn s bill; but Grover simply took Thurston s word for it, 
he being then a young man, whom Thurston persuaded into going to Oregon. 
Johnson s Gal. and Or., which is, as to the Oregon part, merely a reprint of 
Thurston s papers, calls it Thurston s bill. Hines, Or. and Institutions, does 
the same; but any one conversant with the congressional and legislative 
history of Oregon knows better. 


passed for the bill to become a law. 44 When the vile 
injustice to John McLoughlin became known, those 
of Thurston s friends who were not in the conspiracy 
met the charge with scornful denial. They would not 
believe it. 45 And when time had passed, and the mat 
ter became understood, the feeling was intense. Mc 
Loughlin, as he had before been driven by the thrusts 
of his enemies to do, replied through the Spectator 
to the numerous falsehoods contained in the letter. 46 
He knew that although many of the older settlers 

44 Keep this still, writes the arch schemer, till next mail, when I shall 
send them generally. The debate on the California bill closes next Tuesday, 
when I hope to get passed my land bill; keep dark til next mail. Thurston. 
June 9, 1850. Or. Spectator, Sept. 12, 1850. 

43 Wilson Blain, who was at that time editor of the Spectator, as Robert 
Moore was proprietor, found himself unable to credit the rumor. We ven 
ture the assertion/ he says, that the story was started by some malicious or 
mischief -making person for the purpose of preventing the improvement of 
Clackamas rapids. Or. Spectator, Aug. 22/1850. 

46 He says that I have realized, up to the 4th of March 1849, $200,000 from 
sale of lots; this is also wholly untrue. I have given away lots to the Metho 
dists, Catholics, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists. I have 
given eight lots to a Roman Catholic nunnery, and eight lots to the Clacka 
mas Female Protestant seminary, incorporated by the Oregon legislature. 
The trustees are all Protestants, though it is well known I am a Roman 
Catholic. In short, in one way and another I have donated to the county, 
to schools, to churches, and private individuals, more than three hundred 
town lots, and I never realized in cash $20,000 from all the original sales I 
ever made ... I was a chief factor in the Hudson s Bay Company service, and 
by the rules of the company enjoy a retired interest, as a matter of right. 
Capt. McNeil, a native-born citizen of the United States of America, holds 
the same rank that I held in the Hudson s Bay Company s service. He never 
was required to become a British subject; he will be entitled, by the laws of 
the company, to the same retired interest, no matter to what country he may 
owe allegiance. After declaring that he had taken out naturalization papers, 
and that Thurston was aware of it, and had asked him for his vote and influ 
ence, but that he had voted against him, he says: But he proceeds to refer 
to Judge Bryant for the truth of his statement, in which he affirms that I 
assigned to Judge Bryant as a reason why I still refused to declare my inten 
tion to become an American citizen, that I could not do it without prejudic 
ing my standing in England. I am astonished how the supreme judge could 
have made such a statement, as he had a letter from me pointing out that I 
had declared my intention of becoming an American citizen. The cause 
which led to my writing this letter is that the island, called Abernethy s 
Island by Mr Thurston, and which he proposes to donate to Mr Abernethy, 
his heirs and assigns, is the same island which Mr Hathaway and others 
jumped in 1841, and formed themselves into a joint stock company, and 
erected a saw and grist-mill on it, as already stated. From a desire to pre 
serve the peace of the country, I deferred bringing the case to a trial til the 
government extended its jurisdiction over the country; but when it had done 
so, a few days after the arrival of Judge Bryant, and before the courts were 
organized, Judge Bryant bought the island of George Abernethy, Esq., who 
had bought the stock of the other associates, and as the island was in Judge 
Bryant s district, and as there were only two judges in the territory, I 


understood the merits of the case, all classes were 
to be appealed to. There were those who had no 
regard for truth or justice; those who cared more 
for party than principle; those who had ignorantly 
believed the charges made against him; and those 
who, from national, religious, or jealous feelings, were 
united in a crusade against the man who represented 
in their eyes everything hateful in the British char 
acter and unholy in the Catholic religion, as well as 
the few who were wilfully conspiring to complete the 
overthrow of this British Roman Catholic aristocrat. 
There were others besides McLouofhlin who felt 


themselves injured; those who had purchased lots in 
Oregon City since the 4th of March 1849. Notice 
was issued to these property-holders to meet for the 
purpose of asking congress to confirm their lots to 
them also. Such a meeting was held on the 19th of 
September, in Oregon City, Andrew Hood being 
chairman, and Noyes Smith secretary. The meeting 
was addressed by Thornton and Pritchett, and a 
memorial to congress prepared, which set forth that 
the Oregon City claim was taken and had been held 
in accordance with the laws of the provisional and 
territorial governments of Oregon; and that the 
memorialists considered it as fully entitled to pro 
tection as any other claim; no intimation to the 
contrary ever having been made up to that time. 
That under this impression, both before and since the 
4th of March 1849, large portions of it, in lots and 
blocks, had been purchased in good faith by many 
citizens of Oregon, who had erected valuable buildings 
thereon, in the expectation of having a complete and 
sufficient title when congress should grant a title to 

thought I could not at the time bring the case to a satisfactory decision. I 
therefore deferred bringing the case to a time when the bench would be full . . . 
Can the people of Oregon City believe that Mr Thurston did not know, some 
months before he left this, that Mr Abernethy had sold his rights, whatever 
they were, to Judge Bryant, and therefore proposing to congress to donate 
this island to Mr Abernethy, his heirs and assigns, was in fact, proposing to 
donate it to Judge Bryant, his heirs and assigns. Or. Spectator, Sept. 12, 


the original occupant. That since the date mentioned, 
the occupant of the claim had donated for* county, 
educational, charitable, and religious purposes more 
than two hundred lots, which, if the bill pending 
should pass, would be lost to the public, as well as a 
great loss sustained by private individuals who had 
purchased property in good faith. They therefore 
prayed that the bill might not pass in its present 
form, believing that it would work a "severe, inequi 
table, unnecessary, and irremediable injustice." The 
memorial was signed by fifty-six persons, 47 and a reso 
lution declaring the selection of the Oregon City 
claim for reservation uncalled for by any consider 
able portion of the citizens of the territory, and as 
invidious and unjust to McLoughlin, was offered by 
Wait and adopted, followed by another by Thorn 
ton declaring that the gratitude of multitudes of 
people in Oregon was due to John McLoughlin for 
assistance rendered them. In some preliminary re 
marks, Thornton referred to the ingratitude shown 
their benefactor, by certain persons who had not paid 
their debts to McLoughlin, but who had secretly 
signed a petition to take away his property. Mc 
Loughlin also refers to this petition in his newspaper 
defence; but if there was such a petition circulated 
or sent it does not appear in any of the public docu 
ments, and must have been carefully suppressed by 
Thurston himself, and only used in the committee 
rooms of members of congress. 48 

47 The names of the signers were: Andrew Hood, Noyes Smith, Forbes 
Barclay, A. A. Skinner, James D. Holman, W. C. Holman, J. Quinn Thorn 
ton, Walter Pomeroy, A. E. Wait, Joseph 0. Lewis, James M. Moore, Robert 
Moore, R. R. Thompson, George H. Atkinson, M. Crawford, Wm. Hood, 
Thomas Lowe, Wm. B. Campbell, John Fleming, G. Hanan, Robert Canfield, 
Alex. Brisser, Samuel Welch, Gustavus A. Cone, Albert Gaines, W. H. 
Tucker, Arch. McKinlay, Richard McMahon, David Burnsides, Hezekiah 
Johnson, P. H. Hatch, J. L. Morrison, Joseph Parrott, Ezra Fisher, Geo. T. 
Allen, L. D. C. Latourette, D. D. Tompkins, Wm. Barlow, Amory Holbrook, 
Matthew Richardson, John McClosky, Wm. Holmes, H. Burns, Wm. Chap 
man, Wm. K. Kilborn, J. R. Ralston, B. B. Rogers, Chas. Friedenberg, 
Abraham Wolfe, Samuel Vance, J. B. Backenstos, John J. Chandler. S. W. 
Moss, James Winston Jr., Septimus Huelot, Milton Elliott. Or. Spectator, 
Sept. 26, 1850. 

48 Considering the fact that Thornton had been in the first instance the 


Not long after the meeting at Oregon City, a pub 
lic gathering of about two hundred was convened at 
Salem for the purpose of expressing disapproval of the 
resolutions passed at the Oregon City meeting, and 
commendation of the cause of the Oregon delegate.* 9 

In November a meeting was held in Linn county 
at which resolutions were passed endorsing Thurston 
and denouncing McLoughlin. Nor were there want 
ing those who upheld the delegate privately, and who 
wrote approving letters to him, assuring him that he 
was losing no friends, but gaining them by the score, 
and that his course with regard to the Oregon City 
claim would be sustained. 50 

Mr Thurston has been since condemned for his 
action in the matter of the Oregon City claims. But 
even while the honest historian must join in reprobat- 

unsuccessf ul agent of the leading missionaries in an effort to take away the claim 
of McLoughlin, it might be difficult to understand how he could appear in the 
role of the doctor s defender. But ever since the failure of that secret mission 
there had been a coolness between Abernethy and his private delegate, who, 
now that he had been superseded by a bolder and more fortunate though no 
less unscrupulous man, had publicly espoused the cause of the victim of all 
this plotting, who still, it was supposed, had means enough left to pay for the 
legal advice he was likely to need, if ever he was extricated from the anomalous 
position into which he would be thrown by the passage of the Oregon land bill. 
His affectation of proper sentiment imposed upon McLoughlin, who gave him 
employment for a considerable time. As late as 1870, however, this doughty 
defender of the just, on the appearance in print of Mrs Victor s River of the 
West, in which the author gives a brief statement of the Oregon City claim 
case, having occasion at that time to court the patronage of the Methodist 
church, made a violent attack through its organ, the Pacific Christian Advo 
cate, upon the author of that book for taking the same view of the case which 
is announced in the resolution published under his own name in the Spectator 
of September 26, 1850. But not having ever been able to regain in the church 
a standing which could be made profitable, and finding that history would 
vindicate the right, he has made a request in his autobiography that the fact 
of his having been McLoughlin s attorney should be mentioned, in justice to 
the doctor! It will be left for posterity to judge whether Thornton or 
McLoughlin was honored by the association. 

49 William Shaw, a member of the committee framing these resolutions, 
says, in his Pioneer Life, MS., 14-15: I came here, to Oregon City, and 
spent what money I had for flour, coffee, and one thing and another; and I 
went back to the Hudson s Bay Company and bought 1,000 pounds of flour 
from Douglass. I was to pay him for it after I came into the Valley. He 
trusted me for it, although he had never seen me before. I took it up to the 
Dalles and distributed it among the emigrants. W. C. Rector has, in later 
years, declared that McLoughlin was the father of Oregon. McLoughlin little 
understood the manner in which public sentiment is manufactured for party 
or even for individual purposes, when he exclaimed indignantly: No man 
could be found to assert that he had done the things alleged. 

50 Udell s Biog. of Thurston, MS., 26. 


ing his unscrupulous sacrifice of truth to secure his 
object, the people then in Oregon should be held as 
deserving of a share in the censure which has attached 
to him. His course had been marked out for him by 
those who stood high in society, and who were leaders 
of the largest religious body in Oregon. He had been 
elected by a majority of the people. The people had 
been pleased and more than pleased with what he had 
done. When the alternative had been presented to 
them of condemning or endorsing him for this single 
action, their first impulse was to sustain the man who 
had shown himself their faithful servant, even in the 
wrong, rather than have his usefulness impaired. Al 
most the only persons to protest against the robbery 
of McLoughlin were those who were made to suffer 
with him. All others either remained silent, or wrote 
encouraging letters to Thurston, and as Washington 
was far distant from Oregon he was liable to be de 
ceived. 51 

When the memorial and petition of the owners of 
lots in Oregon City, purchased since the 4th of March 
1849, came before congress, there was a stir, because 
Thurston had given assurances that he was acting 
in accordance with the will of the people. But the 
memorialists, with a contemptible selfishness not unu 
sual in mankind, had not asked that McLoughlin s 
claim might be confirmed to him, but only that their 
lots might not he sacrificed. 

Thurston sought everywhere for support. While 
in Washington he wrote to Wyeth for testimony 
against McLoughin, but received from that gentleman 
only the warmest praise of the chief factor. Sus 
pecting Thurston s sinister design Wyeth even wrote 

51 Thornton wrote several articles in vindication of McLoughlin s rights; 
but he was employed by the doctor as an attorney. A. E. Wait also denounced 
Thurston s course; but he also was at one time employed by the doctor. 
Wait said : I believed him (Thurston) to be strangely wanting in discretion; 
morally and politically corrupt; towering in ambition, and unscrupulous of 
the means by which to obtain it; fickle and suspicious in friendship; implaca 
ble and revengeful in hatred, vulgar in speech, and prone to falsehood. Or. 
Spectator, March 20, 1851. 

HIST. OB., VOL. II. 9 


to Winthrop, of Massachusetts, cautioning him against 
Thurston s misrepresentations. Then Thurston pre 
pared an address to the people of Oregon, covering 
sixteen closely printed octavo pages, in which he re 
counts his services and artifices. 

With no small cunning he declared that his reason 
for not asking congress to confirm to the owners lots 
purchased or obtained of McLoughlin after the 4th 
of March, 1849, was because he had confidence that 
the legislative assembly would do so; adding that the 
bill was purposely so worded in order that McLough 
lin would have no opportunity of transferring the 
property to others who would hold it for him. Thus 
careful had he been to leave no possible means by 
which the man who had founded and fostered Oregon 
City could retain an interest in it. And having openly 
advocated educating the youth of Oregon with the 
property wrested from the venerable benefactor of 
their fathers and mothers, he submitted himself for 
reelection, 52 while the victim of missionary and per 
sonal malice began the painful and useless struggle to 
free himself from the toils by which his enemies had 
surrounded him, and from which he never escaped dur 
ing the few remaining years of his life. 53 

52 Address to the Electors, 12. 

63 McLoughlin died September 3, 1857, aged 73 years. He was buried in 
the enclosure of the Catholic church at Oregon City; and on his tombstone, a 
plain slab, is engraved the legend: The Pioneer and Friend of Oregon; also 
The Founder of this City. He laid his case before congress in a memorial, 
with all the evidence, but in vain. Lane, who was then in that body as a 
delegate from Oregon, and who was personally interested in defeating the 
memorial, succeeded in doing so by assertions as unfounded as those of 
Thurston. This blunt old soldier, the pride of the people, the brave killer of 
Indians, turned demagogue could deceive and cheat with the best of them. 
See Cong. Globe, 1853-4, 1080-82, and Letter of Dr AfcLonghlin, in Portland 
Oreijonian, July 22, 1854. Toward the close of his life McLoughlin yielded 
to the tortures of disease and ingratitude, and betrayed, as he had never done 
before, the unhappiness his enemies had brought upon him. Shortly before 
his death he said to Grover, then a young man : I shall live but a little while 
longer; and this is the reason that I sent for you. I am an old man and just 
dying, and you are a young man and will live many years in this country. 
As for me, I might better have been shot and he brought it out harshly 
like a bull; I might better have been shot forty years ago ! After a silence, 
for I did not say anything, he concluded, than to have lived here, and tried 
to build up a family and an estate in this government. I became a citizen of 
the United States in good faith. I planted all I had here, and the govern- 


When the legislative assembly met in the autumn 
of 1850 it complied with the suggestion of Thurston, 
so far as to confirm the lots purchased since March 
1849 to their owners, by passing an act for that pur 
pose, certain members of the council protesting. 5 * This 
act was of some slight benefit to McLoughlin, as it 
stopped the demand upon him, by people who had 
purchased property, to have their money returned. 55 
Further than this they refused to go, not having a 
clear idea of their duty in the matter. They neither 
accepted the gift nor returned it to its proper owner, 
and it was not until 1852, after McLoughlin had com 
pleted his naturalization, that the legislature passed 
an act accepting the donation of his property for the 
purposes of a university. 56 Before it was given back 
to the heirs of McLoughlin, that political party to 
which Thurston belonged, and which felt bound to 
justify his acts, had gone out of power in Oregon. 
Since that time many persons have, like an army in 
a wilderness building a monument over a dead com 
rade by casting each a stone upon his grave, placed 
their tribute of praise in my hands to be built into 

ment has confiscated my property. Now what I want to ask of you is, that 
you will give your influence, after I am dead, to have this property go to my 
children. I have earned it, as other settlers have earned theirs, and it ought 
to be mine and my heirs . I told him, said Grover, I would favor his 
request, and I always did favor it; and the legislature finally surrendered the 
property to his heirs. Pub. Life, MS., 88-90. 

51 Waymire and Miller protested, saying that it was not in accordance 
with the object of the donation, and was robbing the university; that the 
assembly were only agents in trust, and had no right to dispose of the prop 
erty without a consideration. Or. Spectator, Feb. 13, 1851. 

55 My father paid back thousands of dollars, says Mrs Harvey. Life of 
McLoughlin, MS., 38. 

56 The legislature of 1852 accepted the donation. In 1853-4 a resolution 
was offered by Orlando Humason thanking McLoughlin for his generous con 
duct toward the early settlers; but as it was not in very good taste wrongfully 
to keep a man s property while thanking him for previous favors, the reso 
lution was indefinitely postponed. In 1855-6 a memorial was drawn up by 
the legislature asking that certain school lands in Oregon City should ba 
restored to John McLoughlin, and two townships of land in lieu thereof 
should be granted to the university. Salem, Or. Statesman, Jan 29th and Feb. 
5, 1856. Nothing was done, however, for the relief of McLoughlin or his 
heirs until 1862, when the legislature conveyed to the latter for the sum of 
$1,000 the Oregon City claim; but the long suspension of the title had driven 
money seeking investment away from the place and materially lessened its 


the monument of history testifying one after another 
to the virtues, magnanimity, and wrongs of John Mc- 
Loughlin. 57 

Meanwhile, and though reproved by the public 
prints, by the memorial spoken of, and by the act of 
the legislature in refusing to sanction so patent an 
iniquity, 53 the Oregon delegate never abated his in 
dustry, but toiled on, leaving no stone unturned to 
secure his reelection. He would compel the appro 
bation and gratitude of his constituency, to whom he 
was ever pointing out his achievements in their be 
half. 59 The appropriations for Oregon, besides one 
hundred thousand dollars for the Cayuse war ex 
penses, amounted in all to one hundred and ninety 
thousand dollars. 60 

57 McKinlay, his friend of many years, comparing him with Douglas, 
remarks that McLoughlin s name will go down from generation to generation 
when Sir James Douglas will be forgotten, as the maker of Oregon, and one 
of the best of men. Compton s Forts and Fort Life, MS., 2. Finlayson says 
identically the same in Vane. hi. and N. W. Coast, MS., 28-30. There are 
similar observations in Minto s Early Days, MS. , and in Waldo s Critiques, 
MS.; Brown s Willamette Valley, MS.; Par risk s Or. Anecdotes, MS.; Joseph 
Watt, in Palmer s Wa<jon Trains, MS.; Rev. Geo. H. Atkiuson, in Ore<jon 
Colonisf, 5; M. P. Deady, in Or. Pioneer Assoc., Trans., 187"), 18; W. H. Ree.\ 
Id., 1879, 31; Graver s Public Life in Or., MS., 86-92; Ford s Roadmakers, 
MS.; Crawford s Missionaries, MS.; Moss Pioneer Times, MS.; Burnett s 
Reflections, MS., i. 91-4, 273-4, 298, 301-3; Mrs E. M. Wilson, in Oregon 
Sketches, MS., 19-21; Blanchet sCath. Ch. in Or., 71; Chadwick s Pub. Records, 
MS., 4-5; H. H. Spalding, in 27th Cong., ZdSess., 830, 57; Ebbert s Trapper s 
Life, MS., 36-7; Petti/grove s Oregon, MS., 1-2, 5-6; Lovejoy s Portlan , MS., 
37; Anderson s Hist. N. W. Coast., MS., 15-16; Applegate s Views of Jlixt., 
MS., 12, 15-16; Id., in Saxon s Or. Ter., 131-41; C. Lancaster, in Cong. Globe, 
1853-4, 1080, and others already quoted. 

58 Or. Spectator, Dec. 19 and 26, 1850. 

59 W. W. Buck, who was a member of the council, repudiated the idea 
that Oregon was indebted to Thurston for the donation law, which Linn and 
Benton had labored for long before, and asserted that he had found congress 
ready and willing to bestow the long promised bounty. And as to the appro 
priations obtained, they were no more than other territories east of the moun 
tains had received. 

60 The several amounts were, $20,000 for public buildings; $20,000 for a 
penitentiary; $53,140 for lighthouses at Cape Disappointment, Cape Flattery, 
and New Dungeness, and for buoys at the mouth of the Columbia River; 
$25,000 for the purposes of the Indian bill; $24,000 pay for legislature, 
clerks hire, office rents, etc; $15,000 additional Indian fund; $10,000 de 
ficiency fund to make up the intended appropriation of 1848, which had 
merely paid the expenses of the nlessengers, Thornton and Meek; $10,000 for 
the pay of the superintendent of Indian affairs, his clerks, office rent, etc. ; 
$10,500, salaries for the governor, secretary, and judges; $1,500 for taking 


Mr Thurston set an example, which his immediate 
successors were compelled to imitate, of complete con 
formity to the demands of the people. He aspired to 
please all Oregon, and he made it necessary for those 
who came after him to labor for the same end. It 
was a worthy effort when not carried too far; but no 
man ever yet succeeded for any length of time in act 
ing upon that policy; though there have been a few 
who have pleased all by a wise independence of all. 
In his ardor and inexperience he went too far. He 
not only published a great deal of matter in the east 
to draw attention to Oregon, much of which was cor 
rect, and some of which was false, but he wrote 
letters to the people of Oregon through the Specta 
tor showing forth his services from month to month, 
and giving them advice which, while good in itself, 
was akin to impudence on the part of a young man 
whose acquaintance with the country was of recent 
date. But this was a part of the man s temperament 
and character. 

Congress passed a bounty land bill, giving one 
hundred and sixty acres to any officer or private who 
had served one year in any Indian war since 1790, 
or eighty acres to those who had served six months. 
This bill might be made to apply to those who had 
served in the Cayuse war, and a bill to that effect 
was introduced by Thurston s successor; but Thurston 
had already thought of doing something for the old 
soldiers of 1812 and later, many of whom were set 
tlers in Oregon, by procuring the passage of a bill 
establishing a pension agency. 62 

He kept himself informed as well as he could of 
everything passing in Oregon, and expressed his ap 
proval whenever he could. He complimented the 

the census; $1,500 contingent fund; and a copv of the exploring expedition 
for the territorial library. 31st Cong., 1st Sees"., U. S. Acts and Res., 13, 27, 
28, 31, 72, 111, 159-60, 192, 198; Or. Spectator, Aug. 8th and 22d, and Oct. 

6l Or. Spectator, from Sept. 26th to Oct. 17, 1850. 

62 Cong. Globe, 1849-50, 564. Theophilus Magruder was appointed pension 
agent. Or. Spectator, July 25, 1850. 


school superintendent, McBride, on the sentiments 
uttered in his report. He wrote to William Meek of 
Milwaukie that he was fighting hard to save his land 
claim from being reserved for an ordnance depot. 
He procured, unasked, the prolongation of the legisla 
tive session of 1850 from sixty to ninety days, for 
the purpose of giving the assembly time to perfect a 
good code, and also secured an appropriation sufficient 
to meet the expense of the long session. 63 He secured, 
when the cheap postage bill was passed, the right of 
the Pacific coast to a rate uniform with the Atlantic 
states, whereas before the rate had been four times as 
high; and introduced a bill providing a revenue cutter 
for the district of Oregon, and for the establishment of 


a marine hospital at Astoria; presented a memorial 
from the citizens of that place asking for an appropria 
tion of ten thousand dollars for a custom-house; and 
a bill to create an additional district, besides applica 
tion for additional ports of entry on the southern 
coast of Oregon. 

In regard to the appropriation secured of $100,000 
for the Cayuse war, instead of $150,000 asked for, 
Thurston said he had to take that or nothing. No 
money was to be paid, however, until the evidence 
should be presented to the secretary of the treasury 
.that the amount claimed had been expended. 64 

This practically finished Mr Thurston s work for 
the session, and he so wrote to his constituents. The 
last of the great measures for Oregon, he said, had 
been consummated; but they had cost him dearly, as 
his impaired health fearfully admonished him. But 
he declared before God and his conscience he had 
done all that he could do for Oregon, and with an eye 
single to her interests. He rejoiced in his success; 

63 Id., Oct. 10, 1850; Slat Conrj., 1st Sess., U. S. Acts and Res., 31. 

64 A memorial was received from the Oregon legislature after the passage 
of the bill dated Dec. 3, 1850, giving the report of A. E. Wait, commis 
sioner, stating that he had investigated and allowed 340 claims, amounting in 
all to $87,230.53; and giving it as his opinion that the entire indebtedness 
would amount to about $150,000. 31st Cong., 2d Sess., Sen. Misc. Doc. 29, 3-11. 


and though slander might seek to destroy him, it 
could not touch the destiny of the territory. 65 

Between the time of the receipt of the first copy 
of the land bill and the writing of this letter partisan 
feeling had run high in Oregon, and the newspapers 
were filled with correspondence on the subject. Much 
of this newspaper writing would have wounded the 
delegate deeply, but he was spared from seeing it by 
the irregularity and insufficiency of the mail trans 
portation, 66 which brought him no Oregon papers for 
several months. 

It soon became evident, notwithstanding the first 
impulse of the people to stand by their delegate, that 
a reaction was taking place, and the more generous- 
minded were ashamed of the position in which the 
eleventh section of the land bill placed them in the 
eyes of the world ; that with the whole vast territory 
of Oregon wherein to pick and choose they must 
needs force an old man of venerable character from 
his just possessions for the un-American reason that 
he was a foreigner born, or had formerly been the 
honored head of a foreign company. It was well un 
derstood, too, whence came the direction of this vin 
dictive action, and easily seen that it would operate 
against the real welfare of the territory. 

The more time the people had in which to think 
over the matter, the more easily were they convinced 
that there were others who could fill Thurston s place 
without detriment to the public interests. An in 
formal canvass then began, in which the names 67 of 

65 Or. Spectator, April 3, 1851. The appropriations made at the second 
session of the 31st Congress for Oregon were for the expenses of the territory 
$30,000; for running base and meridian lines, $9,000; for surveying in Ore 
gon, $51,840; for a custom-house, $10,000; for a light-house and fog-signal at 
Umpqua River, $15,000; for fog-signals at the light-houses to be erected at 
Disappointment, Flattery, and New Dungeness, $3,000. 

66 Writing Jan. 8th, he says: September is the latest date of a paper I have 
seen. I am uninformed as yet what the cause is, only from what I expe 
rienced once before, that the steamer left San Francisco before the arrival 
of, or without taking the Oregon mail. 5 Or. Spectator, April 10, 1850. 

67 There are many very worthy and meritorious citizens who migrated to 
this country at an early day to choose from. I would mention the names of 
some of the number, leaving the door open, however, to suggestions from 


several well known citizens and early settlers were 
mentioned; but public sentiment took no form before 
March, when the Star, published at Milwaukie, pro 
claimed as its candidate Thurston s opponent in the 
election of 1849, Columbia Lancaster. In the mean 
time R. R. Thompson had been corresponding with 
Lane, who was still mining in southern Oregon, and 
had obtained his consent to run if his friends wished 
it. 68 The Star then put the name of Lane in place of 
that of Lancaster; the Spectator, now managed by 
D. J. Schnebley, and a new democratic paper, the 
Oregon Statesman, withholding their announcements 
of candidates until Thurston, at that moment on his 
way to Oregon, should arrive and satisfy his friends 
of his eligibility. 

But when everything was preparing to realize or to 
give the lie to Thurston s fondest hopes of the future, 
there suddenly interposed that kindest of our enemies, 
death, and saved him from humiliation. He expired 
on board the steamer California, at sea off Acapulco 
on the 9th of April 1851, at the age of thirty- five 
years. His health had long been delicate, and he had 
not spared himself, so that the heat and discomfort 
of the voyage through the tropics, with the anxiety of 
mind attending his political career, sapped the low- 
burning lamp of life, and its flickering flame was ex 
tinguished. Yet he died not alone or unattended. 
He had in his charge a company of young women, 
teachers whom Governor Slade of Vermont was send 
ing to Oregon, 69 who now became his tender nurses, 

others, namely, Jesse Applegate, J. W. Nesmith, Joel Pafmer, Daniel Waldo, 
Rev. Wm Roberts, the venerable Robert Moore, James M. Moore, Gen. 
Joseph Lane and Gen. Lovejoy, and many others who have recently arrived 
in the country. Cor. of the Or. Spectator, March 27, 1851. 

68 0r. Spectator, March 6, 1851; Lane s Autobiography, MS., 57. 

69 Five young women were sent out by the national board of educa 
tion, at the request of Abernethy and others, under contract to teach two 
years, or refund the money for their passage. They were all soon married,, 
as a matter of course Miss Wands to Governor Gaines; Miss Smith to Mr 
Beers; Miss Gray to Mr McLeach; Miss Lincoln to Judge Skinner; and Miss 
Millar to Judge Wilson. Or. Sketches, MS., 15; Graver s Pub. Life in Or., 
MS., 100; Or. Spectator, March 13, 1851. 


and when they had closed his eyes forever, treasured 
up every word that could be of interest to his bereaved 
wife and friends. 70 Thus while preparing boldly to vin 
dicate his acts and do battle with his adversaries, he 
was forced to surrender the sword which was too sharp 
for its scabbard, and not even his mortal remains were 
permitted to reach Oregon for two years. 71 

The reverence we entertain for one on whom the 
gods have laid their hands, caused a revulsion of feeling 
and an outburst of sympathy. Had he lived to make 
war in his own defence, perhaps McLoughlin would 
have been sooner righted; but the people, who as a 
majority blamed him for the disgraceful eleventh sec 
tion of the land law, could not touch the dead lion 
with disdainful feet, and his party who honored his 
talents 72 and felt under obligations for his industry, 
protected his memory from even the implied censure 

70 Mrs E. M. Wilson, daughter of Rev. James P. Millar of Albany, New 
York, who soon followed his daughter to Oregon, gives some notes of Thur- 
stou s last days. He was positive enough, she says, to make a vivid im 
pression on my memory. Strikingly good-looking, direct in his speech, with 
a supreme will, used to overcoming obstacles. . . " Just wait til I get there," 
he would say, "I will show those fellows!" Or. Sketches, MS., 16. 

71 The legislature in 1853 voted to remove his dust from foreign soil, 
and it was deposited in the cemetery at Salem; and in 1856 a monument 
was erected over it by the same authority. It is a plain shaft of Italian 
marble, 12 feet high. On its eastern face is. inscribed: Thurston: erected 
by the People of Oregon, and a fac-simile of the seal of the territory; on the 
north side, name, age, and death ; on the south : Here rests Oregon s first 
delegate; a man of genius and learning; a lawyer and statesman, his Christian 
virtues equalled by his wide philanthropy, his public acts are his best eulo- 
gium. Salem Or. Statesman, May 20, 1856; OdelVs Biog. of Thurston, MS., 
37; S. F. D. Alta, April 25, 1851. 

72 Thurston made his first high mark in congress by his speech on the 
admission of California. See Cong. Globe, 1849-50, app. 345. His remarks 
on the appropriations for Indian affairs were so instructive and inter 
esting that his amendments were unanimously agreed to. A great many 
members shook him heartily by the hand after he had closed; and he was 
assured that if he had asked for $50,000 after such a speech he would have 
received it. Or. Spectator, Aug. 22, 1850. With that tendency to see some 
thing peculiar in a man who has identified himself with the west, the N. Y. 
Sun of March 26, 1850, remarked: Coming from the extreme west he was 
not two years from Maine where, it is taken for granted, the people are in 
a more primitive condition than elsewhere under this government, and look 
ing, as Mr Thurston does, like a fair specimen of the frontier man, little was 
expected of him in an oratorical way. But he has proved to be one of the 
most effective speakers in the hall, which has created no little surprise. A 
Massachusetts paper also commented in a similar strain: Mr Thurston is a 
young man, an eloquent and effective debater, and a bold and active man, 
such as are found only in the west. 


of undoing his work. And all felt that not he alone, 
but his secret advisers were likewise responsible. 

In view of all the circumstances of Thurston s 
career, it is certainly to be regretted, first, that he fell 
under the influence of, or into alliance with, the mis 
sionary party; and secondly, that he had adopted as 
a part of his political creed the maxim that the end 
sanctifies the means, by which he missed obtaining 
that high place in the estimation of posterity to which 
he aspired, and to which he could easily have attained 
by a more honest use of his abilities. Associated as 
he is with the donation law, which gave thousands of 
persons free farms a mile square in Oregon, his name 
is engraved upon the foundation stones of the state 
beside those of Floyd, Linn, and Benton, and of Gra 
ham N. Fitch, the actual author of the bill before con 
gress in 1850. 73 No other compensation had he; 74 and 
of that even the severest truth cannot deprive him. 

Thurston had accomplished nothing toward securing 
a fortune in a financial sense, and he left his widow 
with scanty means of support. The mileage of the 
Oregon delegate was fixed by the organic act at 
$2,500. It was afterward raised to about double 
that amount; and when in 1856-7 on this ground a 
bill for the relief of his heirs was brought before con 
gress, the secretary of the treasury was authorized 
to make up the difference in the mileage for that 

73 Cong. Globe. 1850-51, app. xxxviii. 

74 Or. Statesman, April 14, 1857; Graver s Pub. Life, MS., 101. 





FROM the first of May to the middle of August 
1850 there was neither governor nor district judge 
in the territory; the secretary and prosecuting attor 
ney, with the United States marshal, administered 
the government. On the 15th of August the United 
States sloop of war Falmoutli arrived from San Fran 
cisco, having on board General John P. Gaines, 1 newly 
appointed governor of Oregon, with his family, and 
other federal officers, namely: General Edward Ham 
ilton of Ohio, 2 territorial secretary, and Judge Strong 
of the third district, as before mentioned. 3 

1 According to A. Bush, of the Oregon Statesman, Marshall of Indiana was 
the first choice of President Taylor; but according to Grover, Pub. Life in 
Or., MS., Abraham Lincoln was first appointed, and declined. Which of 
these authorities is correct is immaterial; it shows, however, that Oregon 
was considered too far desirable. 

2 Hamilton was born in CulpepeT Co., Va. He was a lawyer by profession; 
removed to Portsmouth, Ohio, where he edited the Portsmouth Tribune. He 
was a captain in the Mexican war, his title of general being obtained in the 
militia service. His wife was Miss Catherine Royer. 

3 The other members of the party were Archibald Gaines, A. Kinney, 
James E. Strong, Mrs Gaines, three daughters and two sons, Mrs Hamilton 
and daughter, and Mrs Strong and daughter. Gaines lost two daughters, 17 
and 19 years of age, of yellow fever, at St Catherine s, en route; and Judge 
Strong a son of five years. They all left New York in the United States 



Coming in greater state than his predecessor, the 
new governor was more royally welcomed/ by the 
firing of cannon, speeches, and a public dinner. In 
return for these courtesies Gaines presented the ter 
ritory with a handsome silk flag, a gift which Thurs- 
ton, in one of his eloquent encomiums upon the 
pioneers of Oregon and their deeds, reminded con 
gress had never yet been offered by the government 
to that people. But Governor Gaines was not sin 
cerely welcomed by the democracy, who resented the 
removal of Lane, and who on other grounds disliked 
the appointment. They would not have mourned if 
when he, like Lane, was compelled to make procla 
mation of the death of the president by whom he was 
appointed, 5 there had been the prospect of a removal 
in consequence. The grief for President Taylor was 
not profound with the Oregon democracy. He was 
accused of treating them in a cold indifferent man 
ner, and of lacking the cordial interest displayed in 
their affairs by previous rulers. Nor was the differ 
ence wholly imaginary. There was not the same 
incentive to interest which the boundary question, 
and the contest over free or slave territory, had 
inspired before the establishment of the territory. 
Oregon was now on a plane with other territories, 
which could not have the national legislature at their 
beck and call, as she had done formerly, and the 
change could not occur without an affront to her feel 
ings or her pride. Gaines was wholly unlike the 
energetic and debonair Lane, being phlegmatic in 

store-ship Supply, in November 1849, arriving at San Francisco in July 1850, 
where they were transferred to the Falmouth. California Courier, July 21, 
1850; Or. Spectator, Aug. 22, 1850; Strony s Hist. Or., MS., 1, 2, 13. 

4 The Or. Statesman of March 28, 1851, remarks that Gaines came around 
Cape Horn in a government vessel, with his family and furniture, arriving at 
Oregon City nine months after his appointment, and drawing salary all the 
time, while Lane being removed, drew no pay, but performed the labor of his 

5 President Taylor died July 9, 1850. The intelligence was received in 
Oregon on the 1st of September. Friday the 20th was set for the observance 
of religious funeral ceremonies by proclamation of Gaines. Or. Spectator, 
Sept. 5, 1850. 


temperament, fastidious as to his personal surround 
ings, pretentious, pompous, and jealous of his dig 
nity. 6 The spirit in which the democracy, who were 
more than satisfied with Lane and Thurston, received 
the whig governor, was ominous of what soon fol 
lowed, a bitter partisan warfare. 

There had been a short session of the legislative 
assembly in May, under its privilege granted in the 
territorial act to sit for one hundred days, twenty- 
seven days yet remaining. No time or place of meet 
ing of the next legislature had been fixed upon, nor 
without this provision could there be another session 
without a special act of congress, which omission ren 
dered necessary the May term in order that this 
matter might be attended to. The first Monday in 
December was the time named for the convening- of 
the next legislative body, and Oregon City the place. 
The assembly remained in session about two weeks, 
calling for a special session of the district court at 
Oregon City for the trial of the Cayuse murderers, 
giving the governor power to fill vacancies in certain 
offices by appointment, and providing for the printing 
of the laws, with a few other enactments. 

The subject of submitting the question of a state 
constitution to the people at the election in June was 
being discussed. The measure was favored by many 
who were restive under presidential appointments, and 
who thought Oregon could more safely furnish the 
material for executive and judicial officers than de 
pend on the ability of such as might be sent them. 
The legislature, however, did not entertain the idea 
at its May term, on the ground that there was not 
time to put the question fairly before the people. 
Looking at the condition and population of the terri 
tory at this time, and its unfitness to assume the 

6 Lane himself had a kind of contempt for Gaines, on account of his sur 
render at Encarnacion. He was a prisoner during the remainder of the war, 
says Lane; which was not altogether true. Autobiography, MS., 56-7. 


expenses and responsibilities of a state, the conclusion 
is irresistible that jealousy of the lead taken in this 
matter by California, and the aspirations of politi 
cians, rather than the good of the people, prompted 
a suggestion which could not have been entertained 
by the tax-payers. 

On the 2d of December the legislative assembly 
chosen in June met at Oregon City. It consisted of 
nine members in the council and eighteen in the 
lower house. 7 W. W. Buck of Clackanias county was 
chosen president of the council, and Ralph Wilcox of 
Washington county speaker of the house. 8 George 

7 R. P. Boise, in an address before the pioneer association in 1876, says 
that there were 25 members in the house; but he probably confounds this 
session with that of 1851-2. The assembly of 1850-1 provided for the increase 
of representatives to twenty-two. See list of Acts in Or. Statesman, March 
28, 1851; Gen. Laws Or., 1850-1, 225. 

8 The names of the councilmen and representatives are given in the first 
number of the Oregon Statesman. W. W. Buck, Samuel T. McKean, Samuel 
Parker, and W. B. Mealey were of the class which held over from 1849. I 
have already given some account of Buck and McKean. Parker and Mealey 
were both of the immigration of 1845. Parker was a Virginian, a farmer and 
carpenter, but a man who interested himself in public affairs. He was a 
good man. Mealey was a Pennsylvania^ a farmer and physician. 

Of the newly elected councilmen, James McBride has been mentioned as 
one of the immigrants of 1847. 

Richard Miller of Marion county was born in Queen Anne s county, Mary 
land, in 1800. He came to Oregon in 1847, and was a fanner. 

A. L. Humphrey of Benton county was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, 
in 1796 and emigrated to Oregon in 1847. He was a farmer and merchant. 

Lawrence Hall, a farmer of Washington county, was born in Bourbon 
county, Kentucky, March 10, 1800, and came to Oregon in 1845. 

Frederick Way mire, of Polk county, a millwright, was born in Montgomery 
county, Ohio, March 15, 1807. He married Fanny Cochagan, of Indiana, by 
whom he had 17 children. He came to Oregon in 1845 and soon became 
known as an energetic, firm, strong, rough man, and an uncompromising 
partisan. The old apostle of democracy and watchdog of the treasury 
were favorite terms used by his friends in describing Waymire. He became 
prominent in the politics of the territory, and was much respected for his 
honesty and earnestness, though not always in the right. His home in Polk 
county, on the little river Luckiamute, was called Hay den Hall. He had 
been brought up a Methodist, and in the latter part of his life returned to 
his allegiance, having a library well stocked with historical and religious 
works. He died in April 28, 1873, honored as a true man and a patriotic 
citizen, hoping with faith that he should live again beyond the grave. R. P. 
Boise, in Trans. Or. Pioneer Assoc., 1870, 27-8. His wife survived until 
Oct. 15, 1878, when she died in her 69th year. Three only of their children 
are living. All the members of the council were married men with families, 
except Humphrey who was a widower. 

The members of the house were Ralph Wilcox, William M. King of 
Washington county, William Shaw, William Parker, and Benjamin F. Hard 
ing of Marion, the latter elected to fill a vacancy created by the death of E. 


L. Curry was elected chief clerk of the council, as 
sisted by James D. Turner. Herman Buck was 
sergeant -at -arms. Asahel Bush was chosen chief 
clerk of the house, assisted by B. Genois. William 
Holmes was sergeant-at-arms, and Septimus Heulat 

The assembly being organized, the governor was 
invited to make any suggestions; and appearing before 

H. Bellinger, who died after election; W. T. Matlock, Benjamin Simpson, 
Hector Campbell, of Clackamas; William McAlphin, E. L. Walters, of Linn- 
John Thorp, H N V. Holmes, of Polk; J. C. Avery, W. St Glair, of Benton 
Aaron Payne, S. M. Gilmore, Matthew P. Deady, of Yamhill; Truman P. 
Powers, of Clatsop, Lewis, and Clarke counties. 

1 C l f T^ i 1 lc 1 OX * have s P ken in another place; also of Shaw, Walter, Payne, 
and McAlphin. William M. King was born and bred in Litchfield, Conn 
whence he moved to Onondaga county, New York, and subsequently to 
Pennsylvania and Missouri. He came to Oregon in 1848 and engaged in 
business m Portland, soon becoming known as a talented and unscrupulous 
politician, as well as a cunning debater and successful tactician. He is much 
censured m the early territorial newspapers, partly for real faults, and partly 
no doubt, from partisan feeling. He is described by one who knew him as a firm 
friend and bitter enemy. He died at Portland, after seeing it grow to be a 
place of wealth and importance, November 8, 1869, aged 69 years H N V 
Holmes was born in Wythe county, Va., in 1812, but removed in childhood to 
lulaski county, emigrating to Oregon in 1848. He settled in a picturesque 
district of Polk county, in the gap between the Yamhill and La Creole val 
leys. He was a gentleman, of the old Kentucky school, was several times a 
member of the Oregon legislature, an da prosperous farmer. 

B. F. Harding, a native of Wyoming county, Penn., was born in 1822 
and came to Oregon in 1849. He was a lawyer by profession, and settled at 
balem, for the interests of which place he faithfully labored, and for Marion 
county, which rewarded him by keeping him in a position of prominence for 
many years. He married Eliza Cox of Salem in 1851. He lived later on 
a fine farm in the enjoyment of abundance and independence. John Thorp 
was captain of a company in the immigration of 1844. He was from Madison 
county, Ky, and settled in Polk county, Oregon, where he followed farm 
ing. Truman P. Powers was born in 1807, and brought up in Chittenclen 
county, Vt coming to Oregon in 1846. He settled on the Columbia near 
Astoria. William Parker was a native of Derby county, England, born in 
1813, but removed when a child to New York. He was a farmer and sur 
veyor Benjamin Simpson, born in Warren county, Tenn., in 1819, was 
raised m Howard county, Mo., and came to Oregon in 1846, and engaged in 
merchandising. Hector Campbell was born in Hampden county, Mass in 
1/93, removed to Oregon in 1849, and settled on a farm in Clackamas county. 
William T. Matlock, a lawyer, was born in Rhone county, Tennessee in 
1802, removed when a child to Indiana, and to Oregon in 1847. Samuel M. 
Gilmore, born in Bedford county, Tenn., in 1814, removed first to Clay arid 
then to Buchanan county, Missouri, whence he emigrated in 1843, settling 
in Yamhill county. W. St Clair was an immigrant of 1846. 

Joseph C. Avery was born in Lucerne county, Penn., June 9, 1817, and was 
educated at Wilkesbarre, the county seat. He removed to 111. in 1839, where 
he married Martha Marsh in 1841. Four years afterward he came to Oregon 
spending the winter of 1845 at Oregon City. In the following spring he set 
tled on a land claim at the mouth of Mary s River, where in 1850 helaid out 
a town, calling it Marysville, but asking the legislature afterward to change 
the name to Corvallis, which was done. 


the joint legislature he read a message of considerable 
length and no great interest, except as to some items 

Matthew Paul Deady was born in Talbot co., Md, May 12, 1824, of Irish 
and English ancestry. His father was a native of Kanturk, county Cork, and 
*va3 by profession a teacher. He immigrated while yet a young man, with 
his wife, to the United States, residing near Baltimore for a fow years, re 
moving to Wheeling, Va, and again in 1837 to Belmont co., Ohio. Here the 
son worked on a farm until 1841. For four years afterward he learned black- 
smithing, and attended school at the Barnesville academy. From 1845 to 
1848 he taught school and read law with Judge William Kennon, of St Clairs- 
ville, where he was admitted to the bar of the supreme court of Ohio, Oct. 26, 
1847. In 1849 he came to Oregon, settling at Lafayette, in Yamhill co., and 
teaching school until the spring of 1830, when he commenced the practice of 
the law, and in June of the same year was elected a member of the legislature, 
and served on the judiciary committee. In 1851 he was elected to the council 
for two years, serving as chairman of the judiciary committee and president 
of the council. In 1853 he was appointed judge of the territorial supreme 
court, and hold the position until Oregon was admitted into the Union, Feb- 
ruaiy 14, 1859, and in the mean time performed the duties of district judge 
in the southern district. He was a member of the constitutional convention 
of 1857, being president of that body. His influence was strongly felt ia 
forming the constitution, some of its marked features being chieily his work; 
while ia preventing the adoption of other measures he was equally serviceable. 
On the admission of Oregon to statehood he was elected a judge of the supreme 
court from the southern district without opposition, and also received the ap 
pointment of U. S. district judge. He accepted the latter position and re 
moved to Portland, where he has resided down to the present time, enjoying 
the confidence and respect paid to integrity and ability in office. 

During the years 1SG2-4, Judge Deady prepared the codes of civil and 
criminal procedure and the penal code, and procured their passage by the 
lagislature as they caine from his hand, besides much other legislation, in 
cluding the general incorporation act of 1862, which for the first time ia the 
U. S. made incorporation free to any three or more persons wishing to engage 
in any lawful enterprise or occupation. In 1864 and 1874 he made and pub 
lished a general compilation of the laws of Oregon. 

He was one of the organizers of the University of Oregon, and for over 
twelve years has been an active member of the board of regents and presi 
dent of that body. For twenty years he has been president of the Library 
Association of Portland, which under his fostering care has grown to be one 
of the most creditable institutions of the state. 

On various occasions Judge Deady has sat in the U. S. circuit court in San. 
Francisco, where he has given judgment in some celebrated cases; among 
them are McCall v. McDowell, 1 Deady, 233, in which he held that the presi 
dent could not suspend the habeas corpus act, the power to do so being vested 
in congress; Martinitti v. McGuire, 1 Deady, 216, commonly called the Black 
Crook case, in which he held that this spectacular exhibition was not a dra 
matic composition, and therefore not entitled to copyright; Woodruffs. N. B. 
Gravel Co., 9 Sawyer, 441, commonly called the Debris case, in which ifc was 
held that the hydraulic miners had no right to deposit the waste of the mines 
in the watercourses of the state to the injury of the riparian owners; and 
Sharon v. Hill, 1 1 Sawyer, 290, in which it was determined that the so-called 
marriage contract between these parties was a forgery. 

Oa the 24th of June, 1852, Judge Deady was married to Miss Lucy A. 
Henderson, a daughter of Robert and Rhoda Henderson, of Yamhill co. , who 
came to Oregon by the southern route in 1846. Mr Henderson was born in 
Green co., Tenn., Feb. 14, 1809, and removed to Kentucky in 1831, and to 
Missouri in 1834. Mrs Deady is possessed of many charms of person and 
character, and is distinguished for that tact which renders her at ease in all 
stations of life. Her children are three sons, Edward Nesmith, Paul Robert, 
and Henderson Brooke. The first two have been admitted to the bar, the 
third is a physician. 


of information on the progress of the territory toward 
securing its congressional appropriations. The five 
thousand dollars granted in the organic act for erect 
ing public buildings was in his hands, he said, to 
which would be added the forty thousand dollars ap 
propriated at the last session ; and he recommended 
that some action be taken with regard to a peniten 
tiary, no prison having existed in Oregon since the 
burning of the jail at Oregon City. The five thousand 
dollars for a territorial library, he informed the assem 
bly, had been expended, and the books placed in a 
room furnished for the purpose, the custody of which 
was placed in their hands. 9 

The legislative session of 1850-1 was not harmo 
nious. There were quarrels over the expenditure of the 
appropriations for public buildings arid the location of 
the capital. Although the former assembly had called 
a session in May, ostensibly to fix upon a place as well as 
a time for convening its successor, it had not fixed the 
place, and the present legislature had come together 
by common consent at Oregon City. Conceiving it to 
be proper at this session to establish, the seat of gov 
ernment, according to the fifteenth section of the or 
ganic act, which authorized the legislature at its first 
session, or as soon thereafter as might be expedient, 
to locate and establish the capital of the territory, 
the legislature proceeded to this duty. The only 
places put in competition with a.ny chance of success 
were Oregon City and Salem. Between these there 
was a lively contest, the majority of the assembly, 
backed by the missionary interest, being in favor of 
Salem, while a minority, and many Oregon City lobby 
ists, were for keeping the seat of government at that 
place. In the heat of the contest Governor Gaines un 
wisely interfered by a special message, in which, while 

Scattered throughout this history, and elsewhere, are the evidences of 
the manner in which Judge Deady has impressed himself upon the institu 
tions of Portland and the state, and always for their benefit. He possesses, 
with marked ability, a genial disposition, and a distinguished personal ap 
pearance, rather added to than detracted from by increasing years. 

9 Judge Bryant selected and purchased $2,000 worth of the books for tb3 
public library, and Gov. Gaines the remainder. 
HIST. OR., VOL. II. 10 


he did not deny the right of the legislative assembly to 
locate and establish the seat of government, he felt it 
his duty to call their attention to the wording of the 
act, which distinctly said that the money there ap 
propriated should be applied by the governor; and 
also, that the act of June 11, 1850, making a fur 
ther appropriation of twenty thousand dollars for the 
erection of public buildings in Oregon, declared that 
the money was to be applied by the governor and 
the legislative assembly. He further called their at 
tention to the wording of the sixth section of the act, 
which declared that every law should have but one 
object, which should be expressed in the title, while 
the act passed by the legislative assembly embraced 
several objects. He gave it as his opinion that the 
law in that form was unconstitutional; but expressed 
a hope that they would not adjourn without taking 
effectual steps to carry out the recommendation he 
had made 
session, that 
be erected. 

The location bill, which on account of its embracing 
several objects received the name of the omnibus 
bill, 10 passed the assembly by a vote of six to three in 
the council and ten to eight in the house, Salem get 
ting the capital, Portland the penitentiary, 11 Cor vail is 
the university, and Oregon City nothing. The mat- 

10 TheGaines clique also denominated the Iowa code, adopted in 1849, the 
steamboat code, and invalid because it contained more than one subject. 

11 It named three commissioners, each for the state-house and penitentiary, 
authorizing them to select one of their number to be acting commissioner and 
give bonds in the sum of $20,000. The state-house board consisted of John 
Force, H. M. Waller, and R. C. Geer; the penitentiary board, D. H. Lowns- 
dale, Hugh D. O Bryant, and Lucius B. Hastings. The prison was to be 
of sufficient capacity to receive, secure, and employ 100 convicts, to be con 
fined in separate cells. Or. Spectator, March 27, 1851 ; Or. Statutes, 1853-4, 
509. That Oregon City should get nothing under the embarrassment of the 
llth section of the donation law was natural, but the whigs and the prop 
erty-owners there may have hoped to change the action of congress in the 
event of securing the capital. Salem, looking to the future, was a better 
location. But the assembly were not, I judge, looking to anything so much 
as having their own way. The friends of Salem were accused of bribery, 
and there were the usual mutual recriminations. Or. Spectator, Oct. 7 and 
Nov. 18, 1851. 

UI./O CV/ \^C*-LJL V \J \JL V UJLJ.V^ 1. \j\s\J 111 L11\^H\J.<AJ \jl\S LI 1L\~> 

in his message at the beginning of the 
t they would cause the public buildings to 


ter rapidly took shape as a political issue, the demo 
crats going for Salem and the whigs for Oregon City, 
the question being still considered by many as an 
open one on account of the alleged unconstitutionally 
of the act. 12 At the same time two newspapers were 
started to take sides in territorial politics; the Ore- 
gonian, whig, at Portland in December 1850, and 
the Oregon Statesman, democratic, at Oregon City in 
March following. 13 A third paper, called the Times, 
was published at Portland, beginning in May 1851, 
which changed its politics according to patronage and 

12 Id., July 29, 1851; Or. Statesman, Aug. 5, 1851; 32d Cong., 1st Sess., 
H. Ex. Doc. 94, 2-32; Id., 96, vol. ix. 1-8; Id., 104, vol. xii. 1-24; 32d Cong., 
1st Ses. y II. Misc. Doc. 9, 4-5. 

13 The Oregonian was founded by T. J. Dryer, who had been previously en 
gaged upon the California Courier as city editor, and was a weekly journal. 
Dryer brought an old Raniage press from San Francisco, with some second 
hand material, which answered his purpose for a few months, when a new 
Washington press and new material came out by sea from New York, and 
the old one was sent to Olympia to start the first paper published on Puget 
Sound, called the Columbian. In time the Washington press was displaced 
by_a power press, and was sold in 1862 to go to Walla Walla, and afterward 
to Idaho. Dryer conducted the Oregonian with energy for ten years, when 
the paper passed into the hands of H. L. Pittock, who first began work upon 
it aa a printer in 1853. It has since become a daily, and is edited and partly 
owned by Harvey W. Scott. 

The Statesman was founded by A. W. Stockwell and Henry Russel of 
Massachusetts, with Asahel Bush as editor. It was published at Oregon City 
till June 1853, when it was removed to Salem, and being and remaining the 
official paper of the territory, followed the legislature to Corvallis in 1855, 
when the capital was removed to that place and back again to Salem, when 
the seat of government was relocated there a few months later. As a party 
paper it was conducted with greater ability than any journal on the Pacific 
coast for a period of about a dozen years. Bush was assisted at various times 
by men of talent. On retiring from political life in 1863 he engaged in bank 
ing at Salem. Crandall and Wait then conducted the paper for a short time; 
but it was finally sold in November 1863 to the Oregon Printing and Publish 
ing Company. In 1866 it was again sold to the proprietors ot the Unionist, 
and ceased to exist as the Oregon Statesman. During the first eight years 
of its existence it was the ruling power in Oregon, wielding an influence 
that made and unmade officials at pleasure. The number of those who 
were connected with the paper as contributors to its columns, who have 
risen to distinguished positions, is reckoned by the dozen. Salem Directory, 
1871; Or. Statesman, March 28, 1851; Id., July 25, 1854; Brown s Will 
Val, MS., 34; Portland Orff/onian, April 15, 1876. Before either of these 
papers was started there was established at Milwaukie, a few miles below 
Oregon City, the Milwaukie Star, the first number of which was issued on 
the 21st of November 1850. It was owned principally by Lot Whitcomb, 
the proprietor of the town of Milwaukie. The prospectus stated that Carter 
and Waterman were the printers, and Orvis Waterman editor. The paper 
ran for three months under its first management, then was purchased by the 


The result of the interference of the governor with 
legislation was to bring down upon him bitter denun 
ciations from that body, and to make the feud a per 
sonal as well as political one, When the assembly 
provided for the printing of the public documents, it 
voted to print neither the governor s annual nor his 
special message, as an exhibition of disapprobation at 
his presumption in offering the latter, 14 assuming that 
he was not called upon to address them unless invited 
to do so, they being invested by congress with power 
to conduct the public business and spend the public 
money without consulting him. But while the legis 
lators quarrelled with the executive they went on 
with the business of the commonwealth. 

The hurried sessions of the territorial legislature 
had effected little improvement in the statutes which 
were still in great part in manuscript, consisting in 
many instances of mere reference to certain Iowa 
laws adopted without change. An act was passed for 
the printing of the laws and journals, and Asahel 
Bush elected printer, to tho disappointment of Dryer 
of the Oregonian, who had built hopes on his political 
views which were the same as those of the new ap 
pointees of the federal government. But the terri 
torial secretary, Hamilton, literally took the law into 
his own hands and sent the printing to a New York 
contractor. Thus the war went on, and the laws 
were as far as ever from being in an intelligible state, 15 

printers, and in May 1851 Waterman purchased the entire interest, when he 
removed the paper to Portland, calling it the Times. It survived several 
subsequent changes and continued to be published till 1864, recording in the 
mean time many of the early incidents in the history of the country. Portland 
Orerjonian, April 15, 1876. 

14 The Spectator of Feb. 20, 1851, rebuked the assembly for its discour 
tesy, saying it knew of no other instance where the annual message of the 
governor had been treated with such contempt. 

15 The Spectator of August 8, 1850, remarked that there existed no law in 
the territory regulating marriages. If that were true, there could have ex 
isted none since 1845, when the last change in the provisional code was made. 
There is a report of a debate on a bill concerning marriages, in the Spectator 
of Jan. 2, 1851, but the list of laws passed at the session of 1850-1 contains 
none on marriage. A marriage law was enacted by the legislature of 1851-2. 


although the most important or latest acts were pub 
lished in the newspapers, and a volume of statutes 
was printed and bound at Oregon City in 1851. It 
was not until January 1853 that the assembly pro 
vided for the compilation of the laws, and appointed 
L. F. Grover commissioner to prepare for publication 
the statutes of the colonial and territorial governments 
from 1843 to 1849 inclusive. The result of the com 
missioner s labors is a small book often quoted in these 
pages as Or. Laws, 1843-9, of much value to the his 
torian, but which, nevertheless, needs to be confirmed 
by a close comparison with the archives compiled and 
printed at the same time, and with corroborative 
events; the dates appended to the laws being often 
several sessions out of time, either guessed at by the 
compiler, or mistaken by the printer and not corrected. 
In many cases the laws themselves are mere abstracts 
or abbreviations of the acts published in the Spec 
tator. 19 

Nor were the archives collected any more complete, 
as boxes of loose papers, as late as 1878, to my knowl 
edge, were lying unprinted in the costly state-house 
at Salem. Many of them have been copied for my 

Among men inclined from the condition of society to early marriages, as I 
have before mentioned, the wording of the donation law stimulated the desire 
to marry in order to become lord of a mile square of land, while it influenced 
women to the same measure, as it was only a wife or widow who was entitled 
to 320 acres. Many unhappy unions were the consequence, and numerous 
divorces. Deady * Hi,;t. Or., MS., 33; Victor s New Penelope, 19-20. 

16 Public L fe in Oregon is one of the most scholarly and analytical contri 
butions to history which I was able to gather during my many interviews of 
1878. Besides being in a measure a political history of the country, it abounds 
with life-like sketches of the public men of the day, given in a clear and fluent 
style, and without apparent bias. L. F. Grover, the author, was born at Bethel, 
Maine, Nov. 29, 1823. He came to California in the winter of 1850, and 
to Oregon early in 1851. He was almost immediately appointed clerk of 
the first judicial district by Judge Nelson. He soon afterward received 
the appointment of prosecuting attorney of the second judicial district, and 
became deputy United States district attorney, through his law partner, B. F. 
Harding, who held that office. Thereafter for a long period he was in public 
life in Oregon. Grover was a protege 1 of Thurston, who had known him in 
Maine, and advised him when admitted to the bar in Philadelphia to go to 
Oregon, where he would take him into his own office as a law-partner; but 
Thurston dying, Grover was left to introduce himself to the new common 
wealth, which he ("lid most successfully. Graver s Pub. Life in Or., MS., 100-3; 
Yreka Union, April 1, 1870. 


work, and constitute the manuscript entitled Oregon 
Archives, from which I have quoted more widely than 
I should have done had they been in print, thinking 
thus to preserve the most important information in 
them. The same legislature which authorized Grover s 
work, passed an act creating a board of commissioners 
to prepare a code of laws for the territory, 17 and elected 
J. K. Kelly, D. R Bigelow, and R P. Boise, who 
were to meet at Salem in February, and proceed to the 
discharge of their duties, for which they were to re 
ceive a per diem of six dollars. 18 In 1862 a new code 
of civil procedure was prepared by Matthew P. Deady, 
then United States district judge, A. C. Gibbs, and 
J. K. Kelly, and passed by the legislature. The work 
was performed by Judge Deady, who attended the 
session of the legislature and secured its passage. The 
same legislature authorized him to prepare a penal 
code and code of criminal procedure, which he did. 
This was enacted by the legislature of 1864, which 
also authorized him to prepare a compilation of all the 
laws of Oregon then in force, including the codes, in 
the order and method of a code, which he did, and en 
riched it with notes containing a history of Oregon 
legislation. This compilation he repeated in 1874, by 
authority of the legislature, aided by Lafayette Lane. 
Meanwhile the work of organization and nation- 
making went on, all being conducted by these early 
legislators with fully as much honesty and intelligence 
as have been generally displayed by their successors. 
Three new counties were established and organized 
at the session of 1850-1, namely: Pacific, on the north 
side of the Columbia, on the coast; Lane, including 

17 A. C. Gibbs in his notes on Or. Hist., MS., 13, says that he urged the 
measure and succeeded in getting it through the house. It was supported by 
Deady, then president of the council; and thus the code system was begun in 
Oregon with reformed practice and proceedings. At the same time, Thurs- 
ton, it is said, when in Washington, advised the appointment of commis 
sioners for this purpose, or that the assembly should remain in session long 
enough to do the work, and promised to secure from congress the money, 
$6,000, to pay the cost. 

18 Or. Statutes, 1852-3, 57-8; Or. Statesman, Feb. 5, 1853. 

19 See Or. Gen. Laws, 1843-72. 


all that portion of the Willamette Valley south of 
Benton and Linn ; 20 and Urnpqua, comprising all the 
country south of the Calapooya mountains and head 
waters of the Willamette. County seats were located 
in Linn, Polk, and Clatsop, the county seats of Clack- 
amas and Washington having been established at the 
previous sessions of the legislature. 21 

The act passed by the first legislature for collecting 
the county and territorial revenues was amended; and 
a law passed legalizing the acts of the sheriff of Linn 
county, and the probate court of Yamhill county, 
in the collection of taxes, and to legalize the judicial 
proceedings of Polk county; these being cases where 
the laws of the previous sessions were found to be in 
conflict with the organic act. Some difficulty had 
been encountered in collecting taxes on land to which 
the occupants had as yet no tangible title. The same 
feeling existed after the passage of the donation law, 
though some legal authorities contended, and it has 
since been held that the donation act gave the occu 
pant his land in fee simple, and that a patent was 
only evidence of his ownership. 22 But it took more 
time to settle these questions of law than the people 
or the legislature had at their command in 1850; 
hence conflicts arose which neither the judicial nor 

1876 Ugene ty Uard July 8> 1876; EltfjeUe lty 8tate Journal > Jul y 8, 
21 It is difficult determining the value of these enactments, when for sev 
eral sessions one after the other acts with the same titles appear-in stance 
the county seat of Polk county, which was located in 1849 and again in ISoO 
"Deculy Scrap Book, 5. For some years Matthew P. Deacly employed his 
leisure moments as a correspondent of the San Francisco Bulletin, his subjects 
often being historical and biographical matter, in which he was, from his 
habit of comparing evidence, very correct, and in which he sometimes enun 
ciated a legal opinion. His letters, collected in the form of a scrap-book 
were kindly loaned to me. From these Scraps I have drawn largely and 
still more frequently from his History of Oregon, a thick manuscript volume 
given to me from his own lips in the form of a dictation while I was in Port 
land in 1878, and taken down by my stenographer. Never in the course of 
my life have I encountered in one mind so vast, well arranged and well 
digested a store of facts, the recital of which to me was a never failin-r 
source of wonder and admiration. His legal decisions and public addresse? 
have also been of great assistance to me, being free from the injudicial bias of 
many authors, and hence most substantial material for history to rest upon 
Farther than this, Judge Deady is a graceful writer, and always interesting 
As a man, he is one to whom Oregon owes much. 


the legislative branches of the government could at 
once satisfactorily terminate. 

The legislature amended the act laying out the 
judicial districts by attaching the county of Lane to 
the first and Umpqua to the second districts. This 
distribution made the first district to consist of Clack- 
amas, Marion, Linn, and Lane; the second of Wash 
ington, Yamhill, Benton, Polk, and Umpqua; and the 
third of Clarke, Lewis, and Clatsop. Pacific county 
was not provided for in the amendment. The judges 
were required to hold sessions of their courts twice 
annually in each county of their districts. But lest 
in the future it might happen as in the past, any one 
of the judges was authorized to hold special terms in 
any of the districts; other laws regulating the practice 
of the courts were passed, 23 and also laws regulating 
the general elections, and ordering the erection of 
court-houses and jails in each county of the territory. 

They amended the common school law, abolishing 
the office of superintendent, and ordered the election 
of school examiners; incorporated the Young Ladies 
Academy of Oregon City, St Paul s Mission Female 
Seminary, the First Congregational Society of Port 
land, the First Presbyterian Society of Clatsop 
plains; incorporated Oregon City and Portland; lo 
cated a number of roads, notably one from Astoria 
to the Willamette Valley, 24 and a plank-road from 
Portland to Yamhill county; and also the Yamhill 
Bridge Company, which built the first great bridge 
in the country. These, with many other less impor 
tant acts, occupied the assembly for sixty clays. 
Thurston s advice concerning memorializing congress 

23 Or. Gen. Laws, 1850-1, 158-164. 

24 This was a scheme of Thurston s, who, on the citizens of Astoria peti 
tioning congress to open a road to the Willamette, proposed to accept $10, 000 
to build the bridges, promising that the people would build the road. He 
then advised the legislature to go on with the location, leaving it to him to 
manage the appropriations. Lane finished his work in congress, and a gov 
ernment officer expended the appropriation without benefiting the Astoriaiis 
beyond disbursing the money in their midst. See 81st Cony., 1st Sess., 11. 
Com. Rept., 348, 3. 


to pay the remaining expenses of the Cay use war was 
acted upon, the committee consisting of McBride, 
Parker, and Hall, of the council, and Deady, Simpson, 
and Harding of the house. 25 Nothing further of im 
portance was done at this session. 

When the legislative assembly adjourned in Feb 
ruary, it was known that Thurston was returning to 
Oregon as a candidate for reelection, arid it was ex 
pected that there would be a heated canvass, but that 
his party would probably carry him through in spite 
of the feeling which his course with regard to the 
Oregon City claim had created. But the unlocked 
for death of Thurston, and the popularity of Lane, 
who, being of the same political sentiments, and gen 
erously willing to condone a fault in a rival who had 
confirmed to him as the purchaser of Abernethy Isl 
and a part of the contested land claim, made the 
ex-governor the most fitting substitute even with 
Thurston s personal friends, for the position of dele 
gate from Oregon. Some efforts had been made to 
injure Lane by anonymous letter- writers, who sent 
to the New York Tribune allegations of intemperance 
and improper associations, 26 but which were sturdily 
repelled by his democratic friends in public meetings, 
and which could not have affected his position, as 
Gaines was appointed in the usual round of office-giv 
ing at the beginning of a new presidential and party 
administration. That these attacks did not seriously 
injure him in Oregon was shown by the enthusiasm 
with which his nomination was accepted by the ma 
jority, and the result of the election, as well as by the 
fact of a county having been named after him between 
his removal as governor and nomination as delegate. 
The only objection to Lane, which seemed to carry 
any weight, was the one of being in the territory 

K 32d Cong., 1st Sess., IT. Jour., 1059, 1224. 

26 The writer signed himself Lansdale, but was probably J. Quinn Thorn 
ton, who admits writing such letters to get Lane removed, but gives a different 
sobriquet as I have already mentioned that of Achilles de Harley. 


without his family, which gave a transient air to his 
patriotism, to which people objected. They felt that 
their representative should be one of themselves in 
fact as well as by election, and this Lane declared his 
intention of becoming, and did in fact take a claim on 
the Umpqua River to show his willingness to become 
a citizen of Oregon. The opposing candidate was W. 
H. Willson, who was beaten by eighteen hundred or 
two thousand votes. As soon as the election was 
over, Lane returned to the lately discovered mining 
districts in southern Oregon, taking with him a strong 

party, intending to chastise the Indians of that sec- 
i i 

tion, who were becoming more and more aggressive 

as travel in that direction increased, and their profits 
from robbery and murder became more important. 
That he should take it upon himself to do this, when 
there w r as a regularly appointed superintendent of 
Indian affairs for Thurston had persuaded congress 
to give Oregon a general superintendent for this work 
alone surprised no one, but on the contrary appeared 
to be what was expected of him from his aptitude in 
such matters, which became before he reached Rogue 
River Valley wholly a military affair. The delegate- 
elect was certainly a good butcher of Indians, who, as 
we have seen, cursed them as a mistake or damnable 
infliction of the Almighty. And at this noble occu 
pation I shall leave him, while I return to the history 
of the executive and judicial branches of the Oregon 

Obviously the tendency of office by appointment 
instead of by popular election is to make men indiffer 
ent to the opinions of those they serve, so long as they 
are in favor with or can excuse their acts to the ap 
pointing power. The distance of Oregon from the 
seat of general government and the lack of adequate 
mail service made the Gaines faction more than usu 
ally independent of censure, as it also rendered its 
critics more impatient of what they looked upon as an 


exhibition of petty tyranny on the part of those who 
were present, and of culpable neglect on the part of 
those who remained absent. From the date of Judo- e 
Bryant s arrival in the territory in April 1849, to the 
1st of January 1851, when he resigned, he had spent 
but five months in his district. From December 1848 
to August 1850 Pratt had been the only judo- e in 
Oregon excepting Bryant s brief sojourn. Then he 
went east for his family, and Strong was the only 
judge for the eight months following and till the 
return about the last of April 1851 of Pratt, accom 
panied by Chief Justice Thomas Nelson, appointed in 
the place of Bryant, 27 and J. R Preston, surveyor- 
general of Oregon. 

The judges found their several dockets in a condi 
tion hardly to justify Thurston s encomiums in con 
gress upon their excellence of character. The freedom 
enjoyed under the provisional government, due in part 
to the absence of temptation, when all men were 
laborers, and when the necessity for mutual help and 
protection deprived them of a motive for violence had 
Ceased to be the boast and the security of the coun 
try. The presence of lawless adventurers, the abun 
dance of money, and the absence of courts, had tended 
to develop the criminal element, till in 1851 it became 
notorious that the causes on trial were ofterier of a 
criminal than a civil nature. 28 

* Memorial of the Legislative Assembly of 1851-2, 

Janulrv^^ islo ^ ^T" ^T WaS b m * r 

lanuary 23, 1819. He was the third son of William Nelson a renresen 

tatiye m congress, a lawyer by profession, and a man of worth and P pubHc 
spirit. Thomas graduated at Williams college at the acre of 17 Be n- still 
very young he was placed under a private Sor of ability n ^w&cfty 
nprr l? 1& f Udyht ^ atUre and the French ^guage He also attended 
a ?er wl I d T 68 T?7 g m ^^ WayS thorou S cultu ^and scholS p, 
after which he added European travel to his other sources of knowledge 
finally adopting law as a profession. Advancing in the practice of the latv 
he became an attorney and counsellor of the supreme court of e United 
States and was practising with his father in Westchester county, New Yo k 
when he was appointed chief justice of Oregon. Jud^e Nelson s 
character was faultless, his manners courteous! and hLfeariTm 

** Sketches > 69 - 72 s - 


This condition of society encouraged the expression 
of public indignation pleasing to party prejudices and 
to the political aspirations of party leaders. At a 
meeting held in Portland April 1st, it was resolved 
that the president of the United States should be 
informed of the neglect of the judges of the first and. 
second districts, no court having been held in Wash 
ington county since the previous spring; nor had 
any judge resided in the district to whom application 

he was living. A special term of court was held on the 28th of March to try 
Kendall, who was defended by W. G. T Vault and B. F. Harding, convicted, 
sentenced by Judge Strong, and executed on the 18th of April, there being 
at the time no jail in which to confine criminals in Marion county. About 
the same time a sailor named Cook was shot by William Keene, a gambler, 
in a dispute about a game of ten-pins. Keene was also tried before Judge 
Strong, convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to six years in the peniten 
tiary. As the jury had decided that he ought not to hang, and he could not 
be confined in an imaginary penitentiary, he was pardoned by the governor. 
Or. Statesman, May 10, 1851. Creed Turner a few months after stabbed and 
killed Edward A. Bradbury from Cincinnati, Ohio, out of jealousy, both 
being in love with a Miss Bonser of Sauv6 Island. Deady defended him 
before Judge Pratt, but he was convicted and hanged in the autumn. Id., 
Oct. 28, 1851; Deadifs Hist. Or., MS., 59. In Feb. 1852 William Everman, 
a desperate character, shot and killed Serenas C. Hooker, a worthy farmer of 
Polk county, for accusing him of taking a watch. He also was convicted and 
hanged. He had three associates in crime, Hiram Everman, his brother, who 
plead guilty and was sentenced to three years in the penitentiary; Enoch Smith, 
who escaped by the disagreement of the jury, was rearrested, tried again, 
sentenced to death, and finally pardoned; and David J. Coe, who by obtaining 
a change of venue was acquitted. As there was no prison where Hiram 
Everman could serve, he was publicly sold by the sheriff on the day of his 
brother s execution, to Theodore Prather, the highest bidder, and was set at 
liberty by the petition of his master just before the expiration of the three 
years. Smith touk a land-claim in Lane county, and married. After several 
years his wife left him for some cause unknown. He shot himself in April 
1877, intentionally, as it was believed. Salem Mercury, April 18, 1877. About 
the time of the former murder, Nimrod O Kelly, inBenton county, killed Jere 
miah Mahoney , in a quarrel about a land-claim . He was sentenced to the peni 
tentiary and pardoned. In August, in Polk county, Adam E. Wimple, 35 
years of age, murdered his wife, a girl of fourteen, setting fire to the house 
to conceal his crime. He had married this child, whose name was Mary 
Allen, about one year before. Wimple was a native of New York. S. F. 
Alta, Sept. 28, 1852. He was hanged at Dallas October 8, 1852. Or. States 
man, Oct. 23, 1852. Robert Maynard killed J. C. Platt on Rogue River for 
ridiculing him. He was executed by vigilants. Before the election of officers 
for Jackson county, one Brown shot another man, was arrested, tried before 
W. W. Fowler, temporarily elected judge, and hanged. Prim s Judic. Affairs 
in Southern Or., MS., 10. In July 1853, Joseph Nott was tried for the mur 
der of Ryland D. Hill whom he shot in an affray in Umpqua county. He 
was acquitted. Many lesser crimes appear to have been committed, such as 
burglary and larceny; and frequent jail deliveries were effected, these struc 
tures being built of logs and not guarded. In two years after the discovery 
of gold in California, Oregon had a criminal calender as large in proportion to 
the population as the older states. 


could be made for the administration of the laws. 
The president should be plainly told that there were 
"many respectable individuals in Oregon capable of 
discharging the duties of judges, or filling any offices 
under the territorial government, who would either 
discharge their duties or resign their offices." 29 The 
arrival of the new chief justice, and Pratt, brought a 
temporary quiet. Strong went to reside at Cathlamet, 
in his own district, and the other judges in theirs. 

At the first term of court held in Clackamas county 
by Chief Justice Nelson, he was called upon to decide 
upon the constitutionality of the law excluding negroes 
from Oregon. This law, first enacted by the provis 
ional legislature in 1844, had been amended, reenacted, 
and clung to by the law-makers of Oregon with sin 
gular pertinacity, the first territorial legislature reviv 
ing it among their earliest enactments. Thurston, 
when questioned in congress concerning the matter, 
defended the law against free blacks upon the ground 
that the people dreaded their influence among the 
Indians, whom they incited to hostilities. 30 Such a 
reason had indeed been given in 1844, when two dis 
orderly negroes had caused a collision between w r hite 
men and Indians, but it could not be advanced as a 
sufficient explanation of the settled determination of 
the founders of Oregon to keep negroes out of the 
territory, because all the southern and western fron 
tier states had possessed a large population of blacks, 
both slave and free, at the time they had fought the 
savages, without finding the negroes a dangerous ele 
ment of their population. It was to quite another 
cause that the hatred of the African was to be ascribed; 
namely, scorn for an enslaved race, which refused 
political equality to men of a black skin, and which 
might raise the question of slavery to disturb the 
peace of society. It was riot enough that Oregon 

29 Or. Statesman, April 11, 1851. Among those taking part in this meet 
ing were \V. W. Chapman, D. H. Lounsdale, H. D. O Bryant, J. S. Smith, 
Z. C. Norton, S. Coffin, W. B. Otway, and N. Northrop. 

"Cong. Globe, 1849-50, 1079, 1091. 


should be a free territory which could not make a 
bondsman of a black man, but it must exclude the 
remainder of the conflict then raging on his behalf in 
certain quarters. Judge Nelson upheld the constitu 
tionality of the law against free blacks, and two of 
fenders were given thirty days in which to leave the 
territory. 31 

The judges found a large number of indictments in 
the first and second districts. 32 The most important 
case in Yamhill county was one to test the legality 
of taxing land, or selling property to collect taxes, 
and was brought by C. M. Walker against the sheriff, 
Andrew Shuck, Pratt deciding that there had been 
no trespass. In the cases in behalf of the United 
States, Deady was appointed commissioner in chan 
cery, and I) avid Logan 83 to take affidavits and 
acknowledgments of bail under the laws of congress. 
The law practitioners of 185012 in Oregon had tho 
opportunity, and in many instances the talent, to 
stamp themselves upon the history of the common 
wealth, supplanting in a great degree the men who 
were its founders, 34 while endeavoring to rid the terri- 

31 By a curious coincidence one of the banished negroes was Winslow, the 
culprit in the Oregon City Indian affair of 1844, who had lived since then at 
the mouth of the Columbia. Vanderpool was the other exiie. 8. F. Alta, 
Sept. 16, 1851; Or. Statesman, Sept. 2, 1851. 

32 There were 30 indictments in Yamhill county alone, a large proportion 
being for breach of verbal contract. Six were for selling liquor to Indians, 
being federal cases. 

3a Logan was born in Springfield, 111., in 1824. His father was an eminent 
lawyer, and at one time a justice of the supreme court of Illinois. David im 
migrated to Oregon in 1850 and settled at Lafayette. He ran against Deady 
for the legislature in 1851 and was beaten. Soon after he removed to Port 
land, where he became distinguished for his shrewdness and powers of oratory, 
being a great jury lawyer. He married in 1862 Mary P. Waldo, daughter of 
Daniel Waldo. Bis highly excitable temperament led him into excesses 
which injured his otherwise eminent standing, and cut short his brilliant 
career in 1874. Salem Mercury, April 3, 1874. 

34 The practising attorneys at this time \vere A. L. Lovejoy, W. G. T Vault, 
J. Quinn Thornton, E. Hamilton, A. Holbrook, Matthew P. Deady, B. F. Hard 
ing, R. P. Boise, David Logan, E. M. Barnum, J. W. Nesmith, A. D. M. 
Harrison, James McCabe, A. C. Gibbs, S. F. Chadwick, A. B. P. Wood, T. 
McF. Patton, F. Tilford, A. Campbell, D. B. Brenan, W. W. Chapman, A. 
E. Wait, S. D. May re, John A. Anderson, and C. Lancaster. There were 
others who had been bred to a legal profession, who were at work in the 
mines or living on land claims, some of whom resumed practice as society 
became more organized. 


tory of men whom they regarded as transient, whose 
places they coveted. 

There is always presumably a coloring of truth to 
charges brought against public officers, even when 
used for party purposes as they were in Oregon. The 
democracy were united in their determination to see 
nothing good in the federal appointees, with the ex 
ception of Pratt, who besides being a democrat had 
been sent to them by President Polk. On the other 
hand there were those who censured Pratt 35 for being 
what he was in the eyes of the democracy. The 
governor was held 36 equally objectionable with the 
judges, first on account of the position he had taken 
on the capital location question, and again for main 
taining Kentucky hospitality, and spending the money 
of the government freely without consulting any one, 
and as his enemies chose to believe without any care 
for the public interests. A sort of gay and fashion 
able air was imparted to society in Oregon City by 
the families of the territorial officers and the hospita 
ble Dr McLoughlin, 37 which was a new thing in the 
Willamette Valley, and provoked not a little jealousy 
among the more sedate and surly. 38 

33 W. W. Chapman for contempt of court was sentenced by Pratt to twenty 
days imprisonment and to have his name stricken from the roll of attorneys. 
It was a political issue. Chapman was assisted by his Portland friends to 
escape, was rearrested, and on application to Judge Nelson discharged on a 
writ of error. 32d Cong., l*t Sess., Misc. Doc. 9, 3. See also case of Arthur 
Fayhie sentenced by Pratt for contempt, in which Nelson listened to a charge 
by Fayhie of misconduct in office on the part of Pratt, and discharged the 
prisoner by the advice of Strong. 

36 An example of the discourtesy used toward the federal officers was 
given when the governor was bereaved of his wife by an accident. Mrs Games 
was riding on the Clatsop plains, whither she had gone on an excursion, when 
her horse becoming frightened at a wagon she was thrown under the wheels, 
receiving injuries from which she died. The same paper which announced her 
death attacked the governor with unstinted abuse. Mrs Gaines was a 
daughter of Nicholas Kincaid of Versailles, Ky. Her mother was Priscilla 
McBride. She was born March 13, 1800, and married to Gaines June 22, 
1819. Or. Spectator, Aug. 19, 1851. About fifteen months after his wife s 
death, Gaines married Margaret B. Wands, one of the five lady teachers sent 
to Oregon by Gov. Slade. Or. Statesman, Nov. 27, 1851. 

3 Mrs M. E. Wilson in Or. Sketches, MS., 19. 

38 Here is what one says of Oregon City society at the time: All was 
oddity. Clergymen so eccentric as to have been thrown over by the board 
on account of their queerness, had found their way hither, and fought their 
way among peculiar people, into positions of some kind. People were odd 


In order to sustain his position with regard to the 
location act, Games appealed for an opinion to the 
attorney-general of the United States, who returned 
for an answer that the legislature had a right to locate 
the seat of government without the consent of the 
governor, but that the governor s concurrence was 
necessary to make legal the expenditure of the appro 
priations, 39 which reply left untouched the point raised 
by Gaines, that the act was invalid because it em 
braced more than one object. With regard to this 
matter the attorney -general was silent, and the 
quarrel stood as at the beginning, the governor re 
fusing to recognize the law of the legislature as binding 
on him. His enemies ceased to deny the unconstitu 
tionally of the law, admitting that it might prove 
void by reason of non-conformity to the organic act, 
but they contended that until this was shown to be 
true in a competent court, it was the law of the land ; 
and to treat it as a nullity before it had been disap 
proved by congress, to which all the acts of the legis 
lature must be submitted, was to establish a dangerous 
precedent, a principle striking at the foundation of all 
law and the public security. 

Into this controversy the United States judges 
were necessarily drawn, the organic act requiring 
them to hold a term of court, annually, at the seat of 
government; any two of the three constituting a 

in dress as well. Whenever one wished to appear well before his or her 
friends, they resurrected from old chests and trunks clothes made years ago. 
Now, as one costumer in one part of the world at one time, had made one 
dress, and another had made at another time another dress, an assembly in 
Oregon at this time presented to a new-comer, accustomed to only one fashion 
at once, a peculiar sight. Mrs Walker, wife of a missionary at Chimikane, 
near Fort Colville, having been 1 1 years from her clothed sisters, on coming 
to Oregon City was surprised to find her dresses as much in the fashion as 
any of the rest of them. Mrs Wikon, Or. Sketches, MS., 16, 17. Another 
says of the missionary and pioneer families: One lady who had been living at 
Clatsop since 1846 had a parasol well preserved, at least 30 years old, with a 
folding handle and an ivory ring to slip over the folds when closed. Another 
lady had a bonnet and shawl of nearly the same age which she wore to church. 
All these articles were of good quality, and an evidence of past fashion 
and respectability. Manners as well as clothes go out of mode, and much of 
the oddity Mrs Wilson discovered in an Oregon assembly in Gov. Games 
time was only manners out of fashion. 

39 Or. Spectator, July 29, 1851; Or. Statesman, Aug. 5, 1851. 


quorum. 40 On the first of December, the legislature- 
elect 41 convened at Salem, as the capital of Oregon, 
except one councilman, Columbia Lancaster, and four 
representatives, A. E. Wait, W. F. Matlock, and 
D. F. Brownfield. Therefore this small minoritv 
organized as the legislative assembly of Oregon, at 
the territorial library room in Oregon Cityfwas quali 
fied by Judge Strong, and continued to meet and 
adjourn for two weeks. Lancaster, the single coun 
cilman, spent this fortnight in making motions and 
seconding them himself, and preparing a memorial to 
congress in which he asked for an increase in the 
number of councilrnen to fifteen; for the improve 
ment of the Columbia River; for a bounty of one 
hundred and sixty acres of land to the volunteers in 
the Cayuse war; a pension to the widows and orphans 
of the men killed in the war; troops to be stationed 
at the several posts in the territory; protection to 
the immigration; ten thousand dollars to purchase 
a library for the university, and a military road to 
Puget Sound. 42 

About this time the supreme court met at Oregon 
City, Judges Nelson and Strong deciding to adopt 

40 Or. Gen. Laws, 1845-1864, 71. 

41 The council was composed of Matthew P. Deady, of Yamhill; J. M. Gar 
rison, of Marion; A. L. Lovejoy, of Clackamas; Fred. Waymire, of Polk; W. B. 
Mealey, of Linn; Samuel Parker, of Clackamas and Marion; A. L. Humphrey, 
of Benton; Lawrence Hall, of Washington; Columbia Lancaster, of Lewis, 
Clark, and Vancouver counties. The house consisted of Geo. L. Curry, A. E. 
Wait, and W. T. Matlock, of Clackamas; Benj. Simpson, Wilie Chapnian, and 
James Davidson, of Marion; J. C. Avery and Geo. E. Cole, of Benton; Luther 
White and William Allphin, of Linn; Ralph Wilcox, W. M. King, and J. 
C. Bishop, of Washington; A. J. Hembree, Samuel McSween, and R. C. 
Kinney, of Yamhill; Nat Ford and J. S. Holman of Polk; David M. Risdon, 
of Lane; J. W. Drew, of Umpqua; John A. Anderson and D. F. Brownfield 
of Clatsop and Pacific. Or. Statesman, July 4, 1851. 

42 In style Lancaster was something of a Munchausen. It is true, he says 
in his memorial, which must indeed have astonished congress, that the 
Columbia River, like the principles of civil and religious equality, with wild 
and unconquerable fury has burst asunder the Cascade and Coast ranges of 
mountains, and shattered into fragments the basaltic formations, etc. 32d 
Cong., 1st Sens., H. Misc. Doc. 14, 1-5; Or. Stateman, Jan. 13, 1852. Ba 
saltic formation then became a sobriquet for the whig councilman among the 
Salem division of the legislature. The memorial was signed Columbia Lan 
caster, late president pro tern, of the council, and W. T. Matlock, late speaker 
pro tern, of the house of representatives. 

HIST. OB., VOL. II. 11 


the governor s view of the seat-of-government ques 
tion, while Pratt, siding with the main body of the 
legislature, repaired to Salem as the proper place to 
hold the annual session of the United States court. 
Thus a majority of the legislature convened at Salem 
as the seat of government, and a majority of the su 
preme court at Oregon City as the proper capital; 
and the division was likely to prove a serious bar to 
the legality of the proceedings of one or the other. 43 
The majority of the people were on the side of the 
legislature, and ready to denounce the imported judges 
who had set themselves up in opposition to their 
representatives. Before the meeting of the legisla 
tive body the people on the north side of the Colum 
bia had expressed their dissatisfaction with Strong 
for refusing to hold court at the place selected by the 
county commissioners, according to an act of the legis 
lature requiring them to fix the place of holding court 
until the county seat should be established. The 
place selected was at the claim of Sidney Ford, on the 
Chehalis River, whereas the judge went to the house 
of John R. Jackson, twenty miles distant, and sent a 
peremptory order to the jurors to repair to the same 
place, which they refused to do, on the ground that 
they had been ordered in the manner of slave-driving, 
to which they objected as unbecoming a judge and 
insulting to themselves. A public meeting was held, 
at which it was decided that the conduct of the judge 
merited the investigation of the impeaching power. 44 
The proceedings of the meeting were published 
about the time of the convening of the assembly, and 
a correspondence followed, in which J. B. Chapman 

43 Francis Ermatinger being citod to appear in a case brought against him 
at Oregon City, objected to the hearing of the cause upon the ground that the 
law required a majority of the judges of the court to be present at the seat of 
government, which was at Salem. The chief justice said in substance: By 
the act of coming here we have virtually decided this question. Or. Specta 
tor, Dec. 2, 1851. 

"The principal persons in the transactions of the indignation meeting 
were J. B. Chapman, M. T. Simmons, D. F. Brownfield, W. P. Dougherty, 
E. Sylvester, Thos. W. Glasgow, and James McAllister. Or. Statesman,) Dec. 
.2, 1851. 


exonerated Judge Strong, declaring that the senti 
ment of the meeting had been maliciously misrepre 
sented; Strong replying that the explanation was 
satisfactory to him. But the Statesman, ever on the 
alert to pry into actions and motives, soon made it 
appear that the reconciliation had not been between 
the people and Strong, but that W. W. Chapman, 
who had been dismissed from the roll of attorneys in 
the second district, had himself written the letter and 
used means to procure his brother s signature with the 
object of being admitted to practice in the first dis 
trict; the threefold purpose being gained of exculpa 
ting Strong, undoing the acts of Pratt, and replacing 
Chapman on the roll of attorneys. 45 

A majority of the legislative assembly having con 
vened at Salem, that body organized by electing 
Samuel Parker president of the council, and Richard 
J. White, chief clerk, assisted by Chester N. Terry and 
Thomas B. Micou. In the house of representatives 
William M. King was elected speaker, and Benjamin 
P. Harding chief clerk. Having spent several days 
in making and adopting rules of procedure, on the 5th 
of December the representatives informed the council 
of their appointment of a committee, consisting of 
Cole, Anderson, Drew, White, and Chapman, to act 
in conjunction with a committee from the council, to 
draft resolutions concerning the course pursued by 
the federal officers. 46 The message of the representa 
tives was laid on the table until the 8th. In the 
mean time Deady offered a resolution in the council 
that, in view of the action of Nelson and Strong, 
a memorial be sent to congress on the subject. Hall 
followed this resolution with another, that Hamil 
ton, secretary of the territory, should be informed 
that the legislative assembly was organized at Salem, 
and that his services as secretary were required at the 

46 Or. Statesman, Feb. 3, 1852. 
46 Ur. Council, Jour. 1851-2, 10. 


place named, which was laid on the table. Finally, 
on the 9th, a committee from both houses to draft 
a memorial to congress was appointed, consisting of 
Curry, Anderson, and Avery, on the part of the 
representatives, and Garrison, Waymire, and Humph 
rey, on the part of the council. 47 

Pratt s opinion in the matter was then asked, which 
sustained the legislature as against the judges. Rec 
tor was then ordered to bring the territorial library 
from Oregon City to Salem on or before the first 
day of January 1852, which was not permitted by 
the federal officers. 48 

The legislators then passed an act re-arranging the 
judicial districts, and taking the counties of Linn, 
Marion, and Lane from the first and attaching them 
to the second district. 49 This action was justified by 
the Statesman, on the ground that Judge Nelson had 
proclaimed that he should decree all the legislation 
of the session held at Salem null. On the other hand 
the people of the three counties mentioned, excepting 
a small minority, held them to be valid; and it was 
better that Pratt should administer the laws peace 
fully than that Nelson should, by declaring them 
void, create disorder, and cause dissatisfaction. The 
latter was, therefore, left but one county, Clackamas, 
in which to administer justice. But the nullifiers, 
as the whig officials came now to be called, were not 

47 Or. Council, Jour. 1851-%, 12-13. This committee appears to have been 
intended to draft a memorial on general subjects, as the memorial concerning 
the interference of the governor and the condition of the judiciary was drawn 
by a different committee. 

48 The Statesman of July 3d remarked: * The territorial library, the gift of 
congress to Oregon, became the property, to all intents and purposes, of the 
federal clique, who refused to allow the books to be removed to Salem, and 
occupied the library room daily with a librarian of the governor s appointing. 
A full account of the affair was published in a little sheet called Vox Populi, 
printed at Salem, and devoted to legislative proceedings and the location 
question. The first number was issued on the 18th of December 1851. The 
standing advertisement at the head of the local column was as follows: The 
Vox Populi will be published and edited at Salem, 0. T., during the session 
of the legislative assembly by an association of gentlemen. This little paper 
contained a great deal that was personally disagreeable to the federal officers. 

49 Deady * Hist. Or., MS., 27-8; Strong s Hist. Or., MS., 62-3; Grover s 
Pub. Life in Or., MS., 53. 


without their friends. The Oregonian, which was 
the accredited organ of the federal clique, was loud 
in condemnation of the course pursued by the legisla 
tors, while the Spectator, which professed to be an in 
dependent paper, weakly supported Governor Gaines 
and Chief Justice Nelson. Even in the legislative 
body itself there was a certain minority who protested 
against the^acts of the majority, not on the subject 
of the location act alone, or the change in the judicial 
districts, leaving the chief justice one county only for 
his district, but also on account of the memorial to 
congress, prepared by the joint committee from both 
houses, setting forth the condition of affairs in the 
territory, and asking that the people of Oregon might 
be permitted to elect their governor, secretary, and 

The memorial passed the assembly almost by accla 
mation, three members only voting against it, one of 
them protesting formally that it was a calumnious 
document. The people then took up the matter, pub 
lic meetings being held in the different counties to 
approve or condemn the course of the legislature, a 
large majority expressing approbation of the assembly 
and censuring the whig judges. A bill was finally 
passed calling for a constitutional convention in the 
event of congress refusing to entertain their petition 
to permit Oregon to elect her governor and judges. 
This important business having been disposed of, the 
legislators addressed themselves to other matters. 
Lane was instructed to ask for an amendment to the 
land law; for an increase in the number of councilmen 
in proportion to the increase of representatives; to 
procure the immediate survey of Yaquina Bay and 
Umpqua Eiver; to procure the auditing and payment 
of the Cayuse war accounts; to have the organic act 
amended so as to allow the county commissioners to 
locate the school lands in legal subdivisions or in frac 
tions lying between claims, without reference to size 
or shape, where the sixteenth and thirty-sixth sec- 


tions were already settled upon; to have the postal 
agent in Oregon 50 instructed to locate post-offices and 
establish mail routes, so as to facilitate correspondence 
with different portions of the territory, instead of 
aiming to increase the revenue of the general govern 
ment; to endeavor to have the mail steamship con 
tract complied with in the matter of leaving a mail at 
the mouth of the Umpqua River, and to procure the 
change of the port of entry on that river from Scotts- 
burg to Umpqua City. Last of all, the delegate was 
requested to advise congress of the fact that the ter 
ritorial secretary, Hamilton, refused to pay the legis 
lators their dues; and that it was feared the money 
had been expended in some other manner. 

Several new counties were created at this session, 
raising the whole number to sixteen. An act to create 
and organize Simmons out of a part of Lewis county 
was amended to make it Thurston county, and the 
eastern limits of Lewis were altered and defined. 51 
Douglas was organized out of Umpqua county, leav 
ing the latter on the coast, while the Umpqua Valley 
constituted Douglas. The county of Jackson was 
also created out of the southern portion of the former 
Umpqua county, comprising the valley of the Rogue 
River, 52 and it was thought the Shasta Valley. These 
two new countries were attached to Umpqua for judi 
cial purposes, by which arrangement the Second Judi 
cial district was made to extend from the Columbia 
River to the California boundary. 53 

50 The postal agent was Nathaniel Coe, who was made the subject of invid 
ious remark, being a presidential appointee. 

51 The boundaries are not given in the reports. They were subsequently 
changed when Washington was set off. See Or. Local Laws, 1851-2, 13-15, 
30; New Tacoma North Pacific Coast, Dec. 15, 1879. 

52 A resolution was passed by the assembly that the surveyor-general be 
required to take measures to ascertain whether the town known as Shasta 
Butte City j(Yreka) was in Oregon or not, and to publish the result of his 
observations in the Statesman. Or. Council, Jour. 1851-2, 53. 

53 The first term of the United States district court held at the new 
court-house in Cyntheann was in October 1851. At this term James Mc- 
Cabe, B. F. Harding, A. B. P. Wood, J. W. Nesmith, and W. G. T Vault 
were admitted to practice in the Second Judicial district. McCabe was 
appointed prosecuting attorney, Holbrook having gone on a visit to the 


The legislature provided for taking the census in 
order to apportion representatives, and authorized the 
county commissioners to locate the election districts; 
and to act as school commissioners to establish com 
mon schools. A board of three commissioners, Har 
rison Linnville, Sidney Ford, and Jesse Applegate, 
was appointed to select and locate two townships of 
land to aid in the establishment of a university, ac 
cording to the provisions of the act of congress of Sep 
tember 27, 1850. 

An act was passed, of which Waymire was the 
author, accepting the Oregon City claim according to 
the act of donation, and also creating the office of 
commissioner to control and sell the lands donated by 
congress for the endowment of a university; but it 
became of no effect through the failure of the assem 
bly to appoint such an officer. 54 Deady was the 
author of an act exempting the wife s half of a donation 
claim from liability for the debts of the husband, 
which was passed, and which has saved the homesteads 
of many families from sheriff s sale. 

Among the local laws were two incorporating the 
Oregon academy at Lafayette, and the first Methodist 
church at Salem. 55 In order to defeat the federal 

States. J. W. Nesmith was appointed master and commissioner in chancery, 
and J. H. Lewis commissioner to take bail. Lewis, familiarly known as 
Uncle Jack, came to Oregon in 1847 and settled on La Creole, on a farm, later 
the property of John M. Scott, on which a portion of the town of Dalks is 
located. Upon the resignation of H. M. Weller, county clerk, in August 
1851, Lewis was appointed in his place, and subsequently elected to the 
office by the people. His name is closely connected with the history of the 
county and of Dallas. The first term of the district court held in anyj)art 
of southern Oregon was at Yoncalla, in the autumn of 1852. Gibbs 1 Notes, 
MS., 15. The first courts in Jackson county about 1851-2 were held by 
justices of the peace called alcaldes, as in California. Rogers was the first, 
Abbott the second. It was not known at this time whether Rogue River 
Valley fell within the limits of California or Oregon, and the jurisdiction 

225-30. Pratt ieft Oregon in 1856 to reside in Cal. He had done substantial 
pioneer work on the bench, and owing to his conspicuous career he had been 
criticised doubtless through partisan feeling. 

34 For act see Or. Statesman, Feb. 3, 1852. 

55 Trustees of Oregon academy: Ahio S. Watt, R. P. Boise, James McBride, 
A J Hembree, Edward Geary, James W. Nesmith, Matthew P. Deady, R. 


officers in their effort to deprive the legislators of the 
use of the territorial library, an act was passed re 
quiring a five thousand dollar bond to be given by 
the librarian, who was elected by the assembly. 56 

Besides the memorial concerning the governor and 
judges, another petition addressed to congress asked 
for better mail facilities with a post-office at each 
court-house in the several counties, and a mail route 
direct from San Francisco to Puget Sound, showing 
the increasing settlement of that region. It was 
asked that troops be stationed in the Rogue River 
Valley, and at points between Fort Hall and The 
Dalles for the protection of the immigration, which 
this year suffered several atrocities at the hands of 
the Indians on this portion of the route; that the pay 
of the revenue officers be increased; 57 and that an ap 
propriation be made to continue the geological survey 
of Oregon already begun. 

Having elected R. P. Boise district -attorney for 
the first and second judicial districts, and I. N. Ebey 
to the same office for the third district; reflected 
Bush territorial printer, and J. D. Boon territorial 
treasurer, 58 the assembly adjourned on the 21st of 
January, to carry on the war against the federal offi 
cers in a different field. 59 

C. Kinney, and Joel Palmer. Or. Local Laws, 1851-2, 62-3. The Meth 
odist church in Oregon City was incorporated in May 1850. 

56 Ludwell Rector was elected. The former librarian was a young man 
who came out with Gaines, and placed in that position by him while he held 
the clerkship of the surveyor-general s office, and also of the supreme court. 
Or. Statesman, Feb. 3, 1852. 

57 See memorial of J. A. Anderson of Clatsop County in Or. Statesman, 
Jan. 20, 1852. 

58 J. D. Boon was a Wesleyan Methodist preacher, a plain, unlearned man, 
honest and fervent, an immigrant of 1845. He was for many years a resident 
of Salem, and held the office of treasurer for several terms. Deady s Scrap 
Bool, 87. 

59 There were in this legislature a few not heretofore specially mentioned. 
J. M. Garrison, one of the men of 1843, before spoken of, was born in Indiana 
in 1813, and was a farmer in Marion county. Wilie Chapman, also of Marion, 
was born in South Carolina in 1817, reared in Tenn., and came to Oregon in 
1847. He kept a hotel at Salem. Luther White, of Linn, preacher and 
farmer, was born in 1797 in Ky, and immigrated to Oregon in 1847. A. J. 
Hembree, of the immigration of 1843, was born in Tenn. in 1813; was a 
merchant and farmer in Yamhill. James S. Holman, an immigrant of 1847, 


From the adjournment of the legislative assembly 
great anxiety was felt as to the action of congress in 
the matter of the memorial. Meanwhile the news 
paper war was waged with bitterness and no great 
attention to decency. Seldom was journalism more 
completely prostituted to party and personal issues 
than in Oregon at this time and for several years 
thereafter. Private character and personal idiosyn 
crasies were subjected to the most scathing ridicule. 

With regard to the truth of the allegations brought 
against the unpopular officials, from the evidence be 
fore me, there is no doubt that the governor was vain 
and narrow-minded ; though of course his enemies ex 
aggerated his weak points, while covering his credit 
able ones, 60 and that to a degree his official errors 
could not justify, heaping ridicule upon his past mili 
tary career, as well as blame upon his present guberna 
torial acts, 61 and accusing him of everything dishonest, 

was born in Tenn. in 1813; a farmer in Polk. David S. Risdon was born in 
Vt in 1823, came to Oregon in 1850; lawyer by profession. John A. Ander 
son was born in Ky in 1824, reared in north Miss., and came to Oregon in 
1850; lawyer and clerk in the custom-house at Astoria. James Davidson, 
born in Ky in 1792; emigrated .thence in 1847; housejoiner by occupation. 
George E. Cole, politician, born in New York in 1820; emigrated thence in 
1850 by the way of California. He removed to Washington in 1858, and was 
sent as a delegate to congress; but afterward returned to Oregon, and held 
the office of postmaster at Portland from 1873 to 1881. 

60 A pp legate s Views of Hist., MS., 48. Gaines assaulted Bush in the 
street on two occasions; once for accidentally jostling him, and again for 
something said in the Statesman. See issues of Jan. 27th and June 29, 1852. 
A writer calling himself A Kentuckian had attacked the governor s exercise 
of the pardoning power in the case of Enoch Smith, reminding his excellency 
that Kentucky, which produced the governor, produced also nearly all the 
murderers in Oregon, namely, Keen, Kendall, Turner, the two Evermans, and 
Smith. Common sense, sir, said this correspondent, should teach you that 
the prestige of Kentucky origin will not sustain you in your mental imbecility; 
and that Kentucky aristocracy, devoid of sense and virtue, will not pass cur 
rent in this intelligent market. Or. Statesman, June 15, 1852. 

61 John P. Gaines was born in Augusta, Va, in September 1795, removing 
to Boone county, Ky, in early youth. He volunteered in the war of 1812, 
being in the battle of the Thames and several other engagements. He rep 
resented Boone county for several years in the legislature of Ky, and was 
subsequently sent to congress from 1847 to 1849. He was elected major of 
the Ky cavalry, and served in the Mexican war until taken prisoner at 
Encarnacion. After some months of captivity he escaped, and joining the 
army served to the end of the war. On his return from Mexico, Taylor 
appointed him governor of Oregon. When his term expired he retired upon 
a farm in Marion county, where he resided till his death in December 1857. 
8. F. Alta, Jan. 4, 1858. 


from drawing his family stores from the quarter-mas 
ter s department at Vancouver, to re-auditing and 
changing the values of the certificates of the commis 
sioners appointed to audit the Cayuse war claims, and 
retaining the same to use for political purposes; 62 the 
truth being that these claims were used by both par 
ties. Holbrook, the United States attorney, was 
charged with dishonesty and with influencing both 
the governor and judges, and denounced as being 
responsible for many of their acts; 63 a judgment to 
which subsequent events seemed to give color. 

At the regular term, court was held in Marion 
county. Nelson repaired to Salem, and was met by 
a committee with offensive resolutions passed at a 
public meeting, and with other tokens of the spirit in 
which an attempt to defy the law of the territory, as 
passed at the last session, would be received. 64 Mean 
time the opposing parties had each had a hearing at 

62 Or. Statesman, Nov. 6, 1852; Id., Feb. 26, 1853. Whether or not this 
was true, Lane procured an amendment to the former acts of congress in order 
to make up the deficiency said to have been occasioned by the alteration of 
the certificates. Cong. Globe, 1852-3, app. 341; 33d Cong., 1st Sess., H. Com. 
Kept. 122, 4-5. 

63 Memorial, in 32d Cong., 1st Sess., H. Misc. Doc. 9, 2; Or. Statesman, 
May 18, 1852. 

64 The ridicule, however, was not all on one side. There appeared in the 
Oregonian, and afterward in pamphlet form, with a dedication to the editors 
of Vox Populi, a satire written in dramatic verse, and styled a Melodrama, 
illustrated with rude wood-cuts, and showing considerable ability both for 
composition and burlesque. This publication, both on account of its political 
effect and because it was the first book written and published in Oregon of 
an original nature, deserves to be remembered. It contained 32 doublt-col- 
umned pages, divided into five acts. The persons satirized were Pratt, 
Deady, Lovejoy, King, Anderson, Avery, Waymire, Parker, Thornton, Will- 
son. Bush, Backenstos, and Waterman of the Portland Times. The author 
was William L. Adams, an immigrant of 1848, a native of Painesville, Ohio, 
where he was born Feb. 1821. His parents removed to Michigan in 1834. 
In 1835 Adams entered college at Can ton, 111.; going afterward to Galesburg, 
supporting himself by teaching in the vacations. He finished his studies at 
Bethany College, Va, and became a convert to the renowned Alexander 
Campbell. In 1845 he married Olivia Goodell, a native of Maine, and settled 
in Henderson County, 111. , from which state he came to Oregon. He taught 
school in Yamhill county, and was elected probate judge. He was of 
fered a press at Oregon City if he would establish a whig newspaper at that 
place, which he declined; but in 1858 he purchased the Spectator press and 
helped materially to found the present republican party of Oregon. He was 
rewarded with the collectorship at Astoria under Lincoln. Portland West 
Shore, May, 1876. 


Washington. The legislative memorial and commu 
nications from the governor and secretary were spread 
before both houses of congress. 65 The same mail 
which conveyed the memorial conveyed a copy of the 
location act, the governor s message on the subject, 
the opinion of Attorney-General Crittenden, and the 
opinions of the district judges of Oregon. The presi 
dent in order to put an end to the quarrel recom 
mended congress to fix the seat of government of 
Oregon either temporarily or permanently, and to 
approve or disapprove the laws passed at Salem, in 
conformity to their decision 66 in favor of or against 
that place for the seat of government. To disapprove 
the action of the assembly would be to cause the 
nullification of many useful laws, and to create pro 
tracted confusion without ending the political feud. 
Accordingly congress confirmed the location and other 
laws passed at Salem, by a joint resolution, and the 
president signed it on the 4th of May. 67 

Thus far the legislative party was triumphant. 
The imported officials had been rebuked; the course 
of Governor Gaines had been commented on by many 
of the eastern papers in no flattering terms; and let 
ters from their delegate led them to believe that 
congress might grant the amendments asked to the 
organic act, permitting them to elect their governor 
and judges. The house did indeed on the 22d of 
June pass a bill to amend, 68 but no action was taken 
upon it in the senate, though a motion was made to 
return it, with other unfinished business, at the close 
of the session, to the files of the senate. 

The difference between the first Oregon delegate 
and the second was very apparent in the management 

Cong., 1st Sess., 8. Jour., 339; Cong. Globe, 1851-2, 451, 771; S2d 
Cong., 1st Sess., H. Misc. Doc. 10; 32d Cong., 1st Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 94, 29. 
*30d Cong., 1st Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 94, 1-2; and Id., 96, 1-8; Location 
Law, 1-39. The Location Law is a pamphlet publication containing the 
documents on this subject. 

67 Cong. Globe, 1851-2, 1199, 1209; 32d Cong., 1st Sess., 8. Jour., 394; 
Or. Statesman, June 29, 1852; Or. Gen. Laws, 1845-64, 71. 
Cong., 1st Sess., Cong. Globe, 1851-2, 1594. 


of this business. Had Thurston been charged by his 
party to procure the passage of this amendment, the 
journals of the house would have shown some bold 
and fiery assaults upon established rules, and proofs 
positive that the innovation was necessary to the 
peace and prosperity of the territory. On the con 
trary, Lane was betrayed by his loyalty to his per 
sonal friends into seeming to deny the allegations of 
his constituents against the judiciary. 

The location question led to the regular organiza 
tion of a democratic party in Oregon in the spring of 
1852, forcing the whigs to nominate a ticket. The 
democrats carried the election; and soon after this 
triumph came the official information of the action of 
congress on the location law, when Gaines, with that 
want of tact which rendered abortive his administra 
tion, was no sooner officially informed of the confirma 
tion of the laws of the legislative assembly and the 
settlement of the seat-of-government question than he 
issued a proclamation calling for a special session of 
the legislature to commence on the 26th of July. In 
obedience to the call, the newly elected members, many 
of whom were of the late legislative body, assembled 
at Salem, and organized by electing Deady president 
of the council, and Harding speaker of the house. 
With the same absence of discretion the governor in 
his message, after congratulating them on the settle 
ment of a vexed question, informed the legislature 
that it was still a matter of grave doubt to what ex 
tent the location act had been confirmed; and that 
even had it been wholly and permanently established, 
it was still so defective as to require further legisla 
tion, for which purpose he had called them together, 
though conscious it was at a season of the year when 
to attend to this important duty would seriously in 
terfere with their ordinary avocations; yet he hoped 
they would be willing to make any reasonable sacri 
fice for the general good. The defects in the location 


act were pointed out, and they were reminded that 
no sites for the public buildings had yet been selected, 
and until that was done no contracts could be let for 
beginning the work; nor could any money be drawn 
from the sums appropriated until the commissioners 
were authorized by law to call for it. He also called 
their attention to the necessity of re-arranging the 
judicial districts, and reminded them of the incon 
gruous condition of the laws, recommending the ap 
pointment of a board for their revision, with other 
suggestions, good enough in themselves, but distaste 
ful as coining from him under the circumstances, and 
at an unusual and inconvenient time. In this mood the 
assembly adjourned sine die on the third day, with 
out having transacted any legislative business, and the 
seat-of-government feud became quieted for a time. 

This did not, however, end the battle. The chief 
justice refused to recognize the prosecuting attorney 
elected by the legislative assembly, in the absence 
of Amory Halbrook, and appointed S. B. Mayre, 
who acted in this capacity at the spring term of court 
in Clackamas county. The law of the territory re 
quiring indictments to be signed by this officer, it was 
apprehended that on account of the irregular proceed 
ings of the chief justice many indictments would be 
quashed. In this condition of affairs the democratic 
press was ardently advocating the election of Frank 
lin Pierce, the party candidate for the presidency of 
the United States, as if the welfare of the territory 
depended upon the executive being a democrat. Al 
though the remainder of Games administration was 
more peaceful, he never became a favorite of either 
faction, and great was the rejoicing when at the close 
of his delegateship Lane was returned to Oregon as 
governor, to resign and run again for delegate, leav 
ing his secretary, George L. Curry, one of the Salem 
clique, as the party leaders carne to be denominated, 
to rule according to their promptings. 






WHILE politics occupied so much attention, the 
country was making long strides in material progress. 
The immigration of 1850 to the Pacific coast, by the 
overland route alone, amounted to between thirty and 
forty thousand persons, chiefly men. Through the 
exertions of the Oregon delegate, in and out of con 
gress, about eight thousand were persuaded to settle 
in Oregon, where they arrived after undergoing more 
than the usual misfortunes. Among other things was 
cholera, from which several hundred died between the 
Missouri River and Fort Laramie. 1 The crowded 
condition of the road, which was one cause of the 
pestilence, occasioned delays with the consequent ex 
haustion of supplies. 2 The famine becoming known 
in Portland, assistance was forwarded to The Dalles 

1 White, in Camp Fire Orations, MS., 9-10; DowelVa Journal, MS., 5; 
Johnson s Gal. and Or. , 255; Or. Spectator, Sept. 26, 1850. 

2 Says one of the sufferers: I saw men who had been strong stout men 
walking along through the hot desert sands, crying like children with fatigue, 
hunger, and despair. CardweWs Emig. Comply, MS., 1. 



military post, and thence carried forward and distrib 
uted by army officers and soldiers. Among the arrivals 
were many children, made orphans en route, and it 
was in the interest of these and like helpless ones 
that Frederick Waymire petitioned congress to amend 
the land law, as mentioned in the previous chapter. 
Those who came this year were bent on speculation 
more than any who had come before them; the gold 
fever had unsettled ideas of plodding industry and 
slow accumulation. Some came for pleasure and ob 
servation. 3 

Under the excitement of gold-seeking and the 
spirit of adventure awakened by it, all the great 
north-western seaboard was opened to settlement with 
marvellous rapidity. A rage for discovery and pros 
pecting possessed the people, and produced in a short 
time marked results. From the Klamath Eiver to 
Puget Sound, and from the upper Columbia to the 
sea, men were spying out mineral wealth or laying 
plans to profit by the operations of those who pre 
ferred the risks of the gold-fields to other and more 
settled pursuits. In the spring of 1850 an association 
of seventy persons was formed in San Francisco to 
discover the mouth of Klamath River, believed at the 

1 Among those who took the route to the Columbia Eiver was Henry J. 
Coke, an English gentleman travelling for pleasure. He arrived at Vancouver 
Oct. 22, 1850, and after a brief look at Oregon City sailed in the Mary Dare 
for the Islands, visiting San Francisco in Feb. 1851, thence proceeding to 
Mexico and Vera Cruz, and by the way of St Thomas back to England, all 
without appearing to see much, though he wrote a book called Coke s Ride. 
Two Frenchmen, Julius Brenchly and Jules Remy, were much interested in 
the Mormons, and wrote a book of not much value. Remy and BrencMy, ii. 

F. G. Hearn started from Kentucky intending to settle in Oregon, but 
seized by cholera was kept at Fort Laramie till the following year, when with 
a party of six he came on to the Willamette Valley, and finally took up his resi 
dence at Yreka, California. Beam s California Sketches, MS., is a collection 
of observations on the border country between California and Oregon. 

Two Irishmen, Kelly and Con way, crossed the continent this year with no 
other supplies than they carried in their haversacks, depending on their rifles 
for food. They were only three months in travelling from Kansas to the Sac 
ramento Valley, which they entered before going to Oregon. Qulglnfs Irish 
Race, 216-17. During Aug. and Sept. of this year Oregon was visited by the 
French traveller Saint Amant, who made some unimportant notes for the 
French government. Certain of his observations were apocryphal. See Saint 
Amant, 139-391. 


time, owing to an error of Fremont s, to be in Oregon. 
The object was wholly speculative, and included be 
sides hunting for gold the opening of a road to the 
mines of northern California, the founding of towns 
at the most favorable points on the route, with other 
enterprises. In May thirty-five of the shareholders, 
and some others, set out in the schooner Samuel Rob 
erts to explore the coast near the Oregon boundary. 
None of them were accustomed to hardships, and not 
more than three knew anything about sailing a ship. 
Lyman, the captain and owner, was not a sailor, but 
left the management of the vessel to Peter Mackie, a 
young Canadian who understood his business, and who 
subsequently for many years sailed a steamship be 
tween San Francisco and Portland. Lyman s second 
mate was an Englishman named Samuel E. Smith, 
also a fair seaman; while the rest of the crew were 
volunteers from among the schooner s company. 

The expedition was furnished with a four-pound 
carronade and small arms. For shot they brought 
half a ton of nails, screws, hinges, and other bits of 
iron gathered from the ashes of a burned hardware 
store. Provisions were abundant, and two surveyors, 
with their instruments, were among the company/ 
which boasted several college graduates and men of 
parts. 5 

By good fortune, rather than by any knowledge or 
superior management, the schooner passed safely up 
the coast as far as the mouth of Rogue River, but 
without having seen the entrance to the Klamath, 
which they looked for north of its right latitude. A 

* These were Nathan Schofield, A. M., author of a work on surveying, and 
Socrates Schofield his son, both from near Norwich, Connecticut. Schofield 
Creek in Douglas county is named after the latter. 

5 Besides the Schofields there were i the exploring company Heman Win 
chester, and brother, editor of the Pacific News of San Francisco; Dr Henry 
Payne, of New York; Dr E. R. Fiske, of Massachusetts; S. S. Mann, a gradu 
ate of Harvard University; Dr J. W. Drew, of New Hampshire; Barney, of 
New York; Woodbury, of Connecticut; C. T. Hopkins, of San Francisco; Henry 
H. Woodward, Patrick Flanagan, Anthony Ten Eyck, A. G. Able, James K. 
Kelly, afterward a leading man in Oregon politics; Deaii, Tierman, Evans, 
and Knight, whose names have been preserved. 


boat with, six men sent to examine the entrance was 
overturned in the river and two were drowned, the 
others being rescued by Indians who pulled them 
ashore to strip them of their clothing. The schooner 
meantime was following in, and by the aid of glasses 
it was discovered that the shore was populous with 
excited savages running hither and thither with such 
display of ferocity as would have deterred the vessel 
from entering had not those on board determined to 
rescue their comrades at any hazard. It was high 
tide, and by much manoeuvring the schooner was 
run over the bar in a fathom and a half of water. 
The shout of relief as they entered the river was 
answered by yells from the shore, where could be 
seen the survivors of the boat s crew, naked and half 
dead with cold and exhaustion, being freely handled 
by their captors. As soon as the vessel was well 
inside, two hundred natives appeared and crowded on 
board, the explorers being unable to prevent them. 
The best they could do was to feign indifference and 
trade the old iron for peltries. When the natives had 
nothing left to exchange for coveted articles, they ex 
hibited an ingenuity as thieves that would have done 
credit to a London pickpocket. Says one of the com 
pany: "Some grabbed the cook s towels, one bit a 
hole in the shirt of one of our men to get at some 
beads he had deposited there, and so slyly, too, that 
the latter did not perceive his loss at the time. One 
fellow stole the eye-glass of the ship s quadrant, and 
another made way with the surveyor s note -book. 
Some started the schooner s copper with their teeth ; 
and had actually made some progress in stripping her 
as she lay high and dry at low water, before they 
were found out. One enterprising genius undertook 
to get possession of the chain and anchor by sawing 
off the former under water with his iron knife! Con 
scious of guilt, and fearing lest we might discover the 
mischief he intended us, he would now and then throw 
a furtive glance toward the bow of the vessel, to the 

HIST. OB.. VOL. II. 12 


great amusement of those who were watching him 
through the hawse pipes." 

An examination more laborious than profitable was 
made of the country thereabout, which seemed to 
offer no inducements to enterprise sufficient to war 
rant the founding of a settlement for any purpose. 
Upon consultation it was decided to continue the 
voyage as far north as the Umpqua River, and hav 
ing dispersed the tenacious thieves of Rogue River by 
firing among them a quantity of their miscellaneous 
ammunition, the schooner succeeded in getting to sea 
again without accident. 

Proceeding up the coast, the entrance to Coos Bay 
was sighted, but the vessel being becalmed could not 
enter. While awaiting wind, a canoe approached 
from the north, containing Umpquas, who offered to 
show the entrance to their river, which was made the 
5th of August. Two of the party went ashore in the 
canoe, returning at nightfall with reports that caused 
the carronade to belch forth a salute to the rocks and 
woods, heightened by the roar of a simultaneous dis 
charge of small arms. A flag made on the voyage 
was run up the mast, and all was hilarity on board 
the Samuel Roberts. On the 6th, the schooner crossed 
the bar, being the first vessel known to have entered 
the river in safety. On rounding into the cove called 
Winchester Bay, after one of the explorers, they came 
upon a party of Oregonians; Jesse Applegate, Levi 
Scott, and Joseph Sloan, who were themselves ex 
ploring the valley of the Umpqua with a purpose 
similar to their own. 6 A boat was sent ashore and a 
joyful meeting took place in which mutual encourage 
ment and assistance were promised. It was found that 
Scott had already taken a claim about twenty-six 
miles up the river at the place which now bears the 
name of Scottsburg, and that the party had come 
down to the mouth in the expectation of meeting 

6 Or. Spectator, March 7 and Sept. 12, 1850. See also Pioneer Mag., i. 
_282, 350. 


there the United States surveying schooner Swing, 
in the hope of obtaining a good report of the harbor. 
But on learning the designs of the California com 
pany, a hearty cooperation was offered on one part, 
and willingly accepted on the other. Another cir 
cumstance in favor of the Umpqua for settlement 
was the peaceable disposition of the natives, who 
since the days when they murdered Jedediah Smith s 
party had been brought under the pacifying influ 
ences of the Hudson s Bay Company, and sustained 
a good reputation as compared with the other coast 

On the morning of the 7th the schooner proceeded 
up the river, keeping the channel by sounding from a 
small boat in advance, and finding it one of the love 
liest of streams; 7 at least, so thought the explorers, 
one of whom afterward became its historian. 8 Finding 
a good depth of water, with the tide, for a distance 
of eighteen miles, the boat s crew became negligent, 
and failing to note a gravelly bar at the foot of a bluff 
a thousand feet in height the schooner grounded in 
eight feet of water, and when the tide ebbed was left 
stranded. 9 

However, the small boat proceeded to the foot of the 
rapids, where Scott was located, this being the head 
of tide-water, and the vessel was afterward brought 
safely hither. In consideration of their services in 

7 It is the largest river between the Sacramento and the Columbia. * Ves 
sels of 800 tons can enter. Mrs Victor, in Puc. Rural Press, Nov. 8, 1 879. 
The Umpqua is sometimes supposed to bo the river discovered by Flores in 
1G03, and afterwards referred to as the "River of the West. " Davidson s 
Coast Pilot, 126. 

8 This was Charles T. Hopkins, who wrote an account of the Umpqua ad 
venture for the S. F. Pioneer, vol. i. ii., a periodical published in the early 
days of California magazine literature. I have drawn my account partly from 
this source, as well as from Gibb* Notes on Or. Hist., MS., 2-3, and from 
Historical Correspondence, MS., by S. 8. Mann, S. F. Chadwick, H. H. Wood 
ward, members of the Umpqua company, and also from other sources, among 
which are Williams S. W. Oregon, MS., 2-3.; Letters of D. J. Lyons, and the 
Oregon Spectator, Sept. 5, 1850; Deadtfs Scrap-Book, 83; 8. F. Evening Pica 
yune, Sept. 6, 1850. 

9 Gibbs says: The passengers endeavored to lighten the cargo by pouring 
the vessel s store of liquors down their throats, from which hilarious proceed 
ing the shoal took the name of Brandy Bar. Notes, MS., 4. 


opening the river to navigation and commerce, Scott 
presented the company with one hundred and sixty 
acres of his land-claim, or that portion lying below 
the rapids, for a town site. Affairs having progresse4 
so well the members of the expedition now organized 
regularly into a joint stock association called the 
"Umpqua Town-site and Colonization Land Com 
pany," the property to be divided into shares and 
drawn by lot among the original members. They 
divided their forces, and aided by Applegate and 
Scott proceeded to survey and explore to and through 
the Umpqua Valley. One party set out for the ferry 
on the north branch of the Umpqua, and another for 
the main valley, 10 coming out at Applegate s settlement 
of Yoncalla, while a third remained with the schooner. 
Three weeks of industrious search enabled them to 
select four sites for future settlements. One at the 
mouth of the river was named Umpqua City, and 
contained twelve hundred and eighty acres, being 
situated on both sides of the entrance. The second 
location was Scottsburg. The third, called Elkton, 
was situated on Elk River at its junction with the 
Umpqua. The fourth, at the ferry above mentioned, 
was named Winchester, and was purchased by the 
company from the original claimant, John Aiken, 
who had a valuable property at that place, the natural 
centre of the valley. 

Having made these selections according to the best 
judgment of the surveyors, some of the company 
remained, while the rest reembarked and returned to 
San Francisco. In October the company having sold 
quite a number of lots were able to begin operations 
in Oregon. They despatched the brig Kate Heath, 
Captain Thomas Wood, with milling machinery, mer 
chandise, and seventy-five emigrants. On this vessel 
were also a number of zinc houses made in Boston, 

10 Oakland, a few miles south of Yoncalla, was laid out in 1849 by Chester 
Lyman, since a professor at Yale College. This is the oldest surveyed town 
in the Umpqua Valley. Or. Sketches, MS., 3. 


which were put up on the site of Umpqua City. In 
charge of the company s business was Addison C. 
Gibbs, afterward governor of Oregon, who was on his 
way to the territory when he fell in with the projectors 
of the scheme, and accepted a position and shares. 11 

Thus far all went well. But the Umpqua Com 
pany were destined to bear some of those misfortunes 
which usually attend like enterprises. The passage 
of the Oregon land law in September was the first 
blow, framed as it was to prevent companies or non 
residents from holding lands for speculative purposes, 
in consequence of which no patent could issue to the 
company, and it could give no title to the lands it 
was^oifering for sale. They might, unrebuked, have 
carried on a trade begun in timber; but the loss of 
one vessel loaded with piles, and the ruinous detention 
of Another, together with a fall of fifty per cent in 
the price of their cargoes, soon left the contractors in 
debt, and an assignment was the result, an event 
hastened ^ by the failure of the firm in San Francisco 
with which the company had deposited its funds. 
Five months after the return of the Samuel Roberts to 
San Frariciseo, not one of those who sailed from the 
river in her was in any manner connected with the 
Umpqua scheme. The company in California having 
ceased to furnish means, those left in Oregon were 
compelled to direct their efforts toward solving the 
problem of how to live. 12 

11 D. C. Underwood, who had become a member of the association, was a 
passenger on the Kate Heath, a man well known in business and political cir 
cles in the state. 

12 Drew remained at Umpqua City, where he was subsequently Indian 
agent for many years, and where he held the office of collector of customs and 
subsequently of inspector. He was unmarried. Marysville Appeal, Jan. 20, 
18G4. Winchester remained in Oregon, residing at Scottsburg, then at Rose- 
burg and Empire City. He was a lawyer, and a favorite with the bar of the 
Second Judicial district. He was generous in dealing, liberal in thought, of 
entire truth, and absolutely incorruptible. Salem Mercury, Nov. 10, 1876. 
Gibbs took a land claim seven miles above the mouth of the Umpqua, laying 
out the town of Gardiner, and residing there for several years, during which 
time he returned to the east and married Margaret M. Watkins, of Erie 
county, N. Y. Addison Craudall Gibbs, afterward governor of Oregon, was 
born at East Otto, Cattaruugus county, N. Y., July 9, 1825, and educated at 
the New York State Normal school. He became a teacher, and studied law, 


But although the Umpqua Company failed to carry 
out its designs, it had greatly benefited southern 
Oregon by surveying and mapping Umpqua harbor, 
the notes of the survey being published, with a report 
of their explorations and discoveries of rich agricul 
tural lands, abundant and excellent timber, valuable 
water-power, coal and gold mines, fisheries and stone- 
being admitted to the bar in May 1849 at Albany. He is descended from a 
long line of lawyers in England ; his great grandfather was a commissioned 
officer in the revolutionary war. In Oregon he acted well his part of pioneer, 
carrying the mail in person, or by deputy, from Yoncalla to Scottsburg for a 
period of four years through the floods and storms of the wild coast mount 
ains, never missing a trip. He was elected to the legislature of 1851-2. 
When Gardiner was made a port of entry, Gibbs became collector of customs 
for the southern district of Oregon. He afterward removed to the Umpqua 
Valley, and in 1858 to Portland, where he continued the practice of law. He 
was ever a true friend of Oregon, taking a great personal interest in her de 
velopment and an intelligent pride in her history. He has spared no pains 
in giving me information, which is embodied in a manuscript entitled. Notes 
on the history of Oregon. 

Stephen Fowler Chadwick, a native of Connecticut, studied law in New 
York, where he was admitted to practice in 1850, immediately after which he 
set out for the Pacific coast, joining the Umpqua Company and arriving in 
Oregon just in time to be left a stranded speculator on the beautiful but 
lonely bank of that picturesque river. When the settlement of the valley 
increased he practised his profession with honor and profit, being elected 
county and probate judge, and also to represent Douglas county in the con 
vention which framed the state constitution. He was presidential elector in 
18(54 and 1868, being the messenger to carry the vote to Washington in the 
latter year. He was elected secretary of state in 1870, which office he held 
for eight years, becoming governor for the last two years by the resignation 
of Grover, who was elected to the U. S. senate. Governor Chadwick was also 
a distinguished member of the order of freemasons, having been grand master 
in the lodge of Perfection, and having received the 33d degree in the Scotch 
rite, as well as having been for 17 years chairman of the committee on foreign 
correspondence for the grand lodge of Oregon, and a favorite orator of the 
order. He married in 1856 Jane A. Smith of Douglas county, a native of 
Virginia, by whom he has two daughters and two sous. Of a lively and ami 
able temper and courteous manner, he has always enjoyed a popularity inde 
pendent of official eminence. His contributions to this history consist of 
letters and a brief statement of the Public Records of the (Japitol in manuscript. 
I shall never forget his kindness to me during my visit to Oregon in 1078. 
James K. Kelly was born in Center county, Penn., in 1819, educated at Prince 
ton college, N. J., and studied law at Carlisle law school, graduating in 1842, 
and practising in Lewiston, Penn., until 1849, when he started for California 
by way of Mexico. Not finding mining to his taste, he embarked his fortunes 
in the Umpqua Company. He went to Oregon City and soon came into notice. 
He was appointed code commissioner in 1853, as I have elsewhere mentioned, 
and was in the same year elected to the council, of which he was a member for 
four years and president for two sessions. As a military man lie figured con 
spicuously in the Indian wars. He was a member of the constitutional con 
vention in 1857, and of the state senate in I860. In 1870 he was sent to the 
U. S. senate, and in 1878 was appointed chief justice of the supreme court. 
His political career will be more particularly noticed in the progress of this 


quarries. These accounts brought population to that 
part of the coast, and soon vessels began to ply be 
tween San Francisco and Scottsburg. Gardiner, 
named after the captain of the Bostonian, which was 
wrecked in trying to enter the river in 1850, sprang 
up in 1851. In that year also a trail was constructed 
for pack-animals across the mountains to Winchester, 13 
which became the county seat of Douglas county, 
with a United States land office. From Winchester 
the route was extended to the mines in the Urnpqua 
and Rogue River valleys. Long trains of mules 
laden with goods for the mining region filed daily 
along the precipitous path which was dignified with 
the name of road, their tinkling bells striking cheerily 
the ear of the lonely traveller plodding his weary way 
to the gold-fields. Scottsburg, which was the point 
of departure for the pack-trains, became a commercial 
entrepot of importance. 14 The influence of the Ump- 
qua interest was sufficient to obtain from congress at 
the session of 185051 appropriations for mail ser 
vice by sea and land, a light-house at the mouth of 
the river, and a separate collection district. 15 

As the mines were opened permanent settlements 
were made upon the farming lands of southern Oregon, 
and various small towns were started from 1851 to 

13 Winchester was laid out by Addison C. Flint, who was in Chile in 1845, 
to assist in the preliminary survey of the railroad subsequently built by the 
infamous Harry Meigs. In 1849 Flint came to California, and the following 
yc ar to Oregon to make surveys for the Urapqua Company. He also laid out 
the town of Roseburg in 1854 for Aaron Rose, where he took up his residence 
in 1857. Or. Sketches, MS., 2-4. 

14 Allan, McKinlay, and McTavish of the Hudson s Bay Company opened 
a trading-house at Scottsburg; and Jesse Applegate also turned merchant. 
Applegate s manner of doing business is described by himself in Burnett s 
Re -collection* of a Pioneer: I sold goods on credit to those who needed them 
most, not to those who \vere able to pay, lost $30,000, and quit the business. 

15 The steamers carrying the mails from Panama to the Columbia River 
were under contract to stop at the Umpqua, and one entry was made, but 
the steamer was so nearly wrecked that no further attempt followed. The 
merchants and others at Scottsburg and the lower towns, as well as at 
Winchester, had to wait for their letters and papers to go to Portland and be 
sent up the valley by the bi-monthly mail to Y oncalla, a delay which was 
severely felt and impatiently resented. The legislature did not fail to repre 
sent the matter to congress, and Thurston did all he could to satisfy his con 
stituents, though he could not compel the steamship company to keep its 
contract or congress to annul it. 


1853 in the region south of Winchester, 16 notably the 
town of Roseburg, founded by Aaron Rose, 17 who 
purchased the claim from its locators for a horse, 
and a poor one at that. A flouring mill was put in 
operation in the northern part of Uinpqua Valley, and 
another erected during the summer of 1851 at Win 
chester. 18 A saw-mill soon followed in the Rogue 
River Valley, 19 many of which improvements were 
traceable, more or less directly, to the impetus given 
to settlement by the Umpqua Company. 

In passing back and forth to California, the Oregon 
miners had not failed to observe that the same soil and 
geological structure characterized the valleys north 
of the supposed 20 northern boundary of California that 

16 The first house in Rogue River Valley was built at the ferry on Rogue 
River established by Joel Perkins. The place was first known as Perkins 
Ferry, then Long s Ferry, and lastly as Vannoy s. The next settlement was 
at the mouth of Evans creek, a tributary of Rogue River, so called from a 
trader named Davis Evans, a somewhat bad character, who located there. 
The third was the claim of one Bills, also of doubtful repute. Then came the 
farm of N". C. Dean at Willow Springs, five miles north of Jacksonville, and 
near it the claim of A. A. Skinner, who built a house in the autumn of 
1851. South of Skinner s, on the road to Yreka, was the place of Stone 
and Points on Wagner creek, and beyond, toward the head of the valley, 
those of Dunn, Smith, Russell, Barren, and a few others. Duncan s Settle 
ment, MS., 5-6. The author of this work, L. J. C. Duncan, was born in 
Tennessee in 1818. He came to California in 1849, and worked in the Mari- 
posa mines until the autumn of 1850, when, becoming ill, he came to Oregon 
for a change of climate and more settled society. In the autumn of 1851 he 
determined to try mining in the Shasta Valley, and also to secure a land claim 
in the Rogue River Valley. This he did, locating on Bear or Stuart creek, 
12 miles south-east of Jacksonville, where he resided from 1851 to 1858, during 
which time he mined on Jackson s creek. He shared in the Indian wars which 
troubled the settlements for a number of years, finally establishing himself in 
Jacksonville in the practice of the law, and being elected to the office of 

17 Deacbfs Hist. Or. , MS. , 72-3. 

18 Or. Spectator, Feb. 10, 1852. 

19 J. A. Cardwell was born in Tennessee in 1827, emigrated from Iowa to 
Oregon in 1850, spent the first winter in the service of Quartermaster Ingalls 
at Fort Vancouver, and started in the spring for California with 26 others to 
engage in mining. After a skirmish with the Rogue River Indians and vari 
ous other adventures they reached the mines at Yreka, where they worked 
until the dry season forced a suspension of operations, when Cardwell, with 
E. Emery, J. Emery, and David Hurley, went to the present site of Ashland 
in the Rogue River Valley, and taking up a claim erected the first saw-mill 
in that region early in 1852. I have derived much valuable information from 
Mr Cardwell concerning southern Oregon history, which is contained in a 
manuscript entitled Emir/rant Company, in Mr Cardwell s own hand, of the 
incidents of the immigration of 1 850, the settlement of the Rogue River Val 
ley, and the Indian wars which followed. 

20 As late as 1854 the boundary was still in doubt. Intelligence has just 


were found in the known mining regions, and prospect 
ing was carried on to a considerable extent early in 
1850. In June two hundred miners were at work in 
the Umpqua Valley. 21 But little gold was found at 
this time, and the movement was southward, to Rogue 
River and Klamath. According to the best authori 
ties the first discovery on any of the tributaries of the 
Klamath was in the spring of 1850 at Salmon Creek. 
In July discoveries were made on the main Klamath, 
ten miles above the mouth of Trinity River, and in 
September on Scott River. In the spring of 1851 
gold was found in the Shasta Valley, 22 at various places, 

been receiA T ed from the surveying party under T. P. Robinson, county sur 
veyor, who was commissioned by the governor to survey the boundary line 
between California and Oregon. The party were met on the mountains by 
several gentlemen of this city, whose statement can be relied on, when they 
were informed by some of the gentlemen attached to the expedition, that the 
disputed territory belonged to Oregon, and not California, as was generally 
supposed. This territory includes two of the finest districts in the country, 
Sailor s Diggings and Althouse Creek, besides some other minor places not of 
much importance to either. The announcement has caused some excitement in 
that neighborhood, as the miners do not like to be so suddenly transported 
from California to Oregon. They have heretofore voted both in California and 
Oregon, although in the former state it has caused several contested election 
cases, and refused to pay taxes to either. It is also rumored around the city, 
for which we will not vouch, that Yreka is iii Oregon. But we hardly think 
it possible, from the observations heretofore taken by scientific men, which 
brings Yreka 15 miles within the line. Cresent City Herald, in JD. Alta 
Cala., June 28, 1854. 

21 8. F. Courier, July 10, 1850. 

2 -Iu the early summer of 1850 Gen. Lane, with a small party of Orego- 
nians, viz. John Kelly, Thomas Brown, Martin Angell, Samuel and John 
Simondson, and Lane s Indian servant, made a discovery on the Shasta river 
near where the town of Yreka was afterward built. The Indians proving 
troublesome the party removed to the diggings on the upper Sacramento, but 
not finding gold as plentiful as expected set out to prospect on Pit Paver, from 
which place they were driven by the Indians back to the Sacramento where 
they wintered, going in February 1851 to Scott River, from which locality 
Lane was recalled to the Willamette Valley to run for the office of delegate 
to congress. Speaking of the Pit river tribe, Lane says: The Pit Paver 
Indians were great thieves and murderers. They actually stole the blankets 
off the men in our camp, though I kept one man on guard all the time. They 
stole our best horse, tied at the head of my bed, which consisted of a blanket 
spread on the ground, with my saddle for a pillow. They sent an arrow into 
a miner because he happened to be rolled in his blanket so that they could 
not pull it from him. They caught Driscoll when out prospecting, and were 
hurrying him off into the mountains when my Indian boy gave the alarm and 
I went to his rescue. He was so frightened he could neither move nor speak, 
which condition of their captive impeded their progress. When I appeared 
he fell down in a swoon. I pointed my gun, which rested on my six-shooter, 
and ordered the Indians to leave. While they hesitated and were trying to 
flank me my Indian boy brought the canoe alongside the shore, on seeing 


notably on Greenhorn Creek, Yreka, and Humbug 

The Oregon miners were by this time satisfied that 
gold existed north of the Siskiyou range. Their ex 
plorations resulted in finding the metal on Big Bar of 
Rogue River, and in the canon of Josephine Creek. 
Meanwhile the beautiful and richly grassed valley of 
Rogue River became the paradise of packers, who 
grazed their mules there, returning to Scottsburg or 
the Willamette for a fresh cargo. In February 1852 
one Sykes who worked on the place of A. A. Skinner 
found gold on Jackson Creek, about on the west line 
of the present town of Jacksonville, and soon after 
two packers, Cluggage and Pool, occupying themselves 
with prospecting while their animals were feeding, 
discovered Rich Gulch, half a mile north of Sykes 
discovery. The wealth of these mines 23 led to an 
irruption from the California side of the Siskiyou, and 
Willow Springs five miles north of Jacksonville, 
Pleasant Creek, Applegate Creek, and many other 
localities became deservedly famous, yielding well for 
a number of years. 

Every miner, settler, and trader in this remote in 
terior region was anxious to hear from friends, home, 
and of the great commercial world without. As I 
have before said Thurston labored earnestly to show 
congress the necessity of better mail facilities for Ore 
gon, 24 the benefit intended to have been conferred 

which they beat a hasty retreat thinking I was about to be reenforced. Dris- 
coll would never cross to the east side of the river after his adventure. Lane s 
Autobiography, MS., 104-5. 

23 Early Affairs, MS., 10; Duncan s Southern Or., MS., 5-6; DowelVs 
Scrap-book, 31; Victor s Or., 334. A nugget was found in the Rogue River 
diggings weighing $800 and another $1300. See accounts in S. F. Alfa, 
Sept. 14, 1852; 8. F. Pac. News, March 14, 1851; and S. F. Herald, Sept. 
28, 1851. 

24 In October 1845 the postmaster-general advertised for proposals to carry 
the United States mail from New York by Habana to the (Jhagre River and 
back; with joint or separate offers to extend the transportation to Panama 
and up the Pacific to the mouth of the Columbia, and thence to the Hawaiian 
Islands, the senate recommending a mail route to Oregon. Between 1846 
and 1848 the government thought of the plan of encouraging by subsidies the 


having been diverted almost entirely to California by 
the exigencies of the larger population and business 
of that state with its phenomenal growth. 

The postal agent appointed at San Francisco for 
the Pacific coast discharged his duty by appointing 
postmasters, 25 but further than sending the mails to 
Oregon on sailing vessels occasionally he did nothing 
for the relief of the territory. 26 Not a mail steamer 
appeared on the Columbia in 1849. Thurston wrote 
home in December that he had been hunting up the 
documents relating to the Pacific mail service, and the 
reason why the steamers did not come to Astoria. 
The result of his search was the discovery that the 
then late secretary of the navy had agreed with 
Aspinwall that if he should send the Oregon mail 
and take the same, once a month, by sailing vessel, 
"at or near the mouth of the Klarnath River," and 
would touch at San Francisco, Monterey, and San 
Diego free of cost to the government, he should not 
be required to run steamers to Oregon till after re 
ceiving six months notice. 27 

Here were good faith and intelligence indeed! The 

establishment of a line of steamers between Panama and Oregon, by way of 
some port in California. At length Rowland and Aspinwall agreed to carry 
the mails once a month, and to put on a line of three steamers of from 1,000 
to 1,200 tons, giving cabin accommodations for about 25 passengers, as many 
it was thought as would probably go at one time, the remainder of the vessel 
being devoted to freight. Crosby s Statement, MS. , 3. Three steamers were 
constructed under a contract with the secretary of the navy, viz. : the Cali 
fornia, 1,400 tons, with a single engine of 250 horse-power, handsomely fin 
ished and carrying 46 cabin and a hundred steerage passengers; the Panama 
of 1,100 tons, and the Oregon of 1,200 tons, similarly built and furnished. 
32d Cony., l*t Sess., 8. Doc. 50; Hon. Polynesian, April 7, 1849; Otis Panama, 
7?. /?. The California left port in the autumn of 1848, arriving at Val 
paraiso on the 20th of December, seventy-four days from New York, proceed 
ing thence to Callao and Panama, where passengers from New York to 
Habana and Chagre were awaiting her, and reaching San Francisco on 
the 28th of February 1849, where she was received with great enthusiasm. 
She brought on this first trip over 12,000 letters. S. F. Alta California in 
Polynesian, April 14, 1849. See also Hist. Gal. and Col. Inter Pocula, this 

2i John Adair at Astoria, F. Smith at Portland, George L. Curry at Oregon 
City, and J. B. McClane, at Salem. J. C. A very was postmaster at CorvaUis, 
Jesse Applegate at Yoncalla, S. F. Chadwick at Scottsburg. 

26 Or. Spectator, Nov. 29, 1849; Rept. of Gen. Smith, in 81st Cong., 1st 
Sens., S. Doc. 47, 107. 

27 Or. Spectator, April 18, 1850. 


then undiscovered mouth of the Klamath River for 
a distributing point for the Oregon mail 1 Thurston 
with characteristic energy soon procured the promise 
of the secretary that the notice should be immediately 
given, and that after June 1850 mail steamers should 
go "not only to Nisqually, but to Astoria." 23 The 
postmaster-general also recommended the reduction 
of the postage to California and Oregon to take effect 
by the end of June 185 1. 29 

At length in June 1850 the steamship Carolina, 
Captain R. L. Whiting, made her first trip to Port 
land with mails and passengers. 30 She was withdrawn 
in August and placed on the Panamd route in order 
to complete the semi-monthly communication called 
for between that port and San Francisco. On the 1st 
of September the California arrived at Astoria and 
departed the same day, having lost three days in a 
heavy fog off the bar. On the 27th the Panama ar 
rived at Astoria, and two days later the Seagull, 21 a 
steam propeller. On the 24th of October the Oregon 
brought up the mail for the first time, and was an 
object of much interest on account of her name. 32 
There was no regularity in arrivals or departures 
until the coming from New York of the Columbia, 

28 This quotation refers to an effort on the part of certain persons to make 
Nisqually the point of distribution of the mails. The proposition was sus 
tained by Wilkes and Sir George Simpson. If they get ahead of me, said 
Thurston in his letter, they will rise early and work late. 

31ist Cong., M Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, 408, 410. This favor also was 
chiefly the result of the representations of the Oregon delegate. A single 
letter from Oregon to the States cost 40 cents; from California 12^ cents, 
before the reduction which made the postage uniform for the Pacific coast 
and fixed it at six cents a single sheet, or double the rate in the Atlantic states. 
Or. Statesman, May 9, 1851. 

30 McCracken s Early Steamboatlng , MS., 7; Salem Directory, 1874, 95; 
Portland Oregonian, Jan. 13, 1872. . There was an incongruity in the law 
establishing the mail service, which provided for a semi-monthly mail to the 
river Chagre, but only a monthly mail from Panama up the coast. Kept, of 
P. M. Gen., in 31st Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, 410; Or. Spectator, Aug. 
8, 1S50. 

31 The Seagull was wrecked on the Humboldt bar on her passage to Ore 
gon, Feb. 26, 1852. Or. Statesman, March 2, 1852. 

32 Or. Spectator, Oct. 31, 1850. The Oregon was transformed into a sail 
ing vessel after many years of service, and was finally sunk in the strait of 
Juan de Fuca by collision with the bark Ger mania in 1880. Her commander 
when she first came to Oregon was Lieut. Charles P. Patterson of the navy. 


brought out by Lieutenant G. W. Totten of the 
navy, in March 1851, and afterward commanded by 
William Dall. 33 

The Columbia supplied a great deficiency in com 
munication with California and the east, though 
Oregon was still forced to be content with a monthly 
mail, while California had one twice a month. The 
postmaster-general s direction that Astoria should be 
made a distributing office was a blunder that the 
delegate failed to rectify. Owing to the lack of navi 
gation by steamers on the rivers, Astoria was but a 
remove nearer than San Francisco, and while not 
quite so inaccessible as the mouth of the Klamath, 
was nearly so. When the post-routes were advertised, 
no bids were offered for the Astoria route, and when 
the mail for the interior was left at that place a 
special effort must be made to bring it to Portland. 34 

Troubled by reason of this isolation, the people of 
Oregon had asked over and over for increased mail 
facilities, and as one of the ways of obtaining them, 
and also of increasing their commercial opportunities, 
had prayed congress to order a survey of the coast, 
its bays and river entrances. Almost immediately 

33 The Columbia was commenced in New York by a man named Hunt, 
who lived in Astoria, under an agreement with Coffin, Lownsdale, and Chap 
man, the proprietors, of Portland, to furnish a certain amount of money to 
build a vessel to run between San Francisco and Astoria. Hunt went east, 
and the keel of the vessel was laid in 1849, and he got her on the ways and 
ready to launch when his money gave out, and the town proprietors of Port 
land did not send any more. So she was sold, and Rowland and Aspinwall 
bought her for this trade themselves. . .She ran regularly once a month from 
San Francisco to Portland, carrying the mails and passengers. She was very 
stanclily built, of 700 tons register, would carry 50 or 60 cabin passengers, 
with about as many in the steerage, and cost $150,000. N. Y. Tribune, in Or. 
Spectator, Dec. 12, 1850; Demly s Hist. Or., MS., 10-11. 

31 The postal agent appointed in 1851 was Nathaniel Coe, a man of high 
character and scholarly attainments, as well as religious habits. He was a 
native of Morristown, New Jersey, born September 11, 1788, a whig, and a 
member of the Baptist church. In his earlier years he represented Alleghany 
county, New York, in the state legislature. When his term of office in Oregon 
expired he remained in the country, settling on the Columbia River near the 
mouth of Hood River, on the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains. His 
mental energy was such, that neither the rapid progress of the sciences of our 
time, nor his own great age of eighty, could check his habits of study. The 
ripened fruits of scholarship that resulted appeared as bright as ever even 
in the last weeks of his life. He died at Hood River, his residence, October 
17, 1868. Vancouver Register, Nov. 7, 1868; Dalles Mountaineer, Oct. 23, 1868. 


upon the organization of the territory, Professor A. 
D. Bache, superintendent of the United States coast 
survey, was notified that he would be expected to 
commence the survey of the coast of the United 
States on the Pacific. A corps of officers was se 
lected and divided into two branches, one party to 
conduct the duties of the service on shore, and the 
other to make a hydrographical survey. 

The former duty devolved upon assistant-superin 
tendent, James S. Williams, Brevet-Captain D. P. 
Hammond, and Joseph S. Ruth, sub-assistant. The 
naval survey was conducted by Lieutenant W. P. 
McArthur, in the schooner Ewing, which was com 
manded by Lieutenant Washington Bartlett of the 
United States navy. The time of their advent on 
the coast was an unfortunate one, the spring of 1849, 
when the gold excitement was at its height, prices 
of labor and living extortionate, and the difficulty of 
restraining men on board ship, or in any service, 
excessive, the officers having to stand guard over the 
men, 35 or to put to sea to prevent desertions. 

So many delays were experienced from these and 
other causes that nothing was accomplished in 1849, 
and the Ewing wintered at the Hawaiian Islands, 
returning to San Francisco for her stores in the 
spring, and again losing some of her men. On the 
3d of April, Bartlett succeeded in getting to sea with 
men enough to work the vessel, though some of these 
were placed in irons on reaching the Columbia River. 
The first Oregon newspaper which fell under Bart- 
lett s eye contained a letter of Thurston s, in which he 
reflected severely on the surveying expedition for 
neglect to proceed with their duties, which was sup 
plemented by censorious remarks by the editor. To 

35 A mutiny occurred in which Passed Midshipman Gibson was nearly 
drowned in San Francisco Bay by five of the seamen. They escaped, were 
pursued, captured, and sentenced to death by a general court-martial. Two 
were hanged on board the Ewing and the others on the St Mary s, a ship of 
the U. S. squadron. Letter of Lieut. Bartlett, in Or. Spectator, June 27, 1850; 
Lawson sAutobiog., MS., 2; Davidson s Bioyraphy. 


these attacks Bartlett replied through the same 
medium, and took occasion to reprove the Oregonians 
for their lack of enterprise in failing to sustain a pilot 
service at the mouth of the Columbia, which service, 
since the passage of the pilotage act, had received 
little encouragement or support, 36 and also for giving 
countenance to the desertion of his men. 

The work accomplished by the Ewing during the 
summer was the survey of the entrance to the Colum 
bia, the designation of places for buoys to mark the 
channel, of a site for a light-house on Cape Disap 
pointment, and the examination of the coast south of 
the Columbia. The survey showed that the " rock- 
ribbed and iron-bound" shore of Oregon really was 
a beach of sand from Point Adams to Cape Arago, a 
distance of one hundred and sixty-five miles, only 
thirty-three miles of that distance being cliffs of rock 
where the ocean touched the shore. From Cape 
Arago to the forty-second parallel, a distance of 
eighty-five miles, rock was found to predominate, 

36 Capt White, a New York pilot, conceived the idea of establishing 
himself and a corps of competent assistants at the mouth of the Columbia, 
thereby conferring a great benefit on Oregon commerce, and presumably a 
reasonable amount of reward upon himself. But his venture, like a great many 
others projected from the other side of the continent, was a failure. On bring 
ing his fine pilot-boat, the Wm G. Hagstaff, up the coast, in September 1849, 
he attempted to enter Rogue River, but got aground on the bar, was attacked 
by the Indians, and himself and associates, with their men, driven into tbe 
mountains, where they wanrlered for eighteen days in terrible destitution 
before reaching Fort Umpqua, at which post they received succor. The 
Hagstaff was robbed and burned, her place being supplied by another boat 
called the Mary Taylor. The. Pioneer, i. 3.31; Davidson s Coast Pilot, 112- 
13; Williams ti. W. Or., MS. 2. It was the neglect of the Oregonians to 
make good the loss of Captain White, or a portion of it, to which Bartlett 
referred. For the year during which White had charge of the bar pilot 
age G9 vessels of from 60 to 650 tons crossed in all 128 times. The only loss 
of a vessel in that time was that of the Josephine, loaded with lumber of the 
Oregon Milling Company. She was becalmed on the bar, and a gale coming 
up in the night she dragged her anchor and was carried on the sands, where 
she was dismasted and abandoned. She afterward floated out to sea, being 
a total loss. George Gibbs, in Or. Spectator, May 2, 1850. The pilot commis 
sioners, consisting at this time of Gov. Lane and captains Couch and Crosby, 
made a strong appeal in behalf of White, but he was left to bear his losses 
and go whither he pleased. Johnson s Cal. and Or., 254-5; Carrol s Star of 
the West, 290-5; Stevens, in Pac. . R. Kept., i. 109, 291-2, 615-16; Poly 
nesian, July 20, 1850. The merchants finally advanced the pay of pilots so 
as to be remunerative, after which time little was heard about the terrors of 
the Columbia bar. 


there being only fifteen miles of sand on this part of 
the coast. 37 Little attention was given to any bay or 
stream north of the Umpqua, Me Arthur offering it 
as his opinion that they were accessible by small boats 
alone, except Yaquina, which might, he conjectured, 
be entered by vessels of a larger class. 

It will be remembered that the Samuel Roberts 
entered the Umpqua August 6, 1850, and surveyed 
the mouth of the river, and the river itself to Scotts- 
burg. As the Ewing did not leave the Columbia 
until the 7th, Me Arthur s survey was subsequent 
to this one. He crossed the bar in the second cutter 
and not in the schooner; and pronounced the channel 
practicable for steamers, but dangerous for sailing 
vessels, unless under favorable circumstances. Slight 
examination was made of Coos Bay, an opinion being 
formed from simply looking at the mouth that it would 
be found available for steamers. The Coquille River 
was said to be only large enough for canoes; and 
Rogue River also unfit for sailing vessels, being so 
narrow as to scarcely afford room to turn in. So 
much for the Oregon coast. As to the Klamath, 
while it had more water on the bar than any river 
south of the Columbia, it was so narrow and so rapid 
as to be unsafe for sailing vessels. 38 

This was a very unsatisfactory report for the pro 
jectors of seaport towns in southern Oregon. It was 
almost equally disappointing to the naval and post- 
office departments of the general government, and to 
the mail contractors, who were then still anxious to 
avoid running their steamers to the Columbia, and 
determined if possible to find a different mail route. 
The recommendation of the postmaster-general at the 
instance of the Oregon delegate, that they should be 
required to leave the mail at Scottsburg, as I have 
mentioned, induced them to make a special effort to 

87 Coast Survey, 1850, 70; 8. F. Pac. News, Jan. 18, 1851. 
38 McArthur died in 1851 while on his way to Panama and the east. Law- 
son s Autobiog., MS., 26. 


found a settlement on the southern coast which would 
enable them to avoid the bar of the Umpqua. 

The place selected was on a small bay about eight 
miles south of Cape Blanco, and a little south of Point 
Orford. Orders were issued to Captain Tichenor 39 of 
the Seagull, which was running to Portland, to put in 
at this place, previously visited by him, 40 and there 
leave a small colony of settlers, who were to examine 
the country for a road into the interior. Accord 
ingly in June 1851 the Seagull stopped at Port Or 
ford, as it was named, and left there nine men, com 
manded by J. M. Kirkpatrick, with the necessary stores 
and arms. A four-pounder was placed in position on 
the top of a high rock with one side sloping to the sea, 
and which at high tide became an island by the united 
waters of the ocean and a small creek which flowed 
by its base. 

While the steamer remained in port, the Indians, 
of whom there were many in the neighborhood, ap 
peared friendly. But on the second day after her 
departure, about forty of them held a war-dance, dur 
ing which their numbers were constantly augmented 
by arrivals from the heavily wooded and hilly country 
back from the shore. When a considerable force was 
gathered the chief ordered an advance on the fortified 

39 William Tichenor was born in Newark, N. J., June 13, 1813, his ances 
tor Daniel Ticlienor being one of the original proprietors of that town. He 
followed the sea, making his first voyage in 1825. In 1833 he married and 
went to Indiana, but could not remain in the interior. After again making 
a sea voyage he tried living in Edgar county, Illinois, where he represented 
the ninth senatorial district. In 1840 he recruited two companies for the 
regiment commanded by Col. E. D. Baker, whom lie afterward helped to 
elect to the U. S. senate from Oregon. Tichenor came to the Pacific coast in 
1849, and having mined for a short time on the American River, purchased 
the schooner /. M. Ryerson, and sailed for the gulf of California, exploring 
the coast to San Francisco and northward, discovering the bay spoken of 
above. He finally settled at Port Orford, and was three times elected to the 
lower house of the Oregon legislature, and once to the senate. He took up 
the study of law and practised for 16 years, and was at one time county 
judge of Curry county. Yet during all this time he never quite gave up sear 
faring. Letter of Tic/tenor, in Historical Correspondence, MS. 

40 Port Orford was established and owned by Capt. Tichenor, T. Butler 
King, collector of the port of San Francisco, James Gamble, Fred M. Smith, 
M. Hubbard, and W. G. T Vault. Or. Statesman, Aug. 10, 18ol. 

HIST. OB., VOL. II. 13 


rock of the settlers, who motioned them to keep back 
or receive their fire. But the savages, ignorant per 
haps of the use of cannon, continued to come nearer 
until it became evident that a hand-to-hand conflict 
would soon ensue. When one of them had seized a 
musket in the hands of a settler, Kirkpatrick touched 
a fire-brand to the cannon, and discharged it in the 
midst of the advancing multitude, bringing several to 
the ground. The men then took aim and shot six at 
the first fire. Turning on those nearest with their 
guns clubbed, they were able to knock down several, 
and the battle was won. In fifteen minutes the 
Indians had twenty killed and fifteen wounded. Of 
the white men four were wounded by the arrows of 
the savages which fell in a shower upon them. The 
Indians were permitted to carry off their dead, and a 
lull followed. 

But the condition of the settlers was harassing. 
They feared to leave their fortified camp to explore 
for a road to the interior, and determined to await 
the return of the Seagull, which was to bring an 
other company from San Francisco. At the end of 
five days the Indians reappeared in greater force, 
and seeing the white men still in possession of their 
stronghold and presenting a determined front, retired 
a short distance down the coast to hold a war-dance 
and work up courage. The settlers, poorly supplied 
with ammunition, wished to avoid another conflict in 
which they might be defeated, and taking advantage 
of the temporary absence of the foe essayed to es 
cape to the woods, carrying nothing but their arms. 

It was a bold and desperate movement but it proved 
successful. Travelling as rapidly as possible in the 
almost tropical jungle of the Coast Range, and keep 
ing in the forest for the first five or six miles, they 
emerged at night on the beach, and by using great 
caution eluded their pursuers. On coming to Coquille 
River, a village of about two hundred Indians was 
discovered on the bank opposite, which they avoided 


by going up the stream for several miles and crossing 
it on a raft. To be secure against a similar en 
counter, they now kept to the woods for two days, 
though by doing so they deprived themselves of the 
only food, except salmon berries, which they had been 
able to find. At one place they fell in with a small 
band of savages whom they frightened away by charg 
ing toward them. Again emerging on the beach 
they lived on mussels for four days. The only as 
sistance received was from the natives on Cowan 
River which empties into Coos Bay. These people 
were friendly, and fed and helped them on their wa\ T . 
On the eighth day the party reached the mouth of 
the Umpqua, where they were kindly cared for by 
the settlers at that place. 41 

When Tichenor arrived at San Francisco, he pro 
ceeded to raise a party of forty men to reenforce his 
settlement at Port Orford, to which he had promised 
to return by the 23d of the month. The Seagull 
being detained, he took passage on the Columbia, 
Captain Le Roy, and arrived at Port Orford as 
agreed, on the 23d, being surprised at not seeing any 
of his men on shore. He immediately landed, how 
ever, with Le Roy and eight others, and saw provis 
ions and tools scattered over the ground, and on every 
side the signs of a hard struggle. On the ground was 
a diary kept by one of the party, in which the begin 
ning of the first day s battle was described, leaving 
off abruptly where the first Indian seized a comrade s 
gun. Hence it was thought that all had been killed, 
and the account first published of the affair set it 
down as a massacre; a report which about one week 
later was corrected by a letter from Kirkpatrick, who, 
after giving a history of his adventures, concluded 

41 Williams S. W. Oregon, MS., 1-6; Alta California, June 30th and 
July 25, 1851; Wills 3 Wild Life, in Van Tromp s Adventures, 149-50; Arm 
strong s Or., 60-4; Crane s Top. Mem., 37-40; Overland Monthly, xiv. 179-82; 
Portland Bulletin, Feb. 25, 1873; Or. Spectator, July 3, 1851; Or. Statesman, 
July 4th and 15, 1851; Parrish s Or. Anecdotes, MS., 41-5; Harper s Mag., 
xiii. 590-1; S. F. Herald, June 30, 1851; Id., July 15, 1851; Lawson s 
Autolioy., MS., 32-3; S. F. Alta, June 30, 1851; Taylor s Spec. Press, 19. 


with a favorable description of the country and the 
announcement that he had discovered a fine bay at 
the mouth of the Cowan River. 42 This important 
discovery was little heeded by the founders of Port 
Orford, who were bent upon establishing their settle 
ment on a more southern point of the coast. 

Tichenor left his California party at Port Orford 
well armed and fortified and proceeded to Portland, 
where he advertised to land passengers within thirty- 
five miles of the Rogue River mines, having brought 
up about two dozen miners from San Francisco and 
landed them at Port Orford to make their way from 
thence to the interior, at their own hazard. On re 
turning down the coast the Columbia again touched 
at Port Orford and left a party of Oregon men, so 
that by August there were about seventy persons at 
the new settlement. They were all well armed and 
kept guard with military regularity. To some was 
assigned the duty of hunting, elk, deer, and other 
game being plentiful on the coast mountains, and 
birds of numerous kinds inhabiting 1 the woods and 


seashore. A Whitehall boat was left for fishing and 
shooting purposes. These hunting tours were also 
exploring expeditions, resulting in a thorough exami 
nation of the coast from the Coquille River on the 
north to a little below the California line on the south, 
iu which distance no better port was discovered. 43 

The 24th of August a party of twenty -three 44 under 
T Vault set out to explore the interior. T Vault s 
experience as a pioneer was supposed to fit him for 
the position of guide and Indian-fighter, a most re 
sponsible office in that region of hostile savages, 

42 Now called Coos, an Indian name. 

43 Says Williams in his S. W. Oregon, MS., 9: It was upon one of these 
expeditions, returning from a point where Crescent City now stands, that with 
a fair wind, myself at the helm, we sailed into the beautiful Chetcoe River 
which we ever pronounced the loveliest little spot upon that line of coast. 

41 1 give here the number as given by Williams, one of the company, 
though it is stated to be ouly 18 by T Vault, the leader, in Alto, California, 
Oct. 14, 1851. 


particularly as the expedition was made up of im 
migrants of the previous year, with little or no 
knowledge of the country, or of mountain life. Only 
two of them, Williams and Lount, both young men 
from Michigan, were good hunters; and on them 
would depend the food supply after the ten days ra 
tions with which each man was furnished should be 

Nothing daunted, however, they set out on horses, 
and proceeded southward along the coast as far as the 
mouth of Rogue River. The natives along the route 
were numerous, but shy, and on being approached fled 
into the woods. At Rogue River, however, they 
assumed a different air, and raised their bows threat 
eningly, but on seeing gens levelled at them desisted. 
During the march they hovered about the rear of 
the party, who on camping at night selected an open 
place, and after feeding their horses burned the grass 
for two hundred yards around that the savages might 
not have it to hide in, keeping at the same time 
a double guard. Proceeding thus cautiously they 
avoided collision with these savages. 

When they had reached a point about fifty miles 
from the ocean, on the north bank of Rogue River, 
having lost their way and provisions becoming low, 
some determined to turn back. T Vault, unwilling 
to abandon the adventure, offered increased pay 
to such as would continue it. Accordingly nine 
went on with him toward the valley, though but one 
of them could be depended upon to bring in game. 45 
The separation took place on the 1st of September, 
the advancing party proceeding up Rogue River, by 
which course they were assured they could not fail 
soon to reach the travelled road. 

On the evening of the 9th they came upon the 

45 This was Williams. The others were: Patrick Murphy, of New York; 
A. S. Doherty and Gilbert Brush, of Texas; Cyrus Hedden, of Newark, N. 
J.; John P. Holland, of New Hampshire; T. J. Davenport, of Massachusetts; 
Jeremiah Ryan, of Maryland; J. P. Pepper, of New York. Alta California. 
Got 14, 1851. 


head-waters of a stream flowing, it was believed, into 
the ocean near Cape Blanco. They were therefore, 
though designing to go south-eastwardly, actually 
some distance north as well as east from Port Orford, 
the nature of the country and the direction of the 
ridges forcing them out of their intended course. 
Finding an open country on this stream, they followed 
it down some distance, and chancing to meet an Indian 
boy engaged him as a guide, who brought them to the 
southern branch of a river, down which they travelled, 
finding the bottoms covered with a thick growth of 
trees peculiar to low, moist lands. It was now deter 
mined to abandon their horses, as they could advance 
with difficulty, and had no longer anything to carry 
which could not be dispensed with. They therefore 
procured the services of some Indians with canoes 
to take them to the mouth of the river, which they 
found to have a beautiful valley of rich land, and to 
be, after passing the junction of the two forks, about 
eighty yards wide, with the tide ebbing and flowing 
from two to three feet. 46 On the 14th, about ten 
o clock in the morning, having descended to within a 
few miles of the ocean, a member of the party, Mr 
Hedden, one of those driven out of Port Orford in 
Juvie, and who escaped up the coast, recognized the 
stream as the Coquille River, which the previous party 
had crossed on a raft. Too exhausted to navigate a 
boat for themselves, and overcome by hunger, they 
engaged some natives 47 to take them down the river, 
instead of which they were carried to a large rancheria 
situated about two miles from the ocean. 

Savages thronged the shore armed with bows and 
arrows, long knives/ 8 and war-clubs, and were upon 
them the moment they stepped ashore. T Vault 

46 On Coquille River, 12 miles below the north fork, is a tree with the 
name Dennis White, 1834, to which some persons have attached importance. 
Armstrong s Or., 65. 

47 One of the Indians who paddled their canoes had with him * the identi 
cal gun that James H. Eagan had broken over an Indian s head at Port Or 
ford in June last. Williams S. W. Or., MS., 28. 

48 These knives, two and two and a half feet long, were manufactured by 


afterward declared that the first thing he was con 
scious of was being in the river, fifteen yards from 
shore and swimming. He glanced toward the village, 
and saw only a horrible confusion, and heard the yells 
of savage triumph mingled with the sound of blows 
and the shrieks of his unfortunate comrades. At the 
same instant he saw Brush in the water not far from 
him and an Indian standing in a canoe striking him 
on the head with a paddle, while the water around 
was stained with blood. 

At this juncture occurred an incident such as is 
used to embellish romances, when a woman or a child 
in the midst of savagery displays those feelings of 
humanity common to all men. While the two white 
men were struggling for their lives in the stream a 
canoe shot from the opposite bank. In it standing 
erect was an Indian lad, who on reaching the spot 
assisted them into the canoe, handed them the paddle, 
then springing into the water swam back to the shore. 
They succeeded in getting to land, and stripping 
themselves, crawled up the bank and into the thicket 
without once standing upright. Striking southward 
through the rough and briery undergrowth they hur 
ried on as long as daylight lasted, and at night emerged 
upon the beach, reaching Cape Blanco the following 
morning, where the Indians received them kindly, and 
after taking care of them for a day conveyed them to 
Port Orford. T Vault was not severely wounded, but 
Brush had part of his scalp taken off by one of the 
long knives. Both were suffering from famine and 
bruises, and believed themselves the only survivors. 49 
But in about two weeks it was ascertained that 
others of the party were living, namely: Williams, 50 

the Indians out of some band iron taken from the wreck of the Hacjstaff. 
They were furnished with whalebone handles. Parrish s Or. Anecdotes, MS. , 00. 

49 Laiuson s Autobiog., MS., 45-G; Portland Bulletin, March 3, 1873; S. F. 
Herald, Oct. 14, 1851; Ashland Tidiwjs, July 12th and 19, 1878; Portland 
West Shore, May 1878. 

50 The narrative of Williams is one of the most thrilling in the literature 
of savage warfare. When the attack was made he had just stepped ashore 
from the canoe. His first struggle was with two powerful savages for the 


Davenport, and Hedden, the other five having been 
murdered, their companies hardly knew how. 

With this signal disaster terminated the first at 
tempt to reach the Rogue River Valley from Port 
Orford; and thus fiercely did the reel inhabitants of 
this region welcome their white brethren. The diffi 
culties with the various tribes which grew out of this 
and similar encounters I shall describe in the history 
of the wars of 1851-3. 

Soon after the failure of the T Vault expedition 
another company was fitted out to explore in a differ- 

possession of his rifle, which being discharged in the contest, for a moment 
gave him relief by frightening his assailants. Amidst the yells of Indians and 
the cries and groans of comrades he forced his way through the infuriated 
crowd with the stock of his gun, being completely surrounded, fighting in a 
circle, and striking in all directions. Soon only the barrel of his gun remained 
iu his hands, with which he continued to deal heavy blows as he advanced 
along a piece of open ground toward the forest, receiving blows as well, one 
of which felled him to the ground. Quickly recovering himself, with one 
desperate plunge the living wall was broken, and he darted for the woods. 
As he ran an arrow hit him between the left hip and lower ribs, penetrating 
the abdomen, and bringing him to a sudden stop. Finding it impossible to 
move, he drew out the shaft which broke off, leaving one joint of its length, 
with the barb, in his body. So great was his excitement that after the first 
sensation no pain was felt. The main party of Indians being occupied with 
rifling the bodies of the slain, a race for life now set in with about a dozen of 
the most persistent of his enemies. Though several times struck with arrows 
he ran clown all but two who placed themselves on each side about ten feet 
away shooting every instant. Despairing of escape Williams turned on them, 
but while he chased one the other shot at him from behind. As if to leave 
him no chance for life the suspenders of his pantaloons gave way, and being 
impeded by their falling down he was forced to stop and kick them off. With 
his eyes and mouth filled with blood from a wound on the head, blinded and 
despairing he yet turned to enter the forest when he fell headlong. At this 
the Indians rushed upon him sure of their prey; one of them who earned a 
captured gun attempted to fire, but it failed. Says the narrator: The sick 
ening sensations of the last half hour were at once dispelled when I realized 
that the gun had refused to fire. I was on my feet in a moment, rifle barrel 
in hand. Instead of running I stood firm, and the Indian with the rifle also 
met me with it drawn by the breech. The critical moment of the whole 
affair had arrived, and I knew it must be the final struggle. The first two or 
three blows I failed utterly, and received some severe bruises, but fortune 
was on my side, and a lucky blow given with unusual force fell upon my an 
tagonist killing him almost instantly. I seized the gun, a sharp report fol 
lowed, and I had the satisfaction of seeing my remaining pursuer stagger and 
fall dead. Expecting to die of his wounds Williams entered the shadow of 
the woods to seek a place where he might lie down in peace. Soon afterward 
he fell in with Hedden, who had escaped uninjured, and who with some 
friendly Indians assisted him to reach the Umpqua, where they arrived after 
six days of intense suffering from injuries, famine, and cold, and where they 
found the brig Almira, Capt. Gibbs, lying, which took them to Gardiner. All 


ent direction for a road to the interior, 51 which was 
compelled to return without effecting its object. Port 
Orford, however, received the encouragement and as 
sistance of government officials, including the coast 
survey officers and military men, 52 and throve in con 
sequence. Troops were stationed there, 53 and before 
the close of the year the work of surveying a military 
road was begun by Lieutenant Williamson, of the 
topographical engineers, with an escort of dragoons 
from Casey s command at Port Orford. Several fami 
lies had also joined the settlement, about half a dozen 
dwelling houses having been erected for their accom 
modation. 54 The troops were quartered in nine log 
buildings half a mile from the town. 55 A permanent 
route to the mines was not adopted, however, until 
late the following year. 

Casey s command having returned to Benicia about 
the 1st of December, in January following the schooner 
Captain Lincoln, Naghel master, was despatched to 
Port Orford from San Francisco with troops and 

Williams wounds except that in the abdomen healed readily. That dis 
charged for a year. In four years the arrow-head had worked itself out, but 
not until the seventh year did the broken shaft follow it. Davenport, like 
Hedden, was unhurt, but wandered starving in the mountains many days 
before reaching a settlement. Williams was born in Vermont, and came 
to the Pacific coast in 1850. He made his home at Ashland, enjoying the 
respect of his fellow-men, combining in his manner the peculiarities of the 
border with those of a thorough and competent business man. Portland Went 
Shor<>, June 18, 1878. 

51 Or. Statesman, Nov. 4, 1851. 

52 Probably stories like the following had their effect: Port Orford has 
recently been ascertained to be one of the very best harbors on the Pacific 
coast, accessible to the largest class of vessels, and situated at a convenient 
intermediate point between the Umpqua and Rogue Rivers. Rept. of Gen. 
Hitchcock, in 32d Cong., 1st Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 2, 149; 8. F. Alta, July 13th 
and Sept. 14, 1852. 

53 Lieutenant Kautz, of the rifles, with 20 men stationed at Astoria, was 
ordered to Port Orford in August, at the instance of Tichenor, where a post 
was to be established for the protection of the miners in Rogue River Valley, 
which was represented to be but 35 miles distant from this place. After the 
massacre on the Coquille, Col. Casey, of the 2d infantry, was despatched from 
San Francisco with portions of three dragoon companies, arriving at Port 
Orford on the 22d of October. 

54 Saint Amant, 41-2, 144; Or. Statesman, Dec. 16, 1851. 

*32d Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, pt. ii. 105-6; S. F. Herald, Nov. 
8, 1852. 


stores under Lieutenant Stanton. The weather being 
foul she missed the harbor and went ashore on a 
sand spit two miles north of the entrance to Coos 
Bay. The passengers and cargo were safely landed 
on the beach, where shelter was obtained under sails 
stretched on booms and spars. Thus exposed, annoyed 
by high winds and drifting sands, and by the thiev 
ing propensities of the natives, Stanton was forced to 
remain four months. An effort was made to explore 
a trail to Port Orford by means of which pack-trains 
could be sent to their relief. Twelve dragoons were 
assigned to this service, with orders to wait at Port 
Orford for despatches from San Francisco in answer 
to his own, which, as the mail steamers avoided that 
place after hearing of the wreck of the schooner, did 
not arrive until settled weather in March. Quarter 
master Miller replied to Stanton by taking passage 
for Port Orford on the Columbia under a special ar 
rangement to stop at that port. But the steamer s 
captain being unacquainted with the coast, and hav 
ing nearly made the mistake of attempting to enter 
Rogue River, proceeded to the Columbia, and it was 
not until the 12th of April that Miller reached his 
destination. He brought a train of twenty mules 
from Port Orford, the route proving a most harass 
ing one, over slippery mountain spurs, through dense 
forests obstructed with fallen timber, across several 
rivers, besides sand dunes and marshes, four days 
being consumed in marching fifty miles. 

On reaching Camp Castaway, Miller proceeded to 
the Umpqua, where he found and chartered the 
schooner Nassau, which was brought around into 
Coos Bay, being the first vessel to enter that harbor. 
Wagons had been shipped by the quartermaster to 
the Umpqua by the brig Fawn. The mules were 
sent to haul them down the beach by what proved to 
be a good road, and the stores being loaded into them 
were transported across two miles of sand to the west 
shore of the bay and placed on board the Nassau, in 


which they were taken to Port Orford, 56 arriving the 
2 Oth of May. 

The knowledge of the country obtained in these 
forced expeditions, added to the exploration of the 
Coquille Vail j by road-hunters in the previous 
autumn, and by the military expedition of Casey to 
punish the Coquilles, of which I shall speak in an 
other place, was the means of attracting attention to 
the advantages of this portion of Oregon for settle 
ment. A chart of Coos Bay entrance was made by 
Naghel, which was sufficiently correct for sailing pur 
poses, and the harbor was favorably reported upon by 
Miller. 57 

On the 28th of January the schooner Juliet, Cap 
tain Collins, was driven ashore near Yaquina Bay, 
the crew and passengers being compelled to remain 
upon the stormy coast until by aid of an Indian mes 
senger horses could be brought from the Willamette 
to transport them to that more hospitable region. 58 
While Collins was detained, which was until the latter 
part of March, he occupied a portion of his time in 
exploring Yaquina Bay, finding it navigable for ves 
sels drawing from six to eight feet of water; but the 
entrance was a bad one. In the bay were found oysters 
and clams, while the adjacent land was deemed excel 
lent. Thus by accident 59 as well as effort the secrets 
of the coast country were brought to light, and 

66 The Nassau was wrecked at the entrance to the Umpqua a few months 
later. Or. Statesman, Sept. 18, 1852. From 1850 to 1852 five vessels were 
lost at this place, the Bostonian, Nassau, Almira, OrcMlla,axid Caleb Curies, 

67 82d Cong., 2d Sew., U. S. Ex. Doc. 1, pt. ii. 103-9. 

58 Dr McLoughlin, Hugh Burns, W. C. Griswold, and W. H. Barnhart 
responded to the appeal of the shipwrecked, and furnished the means of their 
rescue from suffering. Or. Statesman, March 2d and April 6, 1852. 

59 Of marine disasters there seem to have been a great number in 1851-2, 
The most appalling was of the steam propeller General Warren, Captain 
Charles Thompson, which stranded on Clatsop spit, after passing out of the 
Columbia, Jan. 28, 1852. The steamer was found to be leaking badly, and 
being put about could not make the river again. She broke up almost imme 
diately after striking the sands, and by daylight next morning there was only 
enough left of the wreck to afford standing room for her passengers and crew. 
A boat, the only one remaining, was despatched in charge of the bar pilot to 


although the immigration of 1851 was not more than 
a third as much as that of the previous year, there 
were people enough running to and fro, looking for 
new enterprises, to impart an interest to each fresh 
revelation of the resources of the territory. 

Astoria for assistance. On its return nothing could be found but some float 
ing fragments of the vessel. Not a life was saved of the 52 persons on board. 
Or. Statesman, Feb. 10th and 24, 1852; Id., March 9, 1852; Swan * N. W. 
Coast, 259; Portland Oregonian, Feb. 7, 1852; S. F. Alta, Feb. 16, 1852. 




LANE was not a skilful politician and finished orator 
like Thurston, though he had much natural ability, 1 
and had the latter been alive, notwithstanding his 
many misdeeds, Lane could not so easily have secured 
the election as delegate to congress. It was a per 
sonal rather than a party matter, 2 though a party spirit 
developed rapidly after Lane s nomination, chiefly be 
cause a majority of the people were democrats/ and 

1 Gen. Lane is a man of a high order of original genius. He is not self- 
made, but God-made. He was educated nowhere. Nobody but a man of 
superior natural capacity, without education, could have maintained himself 
among men from early youth as he did. Graver s Pub. Life, MS., 81. We 
may hereby infer the idea intended to be conveyed, however ill-fitting the 

2 Says W. W. Buck: Before 1851 there were no nominations made. In 
1851 they organized into political parties as whigs and democrats. Before 
that men of prominence would think of some one, and go to him and find out 
if he would serve. The knowledge of the movement would spread, and the 
foremost candidate get elected, while others ran scattering. Enter prints., 

TVTC! 1 O 
MS., 13. 

3 Jesse Applegate, who had been mentioned as suitable for the place, 
wrote to the Spectator March 14th: The people of the southern frontier, of 
which I am one, owe to Gov. Lane a debt of gratitude too strong for party 
prejudices to cancel, and too great for time to erase. . .Rifle in hand he gal- 



their favorites, Thurston and Lane, were democrats, 
while the administration was whig and not in sym 
pathy with them. 

The movement for Lane began in February, the 
earliest intimation of it appearing in the Spectator of 
March 6th, after which he was nominated in a public 
meeting at Lafayette. Lane himself did not appear 
on the ground until the last of April, and the news 
of Thurston s death arriving within a few days, Lane s 
name was immediately put forward by every journal 
in the territory. But he was not, for all that, with 
out an opponent. The mission party nominated W. 
H. Willson, who from a whaling-ship cooper and lay 
Methodist had come to be called doctor and been 
given places of trust. His supporters were the de 
fenders of that part of Thurston s policy which was 
generally condemned. There was nothing of conse 
quence at issue however, and as Lane was facile of 
tongue 4 and clap-trap, he was elected by a majority 
of 1,832 with 2,917 votes cast. 5 As soon as the returns 
were all in, Lane set out again for the mines, where he 
was just in time to be of service to the settlers of 
Rogue River Valley. 

Immediately upon the passage of an act by congress, 
extinguishing Indian titles west of the Cascade Moun 
tains in 1850, the president appointed superintendent 
of Indian affairs, Anson Dart of Wisconsin, who ar 
rived early in October, accompanied by P. C. Dart, 
his secretary. Three Indian agents were appointed 

lantly braved the floods and storms of winter to save our property, wives, and 
daughters from the rapine of a lawless soldiery, which statement, howsoever 
it pictures public sentiment, smacks somewhat of the usual electioneering 

* He had a particularly happy faculty for what we would call domestic 
electioneering. He did not make speeches, but would go around and talk with 
families. They used to tell this story about him, and I think it is true, that 
what he got at one place, in the way of seeds or choice articles, he distributed 
at the next place. He brought these, with candies, and always kissed the 
children. Strong s Hint. Or., MS., 41. 

5 Lane s Autobiography, MS., 62; Or. Spectator, July 4, 1851; Amer. Al 
manac, 1852, 223; Tribune Almanac, 1852, 51; Overland Monthly, i. 37. 


at the same time, namely : A. Gr. Henry of Illinois, 6 
H. H. Spalding, and Elias Wampole. Dart s instruc 
tions from the commissioner, under date of July 20, 
1850, were in general, to govern himself by the in 
structions furnished to Lane as ex-officio superintend 
ent, 7 to be modified according to circumstances. The 
number of agents and subagents appointed had been 
in accordance with the recommendation of Lane, and 
to the information contained in Lane s report he was 
requested to give particular attention, as well as to 
the suppression of the liquor traffic, and the enforce 
ment of the penalties provided in the intercourse act 
of 1834, and also as amended in 1847, making one or 
two years imprisonment a punishment for furnishing 
Indians with intoxicating drink. 8 A feature of the 
instructions, showing Thurston s hand in this matter, 
was the order not to purchase goods from the Hud 
son s Bay Company for distribution among the Indians, 
but that they be purchased of American merchants, 
and the Indians taught that it was from the American 
government they received such benefits. It was also 
forbidden in the instructions that the company should 
have trading posts within the limits of United States 
territory, 9 the superintendent being required to pro 
ceed with them in accordance with the terms of the 
act regulating intercourse with the Indians. 

6 Thurston, who was mnch opposed to appointing men from the east, wrote 
to Oregon: Dr Henry of Illinois was appointed Indian agent, held on to it 
a while, drew $750 under the pretence of going to Oregon, and then resigned, 
leaving the government minus that sum. Upon his resigning Mr Simeon 
Francis was nominated, first giving assurance that he would leave for Oregon, 
but instead of doing so he is at home in Illinois. Or. Spectator, April 10, 1851. 

1 31st Cony., 1st Xess., S. Doc. 52, 1-7, 154-80. 

8 It should be here mentioned, in justice toThurston, that when the Indian 
bill was under consideration by the congressional committees, it was brought to 
his notice by the commissioner, that while Lane had given much information on 
the number and condition of the Indians, the number of agents necessary, the 
amount of money necessary for agency buildings, agents, expenses, and presents 
to the Indians, he had neglected to state what tribes should be bought out, 
the extent of their territory, what would be a fair price for the lands, to 
what place they should be removed, and whether such lands were vacant. 
Thurston furnished this information according to his conception of right, and 
had the bill framed for the extinguishment of titles in that part of Oregon, 
which was rapidly filling up with white settlers. See Letter of Orlando Brown, 
Commissioner, in Or. Spectator, Oct. 31, 1850. 

9 3 1st Cony., 2d Sens., H. Ex. Doc. 1, 149. 


As to the attitude of government toward the 
Indians there was the usual political twaddle. An 
important object to be aimed at, the commissioner 
said, was the reconciling of differences between tribes. 
Civilized people may fight, but not savages. The 
Indians should be urged to engage in agricultural 
pursuits, to raise grain, vegetables, and stock of all 
lands; and to encourage them, small premiums might 
be offered for the greatest quantity of produce, or 
number of cattle and other farm animals. With 
regard to missionaries among the Indians, they were 
to be encouraged without reference to denomination, 
and left free to use the best means of christianizing. 
The sum of twenty thousand dollars was advanced to 
the superintendent, of which five thousand was to be 
applied to the erection of houses for the accommoda 
tion of himself and agents, four thousand for his own 
residence, and the remainder for temporary buildings 
to be used by the agents before becoming permanently 
established. The remainder was for presents and 

There were further appointed for Oregon three 
commissioners to make treaties with the Indians, 
John P. Gaines, governor, Alonzo A. Skinner, and 
Beverly S. Allen; the last received his commission 
the 12th of August and arrived in Oregon in the early 
part of February 1851. The instructions were gen 
eral, the department being ignorant of the territory, 
except that it extended from the 42d to the 49th 
parallel, and was included between the Cascade 
Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The object of the 
government it was said was to extinguish the Indian 
titles, and remove the complaint of the settlers that 
they could acquire no perfect titles to their claims 
before the Indians had been quieted. They \vere ad 
vised therefore to treat first with the Indians in the 
Willamette Valley, and with each tribe separately. 10 

10 The maximum price given for Indian lands has been ten cents per acre, 
but this has been for small quantities of great value from their contiguity to 


They were to fix upon an amount of money to be 
paid, and agree upon an annuity not to exceed five 
per cent of the whole amount. It was also advised 
that money be not employed, but that articles of use 
should be substituted; and the natives be urged to 
accept such things as would assist them in becoming 
farmers and mechanics, and to secure medical aid 
and education. If any money remained after so pro 
viding it might be expended for goods to be delivered 
annually in the Indian country. The sum of twenty 
thousand dollars was to be applied to these objects; 
fifteen thousand to be placed at the disposal of Gov 
ernor Gaines, at the sub-treasury, San Francisco, and 
to be accounted for by vouchers; and five thousand 
to be invested in goods and sent round Cape Horn 
for distribution among the Indians. The commis 
sioners were allowed mileage for themselves and 
secretary at the rate of ten cents a mile, together 
with salaries of eight dollars a day during service for 
each of the commissioners, and five dollars for the 
secretary. They were also to have as many interpret 
ers and assistants as they might deem necessary, at 
a proper compensation, and their travelling expenses 
paid. 11 

Such was the flattering prospect under which the 
Indian agency business opened in Oregon. Truly, a 
government must have faith in its servants to place 
such temptations in their way. Frauds innumerable 
were the result; from five hundred to five thousand 
dollars would be paid to the politicians to secure an 
agency, the returns from which investment, with 
hundreds per cent profit, must be made by systematic 
peculations and pilferings, so that not one quarter of 
the moneys appropriated on behalf of the Indians 

the States; and it is merely mentioned to show that some important consider 
ation has always been involved when so large a price has been given. It is 
not for a moment to be supposed that any such consideration can be involved 
in any purchases to be made by you, and it is supposed a very small portion 
of that price will be required. A. S. Loughery, Acting Commissioner, in 31st 
Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, 147. 

11 31st Cong., 2d Sets., H. Ex. Doc. 1, 145-51; Hayes Scraps, iv. 9-10. 
HIST. OR., VOL. II. 14 


would be expended for their benefit. Perhaps the 
public conscience was soothed by this show of justice, 
as pretentious as it was hollow, and the emptiness of 
which was patent to every one; but it would have 
been in as good taste, and far more manly and honest, 
to have shot down the aboriginals and seized their 
lands without these hypocrisies and stealings, as was 
frequently done. 

Often the people were worse than the government 
or its agents, so that there was little inducement for 
the latter to be honest. In the present instance the 
commissioners were far more just and humane than 
the settlers themselves. It is true they entered upon 
their duties in April 1851 with a pomp and circum 
stance in no wise in keeping with the simple habits 
of the Oregon settlers; with interpreters, clerks, com 
missaries, and a retinue of servants they established 
themselves atChampoeg, to which place agents brought 
the so-called chiefs of the wretched tribes of the Wil 
lamette; but they displayed a heart and a humanity 
in their efforts which did them honor. Of the San- 
tiam band of the Calapooyas they purchased a portion 
of the valley eighty miles in length by twenty in 
breadth; of the Tualatin branch of the same nation 
a tract of country fifty miles by thirty in extent, 
these lands being among the best in the valley, and 
already settled upon by white men. The number of 
Indians of both sexes and all ages making a claim to 
this extent of territory was in the former instance 
one hundred and fifty-five and in the latter sixty- 

The commissioners were unable to induce the Cala 
pooyas to remove east of the Cascade mountains, as 
had been the intention of the government, their refusal 
resting upon reluctance to leave the graves of their 
ancestors, and ignorance of the means of procuring a 
livelihood in any country but their own. To these 
representations Gaines and his associates lent a sym 
pathizing ear, and allowed the Indians to select reser- 


vations within the valley of tracts of land of a few 
miles in extent situated upon the lower slopes of the 
Cascade and Coast ranges, where game, roots, and 
berries could be procured with ease. 12 

As to the instructions of the commissioner at Wash 
ington, it was not possible to carry them out. Schools 
the Indians refused to have; and from their experi 
ence of them and their effects on the young I am 
quite sure the savages were right. Only a few of 
the Tualatin band would consent to receive farming 
utensils, not wishing to have habits of labor forced 
upon them with their annuities. They were anxious 
also to be paid in cash, consenting reluctantly to ac 
cept a portion of their annuities in clothing and pro 

In May four other treaties were concluded with the 
Luckiamute, Calapooyas, and Molallas, the territory 
thus secured to civilization comprising about half the 
Willamette Valley. 13 The upper and lower Molallas 
received forty-two thousand dollars, payable in twenty 
annual instalments, about one third to be in cash and 
the remainder in goods, with a present on the ratifica 
tion of the treaties of a few rifles and horses for the 
head men. Like the Calapooyas they steadily refused 
to devote any portion of their annuities to educational 
purposes, the general sentiment of these western Ind 
ians being that they had but a little time to live, and 
it was useless to trouble themselves about education, 
a sentiment not wholly Indian, since it kept Europe 
in darkness for a thousand years. 14 

12 No mention is made of the price paid for these lands, nor have I seen 
these treaties in print. 

13 This is the report of the commissioners, though the description of the 
lands purchased is different in the Spectator of May 15, 1851, where it is said 
that the purchase included all the east side of the valley to the head-waters 
of the Willamette. 

14 The native eloquence, touched and made pathetic by the despondency of 
the natives, being quoted in public by the commissioners, subjected them to 
the ridicule of the anti-administration journal, as for instance: fc ln this city 
Judge Skinner spent days, and for aught we know, weeks, in interpreting 
Slacum s jargon speeches, while Gaines, swelling with consequence, pronounced 
them more eloquent than the orations of Demosthenes or Cicero, and peddled 


In order to give the Indians the reservations they 
desired it was necessary to include some tracts claimed 
by settlers, which would either have to be vacated, 
the government paying for their improvements, or the 
settlers compelled to live among the Indians, an alter 
native not likely to commend itself to either the set 
tlers or the government. 

A careful summing-up of the report of the commis 
sioners showed that they had simply agreed to pay 
annuities to the Indians for twenty years, to make 
them presents, and to build them nouses, while the 
Indians still occupied lands of their own choosing in 
portions of the valley already being settled by white 
people, and that they refused to accept teachers, either 
religious or secular, or to cultivate the ground. By 
these terms all the hopeful themes of the commissioner 
at Washington fell to the ground. And yet the gov 
ernment was begged to ratify the treaties, because 
failure to do so would add to the distrust already felt 
by the Indians from their frequent disappointments, 
and make any further negotiations difficult. 15 

About the time the last of the six treaties was 
concluded information was received that congress, by 
act of the 27th of February, had abolished all special 
Indian commissions, and transferred to the superin 
tendent the power to make treaties. All but three 
hundred dollars of the twenty thousand appropriated 
under the advice of Thurston for this branch of the 
service had been expended by Gaines in five weeks of 
absurd magnificence at Champoeg, the paltry remain 
der being handed over to Superintendent Dart, who 
received no pay for the extra service with which to 
defray the expense of making further treaties. Thus 
ended the first essay of congress to settle the question 
of title to Indian lands. 

them about the town. . .This ridiculous farce made the actors the laughing 
stock of the boys, and even of the Indians. Or. Statesman, Nov. 6, 1852. 

u Report of Commissioners, in 32d Cong., 1st Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 2, pt. 
iii. 471. 


Dart did not find his office a sinecure. The area of 

the country over which his superintendency extended 

was so great that, even with the aid of more agents, 

little could be accomplished in a season, six months of 

the year only admitting of travel in the unsettled por- 

lons of the territory. To add to his embarrassment, 

the three agents appointed had left him almost alone 

to perform the duty which should have been divided 

among several assistants, 16 the pay offered to agents 

being so small as to be despised by men of character 

and ability who had their living to earn 

About the 1st of June 1851 Dart set out to visit 
the Indians east of the Cascade Mountains, who since 
the close of the Cayuse war had maintained a friendly 
attitude, but who hearing that it was the design to 
send the western Indians among them were becominc, 
uneasy. Their opposition to having the sickly and 
degraded Willamette natives in their midst was equal 
to that of the white people. Neither were they will 
ing to come to any arrangement by which they would 
be compelled to quit the country which each tribe for 
f called its own. Dart promised them just treat 
ment, and that they should receive pay for their lands 
Having selected a site for an agency" building on the 
Uinatffia he proceeded to Waiilatpu and Lapwai, as 
instructed, to determine the losses sustained by the 
Presbyterians, according to the instructions of gov 
ernment. 17 

of Astoria, had been appointed subagent, but decline I then Sill J f i 


The Cayuses expressed satisfaction that the United 
States cherished no hatred toward them for their past 
misdeeds, and received assurances of fair treatment 
in the future, sealed with a feast upon a fat ox. At 
Lapwai the same promises were given and ceremonies 
observed. The only thing worthy of remark that I 
find in the report of Dart s visit to eastern Oregon 
is the fact mentioned that the Cayuses had dwindled 
from their former greatness to be the most insignifi 
cant tribe in the upper country, there being left but 
one hundred and twenty-six, of whom thirty-eight 
only were men; and the great expense attending his 
visit, 18 the results of which were not what the govern 
ment expected, if indeed any body knew what was 
expected. The government was hardly prepared to 
purchase the whole Oregon territory, even at the 
minimum price of three cents an acre, and it was 
dangerous policy holding out the promise of some 
thing not likely to be performed. 

As to the Presbyterian mission claims, if the board 
had been paid what it cost to have its property ap 
praised, it would have been all it was entitled to, and 
particularly since each station could hold a section of 
land under the organic act. And as to the claims of pri 
vate individuals for property destroyed by the Cayuses, 
these Indians not being in receipt of annuities out of 
which the claims could be taken, there was no way in 
which they could be collected. Neither was the 
agency erected of any benefit to the Indians, because 
the agent, Wampole, soon violated the law, was re 
moved, and the agency closed. 

18 There were 1 1 persons in Dart s party himself and secretary, 2 inter 
preters, drawing together $11 a day; 2 carpenters, $12; 3 packers, $15; 2 
cooks, $6. The secretary received $5 a day, making the wages of the party 
$r>0 daily at the start, in addition to the superintendent s salary. Transpor 
tation to The Dalles cost $400. At The Dalles another man with 20 horses 
was hired at $15 a day, and 2 wagons with oxen at $12; the passage from 
Portland to Umatilla costing $1,500 besides subsistence. And this was only 
the beginning of expenses. The lumber for the agency building at Umatilla 
had to be carried forty miles at an enormous cost; the beef which feasted the 
Cayuses cost $80, and other things in proportion. 32d Cong., 1st Sess., H. Ex. 
Doc. 2, pt. iii. 


Concerning that part of his instructions to encour 
age missionaries as teachers among the Indians, Dart 
had little to say; for which reason, or in revenge for 
his dismissal, Spalding represented that no American 
teachers, but only Catholics and foreigners were given 
permission to enter the Indian country. 19 But as his 
name was appended to all the treaties made while he 
was agent, with one exception, he must have been as 
guilty as any of excluding American teachers. The 
truth was that Dart promised the Indians of eastern 
Oregon that they should not be disturbed in their 
religious practices, but have such teachers as they pre 
ferred. 20 This to the sectarian Protestant mind was 
simply atrocious, though it seemed only politic and 
just to the unbiassed understanding of the superin 

With regard to that part of his instructions relating 
to suppressing the establishments of the Hudson s 
Bay Company in Oregon, he informed the commis 
sioner that he found the company to have rights which 
prompted him to call the attention of the government 
to the subject before he attempted to interfere with 
them, and suggested the propriety of purchasing those 
rights instead of proceeding against British traders 
as criminals, the only accusation that could be brought 
against them being that they sold better goods to the 
Indians for less money than American traders. 

And concerning the intercourse act prohibiting the 
sale of intoxicating liquors to the natives, Dart re 
marked that although a good deal of liquor was con- 

19 This charge being deemed inimical to the administration, the President 
denied it in a letter to the Philadelphia Daily Sun, April 1852. The^ matter 
is referred to in the Or. Statesman, June 15th and July 3, 1852. See also 
Home Missionary, vol. Ixxxiv. 276. 

20 In 1852 a Catholic priest, E. C. Chirouse, settled on a piece of land at 
Walla Walla, making a claim under the act of congress establishing the terri 
torial government of Washington. He failed to make his final proof according 
to law, and the notification of his intentions was not filed till I860, when 
Archbishop Blanchet made a notification; but it appeared that whatever title 
there was, was in Chirouse. He relinquished it to the U. S. in 18G2, but it was 
then too late for the Catholic church to set up a claim, and the archbishop s 
notification was not allowed. Portland Oregonian, March 16, 1872. 


sumed in Oregon, in some localities the Indians used 
less in proportion than any others in the United 
States, and referred to the difficulty of obtaining 
evidence against liquor sellers on account of the law 
of Oregon excluding colored witnesses. He also gave 
it as his opinion that except the Shoshones and Rogue 
River Indians the aborigines of Oregon were more 
peaceable than any of the uncivilized tribes, but that 
to keep in check these savages troops were indispen 
sable, recommending that a company be stationed in 
the Shoshone country to protect the next year s im 
migration. 21 Altogether Dart seems to have been a 
fair and reasonable man/ who discharged his duty under 
unfavorable circumstances with promptness and good 

21 Eighteen thousand dollars worth of property was stolen by the Shoshonea 
in 1851; many white men were killed, and more wounded. Hutchison Clark, 
of Illinois, was driving, in advance of his company, with his mothe*-, sister, 
and a young brother in the family carriage near Raft River 40 miles west of 
Fort Hall, when the party was attacked, his mother and brother killed, and 
Miss Grace Clark, after being outraged and shot through the body and wrist, 
was thrown over a precipice to die. She alighted on a bank of sand which 
broke the force of the fall. The savages then rolled stones over after her, 
some of which struck and wounded her, notwithstanding all of which she 
survived and reached Oregon alive. She was married afterward to a Mr 
Vandervert, and settled on the coast branch of the Willamette. She died 
Feb. 20, 1875. When the train came up and discovered the bloody deed and 
that the Indians had driven off over twenty valuable horses, a company was 
formed, led by Charles Clark, to follow and chastise them. These were driven 
back, however, with a loss of one killed and one wounded. A brother of this 
Clark family named Thomas had emigrated in 1848, and was awaiting the 
arrival of his friends when the outrages occurred. Or. Statesman, Sept. 23, 
1851. The same band killed Mr Miller, from Virginia, and seriously wounded 
his daughter. They killed Jackson, a brother-in-law of Miller, at the same 
time, and attacked a train of twenty wagons, led by Harpool, being repulsed 
with some loss. Other parties were attacked at different points, and many 
persons wounded. Or. Spectator, Sept. 2, 1851; Barnes Or. and CaL, MS., 
26. Raymond, superintendent at Fort Hall, said that 31 emigrants had been 
shot by the Shoshones and their allies the Bannacks. Or. Statesman, Dec. 9, 
1851; S. F. Alta, Sept. 28, 1851. The residents of the country were at a loss 
to account for these outrages, so bold on the part of the savages, and so 
injurious to the white people. It was said that the decline of the fur- trade 
compelled the Indians to robbery, and that they willingly availed themselves 
of an opportunity not only to make good their losses, but to be avenged for 
any wrongs, real or imaginary, which they had ever suffered at the hands of 
white men. A more obvious reason might be found in the withdrawal of the 
influence wielded over them by the Hudson s Bay Company, who being now 
under United States and Oregon law was forbidden to furnish ammunition, 
and was no longer esteemed among the Indians who had nothing to gain by 
obedience. Some of the emigrants professed to believe the Indian hostili 
ties directly due to Mormon influence. David Newsome of the immigration 


On returning from eastern Oregon, Dart visited 
the mouth of. the Columbia in company with two of 
his agents, and made treaties with the Indians on 
both sides of the river, the tract purchased extending 
from the Chehalis River on the north to the Yaqui- 
na Bay on the south; and from the ocean on the 
west, to above the mouth of the Cowlitz River. For 
this territory the sum of ninety-one thousand three 
hundred dollars was promised, to be paid in ten yearly 
instalments, in clothing, provisions, and other neces 
sary articles. Reservations were made on Clatsop 
Point, and Woody and Cathlamet islands; and one 
was made at Shoalwater Bay, conditioned upon the 
majority of the Indians removing to that place within 
one year, in which case they would be provided with 
a manual labor school, a lumber and flouring mill, and 
a farmer and blacksmith to instruct them in agricul 
ture and the smith s art. 

Other treaties were made during the summer and 
autumn. TheClackamas tribe, numbering eighty-eight 
persons, nineteen of whom were men, was promised 
an annuity of two thousand five hundred dollars for 
a period of ten years, five hundred in money, and the 
remainder in food and clothing. 22 The natives of the 
south-western coast also agreed to cede a territory 
extending from the Coquille River to the southern 
boundary of Oregon, and from the Pacific Ocean 

of 1851 says: Every murder, theft, and raid upon us from Fort Laramie to 
Grande Rondo we could trace to Mormon influences and plans. I recorded 
very many instances of thefts, robberies, and murders on the journey in my 
journal. Portland West Shore, Feb. 1876. I find no ground whatever for this 
assertion. But whatever the cause, they were an alarming feature of the time, 
and called for government interference. Hence a petition to congress in the 
memorial of the legislature for troops to be stationed at the several posts 
selected in 1849 or at other points upon the road; and of a demand of Lane s, 
that the rifle regiment should be returned to Oregon to keep the Indians in 
check. 32d Cong., 1st Ses*., Cong. Globe, 1851-2, i. 507. When Superintend 
ent Dart was in the Nez Perce" country that tribe complained of the depreda 
tions of the Shoshones, and wished to go to war. Dart, however, exacted a 
promise to wait a year, and if then the IJnited States had not redressed their 
wrongs, they should be left at liberty to go against their enemies. If the Nez 
Percys had been allowed to punish the Shoshones it would have saved the 
lives of many innocent persons and a large amount of government money. 
22 Or. Statesman, Aug. 19, 1851; Or. Spectator, Dec. 2, 1851. 


to a line drawn fifty miles east, eighty miles in 
length, covering an area of two and a half million 
acres, most of which was mountainous and heavily 
timbered, with a few small valleys on the coast and 
in the interior, 23 for the sum of twenty-eight thou 
sand five hundred dollars, payable in ten annual in 
stalments, no part of which was to be paid in money. 
Thirteen treaties in all were concluded with different 
tribes, by the superintendent, for a quantity of land 
amounting to six million acres, at an average cost of 
not over three cents an acre. 24 

In November Dart left Oregon for Washington, 
taking with him the several treaties for ratification, 
and to provide for carrying them out. 

The demand for the office of an Indian agent in 
western Oregon began in 18 49, or as soon as the Ind 
ians learned that white men might be expected to 
travel through their country with horses, provisions, 
and property of various kinds, which they might be de 
sirous to have. The trade in horses was good in the 
mines of California, and Cayuse stock was purchased 
and driven there by Oregon traders, who made a large 
profit. 25 Many miners also returned from California 
overland, and in doing so had frequent encounters with 
Indians, generally at the crossing of Rogue River. " 6 
The ferrying at this place was performed in canoes, 
made for the occasion, and which, when used and left, 
were stolen by the Indians to compel the next party 
to make another, the delay affording opportunity for 

2d Cong., 1st Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 2, pt. iii. 483. 

24 After his return from his expedition east of the Cascade Range, Dart 
seemed to have practised an economy which was probably greatly suggested 
by the strictures of the democratic press upon the proceedings of the previous 
commission. All the expense, he says, referring to the Coquille country, 
of making these treaties, adding the salaries of the officers of government, 
while thus engaged, would make the cost of the land less than one cent and 
a half per acre. 32d Co?ig., 1st Sess., II. Ex. Doc. 2, pt. iii. And in the 
California Courier he says the total cost of negotiating the whole thirteen 
treaties was, including travelling expenses, about $3,000. Or. Statesman, 
Report, Dec. 9, 1861. 

25 Honolulu Friend, Aug. 24, 1850. 

26 Hancock s Thirteen Years, MS.; Johnson s Cal. and Or., 121-2, 133. 


falling on them should they prove unwary. After 
several companies had been attacked the miners turned 
upon the Indians and became the assailants. And to 
stop the stealing of canoes, left for the convenience of 
those in the rear, some miners concealed themselves 
and lay in wait for the thieves, who when thev en- 

v *J 

tered the canoe were shot. However beneficial this 
may have been for the protection of the ferry it did 
not mend matters in a general way. If the Indians 
had at first been instigated simply by a desire for 
plunder, 27 they had now gained from the retaliation 
of the Americans another motive revenge. 

In the spring of 1850 a party of miners, who had 
collected a considerable sum in gold-dust in the placers 
of California and were returning home, reached the 
Rogue River, crossing one day, toward sunset, and 
encamped about Rock Point. They did not keep a 
very careful watch, and a sudden attack caused them 
to run to cover, while the Indians plundered the camp 
of everything of value, including the bags of gold- 
dust. But one man, who had his treasure on his per 
son, escaped being robbed. 

It was to settle with these rogues for this and like 
transactions that Lane set out in May or June 1850 
to visit southern Oregon, as before mentioned. The 
party consisted of fifteen white men, and the same 
number of Klickitats, under their chief Quatley, the 
determined enemy of the Rogue River people. Quat 
ley was told what was expected of him, which was 
not to fight unless it become necesary, but to assist 
in making a treaty. They overtook on the way some 
cattle-drivers going to California, who travelled with 

27 Barnes Or. and Gal., MS., 13. Says Lane, speaking of the chief at 
Rogue River, over whom he obtained a strong influence: Joe told me that 
the first time he shed white blood, he, with another Indian, discovered late 
in the afternoon two whites on horseback passing through their country. At 
first they thought these might be men intending some mischief to their people, 
but having watched them to their camp and seen them build their fire for the 
night, they conceived the idea of murdering them for the sake of the horses 
and luggage. This they did, taking their scalps. After that they always 
killed any whites they could for the sake of plunder. Autobiography, MS., 


them, glad of an escort. All were well mounted, with 
plenty of provisions on pack-horses, and well armed. 
They proceeded leisurely, and stopped to hunt and 
dry venison in the valley of Grave Creek. About 
the middle of June they arrived at Rogue River, and 
encamped near the Indian villages, Lane sending 
word to the principal chief that he* had come to talk 
with him and his people, and to make a treaty of 
peace and friendship. To this message the chief re 
turned answer that he would come in two days with 
all his people, unarmed, as Lane stipulated. 

Accordingly, the two principal chiefs and about 
seventy-five warriors came and crossed to the south 
side, where Lane s company were encamped. A 
circle was formed, Lane and the chiefs standing inside 
the ring. But before the conference began a second 
band, as large as the first, and fully armed with bows 
and arrows, began descending a neighboring hill upon 
the camp. Lane told Quatley to come inside the 
ring, and stand, with two or three of his Indians, 
beside the head Rogue River chief. The new-comers 
were ordered to lay down their arms and be seated, 
and the business of the council proceeded, Lane keep 
ing a sharp lookout, and exchanging significant glances 
with Quatley and his party. The occasion of the 
visit was then fully explained to the people of Rogue 
River; they were reminded of their uniform conduct 
toward white men, of their murders and robberies, 
and were told that hereafter white people must travel 
through their country in safety; that their laws had 
been extended over all that region, and if obeyed 
every one could live in peace; and that if the Indians 
behaved well compensation would be made them for 
their lands that might be settled upon, and an agent 
sent to see that they had justice. 

Following Lane s speech, the Rogue River chief 
addressed, in loud, deliberate tones, his people, when 
presently they all rose and raised the war-cry, and 
those who had arms displayed them. Lane told Quat-, 


ley to hold fast the head chief, whom he had already 
seized, and ordering his men not to fire, he sprang 
with revolver in hand into the line of the traitors and 
knocked up their guns, commanding them to be 
seated and lay down their arms. As the chief was a 
prisoner, and Quatley held a knife at his throat, they 
were constrained to obey. The captive chief, who 
had not counted upon this prompt action, and whose 
brothers had previously disposed themselves among 
their people to be ready for action, finding his situa 
tion critical, told them to do as the white chief had 
said. After a brief consultation they rose again, 
being ordered by the chief to retire and not to return 
for two days, when they should come in a friendly 
manner to another council. The Indians then took 
their departure, sullen and humiliated, leaving their 
chief a prisoner in the hands of the white men, by 
whom he was secured in such a manner that he could 
not escape. 

Lane used the two days to impress upon the mind 
of the savage that he had better accept the offered 
friendship, and again gave him the promise of govern- 
ment^ aid if he should make and observe a treaty 
allowing white men to pass safely through the coun 
try, to mine in the vicinity, and to settle in the Eogue 
River Valley. 23 By the time his people returned, he 
had become convinced that this was his best course, 
and advised them to accept the terms offered, and live 
in peace, which was finally agreed to. But the gold- 
dust of the Oregon party they had robbed in the spring 
was gone past all reclaim, as they had, without know 
ing its^ value, poured it all into the river, at a point 
where it was impossible to recover it. Some property 
of no value was given up; and thus was made the first 

28 The morning after the chief had been made a prisoner his old wife (he 
had several others, but said he only loved his first wife) came very cautiously 
to the bank of the river opposite, and asked to come over and stay with 
her chief; that she did not wish to be free while he was a prisoner. She 
was told to come and stay, and was kindly treated. Lane s Autobiography, 


treaty with this tribe, a treaty which was observed 
with passable fidelity for about a year. 29 

The treaty concluded, Lane gave the Indians slips 
of paper stating the fact, arid warning white men to 
do them no injury. These papers, bearing his signa 
ture, became a talisman among these Indians, who on 
approaching a white man would hold one of them out 
exclaiming, " Jo Lane, Jo Lane," the only English 
words they knew. On taking leave the chief, whose 
name hereafter by consent of Lane was to be Jo, pre 
sented his friend with a boy slave from the Modoc 
tribe, who accompanied him to the Shasta mines to 
which he now proceeded, the time when his resig 
nation was to take effect having passed. Here he 
dug gold, and dodged Indian arrows like any common 
miner until the spring of 1851, when he was recalled 
to Oregon. 


The gold discoveries of 1850 in the Klamath Val 
ley caused an exodus of Oregonians thither early in 
the following year; and notwithstanding Lane s treaty 
with Chief Jo, great vigilance was required to pre 
vent hostile encounters with his tribe as well as with 
that of the Umpqua Valley south of the canon. 31 It 

29 Like many another old soldier Lane loved to boast of his exploits. He 
asked the interpreter the name of the white chief, says the general, and re 
quested me to come to him as he wanted to talk. As I walked up to him he 
said, " Mika name Jo Lane?" I said, " Nawitka," which is " Yes." He said, 
" I want you to give me your name, for," said he, {i I have seen no man like 
you. " I told the interpreter to say to him that I would give him half my 
name, but not all; that he should be called Jo. He was much pleased, and to 
the day of his death he was known as Jo. At his request I named his wife, 
calling her Sally. They had a son and a daughter, a lad of fourteen, the girl 
being about sixteen. She was quite a young queen in her manner and bear 
ing, and for an Indian quite pretty. I named the boy Ben, and the girl 
Mary. Lane s Autobiography, MS., 9(>-8. 

30 Sacramento Transcript, Jan. 14, 1851. Lane had his adventures in the 
mines, some of which are well told in his Autobiography. While on Pit 
River, his Modoc boy, whom he named John, and who from being kindly 
treated became a devoted servant, was the means of saving his life and that 
of an Oregonian named Driscoll. pp. 88-108. 

81 Card well, in his Emigrant Company, MS., 2-11, gives a history of his 
personal experience in travelling through and residing in Southern Oregon in 
1851 with 27 others. The Cow-creek Indians followed and annoyed them for 
some distance, when finally one of them was shot and wounded in the act of 
taking a horse from camp. At Grave creek, in Rogue River Valley, three 


soon became evident that Jo, even if he were honestly 
intentioned, could not keep the peace, the annoying 
and often threatening demonstrations of his people 
leading to occasional overt acts on the part of the 
miners, a circumstance likely to be construed by the 
Indians as sufficient provocation to further and more 
pronounced hostility. 

Some time in May a young man named Dilley was 
treacherously murdered by two Rogue River Indians, 
who, professing to be friendly, were travelling and 
camping with three white men. They rose in the 
night, took Dilley s gun, the only one in the party, 
shot him while sleeping, and made off with the horses 
and property, the other two men fleeing back to a 
company in the rear. On hearing of it thirty men 
of Shasta formed a company, headed by one Long, 
marched over the Siskiyou, and coming upon a band 
at the crossing of Rogue River, killed a sub-chief and 
one other Indian, took two warriors and two daughters 
of another chief prisoners, and held them as hostages 
for the delivery of the murderers of Dilley. The chief 
refused to give up the guilty Indians, but threatened 
instead to send a strong party to destroy Long s corn- 
Indians pretending to be friendly offered to show his party where gold could 
be found on the surface of the ground, telling their story so artfully that 
cross-questioning of the three separately did not show any contradiction in 
their statements, and the party consented to follow these guides. On a plain, 
subsequently known as Harris flat, the wagons stopped and 1 1 men were left 
to guard them, while the rest of the company kept on with the Indians. They 
were led some distance up Applegate creek, where on examining the bars fine 
gold was found, but none of the promised nuggets. When the men began 
prospecting the stream the Indians collected on the sides of the hills above 
them, yelling and rolling stones down the descent. The miners, however, 
continued to examine the bars up the stream, a part of them standing guard 
rifle in hand; working in this manner two days and encamping in open ground 
at night. On the evening of the second day their tormentors withdrew in 
that mysterious manner which precedes an attack, and Card well s party fled 
in haste through the favoring dai kness relieved by a late moon, across the 
ridge to Rogue River. At Perkins ferry, just established, they found Chief 
Jo, who was rather ostentatiously protecting this first white settlement. 
While breakfasting a pursuing party of Indians rode up within a short dis 
tance of camp where they were stopped by the presented rifles of the white 
men. Jo called this a hunting party and assured the miners they should not 
be molested in passing through the country; on which explanation and 
promise word was sent to the wagon train, and the company proceeded across 
the Siskiyou Mountains to Shasta flat, where they discovered good mines on 
the 12th of March. 


pany, which remained at the crossing awaiting events. 82 
It does not appear that Long s party was attacked, 
but several unsuspecting companies suffered in their 
stead. These attacks were made chiefly at one place 
some distance south of the ferry where Long and his 
men encamped. 33 The alarm spread throughout the 
southern valleys, and a petition was forwarded to 
Governor Gaines from the settlers in the Umpqua 
for permission to raise a company of volunteers to 
fight the Indians. The governor decided to look over 
the field before granting leave to the citizens to fight, 
and repaired in person to the scene of the reported 

The Spectator, which was understood to lean toward 
Gaines and the administration, as opposed to the 
Statesman and democracy, referring to the petition 
remarked that leave had been asked to march into 
the Indian country and slay the savages wherever 
found; that the prejudice against Indians was very 
strong in the mines and daily increasing; and that no 
doubt this petition had been sent to the governor to 
secure his sanction to bringing a claim against the 
government for the expenses of another Indian war. 

One of Thurston s measures had been the removal 

82 Or. Statesman, June 20, 1851; Or. Spectator, June 19, 1851. 

83 On the 1st of June 26 men were attacked at the same place, and an 
Indian was killed in the skirmish. On the 2d four men were set upon in this 
camp and robbed of their horses and property, but escaped alive to Perkins 
ferry; and on the same day a pack-train belonging to one Nichols was robbed 
of a number of animals with their packs, one of the men being wounded in the 
heel by a ball. Two other parties were attacked on the same day, one of 
which lost four men. On the 3d of June McBride and 31 others were attacked 
in camp south of Rogue River. A. Richardson, of San Jose", California, James 
Barlow, Captain Turpin, Jesse Dodson and son, Aaron Payne, Dillard Hoi- 
man, Jesse Runnels, Presley Lovelady, and Richard Sparks of Oregon were 
in the company and were commended for bravery. Or. Statesman, June 20, 
1851. There were but 17 guns in the party, while the Indians numbered over 
200, having about the same number of guns besides their bows and arrows, 
and were led by a chief known as Chucklehead. The attack was made at 
daybreak, and the battle lasted four hours and a half, when Chucklehead being 
killed the Indians withdrew. It was believed that the Rogue River people lost 
several killed and wounded. None of the white men were seriously hurt, owing 
to the bad firing of the Indians, not yet used to guns, not to mention their 
station on the top of a hill. Three horses, a mule, and $1,500 worth of other 
property and gold-dust were taken by the Indians. 


from the territory of the United States troops, which 
after years of private and legislative appeal were at 
an enormous expense finally stationed at the different 
posts according to the desire of the people. He rep 
resented to congress that so far from being a blessing 
they were really a curse to the country, which would 
gladly be rid of them. To his constituents he said 
that the cost of maintaining the rifle regiment was 
four hundred thousand dollars a year. He proposed 
as a substitute to persuade congress to furnish a good 
supply of arms, ammunition, and military stores to 
Oregon, and authorize the governor to call out volun 
teers when needed, both as a saving to the govern 
ment and a means of profit t6 the territory, a part of 
the plan being to expend one hundred thousand dollars 
saved in goods for the Indians, which should be pur 
chased only of American merchants in Oregon. 

Thurston s plan had been carried out so far as re 
moving the rifle regiment was concerned, which in 
the month of April began to depart in divisions for 
California, and thence to Jefferson Barracks; 34 leav 
ing on the 1st of June, when Major Kearney began 
his march southward with the last division, only 
two skeleton companies of artillerymen to take charge 
of the government property at Steilacoom, Astoria, 
Vancouver, and The Dalles. He moved slowly, ex 
amining the country for military stations, and the 
best route for a military road which should avoid the 
Umpqua canon. On arriving at Yoncalla, 35 Kearney 

84 Brackets U. S. Cavalry, 129; Or. Spectator, April 10, 1851; Or. States 
man, May 30, 1851; 32d Cong., 1st Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 2, pt. i. 144-53. 

35 Yoncalla is a compound of yonc, eagle, and calla or calla-calla, bird or 
fowl, in the Indian dialect. It was applied as a name to a conspicuous butte 
in the Umpqua Valley, at the foot of which Jesse Applegate made his home, 
a large and hospitable mansion, now going to ruin. Applegate agreed to 
assist Kearney only in case of a better route than the canon road being dis 
covered, his men should put it in condition to be travelled by the immigra 
tion that year, to which Kearney consented, and a detachment of 28 men, 
under Lieutenant Williamson, accompanied by Levi Scott -as well as Apple- 
gate, began the reconnoissance about the 10th of June, the main body of 
Kearney s command travelling the old road. It was almost with satisfaction 
that Applegate and Scott found that no better route than the one they 
opened in 1846 could be discovered, since it removed the reproach of their 
HIST. OR., VOL. II. 16 


consulted with Jesse Applegate, whom he prevailed 
upon to assist in the exploration of the country east 
of the canon, in which they were engaged when the 
Indian war began in Rogue River Valley. 

The exploring party had proceeded as far as this 
pass when they learned from a settler at the north 
end of the canon, one Knott, of the hostilities, and 
that the Indians were gathered at Table Rock, an 
almost impregnable position about twenty miles east 
of the ferry on Rogue River. 36 On this information 
Kearney, with a detachment of twenty-eight men, 
took up the march for the Indian stronghold with the 
design of dislodging them. A heavy rain had swollen 
the streams and impeded his progress, and it was not 
until the morning of the 17th of June that he reached 
Rogue River at a point five miles distant from Table 
Rock. While looking for a ford indications of Ind 
ians in the vicinity were discovered, and Kearney 
hoped to be able to surprise them. He ordered the 
command to fasten their sabres to their saddles to 
prevent noise, and divided his force, a part under 
Captain Walker crossing to the south side of the 
river to intercept any fugitives, while the remainder 
under Captain James Stuart kept upon the north side. 

Stuart soon came upon the Indians who were pre 
pared for battle. Dismounting his men, who in their 
haste left their sabres tied to their saddles, Stuart 
made a dash upon the enemy. They met him with 
equal courage. A brief struggle took place in which 
eleven Indians were killed and several wounded. 
Stuart himself was matched against a powerful war 
rior, who had been struck more than once without 

enemies that they were to blame for not finding a better one at that time. 
None other has ever been found, though Applogate himself expected when 
with Kearney to be able to get a road saving 40 miles of travel. Ewald, in 
Or. Statesman, July 22, 1851. 

36 Table Rock is a flat-topped mountain overhanging Rogue River. Using 
the rock as a watch-tower, the Indians in perfect security had a large extent 
of country and a long line of road under their observation, and could deter 
mine the strength of any passing company of travellers and their place of 
encampment, before sallying forth to the attack. Or. Statesman, July 22, 1851. 


meeting his death. As the captain approached, the 
savage, though prostrate, let fly an arrow which 
pierced him through, lodging in the kidneys, of which 
wound he died the day after the battle. 37 Captain 
Peck was also wounded severely, and one of the 
troops slightly. 

The Indians, who were found to be in large num 
bers, retreated upon their stronghold, and Kearney 
also fell back to wait for the coming- up of lieuten 
ants Williamson and Irvine with a detachment, and 
the volunteer companies hastily gathered among the 
miners. 38 Camp was made at the mouth of a tribu 
tary of Rogue River, entering a few miles below Table 
Rock, which was named Stuart creek after the dying 
captain. It was not till the 23d that the Indians 
were again engaged. A skirmish occurred in the 
morning, and a four hours battle in the afternoon of 
that day. The Indians were stationed in a densely 
wooded hummock, which gave them the advantage in 
point of position, while in the matter of arms the 

3T Brackett, in his U. S. Cavalry, calls this officer the excellent and be 
loved Captain James Stuart. The nature of the wound caused excruciating 
pain, but his great regret was that after passing unharmed through six hard 
battles in Mexico he should die in the wilderness at the hands of an Indian. 
It is doubtful, however, if death on a Mexican battle-field would have brought 
with it a more lasting renown. Stuart Creek on which he was interred camp 
being made over his grave to obliterate it and the warm place kept for him 
in the hearts of Oregonians will perpetuate his memory. CardwelVs Emigrant 
Company, MS., 14; Or. Statesman, July 8, 1851; S. F. Alta, July 16, 1851; 
State Ri<jhts Democrat, Dec. 15th and 22, 1876. 

38 Card well relates that his company were returning from Josephine creek 
named after a daughter of Kirby who founded Kirbyville on their way to 
Yreka, when they met Applegate at the ferry on Rogue River, who suggested 
that it would be proper enough to assist the government troops and Lamer- 
ick s volunteers to clean out the Indians in Rogue River Valley . Thirty men 
upon this suggestion went to Willow Springs on the 16th, upon the under 
standing that Kearney would make an attack next day near the mouth of 
Stuart s creek, when it was thought the Indians would move in this direction, 
and the volunteers could engage them until the troops came up. At day 
light the following morning, says Card well, we heard the firing commence. 
It was kept up quite briskly for about fifteen minutes. There was a terrible 
yelling and crying by the Indians, and howling of dogs during the battle. 
Emigrant Company, MS., 12; Crane s Top. Mem., MS., 40. The names of 
Applegate, Scott, Boone, T Vault, Armstrong, Blanchard, and Colonel Tranor 
from California, are mentioned in Lane s correspondence in the Or. Statesman 
July 22, 1851, as ready to assist the troops. I suppose this to be James W. 
Tranor, formerly of the New Orleans press, an adventurous pioneer and 
brilliant newspaper writer, who was afterward killed by Indians while cross 
ing Pit River. Oakland Transcript, Dec. 7, 1872. 


troops were better furnished. In these battles the 
savages again suffered severely, and on the other 
side several were wounded but none killed. 

While these events were in progress both Gaines 
and Lane were on their way to the scene of action. 
The governor s position was not an enviable one. 
Scarcely were the riflemen beyond the Willamette when 
he was forced to write the president representing the 
imprudence of withdrawing the troops at this time, no 
provision having been made by the legislature for or 
ganizing the militia of the territory, or for meeting in 
any way the emergency evidently arising. 39 The re 
ply which in due time he received was that the rifle 
regiment had been withdrawn, first because its services 
were needed on the frontier of Mexico and Texas, 
and secondly because the Oregon delegate had as 
sured the department that its presence in Oregon was 
not needed. In answer to the governor s suggestion 
that a post should be established in southern Oregon, 
the secretary gave it as his opinion that the com 
manding officer in California should order a recon- 
noissance in that part of the country, with a view to 
selecting a proper site for such a post without loss of 
time. But with regard to troops, there were none 
that could be sent to Oregon; nor could they, if put 
en route at that time, it being already September, 
reach there in time to meet the emergency. The 
secretary therefore suggested that companies of militia 
might be organized, which could be mustered into ser 
vice for short periods, and used in conjunction with 
the regular troops in the pursuit of Indians, or as the 
exigencies of the service demanded. 

Meanwhile Gaines, deprived entirely of military sup 
port, endeavored to raise a volunteer company at Yon- 
calla to escort him over the dangerous portion of the 
route to Rogue River; but most of the men of Ump- 
qua, having either gone to the mines or to reenforce 

39 32d Cong., 1st Sess., If. Ex. Doc. 2, pt. i. 145; Or. Spectator, Aug. 12, 


Kearney, this was a difficult undertaking, detaining him 
so that it was the last of the month before he reached 
his destination. Lane having already started south 
to look after his mining property before quitting Ore 
gon for Washington arrived at the Umpqua canon 
on the 21st, where he was met by a party going north, 
from whom he obtained the news of the battle of the 
17th and the results, with the information that more 
fighting was expected. Hastening forward with his 
party of about forty men he arrived at the foot of the 
Rogue River mountains on the night of the 22d, 
where he learned from an express rider that Kearney 
had by that time left camp on Stuart creek with the 
intention of making a night march in order to strike 
the Indians at daybreak of the 23d. 

He set out to join Kearney, but after a hard day s 
ride, being unsuccessful, proceeded next morning to 
Camp Stuart with the hope of learning something of 
the movements of Kearney s command. That evening 
Scott and T Vault came to camp with a small party, 
for supplies, and Lane returned with them to the 
army, riding from nine o clock in the evening to two 
o clock in the morning, and being heartily welcomed 
both by Kearney and the volunteers. 

Early on the 25th, the command moved back down 
the river to overtake the Indians, who had escaped 
during the night, and crossing the river seven miles 
above the ferry found the trail leading up Sardine 
creek, which being followed brought them up with the 
fugitives, one of whom was killed, while the others 
scattered through the woods like a covey of quail in 
the grass. Two days were spent in pursuing and 
taking prisoners the women and children, the men 
escaping. On the 27th the army scoured the country 
from the ferry to Table Rock, returning in the even 
ing to Camp Stuart, when the campaign was consid 
ered as closed. Fifty Indians had been killed and 
thirty prisoners taken, while the loss to the white 
warriors, since the first battle, was a few wounded. 


The Indians had at the first been proudly defiant, 
Chief Jo boasting that he had a thousand warriors, 
and could keep that number of arrows in the air con 
tinually. But their pride had suffered a fall which 
left them apparently humbled. They complained to 
Lane, whom they recognized, talking across the river 
in stentorian tones, that white men had come on 
horses in great numbers, invading every portion of 
their country. They were afraid, they said, to lie 
down to sleep lest the strangers should be upon them. 
They wearied of war and wanted peace. 40 There was 
truth as well as oratorical effect in their harangues, 
for just at this time their sleep was indeed insecure; 
but it was not taken into account by them that they 
had given white men this feeling of insecurity of 
which they complained. 

Now that the fighting was over Kearney was 
anxious to resume his march toward California, but 
was embarrassed with the charge of prisoners. The 
governor had not yet arrived; the superintendent of 
Indian affairs was a great distance off in another part 
of the territory; there was no place where they could 
be confined in Rogue River valley, nor did he know 
of any means of sending them to Oregon City. But 
he was determined not to release them until they had 
consented to a treaty of peace. Sooner than do that 
he would take them with him to California and send 
them back to Oregon by sea. Indeed he had pro 
ceeded with them to within twenty -five miles of Shasta 
Butte, a mining town afterward named Yreka, 41 when 
Lane, who when his services were no longer needed 
in the field had continued his journey to Shasta 
Valley, again came to his relief by offering to escort 
the prisoners to Oregon City whither he was about 
to return, or to deliver them to the governor or super- 

40 Letter of Lane, in Or. Statesman, July 22, 1851. > 

41 It is said that the Indians called Mount Shasta Yee-ka, and that the 
miners having caught something of Spanish orthography and pronunciation 
changed it to Yreka; hence Shasta Butte city became Yreka. E. Steele, ill 
Or. Council, Jour. 1857-8, app. 44. 


intendent of Indian affairs wherever he might find 
them. Lieutenant Irvine, 42 from whom Lane learned 
Kearney s predicament, carried Lane s proposition 
to the major, and the prisoners were at once sent to 
his care, escorted by Captain Walker. Lane s party* 3 
set out immediately for the north, and on the 7th of 
July delivered their charge to Governor Gaines, who 
had arrived at the ferry, where he was encamped 
with fifteen men waiting for his interpreters to bring 
the Rogue River chiefs to a council, his success in 
which undertaking was greatly due to his possession 
of their families. Lane then hastened to Oregon City 
to embark for the national capital, having added much 
to his reputation with the people by his readiness of 
action in this first Indian war west of the Cascade 
Mountains, as well as in the prompt arrest of the 
deserting riflemen in the spring of 1850. To do, to 
do quickly, and generally to do the thing pleasing to 
the people, of whom he always seemed to be thinking, 
was natural and easy for him, and in this lay the secret 
of his popularity. 

When Gaines arrived at Rogue River he found 
Kearney had gone, not a trooper in the country, and 
the Indians scattered. He made an attempt to col 
lect them for a council, and succeeded, as I have inti 
mated, by means of the prisoners Lane brought him, 
in inducing about one hundred, among whom were 
eleven head men, to agree to a peace. By the terms 
of the treaty, which was altogether informal, his com 
mission having been withdrawn, the Indians placed 

42 Irvine, who was with Williamson on a topographical expedition, had an 
adventure before he was well out of the Shasta country with two Indians and 
a Frenchman who took him prisoner, bound him to a tree, and inflicted some 
tortures upon him. The Frenchman who was using the Indians for his own 
purposes finally sent them away on some pretence, and taking the watch and 
valuables belonging to Irvine sat down by the camp-fire to count his spoil. 
While thus engaged the lieutenant succeeded in freeing himself from his 
bonds, and rushing upon the fellow struck him senseless for a moment. On 
recovering himself the Frenchman struggled desperately with his former 
prisoner but was finally killed and Irvine escaped. Or. Statesman, Aug. 5, 

43 Among Lane s company were Daniel Waldo, Hunter, and Rust of Ken 
tucky, and Simonson of Indiana. 


themselves under the jurisdiction and protection of 
the United States, and agreed to restore all the prop 
erty stolen at any time from white persons, in return 
for which promises of good behavior they received 
back their wives and children and any property taken 
from them. There was nothing in the treaty to pre 
vent the Indians, as soon as they were reunited to 
their families, from resuming their hostilities; and 
indeed it was well known that there were two parties 
amongst them one in favor of war and the other 
opposed to it, but the majority for it. Though so 
severely punished, the head chief of the war party re 
fused to treat with Kearney, and challenged him to 
further combat, after the battle of the 23d. It was 
quite natural therefore that the governor should 
qualify his belief that they would observe the treaty, 
provided an efficient agent and a small military force 
could be sent among them. And it was no less nat 
ural that the miners and settlers should doubt the 
keeping of the compact, and believe in a peace pro 
cured by the rifle. 




GENERAL HITCHCOCK, commanding the Pacific di 
vision at Benicia, California, on hearing Kearny s ac 
count of affairs between the Indians and the miners, 
made a visit to Oregon; and having been persuaded 
that Port Orford was the proper point for a garrison, 
transferred Lieutenant Kautz and his company of 
twenty men from Astoria, where the governor had 
declared they were of no use, to Port Orford, where 
he afterward complained they were worth no more. 
At the same time the superintendent of Indian affairs, 
with agents Parrish and Spalding, repaired to the 
southern coast to treat if possible with its people. 
They took passage on the propeller Seagull, from 
Portland, on the 12th of September, 1851, T Vault s 
party being at that time in the mountains looking for 
a road. The Seagull arrived at Port Orford on the 
14th, two days before T Vault and Brush were re 
turned to that place, naked and stiff with wounds, by 
the charitable natives of Cape Blanco. 

The twofold policy of the United States made it 
the duty of the superintendent to notice the murderous 



conduct of the Coquilles. As Dart had come to 
treat, he did not wish to appear as an avenger; neither 
did he feel secure as conciliator. It was at length 
decided to employ the Cape Blanco native, who under 
took to ascertain the whereabouts, alive or dead, of 
the seven men still missing of the T Vault party. 
This he did by sending two women of his tribe to the 
Coquille River, where the killing of five, and probable 
escape of the rest, was ascertained. The women in 
terred the mangled bodies in the sand. 

The attitude of the Coquilles was not assuring. 
To treat with them while they harbored murderers 
would not do; and how to make them give them up 
without calling on the military puzzled the superin 
tendent. Finally Parrish, whose residence among 
the Clatsops had given him some knowledge of the 
coast tribes, undertook to secure hostages, but failed. 1 
Dart returned to Portland about the 1st of October, 
leaving his interpreter with Kautz. 

Between the visits of Governor Gaines to Rogue 
River and Dart to Port Orford, disturbances had 
been resumed in the former region. Gaines had 
agreed upon a mutual restitution of property or of its 
value, which was found not to work well, the miners 
being as much dissatisfied as the Indians. From this 
reason, and because the majority of the Rogue River 
natives were not parties to the treaty, not many weeks 
had elapsed after Gaines returned to Oregon City 
before depredations were resumed. A settler s cabin 
was broken into on Grave Creek, and some travellers 
were fired on from ambush; 2 rumors of which reach- 
ing the superintendent before leaving the Willamette, 
he sent a messenger to request the Rogue River 
chiefs to meet him at Port Orford. Ignorance of 
Indian ways, unpardonable in a superintendent, could 
alone have caused so great a blunder. Not only did 
they refuse thus to go into their neighbor s territory, 

1 Or. Anecdotes, MS., 58-61. 

8 Or. Statesman, Sept. 2, 9, 16, and 30, 1851. 


but made the request an excuse for further disturb 
ances. 3 Again, there were white men in this region 
who killed and robbed white men, charging their 
crimes 4 upon the savages. Indian Agent Skinner held 
conferences with several bands at Rogue River, all of 
whom professed friendship and accepted presents; 5 
in which better frame of mind I will leave them and 
return to affairs at Port Orford. 

When intelligence of the massacre on the Coquille 
was received at division headquarters in California, 
punishment was deemed necessary, and as I have be 
fore mentioned, a military force was transferred to 
the Port Orford station. The troops, commanded by 
Lieutenant-colonel Casey of the 2d infantry, were 
portions of companies E and A, 1st dragoons dis 
mounted, lieutenants Thomas Wright and George 
Stoneman, and company C with their horses. The 
dismounted men arrived at Port Orford October 22d, 
and the mounted men by the next steamer, five days 
later. On the 31st the three companies set out for 
the mouth of the Coquille, arriving at their destina 
tion November 3d, Colonel Casey and Lieutenant 
Stanton leading the mounted men, with Brush, a sur 
vivor of the massacre, as guide, and a few stragglers. 
The Coquilles were bold and brave. One of them 
meeting Wright away from camp attempted to wrest 
from him his rifle, and was shot by that officer for his 
temerity. On the 5th the savages assembled on the 

3 Two drovers, Moffat and Evans, taking a herd of swine to the Shasta 
mines, encamped with two others near the foot of the Siskiyou Mountains, 
their hogs eating the acorns used as food by the natives, who demanded a hog 
in payment. One of them pointed his gun at a pig as if to shoot, whereupon 

m - /v i i -I i 1 1 1 ill 1 1 5i 1 J_ 1 _ T J T ! 

, giving 

and the Indians exchanged shots, wounds being received on both sides. 
Moffat was from Philadelphia, where he had a family. Or. Statesman, Nov. 
11 and 25, 1851; Or. Spectator, Jan. 6, 1852. 

4 There was at this time on the southern border of Oregon an organized 
band of desperadoes, white men, half-breeds, and Indians, who were the 
terror of the miners. See Popular Tribunals, this series, passim. 

b U. S. Sen. Doc., 32d cong. 2d sess., i. 453. 


north bank to the number of one hundred and fifty, 
and by their gesticulations challenged the troops to 
battle. The soldiers fired across the river, the Co- 
quilles returning the fire with the guns taken from 
T Vault s party ; 6 but no damage was done. Construct 
ing a raft, the main body crossed to the north side 
on the 7th in a cold drenching rain, while Stanton 
proceeded up the south side, ready to cooperate with 
Casey when the Indians, who had now retreated up 
the stream, should be found. It was soon ascertained 
that a campaign on the Coquille was no trifling matter. 
The savages were nowhere to be found in force, hav 
ing fled toward head waters, or a favorable ambush. 
Marching in order was not to be thought of; and 
after several days of wading through morasses, climb 
ing hills, and forcing a way among the undergrowth 
by day and sleeping under a single wet blanket at 
night, the order to retreat was given. Nothing had 
been met with on the route but deserted villages, 
which were invariably destroyed, together with the 
winter s store of provisions a noble revenge on inno 
cent women and children, who must starve in conse 
quence. Returning to the mouth of the river, Casey 
sent to Port Orford For boats to be brought overland, 
on the arrival of which the campaign was recom 
menced on a different plan. 

In three small boats were crowded sixty men, in 
such a manner that their arms could not be used; and 
so they proceeded up the river for four days, finding 
no enemy. At the forks, the current being strong, 
the troops encamped. It was now the 20th of No 
vember, and the weather very inclement. On the 
21st Casey detailed Stoneman to proceed up the south 
branch with one boat and fourteen men ; while Wright 

6 T Vault says there were eight rifles, one musket, one double-barrelled pis 
tol, one Sharp s patent 36 shooting-rifle, one Colt s six-shooter, one brace hol 
ster pistols, with ammunition, and some blankets. Here were fourteen shoot 
ing-arms, many of them repeating, yet the party could not defend themselves 
on account of the suddenness and manner of the attack. Or. Statesman, Oct. 
7, 1851. 


with, a similar force ascended the north branch, look 
ing for Indians. After advancing six or eight miles, 
Stoneman discovered the enemy in force on both banks. 
A few shots were fired, and the party returned and 
reported. In the course of the afternoon Wright also 
returned, having been about eighteen miles up the 
north branch without finding any foe. On the 22d 
the whole command set out toward the Indian camp 
on the south branch, taking only two boats, with five 
men in each, the troops marching up the right bank 
to within half a mile of the point aimed at, when 
Stoneman crossed to the left bank with one company, 
and the march was resumed in silence, the boats con 
tinuing to ascend with equal caution. The Indians 
were found assembled at the junction. When the 
boats were within a hundred and fifty yards of them 
the savages opened fire with guns and arrows. Wright 
then made a dash to the river bank, and with yells 
drove the savages into concealment. Meanwhile 
Stoneman was busy picking off certain of the enemy 
stationed on the bank to prevent a landing. 

The engagement lasted only about twenty minutes, 
and the Coquilles had now scampered into the woods, 
where it would be useless to attempt to follow them. 
Fifteen were killed and many appeared to be wounded. 
Their lodges and provisions were burned, while their 
canoes were carried away. Casey, who was with 
Wright on the north bank, joined in the fighting with 
enthusiasm, telling the men to take good aim and not 
throw away shots. 7 

The troops returned to the mouth of the river, 
where they remained for a few days, and then marched 
back to Port Orford, and took passage on the Colum 
bia for San Francisco, where they arrived on the 12th 

7 The above details are mostly from the letter of a private soldier, written 
to his brother in the east. Before the letter was finished the writer was 
drowned in the Sixes River near Cape Blanco, while riding express from Port 
Orford to Lieut. Stoneman s camp at the mouth of the Coquille. The letter 
was published in the Alto, California, Dec. 14, 1851. It agrees with other 
but less particular accounts, in the 8. F. Herald of Dec. 4, 1851, and Or. States 
man, Dec. 16 and 30, 1851. See also Davidson s Coast Pilot, 119. 


of December. 8 This expedition cost the government 
some twenty-five thousand dollars/ and resulted in 
killing a dozen or more Indians, which coming after the 
late friendly professions of Indian Agent Parrish, did 
not tend to confidence in the promises of the govern 
ment, or increase the safety of the settlers. 10 

I have told how Stanton returned to Oregon with 
troops to garrison Fort Orford, being shipwrecked 
and detained four months at Coos Bay. He had 
orders to explore for a road to the interior, in connec 
tion with Williamson, who had already begun this 
survey. The work was prosecuted with energy, and 
finished in the autumn of 1852. 

The presents distributed by Skinner had not the 
virtue to preserve lasting tranquillity in the mining 
region. In the latter part of April 1852, a citizen 
of Marion county returning from the mines was 
robbed of his horse and other property in the Grave 
Creek hills by Rogue River Indians. This act was 
followed by other interruption of travellers, and de 
mand for pay for passing fords. 11 Growing bolder, 
robbery was followed by murder, and then came war. 12 

On the 8th of July, a Shasta, named Scarface, a 

*Cal. Courier, Dec. 13, 1851. 

9 Report of Major Robert Allen, in U. S. H. Ex. Doc. 2, vol. ii. part 1, p. 
150, 32d cong. 1st sess. 

10 The commanders went without an interpreter to the Coquille village, 
and just banged away -until they gratified themselves, and then went to Port 
Orford and back to San Francisco. Parrish s Or. Anecdotes, MS., 66. See 
also Alto, California, Dec. 14, 1851. 

"Hearne s Gal Sketches, MS., 2. 

12 In the early spring of 1852 a party of five men, led by James Coy, left 
Jacksonville to look for mining ground toward the coast. Having discov 
ered some good diggings on a tributary of Illinois Biver, now called Jose 
phine Creek, they were following up the right branch, when they discovered, 
three miles above the junction, the remains of two white men, evidently 
murdered by the Indians. Being few in number, they determined to return 
and reenforce. Camping at night at the mouth of Josephine Creek, they 
were attacked by a large force. They kept the enemy at bay until the next 
night, when one of the men crowded through their lines, and hastened to 
Jacksonville for aid. All that day, and the next, and until about ten o clock 
on the third, the besieged defended their little fortress, when a party of 35 
came down the mountain to their relief; and finding the country rich in 
mines, took up claims, and made the first permanent settlement in Illinois 
Valley. Scraps Southern Or. Hist., in Ashland Tidings, Sept. 20, 1878. 


notorious villain, who had killed his chief and usurped 
authority, murdered one Calvin Woodman, on Ind 
ian Creek, a small tributary of the Klamath. The 
white men of Shasta and Scott s valleys arrested the 
head chief, and demanded the surrender of Scarface 
and his accomplice, another Shasta known as Bill. 
The captured chief not only refused, but made his 
escape. The miners then organized, and in a fight 
which ensued the sheriff w r as wounded, some horses 
being killed. Mr E. Steele was then living at Yreka. 
He had mined in the Shasta valley when Lane was 
digging gold in that vicinity. The natives had named 
him Jo Lane s Brother, and he had great influence 
with them. Steele had been absent at the time of 
the murder, but returning to Scott Valley soon after, 
found the Indians moving their families toward the 
Salmon River mountains, a sign of approaching 
trouble. Hastening to Johnson s rancho, he learned 
what had occurred, and also met there a company 
from Scott Bar prosecuting an unsuccessful search for 
the savages in the direction of Yreka. Next day, at 
the request of Johnson, who had his family at the 
rancho and was concerned for their safety, Steele col 
lected the Indians in Scott Valley and held a council. 
The Shastas, to which nation belonged the Rogue 
River tribes, were divided under several chiefs as fol 
lows : Tolo was the acknowledged head of those who 
lived in the flat country about Yreka; Scarface and Bill 
were over those in Shasta Valley; John of those in 
Scott Valley; and Sam and Jo of those in Rogue River 
Valley, having been formerly all under one chief, the fa 
ther of John. On the death of the old chief a feud had 
arisen concerning the supremacy, which was inter 
rupted by the appearance of white men, since which 
time each had controlled his own band. Then there 
were two chiefs who had their country at the foot of 
the Siskiyou Mountains on the north side, or south of 
Jacksonville, namely, Tipso, that is to say, The Hairy, 
from his heavy beard, and Sullix, or the Bad -tern- 


pered, both of whom were unfriendly to the settlers 
and miners. 13 They also had wars with the Shastas 
on the south side of the Siskiyou, 14 and were alto 
gether turbulent in their character. 

The chiefs whom Steele induced to trust themselves 
inside Johnson s stockade for conference were Tolo, 
his son Philip, and John, with three of his brothers, 
one of whom was known as Jim. These affirmed that 
they desired peace, and said if Steele would accom 
pany them they would go in search of the murderers. 
Accordingly a party of seven was formed, four more 
joining at Shasta canon. 15 Proceeding to Yreka, 
Steele had some trouble to protect his savages from 
the citizens, who wished to hang them. But an order 
of arrest having been obtained from the county judge, 
the party proceeded, and in two days reached the 
hiding-place of Scarface and Bill. The criminals had 
fled, having gone to join Sam, brother of Chief Jo, 
Lane s namesake, who had taken up arms because Dr 
Ambrose, a settler, had seized the ground which was 
the winter residence of the tribe, and because he would 
not betroth his daughter to Sam s son, both children 
being still of tender age. 

Tolo, Philip, and Jim then withdrew from the party 
of white men, substituting two young warriors, who 
were pledged to find Scarface and Bill, or suffer in 
their stead. A party under Wright then proceeded 
to the Klamath country. Steele went to Rogue River, 
hearing on the Siskiyou Mountain confirmation of the 
war rumor from a captured warrior, afterward shot in 
trying to effect his escape. 

Rumors of disaffection reaching Table Rock, 16 seven- 

13 See CardweWsEm. Co., MS., 15, 7. 

"Id., 15-21; Ashland Tid., Dec. 2, 9, 1876, and Sept. 20, 1878. 

J5 The Scott Valley men were John McLeod, James Bruce, James White, 
Peter Snellback, John Galvin, and a youth called Harry. The four from 
Shasta were J. D. Cook, F. W. Merritt, L. S. Thompson, and Ben. Wright, 
who acted as interpreter. 

16 Jacksonville was at this time called Table Rock, though without rele 
vance. The first journal published there was the Table Rock Sentinel. Prim s 
Judicial Affairs in S. Or., MS., 3. 


ty-five or eighty men, with John K. Lamerick as 
leader, volunteered to go and kill Indians. Hearing 
of it, Skinner hastened to prevent slaughter, but only 
obtained a promise not to attack until he should have 
had an opportunity of parley. A committee of four 
was appointed by the citizens of Table Hock to ac 
company the agent. They found Sam at his encamp 
ment at Big Bar, two miles from the house of 
Ambrose, and at no great distance from Stuart s 
former camp. Sam did not hesitate to cross to the 
south side to talk with Skinner. He declared him 
self for peace, and proposed to send for his brother 
Jo, with all his band, to meet the agent the following 
day; nor did he make any objection when told that a 
large number of white men would be present to wit 
ness the negotiations. 

At this juncture, Steele arrived in the valley with 
his party and two Shastas, Skinner confessing to him 
that the situation was serious. He agreed, how 
ever, to Steele s request to make the delivery of the 
murderers one of the conditions of peace. 

At the time appointed, Skinner and Steele repaired 
to Big Bar with their respective commands and the 
volunteers under Lamerick. One of Steele s Shastas 
was sent to Sam with a message, requesting him to 
come over the river and bring a few of his warriors as 
a body-guard. After the usual Indian parley he 
came, accompanied by Jo and a few fighting men; 
but seeing Lamerick s company mounted and drawn 
up in line, expressed a fear of them, when Skinner 
caused them to dismount and stack their arms. 

The messenger to Sam s camp told Steele that he 
had recognized the murderers among Sam s people, 
and Steele demanded his" arrest; but Skinner refused, 
fearing bloodshed. The agent went further, and 
ordered the release of two prisoners taken by Steele 
on the north side of the Siskiyou Mountains, Sam 
having first made the demand, and refused to negotiate 
until it was complied with. The order was accom- 

HIST. OB., VOL. II. 16 


panied with the notice to Steele that he was within 
the jurisdiction of the person giving the command. 
But all was of no avail. Steele seemed as determined 
to precipitate war as was Skinner to avoid it. Final 
ly Skinner addressed himself to the prisoners, telling 
them they were free, that he was chief of the white 
people in the Indian country, and they should accept 
their liberty. On the other hand, Steele warned his 
prisoners that if they attempted to escape they would 
be shot, when Skinner threatened to arrest and send 
him to Oregon City. The quarrel ended by Steele 
keeping his captives under a guard of two of his own 
men, who were instructed to shoot them if they ran 
away, Sarn and his party being informed of the order. 
His six remaining men were stationed with reference 
to a surprise from the rear and a rescue. 

The conference then proceeded; but presently a 
hundred armed warriors crossed the river and mixed 
with the unarmed white men, whereupon Steele or 
dered his men to resume their arms. 

The council resulted in nothing. Sam declined to 
give up the murderers, and the talk of the chiefs was 
shuffling and evasive. At length, on a pretence of 
wishing to consult with some of his people, Sam ob 
tained permission to return to the north bank of the 
river, from which he shouted back defiance, and say 
ing that he should not return. The white forces 


were then divided, Lamerick going with half the 
company to a ford above Big Bar, and his lieutenant 
with the remainder to the ford half a mile below, pre 
pared to cross the river and attack Sam s camp if any 
hostile demonstrations should be made at the council 
ground. But the agent, apprehensive of an outbreak, 
followed the angry chief tor the north side, the Ind 
ians also crossing over until about fifty only re 
mained. Becoming alarmed for the safety of Skin 
ner, Steele placed a guard at the crossing to prevent 
all the Indians returning to camp before the agent 
should conie back, which he did in company with one 


of the Shastas, who had been sent to warn him. 
Though the agent was aware that this man could 
point out the murderers, he would not consent, lest 
it should be a signal for battle. 

By the time Steele had recrossed the river, a fresh 
commotion arose over the rumor that Scarface was 
seen with two others going over the hills toward the 
Klamath. The Rogue River warriors, still on the 
south side, observing it, began posting themselves 
under cover of some trees, as if preparing for a skir 
mish, to prevent which Steele s men placed them 
selves in a position to intercept them, when an 
encounter appearing imminent, Martin Angell, 17 a 
settler, proposed to the Indians to give up their 
arms, and sheltering themselves in a log house in 
the vicinity, to remain there as hostages until the 
criminals should be brought back by their own peo 
ple. The proposition was accepted; but when they 
had filed past Steele s party they made a dash to 
gain the woods. This was the critical moment. To 
allow the savages to gain cover would be to expose 
the white men to a fire they could not return; there 
fore the order was given, and firing set in on both 

It should not be forgotten that Steele s men from 
the California side of the Siskiyou, throughout the 
whole affair, had done all that was done to precipitate 
the conflict, which was nevertheless probably una 
voidable in the agitated state of both Indians and 
white men. The savages were well armed and ready 
for war, and the miners and settlers were bent on the 
mastery. When the firing began, Lamerick s com 
pany were still at the fords, some distance from the 
others. At the sound of the guns he hastened up 
the valley to give protection to the settlers families, 

17 Angell had formerly resided at Oregon City. He removed to Rogue 
River Valley, participated in the Indian wars, and was killed by the savages 
of Rogue River in 1855. He was regarded as a good man and a useful citi 
zen. His only son made his residence at Portland. Lane s Autobiography, 
MS., 107. 


leaving a minority of the volunteers to engage the 
Indians from the north side should they attempt to 
cross the river. 18 

The fighting lasted but a short time. The Indians 
made a charge with the design of releasing Steele s 
prisoners, when they ran toward the river. One was 
shot before he reached it, the other as he came out of 
the water on the opposite bank. Sam then ordered 
a party of warriors to the south side to cut off Steele, 
but they were themselves surprised by a detachment 
of the volunteers, and several killed, 19 the remainder re 
treating. Only one white man was wounded, and he 
in one ringer. The Indian agent had retired to his resi 
dence at the beginning of the fight. That same night 
information was received that during the holding of the 
council some Indians had gone to a bar down the 
river, and had surprised and killed a small company of 
miners. Lamerick at once made preparations to cross 
the river on the night of the 19th of July, and take 
his position in the pass between Table Rock and the 
river, while Steele s company moved at the same time 
farther up, to turn the Indians back on Lamerick s 
force in the morning. The movement was successful. 
Sam s people were surrounded, and the chief sued for 
peace on the terms first offered, namely, that he should 
give up the murderers, asking that the agent be sent 
for to make a treaty. 

But Skinner, who had found himself ignored as 

18 Before we reached the place where the battle was going on, we met a 
large portion of the company coming from the battle as fast as their horses 
could run. The foremost man was Charley Johnson. He called to me to 
come with him. I said, "Have the Indians whipped you?" He said nothing, 
but kept on running, and crying, "Come this way." We wheeled, and went 
with the crowd, who went to the house of Dr Ambrose. The Indians had 
started toward the house, and it was supposed they meant to murder the 
family. CardwdVs Emigrant Company, MS., 24. 

19 Steele says sixteen, including the prisoners. Cardwell states that many 
sprang into the water and were shot. Skinner gives the number as four; and 
states further that a man by the name of Steel, who pretended to be the 
leader of the party from Shasta, was principally instrumental in causing the 
.attack on the prisoners, which for a time produced general hostilities. U. S t 
Sen. Doc., i., 32d cong. 2d sess., vol. i. pt i. 457. CardweWs Emigrant Com 
pany, MS., 25; California Star, Aug. 7, 1852. 


maintainer of the peace, and was busy preparing for 
the defence of his house and property, was slow to 
respond to this request. A council was appointed for 
the next day. In the explanations which followed it 
was ascertained that Scarface had not been with Sam, 
but was hiding in the Salmon River mountains. The 
person pointed out as Scarface was Sullix of Tipso s 
band, who also had a face badly scarred. The real 
criminal was ultimately arrested, and hanged at Yreka. 
A treaty was agreed to by Sam requiring the Rogue 
River Indians to hold no communication with the 
Shastas. 20 For the remainder of the summer hostili 
ties on Rogue River were suspended, the Indian agent 
occasionally presenting Sam s band with a fat ox, find 
ing it easier and cheaper to purchase peace with beef 
than to let robberies go on, or to punish the robbers. 21 
Such was the condition of Indian affairs in the 
south of Oregon in the summer and autumn of 1852, 
when the superintendent received official notice that 
all the Indian treaties negotiated in Oregon had been 
ordered to lie upon the table in the senate; while 
he was instructed by the commissioner, until the 
general policy of the government should be more def 
initely understood, to enter into no more treaty stip 
ulations with them, except such as might be imperi 
ously required to preserve peace. 22 As if partially to 
avert the probable consequences to the people of Ore 
gon of this rejection of the treaties entered into be 
tween Governor Gaines, Superintendent Dart, and the 
Indians, there arrived at Vancouver, in September, 
268 men, rank and file, composing the skeleton of the 
4th regiment of infantry, under Lieutenant-colonel 
Bonneville. 23 It was now too late in the season for 

20 Sullix was badly wounded on the day of the battle. See Cardwett s 
Emigrant Company, MS., 25-6. 

al The expenses of Steele s expedition were $2,200, which were never reim 
bursed from any source. 

22 Letter of Anson Dart in Or. Statesman, Oct. 30, 1852. Dart resigned 
in December, his resignation to take effect the following June. 

23 A large number of the 4th reg. had died on the Isthmus. Or. States 
man, Sept. 25, 1852. 


troops to do more than go into winter quarters. The 
settlers and the emigration had defended themselves 
for another year without aid from the government, 
and the comments afterward made upon their manner 
of doing it, in the opinion of the volunteers came with 
a very ill grace from the officers of that government. 24 

24 Further details of this campaign are given in Lane s Autobiography, MS.; 
CardwdVs Emigrant Company, MS.; and the files of the Oregon Statesman. 




A MOVEMENT was made north of the Columbia 
River in the spring of 1851, to divide Oregon, all 
that portion north and west of the Columbia to be 
erected into a new territory, with a separate govern 
ment a scheme which met with little opposition 
from the legislature of Oregon or from congress. 
Accordingly in March 1853 the separation was con 
summated. The reasons advanced were the alleged 
disadvantages to the Puget Sound region of unequal 
legislation, distance from the seat of government, 
and rivalry in commercial interests. North of the 
Columbia progress was slow from the beginning of 
American settlements in 1845 to 1850, when the 
Puget Sound region began to feel the effect of the 
California gold discoveries, with increased facilities 
for communication with the east. In answer to the 
oft-repeated prayers of the legislature of Oregon, 
that a survey might be made of the Pacific coast of 
the United States, a commission was appointed in 

(247 ) 


November 1848, whose business it was to make an ex 
amination with reference to points of occupation for 
the security of trade and commerce, and for military 
and naval purposes. 

The commissioners were Brevet Colonel J. L. Smith, 
Major Cornelius A. Ogden, Lieutenant Danville Lead- 
better of the engineer corps of the United States army, 
and commanders Louis M. Goldsborough, G. J. Van 
Brunt, and Lieutenant Simon F. Blunt of the navy. 
They sailed from San Francisco in the government 
steam propeller Massachusetts, officered by Samuel 
Knox, lieutenant commanding, Isaac N. Briceland act 
ing lieutenant, and James H. Moore acting master, 
arriving in Puget Sound about the same time the 
Ewing reached the Columbia River in the spring of 
1850, and remaining in the sound until July. The 
commissioners reported in favor of light-houses at 
New Dungeness and Cape Flattery, or Tatooch Island, 
informing the government that traffic had much in 
creased in Oregon, and on the sound, it being their 
opinion that no spot on the globe offered equal facili 
ties for the lumber trade. 1 Shoalwater Bay was ex 
amined by Lieutenant Leadbetter, who gave his name 
to the southern side of the entrance, which is called 
Leadbetter Point. The Massachusetts visited the Co 
lumbia, and recommended Cape Disappointment on 
which to place a light-house. After this superficial 
reconnoissance, which terminated in July, the commis 
sioners returned to California. 

The length of time elapsing from the sailing of the 
commission from New York to its arrival on the North 
west Coast, with the complaints of the Oregon dele 
gate, caused the secretary of the treasury to request 
Professor A. D. Bache, superintendent of coast sur 
veys, to hasten operations in that quarter as much as 
possible ; a request which led the latter to despatch a 
third party, in the spring of 1850, under Professor 
George Davidson, which arrived in California in June, 

1 Coast Survey, 1850, 127. 


and proceeded immediately to carry out the intentions 
of the government. 2 Being employed on the coast of 
southern California, Davidson did not reach Oregon 
till June 1851, when he completed the topographical 
surveys of Cape Disappointment, Point Adams, and 
Sand Island, at the entrance to the Columbia, and de 
parted southward, having time only to examine Port 
Orford harbor before the winter storms. It was not 
until July 1852 that a protracted and careful survey 
was begun by Davidson s party, when he returned in 
the steamer Active? Captain James Alden of the navy, 
to examine the shores of the Strait of Fuca and adja 
cent coasts, a work in which he was engaged for sev 
eral years, to his own credit and the advantage of the 
country. 4 For many years Captain Lawson has di 
rected his very valuable efforts to the region about 
Puget Sound. 5 

2 Davidson s party were all young men, anxious to distinguish themselves. 
They were A. M. Harrison, James S. Lawsoii, and John Rockwell. They 
sailed in the steamer Philadelphia, Capt. Robert Pearson, crossed the Isthmus, 
and took passage again on the Tennessee, Capt. Cole, for San Francisco. Law- 
son s Autobiography, MS., 5-18. 

3 The Actire was the old steamer Gold Hunter rechristened. Lawsoris Au 
tobiography, MS., 49. 

4 For biography, and further information concerning Prof. Davidson and 
his labors, see Hist. Cat., this series. 

5 James S. Lawson was born in Philadelphia, Feb. 13, 1828, was educated 
in the schools of that city, and while in the Central high school was a class 
mate of George Davidson, Prof. Bache being principal. Bache had formerly 
been president of Girard College, and still had charge of the magnetic obser 
vatory in the college grounds. The night observers were selected from the 
pupils of the high school, and of these Lawson was one, continuing to serve 
till the closing of the observatory in 1845. In that year Lawson was ap 
pointed second assistant teacher in the Catherine-street grammar school of 
Philadelphia, which position he held for one year, when he was offered a po 
sition in the Friends school at Wilmington, Delaware, under charge of Sam 
uel Alisoff. In January 1848 Lawson commenced duty as a clerk to Prof. 
Bache, then superintendent of the U. S. coast survey, remaining in that ca 
pacity until detached and ordered to join Davidson for the surveys on the 
Pacific coast in 1850. From the time of his arrival on the Pacific coast to the 
present, Capt. Lawson has been almost continuously engaged in the labor of 
making government surveys as an assistant of Prof. Davidson. Laivson s 
Autobiography, MS., 2. His work for a number of years has been chiefly in 
that portion of the original Oregon territory north of the Columbia and west 
of the Cascade Mountains, and his residence has been at Olympia, where his 
high character and scientific attainments have secured him the esteem of all, 
and in which quiet and beautiful little capital repose may be found from oc 
casional toil and exposure. Mr Harrison* was, like Davidson and Lawson, a 
graduate of the Philadelphia Central school, and of the same class. 

This manuscript of Lawson s authorship is one of unusual value, contain- 


I have referred to the surveying expeditions in this 
place with the design, not only of bringing them into 
their proper sequence in point of time, but to make 
plain as I proceed correlative portions of my narra 

Between 1846, the year following the first Ameri 
can settlements on Puget Sound, and 1848, popula 
tion did not much increase, nor was there any com 
merce to speak of with the outside world until the 
autumn of the last-named year, when the settlers 
discarded their shingle-making and their insignificant 
trade at Fort Nisqually, to open with their ox-teams 
a wagon road to the mines on the American River. 
The new movement revolutionized affairs. Not only 
was the precious dust now to be found in gratifying 
bulk in many odd receptacles never intended for such 
use in the cabins of squatters, but money, real hard 
coin, became once more familiar to fingers that had 
nearly forgotten the touch of the precious metals. 
In January 1850, some returning miners reached the 
Sound in the first American vessel entering those wa 
ters for the purposes of trade, and owned by a com 
pany of four of them. 6 This was the beginning of 
trade on Puget Sound, which had increased consider 
ably in 1852-3, owing to the demand for lumber in 
San Francisco. The towns of Olympia, Steilacoom, 
Alki, Seattle, and Port Townsend already enjoyed 
some of the advantages of commerce, though yet in 
their infancy. A town had been started on Baker 
Bay, which, however, had but a brief existence, and 
settlements had been made on Shoalwater Bay and 
Gray Harbor, as well as on the principal rivers enter 
ing them, and at Cowlitz Landing. At the Cascades 
of the Columbia a town was surveyed in 1850, and 

ing, besides a history of the scientific work of the coast survey, many original 
scraps of history, biography, and anecdotes of persons met with in the early 
years of the service, both in Oregon and California. Published entire it would 
be read with interest. It is often a source of regret that the limits of my 
workj extended as it is, preclude the possibility of extracting all that is 
tempting in my manuscripts. 
6 See Hist. Wash., this series. 


trading establishments located at the upper and lower 
falls; and in fact, the map of that portion of Oregon 
north of the Columbia had marked upon it in "the 
spring of 1852 nearly every important point which is 
seen there to-day. 

Of the general condition of the country south of the 
Columbia at the period of the division, something may 
be here said, as I shall not again refer to it in a par 
ticular manner. The population, before the addition 
of the large immigration of 1852, was about twenty 
thousand, most of whom were scattered over the 
Willamette Valley upon farms. The rage for laying 
out towns, which was at its height from 1850 to 
1853, had a tendency to retard the growth of any 
one of them. 7 Oregon City, the oldest in the terri 
tory, had not much over one thousand inhabitants. 
Portland, by reason of its advantages for unloading 
shipping, had double that number. The other towns, 
Milwaukie, Salem, Corvallis, Albany, Eugene, Lafay 
ette, Dayton, and Hillsboro, and the newer ones in the 
southern valleys, could none of them count a thousand. 8 

7 Joel Palmer bought the claim of Andrew Smith, and founded the town 
of Dayton about 1850. Lafayette was the property of Joel Perkins, Cor 
vallis of J. C. A very, Albany of the Monteith brothers, Eugene of Eugene 
Skinner, Canyonville of Jesse Roberts, who sold it to Marks, Sideman & Co., 
who laid it out for a town. 

8 A town called Milwaukie was surveyed on the claim of Lot Whitcomb. 
It contained 500 inhabitants in the autumn of 1850, more than it had thirty 
years later. Or. Special or, Nov. 28, 1850. Deady, in Overland Monthly, i. 37. 
Oswego, on the west bank of the Willamette, later famous for its iron- works, 
was laid out about the same time, but never had the population of Milwaukie, 
of which it was the rival. Dallas, in Polk county, was founded in 1852. 
St Helen, on the Columbia, was competing for the advantage of being the 
seaport of Oregon, and the Pacific Mail Steamship Company had decreed 
that so it should be, when the remonstrances, if not the sinister acts, of 
Portland men effected the ruin of ambitious hopes. St Helen was on the 
land claim of H. M. Knighton, an immigrant of 1845, and had an excellent 
situation. Weed s Queen Charlotte Isl. Exp., MS., 7. Milton and St Helen, 

one and a half miles apart, on the Columbia, had each 20* or 25 houses 

Gray, a Dane, was the chief founder of St Helen. Saint- Amant, Voyages 
en CaL et Or. , 3GS-9, 378. It was surveyed and marked out in lots and blocks 
by P. W. Crawford, assisted by W. H. Tappan, and afterward mapped by 
Joseph Trutch, later of Victoria, B. C. A road was laid out to the Tualatin 
plains^and a railroad projected ; the steamship company erected a wharf with 
other improvements. But meetings were held in Portland to prevent the 


Some ambitious persons attempted to get a county 
organization for the country east of the Cascade 
Mountains in the winter of 1852-3, to which the leg- 
stopping of the steamers below that town, and successive fires destroyed the 
company s improvements at St Helen, compelling their vessels to go to the 
former place. 

Milton, another candidate for favor, was situated on Scappoose Bay, an 
arm of the Willamette, just above St Helen. It was founded by sea cap 
tains Nathan Crosby and Thomas H. Smith, who purchased the Hunsaker 
mills on Milton Creek, where they made lumlDer to load the bark Louisiana, 
which they owned. They also opened a store there, and assisted iii building 
the road to the Tualatin plains. Several sea-going men invested in lots, and 
business for a time was brisk. But all their brilliant hopes were destined to 
destruction, for there came a summer flood which swept the town away. 
Captains Drew, Menzies, Pope, and Williams were interested in Milton. 
Crawford s Nar., MS., 223. Among the settlers in the vicinity of St Helen 
and Milton was Capt. F. A. Lemont, of Bath, Maine, who as a sailor accom 
panied Capt. Dominis when he entered the Columbia in 1829-30. He was after 
ward on Wyeth s vessel, the May Dacre, which was in the river in 1834. Re 
turning to Oregon after having been master of several vessels, he settled at 
St Helen in 1850, where he still resides. Of the early residents Lemont has 
furnished me the following list from memory: Benjamin Durell, Witherell, W. 
H. Tappan, Joseph Trutch, John Trutch, L. C. Gray, Aaron Broyles, James 
G. Hunter, Dr Adlum, Hiram Field, Seth Pope, John Dodge, George Thing, 
William English, William Hazard, Benjamin Teal, B. Conley, William 
Meeker, Charles H. Reed, Joseph Caples, Joseph Cunningham, A. E. Clark, 
Robert Germain, G. W. Veasie, C. Carpenter, J. Carpenter, Lockwood, Lit 
tle, Tripp, Berry, Dunn, Burrows, Fiske, Layton, Kearns, Holly, Maybee, 
Archilles, Cortland, and Atwood, with others. Knighton, the owner of St 
Helen, is pronounced by Crawford a presumptuous man, because while 
knowing nothing about navigation, as Crawford affirms, he undertook to 
pilot the Silvie de Grasse to Astoria, running her upon the rock where she 
was spitted. He subsequently sailed a vessel to China, and finally engaged 
as a captain on the Willamette. Knighton died at The Dalles about 1864. 
His wife was Elizabeth Martin of Yamhill county. He left several children 
in Washington. 

Westport, on the Columbia, thirty miles above Astoria, was settled by 
John West in 1851; and Rainier, opposite the Cowlitz, by Charles E. Fox in 
the same year. It served for several years as a distributing point for mail 
and passengers to and from Puget Sound. Frank Warren, A. Harper and 
brother, and William C. Moody were among the residents at Rainier. Craw 
ford s Nar., MS., 260. At or near The Dalles there had been a solitary set 
tler ever since the close of the Cayuse war; and also a settler named Tomlin- 
son, and two Frenchmen on farms in Tygh Valley, fifty miles or more south of 
The Dalles. These pioneers of eastern Oregon, after the missionaries, made 
money as well as a good living, by trading in cattle and horses with emi 
grants and Indians, which they sold to the miners in California. After the 
establishment of a military post at The Dalles, it required a government 
license, issued by the sup. of Indian affairs, to trade anywhere above the 
Cascades, and a special permission from the commander of the post to trade 
at this point. John C. Bell of Salem was the first trader at The Dalles, as 
he was sutler for the army at The Dalles in 1850. When the rifle regiment 
were ordered away, Bell sold to William Gibson, who then became sutler. 
In 1851 A. McKinlay & Co.. of Oregon City, obtained permission to estab 
lish a trading post at The Dalles, and building a cabin they placed it in 
charge of Perrin Whitman. In 1852, they erected a frame building west of 
the present Umatilla House, which they used as a store, but sold the follow 
ing year to Simms and Humason. W. C. Laughlin took a land claim this 


islature would have consented if they had agreed to 
have the new county attached to Clarke for judicial 
purposes; but this being objected to, and the popula 
tion being scarce, the legislature declined to create 
the county, which was however established in Janu 
ary 1854, and called Wasco. 9 In the matter of other 
county organizations south of the Columbia, the leg 
islature was ready to grant all petitions if not to an 
ticipate them. In 1852-3 it created Jackson, includ- 

year and built a house upon it. A Mr Bigelow brought a small stock of 
goods to The Dalles, chiefly groceries and liquors, and built a store the fol 
lowing year; and William Gibson moved his store from the garrison grounds 
to the town outside. It was subsequently purchased by Victor Trevitt, who 
kept a saloon called the Mount Hood. 

In the autumn of 1852, companies K and I of the 4th inf. reg., under 
Capt. Alvord, relieved the little squad of artillery men who had garrisoned 
the post since the departure of the rifle regiment. It was the post which 
formed the nucleus of trade and business at The Dalles, and which made it 
necessary to improve the means of transportation, that the government sup 
plies might be more easily and rapidly conveyed. The immigration of 18o2 
were not blind to the advantages of the location, and a number of claims 
were taken on the small streams in the neighborhood of The Dalles. Ru 
mors of gold discoveries in the Cascade Mountains north of the Columbia 
River were current about this time. H. P. Isaacs of Walla Walla, who is 
the author of an intelligent account of the development of eastern Oregon 
and Washington, entitled The Upper Columbia Basin, MS., relates that a 
Klikitat found and gave to a Frenchman a piece of gold quartz, which being 
exhibited at Oregon City induced him to go with the Indian in the spring of 
1853 to look for it. But the Klikitat either could not or would not find the 
place, and Isaacs went to trade with the immigrants at Fort Bois6, putting a 
ferry across Snake River in the summer of that year, but returning to The 
Dalles, where he remained until 1863, when he removed to the Walla Walla 
Valley and put up a grist mill, and assisted in various ways to improve that 
section. Isaacs married a daughter of James Fulton of The Dalles, of 
whom I have already made mention. A store was kept in The Dalles by L. 
J. Henderson and Shang, in a canvas house. They built a log house the 
next year. Tompkins opened a hotel in a building put up by McKinlay & 
Co. Forman built a blacksmith shop, and Lieut. Forsyth erected a two- 
story frame house, which was occupied the next year as a hotel by Gates. 
Gushing and Low soon put up another log store, and James McAuliff a third. 
Dalies Mountaineer, May 28, 1869. 

9 Or. Jour. Council, 1852-3, 90; Gen. Laws Or., 544. The establishment 
of Wasco county was opposed by Major Rains of the 4th infantry stationed 
at Fort Dalles in the winter of 1853-4. He said that Wasco county was the 
largest ever known, though it had but about thirty-five white inhabitants, 
and these claimed a right to locate where they chose, in accordance with the 
act of Sept. 27, 1850. Or. Jour. Council, 1853-4, app. 49-50; U. S. Sen. Doc. 
16, vol. vi. 16-17, 33d cong. 2d sess. Rains reported to Washington, which 
frustrated for a time the efforts of Lane to get a bill through congress regu 
lating bounty warrants in Oregon, it being feared that some of them might 
be located in Wasco county. Or. Statesman, March 20, 1855; Cong. Globe, 
33d cong. 2d sess., 490. Wm C. Laughlin, Warren Keith, and John Tomp 
kins were appointed commissioners, J. A. Simms sheriff, and Justin Chen- 
oweth, judge. 


ing the valley of Rogue River and the country west 
of it to the Pacific. At the session of 1853, it created 
Coos county from the western portion of Jackson, 
Tillamook from the western part of Yamhill, and 
Columbia from the northern end of Washington coun 
ty. The county seat of Douglas was changed from 
Winchester to Roseburg by election, according to an 
act of the legislature. 

The creation of new counties and the loss of those 
north of the Columbia called for another census, and 
the reclistricting of the territory of Oregon, with the 
reapportionment of members of the legislative assem 
bly, which consisted under the new arrangement of 
thirty members. The first judicial district was made 
to comprise Marion, Linn, Lane, Benton, and Polk, 
and was assigned to Judge Williams. The second 
district, consisting of Washington, Clackainas, Yam- 
hill, and Columbia, to Judge Olney; while the third, 
comprising Umpqua, Douglas, Jackson, and Coos, 
was given to McFadden, who held it for one term 
only, when Deady was reinstated. 

Notwithstanding the Indian disturbances in south 
ern Oregon, its growth continued to be rapid. The 
shifting nature of the population may be inferred from 
fact that to Jackson county was apportioned four rep 
resentatives, while Marion, Washington, and Clacka- 
mas were each allowed but three. 10 

A scheme was put on foot to form a new territory 
out of the southern countries with a portion of north 
ern California, the movement originating at Yreka, 
where it was advocated by the Mountain Herald. A 
meeting was held at Jacksonville January 7, 1854, 
which appointed a convention for the 25th. Memo 
rials were drafted to congress and the Oregon and 
California legislatures. The proceedings of the con 
vention were published in the leading journals of the 
coast, but the project received no encouragement from 

10 Or. Statesman, Feb. 14, 1854. 


legislators, nor did Lane lend himself to the scheme 
farther than to present the memorial to congress. 11 
On the contrary, he wrote to the Jacksonville malecon- 
tents that he could not approve of their action, which 
would, as he could easily discern, delay the admission 
of Oregon as a state, a consummation wished for by 
his supporters, to whom he essayed to add the demo 
crats of southern Oregon. Nothing further was 
thenceforward heard of the projected new territory. 12 

Nothing was more indicative of the change taking 
place with the introduction of gold than the improve 
ment in the means of transportation on the Willamette 
and Columbia rivers, which was now performed by 
steamboats. 13 

11 U. S. H. Jour., 609, 33d cong. 1st sess. 

12 The Oregon men known to have been connected with this movement 
were Samuel Culver, T. McFadden Patton, L. F. Mosher, D. M. Kenny, S. 
Ettlinger, Jesse Richardson, W. W. Fowler, C. Sims, Anthony Little, S. C. 
Graves, W. Burt, George Dart, A. Mclntire, G. L. Snelling, C. S. Drew, 
John E. Ross, Richard Dugan, Martin Angell, and J. A. Lupton. Those 
from the south side of the Siskiyou Mountains were E. Steele, H. G. Ferris, 
C. N. Thornbury, E. J. Curtis, E. Moore, O. Wheelock, and J. Darrough. 
Or. Statesman, Feb. 7 and 28, 1854. 

13 The first steamboat built to run upon these waters was called the Colum 
bia. She was an oddly shaped and clumsy craft, being a double-ender, like a 
ferry-boat. Her machinery was purchased in California by James Frost, one 
of the followers of the rifle regiment, who brought it to Astoria, where his 
boat was built. Frost was sutler to the regiment in which his brother was 
quartermaster. He returned to Missouri, and in the civil war held a com 
mand in the rebellious militia of that state. His home was afterward in St 
Louis. Deady, in McCracken s Portland, MS., 7. It was a slow boat, taking 
26 hours from Astoria to Oregon City, to which point she made her first voy 
age July 4, 1850. S. F. Pac. News, May 11, July 24, and Aug. 1, 1850; S. 
F. Herald, July 24, 1850; Portland Standard, July 8, 1870. 

The second venture in steam navigation was the Lot Whitcomb of Oregon, 
named after her owner, built at Milwaukie, and launched with much cere 
mony on Christmas, 1850. She began running in March following. The 
name was selected by a committee nominated in a public meeting held for the 
purpose, W. K. Kilborn in the chair, and A. Bush secretary. The commit 
tee, A. L. Lovejoy, Hector Campbell, W. W. Buck, Capt. Kilborn, and Gov 
ernor Gaines, decided to give her the name of her owner, who was presented 
with a handsome suit of colors by Kilborn, Lovejoy, and N. Ford for the 
meeting. Or. Spectator, Dec. 12, 1850, and June 27, 1851. She was built by 
a regular ship-builder, named Hanscombe, her machinery being purchased in 
San Francisco. Deady s Hist. Or., MS., 21; McCracken s Portland, MS., 11; 
Briytfs Port Townsend, MS., 22; Sacramento Transcript, June 29, 1850; 
Overland Monthly, i. 37. In the summer of 1853 the Whitcomb was sold to 
a California company for $50,000, just $42,000 more than she cost. The Lot 
Whitcomb was greatly superior to the first steamer. Both obtained largo 
prices for carrying passengers and freight, and for towing sailing vessels on 


The navigation of the Willamette was much im 
peded by rocks and rapids. On the Clackamas rapids 
below Oregon City, thirty thousand dollars was ex 
pended in removing obstructions to steamers, and the 
channel was also cleared to Salem in 1852. The 
Tualatin River was made navigable for some distance 
by private enterprise. A canal was made to connect 

the Columbia. McCracken says he paid two ounces of gold-dust for a pas 
sage on the Columbia from Astoria to Portland which lasted two days, sleep 
ing on the upper deck, the steamer having a great many on board. Portland, 
MS., 4. When the Whitcomb began running the fare was reduced to 815. 
John McCracken came to Oregon from California, where he had been in mer 
cantile pursuits at Stockton, in November 1849. He began business in 
Oregon City in 1850, selling liquors, and was interested in the Island mill. 
He subsequently removed to Portland, where he became a large owner in 
shipping, steamboats, and merchandising. His wife was a daughter of Dr 
Barclay of Oregon City, formerly of the H. B. Co. 

From the summer of 1851, steamboats multiplied, though the fashion of 
them was not very commodious, nor were they elegant in their appointment, 
but they served the purpose, for which they were introduced, of expediting 

The third river steamboat was the Black Hawk, a small iron propeller 
brought out from New York, and run between Portland and Oregon City, the 
Lot Whitcomb being too deep to get over the Clackamas rapids. The Wil 
lamette, a steam schooner belonging to Howland and Aspinwall, arrived in 
March 1853, by sailing vessel, being put together on the upper Willamette, 
finished in the autumn, and run for a season, after which she was brought 
over the falls, and used to carry the mail from Astoria to Portland; but the 
arrival of the steamship Columbia, which went to Portland with the mails, 
rendered her services unnecessary, and she was sold to a company composed 
of Murray, Hoyt, Breck, and others, who took her to California, where she 
ran as an opposition boat on the Sacramento, and was finally sold to the Cali 
fornia Steam Navigation Company. The Willamette was a side- wheel steamer 
and finished in fine style, but not adapted to the navigation of the Willam 
ette River. Athens Workshops, MS., 5; Or. Spectator, Sept. 30, 1851. The 
Hoosier, built to run on the upper river, was finished in May 1851, and the 
Yamhill in August. In the autumn of the same year a small iron steamer, 
called the Bully Washington, was placed on the lower river. This boat was 
subsequently taken to the Umpqua, where she ran until a better one, the 
Hinsdale, owned by Hinsdale and Lane, was built. The Mnltnornah was also 
built this year, followed by the Gazelle, in 1852, handsomely finished, for 
the upper river trade. She ran a few months and blew up, killing two per 
sons and injuring others. The Castle and the Oregon were also running at 
this time. On the Upper Columbia, between the Cascades and The Dalles, 
the steamer James P. Flint was put on in the autumn of 1851. She was 
owned by D. F. Bradford and others. She struck a rock and sunk while 
bringing down the immigration of 1852, but was raised and repaired. She 
was commanded by Van Berger, mate J. W. Watkins. Dalles Mountaineer, 
May 28, 18(59. The Belle and the Eagfe, two small iron steamers, were run 
ning on the Columbia about this time. The Belle was built at Oregon City 
for Wells and Williams. The Eagle was brought to Oregon by John Irving, 
who died in Victoria in 1874. The Fash/on ran to the Cascades to connect 
with the Flint. Further facts concerning the history of steamboating will be 
brought out in another part of this work, this brief abstract being intended 
only to show the progress made from 1850 to 1853. 


La Creole River with the Willamette. The Yamhill 
River was spanned at Lafayette with a strong double- 
track bridge placed on abutments of hewn timber, 
bolted and filled with earth, and raised fifty feet 
above low water. 14 This was the first structure of 
the kind in the country. The Rockville Canal and 
Transportation Company was incorporated in Febru 
ary 1853, for the purpose of constructing a basin or 
breakwater with a canal at and around the falls of the 
Willamette, which work was completed by December 
1854, greatly increasing the comfort of travel by 
avoiding the portage. 15 

In 1851 the fruit trees set out in 1847 began to 
bear, so that a limited supply of fruit was furnished 
the home market; 16 and two years later a shipment 
was made out of the territory by Meek and Luell- 
ing, of Milwaukie, who sold four bushels of apples in 
San Francisco for five hundred dollars. The following 
year they sent forty bushels to the same market, 
which brought twenty-five hundred dollars. In 1861 
the shipment of apples from Oregon amounted to over 
seventy-five thousand bushels; 17 but they no longer 

U 0r. Statesman, Sept. 23, 1851. 

Id., Feb. 26, 1853. Deady gives some account of this important work 
in his Hist. Or., MS., 28. A man named Page from California, representing 
capital in that state, procured the passage of the act of incorporation. The 
project was to build a basin on the west side of the river above the falls, with 
mills, and hoisting works to lift goods above the falls, and deposit them in 
the basin, instead of wagoning them a mile or more as had been done. They 
constructed the basin, and erected mills at its lower edge. The hoisting 
works were made with ropes, wheels, and cages, in which passsengers and 
goods were lifted up. Page was killed by the explosion of the Gazelle, owned 
by the company, after which the enterprise went to pieces through suits 
brought against the company by employes, and the property fell into the 
hands of Kelley, one of the lawyers, and Robert Pentland. In the winter of 
1860-1, the mills and all were destroyed by fire, when works of a similar 
nature were commenced on the east side of the river, where they remained 
until the completion of the canal and locks on the west side, of a recent date. 

16 On McCaryer s farm, one mile east of Oregon City, was an orchard of 
15 acres containing 200 apple-trees, and large numbers of pears, plums, apri 
cots, cherries, nectarines, and small fruits. It yielded this year 15 bushels of 
currants, and a full crop of the aboA^e-named fruits. Or. Statesman, July 29, 
1851. In 1852, R. C. Geer advertised his nursery as containing 42 varieties 
of apples, 15 of pears, 5 of peaches, and 6 of cherries. Thomas Cox raised 
a Rhode Island greening 12 inches in circumference, a good size for a young 
tree. Id., Dec. 18, 1852. 

17 Id., Sept. 22, 1862; Oregonian, July 15, 1862; Overland Monthly, i. 39. 

HIST. Oa., VOL. II. 17 


were worth their weight in gold. The productiveness 
of the country in every way was well established be 
fore 1853, as may be seen in the frequent allusions to 
extraordinary growth and yield. 18 If the farmer was 
not comfortable and happy in the period between 1850 
and 1860, it was because he had not in him the ca 
pacity for enjoying the bounty of unspoiled nature, 
and the good fortune of a ready market; and yet 
some there were who in the midst of affluence lived 
like the starveling peasantry of other countries, from 
simple indifference to the advantages of comfort in 
their surroundings. 1 


The imports in 1852-3, according to the commerce 
and navigation reports, amounted to about $84,000, 
but were probably more than that. Direct trade 
with China was begun in 1851, the brig Amazon 
bringing a cargo of tea, coffee, sugar, syrup, and 
other articles from Whampoa to Portland, consigned 
to Norris and Company. The same year the schooner 
John Alleyne brought a cargo of Sandwich Islands 
products consigned to Allen McKinlay and Company 
of Oregon City, but nothing like a regular trade with 
foreign ports was established for several years later, 
and the exports generally went no farther than San 
Francisco. Farming machinery did not begin to be 
introduced till 1852, the first reaper brought to Ore 
gon being a McCormick, which found general use 
throughout the territory. 20 As might be expected, 
society improved in its outward manifestations, and 
the rising generation were permitted to enjoy privi- 

18 One bunch of 257 stalks of wheat from Geer s farm, Marion county, av 
eraged 60 grains to the head. On Hubbard s farm in Yamhill, one head of 
timothy measured 14 inches. Oats on McVicker s farm in Clackamas stood 
over 8 feet in height. In the Covvlitz Valley one hill of potatoes weighed 
53 pounds and another 40. Two turnips would fill a half-bushel measure. 
Tolmie, at Nisqually, raised an onion that weighed a pound and ten ounces. 
Columbian, Nov. 18, 1851. The troops at Steilacoom raised on 12 acres of 
ground 5,000 bushels of potatoes, some of which weighed two pounds each. 
Or. Spectator, Nov. 18, 1851. 

I)e Boio s EncycL, xiv. 603-4; Fisher and Colbtfs Am. Statistics, 429-30. 

20 Or. Statesman, July 24, 1852. 


leges which their parents had only dreamed of when 
they set their faces toward the far Pacific the priv 
ileges of education, travel, and intercourse with older 
countries, as well as ease and plenty in their Oregon 
homes. 21 And yet this was only the beginning of the 
end at which the descendants of the pioneers were 
entitled by the endurance of their fathers to arrive. 

21 The 7th U. S. census taken in 1850 shows the following nativities for Or 
egon: Missouri, 2,206; Illinois, 1,023; Kentucky, over 700; Indiana, over 700; 
Ohio, over 600; New York, over 600; Virginia, over 400; Tennessee, over 400; 
Iowa, over 400; Pennsylvania, over 300; North Carolina, over 200; Massachu 
setts, 187; Maine, 129; Vermont, 111; Connecticut, 72; Maryland, 73; Arkan 
sas, 61; New Jersey, 69; and in all the other states less than 50 each, the 
smallest number being from Florida. The total foreign population was 1, 159, 
300 of whom were natives of British America, 207 English, about 200 Irish, 
over 100 Scotch, and 150 German. The others were scattering, the greatest 
number from any other foreign country being 45 from France; unknown, 143; 
in all 13,043. Abstract of the 7th Census, 16; Moseletfs Or., 1850-75, 93; 
De Bow s EncycL, xiv. 591-600. These are those who are more strictly 
classed as pioneers; those who came after them, from 1850 to 1853, though 
assisting so much, as I have shown, in the development of the territory, were 
only pioneers in certain things, and not pioneers in the larger sense. 





A SUBJECT which was regarded as of the highest 
importance after the passage of the donation act of 
September 27, 1850, was the proper construction of 
the law as applied to land claims under a variety of 
circumstances. A large amount of land, including 
the better portions of the Willamette Valley, had 
been taken, occupied, and to some extent improved 
under the provisional government, and its land law; 
the latter having undergone several changes to adapt 
it to the convenience and best interests of the people, 
as I have noted elsewhere. 

The provisional legislative assemblies had several 
times memorialized congress on the subject of con 
firming their acts, on establishing a territorial gov 
ernment in Oregon, chiefly with regard to preserving 
the land law intact. Their petition was granted with 
regard to every other legislative enactment excepting 
that affecting the titles to lands; and with regard to 




this, the organic act expressly saiotfett^SsPffB pre 
viously passed in any way affecting the title to lands 
should be null and void, and the legislative assembly 
should be prohibited from passing any laws interfer 
ing with the primary disposal of the soil which be 
longed to the United States. The first section of 
that act, however, made an absolute grant to the mis 
sionary stations then occupied, of 640 acres, with the 
improvements thereon. 

Thus while the missionary stations, if there were 
any within the meaning of the act of that time, had 
an incontrovertible right and title, the settlers, whose 
means were often all in their claims, had none what 
ever; and in this condition they were kept for a 
period of two years, or until the autumn of 1850, 
when their rights revived under the donation law, 
whose beneficent provisions all recognized. 

This law, which I have not yet fully reviewed, pro 
vided in the first place for the survey of the public 
lands in Oregon. It then proceeded to grant to every 
white settler or occupant of the public lands, Ameri 
can half-breeds included, over eighteen years of age, 
and a citizen of the United States, or having declared 
his intention according to law of becoming such, or 
who should make such declaration on or before the 
first day of December 1851, then residing in the ter 
ritory, or becoming a resident before December 1850 
a provision made to include the immigration of that 
year 640 acres to a married man, half of which was 
to belong to his wife in her own right, and 320 acres 
to a single man, or if he should become married within 
a year from the 1st of December 1850, 320 more to 
his wife, no patents to issue until after a four years 5 

At this point for the first time the act took cog 
nizance of the provisional law making the surviving 
children or heirs of claimants under that law the le 
gal heirs also under the donation law; this provision 
applying as well to the heirs of aliens who had de- 


clared their intention to become naturalized citizens 
of the United States, but who died before completing 
their naturalization, as to native-born citizens. The 
several provisos to this part of the land law declared 
that the donation should embrace the land actually 
occupied and cultivated by the settler thereon; that 
all sales of land made before the issuance of patents 
should be void ; and lastly, that those claiming under 
the treaty with Great Britain could not claim under 
the donation act. 

Then came another class of beneficiaries. All white 
male citizens of the United States, or persons who 
should have made a declaration of their intention to 
become such, above twenty-one years of age, and emi 
grating to and settling in Oregon after December 1, 
1850, and before December 1, 1853, and all white male 
American citizens not before provided for who should 
become twenty-one years of age in the territory be 
tween December 1851 and December 1853, and who 
should comply with the requirements of the law as 
already stated, should each receive, if single, 160 acres 
of land, and if married another 160 to his wife, in her 
own right; or if becoming married within a year after 
his arrival in the territory, or one year after becoming 
twenty-one, the same. These were the conditions of 
the gifts in respect of qualifications and time. 

But further, the law required the settler to notify 
the surveyor general within three months after the 
survey had been made, where his claim w r as located; 
or if the settlement should commence after the survey, 
then three months after making his claim; and the 
law required all claims after December 1, 1850, to be 
bounded by lines running east and west and north 
and south, and to be taken in compact form. Proof 
of having commenced settlement and cultivation had 
to be made to the surveyor general within twelve 
months after the survey or after settlement. All these 
terms being complied with, at any time after the expira 
tion of four years from date of settlement the sur- 


veyor general might issue a certificate, when, upon 
the proof being complete, a patent would issue from 
the commissioner of the general land office to the 
holder of the claims. The surveyor general was fur 
nished with judicial power to judge of all questions 
arising under the act; but his judgment was not ne 
cessarily final, being preliminary only to a final decision 
according to the laws of the territory. These were 
the principal features of the donation law. 1 

In order to be able to settle the various questions 
which might arise, it was necessary first to decide what 
constituted naturalization, or how it was impaired. 
The first case which came up for consideration was 
that of John McLoughlin, the principal features of 
which have been given in the history of the Oregon 
City claim. It was sought in this case to show a 
flaw in the proceedings on account of the imperfect 
organization of the courts. In the discussion which 
followed, and for which Thurston had sought to pre 
pare himself by procuring legal opinions beforehand, 
considerable alarm was felt among other aliens. S. M. 
Holderness applied to Judge Pratt, then the only dis 
trict judge in the territory, on the 17th of May 1850, 
to know if the proceedings were good in his case, as 
many others were similarly situated, and it was im 
portant to have a precedent established. 

Pratt gave it as his opinion that the Clacliamas 
county circuit court, as it existed on the 27th of 
March 1849, was a competent court, within the mean 
ing of the naturalization laws, in which a declaration 
of intention by an alien could be legally made as a 
preparatory step to becoming a citizen of the United 
States; the naturalization power being vested in con 
gress, which had provided that application might be 
made to any circuit, district, or territorial court, or to 
any state court which was a court of record, having a 

l See U. 8. H. Ex. Doc. ii., vol. ii. pt iii. 5-8, 32d cong. 1st sess.; Deadtfs 
Or. Laws, 1845-64, 84-90; Deadtfs Or. Gen. Laws, 1843, 72, 63-75. 


seal and clerk; and the declaration might be made 
before the clerk of one of the courts as well as before 
the court itself. The only question was whether the 
circuit court of Clackamas county, in the district of 
Oregon, was on the 24th of March, 1849, or about that 
time, a territorial court of the United States. 

Congress alone had authority to make all needful 
rules and regulations respecting the territory and 
other property of the United States, and that power 
was first exercised in Oregon, and an organized gov 
ernment given to it by the congressional act of Au 
gust 14, 1848. It went into effect, and the territory 
had a legal existence from and after its passage, and 
the laws of the United States were at the same time 
extended over the territory, amongst the others, that 
of the naturalization of aliens. But it was admitted 
that the benefits to be derived from proceedings un 
der these laws would be practically valueless unless 
the machinery of justice was at the same time pro 
vided to aid in their administration and enforcement. 
Congress had not omitted this; but there existed an 
extraordinary state of things in Oregon which made 
it unlike other territorial districts at the date of its 
organization. Unusual means had therefore been pro 
vided to meet the emergency. Without waiting to go 
through the ordinary routine of directing the electing 
of a legislative body to assemble and frame a code of 
statutes, laws were at once provided by the adoption 
of those already furnished to their hand by the neces 
sities of the late provisional government; and in ad 
dition to extending the laws of the United States 
over the territory, it was declared that the laws thus 
adopted should remain in force until modified or re 
pealed. Congress had thus made its own a system 
of laws which had been in use by the people before 
the territory had a legal existence. Among those 
laws was one creating and establishing certain courts 
of record in each county, known as circuit courts; and 
one of those courts composing the circuit was that of 


the county of Clackamas, which tribunal congress had 
adopted as a territorial court of the United States. 
The permanent judicial power provided for in the or 
ganic act was not in force, or had not superseded the 
temporary courts, because it had not at that time en 
tered upon the discharge of its duties, Chief Justice 
Bryant not assuming the judicial ermine in Oregon 
until the 23d of May 1849, the cases in question oc 
curring in March. 2 To the point attempted to be made 
later, that there had been no court because of the ir 
regularity of the judges in convening it, he replied 
that the court itself did not cease to exist, after being 
established, because there was no judge to attend to 
its duties, the clerk continuing in office and in charge 
of the records. 3 

There had been a contest immediately after the es 
tablishment of the territorial government concerning 
the right of the foreign residents to vote at any elec 
tion after the first one, for which the organic act had 
distinctly provided, and a strong effort had been made 
to declare the alien vote of 1849 illegal. The first 
territorial legislature, in providing for and regulating 
general elections and prescribing the qualifications of 
voters, declared that a foreigner must be duly natu 
ralized before he could vote, the law being one of those 
adopted from the Iowa statutes. One party, of whom 
Thurston was the head, supported by the missionary 
interest, strenuously insisted upon this construction 
of the 5th section of the organic law, because at the 
election which made Thurston delegate the foreign- 
born voters had not supported him, and with him the 
measures of the missionary class. 

The opinion of the United States judges being 

2 In Pratt s opinion on the location of the seat of government, he reiterates 
this belief, and says that both he and Bryant held that no power existed by 
which the supreme court could be legally held before the seat of government 
was established. Or. Statesman, Jan. 6, 18.12. According to this belief, the 
proceedings of the district courts were illegal for nearly two years. 

3 Or. Spectator, May 22, 1851. 


asked, Strong replied to a letter of Thurston s, con 
firming the position taken by the delegate, that after 
the first election, until their naturalization was com 
pleted, no foreigner could be allowed to vote. 4 The 
inference was plain ; if not allowed to vote, not a citi 
zen ; if not a citizen, not entitled to the benefits of the 
land law. Thurston also procured the expression of 
a similar opinion from the chairman of the judiciary 
of the house of representatives, and from the chairman 
of the committee on territories, which he had pub 
lished in the Spectator. Under these influences, the 
legislature of 1850-1 substantially reenacted the 
Iowa law adopted in 1849, but Deady succeeded in 
procuring the passage of a proviso giving foreigners 
who had resided in the country five years prior to that 
time, and who had declared, as most of them had, 
their intention of becoming citizens, a right to vote. 5 
The Thurston interest, asserting that congress had 
not intended to invest the foreign-born inhabitants of 
Oregon with the privileges of citizens, declared that 
it was not necessary that the oath to support the gov 
ernment of the United States and the organic act 
should be taken before a court of record, but might 
for such purpose be done before a common magistrate. 
Could they delude the ignorant into making this error, 
advantage could be taken of it to invalidate subsequent 
proceedings. But Pratt pointed out that while part 
of the proceedings, namely, the taking of the oath re 
quired, could have been done before a magistrate, the 
declaration of intention to become a citizen could only 
be made according to the form and before the court 
prescribed in the naturalization laws; and that the 
act of congress setting forth what was necessary to 
be done to become entitled to the right to vote at the 
first election in Oregon did not separate them from 

4 Or. Spectator, Nov. 28, 1850. 

5 Deady says he had a hard fight. The proviso was meant, and was 
understood to mean, the restoration to McLoughlin, and the British subjects 
who had always lived in the country, of the elective franchise. Hist. Or., MS., 


which it was plain that congress meant to confer upon 
the alien population of Oregon the privileges of citi 
zenship without delay, and to cement the population 
of the territory as it stood when it asked that its pro 
visional laws should be adopted. 

The meaning of the 5th section of the organic act 
should have been plain enough to any but prejudiced 
minds. In the first place, it required the voter to be 
a male above the age of twenty-one years, and a resi 
dent of the territory at the time of the passage of 
the act. The qualifications prescribed were, that he 
should be a citizen of the United States of that age, 
or ,that being twenty-one he should have declared on 
oath his intention to become a citizen, and have taken 
the oath to support the constitution of the United 
States and the provisions of the organic act. This 
gave him the right to vote at the first election, and 
made him eligible to office; but the qualifications of 
voters and office-holders at all subsequent elections 
should be prescribed by the legislative assembly. 
This did not mean that the legislature should enact 
laws contrary to this which admitted to citizenship all 
those who voted at the first election, by the very 
terms required, namely, to take the oath of allegiance 
and make a declaration of an intention to assume the 
duties of an American citizen; but that after having 
set out on its territorial career under these conditions, 
it could make such changes as were found necessary 
or desirable thereafter not in conflict with the organic 
act. The proof of this position is in the fact that 
after and not before giving the legislature the priv 
ilege, comes the proviso containing the prescribed 
qualifications of a voter which must go into the ter 
ritorial laws, the same being whose which entitled any 
white man to vote at the first election. Having once 
taken those obligations which were forever to make 
him a citizen of the United States by the organic 
act, the legislature had no right, though it exercised 
the assumed power, to disfranchise those who voted 


at the first election. When in 1852-3 the legislature 
amended the laws regulating elections, it removed in 
a final manner the restrictions which the Thurston 
democracy had placed upon foreign-born residents of 
the country. By the new law all white male inhab 
itants over twenty-one years of age, having become 
naturalized, or having declared their intention to 
become citizens, and having resided six months in the 
territory, and in the county fifteen days next preced 
ing the election, were entitled to vote at any election 
in the territory. 

To return to the donation law and its construction. 
Persons could be found who were doubtful of the 
meaning of very common words when they came to 
see them in a congressional act, and who were unable 
to decide what settler or occupant meant, or how 
to construe improvement or possession. To help 
such as these, various legal opinions were submitted 
through the columns of newspapers ; but it was gen 
erally found that a settler could be absent from his 
claim a great deal of his time, and that occupation 
and improvement were defined in accordance with the 
means and the convenience of the claimant. 6 

The survey or- general, who arrived in Oregon in 
time to begin the surveys of the public lands in Oc 
tober, 1851, had before him a difficult labor. 7 The 
survey of the Willamette meridian was begun at 

6 See Home Missionary, vol. 24, 156. Thornton held that there was snch 
a thing as implied residence, and that a man might be a resident by the res 
idence of his agent; and cited Kent s Com., 77. Also that a claimant whose 
dwelling was not on the land, but who improved it by the application of his 
personal labor, or that of his hired man, or member of his family, could demand 
a patent at the expiration of four years. See opinion of J. Q. Thornton in 
Or. Spectator, Jan. 16, 1851. It is significant that in these discussions and 
opinions in which Thornton took a prominent part at the time, he laid no 
claim to the authorship of the land law. To do this was an afterthought. 
Mrs Odell, in her Bioyrophy of Thurston, MS., 28, remarks upon this. 

1 Cong. Globe, app., 1852-3, vol. xxvii. 331, 32d cong. 2d sess.; U. 8. 
H. Ex. Doc. 2, vol. ii. ptiii. 5-8, 32d cong. 1st sess. The survey was con 
ducted on the method of base and meridian lines, and triangulations from 
fixed stations to all prominent objects within the range of the theodolite, by 
means of which relative distances were obtained, together with a general 
knowledge of the country, in advance of the linear surveys. Id. 


the upper mouth of the Willamette Kiver, and the 
base line 7f miles south, in order to avoid the Co 
lumbia Eiver in extending the base line east to the 
Cascade Mountains. The intersection of the base 
and meridian lines was 3 miles west of the Wil 
lamette. The reason given for fixing the point of 
beginning at this place was because the Indians were 
friendly on either side of the line for some distance 
north and south, and a survey in this locality would 
best accommodate the immediate wants of the set 
tlers. 8 But it was soon found that the nature of the 
country through which the initial lines were run 
would make it desirable in order to accommodate 
the settlers to change the field of operations to the 
inhabited valleys, 9 three fourths of the meridian 
line north of the base line passing through a coun 
try broken and heavily timbered. The base line 
east of the meridian to the summit of the Cascade 
Mountains also passed through a densely timbered 
country almost entirely unsettled. But on the west 
side of the meridian line were the Tualatin plains, 
this section of the country being first to be benefited 
by the survey. 

On the 5th of February, 1852, appeared the first 
notice to settlers of surveys that had been completed 
in certain townships, and that the surveyor general 
was prepared to receive the notifications of their re 
spective claims and to adjust the boundaries thereof, 
he being made the arbiter and register of all donation 
claims. 10 At the same time settlers were advised 
that they must have their claims surveyed and cor- 

*R?pt of Preston in U. S. H. Ex. Doc. 52, 1851-2, v. 23, 31st cong. 1st 
??*!** was done bv Thurston s advice. See Cong. Globe, 1849-50, Si pt 
11. 1077, 31st cong. 1st sess. 

9 William Ives was the contractor for the survey of the base line and Wil 
lamette meridian north of it; and James Freeman of the Willamette me 
ridian south of it, as far as the Umpqua Valley. 

10 The first surveys advertised were of township 1 north, range 1 east- 
townships 7 and 8 south, range 1 west; and township 7 south, ran|e 3 and 4 
west, ihe oldest patents issued for donation claims are those in Washington 

UUn the reg n Clty 10tS may be lder * See ^ Spectator, Feb. 


ners established before the government survey was 
made, in order that they might be able to describe 
their boundaries by courses, distances, metes, and 
bounds, and to show where their lines intersected the 
government lines, claims being generally bounded 
according to the fancy or convenience of the owner, 
instead of by the rectangular method adopted in the 
public surveys. 

The privilege of retaining their claims as they had 
taken them was one that had been asked for by me 
morial, but which had not been granted without qual 
ification in the land law. Thurston had explained 
how the letter of the law was to be evaded, and had 
predicted that the surveyor general would be on the 
side of the people in this matter. 11 Preston, as had 
been foreseen, was lenient in allowing irregular boun 
daries; a map of that portion of Oregon covered by 
donation claims presenting a curious patchwork of 
parallelograms with angles obtuse, and triangles with 
angles of every degree. Another suggestion of the 
surveyor general was that settlers on filing their no 
tifications, date of settlement, and making proof of 
citizenship, should state whether they were married; 12 
for in the settlement of Oregon and the history of 
its division among the inhabitants, marriage had been 
made to assume unusual importance. Contrary to all 
precedent, the women of this remote region were 
placed by congress in this respect upon an equality 
with the men it may be in acknowledgment of their 
having earned in the same manner and measure a right 
to be considered creditors of the government, or the 
men may have made this arrangement that they 
through their wives might control more land. It had, 
it is true, limited this equality to those who were mar 
ried, or had been married on starting for Oregon, 


11 Letter to the Electors of Oregon, 8. 

12 Portland Oregonian, Feb. 7, 1852. 

13 As respects grants of land, they will be placed upon the same footing 
as male citizens, provided that such widows were in this country before De- 


but it was upon the presumption that there were no 
unmarried women in Oregon, which was near the 
truth. Men took advantage of the law, and to be able 
to lord it over a mile square of land married girls no 
more than children, who as soon as they became wives 
were entitled to claim half a section in their own 
right; 14 and girls in order to have this right married 
without due consideration. 

Congress had indeed, in its effort to reward the set 
tlers of Oregon for Americanizing the Pacific coast, 
refused to consider the probable effects of its bounty 
upon the future of the country, though it was not un 
known what it might be. 15 The Oregon legislature, 
notwithstanding, continued to ask for additional grants 
and favors; first in 1851-2, that all white American 
women over eighteen years of age who were in the 
territory on the 1st of December 1850, not provided 
for in the donation act, should be given 320 acres of 
land; and to all white American women over twenty- 
one who had arrived in the territory or might arrive 
between the dates of December 1, 1850, and Decem 
ber 1, 1853, not provided for, 160 acres; no woman 
to receive more than one donation, or to receive a 
patent until she had resided four years in the terri 

It was also asked that all orphan children of white 
parents, residing in the territory before the 1st of 
December, 1850, who did not inherit under the act, 16 

cember 1, 1850, and are of American birth. Or. Spectator, May 8, 1851. 
Thurston in his Letter to the Electors remarks that this feature of the dona 
tion act was a popular one in congress, and that he thought it just. 

14 It has been decided that the words single man included an unmarried 
woman. 7 Wall., 219. See Deady s Gen. Laws Or., 1843-72. But I do not 
see how under that construction a woman could be prevented holding as a 
single man first and as a married woman afterward, because the patent to 
her husband, as a married man, would include 640 acres, 320 of which would 
be hers. 

15 They said it would be injurious to the country schools, by preventing 
the country from being thickly settled; that it would retard the agricultural 
growth of the country; and though it would meet the case of many deserv 
ing men, it would open the door to frauds and speculations by all means to 
be avoided. Thurstorts Letter to the Electors of Oregon, 8; Beadle s Undev. 
West, 762-3; Home Missionary, vol. 26, p. 45. 

16 Those whose parents had died in Oregon before the passage of the law 


should be granted eighty acres each; and that all 
orphan children whose parents had died in coming to 
or after arriving in Oregon between 1850 and 1853 
should receive forty acres of land each. 17 

Neither of these petitions was granted 18 at the 
time, while many others were offered by resolution or 
otherwise. As the period was expiring when lands 
would be free, it began to be said that the time should 
be extended, even indefinitely, and that all lands 
should be free. 19 

There was never, in the history of the world, a 
better opportunity to test the doctrine of free land, 
nor anything that came so near realizing it as the set 
tlement of Oregon. Could the government have re 
stricted its donations to the actual cultivators of the 
soil, and the quantity to the reasonable requirements 
of the individual farmer, the experiment would have 
been complete. But since the donation was in the 
nature of a reward to all classes of emigrants alike, 
this could not be done, and the compensation had to 
be ample. 

Some persons found it a hardship to be restrained 
from selling their land for a period of four years, 
and preferred paying the minimum price of $1.25 an 
acre to waiting for the expiration of the full term. 
Accordingly, in February 1853, the donation law was 
so amended that the survey or -general might receive 

did not come under the requirements of the donation act; nor those whose 
parents had died upon the road to Oregon. As they could not inherit, a di 
rect grant was asked. 

17 Or. Statesman, Dec. 16, 1851. 

18 Heirs of settlers in Oregon who died prior to Sept. 27, 1850, cannot in 
herit or hold land by virtue of the residence and cultivation of their ances 
tors. Ford vs Kennedy, 1 Or. 166. The daughter of Jason Lee was portion 
less, while the children of later comers inherited. 

19 See Or. Statesman, Nov. 6, 1853. A resolution offered in the assembly 
of 1852-3 asked that the land east of the Cascade mountains should be im 
mediately surveyed, and sold at the minimum price, in quantities not exceed 
ing 640 acres to each purchaser; the money to be applied to the construction 
of that portion of the contemplated Pacific railroad west of the Rocky Moun 
tains. This was the first practical suggestion of the Oregon legislature con 
cerning the overland railroad, and appropriated all or nearly all the land in 
Oregon to the use of Oregon, the western portion except that north of the 
Columbia being to a great extent claimed. 


this money after two years of settlement in lieu of the 
remaining two years, the rights of the claimant in the 
event of his death to descend to his heirs at law as 
before. By the amendatory act, widows of men who 
had they lived would have been entitled to claim under 
the original act were granted all that their husbands 
would have been entitled to receive had they lived, 20 
and their heirs after them. 

By this act also the extent of all government res 
ervations was fixed. For magazines, arsenals, dock 
yards, and other public uses, except for forts, the 
amount of land was not to exceed twenty acres to 
each, or at one place, nor for forts more than 640 
acres. 21 If in the judgment of the president it should 
be necessary to include in any reservation the improve 
ments of a settler, their value should be ascertained 
and paid. The time fixed by this act for the expira 
tion of the privileges of the donation law was April 
1855, when all the surveyed public lands left unclaimed 
should be subject to public sale or private entry, the 
same as the other public lands of the United States. 

The land law of Oregon was again amended in July 

1854, in anticipation of the coming into market of the 
public lands, by extending to Oregon and Washington 
the preemption privilege granted September 4, 184 L, 
to the people of the territories, to apply to any un 
claimed lands, whether surveyed or not. For the 
convenience of the later settlers, the time for giving 
notice to the surveyor general of the time and place 
of settlement was once more extended to December 

1855, or the last moment before the public lands be 
came salable. The act of 1854 declared that the do 
nations thereafter should in no case include a town 
site or lands settled upon for purposes of business or 

20 See previous note 13. The surveyor general had before so construed the 

21 This was a great relief to the immigration at The Dalles, where the mil 
itary had taken up ten miles square of land, thereby greatly inconveniencing 
travellers by depriving their stock of a range anywhere near the usual place 
of embarkation on the Columbia. 

HIST. OB., VOL. II. 18 


trade, and not for agriculture; but the legal subdivi 
sions included in such town sites should be subject to 
the operations of the act of May 23, 1844, " for the 
relief of citizens of towns upon lands of the United 
States, under certain circumstances." 2 The proviso 
to the 4th section of the original act, declaring void all 
sales of lands before the issue of the patents therefor, 
was repealed, and sales were declared invalid only 
where the claimant had not resided four years upon 
the land. By these terms two subjects which had 
greatly troubled the land claimants were disposed of; 
those who had been a long time in the country could 
sell their lands without waiting for the issuance of 
their patents, and those who had taken claims and 
laid out towns upon natural town-sites \vere left un 
disturbed. 23 This last amendment to the donation 
law granted the oft-repeated prayer of the settlers 
that the orphan children of the earliest immigrants 
who died before the passage of the act of September 
27, 1850, should be allowed grants of land, the dona 
tion to this class being 160 acres each. Under this 
amendment Jason Lee s daughter could claim the 
small reward of a quarter-section of land for her 
father s services in colonizing the country. These 
orphans claims were to be set off to them by the sur 
veyor general in good agricultural land, and in case of 
the decease of either of them their rights vested in 
the survivors of the family. Such was the land law 
as regarded individuals. 

This act, besides, extended to the territory of Wash- 

22 This act provided that when any of the surveyed public lands had been 
occupied as a town site, and was not therefore subject to entry under the ex 
isting laws, in case the town were incorporated, the judges of the county 
court for that county should enter it at the proper land office, at the mini 
mum price, for the several use and benefit of the occupants thereof according 
to their respective interests, the proceeds of the sales of lots to be disposed of 
according to rules and regulations prescribed by the legislature; but the land 
must be entered prior to the commencement of the public sale of the body of 
land in which the town site was included. See note on p. 72, Gen. Laws Or. 

23 Many patents never issued. It was held by the courts that the law act 
ually invested the claimant who had complied with its requirements with the 
ownership of the land, and that the patent was simply evidence which did 
not affect the title. JDeady s Scraps, 5. 


ington all the provisions of the Oregon land law, or 
any of its amendments, and authorized a separate corps 
of officers for this additional surveying district, whose 
duties should be the same as those of the surveyor 
general, register, and receiver of Oregon. It also 
gave two townships of land each to Oregon and 
Washington in lieu of the two townships granted 
by the original act to Oregon for university purposes. 
Later, on March 12, 1860, the provisions of the act 
of September 28, 1850, for aiding in reclaiming the 
swamp lands of Arkansas, were extended to Oregon, 
by which the state obtained a large amount of valua 
ble lands, of which gift I shall have something to say 

From the abstract here given of the donation law 
at different periods, my reader will be informed not 
only of the bounty of the government, but of the 
onerous nature of the duties of the surveyor-general. 

*/ O 

who was to adjudicate in all matters of dispute or 
question concerning land titles. His instructions au 
thorized and required him to settle the business of 
the Oregon City claim by notifying all purchasers, 
donees, or assigns of lots or parts of lots acquired 
of McLoughlin previous to March 4, 1849, to present 
their evidences of title, and have their land surveyed, 
in order that patents might be issued to them; and 
this in 1852 was rapidly being done. 24 

His special attention was directed to the third 
article of the treaty of 1846, between the United 
States and Great Britain, which provided that in the 
future appropriation of the territory south of 49 north 
latitude, the possessory rights 25 of the Hudson s Bay 

24 U. S. H. Ex. Doc. 52, v. 25, 32d cong. 1st sess. 

25 This subject came up in a peculiar shape as late as 1871, when H. W. 
Corbett was in the U. S. senate. A case had to be decided in the courts of 
Oregon in 1870, where certain persons claimed under William Johnson, who 
before the treaty of 1846 settled upon a tract of land south of Portland. 
But Johnson died before the land law was passed, and the courts decided 
that in this case Johnson had first lost his possessory rights by abandoning 
the claim; by dying before the donation law was passed, he was not provided 


Company, and of all British subjects who should be 
found already in the occupation of land or other 
property lawfully acquired, within the said territory, 
should be respected; and to the fourth article, which 
declared that the farms, lands, and other property 
belonging to the Puget Sound Agricultural Company 
on the north side of the Columbia, should be con 
firmed to the said company, with the stipulation that 
in case the situation of these farms and lands should 
be considered by the United States to be of public 
and political importance, and the United States gov 
ernment should signify a desire to obtain possession 
of the whole or any part thereof, the property so re 
quired should be transferred to the said government 
at a proper valuation, to be agreed upon between the 
parties. The commissioner directed the surveyor- 
general to call upon claimants under the treaty, or 
their agents, to present to him the evidence of tliQ 
rights in which they claimed to be protected by the 
treaty, and to show him the original localities and 
boundaries of the same which they held at the elate 
of the treaty; and he was not required to survey in 
sections or minute subdivisions the land covered by 
such claims, but only to extend the township lines 
over them, so as to indicate their relative position and 
connection with the public domain. 

The surveyor-general reported with regard to these 
claims, that McLoughlin, who had recently become a 
naturalized citizen of the United States, had given 
notice September 29, 1852, that he claimed under the 
treaty of 1846 a tract of land containing 640 acres, 
which included Oregon City within its boundaries, 
and that he protested against any act that would dis- 

for in that act, and therefore had no title either under the treaty or the land 
law by which his heirs could hold. This raised a question of law with regard 
to the heirs of British residents of Oregon before the treaty of 1846; and Cor- 
bett introduced a bill in the senate to extend the rights of citizenship to 
half-breeds born within the territory of Oregon previous to 1846, and now 
subject to the jurisdiction of tho United States, which was passed. Sup. Court 
Decisions, Or. Laws, 1870, 227-9; Cong. Globe, 1871-2, app. 730, 42 J. cong. 2d 
sess.; Conj. Globe, 1871-2, part il, p. 1179, 42d cong. 2d sess. 


turb his possession, except of the portion sold or 
granted by him within the limits of the Oregon City 
claim. 26 

As to the limits of the Hudson s Bay Company s 
claim in the territory, it was the opinion of chief fac 
tor John Ballenden, he said, that no one could state 
the nature or define the limits of that claim. He 
called the attention of the general land commissioner, 
and through him of the government, to the fact that 
settlers were claiming valuable tracts of land included 
within the limits of that claimed by the Hudson s 
Bay and Puget Sound companies, and controversies 
had arisen not only as to the boundaries, but as to the 
rights of the companies under the treaty of 1846; and 
declared that it was extremely desirable that the na 
ture of these rights should be decided upon. 27 To de 
cide upon them himself was something beyond his 
power, and he recommended, as the legislative assem 
bly, the military commander, and the superintendent 
of Indian affairs had done, that the rights, whatever 
they were, of these companies, should be purchased. 
To this advice, as we know, congress turned a deaf 
ear, until squatters had left no land to quarrel over. 
The people knew nothing and cared less about the 
rights of aliens to the soil of the United States. In 
the mean time the delay multiplied the evils complained 
of. Let us take the site of Vancouver as an example. 
Either it did or it did not belong to the Hudson s Bay 
Company by the terms of the treaty of 1846. If it 
did, then it was in the nature of a grant to the com 
pany, from the fact that the donation law admitted 
the right of British subjects to claim under the 
treaty, by confining them to a single grant of land, 
and leaving it optional with them whether it should 

26 1 have already shown that having become an American citizen, McLough- 
lin could not claim under the treaty. See Deady s Or. Laws, 1845-64, 56-7. 
McLoughlin was led to commit this error by the efforts of his foes to destroy 
his citizenship. 

27 U. 8. II . Ex. Doc. 14, iii. 14-17, 32d cong. 2d sess.; Olympia Columbian, 
April 9, 1853. 


be under the treaty or under the donation law. 28 In 
one case, however, it limited the amount of land, and 
in the other it did not. But there was no provision 
made in the donation law, the organic act, or any 
where else by which those claiming under the treaty 
could define their boundaries or have their lands sur 
veyed and set off to them. The United States had 
simply promised to respect the company s rights to 
the lands, without inquiring what they were. They 
had promised also to purchase them, should it be found 
they were of public or political importance, and to 
pay a proper valuation, to be agreed upon between 
the parties. But the citizens of the United States, 
covering the lands of the Hudson s Bay and Puget 
Sound Agricultural companies with claims, under the 
donation law, deprived both companies and the United 
States of their possession. 

One of the settlers or, as they were called, squat 
ters on the Hudson s Bay Company s lands was 
Amos M. Short, who claimed the town site of Van 
couver. 29 When he first went on the lands, before 
the treaty, the company put him off. But he per 
sisted in returning, and subsequently killed two men 
to prevent being ejected by process of law. Never 
theless, when the donation law was passed Short took 
no steps to file a notification of his claim. Perhaps 
he was waiting the action of congress with regard to 
the Hudson s Bay Company s rights. While he waited 
he died, having lost the benefits of the act of Septem 
ber 27, 1850, by delay. In the mean time congress 
passed the act of the 14th of February, 1853, permit 
ting all persons who had located or might hereafter 
locate lands in that territory, in accordance with the 
provisions of the law of 1850, in lieu of continued 
occupation, to purchase their claims at the rate of 
$1.25 an acre, provided they had been two years 

Deady s Gen. Laws Or., 1845-64, 86. 

<J9 1 have given a part of Short s history on page 793 of vol. i. He was 
drowned when the Vandalia was wrecked, in January 1853. 


upon the land. The widow of Short then filed a 
notification under the new act, and in order to secure 
the whole of the 640 acres, which might have been 
claimed under the original donation act, dated the 
residence of her husband and herself from 1848. Bat 
Mrs Short, whose notification was made in October 
1853, was still too late to receive the benefit of the 
new act, as Bishop Blanchet had caused a similar 
notification to be made in May, claiming 640 acres 
for the mission of St James 30 out of the indefinite 
grant to the Hudson s Bay Company. Though the 
company s rights of occupancy did not expire until 
1859, the bishop chose to take the same view^ held 
by the American squatters, and claimed possession at 
Vancouver, where the priests of his church had been 
simply guests or chaplains, under the clause in the 
organic act giving missions a mile square of land; 
and the surveyor general of Washington Territory 
decided in his favor. 31 No patent was however issued 
to the catholic church, the question of the Hudson s 
Bay Company s claim remaining in abeyance, and the 
decision of the surveyor general being reversed by 
the commissioner of the general land office, after 
which an appeal was taken to the secretary of the 
interior. 32 

30 Says Roberts: Even the catholics tried to get the land at Vancouver. . . 
In the face of the llth section of the donation law, by which people \vere 
precluded from interfering with the company s lands, how could Short, the 
Roman catholics, and others do as they didV B^collections, MS., 90, 93. 

31 The papers show that the mission notification was on file before any 
claims were asserted to contiguous lands. It is the oldest claim. Its recog 
nition is coeval with the organization of Oregon, and was a positive grant 
more than two years before any American settler could acquire an interest 
in or title to unoccupied public lands. Report of Surveyor General, in Claim 
ofSt James Mission, 21; Olympw. Standard, April 5, 1862. 

32 The council employed for the mission furnished elaborate arguments on 
the side of the United States, as against the rights of the Hudson s Bay Corn- 

The fundamental 

pose 01 these lands pending tne "iiiueiuuw nguM ui mu uuuwiu o ua, y ^ v *"~ 
pany. We have seen that as to time they were not indefinite, but had a fixed 
termination in May 1859. But either way, how can the United States at the 
same time deny their right to appropriate or dispose of the lands permanently, 
only respecting the possessory rights of the company, and yet in 1849, 1850, 
1853, or 1854 have made such appropriation (for military purposes) and per 
manent disposition, and now set it up against its grant to us in 1848?. . .It ia 


The case not being definitely decided, a bill was 
brought before congress in 1874 for the relief of the 
catholic mission of St James, and on being referred 
to the committee on private land claims, the chairman 
reported that it was the opinion of the committee 
that the mission was entitled to 640 acres under the 
act of August 14, 1848, and recommended the passage 
of the bill, with an amendment saving to the United 
States the right to remove from the premises any 
property, buildings, ur other improvements it might 
have upon that portion of the claim covered by the 
military reservation. 33 But the bill did not pass; and 
in 1875, a similar bill being under advisement by the 
committee on private land claims, the secretary of 
war addressed a letter to the committee, in which he 
said that the military reservation was valued at a 
million dollars, and that the claim of the St James 
mission covered the whole of it; and that the war de 
partment had always held that the religious establish 
ment of the claimants was not a missionary station 
among Indian tribes on the 14th of August 1848, and 
that the occupancy of the lands in question at that 
date was not such as the act of congress required. 
The secretary recommended that the matter go before 
a court and jury for final adjustment, on the passage 
of an act providing for the settlement of this and sim 
ilar claims. 34 

Again in 1876, a bill being before congress whose 
object was to cause a patent to be issued to the St 
James mission, the committee on private land claims 

said that the United States had title to the lands, yet it could not dispose of 
them absolutely in prcesenti, so that the grantee could demand immediate pos 
session. Granted, so far as the Hudson s Bay Company was upon these lands 
with its possessory rights, those rights must be respected. But how does 
this admission derogate from the right to grant such title as the United States 
then had, which was the proprietary right, encumbered only by a temporary 
right of possession, for limited and special purpose? The arguments and 
evidence in this case are published in a pamphlet called Claim of the St 
James Mission, Vancouver, W. T., to 640 acres of Land, from which the above 
is quoted. 

33 U. 8. H. Kept., 630, 43d cong. 1st sess., 1873-4. 

84 U. S. H. Ex. Z>oc. t 117, 43d cong. 2d sess. 


reported in favor of the mission s right to the land so 
far only as to amend the bill so as to enable all the 
adverse claimants to assert their rights before the 
courts; and recommended that in order to bring the 
matter into the courts, a patent should be issued to 
the mission, with an amendment saving the rights of 
adverse claimants and of the United States to any 
buildings or fixtures on the land. 35 

After long delays the title was finally settled in 
November 1874 by the issuance of a patent to Abel 
G. Tripp, mayor of Vancouver, in trust for the sev 
eral use and benefit of the inhabitants according to 
their respective interests. Under an act of the legis 
lature the mayor then proceeded to convey to the 
occupants of lots and blocks the land in their pos 
session, according to the congressional law before ad 
verted to in reference to town sites. 

That a number of land cases should grow out of 
misunderstandings and misconstructions of the land 
law was inevitable. Among the more important of 
the unsettled titles was that to the site of Portland. 
The reader already knows that in 1843 Overton 
claimed on the west bank of the Willamette 640 
acres, of which soon after he sold half to Lovejoy, 
and in 1845 the other half to Pettygrove; and that 
these two jointly improved the claim, laying it off 
into lots and blocks, some of which they sold to 
other settlers in the town, who in their turn made 

In 1845, also, Lovejoy sold his half of the claim 
to Benjamin Stark, who came to Portland this year 
as supercargo of a vessel, Pettygrove and Stark con 
tinuing to hold it together, and to sell lots. In 1848 
Pettygrove, Stark being absent, sold his remaining 
interest to Daniel H. Lownsdale. The land being 

35 Cong. Globe, 1876-7, 44; U. S. II. Kept, 189, 44th cong. Istsess., 1875-6; 
U. 8. II. Com. Rept, i. 249, 44th cong. 1st sess.; Portland Gregorian, Oct. 
30, 1809; Rossi, Souvenirs, vi. CO. 


registered in the name of Pettygrove, Lownsdale 
laid claim to the whole, including Stark s portion, 
and filed his claim to the whole with the registrar, re 
siding upon it in Pettygrove s house. 36 

In March 1849 Lownsdale sold his interest in the 
claim to Stephen Coffin, and immediately repurchased 
half of it upon an agreement with Coffin that he should 
undertake to procure a patent from the United States, 
when the property was to be equally owned, the ex 
penses and profits to be equally divided; or if the 
agreement should be dissolved by mutual consent, 
Coffin should convey his half to Lownsdale. The 
deed of Coffin reserved the rights of all purchasers of 
lots under Pettygrove, binding the contracting parties 
to make good their titles when a patent should be 
obtained. In December of the same year Lownsdale 
and Coffin sold a third interest in the claim to W. 
W. Chapman, reserving, as before, the rights of lot 

Up to this time there had been no partition of the 
land; but in the spring of 1850, Stark having re 
turned and asserted his right in the property, a divi 
sion was agreed to between Stark and Lownsdale, 
by which each held his portion in severalty, and to 
confirm titles to purchasers on their separate parcels 
of land, Stark taking the northern and Lownsdale 
the southern half of the claim. 

Upon the passage of the donation law, with its 
various requirements and restrictions, it became neces 
sary for each claimant, in order not to relinquish his 
right to some other, to apply for a title to a definitely 
described portion of the whole claim. Accordingly, 
on the 10th of March, 1852, Lownsdale, having 
been four years in possession, came to an arrange 
ment with Coffin and Chapman with regard to the 
division of his part of the claim in which they were 

86 Lownsdale had previously resided west of this claim, on a creek where 
he had a tannery, the first in Oregon to make leather for sale. He paid for 
the claim in leather. Overland Monthly , i. 36. 


equal owners. The division being agreed upon, it be 
came necessary also to make some bargain by which 
the lots sold on the three several portions of Lowns- 
dale s interest might fall with some degree of fairness 
to the three owners when they came to make deeds 
after receiving patents; the same being necessary 
with regard to the lots previously selected by their 
wives out of their claims, which were exchanged to 
bring them within the limits agreed upon previous to 
going before the surveyor general for a certificate. 
Everything being settled between Lownsdale, Chap 
man, and Coffin, the first two filed their notification 
of settlement and claim on the llth of March, and 
the latter on the 19th of August. 

On the 8th of April Lownsdale, by the advice of 
A. E. Wait, filed a notification of claim to the whole 
640 acres, upon the ground that Job McNamee, who 
had in 1847 attempted to jump the Portland claim, 
but had afterward abandoned it, had returned, and 
was about to file a notification for the whole claim. 
Lownsdale and Wait excused the dishonesty of the 
act by the assertion that either of the other two 
owners could have done the same had they chosen. 
A controversy arose between Chapman and Coffin on 
one side and Lownsdale on the other, which was de 
cided by the surveyor general in favor of Chapman 
and Coffin, Lownsdale refusing to accept the decision. 
Stark and the others then appealed to the commis 
sioner of the general land office, who gave as his 
opinion that Portland could not be held as a donation 
claim: first, because it dated from 1845, and congress 
did not recognize claims under the provisional gov 
ernment; again, because congress contemplated only 
agricultural grants; and last, on account of the clause 
in the organic act which made void all laws of the 
provisional government affecting the title to land. 
He also believed the town-site law to be extended to 
Oregon along with the other United States laws; and 


further asserted that the donations were in the na 
ture of preemption,, only more liberal. 37 

This decision made the Portland land case more 
intricate than before, all rights of ownership in the 
land being disallowed, and there being no reasonable 
hope that those claiming it could ever acquire any; 
since if they should be able to hold the land until it 
came into market, there would still be the danger that 
any person being settled upon any of the legal sub 
divisions might claim it, if not sufficiently settled 
to be organized into a town. Or should the town-site 
law be resorted to, the town would be parcelled out 
to the occupants according to the amount occupied 
by each. Sad ending of golden dreams! 

But the commissioner himself pointed out a possi 
ble flaw in the argument, in the word * surveyed/ in 
the second line of the act of 1844. The lands settled 
on in Oregon as town sites were not surveyed, which 
might affect the application of that law. The doubt 
led to the employment of the judicial talent of the 
territory in the solution of this legal puzzle, which 
was not, after all, so difficult as at a cursory glance 
it had seemed. Chief Justice Williams, in a case 
brought by Henry Martin against W. G. T Vault 
and others, who, having sold town lots in Vancouver 
in exchange for Martin s land claim, under a bond to 
comply with the requirements of the expected dona 
tion law, and then to convey to Martin by a good and 
sufficient deed, refused to make good their agreement, 
reviewed the decision of Commissioner Wilson and 
Secretary McClelland in a manner that threw much 
light upon the town-site law, and showed Oregon 
lawyers capable of dealing with these knotty questions. 

Judge Williams denied that that portion of the 
organic act which repealed all territorial laws affect 
ing the title to land repealed all laws regulating the 

87 Or. Statesman, June 6, 1854; Olympia Pioneer and Democrat, June 24, 
1854; Portland Oreyonian, June 10, 1854. See also Brief on behalf of Stark, 
Coffin, and Chapman, prepared by S. S. Baxter. 


possessory rights of settlers. Congress, he said, was 
aware that many persons had taken and largely im 
proved claims under the provisional government, and 
did not design to leave those claims without legal pro 
tection, but simply to assert the rights of the United 
States; did not mean to say that the claim laws of the 
territory should be void as between citizen and citizen, 
but that the United States title should not be encum 
bered. He argued that if the act of 1848 vacated 
such claims, the act of 1850 made them valid, by 
granting to those who had resided upon their claims, 
and by protecting the rights of their heirs, in the 
case of their demise before the issuance of patents. 
The surveyor general was expressly required to issue 
certificates, upon the proper proof of settlement and 
cultivation, "whether made under the provisional 
government or not." He declared untenable the 
proposition that land occupied as a town site prior to 
1850 was not subject to donation under the act. A 
man might settle upon a claim in 1850, and in 1852 
lay it out into a town site; but the surveyor general 
could not refuse him a certificate, so long as he had 
continued to reside upon and cultivate any part of it. 

The rights of settlers before 1850 and after were 
placed upon precisely the same footing, and therefore 
if a claim were taken in 1847, and laid off in town 
lots in 1849, supposing the law to have been complied 
with in other respects, the claimant would have the 
same rights as if he had gone upon the land after the 
passage of the donation law. The surveyor general 
could not say to an applicant who had complied with 
the law that he had forfeited his right by attempting 
to build up a town. A settler had a right to admit 
persons to occupy under him or to exclude them; and 
if he admitted them such action not being against 
the public good it ought not to prejudice his claim. 

Judge Williams further held that the town-site law 
of 1844 was not applicable to Oregon, and that the 
land laws of the United States had not been extended 


over this territory. The preemption law had never 
been in force in Oregon; there were no land districts 
or land offices established. 38 No claims had ever been 
taken with reference to such a law, nor had any one 
ever thought of being governed by them in Oregon. 
And as to town sites, while the California land law 
excepted them from private entry, the organic act of 
Oregon excepted only salt and mineral lands, and said 
nothing about town sites; while the act of 1850 spe 
cifically granted the Oregon City claim, leaving all 
other claims upon the same footing, one with another. 

Meanwhile, the citizens of Portland who had pur 
chased lots were in a state of bewilderment as to their 
titles. They knew of whom they had purchased; but 
since the apportionment of the surveyor general, which 
made over to Coffin a part of Lownsdale s convey 
ances and to Lownsdale and Chapman a part of Cof 
fin s conveyances, they knew not where to look for 
titles. To use the words of one concerned, a three 
days protracted meeting of the citizens had been held 
to devise ways and means of obtaining titles to their 
lots. They finally memorialized congress to pass a 
special act, exempting the town site of Portland from 
the provisions of the donation act, which failed to 
meet with approval, being opposed by a counter-peti 
tion of the proprietors ; though whether it would have 
succeeded without the opposition was unknown. 

In the winter of 1854-5 a bill was before the legis 
lative assembly for the purchase of the Portland land 
claim under the town-site law of 1844, before men 
tioned, Portland having become incorporated in 1851, 
and having an extent of two miles on the river by 
one mile west from it. Coffin and Chapman opposed 
the bill, and the legislature adjourned without taking 

88 Two land districts were established in February 1855, Willamette and 
Umpqua, but the duties of officers appointed were by act declared to be the 
same as are now prescribed by law for other land offices, and for the surveyor 

feneral of Oregon, so far as they apply to such offices. Or. Statutes, 1853-4, 
7. They simply extended new facilities to, without imposing any new regu 
lations upon, the settlers. 


any action in the matter. 39 Finally, the city of Port 
land was allowed to enter 320 acres under the town- 
site law in 1860, some individual claims under the 
same being disallowed. 40 

The decision rendered by the general land office in 
1858 was that the claims of Stark, Chapman, arid 
Coffin were good, under their several notifications; 
that Lownsdale s was good under his first notification ; 
and that where the claims of these parties conflicted 
with the town-site entry of 320 acres their titles should 
be secured through the town authorities under the 
provisions of the act of 1844, and the supplementary 
act of 1854 relating to town sites. 41 

On the demise of Lowrisdale, not long after, his 
heirs at law attempted to lay claim to certain lots 
in Portland which had been sold previous to the ad 
justment of titles, but with the understanding and 
agreement that when their claims should be con 
firmed the grantors of titles to town lots should con 
firm the title of the grantees. The validity of the 
titles obtained from Stark, Lownsdale, Coffin, and 
Chapman, whether confirmed or not, was sustained 
by the courts. A case different from either of these 
was one in which the heirs of Mrs Lownsdale proved 
that she had never dedicated to the public use in 
streets or otherwise a portion of her part of the do 
nation claim; nor had the city purchased from her 
the ground on which Park street, the pride of Port 
land, was laid out. To compel the city to do this, a 
row of small houses was built in the street, where 

89 Or. Statesman, Feb. 6, 1855. As the reader has probably noticed, the 
town-site law was extended to Oregon in July 1854, but did not apply to 
claims already taken, consequently would not apply to Portland. See also 
Dec. Sup. Ct, relative to Town Sites in Or.; Or. Statesman, Aug. 8, 1875; Or. 
S. C. Repts, 1853-4. 

40 A. P. Dennison, and one Spear, made claims which were disallowed. 
The latter s pretensions arose from having leased some land between 1850 and 
1853, and believing that he could claim as a resident under that act. Denni- 
son s pretensions were similarly founded, and, I believe, Carter s also. 

* l Briefin behalf of Stark, Coffin, Lownsdale, and Chapman, 1-24; Or. States 
man, Dec. 21, 1858. See also Martin vs T Vault, 1 Or. 77; Lownsdale va 
City of Portland (U. S. D. C.), 1 Or. 380; Chapman vs School District No. 1 
et al.; Opin. Justice Deady, C. C. U. S.; Bur.ct vs 


they remain to this time, the city unwilling to pur 
chase at the present value, and the owners determined 
not to make a present of the land to the public. 42 
There was likewise a suit for the Portland levee, which 
had been dedicated to the use of the public. The su 
preme court decided that it belonged to the town; but 
Deady reversed the decision, on the ground that at 
the time the former decision was rendered the land 
did not belong to the city, but to Coffin, Chapman, 
and Lownsdale. 43 

42 Lownsdale died in April 1862. His widow was Nancy Gillihan, to whom 
he was married about 1850. 

43 Apropos of the history of Portland land titles: there came to Oregon 
with the immigration of 1847 a woman, commonly believed to be a widow, 
calling herself Mrs Elizabeth Caruthers, and with her, Finice Caruthers, her 
son. They settled on land adjoining Portland on the south, and when the 
donation law of 1850 was passed, the woman entered her part of the claim 
tinder the name of Elizabeth Thomas, explaining that she had married one 
Thomas, in Tennessee, who had left her, and who she heard had died in 
1821. She preferred for certain reasons to be known by her maiden name of 
Caruthers. She was allowed to claim 320 acres, and her son 320, making a 
full donation claim. A house was built on the line between the two portions, 
in which both claimants lived. In due time both proved up and obtained 
their certificates from the land office. About 1857 Mrs Caruthers-Thomas 
died; and in I860 Finice, her son, died. As he was her sole heir, the whole 
640 acres belonged to him. Leaving no will, and being without family, the 
estate was administered upon and settled. 

So valuable a property was not long without claimants. The state claimed 
it as an escheat, Or. Jour. House, 1808, 44-6, 465, but resigned its preten 
sions on learning that there were heirs who could claim. During this time 
an attempt had been made to prove Finice Thomas illegitimate. This fail 
ing, A. J. Knott and R. J. Ladd preempted the land left by Mrs Thomas, on 
the ground that being a woman she could not take under the donation act. 
Knott and Ladd obtained patents to the land; but they were subsequently 
set aside by the U. S. sup. ct, which held that a woman was a man in legal 
parlance, and that Mrs Thomas claim was good. 

Meantime agitation brought to the surface new facts. There were men 
in Oregon who had known the husband in Tennessee and Missouri, and who 
believed him still alive. Two who had known Thomas, or as he was called, 
Wrestling Joe, were sent to St Louis, accompanied by a lawyer, to discover 
the owner of south Portland. He was found, his identity established, his in 
terest in the property purchased for the parties conducting the search, and lie 
was brought to Oregon to aid in establishing the right of the purchasers. In 
Oregon were found a number of persons who recognized and identified him as 
Wrestling Joe of the Missouri frontier, though old and feeble. He was a 
man not likely to be forgotten or mistaken, and had a remarkable scar on his 
face. In 1872 a case was brought to trial before a jury, who on the evidence 
decided that the man brought to Oregon was Joe Thomas. Soon after, and 
pending an appeal to the sup. ct, a compromise was effected with the con 
testants, by the formation of the South Portland Real Estate Association, 
which bought up all the conflicting claims and entered into possession. Sub 
sequently they sold to Villard. 

After the settlement of the suits as above, Wrestling Joe became incensed 
with some of the men connected with the settlement, and denied that he was 


Advantage was sought to be taken by some of that 
clause in the donation law which declared that no laws 
passed by the provisional legislature interfering with 
the primary disposal of the soil should be valid. But 
the courts held, very properly, that it had not been 
the intention of congress to interfere with the arrange 
ments already made between the settlers as to the 
disposal of their claims, but that on the contrary the 
organic law of the territory distinctly said that all bonds 
and obligations valid under the laws of the provisional 
government, not in conflict with the laws of the United 
States, were to be valid under the territorial laws till 
altered by the legislature, and that the owners of town 
sites who had promised deeds were legally bound to 
furnish them on obtaining the title to the land. And 
the courts also decided that taxes should be paid on 
land claims before the patents issued, because by the 
act of September 27, 1850, the land was the property 
in fee simple of every claimant who had fulfilled the 
conditions of the law. 

A question arose concerning the right of a man hav 
ing an Indian woman for a wife to hold 640 acres of 
land, which was decided by the courts that he could 
so hold. 

The Dalles town-site claim was involved in doubt 
and litigation down to a recent period, or during a 
term of twenty-three years. That the methodists 
first settled at this point as missionaries is known to 
the reader; also that in 1847 they sold it to Whitman, 
who was in possession during the Cayuse war, which 
drove all the white population out of the country. 
Thus the first claim was methodist, transferred to the 
presbyterians, and finally abandoned. But, as I have 

that person, asserting that his name was John C. Nixon, and that all he had 
testified to before was false. This led to the indictment and arrest of the 
men who went to St Louis to find and identify Thomas, but on their trial the 
evidence was so strong that they were acquitted. Soon after, Thomas re 
turned to St Louis, where he lived, as before, after the manner of a mendi 
cant. See communication by W. C. Johnson, in Portland Or., Feb. 2, 1878. 
HIST. OB., VOL. II. 19 


elsewhere shown, a catholic mission was maintained 
there afterward for some years. 

From the sale 44 and abandonment of the Dalles 
mission to June 1850 there was no protestant mission 
at that place; but subsequent to the passage of the 
donation law, and notwithstanding the military reser 
vation of the previous month of May, an attempt was 
made to revive the methodist claim in that year by 
surveying and making a claim which took in the old 
mission site; and in 1854 their agent, Thomas H. 
Pearne, notified the surveyor general of the fact. 45 In 
the interim, however, a town had grown up at this 
place, and certain private individuals and the town 
officers opposed the pretensions of the methodists. 
And it would seem from the action of the military 
authorities at an earlier date that either they differed 
from the methodist society as to their rights, or were 
willing to give them an opportunity to recover dam 
ages for the appropriation of their property, the for 
mer mission premises being located about in the centre 
of the reservation. 

When the amended land law in 1853 reduced the 
military reservations in Oregon to a mile square, the 
reserve as laid out still took something more than 
half of the claim as surveyed by the methodists in 
1850. 46 For this the society, by its agent, brought a 

44 The price paid by Whitman for the improvements at The Dalles was, 
according to the testimony of the methodist claimants, $GOO in a draft on the 
American board, the agreement being cancelled in 1849 by a surrender of the 

45 The superintendent of the M. E. mission, William Roberts, advertised 
in the Spectator of Jan. 10, 1850, that he designed to reoccupy the place, de 
claring that the society had only withdrawn from it for fear of the Indians, 
though every one could know that when the mission was sold the war had not 
yet broken out. The Indians were, however, ill-tempered and defiant, as I 
have related. See Fulton s Eastern Oregon, MS., 8. 

46 Fulton describes the boundaries as follows: When the government re 
duced the military reservations to a mile square, it happened that, on survey 
ing the land so as to bring the fort in the proper position with regard to the 
boundaries, a strip of land was left nearly a quarter of a mile in width next 
the river, which was not covered by the reserve. To this strip of land the 
mission returned, upon the pretence that as it was not included in the military 
reservation, for which they had received $24,000, it was still theirs. In ad 
dition to the river front, there was also a strip of land on the east side of the 
reserve which was brought by the government survey within the section that 


claim against the government for $20,000 for the 
land, and later of $4,000 for the improvements, which 
in their best days had been sold to Whitman for $600. 
Congress, by the advice of Major G. J. Raines, then in 
command at Fort Dalles, and through the efforts of 
politicians who knew the strength of the society, 
allowed both claims; 47 and it would have been seemly 
if this liberal indemnity for a false claim had satisfied 
the greed of that ever-hungry body of Christian min 
isters. But they still laid claim to every foot of 
ground which by their survey of 1850 fell without 
the boundaries of the military reserve, taking enough 
on every side of it to make up half of a legal mission 
donation. 48 

The case came before three successive surveyor- 
generals and the land commissioners, 49 and was each 
time decided against the missionary society, until, as 
I have said, congress was induced to pay damages to 
the amount of $24,000, in the expectation, no doubt, 
that this would settle the claims of the missionaries 
forever. Instead of this, however, the methodist in 
fluence was strong enough with the secretary of the 
interior in 1875 to enlist him in the business of get 
ting a deed in fee simple from the government of the 
land claimed by the missionaries, 50 although the prop- 
would have been the mission claim if adhered to as originally occupied. 
This also they claimed, managing so well that to make out their section they 
went all around the reserve. Eastern Or., MS., 3-5. 

47 Bill passed in June 1860. See remarks upon it by Or. Statesman, April 
26, 1859; Id., March 15, 1859; Lid. Aff. Kept, 1854, 284-6. 

48 They made another point that Waller had left The Dalles and taken land 
at Salem, where he had hut half a claim, which he wanted to fill up at The 
Dalles. Fultoris Eastern Or., MS., 7. Deady says notwithstanding that Rob 
erts had declared the sale to Whitman cancelled in 1849, a formal deed of 
quitclaim was not obtained till Feb. 28, 1859; and further, that on the 3d 
of November, 1858, Walker and Eells, professing to act for the American 
board, had conveyed the premises to M. M. McCarver and Samuel L. White, 
subject only to the military reservation. Portland Oregonian, Dec. 4, 1879; 
Or. Statesman, Aug. 25 and Sept. 8, 1855. 

49 U. S. H. Ex. Doc., 1, vol. v. 5, 38th cong. 2d sess.; Land Off. Rept, 1864, 
2; Portland Oregonian, Jan. 23, 1865. 

50 Portland Advocate, May 6, 1875; Vancouver Register, Aug. 6, 1875; JV. 
Y. Methodist, in Walla Walla Statesman, May 1, 1875. Fulton says James 
K. Kelly told him that Delano had himself been a methodist minister, which 
may account for the strong interest in this case. Eastern Or., MS., 6. 


erty was already covered by a patent under the dona 
tion act to W. D. Bigelow, who settled at The Dalles 
in 1853, 51 and a deed under the town-site act. But 
by Judge Deady this patent was held of no effect, 
because the section of the statutes under which it 
was issued imposed conditions which were not com 
plied with, namely, that the grant could only be made 
upon a survey approved by the surveyor general and 
found correct by the commissioner, neither of which 
could be maintained, as both had rejected the claim. 
And in any case, under the statute, 52 such a patent 
could operate only as a relinquishment of title on the 
part of the United States, and could not interfere 
with any valid adverse right like that of Bigelow or 
Dalles City, nor preclude legal investigation and de 
cision by a proper judicial tribunal. 

This legal investigation began in the circuit court 
of Wasco county in September 1877, but was re 
moved in the following January to the United States 
district court, which rendered a decision in October 
1879 adverse to the missionary society, and sustain 
ing the rights of the town-site owners under the do 
nation and town-site laws, founded upon a thorough 
examination of the history and evidence in the case. 
The mission then appealed to the U. S. supreme 
court, which, in 1883, finally affirmed Deady s deci 
sion, and The Dalles, which had been under this cloud 
for a quarter of a century, was at length enabled to 
give a clear title to its property. 

The claim made by the catholics at The Dalles in 

51 Bigelow sold and conveyed, Dec. 9, 1862, an undivided third interest in 
27 acres of his claim to James K. Kelly and Aaron E. Wait; and Dec. 12, 
1864, also conveyed to Orlando Humason the remaining two thirds of this 
tract. Humason died in Sept. 1875, leaving the property to his widow Phoebe 
Humason, who became one of three in a suit against the missionary society. 
See The Dalles Meth. Miss. Claim Cases, 5, a pamphlet of 22 pp. Bigelow 
also conveyed to Kelly and Wait 46 town lots on the hill part of the town, 
known as Bluff addition to Dalles City. Id. 

02 Deady quotes it as section 2447 of the K. S., and says it was taken 
from the act of Dec. 22, 1854, authorizing the issue of patents in certain cases, 
and only applies where there has been a grant by statute without a provision 
for the issue of a patent, which could not be affirmed in this case. 


1848, and who really were in possession at the time 
of the passage of the organic act, was set aside, ex 
cept so far as they were allowed to retain about half 
an acre for a building spot. So differently is law in 
terpreted, according to whether its advocates are 
governed by its strict construction, by popular clamor, 
or by equity and common sense. 

In the case of the original old mission of the 
methodist church in the Willamette Valley, the re 
moval of the mission school to Salem in 1843 pre 
vented title. The land on which Salem now stands 
would have come under the law had not the mission 
school been discontinued in 1844; and the same may 
be said of all the several stations, that they had been 
abandoned before 1850. 

As to the grants to protestant missions, they re 
ceived little benefit from them. The American board 
sold Waiilatpu for $1,000 to Cushing Eells, as I have 
before mentioned. It was not a town site, and there 
was no quarrel over it. An attempt by the catholics 
to claim under the donation law at Walla Walla was 
a failure through neglect to make the proper notifica 
tion, as I have also stated elsewhere. No notice of 
the privilege to claim at Lapwai was taken until 1862, 
when the Indian agent of Washington Territory for 
the Nez Perces was notified by Eells that the land he 
was occupying for agency purposes was claimed by 
the American board, and a contest arose about sur 
veying the land, which was referred to the Indian 
bureau, Eells forbidding the agent to make any fur 
ther improvements. 53 But as the law under which 

63 Charles Hutchins, the agent referred to, remarks that the missionaries 
at Lapwai may have acted with discretion in retiring to the Willamette Val 
ley, although they were assured of protection by the Nez Percys; but as 
they had made no demonstration of returning from 1847 to 1862, and had 
been engaged in other pursuits, it was suggestive of the thought that it was 
the value of the improvements made upon the land that prompted them to 
put in their claim at this time. He could have added that the general im 
provement in this part of the country might have prompted them. hid. Aff. 
M&pt, loG2, 426. 


the missions could claim required actual occupancy at 
the time of its passage, none of the lands resided upon 
by the presbyterians were granted to the board ex 
cept the Waiilatpu claim from which the occupants 
were excluded by violence and death. Thus, of all 
the land which the missionaries had taken so much 
trouble to secure to their societies, and which the or 
ganic act was intended to convey, only the blood 
stained soil of Whitman s station was ever confirmed 
to the church, because before 1848 every Indian mis 
sion had been abandoned except those of the catho 
lics, who failed to manage well enough to have their 
claims acknowledged where they might have done 
so, and who committed the blunder of attempting to 
seize the land of the Hudson s Bay Company at Van 

Great as was the bounty of the government, it was 
not an unmixed blessing. It developed rapacity in 
some places, and encouraged slothful habits among 
some by giving them more than they could care for, 
and allowing them to hope for riches from the sale of 
their unused acres. The people, too,.soon fell out with 
the surveyor-general for taking advantage of his po 
sition to exact illegal fees for surveying their claims 
prior to the public survey, Preston requiring them to 
bear this expense, and to employ his corps of survey 
ors. About $25,000 was extorted from the farmers 
in this way, when Preston was removed on their com 
plaint, and Charles K. Gardiner of Washington city 
appointed in his place in November 1853. 

Gardiner had not long been in office before he fol 
lowed Preston s example. The people protested and 
threatened, and Gardiner was obliged to yield. Both 
the beneficiaries and the federal officer knew that an 
appeal to the general land office would result in the 
people having their will in any matters pertaining to 
their donation. The donation privileges expired in 
1855, after which time the public lands were subject 


to the United States law for preemption and pur 
chase. 54 On the admission of Oregon as a state in 
1859, out of eight thousand land claims filed in the 
registrar s office in Oregon City, only about one eighth 
had been forwarded to Washington for patent, owing 
to the neglect of the government to furnish clerks to 
the registrar, who could issue no more, than one certifi 
cate daily. Fees not being allowed, this officer could 
not afford to hire assistants. But in 1862 fees were 
allowed, and the work progressed more satisfactorily, 
though it is doubtful if ten years afterward all the 
donation patents had been issued. 55 

64 In 1856 John S. Zieber was appointed surveyor general, and held the 
office until 1859, when W. W. Chapman was appointed. In 1861 he gave 
way to B. J. Pengra, and he in turn to E. L. Applegate, who was followed 
by W. H. Odell, Ben. Simpson, and J. C. Tolman, all Oregon men. 

53 Land Off. Rept, 1858, 33, 1863, 21-2; Or. Argus, Sept. 11, 1858; S. F. 
Bulletin, Jan. 28, 1864. 




I HAVE said nothing about the legislative and po 
litical doings of the territory since the summer of 
1852, when the assembly met in obedience to a call 
from Governor Gaines, only to show its contempt by 
adjourning without entering upon any business. 1 At 
the regular term in December there were present five 
whigs, three from Clackamas county and two from 
Yamhill. Only one other county, Umpqua, ran a 
whig ticket, and that elected a democrat, which 
promised little comfort for the adherents of Gaines 

J The council was composed of Deady, Garrison, Lovejoy, Hall, and Way- 
mire of the former legislature, and A. L. Humphry of Benton and Lane 
counties, Lucius W. Phelps of Linn, and Levi Scott of Umpqua, Douglas, and 
Jackson. Lancaster, from the north side of the Columbia, was not present. 
The members of the lower house were J. C. Avery and George E. Cole of 
Benton; W. T. Matlock, A. E. Wait, and Lot Whitcomb of Clackamas; 
John A. Anderson of Clatsop and Pacific; F. A. Chenoweth of Clarke and 
Lewis; Curtis of Douglas; John K. Hardin of Jackson; Thomas N. Aubrey 
of Lane; James Curl and Royal Cottle of Linn; B. F. Harding, Benjamin 
Simpson, and Jacob Conser of Marion; H. N. V. Holmes and J. M. Fulker- 
son of Polk; A. C. Gibbs of Umpqua; John Richardson, F. B. Martin, and 
John Carey of Yamhill; Benjamin Stark, Milton Tuttle, and Israel Mitchell 
of Washington. Or. Statesman, July 31, 1852. The officers elected in July 
held over. 



and the federal judges, whose mendacity in denying 
the validity of the act of 1849, adopting certain of 
the Revised Statutes of 1843 of Iowa, popularly 
known as the steamboat code, 2 was the cause of more 
confusion than their opposition to the location of the 
seat of government act, also declared to be invalid, 
because two of them used the Revised Statutes of 
Iowa of 1838, adopted by the provisional government, 
in their courts, instead of the later one which the 
legislative assembly declared to be the law. 

As I have before recorded, the legislature of 1851- 
2, in order to secure the administration of the laws 
they enacted, altered the judicial districts in such a 
manner that Pratt s district included the greater part 
of the Willamette Valley. But Pratt s term expired 
in the autumn of 1852-3, and a new man, C. F. 
Train, had been appointed in his place, toward whom 
the democracy were not favorably inclined, simply 
because he was a whig appointee. 3 As Pratt was no 
longer at hand, and as the business of the courts in 
the counties assigned to him was too great for a single 
judge, the legislature in 1852-3 redistricted the ter 
ritory, making the 1st district, which belonged to 
Chief Justice Nelson, comprise the counties of Lane, 
Umpqua, Douglas, and Jackson ; the 2d district, which 
would be Train s, embrace Clackamas, Marion, Yam- 
hill, Polk, Benton, and Linn; and the 3d, or Strong s, 
consist of Washington, Clatsop, Clarke, Lewis, Thurs- 
ton, Pierce, and Island. By this arrangement Nelson 
would have been compelled to remain in contact with 
border life during the remainder of his term had not 
Deady, who was then president of the council, re 
lented so far as to procure the insertion in the act of 

2 Amory Holbrook thus named it, meaning it was a carry-all, because it 
had not been adopted act by act. Says the Or. Statesman, Jan. 8, 1853: 
The code of laws known as the steamboat code, enacted by the legislative 
assembly, has been and is still disregarded by both of the federal judges in 
the territory, while the old Iowa blue-book, expressly repealed by the as 
sembly, is enforced throughout their districts. 

3 The Or. Statesman^ Dec. 18, 1852, predicted that he would never come to 
Oregon, and he never did. 


a section allowing the judges to assign themselves to 
their districts by mutual agreement, only notifying 
the secretary of the territory, who should publish the 
notice before the beginning of March; 4 the concession 
being made on account of the active opposition of 
the whig members to the bill as it was first drawn, 
they making it a party question, and several demo 
crats joining with them. The law as it was passed 
also made all writs and recognizances before issued 
valid, and declared that no proceedings should be 
deemed erroneous in consequence of the change in 
the districts. The judges immediately complied with 
the conditions of the new law, and assigned them 
selves to the territory they had formerly occupied. 

The former acts concerning the location of the pub 
lic buildings of the territory were amended at this 
term and new boards appointed, 5 the governor being 
declared treasurer of the funds appropriated, without 
power to expend any portion except upon an order 
from the several boards constituted by the legisla 
ture. 6 Here the matter rested until the next term 
of the legislature. 

*Id., Feb. 12, 1853. The Statesman remarked that the majority in the 
house had killed the first bill and decided to leave the people without courts, 
unless they could carry a party point, when the council in a commendable 
spirit of conciliation passed a new bill. 

5 The new board consisted of Eli M. Barnum, Albert W. Ferguson, and 
Alvis Kimsey. Barnum was from Ohio, and his wife was Frances Latimer of 
Norwalk, in that state. The penitentiary board consisted of William M. 
King, Samuel Parker, and Nathaniel Ford. University board, James A. 
Bennett, John Trapp, and Lucius Phelps. 

6 The acts of this legislature which it may be well to mention are as follows: 
Creating and regulating the office of prosecuting attorney; L. F. Grover be 
ing appointed for the 2d district, R. E. Stratton for the 1st, and Alexander 
Campbell for the 3d. At the election of June following, R. P. Boise was 
chosen in the 2d district, Sims in the 1st, and Alex. Campbell in the 3d. 
Establishing probate courts, and providing for the election of constables and 
notaries public. A. M. Poe was made a notary for Thurston county, D. S. 
JVlaynard of King, John M. Chapman of Pierce, R. H. Lansdale of Island, 
A. A. Plummer of Jefferson, Adam Van Dusen of Clatsop, James Scudder of 
Pacific, Septimus Heulat of Clackamas, and W. M. King of Washington 
county. Or. Statesman, Feb. 26, 1853. An act was passed authorizing the 
appointment of two justices of the peace in that portion of Clackamas east 
of the Cascades, and appointing Cornelius Palmer and Justin Cheuoweth. 
The commissioners of each county were authorized by act to locate, a quarter- 
section of land for the benefit of county seats, in accordance with the law of 


The resolutions of instruction to the Oregon dele 
gate in congress at this session required his endeavor 
to obtain 100,000 for the improvement of the Wil- 

congress passed May 26, 1824, and report such locations to the surveyor 
general. Or. Gen. Laws, 1852-3, 68. 

I have spoken before of the several new counties created at this session, 
making necessary a new apportionment of representatives. Those north of the 
Columbia were Pierce, King, Island, and Jefferson. The county seat of 
Pierce was located on the land claim of John M. Chapman at Steilacoom; 
King, on the claim of David S. Maynard at Seattle; Jefferson, on the claim 
of Alfred A. Plummer at Port Townsend; Lewis, on the claim of Frederick 
A. Clark at the upper landing of the Cowlitz. Commissioners of King 
county were A. A. Denny, John N. Lowe, Luther M. Collins; David C. Bor 
ing, sheriff; H. D. Yesler, probate clerk. Commissioners of Jefferson county, 
Lucius B. Hastings, David F. Brownfield, Albert Briggs; H. C. Wilson, 
sheriff; A. A. Plummer, probate clerk. Commissioners of Island county, 
Samuel D. Howe, John Alexander, John Crockett; W. L. Allen, sheriff; R. 
H. Lansdale, probate clerk. Commissioners of Pierce county, Thomas M. 
Chambers, William Dougherty, Alexander Smith; John Bradley, sheriff; 
John M. Chapman, probate clerk. The county seat of Thurston county was 
located at Olympia, and that of Jackson county at Jacksonville. The com 
missioners appointed were James Cluggage, James Dean, and Abel George; 
Sykes, sheriff; Levi A. Rice, probate clerk. The county seat of Lane was 
fixed at Eugene City. The earliest settlers of this part of the Willamette 
were, besides Skinner, Felix Scott, Jacob Spores, Benjamin Richardson, John 
Brown, Marion Scott, John Vallely, Benjamin and Joseph Davis, C. Mulli 
gan, Lemuel Davis, Hilyard Shaw, Elijah Bristow, William Smith, Isaac 
and Elias Briggs. 

The election law was amended, removing the five years restriction from 
foreign-born citizens, and reducing the probationary period of naturalized 
foreigners to six months. 

An act was passed creating an irreducible school fund out of all moneys in 
any way devoted to school purposes, whether by donation, bequest, sale, or 
rent of school lands, or in any manner whatever, the interest of which was 
to be divided among the school districts in proportion to the number of chil 
dren- between 4 and 21 years of age, with other regulations concerning educa 
tional matters. A board of commissioners, consisting of Arnold Fuller, Jacob 
Martin, and Harrison Linnville, was created to select the two townships of 
land granted by congress to a territorial university; and an act was passed 
authorizing the university commissioners to sell one fourth or more of the 
township, to be selected south of the Columbia, for the purpose of erecting a 
university building. 

The Wallamet University was established, by act or" the legislature 
Jan. 10, 1853, the trustees being David Leslie, William Roberts, George 
Abernethy, W. H. Wilson, Alanson Beers, Francis S. Hoyt, James H. 
Wilbur, Calvin S. Kingsley, John Flinn, E. M. Barnum, L. F. Grover, B. 
F. Harding, Samuel Burch, Francis Fletcher, Jeremiah Ralston, John D. 
Boon, Joseph Holman, Webley Hauxhurst, Jacob Conser. Alvin F. Waller, 
John Stewart, James R. Robb, Cyrus Olney, Asahel Bush, and Samuel 

Pilotage was established at the mouth of the Umpqua, and the office of 
wreck-master created for the several counties bordering on the sea-coast. S. 
S. Mann was appointed for Umpqua and Jackson, Thomas Goodwin for Clat- 
sop and Pacific, and Samuel B. Crockett for the coast north of Pacific county, 
to serve until these offices were filled by. election. 

The First Methodist Church of Portland was incorporated January 25th, 
and the city of Portland on the 28th. A divorce law was passed at this ses- 


lamette River; $30,000 for opening a military road 
from Steilacoom to Fort Walla Walla; $40,000 for a 
military road from Scottsburg to Rogue River Valley; 
$15,000 to build a light-house at the mouth of the 
Umpqua; $15,000 for buoys at the entrance of that 
river; and $40,000 tu erect a fire-proof custom-house 
at that place. He was also instructed to have St 
Helen made a port of delivery; to have the surveyor 
general s office removed to Salem ; to procure an in 
crease in the number of members of council from nine 
to fifteen, and in the house of representatives from 
eighteen to thirty ; to ask for a military reconnoissance 
of the country between the Willamette Valley and 
Fort Boise; to procure the establishment of a mail 
route from Olympia to Port Townsend, with post- 
offices at Steilacoom, Seattle, and Port Townsend, 
with other routes and offices at Whiclby Island and the 
mouth of the Snohomish River; to urge the survey 
of the boundary line between California and Oregon ; 
to procure money for the continuance of the geologi 
cal survey which had been carried on for one year 
previous in Oregon territory; 7 to call the attention of 
congress to the manner in which the Pacific Mail 
Steamship Company violated their contract to carry 
the mail from Panamd, to Astoria; 8 and to endeavor 

sion, the first enacted in the territory, divorces hitherto having been granted 
by the legislature, which failed to inquire closely into the cause for com 
plaint. The law made impotency, adultery, bigamy, compulsion or fraud, 
wilful desertion for two years, conviction of felony, habitual drunkenness, 
gross cruelty, and failure to support the wife, one or all justification for sev 
ering the marriage tie. A later divorce law required three years abandon 
ment, not otherwise differing essentially from that of 1852-3. A large num 
ber of road acts were passed, showing the development of the country. 

7 In 1851 congress ordered a general reconnoissance from the Rocky Moun 
tains to the Pacific, to be performed by the geologists J. Evans, D. D. Owens, 
B. F. Shumard, and Norwood. It was useful in pointing out the location of 
various minerals used in the operations of commerce and manufacture, though 
most of the important discoveries have been made by the unlearned but prac 
tical miner. U. S. H. Ex. Doc., 2, pt ii. 7, 32d cong. 1 sess.; U. 8. Sen. Com. 
Kept, 177, 1-3, 6, 3Gth cong. 1st sess.; Or. Spectator, Nov. 18, 1851; Olym 
pia Columbian, Jan. 22, 1852. 

8 No steamship except the Fremont, and she only once, had ventured to 
cross the Umpqua bar. From 1851 to 1858 the following vessels were lost 
on the southern coast of Oregon: At or near the mouth of the Umpqua, tlie 
Bostonian, Caleb Curtis, Roanoke, Achilles, Nassau, Almira, Fawn, and Loo- 
Choo; and at or near the entrance of Coos Bay the Cyclops, Jackson, and two 


to have the salary of the postmaster at that place 
raised to one thousand dollars. 

This was a formidable amount of work for a single 
delegate, but Lane was equal to the undertaking. And 
here I will briefly review the congressional labors of 
Thurston s successor, who had won a lasting place in 
the esteem and confidence of his constituency by using 
his influence in favor of so amending the organic law 
as to permit the people to elect their own governor 
and judges, and when the measure failed, by sustaining 
the action of the legislature in the location of the seat 
of government. 

Lane was always en rapport with the democracy 
of the territory; and while possessing less mind, less 
intellectual force and ability, and proceeding with less 
foresight than Thurston, he made a better impression 
in congress with his more superficial accomplishments, 
by his frankness, activity, and a certain gallantry and 
bonhomie natural to him. 9 His first work in con 
gress was in procuring the amendment to Thurston s 
bill to settle the Cay use war accounts, which author 
ized the payment of the amount already found due by 
the commissioners appointed by the legislature of 
1850-1, amounting to $73,000. 10 

Among the charges brought against Governor 
Gaines was that of re-auditing and changing the 
values of the certificates of the commissioners ap- 

others. In 1858 the Emily Packard was wrecked at Shoalwater Bay. When 
Gov. Curry in 1855-6 addressed a communication to the secretary of the U. 
S. treasury, reminding him that an appropriation had been made for light 
houses and fog-signals at the Umpqua and Columbia rivers, but that none of 
these aids to commerce had been received, Guthrie replied that there was no 
immediate need of them at the Umpqua or at Shoalwater Bay, as not more 
than one vessel in a month visited either place ! Perhaps there would have 
been more vessels had there been more light-houses. In Dec. 1856 the light 
house at Cape Disappointment was completed, and in 1857 those at Cape 
Flattery, New Dungeness, and Umpqua; but the latter was undermined by 
the sea, being set upon the sands. 

9 There is a nattering biography of Lane, published in Washington in 
1852, with the design of forwarding his political aspirations with the national 
democratic convention which met in Baltimore in June of that year. 

10 U. S. H. Jour., 1059, 1224, 32d cong. 1st sess. ; U. S. Laws, in Cong. Globe, 
1851-52, ptiii. ix.; U. S. H. Jour., 387, 33d cong. 1st sess.; Or. Statesman, 
July 10, 1852. 


pointed by the legislature to audit the Cayuse war 
claims, and of retaining the warrants forwarded to 
him for delivery, to be used for political purposes. 
Lane had a different way of making the war claims 
profitable to himself. Gaines was informed from 
Washington that the report of the territorial commis 
sioners would be the guide in the future adjustment 
of the Cayuse accounts. Lane procured the passage 
of an amendment to the former enactments on this 
subject, which made up the deficiency occasioned by 
the alteration of the certificates; and the different 
manner of making political capital out of the war claims 
commended the delegate to the affections of the peo 
ple. 11 The 33d congress concluded the business of 
the Cayuse war by appropriating $75,000 to pay its 
remaining expenses. 12 

Lane urged the establishment of mail routes through 
the territory, and the better performance of the mail 
service; but although congress had appropriated in 
1852 over $348,000 for the ocean mail service on the 
Pacific coast, 13 Oregon still justly complained that less 
than the right proportion was expended in carrying 
the mails north of San Francisco. The appropriations 
for the various branches of the public service in Ore 
gon for 1852, besides mail-carrying, amounted to 
$78,300, and Lane collected about $800 more from 
the government to pay for taking the census of 1850. 
He also procured the passage of a bill authorizing the 
president to designate places for ports of entry and 
delivery for the collection districts of Puget Sound 
and Umpqua, instead of those already established, and 
increasing the salary of the collector at Astoria to 
$3,000; but he failed to secure additional collection 
districts, as had been prayed for by the legislature. 

"Or. Statesman, May 14, 1853; Letter of Gaines, in Id., Feb. 26, 1863; 
Cong. Globe, 1853, app. 341; U. S. H. Com. Rept, 122, vol. ii. 4-5, 32d cong. 
1st sess. 

12 U. S. H. Ex. Doc. 45, 33d cong. 1st sess.; U. S. H. Com. JRept, 122, 
33d cong. 1st sess.; Cong. Globe, 1853-4, 2239, 33d cong. 1st sess. 

13 U. S. Laws, in Cong. Globe, 1851-2, pt iii. xxix. 


He also introduced a bill granting bounty land to the 
officers and soldiers of the Cayuse war, which failed as 
first presented, but succeeded at a subsequent ses 

sion. 14 

A measure in which Lane, with his genius for mil 
itary affairs, was earnestly engaged, was one for the 
protection of the Oregon settlers and immigrants from 
Indian depredations. Early in February 1852 he of 
fered a resolution in the house that the president 
should be requested to communicate to that body 
what steps if any had been taken to secure the 
safety of the immigration, and in case none had 
been taken, that he should cause a regiment of 
mounted riflemen to be placed on duty in Rogue 
River Valley, and on the road between The Dalles and 
Fort Hall. 15 In the debate which followed, Lane was 
reproved for directing the president how to dispose of 
the army, and told that the matter could go before 
the military committee; to which he replied that 
there was no time for the ordinary routine, that the 
immigration would soon be upon the road, and that 
the regiment of mounted riflemen belonged of right 
to Oregon, having been raised for that territory. But 
he was met with the statement that his predecessor 
Thurston had declared the regiment unnecessary, and 
had asked its withdrawal in the name of the Oregon 
people; 16 to which Lane replied that Thurston might 
have so believed, but that although in the inhabited 
portion of the territory the people might be able to 
defend themselves, there was no protection for those 

"Speech of Brooks of N. Y., in Cong. Globe, 1851-52, 627. Failing to 
have Oregon embraced in the benefits of this bill, Lane introduced his own, 
as has been said, and lost it. But at the 2d session of the 33d congress a 
bounty land bill was passed, which by his exertions was made to cover any 
wars in which volunteer troops had been regularly enrolled since 1790. Ba 
con s Merc. Life, MS., 16. 

l *Cong. Globe, 1851-2, 507. 

16 The secretary of war writes Gaines : All accounts concur in representing 
the Indians of that region as neither numerous nor warlike. The late del- 
legate to congress, Mr Thurston, confirmed this account, and represented that 
some ill feeling had sprung up between the troops and the people of the ter 
ritory, and that the latter desired their removal. Or. Spectator* Aug. 12, 


travelling upon the road several hundred miles from 
the settlements, and cited the occurrences of 1851 in 
the Shoshone country. His resolution was laid on 
the table, but in the mean time he obtained an assur 
ance from the secretary of war that troops should be 
placed along the overland route in time to protect 
the travel of 1852. 17 On the 8th of April Lane pre 
sented a petition in his own name, as a citizen of Or 
egon, praying for arms and ammunition to be placed 
by the government in the hands of the people for 
their defence against the savages; hoping, if no other 
measure was adopted, Thurston s plan, which had 
gained the favorable attention of congress, might be 
carried into effect. At the same time Senator Doug 
las, who was ever ready to assist the representatives 
of the Pacific coast, reported a bill for the protection 
of the overland route, 18 which was opposed because it 
would bring with it the discussion of the Pacific rail 
road question, for which congress was not prepared, 
and which it was at that time anxious to avoid. The 
bill was postponed, Lane s efforts for the protection 
of the territory being partly successful, as the chapter 
following will show. 

The reconnoissance from the Willamette Valley to 
Port Boise* which the legislature asked for was de 
signed not only to hold the Indians in check, but to 
explore that portion of Oregon lying to the east of 
the head waters of the Willamette with a view to 
opening a road directly from Boise to the head of the 
valley, complaint having been made that the legisla 
ture had not sufficiently interested itself hitherto in 
explorations for wagon routes. But no troops came 
overland this year, and it was left, as before, for the 

17 At the same time Senator Gwin of California had a bill before the sen 
ate to provide for the better protection of the people of California and Ore 
gon. Cony. Globe, vol. xxiv., pti. p. 471, 32d cong. 1st sess.; Or. Statesman, 
April 6, 1852. 

18 Cong. Globe, 1851-2, 1684. 


immigrations to open new routes, with the usual 
amount of peril and suffering. 19 

Appropriations for military roads, which were asked 
for by the legislature of 1852-3, had already been 
urged by Lane at the first session of the 32d congress, 
and were obtained at the second session, to the amount 
of forty thousand dollars; twenty thousand to con 
struct a military road from Steilacoom to Walla Wal 
la, 20 and twenty thousand for the improvement of the 
road from the Umpqua Valley to Rogue River. 21 

19 The legislature of 1851-2 authorized a company of seven men, William 
Macey, John Diamond, W. T. Walker, William Tandy, Alexander King, 
Joseph Meadows, and J. Clarke, to explore an immigrant road from the up 
per part of the Willamette Valley to Fort Boise", expending something over 
$3,000 in the enterprise. They proceeded by the middle branch of the river, 
by what is now known as the Diamond Peak pass, to the summit of the Cascade 
Mountains. They named the peak to the south of their route Macey, now 
called Scott peak; and that on the north Diamond peak. They followed 
down a small stream to its junction with Des Chutes River, naming the 
mountains which here cross the country from south-west to north-east the 
Walker Range, and down Des Chutes to Crooked River, from which they 
travelled east to the head of Malheur River, naming the butte which here 
seems to terminate the Blue Range, King peak. After passing this peak they 
were attacked by Indians, who wounded three of the party and captured 
their baggage, when they wandered for 8 days with only wild berries to eat, 
coming to the old immigrant road 60 miles from Boise", and returning to the 
Willamette by this route. Or. Jour. Council, 1852-3, app. 13-15. Another 
company was sent out in 1853 to improve the trail marked out by the first, 
which they did so hastily and imperfectly that about 1,500 people who took 
the new route were lost for five weeks among the mountains, marshes, and 
deserts of the region about the head waters of the Des Chutes, repeating the 
experiences in a great measure of the lost immigrants of 1845. No lives 
were lost, but many thousand dollars worth of property was sacrificed. Or. 
Statesman, Nov. 1, 1853, May 16, 1854; Albany Register, Aug. 21, 1869. I 
have before me a manuscript by Mrs Rowena Nichols, entitled Indian Af 
fairs. It relates chiefly to the Indian wars of southern and eastern Oregon, 
though treating also of other matters. Mrs Nichols was but 2| years old when 
with her mother and grandmother she passed through this experience. She, 
and one other child, a boy, lived on the milk of a cow which their elders 
managed to keep alive during about six weeks, being unable to eat the beef 
of starving oxen, like their elders. The immigration of this year amounted 
to 6,480 men, women, and children, much less than that of 1852. T. Mercer, 
in Washington Sketches, MS., 1; Hines Or., 209; Olympia Columbian, Nov. 
27, 1852; S. F. Alta, Aug. 16, Sept. 19, Oct. 7, 8, 24, and 25, and Nov. 21, 
1853; S. F. D. Herald, Aug. 31, 1852; Or. Statesman, Oct. 4 and Nov. 1, 
1853; Olympia Columbian, Nov. 26, 1853. 

20 Evans in his Puyallup address says: Congress having made an appro 
priation for a military road between Fort Walla Walla and Fort Steilacoom, 
Lieut Richard Arnold was assigned the duty of expending it. He avoided 
that mountain beyond Greenwater, but in the main adopted the work of the 
immigrants of 18a3. The money was exhausted in completing their road. 
He asked in vain that the labors of the citizens should be requited. New To, 
coma Ledger, July 9, 1880. This road was opened in 1854 for travel. 

21 This road was surveyed in 1853 by B. Alvord, assisted by Jesse Apple- 
HIST. OB., VOL. II. 20 


After his re-election, Lane secured another twenty- 
thousand-dollar appropriation to build the road asked 
for by the legislature, from Scottsburg to connect 
with the former road to Rogue River, 22 besides other 
appropriations sufficient to justify his boast that he 
had obtained more money for his territory than any 
other delegate had ever done. 23 

I have already spoken of the division of the ter 
ritory according to the petitions of the inhabitants of 
the territory north of the Columbia, and a memorial 
of the legislature of 18523. This measure also 
Lane advocated, upon the ground that the existing 
territory of Oregon was of too great an area, and en 
couraged the democratic party in Oregon to persist 
in memorializing congress to remove the obnoxious 
federal officers appointed by a whig president. 24 

The spring of 1853 brought the long-hoped-for 
change in the federal appointments of the territory. 
Two weeks after the inauguration of Pierce as presi 
dent, Lane wrote his friends in Oregon that all the 

gate. It was thought that a route might be found which would avoid the 
Urapqua cation; but after expending one quarter of the appropriation in sur 
veying, the remainder was applied to improving the canon and the Grave 
Creek hills. The contracts were let to Lindsay Applegate and Jesse Roberts. 
Cong. Globe, 1852-3, app. 332; Or. Statesman, Nov. 8, 1853. 

22 The survey of this road was begun in October 1854, by Lieut Withers, 
U. S. A., and completed, after another appropriation had been obtained, in 
1858, by Col. Joseph Hooker, then employed by Capt. Mendall of the topo 
graphical engineers. Hooker was born in Hadley, Mass., in 1819, graduated 
at West Point in 1837; was adjutant at that post in 1841, and regimental ad 
jutant in 1846. He rose to the rank of brevet colonel in the Mexican war, 
after which he resigned and went to farming in Sonoma County, Cal., in 
1853, losing all his savings. When the civil war broke out he was living in 
Rogue River Valley, and at once offered his services to the government, and 
made an honorable record. He died at Garden City, Long Island, in October 
1879. Or. Statesman, June 3, 1861, and Aug. 18, 1862; Bowies Far West, 453; 
8. F. Bulletin, Nov. 1, 1879. 

23 Law? s Autobiography, MS., 131. For his territory, and not for himself. 
Lane s ambition was for glory, and not for money. He did compel congress 
to amend the organic act which gave the delegate from Oregon only $2,500 
mileage, and to give him the same mileage enjoyed by the California senators 
and representatives, according to the law of 1818 on this subject. In the de 
bate it came out that Tlmrston had received $900 over the legal sum, by 
what authority the committee were unable to learn. Cong. Globe, 1851-2, 

24 The territorial officers chosen by the assembly were A. Bush, printer; 
L. F. Grover, auditor; C. N. Terry, librarian; J. D. Boon, treasurer. 


former incumbents of the federal offices were dis 
placed except Pratt, and he was made chief justice, 
with Matthew P. Deadv and Cyrus Olney 25 as asso 
ciates. Before the confirmation of the appointments, 
however, Pratt s name, owing to some rumors unfa 
vorable to him having reached Washington, was with 
drawn, 26 and that of George H. Williams, 27 a judge 
in Keokuk, Iowa, substituted. 

With regard to the other judges, both residents of 
Oregon, it was said that Lane procured the appoint 
ment of Deady in order to have him out of his way 
a few months later. But Deady was well worthy of 
the position, and had earned it fairly. The appoint 
ments were well received in Oregon, and the judges 
opened courts in their respective districts under fa 
vorable circumstances, Deady in the southern, Olney 
in the northern, and Williams in the central counties. 
But in October it began to be rumored that a new 
appointment had been made for a judgeship in Ore 
gon; to what place remained unknown for several 
weeks, when 0. B. McFadden, of Pennsylvania, ap 
peared in Oregon and claimed the 1st district, upon 
the ground that in making out Deady s commission a 
mistake in the name had been made, and that there- 

25 Olney was a native of Ohio, studied law and was admitted to practice 
in Cincinnati, removing after a few years to Iowa, where he was circuit 
judge, and whence he emigrated to Oregon in 1851. He resided at different 
times in Salem, Portland, and Astoria. He was twice a member of the legis 
lature, and helped to frame the state constitution. He was twice married, 
and had 7 children, none of whom survived him. He died at Astoria Dec. 
28, 1870. 

26 The charge preferred against Pratt in the senate was made by Stephen 
A. Douglas, that he had been corrupted by British gold. 

27 George H. Williams was born in Columbia County, N". Y., March 2, 
1823. He received an academic education, and began the practice of law at 
an early age in Iowa, where he was soon elected judge of the circuit court. 
His circuit included the once famous Half-breed Tract, and the settlers elected 
him in the hope that he would decide their titles to the land to be good; but 
he disappointed them, and was not reflected. In the presidential campaign 
of 1852, he canvassed Iowa for Pierce, and was chosen one of the electors to 
carry the vote of the state to Washington. While there he obtained the 
appointment of chief justice, and removed to Oregon the following year. 
He retained this position till 1859, when the state was admitted. In person 
tall, angular, and awkward, yet withal fine-looking, he possessed brain 
power and force, and was even sometimes eloquent as a speaker. Corr. S. F. 
Bulletin, in Portland Oregonian, Oct. 8, 1864. 


fore he was not duly commissioned. On this flimsy 
pretence, by whom suggested was not known, 28 Deady 
was unseated and McEadden 29 took his place. Being 
regarded as a usurper by the majority of the democ 
racy, McFadden was not popular. With his official 
acts there was no fault to be found; but by public 
meetings and otherwise Lane was given to under 
stand that Oregon wanted her own men for judges, 
and not imported stock. Accordingly, after holding 
one term in the southern district, before the spring 
came McFadden was transferred to Washington Ter 
ritory, and Deady reinstated. From this time for 
ward there was no more appointing of non-resident 
judges with every change of administration at Wash 
ington. The legislature of 1853-4 once more redis- 
tricted the territory, making Marion, Linn, Lane, 
Benton, and Polk constitute the 1st district; Clat- 
sop, Washington, Yamhill, and Clackamas the 2d; 
and the southern counties the 3d and peace reigned 
thenceforward among the judiciary. 

As if to crown this triumph of the Oregon democ 
racy, Lane, whose term as delegate expired with the 
32d congress, was returned to Oregon as governor, 
removing Gaines as Gaines had removed him. 30 
Lane s popularity at this time throughout the west 
ern and south-western states, whence came the mass 
of the emigration to Oregon, was unquestioned. He 
was denominated the Marius of the Mexican war, 31 
the Cincinnatus of Indiana, and even his proceedings 

28 Lane was accused, as I have said, of recommending Deady to prevent his 
running for delegate, which was fair enough ; but it was further alleged that 
he planned the error in the name, and the removal which followed, for which 
there does not appear honorable motive. 

2*0badiah B. McFadden was born in Washington county, Penn., Nov. 18, 
1817. He studied law, and was admitted to practice in 1842, and in 1843 was 
elected to the state legislature. In 1845 he was chosen clerk of the court of 
common pleas of his county, and in 1853 was appointed by President Pierce 
associate justice of the sup. ct for the territory of Oregon. Olympia Echo. 
July 1, 1875. 

30 In his Autobiography, MS., 58, Lane remarks: I took care to have 
Gaines removed as a kind of compliment to me ! 

31 Jenkins 1 History of the War with Mexico, 49& 


with regard to the Rogue River Indians were paraded 
as brilliant exploits to make political capital. There was 
an ingenuous vanity about his public and private acts, 
and a happy self-confidence, mingled with a flattering 
deference to some and an air of dignity toward others, 
which made him the hero of certain circles in Washing 
ton, as well as the pride of his constituency. It was 
with acclaim therefore that he was welcomed back to 
Oregon as governor, bringing with him his wife, chil 
dren 5 , and relatives, to the number of twenty-nine, that 
it might not be said of him that he was a non-resident 
of the territory. He had taken pains besides to have 
all the United States officers in Oregon, from the sec 
retary, George L. Curry, to the surveyors of the ports, 
appointed from the residents of the territory. 32 

Lane arrived in Oregon on the 16th of May, and 
on the 19th he had resigned the office of governor to 
become a candidate for the seat in congress he had 
just vacated. The programme had been arranged be 
forehand, and his name placed at the head of the 
democratic ticket a month before his return. The 
opposing candidate was Indian Agent A. A. Skinner, 
Lane s superior in many respects, and a man every way 
fitted for the position. 33 The organization of political 

82 B. F. Harding was made U. S. attorney; J. W. Nesmith, U. S. mar 
shal; Joel Palmer, supt Indian affairs; John Adair, collector at Astoria; A. 
C. Gibbs, collector at Umpqua; Win M King, port surveyor, Portland; Rob 
ert W. Dunbar, port surveyor, Milwaukie; P. G. Stewart, port surveyor, 
Pacific City; and A. L. Lovejoy, postal agent. A. C. Gibbs superseded 
Colin Wilson, the first collector at Umpqua. The surveyors of ports re 
moved were Thomas J. Dryer, Portland; G. P. Newell, Pacific City; N. Du 
Bois, Milwaukie. Or. Statesman, April 30, 1853. 

33 Alonzo A. Skinner was born in Portage co., Ohio, in 1814. He received 
a good education, and was admitted to the bar in 1840, and in 1842 settled 
in Putnam co., where he was elected prosecuting attorney, his commission 
beimr signed by Thomas Corwin. In 1845 he emigrated to Oregon, being ap 
pointed by Governor Abernethy one of the circuit judges under the provi 
sional government, which office he retained till the organization of the ter 
ritory. In 1851 he was appointed commissioner to treat with the Indians, 
together with Governor Gaines and Beverly Allen._ In the latter part of that 

Oregon in 1853, Lane being the successful candidate. After the expiration 
of his term of office as Indian agent, he returned to Eugene City, which waa 
founded by Eugene F. Skinner, where he married Eliza Lincoln, one of the 


parties, on national as well as local issues, began with 
the contest between Lane and Skinner for the place 
as delegate, by the advice of Lane, and with all the 
ardor of the Salem clique of partisan democrats, whose 
mouth-piece was the Oregon Statesman. The canvass 
was a warm one, with all the chances in favor of Lane, 
who could easily gain the favor of even the whigs of 
southern Oregon by fighting Indians, whereas Skinner 
was not a fighting man. The whole vote cast at the 
election of 1853 was 7,486, and Lane s majority was 
1,575, large enough to be satisfactory, yet showing 
that there was a power to be feared in the people s 
party, as the opponents of democratic rule now styled 
their organization. 

As soon as the result became known, Lane repaired 
to his land claim near Roseburg, and began building 
a residence for his family. 34 But before he had made 
much progress, he was called to take part in subduing 
an outbreak among the natives of Rogue River Val 
ley and vicinity, which will be the subject of the next 
chapter. Having distinguished himself afresh as gen 
eral of the Oregon volunteers, he returned to Wash 
ington in October to resume his congressional labors. 

worthy and accomplished women sent out to Oregon as teachers by Governor 
Slade. On the death of Riley E. Stratton, in 1866, he was appointed by Gov 
ernor Woods to fill the vacancy on the bench of the sup. ct. On retiring 
from this position he removed to Coos co., and was appointed collector of 
customs for the port of Coos Bay, about 1870. He died in April 1877, at 
Santa Cruz, Cal., whither he had gone for health. Judge Skinner was an old- 
style gentleman, generous, affable, courteous, with a dignity which put vul 
gar familiarity at a distance. If he did not inscribe his name highest on the 
roll of fame, he left to his family and country that which is of greater value, 
the memory of an upright and noble life. See Portland Oregonian, Oct. 1 877. 
34 I had determined to locate in the Umpqua Valley, on account of the 
scenery, the grass, and the water. It just suited my taste. Instead of in 
vesting in Portland and making my fortune, I wanted to please my fancy. 
Lane s Autobiography, MS., 63. Gaines also took a claim about ten miles 
from Salem. Or. Statesman, June 28, 1853. 




NOTWITHSTANDING the treaty entered into, as I have 
related, by certain chiefs of Rogue River in the sum 
mer of 1852, hostilities had not altogether ceased, 
although conducted less openly than before. With 
such a rough element in their country as these min 
ers and settlers, many of them bloody-minded and un 
principled men, and most of them holding the opinion 
that it was right and altogether proper that the 
natives should be killed, it was impossible to have 
peace. The white men, many of them, did not want 
peace. The quicker the country was rid of the red 
skin vermin the better, they said. And in carrying 
out their determination, they often outdid the savage 
in savagery. 

There was a sub-chief, called Taylor by white men, 
who ranged the country about Grave Creek, a north 
ern tributary of Rogue River, who was specially 
hated, having killed a party of seven during a winter 
storm and reported them drowned. He committed 
other depredations upon small parties passing over 



the road. 1 It was believed, also, that white women 
were prisoners among the Indians near Table Kock, 
a rumor arising probably from the vague reports of 
the captivity of two white girls near Klamath Lake. 

Excited by what they knew and what they imag 
ined, about the 1st of June, 1853, a party from 
Jacksonville and vicinity took Taylor with three 
others and hanged them. Then they went to Table 
Rock to rescue the alleged captive white women, and 
finding none, they fired into a village of natives, kill 
ing six, then went their way to get drunk and boast 
of their brave deeds. 2 

There was present neither Indian agent nor mili 
tary officer to prevent the outrages on either side. 
The new superintendent, Palmer, was hardly installed 
in office, and had at his command but one agent, 3 
whom he despatched with the company raised to open 
the middle route over the Cascade Mountains. As 
to troops, the 4th infantry had been sent to the north 
west coast in the preceding September, but were so 
distributed that no companies were within reach of 
Rogue River. 4 As might have been expected, a few 
weeks after the exploits of the Jacksonville com 
pany, the settlements were suddenly attacked, and 
a bloody carnival followed. 5 Volunteer companies 
quickly gathered up the isolated families and patrolled 

l Drew, in Or. Jour. Council, 1857-8, app. 26; Or. Statesman, June 28, 
1853; Jacksonville Sentinel, May 25, 1867; DoweWs Nar., MS., 5-6. 

a Let our motto be extermination, cries the editor of the Yreka Herald, 
and death to all opposers. See also S. F. Alta, June 14, 1853; Jacksonville 
Sentinel, May 25, 1867. The leaders of the company were Bates and Two- 

3 This was J. M. Garrison. Other appointments arrived soon after, 
designating Samuel H. Culver and R. R. Thompson. J. L. Parrish waa 
retained as sub-agent. Rept of Xupt Palmer, in &. S. H. Ex. Doc., L, vol. 
i. pt. i. 448, 33d cong. 1st sess. 

4 Five companies were stationed at Columbia barracks, Fort Vancouver, 
one at Fort Steilacoom, one at the mouth of Umpqua River, two at Port Or- 
ford, and one at Humboldt Bay. Cat. Mil. Aff. Scraps, 13-14; Or. States 
man, Sept. 4, 1852. 

5 August 4th, Richard Edwards was killed. August 5th, next night, 
Thomas J. Mills and Rhodes Noland were killed, and one Davis and Burril 
F. Griffin were wounded. Ten houses were burned between Jacksonville 
and W. G. T Vault s place, known as the Dardanelles, a distance of ten 


the country, occasionally being fired at by the con 
cealed foe. 6 A petition was addressed to Captain Al- 
den, in command of Fort Jones in Scott Valley, 
asking for arms and ammunition. Alden immediately 
came forward with twelve men. Isaac Hill, with a 
small company, kept guard at Ashland. 7 

On the 7th of June, Hill attacked some Indians 
five miles from Ashland, and killed six of them. In 
return, the Indians on the 17th surprised an immi 
grant camp and killed and wounded several. 8 The 
houses everywhere were now fortified; business was 
suspended, and every available man started out to 
hunt Indians. 9 

On the 15th S. Ettinger was sent to Salem with 
a request to Governor Curry for a requisition on 
Colonel Bonneville, in command at Vancouver, for a 
howitzer, rifles, and ammunition, which was granted. 
With the howitzer went Lieutenant Kautz and six 
artillerymen; and as escort forty volunteers, officered 
by J. W. Nesmith captain, L. F. Grover 1st lieu 
tenant, W. K. Beale 2d lieutenant, J. D. McCurdy 
surgeon, J. M. Crooks orderly sergeant. 10 Over two 
hundred volunteers were enrolled in two companies, 
and the chief command was given to Alden. From 
Yreka there were also eighty volunteers, under Cap- 

6 Thus were killed John R. Hardin and Dr Rose, both prominent citizens 
of Jackson county. Or. Statesman, Aug. 23, 1853. 

7 The men were quartered at the houses of Frederick Alberding and Pat 
rick Dunn. Their names, so far as I know, besides Alberding and Dunn, 
were Thomas Smith, William Taylor, and Andrew B. Carter. The names 
of settlers who were gathered in at this place were Frederick Heber and 
wife; Robert Wright and wife; Samuel Grubb, wife and five children; Will 
iam Taylor, R. B. Hagardine, John Gibbs, M. B. Morris, R. Tungate, Morris 
Howell. On the 13th of Aug. they were joined by an immigrant party just 
arrived, consisting of A. G. Fordyce, wife and three children, J. Kennedy, 
Hugh Smith, Brice Whitmore, Ira Arrowsmith, William Hodgkins, wife and 
three children, all of Iowa, and George Barnett of Illinois. Scraps of Southern 
Or. /list., in AMand Tidimjs, Sept. 27, 1878. 

8 Hugh Smith and John Gibbs were killed; William Hodgkins, Brice Whit 
man, A. G. Fordyce, and M. B. Morris wounded. 

9 Duncan s Southern Or., MS., 8, says: The enraged populace began to 
slaughter right and left. Martin Aiigell, from his own door, shot an Indian. 
Or. Statesman, Aug. 23, 1853. 

10 G rover s Pub. Life in Or., MS., 29; Or. Statesman, Aug. 23, 30, 1853. 


tain Goodall. By the 9th of August, both Nesmith 
and the Indian superintendent were at Yoncalla, 

Fighters were plenty, but they were without sub 
sistence. Alden appointed a board of military com 
missioners to constitute a general department of sup 
ply. 11 Learning that the Indians were in force near 
Table Rock, Alden planned an attack for the night of 
the llth; but in the mean time information came that 
the Indians were in the valley killing and burning right 
and left. Without waiting for officers or orders, away 
rushed the volunteers to the defence of their homes, 
and for several days the white men scoured the 
country in small bands in pursuit of the foe. Sam, 
the war chief of Rogue River, now approached the 
volunteer camp and offered battle. Alden, having 
once more collected his forces, made a movement on 
the 15th to dislodge the enemy, supposed to be en 
camped in a bushy canon five miles north of Table 
Rock, but whom he found to have changed their po 
sition to some unknown place of concealment. Fol 
lowing their trail was exceedingly difficult, as the 
savages had fired the woods behind them, which ob 
literated it, filled the atmosphere with smoke and 
heat, and made progress dangerous. It was not until 
the morning of the 17th that Lieutenant Ely of the 
Yreka company discovered the Indians on Evans 
Creek, ten miles north of their last encampment. 
Having but twenty-five men, and the main force hav 
ing returned to Camp Stuart for supplies, Ely fell 
back to an open piece of ground, crossed by creek 
channels lined with bunches of willows, where, after 
sending a messenger to headquarters for reenforce- 
ments, he halted. But before the other companies 
could come up, he was discovered by Sam, who has 
tened to attack him. 

Advancing along the gullies and behind the willows, 
the Indians opened fire, killing two men at the first 

11 George Dart, Edward Shell, L. A. Loomis, and Richard Dugan consti 
tuted the commission. 


discharge. The company retreated for shelter, as 
rapidly as possible, to a pine ridge a quarter of a mile 
away, but the savages soon flanked and surrounded 
them. The fight continued for three and a half 
hours, Ely having four more men killed and four 
wounded. 12 Goodall with the remainder of his com 
pany then came up, and the Indians retreated. 

On the 21st, and before Alden was ready to move, 
Lane arrived with a small force from Roseburg. 13 The 
command was tendered to Lane, who accepted it. 14 

A battalion under Ross was now directed to pro 
ceed up Evans Creek to a designated rendezvous, while 
two companies, captains Goodall and Rhodes, under 
Alden with Lane at their head, marched by the way 
of Table Rock. The first day brought Alden s com 
mand fifteen miles beyond Table Rock without hav 
ing discovered the enemy; the second day they passed 
over a broken country enveloped in clouds of smoke ; 
the third day they made camp at the eastern base of 
a rocky ridge between Evans Creek and a small stream 
farther up Rogue River. On the morning of the fourth 
day scouts reported the Indian trail, and a road to it 
was made by cutting a passage for the horses through 
a thicket. 

Between nine and ten o clock, Lane, riding in ad 
vance along the trail which here was quite broad, 
heard a gun fired and distinguished voices. The 
troops were halted on the summit of the ridge, and 

12 J. Shane, F. Keath, Frank Perry, A. Douglas, A. C. Colburn, and L. 
Locktirg were killed, and Lieut Ely, John Albin, James Carrol, and Z. Shutz 
wounded. Or. Statesman, Sept. 6, 1853; S. F. Alia, Aug. 28, 1853. 

13 Accompanying Lane were Pleasant Armstrong of Yamhill county, James 
Cluggage, who had been to the Umpqua Valley to enlist if possible the 
Klickitat Indians against the Rogue Rivers, but without success, and eleven 
others. See Lane s Autobiography, MS., 63. 

14 Curry had commissioned Lane brigadier-general, and Nesmith, who had 
not yet arrived, was bearer of the commission, but this was unknown to either 
Alden or Lane at the time. Besides, Lane was a more experienced field-officer 
than Alden; but Capt. Cram, of the topographical engineers, subsequently 
blamed Alden, as well as the volunteers, because the command was given to 
Lane, while Alden, an army officer, was there to take it. U. S. H. Ex. Doc., 
114, p. 41, 35th cong. 2d sess.; H. Ex. Doc., i., pt ii. 42, 33d cong. 1st sess. 


ordered to dismount in silence and tie their horses. 
When all were ready, Alden with Goodall s company 
was directed to proceed on foot along the trail and 
attack the Indians in front, while Rhodes with his 
men took a ridge to the left to turn the enemy s flank, 
Lane waiting for the rear guard to come up, whom he 
intended to lead into action. 15 

The first intimation the Indians had that they were 
discovered was when Aldeii s command fired into 
their camp. Although completely surprised, they 
made a vigorous resistance, their camp being forti 
fied with logs, and well supplied with ammunition. 
To get at them it was necessary to charge through 
dense thickets, an operation both difficult and dan 
gerous from the opportunities offered of an am 
bush. Before Lane brought up the rear, Alden 
had been severely wounded, the general finding him 
lying in the arms of a sergeant. Lane then led a 
charge in person, and when within thirty yards of the 
enemy, was struck by a rifle-ball in his right arm near 
the shoulder. 

In the afternoon, the Indians called out for a 
parley, and desired peace; whereupon Lane ordered 
a suspension of firing, and sent Robert B. Metcalfe 
and James Bruce into their lines to learn what they 
had to say. Being told that their former friend, 
Lane, was in command, they desired an interview, 
which was granted. 

On going into their camp, Lane found many 
wounded; and they were burning their dead, as if 
fearful they would fall into the hands of the enemy. 
He was met by chief Jo, his namesake, and his 
brothers Sam and Jim, who told him their hearts 
were sick of war, and that they would meet him seven 
days thereafter at Table Rock, when they would give 

15 In this expedition, W. G. T Vault acted as aid to Gen. Lane, C. Lewis, 
a volunteer captain, as asst adjutant-gen., but falling ill on the 29th, Capt. 
L. F. Mosher, who afterward married one of Lane s daughters, took his place. 
Mosher had belonged to the 4th Ohio volunteers. Lane s Rept in U. S. H. 
Ex. Doc. i., pt ii. 40, 33d cong. 1st sess. 


up their arms, 16 make a treaty of peace, and place 
themselves under the protection of the Indian super 
intendent, who should be sent for to be present at the 
council. To this Lane agreed, taking a son of Jo as 
hostage, and returning to the volunteer encampment 
at the place of dismounting in the morning, where the 
wounded were being cared for and the dead being 
buried. 17 

The Ross battalion arrived too late for the fight, 
and having had a toilsome march were disappointed, 
and would have renewed the battle, but were restrained 
by Lane. Although for two days the camps were 
within four hundred yards of each other, the truce 
remained unbroken. During this interval the Indian 
women brought water for the wounded white men; 
and when the white men moved to camp, the red men 
furnished bearers for their litters. 18 I find no men 
tion made of any such humane or Christian conduct 
on the part of the superior race. 

On the 29th, both the white and red battalions 
moved slowly toward the valley, each wearing the 
appearance of confidence, though a strict watch was 
covertly kept on both sides. 19 The Indians established 
themselves for the time on a high piece of ground 
directly opposite the perpendicular cliffs of Table 
Rock, while Lane made his camp in the valley, in 
plain view from the Indian position, and about one 
mile distant, on the spot where Fort Lane was after 
ward located. 

16 They had 111 rifles and 86 pistols. S. F. Alta, Sept. 4, 1853. 

17 See Or. Statesman, Nov. 15, 1853. Among the slain was Pleasant Arm 
strong, brother of the author of Oregon, a descriptive work from which I have 
sometimes quoted. The latter says that as soon as the troops were away the 
remains of his brother were exhumed, and being cut to pieces were left to the 
wolves. Armstrong s Or., 52-3. John Scarborough and Isaac Bradley were 
also killed. The wounded were 5 in number, one of whom, Charles C. Abbe, 
afterward died of his wounds. The Indian loss was 8 killed and 20 wounded. 

18 Lane s Autobiography, MS., 96-7. 

Siskiyou County Affairs, MS., 2, 4-5; Minto s Early Days, MS., 46; Gro- 
ver s Pub. Life, MS., 28-51; Brown s Saltm Dir., 1871, 33-5; Yreka Moun 
tain Herald, Sept. 24, 1853; Or. Statesman, Oct. 11, 1853; U.S. H.Ex. Doc., 
114, p. 41-2, 35th cong. 2d sess.; Jarksonville Sentinel, July 1, 1867; Meteorol. 
If eg., 1853-4, 594; Nesmith s Reminiscences, in Trans. Or. Pioneer Asso., 1879, 
p. 44; Or. Statesman, Sept. 27, 1853. 


The armistice continued inviolate so far as con 
cerned the volunteer army under Lane, and the Ind 
ians under Sam, Jo, and Jim. But hostilities were 
not suspended between independent companies rang 
ing the country and the Grave Creek and Apple- 
gate Creek Indians, and a band of Shastas under 
Tipso, whose haunts were in the Siskiyou Moun 
tains. 20 

A council, preliminary to a treaty, was held the 4th 
of September, when more hostages were given, and 
the next day Lane, with Smith, Palmer, Grover, and 
others, visited the Rogue River camp. The 8th was 
set for the treaty-making. On that day the white 
rnen presented themselves at the Indian encampment 
in good force and well armed. There had arrived, be 
sides, the company from the Willamette, with Kautz 
and his howitzer, 21 all of which had its effect to obtain 
their consent to terms which, although hard, the con 
dition of the white settlers made imperative, 22 placing 

20 R. Williams killed 12 Indians and lost one man, Thomas Philips. 
Owens, on Grave Creek, under pledge of peace, got the Indians into his camp 
and shot them all. U. S. H. Ex. Doc., 99, p. 4, 33d cong. 1st sess. Again 
Williams surprised a party of Indians on Applegate Creek, and after induc 
ing them to lay down their arms shot 18 of them, etc. 

21 The Indians had news of the approach of the howitzer several days be 
fore it reached Rogue River. They said it was a hyas rifle, which took a 
hatful of powder for a load, and would shoot down a tree. It was an ob 
ject of great terror to the Indians, and they begged not to have it tired. 
Or. Statesman, Sept. 27, 1853. 

22 The treaty bound the Indians to reside permanently in a place to be set 
aside for them ; to give up their fire-arms to the agent put over them, except 
a few for hunting purposes, 17 guns in all ; to pay out of the sum received for 
their lands indemnity for property destroyed by them ; to forfeit all their 
annuities should they go to war again against the settlers; to notify the 
agent of other tribes entering the valley with warlike intent, and assist in 
expelling them ; to apply to the agent for redress whenever they suffered any 
grievances at the hands of the white people; to give up, in short, their en 
tire independence and become the wards of a government of which they knew 

The treaty of sale of their lands, concluded on the 10th, conveyed 
all the country claimed by them, which was bounded by a line beginning at 
a point near the mouth of Applegate Creek, running southerly to the summit 
of the Siskiyou Mountains, and along the summits of the Siskiyou and Cas 
cade mountains to the head waters of Rogue River, and down that stream to 
Jump Off Joe Creek, thence down said creek to a point due north of, and 
thence to, the place of beginning a temporary reservation being made of 
about 100 square miles on the north side of Rogue River, between Table 
Rojk and Evans Creek, embracing but ten or twelve square miles of arable 


the conquered wholly in the power of the conquer 
ors, and in return for which they were to receive 
quasi benefits which they did not want, could not 
understand, and were better off without. A treaty 
was also made with the Cow Creek band of Umpquas, 
usually a quiet people, but affected by contact with 
the Grave Creek band of the Rogue River nation/ 


land, the remainder being rough and mountainous, abounding in game, while 
the vicinity of Table Rock furnished their favorite edible roots. 

The United States agreed to pay for the whole Rogue River Valley thus 
sold the sum of $60,000, after deducting $15,000 for indemnity for losses of 
property by settlers; $5,000 of the remaining $45,000 to be expended in ag 
ricultural implements, blankets, clothing, and other goods deemed by the sup. 
most conducive to the welfare of the ludians, on or before the 1st day of 
September 1854, and for the payment of such permanent improvements as had 
been made on the land reserved by white claimants, the value of which 
should be ascertained by three persons appointed by the sup. to appraise them. 
The remaining $40,000 was to be paid in 16 equal annual instalments of 
$2,500 each, commencing on or about the 1st of September, 1854, in clothing, 
blankets, farming utensils, stock, and such other articles as would best meet 
the needs of the Indians. It was further agreed to erect at the expense of 
the government a dwelling-house for each of three principal chiefs, the cost of 
which should not exceed $500 each, which buildings should be put up as 
soon as practicable after the ratification of the treaty. When the Indians 
should be removed to another permanent reserve, buildings of equal value 
should be erected for the chiefs, and $15,000 additional should be paid to the 
tribe in five annual instalments, commencing at the expiration of the previ 
ous instalments. 

Other articles were added to the treaty, by which the Indians were bound 
to protect the agents or other persons sent by the U. S. to reside among 
them, and to refrain from molesting any white person passing through their 
reserves. It was agreed that no private revenges or retaliations should be 
indulged in on either side; that the chiefs should, on complaint being made 
to the Indian agent, deliver up the offender to be tried and punished, con 
formably to the laws of the U. S.; and also that on complaint of the Indians 
for any violation of law by white men against them, the latter should suffer 
the penalty of the law. 

The sacredness of property was equally secured on either side, the Ind 
ians promising to assist in recovering horses that had been or might be stolen 
by their people, and the United States promising indemnification for prop 
erty taken from them by the white men. And to prevent mischief being 
made by evil-disposed persons, the Indians were required to deliver up on 
the requisition of the U. S. authorities or the agents or sup. any white per 
son residing among them. The names appended to the treaty were Joel 
Palmer, superintendent of Indian affairs; Samuel H. Culver, Indian agent; 
Apserkahar (Jo), Toquahear (Sam), Anachaharah (Jim), John, and Lympe. 
The witnesses were Joseph Lane, Augustus V. Kautz, J. W\ Nesmith, R. B. 
Metcalf, John (interpreter), J. D. Mason, and T. T. Tierney. Or. States 
man, Sept. 27, 1853; Nesmith s Reminiscences, in Trans. Or. Pioneer ASM., 
1879, 46; Portland West Shore, May, 1879, 154-5; 8. F. Alta, Sept. 24, 1853; 
Palmer s Wagon Trains, MS., 50; 2nd. Aff. Kept, 1856, 265-7; and 1865, 

23 The land purchased from the Cow Creek band was in extent about 800 
square miles, nearly one half of which was excellent farming land, and the 
remainder mountainous, with a good soil and fine timber. The price agreed 


On the whole, the people of Rogue River behaved 
very well after the treaty. The settlers and miners 
in the Illinois Valley about the middle of October be 
ing troubled by incursions of the coast tribes, who had 
fled into the interior to escape the penalty of their 
depredations on the beach miners about Crescent City, 
Lieutenant R. C. W. Radford was sent from Fort 
Lane with a small detachment to chastise them. 
Finding them more numerous than was expected, 
Radford was compelled to send for reinforcements, 
which arriving under Lieutenant Caster on the 22d, 
a three days chase over a mountainous country brought 
them up with the marauders, when the troops had a 
skirmish with them, killing ten or more, and captur 
ing a considerable amount of property which had been 
stolen, but losing two men killed and four w^ounded. 


After this the miners hereabout took care of them 
selves, and made a treaty with that part of the Rogue 
River tribe, which was observed until January 1854, 
when a party of miners from Sailor Diggings, in their 
pursuit of an unknown band of robbers attacked the 
treaty Indians, some being killed on both sides; but 
the Indian agent being sent for, an explanation en 
sued, and peace was temporarily restored. 

The Indian disturbances of 1853 in this part of Or 
egon, according to the report of the secretary of war, 24 
cost the lives of more than a hundred white persons 
and several hundred Indians. The expense was esti 
mated at $7,000 a day, or a total of $258,000, though 
the war lasted for little more than a month, and there 
had been in the field only from 200 to 500 men. 

In addition to the actual direct expense of the war 

upon was $12,000, two small houses, costing about $200, fencing and plowing 
a field of five acres, and furnishing the seed to sow it; the purchase money 
to be paid in annual instalments of goods. This sum was insignificant com 
pared to the value of the land, but bargains of this kind were graded by the 
number of persons in the band, the Cow Creeks being but few. Besides, 
Indian agen.s who intend to have their treaties ratified must get the best 
bargains that can be extorted from ignorance and need. 
" U. S. H. Ex. Doc., i., pt ii. 43, 33d cong. 1st sese. 


was the loss by settlers, computed by a commission 
consisting of L. F. Grover, A. C. Gibbs, and G. H. 
Ambrose 25 to be little less than $46,000. Of this 
amount $17,800, including payment for the improve 
ments on the reserved lands, was deducted from the 
sum paid to the Indians for their lands, which left 
only $29,000 to be paid by congress, which claims, 
together with those of the volunteers, were finally 
settled on that basis. 26 

25 Portland Oregonian, Dec. 30, 1854; U. 8. H. Ex. Doc., 65, 43d cong. 

2d sess. 

The names of the claimants on account of property destroyed, on which 
the Indian department paid a pro rata of 34.77 per cent out of the $15,000 
retained from the treaty appropriation for that purpose, were as follows, 
showing who were doing business, had settled, or were mining in the Rogue 
River Valley at this period: Daniel and Ephraim Raymond, Clinton Barney, 
David Evans, Martin Angell, Michael Brennan, Albert B. Jennison, William 
J. Newton, Wm Thompson, Henry Rowland, John W. Patrick, John R. 
Hardin, Pleasant W. Stone, Jeremiah Yarnel, Wm S. King, Cram, Rogers & 
Co., Edith M. Neckel, John Benjamin, David N. Birdseye, Lewis Rotherend, 
Mary Ann Hodgkins, George H. C. Taylor, John Markley, Sigmond Eulinger, 
James C. Tolman, Henry Ham, William M. Elliott, Silas and Edward Day, 
James Triplett, Nathan B. Lane, John Agy, James Bruce, James B. Fryer, 
Win G. F. Vank, Hall & Burpee, John Penneger, John E. Ross, John S. 
Miller, D. Irwin, Burrell B. Griffin, Traveena McComb, Wm N. Ballard, 
Freeman Smith, Nicholas Kohenstein, Daniel F. Fisher, Thomas D. Jewett, 
Sylvester Pease, David Hay hart, McGreer, Drury & Runnels, James Mooney, 
John Gheen, Theodosia Cameron, James Abrahams, Francis Nasarett, Gal 
ley & Oliver, T. B. Sanderson, Frederick Rosenstock, Dunn & Alluding, Asa 
G Fordyce, Obadiah D. Harris, James L. London, Samuel Grubb, Wm 
Kahler, Samuel Williams, Hiram Niday, John Anderson, Elias Huntington, 
Shertack Abrahams, Thomas Frazell, Weller & Rose, Robert B. Metcalf, 
Charles Williams, John Swinden, James R. Davis, Isaac Woolen, Wm M. 
Hughs. Of the settlers on the reservation lands who brought claims were 
these: David Evans, Matthew G. Kennedy, John G. Cook, William Hutch- 
inson, Charles Grey, Robert B. Metcalf, Jacob Gall, George H. C. Taylor, 
John M. Silcott, James Lesly. Report of Supt Palmer, in U. 8. H. Ex. Doc., 
52, p. 3-5, 38th con^. 2d sess. 
HIST. OB., VOL. II. 21 




LATE in October 1853 intelligence was received in 
Oregon of the appointment of John W. Davis of In 
diana as governor of the territory. 1 He arrived very 
opportunely at Salem, on the 2d of December, just as 
the legislative assembly was about to convene. He 
brought with him the forty thousand dollars appro 
priated by congress for the erection of a capitol and 
penitentiary, which the legislature had been anxiously 
awaiting to apply to these purposes. Whether or 
not he was aware of the jealousy with which the law- 
making body of Oregon had excluded Governor Gaines 
from participating in legislative affairs, he prudently 

1 Davis was a native of Pennsylvania, where he studied medicine. He sub 
sequently settled in Indiana, served in the legislature of that state, being 
speaker of the lower house, and was three times elected to congress, serving 
from 1835 to 1837, from 1839 to 1841, and from 1843 to 1847. He was once 
speaker of the house of representatives, and twice president of the national 
democratic convention. During Polk s administration he was commissioner 
to China. He died in 1859. Or. Statesman, Oct. 25, 1853; Id., Oct. 11, 1859; 
Or. Argus, Oct. 15, 1859. 


LEGISLATURE 1853-4. 323 

refrained from overstepping the limits assigned him 
by the organic law. When informed by a joint reso 
lution of thf> assembly that they had completed their 
organization, 2 he simply replied that it would afford 
him pleasure to communicate from time to time from 
the archives any information they might require. 
This was a satisfactory beginning, and indicated a pol 
icy from which the fourth gubernatorial appointee 
found no occasion to depart during his administra 

The money being on hand, the next thing was to 
spend it as quickly as possible, 3 which the commis 
sioners had already begun to do, but which the legis 
lature was compelled to check* by appointing a new 
penitentiary board, and altering the plans for the cap- 
itol building. A bill introduced at this session to re- 

2 The members of the council elected for 1853-4 were L. P. Powers, of 
Clatsop; Ralph Wilcox, of Washington; J. K. Kelly, of Clackamas; Benj. 
Simpson, of Marion; John Richardson, of Yamhill; J. M. Fulkerson, of Polk. 
Those holding over were L. W. Phelps, A. L. Humphry, and Levi Scott. 
The house of representatives consisted of J. W. Moffit, Z. C. Bishop, Robert 
Thompson, F. C. Cason, L. F. Carter, B. B. Jackson, L. F. Grover, J. C. 
Peebles, E. F. Colby, Orlando Humason, Andrew Shuck, A. B. Westerfield, 
R. P. Boise, W. S. Gilliam, I. N. Smith, Luther Elkins, J. A. Bennett, Benj. 
A. Chapman, H. G-. Hadley, Wm J. Martin, George H. Ambrose, John F. 
Miller, A. A. Durham, L. 8. Thompson, S. Goff, Chauncey Nye. There was 
but one whig in the council, and four in the house. Or. Statesman, June 28, 
1853. Ralph Wilcox was elected president of the council; Samuel B. Gar- 
rett, of Benton, chief clerk; and A. B. P. Wood, of Polk, assistant clerk; 
John K. Delashmutt, sergeant-at-arms. The house was organized by electing 
Z. C. Bishop, speaker; John McCracken, chief clerk; C. P. Crandell, enroll 
ing clerk; G. D. R. Boyd, assistant clerk; G. D. Russell, sergeant-at-arms, 
and Joseph Hunsaker, doorkeeper. Or. Jour. Council. 1853 4, p. 4, 5. 

3 Half of the $20,000 appropriated for a state house, according to the com 
missioners report, was already expended on the foundations, the architect s 
plan being to make an elegant building of stone, costing, at his estimate, 
$75,000. The land on which the foundation was laid was block 84 in the 
town of Salem, and was donated by W. H. Willson and wife, from the land 
which they succeeded in alienating from the methodist university lands, 
this being one way of enhancing the value of the remainder. The legislature 
ordered the superstructure to be made of wood. 

4 The penitentiary commissioners had selected two blocks of land in Port 
land, and had made some slight progress, expending $5,000 of the $20,000 
appropriated. William M. King, president of the board, charged $10 per 
day as commissioner, and $5 more as acting commissioner. He speculated 
in lots, paying Lownsdale $150 each for four lots, on condition that two lota 
should bo given to him, for which he received $300. In this way, says the 
Orryonian of Feb. 4, 1854, King has pocketed $925, Lownsdale $600, and 
Frush $2,800, of the penitentiary fund. Add to this between $1,100 and 
$1,200 for his invaluable services for letting all the prisoners run away, and 
we have a fair exhibit of financiering under democratic misrule in Oregon. 


locate the seat of government may have had some 
influence in determining the action of the assembly 
with regard to the character of the edifice already in 
process of construction. It was the entering wedge 
for another location war, more bitter and furious 
than the first, and which did not culminate until 
1855-6. The university had not made so much ad 
vancement as the state house and penitentiary, the 
appropriations for the former being in land, which had 
to be converted into money. 5 

Eemembering the experiences of the past three 
years, the legislative assembly enacted a militia law 
constituting Oregon a military district, and requiring 
the appointment by the governor of a brigadier-gen 
eral, who should hold office for three years, unless 
sooner removed; and the choice at the annual election 
in each council district of one colonel, one lieutenant- 
colonel, and one major, who should meet at a conven 
ient place, within three months, and lay off their regi 
mental district into company districts, to contain as 
nearly as possible one hundred white male adults be 
tween the ages of eighteen and forty-five years capa 
ble of bearing arms, and who should appoint captains 
and lieutenants to each company district, the captains 
to appoint sergeants and corporals. Commissions 
were to issue from the governor to all officers except 
sergeants and corporals, the term of office to be two 
years, unless prevented by unsoundness of mind or 
body, each officer to rank according to the date of 
his commission, the usual rules of military organiza 
tion and government being incorporated into the act. 6 
In compliance with this law, Governor Davis appointed, 

5 The legislature of 1852-3 had authorized the commissioners to construct 
the university building at the town of Marysville, in the county of Benton, 
on such land as shall be donated for that purpose by Joseph P. Friedly, 
unless some better or more eligible situation should be offered. Or. Statesman, 
Feb. 5, 1853. The commissioners to select the two townships had only just 
completed their work. 

6 Or. Jour. Council, 1853-4, 113, 118, 128; Laws of Or., in Or. Statesman, 
Feb. 21, 1854; Or. Jour. Council, 1854-5, app. 12, 15, 17. 


in April 1854, J. W. Nesmith, brigadier-general; E. M. 
Barnum, adjutant -general; M. M. McCarver, com 
missary-general; and S. C. Drew, quartermaster-gen 
eral. 7 An act was also passed providing for taking 
the will of the people at the June election, concerning 
a constitutional convention, and the delegate was in 
structed to secure from congress an act enabling them 
to form a state government. 8 But the people very 
sensibly concluded that they did not want to be a 
state at present, a majority of 869 being against the 
measure ; nor did congress think well of it, the slavery 
question as usual exercising its influence, and although 
Lane said that Oregon had 60,000 population, which 
was an exaggeration. 


The doings of the alcaldes of Jackson county as 
justices of the peace were legalized; for up to the 
time of the appearance of a United States judge in 
that county the administration of justice had been 
irregular, and often extraordinary, making the per 
sons engaged in it liable to prosecution for illegal 
proceedings, and the judgments of the miners courts 
void. 9 The business of the session, taken all in all, 
was unimportant. 10 Worthy of remark was the char- 

7 At the June election, Washington county chose J. L. Meek col, R. M. 
Porter lieut-col, John Pool maj.; Yamhill, J. W. Moffit col, W. Starr 
lieut-col, J. A. Campbell maj.; Marion, George K. Sheil col, John McCracken 
lieut-col, J. C. Geer maj.; Clackamas, W. A. Casoii col, Thos Waterbury 
lieut-col, W. B. Magers maj.; Linn, L. S. Helm col, N. G. McDonald 
lieut-col, Isaac N. Smith maj.; Douglas, W. J. Martin col, J. S. Lane lieut- 
col, D. Barnes maj.; Coos, Stephen Davis col, C. Gunning lieut-col, Hugh 
O Xeil maj. Or. Statesman, June 13, 20, 27, 1854. Polk and Tillamook coun 
ties elected J. K. Delashmutt col, B. F. McLench lieut-col, B. F. Burch maj.; 
Benton and Lane, J. Kendall col, Jacob Allen lieut-col, William Gird maj.; 
Jackson, John E. Ross col, Win J. Newton lieut-col. James H. Russell maj. 
Or. Statesman, July 1, 1854. Or. Jour. Council, 1857-8, App. 57. 

b Law* of Or., in Or. Statesman, Feb. 7, 1854; Cony. Globe, vol. 28, pt 
ii. 1117-8, 33d cong. 1st sess. 

9 Or. Jour. Council, 1853-4, 50; Or. Statesman, Jan. 17, 1854. The former 
alcaldes were John A. Hardin, U. S. Hayden, Chauncey Nye, Clark Rogers, 
and W. W. Fowler. Laws of Oregon, in Or. Statesman, Jan. 17, 1854. 
And this, notwithstanding Fowler had sentenced one Brown to be hanged 
for murder. Pri:ns Judicial Anecdotes, MS., 10. The first term of the U. S. 
district court held by Judge Deady began Sept. 5, 1853. 

10 Coos, Columbia, and Wasco counties were established. The name of 
Marysville was changed to Corvallis. Rogue River had its name changed 
to Gold River, and Grave Creek to Leland Creek; but such is the force of 
custom, these changes were not regarded, and the next legislature changed 


tering of four railroad companies, only one of which 
took any steps toward carrying out the declared inten 
tions of the company. In the case of the Willamette 
Valley Railroad Company, the commissioners held 
one meeting at Thorp s mills, in Polk county, and 
appointed days for receiving subscriptions in each 
of the counties. But the time was not yet ripe for 
railroads, and this temporary enthusiasm seems to 
have been aroused by the Pacific railroad survey, then 
in progress in the north-west territory of the United 
States. 11 

The success of the Oregon delegates in securing 
appropriations led the assembly to ask for money from 
the general government for " every conceivable pur 
pose," as their mentor, the Statesman, reminded them, 
and for which it reproved them. Yet the greater part 
of these applications found favor with congress, either 
through their own merits or the address of the dele- 

the name of Gold River back to Rogue River. The methodists incorporated 
Santiain Academy at Lebanon, in Linn county, Portland Academy and Fe 
male Seminary at Portland, and Corvallis Academy at Corvallis. The pres- 
byteriana incorporated Union Academy at Union Point. The congregation- 
alists incorporated Tualatin Academy and Pacific University at Forest 
Grove; and the citizens of Polk county the Rickreal Academy, on the land 
claim of one Lovelady Rickreal being the corruption of La Creole, in com 
mon use with the early settlers. Albany had its name changed to Tekanah, 
but it was changed back again next session. Thirty wagon roads were peti 
tioned for, and many granted, and the Umpqua Navigation and Manu 
facturing Company was incorporated at this session, the object of which 
was to improve the navigation of the river at the head of tide-water, and 
utilize the water-power at the falls for mills and manufactories. The com 
pany consisted of Robert J. Ladd, J. W. Drew, R. E. Stratton, Benjamin 
Brattan, and F. W. Merritt; but nothing came of it, the navigation of the 
river being impracticable. None of the plans for making Scottsburg a 
manufacturing town at this time, or down to the present, succeeded. An 
appropriation for the improvement of the river above that place was indeed 
secured from congress and applied to that purpose a few years later, so far 
that a small steamer built for a low stage of water made one trip to Win 
chester. The Umpqua above the falls at Scottsburg is a succession of rapids 
over rocky ledges which form the bottom of the stream. The water in sum 
mer is shallow, and in winter often a rushing torrent. In the winter of 1861-2 
it carried away the mills and most of the valuable improvements at the lower 
town, which were not rebuilt. 

11 The Willamette Valley railroad was to have been built on the west side 
of the valley. The commissioners were Fred. Waymire, John Thorp, and 
Martin L. Barber. Or. Statesman, April 25, 1854. The first railroad pro 
jected in Oregon was from St Helen, on the Columbia, to Lafayette, the 
idea being put forth by H. M. Knighton, original owner of the former place, 
and Crosby and Smith, owners of Milton town site. See Or. Spectator, April 
17, 1851. 


gate in advocating them. The principal appropria 
tions now obtained were the sum before mentioned 
for paying the expenses of the Rogue River war; 
$10,000 to continue the military road from Myrtle 
Creek to Scottsburg; and $10,000 in addition to a 
former appropriation of $15,000 to construct a light 
house at the mouth of the Umpqua, with a propor 
tionate part of a general appropriation of $59,000 to 
be used in the construction of light-houses on the coasts 
of California and Oregon. 12 

12 Cong. Globe, 1853-4, 2249. This work, which had been commenced 
on the Oregon coast in 1853, was delayed by the loss of the bark Oriole 
of Baltimore, Captain Lentz, wrecked on the bar of the Columbia the 
19th of Sept., just as she had arrived inside, with material and men to 
erect the light-house at Cape Disappointment. The wind failing, on the 
ebb of the tide the Oriole drifted among the breakers, and on account of the 
stone and other heavy cargo in her hold, was quickly broken up. The 
crew and twenty workman, with the contractor, F. X. Kelley, and the bar- 
pilot, Capt. Flavel, escaped into the boats, and after twelve hours work to 
keep them from being carried out to sea, were picked up by the pilot-boat 
and taken to Astoria. Thus ended the first attempt to build the much needed 
light-house at the mouth of the Columbia. In 1854 Lieut George H. Derby 
was appointed superintendent of light-houses in Cal. and Or. Additional ap 
propriations were asked for in 1854. In 185G the light-house at Cape Disap 
pointment was completed. Its first keeper was John Boyd, a native of 
Maine, who came to Or. in 1853, and was injured in the explosion of the Ga 
zelle. He married Miss Olivia A. Johnson, also of Maine, in 1859. They 
had four children. Boyd died Sept. 10, 1865, at the Cape. Portland Orego- 
ni(in, Sept. 18, 1865. The accounting officer of the treasury was authorized 
to adjust the expenses of the commissioners appointed by the ter. assembly 
to prepare a code of laws, and of collecting and printing the laws and archives 
of the prov. govt. U. S. House Jour., 725, 33d cong. 1st sess; Cong. Globe, 
1853-4, tipp. 2322. The laws and archives of the provisional government, 
compiled by L. F. Grover, were printed at Salem by Asahel Bush. The 
code was sent to New York to be printed. The salaries of the ter. judges 
and the sec. were increased $500 each, and the services of Geo. L. Curry, 
while acting governor, were computed the same as if he had been gov 
ernor. The legislative and other contingent expenses of the ter. amounted 
to $32,000, besides those of the surv.-gen. office, Ind. dep., mil. dep., and 
mail service. The expenses of the govt, not included in those paid by 
the U. S., amounted for the fiscal year ending Dec. 1853 to only $3,359.54; 
and the public debt to no more than $855.37. Or. Statesman, Dec. 20, 1853; 
Or. Journal Council, 1853-4, p. 143-5; Portland Oregonian, Jan. 27, 1854. 
Two new districts for the collection of customs were established at the 2d 
sess. of the 33d cong., viz., Cape Perpetua, and Port Orford, with collectors 
drawing salaries of $2,000 each, who might employ each a clerk at $1,500; 
and a deputy at each port of delivery at $1,000 a year; besides ganger, weigh 
er, and measurer, at $6 a day, and an inspector at $4. Cong. Globe, vol. 31, 
app. 384, 33d cong. 2d sess. The port of entry for the district of Cape Per 
petua was fixed at Gardiner, on the Umpqua River. More vessels entered 
the Columbia than all the other ports together. From Sept. 1, 1853, to July 
13, 1854, inclusive, there were 179 arrivals at the port of Astoria, all from S. 
F. except one from Coos Bay, two from Xew York, and one from London. 
The London vessel brought goods for the Hudson s Bay Company, the only 


Next to the payment of the war debt was the 
demand for a more efficient mail service. The peo 
ple of the Willamette Valley still complained that 
their mails were left at Astoria, and that at the best 
they had no more than two a month. In southern 
Oregon it was still worse; and again the citizens of 
Umpqua memorialized congress on this vexatious sub 
ject. It was represented that the valleys of southern 
Oregon and northern California contained some 30,000 
inhabitants, who obtained their merchandise from 
Umpqua harbor, and that it was imperatively neces 
sary that mail communication should be established 
between San Francisco and these valleys. Their pe 
tition was so brought before congress that an act was 
passed providing for the delivery of the mails at all 
the ports along the coast, from Humboldt Bay to 
Port Townsend and Olympia, and $125,000 appropri 
ated for the service. 13 Houses were built, a newspa 
per 14 was established, and hope beat high. But again 

foreign vessel entering Oregon during that time. The departures from the 
Columbia numbered 184, all for S. F. except one for Coos Bay, two for Ca- 
llao, one for Australia, and one for the S. I. Most of these vessels carried 
lumber, the number of feet exported being 22,567,000. Or. Statesman, Aug. 
1, 1854. The direct appropriations asked for and obtained at the 2d sess. of 
this cong. were for the creation of a new land district in southern Or. called 
the Umpqua district, to distinguish it from the Willamette disti ict, with an 
office at such point as the president might direct, Zabris/cie Land Laivs, G36; 
Cong. Globe, vol. 31, app. 380, 33d cong. 2d sess., the appropriation of $40,- 
000 to complete the penitentiary at Portland, $27,000 to complete the state 
house at Salem, and $30,000 to construct the military road from Salem to 
Astoria, marked out in 1850 by Samuel Culver and Lieut Wood of the 
mounted rifles. Or. Statesman, Oct. 3, 1850. The military road to Astoria 
was partly constructed in 1855, under the direction of Lieut Derby. Money 
failing, a further appropriation of $15,000 was applied, and still the road re 
mained practically useless. The appropriation of $30,000 for a light-house at 
the Umpqua was also expended by government officers in 1857. The tower 
was 105 feet high, but being built on a sandy foundation, it fell over into the 
sea in 1870. It does not appear that the money bestowed upon Oregon by 
congress in territorial times accomplished the purposes for which it was de 
signed. Not one of the military roads was better than a mule trail, every 
road that could be travelled by wagons being opened by the people at their 
own expense. 

13 U. S. II. Jour., 237, 388, 411, 516, 536, 963, 33d cong. 1st sess.; U. S. II. 
Ex. Doc., i. pt ii. 615, 624, 701, 33d cong. 2d sess. 

14 By D. J. Lyon, at Scottsburg, called the Umpqua Gazette. It was first 
issued in April 1854, and its printer was William J. Beggs. In Nov. 1854, 
G. D. II. Boyd purchased a half -interest, and later removed the material to 
Jacksonville where the publication of the Table Rock Sentinel was begun in 


in the summer of 1854, as after the efforts of Thurs- 
ton, the Pacific Mail Steamship Company made a 
spasmodic pretence of keeping their contract, which 
was soon again abandoned out of fear of the Umpqua 
bar, 15 and this abandonment, together with the suc 
cessful rivalry of the road from Crescent City to the 
Rogue River Valley, and the final destruction of the 
Scottsburg road by the extraordinary storms of 1861-2, 
terminated in a few years the business of the Ump 
qua, except such lumbering and fishing as were after 
ward carried on below Scottsburg. 

The history of beach mining for gold began in the 
spring of 1853, the discovery of gold in the sand of 
the sea-beach leading to one of those sudden migra 
tions of the mining population expressively termed a 
rush. The first discovery was made by some half- 
breeds in 1852 at the mouth of a creek a few miles 
north of the Coquille, near where Randolph appears 
on the map. 16 The gold was exceedingly fine, the use 
of a microscope being often necessary to detect it; yet 
when saved, by amalgamation with mercury, was 

Nov. 1855, by W. G. T Vault, Taylor, and Blakesly, with Beggs as printer. 
Or. Statesman, Dec. 8, 1855; Or. Argus, Dec. 8, 1855. The name was changed 
to that of Oregon Sentinel in 1857. Id. , July 25, 1857. I). J. Lyons was born 
in Cork, Ireland, in 1813, his family being in the middle rank of life, and 
connected with the political troubles of 1798. His father emigrated to Ken 
tucky in 1818. Young Lyons lost his sight in his boyhood, but was well edu 
cated by tutors, and being of a musical and literary turn of mind, wrote 
songs fashionable in the circle in which George D. Prentice, Edmund Flagg, 
and Amelia Welby were prominent. Lyons was connected with several light 
literary publications before coming to Oregon. He had married Virginia A. 
Putnam, daughter of Joseph Putnam of Lexington, with whom he emigrated 
to Oregon in 1853, settling at Scottsburg, where he resided nearly 30 years, 
removing afterward toMarshfield, on Coos Bay. Beggs was a brilliant writer 
on politics, but of dissipated habits. He married a Miss Beebe of Salem, 
and deserted her. He ran a brief career, dying in misery in New York City. 

15 The whole coast was. little understood, and unimproved as to harbors. 
The Anita was lost at Port Orford in Oct. 1852. Three vessels, the J. Mcri- 
thew, Mendora, and Vanda/ia, were wrecked at the mouth of the Columbia 
in Jan. 1853. Capt. E. H. Beard of the Vandalia, who was from Baltimore, 
Md., was drowned. 

16 S. S. Mann says that the half-breeds sold their claim to McNamara 
Brothers for $20,000. Settlement of Coos Bay, MS., 14. Armstrong, in his 
Ores/on, 66, claims that his brother discovered gold on the beach at the 
Coquille in 1842, being driven in there in a schooner by a storm, while on his 
way to San Francisco. 


found to be in paying quantities. The sand in which 
it was found existed not only on the modern beach, 
but on the upper Coquille, forty miles in the interior, 
at a place known as Johnson Diggings; but the prin 
cipal deposits were from the Coquille River south 
along the recent beach to the California line. 17 

A mining town called Elizabeth sprung up during 
the summer about thirty miles south of Port Orford, 
and another seven miles north of the Coquille, called 
Randolph City. 18 The latter name may still be found 
on the maps, but the town has passed out of ex 
istence with hundreds of others. For, although the 
returns from certain localities were at first flattering, 
the irregular value of the deposits, and the difficulty 
of disposing of the gold on account of expense of sep 
aration, soon sent most of the miners back to the 
placer diggings of the interior, leaving a few of the 
less impatient to further but still futile efforts. 

The natives living at the mouth of the Coquille 
questioned the right of the white men to occupy that 
region, and added to insolence robbery and murder. 
Therefore, on the 28th of January, a party of forty, 
led by George H. Abbott, went to their village, killed 
fifteen men, and took prisoners the women and chil 
dren. Seeing which, the chiefs of other villages were 

17 The deposit where the gold was found is an ancient beach, 1^ miles east 
or back of the present beach. The mines are 180 feet above the level of the 
ocean, which has evidently receded to that extent. The depth of the gold 
varies from one to twelve feet, there being 12 feet on the ocean side to one 
foot on what was formerly the shore side. The breadth is from 300 to 500 
feet, which is covered with white sand to a depth of 40 feet. The surface is 
overgrown with a dense forest, and trees of great size are found in the black 
sand, in a good state of preservation, which proves that there the beach was 
at no remote period. Iron is a large component of this black sand, and it 
would probably pay to work it for that metal now. Gale s Resources of Coos 
County, 31. See also Van Tramp s Adventures, 154-5; Armstrong s Or., 64- 
5, 57-9; Davidson s Coast Pilot, 119; Harper s Monthly, xiii. 594-5; 8. F. 
Com. Advertiser, Feb. 23, 1854; Taylor s Spec, Press, 584; Cram s Top. 
J/era.,37. W. P. Blake, in S dliman s Journal, vol. 20, 74, says: Gold is 
found in the beach sand from the surface to the depth of 6 feet or more; it is 
in very small thin scales, and separates from the black sand with difficulty. 
Platinum and the associate metals, iridosmine, etc. , are found with the gold 
in large quantities, and as they cannot be separated from the gold by washing, 
its value in the market is considerably lessened. 

18 Parrish, in Ind. Aff. Kept, 1854, 268-75, 288; S. F. AUa, June 5, 6, 
July 15, and Aug. 16, 1854. 


glad to make peace on any terms, and keep it until 
driven again to desperation. 19 

Superintendent Palmer, in the spring of 1854, began 
a round of visits to his savage wards, going by the 
way of the Rogue River Valley and Crescent City, 
and proceeding up the coast to Yaquina Bay. Find 
ing the Indians on the southern coast shy and unap 
proachable, he left at Port Orford Sub-agent Parrish 
with presents to effect a conciliation/ 


Prominent among matters growing out of beach 
mining, next after the Indian difficulties, was the 
more perfect exploration of the Coos Bay country, 
which resulted from the passing back and forth of 
supply trains between the Umpqua and the Coquille 
rivers. In May 1853, Perry B. Marple, 21 after hav 
ing examined the valley of the Coquille, and found 
what he believed to be a practicable route from Coos 
Bay to the interior, 22 formed an association of twenty 
men called the Coos Bay Company, with stock to be 
divided into one hundred shares, five shares to each 
joint proprietor, 23 and each proprietor being bound to 

19 Indian Agent F. M. Smith, after due investigation, pronounced the kill 
ing an unjustifiable massacre. U. S. H. Ex. Doc. 76, 268-71, 34th cong. 3d 

2(1 See Parrisk s Or. Anecdotes, MS., passim; 2nd. Aff. Kept, 1854, 254-66. 

2l He was an eccentric genius, a great talker, of whom his comrades used 
to say that he came within an ace of being a Patrick Henry, but just missing 
it, missed it entirely. He was a man of mark, however, in his county, which 
he represented in the constitutional convention a bad mark, in some respects, 
judging from Deady s observations on disbarring him: I have long since 
ceased to regard anything you assert. All yonr acti show a decree of mental 
and moral obliquity which renders you incapable of discriminating between 
truth and falsehood or right and wrong. You have no capacity for the practice 
of law, and in that profession you will ever prove a curse to yourself and to the 
community. For these reasons, and altogether overlooking the present alle 
gations of unprofessional conduct, it would be an act of mercy to strike your 
name from the roll of attorneys. Marple went to the Florence mines in 
eastern Oregon on the outbreak of the excitement of 1861, and there died of 
consumption in the autumn of 1862. Or. Statesman, Dec. 8, 1862, and Jan. 
12, 1868. 

22 The first settlement was made on Coos Bay in the summer of 1853, and 
a packer named Sherman took a provision train over the mountains from. 
Grave Creek by a practicable route. He reported discoveries of coal. Or. 
Statesman, June 28, 1853. 

2:j The proprietors were Perry B. Marple, James C. Tolman, Eollin L. Bel- 
knap, Solomon Bowermaster, Joseph H. McVay, J. A. J. McVay, Wm H. 


proceed without delay to locate in a legal form all the 
land necessary to secure town sites, coal mines, and 
all important points whatsoever to the company. If 
upon due consideration any one wished to withdraw 
from the undertaking he was bound to hold his claim 
until a substitute could be provided. Each person 
remaining in the company agreed to pay the sum 
of five hundred dollars to the founder, from whom 
he w r ould receive a certificate entitling him to one 
twentieth of the whole interest, subject to the regu 
lations of the company, the projector of the enterprise 
being bound on his part to reveal to the company all 
the advantageous positions upon the bay or on Co- 
quille river, and throughout the country, and to re 
linquish to the company his selections of land, the 
treasures he had discovered, both upon the earth or 
in it, and especially the stone-coal deposits bv him 
found. 24 

The members of the company seemed satisfied with 
the project, and lost no time in seizing upon the va 
rious positions supposed to be valuable. Empire City 
was taken up as a town site about the time the company 
was formed, 25 and later Marshfield, 26 and the affairs of 

Harris, F. G. Lockhart, C. W. Johnson, A. P. Gaskell, W. H. Jackson, Presly 
G. Wilhite, A. P. De Cuis, David Rohren, Charles Pearce, Matthias M. 
Learn, Henry A. Stark. Charles H. Haskell, Joseph Lane, S. K. Temple. 
Articles of Indenture of the Coos Bay Company, in Oregonian, Jan. 7, 1854; 
Gibbs Notes on Or. Hist., MS., 15. 

2i Articles of Indenture of the Coos Bay Company, in Oregonian, Jan. 7, 
1854. See S. F. Alta, Jan. 3, 1854. 

25 Empire City had (in 1855) some thirty board houses, and a half-finished 
wharf. Van Tramp s Adventures, 160. 

26 1 am informed by old residents of Marshfield that this was the claim of 
J. C. Tolman, who was associated in it with A. J. Davis. The usual confu 
sion as to titles ensued. Tolman was forced to leave the place on account of 
his wife s health, and put a man named Chapman in charge. Davis, having 
to go away, put a man named Warwick in charge of his half of the town site. 
Subsequently Davis bought one half of Tolman s half, but having another 
claim, allowed Warwick to enter the Marshfield claim for him, in his own 
name, though according to the land law he could not enter land for town-site 
purposes. Warwick, however, in some way obtained a patent, and sold the 
claim to H. H. Luce, whose title was disputed because the patent was fraud 
ulently obtained. A long contest over titles resulted, others claiming the 
right to enter it, because Davis had lost his right, and Warwick had never 
had any. Luce held possession, however. The remaining portion of Tolman s 
half of the town site was sold to a man named Hatch, whose claim is not dis 


the company prospered. In January 1854, the ship 
Denials Cove from San Francisco entered Coos Bay 
with a stock of goods, bringing also some settlers and 
miners, and in the same month the Louisiana, Cap 
tain Williams, from Portland took a cargo into Coos 
Bay for Northup & Simonds of that town, who 
established a branch business at Empire City, 27 
Northup accompanying the cargo and settling at 
that place. 28 

Coal was first shipped from the Newport mine in 
April 1855, 29 and in 1856 a steam- vessel called the 
Newport, the first to enter this harbor, was employed 
in carrying cargoes to San Francisco, 30 and the same 
year two steam saw-mills were in operation with 

27 In a letter written by Northup to his partner, and published in the Ore- 
gonian of April 22, 1854, he tells of the progress of affairs. They had sounded 
the bay and found from 12 to 30 feet of water. The land was level and tim 
bered, but not hard to clear. The Coquille was one of the prettiest rivers 
ever seen. Mr Davis of S. F. was forming a company to build a railroad 
from the branch of the bay to the Coquille, the travel going that way to the 
Randolph mines. Machinery for a steamer was also coming. The whole of 
southern Oregon was to be connected with Coos Bay. The miners were 
doing well, and business was good. 

28 Nelson Xorthup, a pioneer of Portland, who came to the place in 1851, 
and soon after formed the firm of Northup & Simonds, well known merchants 
of those days. In 1854 they disposed of their business to E. J. Northup 
and J. M. Blossom, and removed to Coos Bay, taking into that port the sec 
ond vessel from Portland. Northup remained at Coos Bay several years, 
and in the mean time opened up, at great expense, the first coal mines in that 
locality, now so famed in that respect. He died at the residence of Ids son 
E. J. Northup, in the 65th year of his age, on the 3d of July, 1874. Port 
land Oreyoniaii, July 4, 1874. 

29 S. F. Alta, May 4, 6, 12, June 28, and Oct. 7, 1854; Or. Statesman, 
May 12, 1854. 

30 She was a small craft, formerly the Hartford. Her engines were after 
ward transferred to a small teak-wood schooner, which was christened The 
Fearle*s, and was the first and for many years the only tug-boat on the bay. 
She was finally lost near Coos Head. A story has been told to this effect: 
By one of the early trips of the Newport an order was sent to Estell, her 
owner, to forward a few laborers for the Newport mine. Estell had charge 
of the California state prison, and took an interest, it was said, in its occu 
pants, so far as to let them slip occasionally. On the return of the Newport, 
a crowd of forty hard cases appeared upon her deck. A few only were re 
quired at the mine, and the remainder dropped ashore at Empire City. The 
unsuspecting citizens scanned them curiously, and then retired to their 
domiciles. But consternation soon prevailed. Hen-roosts were despoiled 
and clothes-lines stripped of gracefully pendent garments. Anything and 
everything of value began to disappear in a mysterious manner. The 
people began to suspect, and to go for the strangers, who were strongly 
urged to emigrate. The touching recollections connected with this gang led 
the citizens always after to speak of them as the Forty Thieves. Coos Bay 
Settlement, 10, 11. 


from three to five vessels loading at a time with lum 
ber and coal, since which period coal-mining, lumber 
ing, and ship-building have been carried on at this 
point without interruption. Railroads were early 
projected, and many who first engaged in the devel 
opment of coal mines became wealthy, and resided 
here till their death, 31 

Some also were unfortunate, one of the share 
holders, Henry A. Stark, being drowned in the spring 
of 1854, while attempting with five others to go out 
in a small boat to some vessels lying off the bar. 32 
Several of the Umpqua company, after the failure of 
that enterprise, settled at Coos Bay, prominent among 
whom was S. S. Mann, author of a pamphlet on the 
early settlement of that region, embellished with an 
ecdotes of the pioneers, which will be of interest to 
their descendants. 33 

Any new discovery stimulated the competitive 
spirit of search in other directions. Siuslaw River 
was explored with a view to determining whether the 

31 P. Flanagan was one of the earliest of the early settlers. At Randolph 
his pack-train and store were the pioneers of trade. Then at Johnson s and 
on The Sixes in a similar way. Later, he became associated in the partner 
ship of the Newport coal mine, where his skill and experience added largely 
to its success. 

32 Stark was a native of New York, emigrated to Cal. in 1849, thence to 
Or. in 1850. He was a land claimant for the company at Coos Bay, as well 
as a shareholder. John Dnhy, a native of New York, emigrated to the S. 1. 
in 1840, thence to Cal. in 1848, going to Yreka in 1851, and thence to Coos 
Bay at its settlement in 1853. John Robertson was a native of Nova Scotia, 
and a sailor. John Winters was born in Penn., and came to Or. through 
Cal. Alvin Brooks, born in Vt, came to Or. in 1851. John Mitchell of New 
York, a sailor, came to Or. in 1851. Portland Oregonian, March 25, 1854; S. 
F. Alta, March 22, 1854. 

* 3 Goos Bay Settlement, 18. This pamphlet of 25 pages is made up of 
scraps of pioneer history written for the Coos Bay Mall, by S. S. Mann, after 
ward republished in this form by the Mail publishers. Mann, being one of 
the earliest of the pioneers, was enabled to give correct information, and to 
his writings and correspondence I am much indebted for the facts here set 
down. Mann mentions the names of T. D. Winchester, H. H. Luse, A. M. 
Simpson, John Pershbaker, James Aiken, Dr Foley, Curtis Noble, A. J. 
Davis, P. Flanagan, Amos and Anson Rogers, H. P. Whitney, W. D. L. F. 
Smith, David Holland, I. Hacker, R. F. Ross, Yokam, Landreth, Hodson, 
Collver, Bogue, Miller, McKnight, Dry den, Hirst, Kenyon, Nasburg, Coon, 
Morse, Cammann, Buckhorn, and De Cussans, not already mentioned 
among the original proprietors of the Coos Bay Company; and also the names 
of Perry, Leghnherr, Rowell, Dement, Harris, Schroeder, Grant, and Ham- 
block, among the early settlers of Coquille Valley. 


course of the river was such that a practicable com 
munication could be obtained between it and the 
Umpqua through Smith River, 34 a northern branch 
of the Siuslaw. The exploration was conducted by 
N. Schofield. The object of the opening of the 
proposed route was to make a road from the Willa 
mette Valley to the Umpqua, over which the products 
of the valley might be brought to Scottsburg, at the 
same time avoiding the most difficult portion of the 
mountains. But nature had interposed so many ob 
stacles; the streams were so rapid and rocky; the 
mountains so rough and heavily timbered; the valleys, 
though rich, so narrow, and filled with tangled growths 
of tough vine-maple and other shrubby trees, that 
any road from the coast to the interior could not but 
be costly to build and keep in repair. The Siuslaw 
exploration, therefore, resulted in nothing more ben 
eficial than the acquisition of additional knowledge of 
the resources of the country in timber, water-power, 
and soil, all of which were excellent in the valley of 
the Siuslaw. 

Other explorations were at the same time being 
carried on. A trail was opened across the mountains 
from Rogue River Valley to Crescent City, which 
competed with the Scottsburg road for the business 
of the interior, and became the route used by the gov 
ernment troops in getting from the seaboard to Fort 
Lane. 35 Gold-hunting was at the same time prose 
cuted in every part of the territory with varying 
success, of which I shall speak in another place. 36 

34 This is the stream where Jedediah Smith had his adventure with the 
Indians who massacred his party in 1828, as related in my History of the 
Northwest Coast. 

35 Decides Hist. Or., MS., 25. 

36 Mount Hood, Indian name Wiyeast, was ascended in August 1854, for 
the first time, by a party consisting of T. J. Dryer of the Oreyonian, G. 0. 
Haller, Olney, Wells Lake, and Travillot, a French seaman. Dryer ascended 
Mount St Helen, Loowit Letkla, the previous summer, and promised to climb 
Mounts Jefferson, Phato, and the Three Sisters at some future time. He 
ascertained the fact that Hood and St Helen were expiring volcanoes, which 
still emitted smoke and ashes from vents near their summits. Oregonian, 
Feb. 25 and Aug. 19, 1854. The first ascent of Mount Jefferson was made 
by P. Loony, John Allphin, William Tullbright, John Walker, and E. L. 


The politics of 1854 turned mainly on the question 
of a state constitution, though the election in June 
revealed the fact that the democracy, while still in 
the ascendant, were losing a little ground to the whigs, 
and chiefly in the southern portion of the territory. 
Of the three prosecuting attorneys elected, one, P. P. 
Prim, 37 was a whig, and was chosen in the 3d district 
by a majority of seven over the democratic candi 
date, R. E. Stratton, 33 former incumbent, R. P. 
Boise was elected prosecuting attorney for the 1st 
or middle district, and N. Huber of the 2d or north 
ern district. 

The democratic leaders were those most in favor of 
assuming state dignities, while the whigs held up before 
their following the bill of cost; though none objected 

Massey, July 11, 1854, a party prospecting for gold in the Cascade Moun 
tains. Or. Statesman, Aug. 22, 1854. Mt Adams was called by the Indians 
Klickilat, and Mt Rainier, Takoma. Gold-hunting in the Cascade Mountains, 

3 Payne P. Prim was born in Tenn. in 1822, emigrated to Or. in 1851, 
and went to the mines in Rogue River Valley the following year. His elec 
tion as prosecuting attorney of the southern district brought him into notice, 
and on the division of the state of Oregon into four judicial districts, and when 
Deady, chosen judge of the supreme court from that district, was appointed 
U. S. disk judgo, the gov. appointed Prim to fill the vacancy from the 1st 
district for the remainder 01 the term, to which office he was subsequently 
elected, holding it for many years. A valuable manuscript, entitled Prim s 
Judicial Anecdotes, has furnished me very vivid reminiscences of the manner 
of administering justice in the early mining camps, and first organized courts, 
to which I have occasion to refer frequently in this work. See Popular Trib 
unals, passim, this series. 

38 Riley E. Stratton was a native of Penn., born in 1821. He was taught 
the trade of a millwright, but afterward took a collegiate course, and grad 
uated at Marietta, Ohio, with the intention of becoming a minister; his 
plans being changed, he studied law, and was admitted to the bar in Madi 
son, Ind., coming to Or. by way of Cape Horn in 1852, his father, C. P. 
Stratton, emigrating overland in the same year. C. P. Stratton was born 
in New York Dec. 30, 1799. He removed to Penn. in his boyhood, and 
again to Ind. in 1836. He had twelve children, of whom C. C. Stratton is 
a minister of the methodist church, and president of the University of the 
Pacific in California. He settled in the Umpqua Valley, but subsequently 
removed to Salem, where he died Feb. 26, 1873. Riley E. Stratton settled 
at Scottsburg. He was elected prosecuting attorney of the southern district 
by the legislative assembly in 1833-4; but beaten by Prim at the election by 
the people, as stated above. When Oregon became a state he was elected 
judge of the 2d judicial district, and reflected in 1864. He married Sarah 
Dearborn in Madison, Indiana. He lef b the democratic party to support the 
union on the breaking-out of the rebellion. 11^ was an affable, honorable, 
an 1 popuLr man. His death occurred in Dec. 1866. Eurjcne State Journal, 
Dec. 29, I860; O/. Reports, vol. ii. 195-1); Dcadyx Scrap Book, 77, 170. 


to securing the 500,000 acres of land, which on the 
day of Oregon s admission as a state would be hers, 
to be applied to internal improvements, 39 and other 
grants which might reasonably be expected, and 
which might amount to millions of acres with which 
to build railroads and improve navigation. 

Judge Pratt, thinking he would like a seat in the 
United States senate, advocated state admission, and 
to assist himself started in Portland, in connection 
with Alonzo Leland, a political sheet called the Demo 
cratic Standard, which served to provoke the ridicule 
of the Statesman; while the Oregonian denounced the 
editors and their object in the severest terms. The 
Statesman, as usual, carried its points so far as electing 
its candidates, except in a few instances, against the 
whigs, and also against the prohibitionists, or Maine- 
law party. 40 But the majority against a state con 
stitution was about one hundred and fifty, a majority 
so small, however, as to show that, as the democrats 
had intimated, it would be reduced to nothing by a 
year or two more of effort in that direction. 

In the spring of 1854 there were complaints of 
hard times in Oregon, which were to be accounted for 
partly by the Indian disturbances, but chiefly by 
reason of neglect of the farming interests and a fall- 
ing-oif in the yield of the mines. The great reaction 
was at hand throughout the coast. Business was 
prostrated in California, and Oregon felt it, just as 
Oregon had felt California s first flush on finding gold. 
To counteract the evil, agricultural societies began 
to be formed in the older counties.* 1 The lumbering 
interest had greatly declined also, after the erection 

39 See the 8th section of an act of congress in relation thereto, passed in 1841. 

40 The Maine-law candidates for seats in the legislature were Elisha Strong 
and 0. Jacobs of Marion; S. Nelson, P. H. Hatch, E. D. Shattuck of Clacka- 
mas; D. W. Ballard of Linn; Ladd and Gilliam of Polk; J. H. D. Henderson 
and G. W. Burnett of Yamhill. 

41 The constitution of the Yamhill Agricultural Society, F. Martin, presi 
dent, A. S. Watt, secretary, was published July 25, 1854, in the Or. States 

HIST. OB., VOL. II. 22 


of mills in California, and lumber and flour being no 
longer so much sought after, caused a sensible lessen 
ing of the income of Oregon. But the people of 
Oregon well knew that their immense agricultural 
resources would bring them out of all their troubles 
if they would only apply themselves in the right di 
rection and in the right way. 

The counties which led in this industrial revival 
were Washington, Yamhill, Marion, and Polk. The 
first county fair held was in Yamhill on the 7th of 
October, 1854, followed by Marion on the llth, and 
Polk on the 12th. The exhibit of horses, cattle, 
and fruit was fairly good, of sheep, grain, and domes 
tic manufactures almost nothing; 42 but it was a begin 
ning from which steadily grew a stronger competitive 
interest in farm affairs, until in 1861 a state agricul 
tural society was formed, whose annual meeting is the 
principal event of each year in farming districts. 43 

The first step toward manufacturing woollen fabrics 
was also taken in 1854, when a carding machine was 
erected at Albany by E. L. Perham & Co. Farmers 
who had neglected sheep-raising now purchased sheep 
of the Hudson s Bay Company. 44 Early in the spring 
of 1855 Barber and Thorpe of Polk county erected 
machinery for spinning, weaving, dying, and dressing 
woollen cloths. 45 In 1856 a company was organized 
at Salem to erect a woollen-mill at that place, the first 
important woollen manufactory on the Pacific coast. 
It was followed by the large establishment at Oregon 
City and several smaller ones in the course of a few 
years. 46 

42 Or. Statesman, Oct. 17, 1854. Mrs R. C. Geer entered two skeins of 
yarn, the first exhibited and probably the first made in Oregon. The address 
was delivered to the Marion county society, which met at Salem, by Mr 
Woodsides. L. F. Grover, in his Pub. Life in Or., MS., says he delivered 
the first Marion county address, but he is mistaken. He followed in 1855. 

43 Brown s Salem Directory, 1871, 37-77. 

44 Or. StaL, May 23 and Oct. 10, 1854; Tolmie s Puget Sound, MS., 24. 

45 Or. Statesman, March 20, 1855. R. A. Gessner received a premium in 
1855 from the Marion county society for the best jeans. 

46 Grover, Pub. Life in Or., MS., 68-9, was one of the first directors in the 
Salem mill. See also Watt s First Things, MS., 8-10. 


The first proposal to establish a telegraph line be 
tween California and Oregon was made in October of 
1854. Hitherto, no more rapid means of communi 
cation had existed than that afforded by express com 
panies, of which there were several. The practice of 
sending letters by express, which prevailed all over 
the Pacific coast at this time, and for many years 
thereafter, arose from the absence or the irregu 
larity in the carriage of mails by the government. 
As soon as a mining camp was established, an express 
became necessary; and though the service was at 
tended with many hardships and no small amount of 
danger, there were always to be found men who were 
eager to engage in it for the sake of the gains, which 
were great. 47 The business of the country did not 
require telegraphic correspondence, and its growth 
was delayed for almost another decade. 48 

47 The first express company operating in Oregon was Todd & Co., fol 
lowed very soon by Gregory & Co., both beginning in 1851. Todd & Co. sold 
out to Newell & Co. in 1852. The same year Dugan & Co., a branch of 
Adams & Co., began running in Oregon; also T Vault s Oregon and Shasta 
express, and McClaine & Co. s Oregon and Shasta express. In the latter part 
of 1852 Adams & Co. began business in Oregon; but about the beginning of 
1853, with other companies, retired and left the field to Wells, Fargo & Co., 
improved mail communication gradually rendering the services of the com 
panies, except for the carrying of treasure and other packages, superfluous. 
The price fell from fifty cents on a letter in a gradually declining scale to ten 
cents, where it remained for many years, and at last to five cents; and pack 
ages to some extent in proportion. Besides the regular companies, from 1849 
to 1852 there were many private express riders who picked up considerable 
money in the mountain camps. 

48 Charles F. Johnson, an agent of the Alta California Telegraph Company, 
first agitated the subject of a telegraph line to connect Portland with the 
cities of California, and so far succeeded as to have organized a company to 
construct such a line from Portland to Corvallis, which was to be extended 
in time to meet one from Marysville, California, to Yreka on the border. 
The Oregon line was to run to Oregon City, Lafayette, Dayton, Salem, and 
Corvallis. It was finished to Oregon City Nov. 15, 1855, the first message 
being sent over the wires on the 16th, and the line reached Salem by Sept. 
1856, but it was of so little use that it was never completed nor kept in re 
pair. Neither the interests of the people nor their habits made it requisite. 
In 1868 the California company had completed their line to Yreka, for which 
during the period of the civil war, the Oregonians had reason to be thankful, 

- and having taken some long strides in progress during the half-dozen years 
between 1855 and 1861, they eagerly subscribed to build a line to Yreka from 
Portland, on being solicited by J. E. Strong, former president of the same 
company. Of the Oregon company, W. S, Ladd was elected president; S. 
G. Reed, secretary; H. W. Corbett, treasurer; John McCracken, superin 
tendent; W. S. Ladd, D. F. Bradford, A. G. Richardson, C. N. Terry, and 


Steam navigation increased rapidly in proportion to 
other business, the principal trade being confined to 
the Willamette River, although about this time there 
began to be some traffic on the Columbia, above as 
well as below the mouth of the Willamette. 49 Ocean 

A. L. Lovejoy, directors. Strong, contractor, owned considerable stock in 
it, which he sold to the California State Telegraph Company in 1863, the 
line being completed in March. In 1868 a line of telegraph was extended to 
The Dalles, and eastward to Boise City, by the Oregon Steam Navigation 
Company, in 1869. A new line to the east was erected in 1876, which was 
extended to S. F., and a line to Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia. 

49 The Gazelle was a side-wheel boat built for the upper Willamette in 

1853 by the company which constructed the basin and hoisting works at 
the falls, and began to run in March 1854, but in April exploded her boiler 
while lying at her wharf, causing the most serious calamity which ever oc 
curred on Oregon waters. She had on board about 50 persons, 22 of whom 
were killed outright and many others injured, some of whom died soon after. 
Among the victims were some of the principal persons in the territory: Dan 
iel D. Page, superintendent of the company owning the Gazelle, whose wife 
and daughter were killed by the explosion of the Jenny Lind in San Francisco 
Bay April 11, 1853; Rev. James F. Miller, father of Mrs E. M. Wilson of 
The Dalles; David Woodhull, and Joseph Hunt of Mi higan; Judge Burch, 
David Fuller, C. Woodworth, James White, Daniel Lowe, John Clemens, 
J. M. Fudge, Blanchet, Hill, Morgan, John Blaimer, John Daly, John K. 
Miller, Michael Hatch, Michael McGee, Charles Knaust, David McLane, 
Piaut, and an unknown Spanish youth. Or, Statesman, April 18, 1854; Arm 
strong s Or., 14; Browns Salem Directory, 1871, 35. Among the wounded 
were Mrs Miller, Charles Gardiner, son of the surveyor-general, Robert 
Pentland, Miss Pell, C. Dobbins, Robert Shortess, B. F. Newby, Captain 
Hereford of the Gazelle, John Boyd, mate, and James Partlow, pilot. The 
chief engineer, Tonie, who was charged with the responsibility of the accident, 
escaped and fled the territory. Portland Oregonian, Jan. 29, 1870. The 
Oregon, another of the company s boats, was sunk and lost the same season. 
The wreck of the Gazelle was run over the falls, after being sold to Murray, 
Hoyt, and Wells, who refitted her and named her the Senorita, after which 
she was employed to carry troops, horses, and army stores from Portland to 
Vancouver and the Cascades. In 1857 the machinery of this boat was put 
into the new steamer Hassaloe, while the Senorita, was provided with a more 
powerful engine, and commanded by L. Hoyt, brother of Richard Hoyt. In 

1854 the pioneer steamboat men of the upper Willamette, captains A. F. 
Hedges and Charles Bennett, sold their entire interests and retired from the 

In 1855 a new class of steamboats was put upon the Willamette above the 
falls, stern- wheels being introduced, which soon displaced the side-wheel boats. 
This change was effected by Archibald Jamieson, A. S. Murray, Amory Hoi- 
brook, and John Torrence, who formed a company and built the Enterprise, a 
small stern- wheel boat commanded by Jamieson. This boat ran for 3 years 
on the Willamette, and was sold during the mining rush of 1858, taken over 
the falls and to Fraser River by Thomas Wright. She finished her career on 
the Chehalis River. Her first captain, Jameison, was one of a family of 
five steamboat men, who were doomed to death by a fatality sad and re 
markable. Arthur Jamieson was in command of the steamer Portland, 
which was carried over the falls of the Willamette in March 1857; another 
brother died of a quick consumption from a cold contracted on the river; an 
other by the explosion of the steamer Yale on the Fraser River; and finally 
Archibald and another brother by the blowing up of the Cariboo at Victoria. 

Another company, consisting of captains Cochrane, Gibson, and Cassady, 


navigation, too, was increasing, but not without its 
drawbacks and losses. 50 In the midst of all, the young 
and vigorous community grew daily stronger, and more 
able to bear the misfortunes incident to rapid progress. 
In July 1854 there was a raid in Rogue River 
Valley by the Shastas; unattended, however, by seri- 

formed in 1856, built the James Clinton and Surprise, two fine stern-wheel 
boats. In 1857 the Elk was built for the Yamhill River trade by Switzler, 
Moore, and Marshall; and in 1858 the first owners of the Enterprise built 
the Onward, the largest steamboat at that time on the upper river. 

In 1860 another company was incorporated, under the name of People s 
Transportation Company, composed of A. A. McCully, S. T. Church, E. N. 
Cook, D. W. Burnside, and captains John Cochrane, George A. Pease, Joseph 
Kellogg, and E. W. Baughman, which controlled the Willamette River trade 
till 1871. This company built the Dayton, Reliance, Echo, E. D. Baker, Iris, 
A.bany, Shoo Fly, Fannie Patton, and Alice, and owned the Rival, Senator, 
Alert, and Active. It ran its boats on the Columbia as well as the Willamette 
until 1863, when a compromise was made with the Oregon Steam Navigation 
Company, then in existence, to confine its trade to the Willamette River 
above Portland. In 1865 this company expended $100,000 in building a dam 
and basin above the falls, which enabled them to do away with a portage, 
by simply transferring passengers and freight from one boat to another 
through a warehouse at the lower end of the basin. The P. T. Co. sold out 
in 1871 to Ben Holladay, having made handsome fortunes in 11 years for all 
its principal members. In the next two years .the canal and locks were built 
around the west side of the falls at Oregon City, but the P. T. Co. under 
Holladay s management refused to use them, and continued to reship at Ore 
gon City. This led to the formation of the Willamette Locks and Transpor 
tation Company, composed of Joseph Teal, B. Goldsmith, Frank T. Dodge, 
and others, who commenced opposition in 1873, and pressed the P. T. Co. so 
hard that Holladay sold out to the Oregon Nav. Co. , which thus was enabled to 
resume operations on the Willamette above Portland, with the boats pur 
chased and others which were built, and became a powerful competitor for 
the trade. The Locks and Transportation Co. built the Willamette Chief ex 
pressly to outrun the boats of the P. T. Co., but found it ruinous work; and 
in 1876 a consolidation was effected, under the name of Willamette Trans 
portation and Locks Company, capital $1,000,000. Its property consisted 
of the locks at Oregon City, the water front at Astoria belonging formerly to 
the O. S. N. Co., and the Farmers warehouse at that place, and the steam 
boats Willamette Chief, Gov. Grover, Beaver, Annie Stewart, Orient, Occi 
dent, with the barges Autocrat, Columbia, and Columbia s Chief. This secured 
complete monopoly by doing away with competition on either river, fcxcept 
from independent lines. Salem Will. Farmer, Jan. 7, 1876; Adams Or., 

50 The steam-tug Fire-Fly was lost by springing aleak on the bar in Feb. 
1854. Thomas Hawks, captain, L. H. Swaney, Van Dyke, Wisenthral, and 
other persons unknown were drowned. At the close of the year the steam 
ship Southerner, Capt. F. A. Sampson, was wrecked on the Washington 
coast. The steamer America, bound to Oregon and Washington ports, was 
burned in the harbor of Crescent City the following summer. 

The steamships engaged in the carrying trade to Oregon from 1850 to 
1855 were the Carolina, which I think made but one trip, the Seagull, Pan 
ama, Oregon, Gold Hunter, Columbia, Quickstep, General Warren, Fremont, 
America, Pei/tonia, Southerner, and Republic. Three of these had been 
wrecked, the Seagull, General Warren, and Southerner, in as many years. 
Others survived unexpectedly. 


ous damage. The treaty Indians of Rogue River 
sickened in the reservation, and the agent permitted 
them to roam a little in search of health. Some of 
them being shot by white men, their chiefs demanded 
that the murderers be brought to justice, as had been 
promised them, but it was not done. Few of such 
cases ever came into the courts, 51 and it was as rare 
an occurrence for an Indian to be tried by process 
of law. 52 

50 great had been their wrongs during the past 
five years, so unbearable the outrages of the white 
race, that desperation seized the savages of the 
Klamath, Scott, and Shasta valleys, who now took 
the war-path toward the country of the Modocs, to 
join with them in a general butchery of immigrants 
and settlers. 

In the absence of a regular military force, that at 
Fort Jones, consisting of only seventy men, wholly 
insufficient to guard two hundred miles of immigrant 
road, the governor was requested to call into service 
volunteers, which was done. Governor Davis also 
wrote to General Wool for troops. Meanwhile a 
company was sent out under Jesse Walker, who kept 
the savages at bay, and on its return received the 
commendations of Governor Curry, Davis having in 
the mean time resigned. 

This expedition was used by the dominant party 
for many years to browbeat the influential whigs of 
southern Oregon. The Statesman facetiously named 
it the "expedition to fight the emigrants;" and in 
plainer language denounced the quartermaster-gen 
eral and others as thieves, because the expedition cost 
forty-five thousand dollars. 53 

51 In Judge Deady s court the following year a white man was convicted 
of manslaughter of an Indian, and was sentenced to two years in the peni 
tentiary. Or. Statesman, June 2, 1855. 

52 The slayers of Edward Wills and Kyle, and those chastised by Major 
Kearney in 1851, are the only Indians ever punished for crime by either civil 
or military authorities in southern Oregon. U. 8. H. Misc. Doc. 47, 58, 35th 
cong. 2d sess. 

53 Grasshoppers had destroyed vegetation almost entirely in the southern 
valleys this year, which led to a great expense for forage. 


Drew in his report seemed to apologize for the 
great cost, and pointed out that the prices were not 
so high as in 1853, and that many expenses then in 
curred had been avoided; but he could not prevent 
the turning into political capital of so large a claim 
against the government, though it was the merchants 
of Yreka and not of Jacksonville who overcharged, 
if overcharging there was. 54 The attacks made on 
the whigs of southern Oregon led to the accumula 
tion of a mass of evidence as to prices, and to years 
of delay in the settlement of accounts. On the side 
of the democrats in this struggle was General Wool, 
then in command of the division of the Pacific, who 
wrote to Adjutant-general Thomas at New York 
that the governor of Oregon had mustered into ser 
vice a company of volunteers, but that Captain Smith 
was of opinion that they were not needed, and that 
it was done on the representations of speculators who 
were expecting to be benefited by furnishing sup 
plies. 55 

There was a massacre of immigrants near Fort 
Boisd in August, that caused much excitement on 
the Willamette. The party was known as Ward s 
train, being led by Alexander Ward of Kentucky, 
and consisting of twenty-one persons, most of whom 
were slain. 56 Not only was the outrage one that 
could not be overlooked, or adequately punished by 
civil or military courts, but it was cause for alarm 
such as was expressed in the report of Quartermaster 
Drew, that a general Indian war was about to be pre 
cipitated upon the country, an apprehension strength 
ened by reports from many sources. 

In order to make plain all that followed the events 
recorded in this chapter, it is necessary to revert to 

54 The merchants and traders of Jacksonville, who were unable to furnish 
the necessary supplies, which were drawn from Yreka, testified as to prices. 
U. S. H. Mi*c. Doc. 47, 32-5, 35th cong. 2d sess. 

5; > Message of President Pierce, with correspondence of General Wool, in 
U. ti. Sen. Ex. Doc. 16, 33d cong. 2d sess. 

56 For particulars see California Inter Pocula, this series, passim. 


statements contained in tho correspondence of the war 
department. That which most concerned this par 
ticular period is contained in a document transmitted 
to the senate, at the request of that body, by Presi 
dent Pierce, at the second session of the thirty-third 
congress. In this document is a communication of 
General Wool to General Cooper at Washington 
City, in which is mentioned the correspondence of 
the former with Major Rains of the 4th infantry, 
in command of Fort Dalles, and of Major Alvord, 
U. S. paymaster at Vancouver, who had each written 
him on the subject of Indian relations. As the re 
port of Rains has been mentioned in another place, 
it is not necessary to repeat it here. Colonel George 
Wright had contributed his opinion concerning the 
" outrages of the lawless whites" in northern Cali 
fornia, and to strengthen the impression, had quoted 
from the report of Indian Agent Culver concerning 
the conduct of a party of miners on Illinois River, who 
had, as he averred, wantonly attacked an Indian en 
campment and brutally murdered two Indians and 
wounded others. 57 The facts were presented to Wool, 
and by Wool to headquarters at Washington. The 
general wrote, that to prevent as far as possible the 
recurrence of further outrages against the Indians, 
he had sent a detachment of about fifty men to re- 
enforce Smith at Fort Lane; but that to keep the 
peace and protect the Indians against the white people, 
the force in California and Oregon must be increased. 
This letter was written in March 1854. 

On the 31st of March, Wool again wrote General 
Scott, at New York, that the difficulty of preserving 

57 U. S. Sen. Ex. Doc. 16, 14-15, 33d cong. 2d sess. Lieut J. C. Bonny- 
castle, commanding Fort Jones, in relating the attack on some of the Shastaa 
whom he \\ as endeavoring to protect, and whom Captain Goodall was escort 
ing to Scott s Valley to place in his hands, says: Most of the Indians hav 
ing escaped into the adjacent chapparal, where they lay concealed, the whites 
began a search for them, during which an Indian from behind his bush for 
tunately shot and killed a white man named McKaney. In the same report 
he gives the names of the men who had fired on the Indians, the list not in 
cluding the name of McKaney. U. S. Sen. Ex. Doc. 16, p. 81, 33d cong. 2d 
Bess.; U. S. II . Ex. Doc. 1, 446-60, vol. i. pt i., 33d cong. 2d sess. 


peace, owing to the increase of immigration and the 
encroachments of the white people upon the Indians, 
which deprived them of their improvements, was con 
tinually increasing. There were, he said, less than a 
thousand men to guard California, Oregon, Washing 
ton, and Utah, and more were wanted. The request 
was referred by Scott to the secretary of war, and 

In May, Wool sent Inspector-general J. K. F. 
Mansfield to make a tour of the Pacific department, 
and see if the posts established there should be made 
permanent; but expressed the opinion that ythose in 
northern California could be dispensed with, not 
withstanding that the commanders of forts Reading 
and Jones were every few weeks sending reports 
filled with accounts of collisions between the white 
population and the Indians. 

At this point I observe certain anomalies. Congress 
had invited settlers to the Pacific coast for political 
reasons. These settlers had been promised protection 
from the savages. That protection had never to 
any practical extent been rendered; but gradually 
the usual race conflict had begun and strengthened 
until it assumed alarming proportions. The few 
officers of the military department of the govern 
ment, sent here ostensibly to protect its citizens, had 
found it necessary to devote themselves to protecting 
the Indians. Over and over they asserted that the 
white men were alone to blame for the disturbances. 

Writing to the head of the department at New 
York, General Wool said that the emigration to Cal 
ifornia and Oregon would soon render unnecessary a 
number of posts which had been established at a great 
expense, and that if it were left to his discretion, he 
should abolish forts Reading and Miller in California, 
and establish a temporary post in the Pit River coun 
try; also break up one or two posts in northern Cali 
fornia and Oregon, which could only mean forts Jones 
and Lane, and establish another on Puget Sound, 


and, if possible, one in the Boise country ; though his 
preference would be given to a company of dragoons 
to traverse the Snake River country in the summer 
and return to The Dalles in the winter. 

Governor Curry, on learning that the expedition 
under Haller had accomplished nothing, and that the 
whole command numbered only sixty men, and think 
ing it too small to accomplish anything in the Snake 
River country should the Indians combine to make 
war on the immigration, on the 18th of September 
issued a proclamation calling for two companies of 
volunteers, of sixty men each, to serve for six months, 
unless sooner discharged, and to furnish their own 
horses, equipments, arms, and ammunition; the com 
panies to choose their own officers, and report to Brig 
adier General Nesmith on the 25th, one company to 
rendezvous at Salem and the other at Oregon City. 

Commissions were issued to George K. Sheil, as 
sistant adjutant-general, John McCracken, assistant 
quartermaster-general, and Victor Trevitt, commissary 
and quartermaster. A request was despatched to 
Vancouver, to Bonneville, to ask from the United 
States arms, ammunition, and stores with which to 
supply the volunteer companies, which Bonneville re 
fused, saying that in his opinion a winter campaign 
was neither necessary nor practicable. Nesmith be 
ing of like opinion, the governor withdrew his call 
for volunteers. 

When the legislative assembly convened, the gov 
ernor placed before them all the information he pos 
sessed on Indian affairs, whereupon a joint committee 
was appointed to consider the question. Lane had 
already been informed of the occurrences in the Boise 
country, but a resolution was adopted instructing 
the governor to correspond with General Wool and 
Colonel Bonneville in relation to the means available 
for an expedition against the Shoshones. The total 
force then in the Pacific department was 1,200, dra 
goons, artillery, and infantry; of which nine compa- 


nies of infantry, 335 strong, were stationed in Ore 
gon and Washington, and others were under orders 
for the Pacific. 

Governor Davis had written Wool of anticipated 
difficulties in the south; whereupon the latter in 
structed Captain Smith to reenfbrce his squadron 
with the detachment of horse lately under command 
of Colonel Wright, and with them to proceed to 
Klarnath Lake to render such assistance as the immi 
gration should require. About a month later he re 
ported to General Thomas that he had called Smith s 
attention to the matter, and that he was informed that 
all necessary measures had been taken to prevent dis 
turbances on the emigrant road. 

In congress the passage of the army bill failed this 
year, though a section was smuggled into the appro 
priation bill adding two regiments of infantry and 
two of cavalry to the existing force, and authorizing 
the president, by the consent of the senate, to appoint 
one brigadier general. It was further provided that 
arms should be distributed to the militia of the terri 
tories, under regulations prescribed by the president, 
according to the act of 1808 arming the militia of 
the states. No special provision was made for the 
protection of the north-west coast, and Oregon was 
left to meet the impending conflict as best it might. 





IN August 1854 Governor Davis resigned. There 
was no fault to be found with him, except that he was 
imported from the east. In resigning, he gave as a 
reason his domestic affairs. He was tendered a part 
ing dinner at Salem, which was declined; and after a 
residence of eight months in the territory he returned 
to the states with a half-declared intention of making 
Oregon his home, but he died soon after reaching the 

O O 

east. Although a good man, and a democrat, he was 
advised to resign, that Curry might be appointed 
governor, which was done in November following. 1 

Curry was the favorite of that portion of the dem 
ocratic party known as the Salem clique, and whose 
organ was the Statesman. He followed the States- 
mans lead, and it defended him and his measures, 
which were really its own. He was a partisan more 
through necessity than choice, and in his intercourse 
with the people he was a liberal and courteous gentle- 

1 Lane s Autobiography, MS., 59; Or. Statesman, Dec. 12, 1854; Amer. 
Almanac, 1855-6. 1857-9. 


LEGISLATURE 1854-5. 349 

man. Considering his long acquaintance with Oregon 
affairs, and his probity of character, he was perhaps 
as suitable a person for the position as could have 
been found in the party to which he belonged. 2 He 
possessed the advantage of being already, through his 
secretaryship, well acquainted with the duties of his 
office, in which he was both faithful and industrious. 
Such was the man who was chosen to be governor of 
Oregon during the remaining years of its minority, 
and the most trying period of its existence. 

The legislature met as usual the first Monday in 
December, 3 with James K. Kelly president of tha coun 
cil, and L. F. Cartee, speaker of the lower house. 

2 George Law Curry, born in Philadelphia, July 2, 1820, was the son of 
George Curry, who served as captain of the Washington Blues in the engage 
ment preceding the capture of Washington city in the war of 1812; and 
grandson of Christopher Curry, an emigrant from England who settled in 
Philadelphia, and lies in the Christ Church burial-ground of that city. He 
visited the republic of Colombia when a child, and returned to the family 
homestead near Harrisburg, Penn. His father dying at the age of 11, he went 
to Boston, where he was apprenticed to a jeweler, finding time for study and 
literary pursuits, of which he was fond. In 1838 he was elected and served 
two terms as president of the Mechanic Apprentices Library, upon whose 
records may be found many of his addresses and poems. In 1843 he removed 
to St Louis, and there joined with Joseph M. Field and other theatrical and 
literary men in publishing the Reveille, emigrating to Oregon in 1846, after 
which time his history is a part of the history of the territory. His private 
life was without reproach, and his habits those of a man of letters. He lived 
to see Oregon pass safely through the trials of her probationary period to be 
a thriving state, and died July 28, 1878. Biography of George L. Curry, MS., 
1-3; Seattle Pacific Tribune, July 31, 1878; Portland Standard, July 13, 
1878; S. F. Post, July 30, 1878; Ashland Tidings, Aug. 9, 1878; Salem States 
man, Aug. 2, 1878; Portland Oregonian, July 29, 1878. 

3 The members elect of the council were: J. C. Peebles of Marion; J. K. 
Kelly, Clackamasand Wasco; Dr Cleveland of Jackson; L. W. Phslpsof Linn; 
Dr Greer, Washington and Columbia; J. M. Fulkerson, Polk an;l Tillamook; 
John Richardson, Yamhill; A. L. Humphrey, Bentoii and Lana; Levi Scott, 
Umpqua. The lower house consisted of G. W. Coffinbury, of Clatsop; E. S. 
Tanner, David Logan, D. H. Belknap, Washington; A. J. Hembree, A. G. 
Henry, Yamhill; H. N. V. Holmes, Polk and Tiilamook; I. F. M. Butler, 
Polk; R. B. Hinton, W^ayman St Clair, Benton; L. F. Cartee, W. A. Stark 
weather, A. L. Lovejoy, Clackamas; C. P. Crandall, R. C. Geer, N. Ford, 
Marion; Luther Elkins, Delazon Smith, Hugh Brown, Linn; A. W. Patterson, 
Jacob Gillespie, Lane; James F. Gazley, Douglas; Patrick Dunn, Alexander 
Mclntire, Jackson; O. Humason, Wasco; Robert J. Ladd, Umpqua; J. B. 
Condon, Columbia; J. H. Foster, Coos, elected but not present. Two other 
names, Dunn and Walker, appear in the proceedings and reports, but no clew 
is given to their residence. Or. Jour. Council, 1854-5; Or. Statesman, Dec. 
12, 1854. The clerks of the council were B. Genois, J. Costello, and M. C. 
Edwards. Sergeant-at-arms, J. K. Delashmutt; doorkeeper, J. L. Gwinn. 
The clerks of the lower house were Victor Trevitt, James Elkins, S. M. 
Hammond. Sergeant-afc-arms, G. L. Russell; doorkeeper, Blevins. 


The session was begun and held in two rooms of the 
state house, which was so far finished as to be used 
for the meetings of the assembly. The principal busi 
ness, after disposing of the Indian question, was con 
cerning the public buildings and their location. The 
money for the state house was all expended, and the 
commissioners were in debt, while the building was 
still unfinished. The penitentiary fund was also nearly 
exhausted, while scarcely six cells of the prison were 
finished, 4 and the contractors were bringing the gov 
ernment in their debt. The university commissioners 
had accepted for a site five acres of land tendered by 
Joseph P. Friedley at Corvallis, and had let the con 
tracts for building materials, but had so far only ex 
pended about three thousand dollars; while the com 
missioners appointed to select, protect, sell, and control 
the university lands had made selections amounting 
to 18,000 acres, or less than one township. Of this 
amount between 3,000 and 4,000 acres had been sold, 
for which over $9,000 had been realized. In this case 
there was no indebtedness. No action had yet been 
taken concerning the Oregon City claim, which was 
a part of the university land, but proceedings would 
soon be begun to test the validity of titles. 5 To meet 
the expense of litigation, an act was passed authoriz 
ing the employment of counsel, but with a proviso 
that in the event of congress releasing this claim to 

* The territorial prisoners were placed in charge of the penitentiary com 
missioners about the beginning of 1854. There were at that time three con 
victs, six others being added during the year. It is shown by a memorial from 
the city of Portland that the territorial prisoners had been confined in the 
city prison, which they had set on fire and some escaped. The city claimed 
indemnity in $12,000, recovering $600. A temporary building was then 
erected by the commissioners for the confinement of those who could not be 
employed on the penitentiary building, some of whom were hired out to the 
highest bidder. It was difficult to obtain keepers on account of the low sal 
ary. It was raised at this session to $1,000 per annum, with $600 for each 
assistant. G. D. R. Boyd, the first keeper, received $716 for 7 months 

5 A memorial had been addressed to congress by Anderson of the legisla 
ture of 1852-3, praying that the Oregon City claim might be released to Mc- 
Loughlin, and a township of land granted that would not be subject to liti 
gation. Whether it was forwarded is uncertain; but if so, it produced no 


McLoughlin, the money obtained from the sale of 
lots should be refunded out of the sale of the second 
township granted by congress for university purposes 
in the last amendment to the land law of Oregon. 6 
Such was the condition of the several appropriations 
for the benefit of the territory, at the beginning of 
the session. 

And now began bargaining. Further appropria 
tions must be obtained for the public buildings. Cor- 
vallis desired the capital, and the future appropria 
tions. At the same time the members from southern 
Oregon felt that their portion of the state was entitled 
to a share in the distribution of the public money. 
An act was passed relocating the seat of government 
at Corvallis, and removing the university to Jackson 
ville. 7 It was not even pretended that the money 
to be spent at Jacksonville would benefit those it was 
intended to educate, but only that it would benefit 
Jackson county. 8 

The act which gave Corvallis the capital ordained 
that "every session of the legislative assembly, either 
general or special," should be convened at that place, 
and appointed a new board of commissioners to erect 
suitable public buildings at the new seat of govern 
ment. 9 Congress made a further appropriation of 
$27,000 for the state house, and $40,000 for the peni 
tentiary, to be expended in such a manner as to in 
sure completion without further aid from the United 
States. 10 Then it began to be understood that the re 
location act, not having been submitted to congress as 
required by the organic act, was not operative, and 

6 This is an allusion to a memorial similar to Anderson s passed at the 
previous session. 

7 Or. Laws, in Statesman, Feb. 6 and 13, 1855. 

8 In the bargain between Avery and the Jackson county member, said the 
Statesman, the latter remarked that he did not expect it [the university] to 
remain there, but there would be about $12,000 they could expend before it 
could be removed, which would put up a building that would answer for a 

9 B. R. Biddle, J. S. Mcltuney, and Fred. Waymire constituted the new 
board. Or. Statesman, Feb. 6, 1855. 

10 Cong. Globe, 1854-5, app. 380, 33d cong. 2d 


that the seat of government was not removed from 
Salem to Corvallis by that act, nor would it be until 
such times as congress should take action. Nor could 
the governor pay out any part of the appropriation 
under instructions from the legislature, except under 
contracts already existing. The executive office, more 
over, should not be removed from Salem before con 
gress should have approved the relocation act. 11 So 
said the comptroller; but the governor s office was 
already removed to Corvallis when the comptroller 
reached this decision. The Statesman, too, which did 
the public printing, had obeyed the legislative enact 
ment, and moved its office to the new seat of govern 
ment. 12 

When the legislature met in the following Decem 
ber, Grover introduced a bill to relocate the capital 
at Salem, which became a law on the 12th of De 
cember, 1855. But this action was modified by the 
passage of an act to submit the question to the people 
at the next election. Before this was done, and per 
haps in order that it might be done, the almost com 
pleted state house, with the library and furniture, was 
destroyed by fire, on the night of the 30th of Decem 
ber, which was the work of an incendiary. The 
whigs charged it upon the democrats, and the demo 
crats charged it upon "some one interested in having 
the capital at Corvallis." 13 However that may have 
been, it fixed the fate of Corvallis in this regard. 1 * 
Further than this, it settled definitely the location 
question by exhausting the patience of the people. 15 

11 Or. Jour. Council, 1855-6, app. 12. 

12 Corvallis had at this time a court-house, two taverns, two doctors, and 
several lawyers offices, a school-house, the Statesman office, a steam saw-mill, 
and two churches. The methodist church was dedicated Dec. 16, 1855, G. 
Hines officiating. Or. Statesman, Oct. 13 and Dec. 8, 1855; Speech of Grover, 
in Id., Dec. 18, 1855. 

Deady s ffisL Or., MS., 26; Grover s Pub. Life in Or., MS., 51-4; Or. 
Statesman, Jan. 29, 1856; Id., July 29 and Sept. 30, 1856; Or. Argus, Jan. 
5, 1856; Or. Jour. House, 1855-6, app. 165-70; Armstrong * Or., 17. 

14 At the election in June 1856. the votes for the capital between the prin 
cipal towns stood, Portland, 1,154; Salem, 2,049; Corvallis, 1,998; Eugene, 

15 At the final election between these places the people refused to vote, 


The legislature was reduced to the necessity of meet 
ing in hired apartments for nearly twenty years before 
the state was able to erect a suitable structure. 

The $40,000 appropriated to complete the peniten 
tiary was expended on a building which should not 
have cost one third of the two appropriations, the 
state a dozen years later erecting another and better 
one at Salem. 

To return to the legislative proceedings of 1854-5. 
Another partisan act of this body was the passage of 
a bill in which voting viva voce was substituted for 
voting by ballot a blow aimed at anticipated suc 
cess of the new party; and this while the Statesman 
made war on the anti -foreign and anti-catholic prin 
ciples of the know-nothings, forgetting how zealously 
opposed to foreigners and catholics the first great 
democratic leader of Oregon, S. R. Thurston, had 
been. Specious reasons were presented in debate, for 
the adoption of the new rule, while the Statesman 
openly threatened to deprive of public patronage all 
who by the viva voce system were discovered to be 
opposed to democratic principles. In view of the 
coming election, the viva voce bill possessed much sig 
nificance. It compelled every man to announce by 
voice, or by a ticket handed to the judge, his choice, 
which in either case was cried aloud. This surveillance 
was a severe ordeal for some who were not ready 
openly to part company with the democracy, and 
doubtless had the effect to deter many. As a coer 
cive measure, it was cunningly conceived. Every 
whig in the house voted against it, and one third of 
the democrats, and in the council the majority was 
but two. This bill also possessed peculiar significance 
in view of the passage of another requiring the people 
to vote at the next election on the question of a 

being, as the Statesman said, tired of the subject. Avery, who was elected 
to the legislature in 1856, again endeavored to bring the subject before them, 
but the bill was defeated. 

HIST. OR., VOL. II. 23 


state constitutional convention, for which the ruling 
party, foreseeing that appropriations for the territory 
were about exhausted, was now ripe. The three 
measures here mentioned comprise all of the impor 
tant work of the session. 16 

An effort was made in the election of 1854 to get 
some temperance men elected to the legislature, in 
order to secure a prohibitory liquor law; and for this 
purpose a third party, called the Maine-law party, 
had its candidates in the field. None were elected on 
this issue, but much opposition was aroused. 17 

16 Multnomah county was created at this session out of portions of Wash 
ington and Clackamas, making it comprise a narrow strip lying on both sides 
of the Willamette, including Sauvd Island, and fronting on the Columbia 
River, with the county-seat at Portland. The first county court was organ 
ized Jan. 17, 1855; the board consisting of G. W. Vaughn, Ainslee R. Scott, 
and James Bybee, The bonds of Shubrick Norris, auditor, of William Mc- 
Millen, sheriff, and A. D. Fitch, treasurer, were presented and approved. 
Rooms were rented in the building of Coleman Barrell, OH the corner of First 
and Salmon streets, for a court-house. R. B. Wilson was appointed coroner 
at the second meeting of the board. The first board elected at the polls 
was composed of David Powell, Ellis Walker, and Samuel Farman, which 
met July 2, 1855. The first term of the district court was held April IGth, 
Olney presiding. The first grand jury drawn consisted of J. S. Dickinson, 
Clark Hay, Felix Hicklin, K. A. Peterson, Edward Allbright, Thomas H. 
Stallard, William L. Chittenden, George Hamilton, William Cree, Robert 
Thompson, William H. Frush, Samuel Farman. William Hall, William 
Sherlock, W. P. Burke, Jacob Kline, Jackson Powell, John Powell. The 
first cause entered on the docket was Thomas V. Smith vs William H. Mor 
ton, David Logan, and Mark Chinn. 

An act of this legislature authorized the location of county seats by a ma 
jority of votes at the annual elections. The county seat of Umpquawas thus 
iixed at Elkton, on the land claim of James F. Levens. An act was passed 
for the support of indigent insane persons. There were a number of applica 
tions made to the legislature to have doubtful marriages legalized; but the 
judiciary committee, to whom they were referred, refused to entertain the 
petitions, on the ground that it was not their duty to shelter persons commit 
ting crimes against the laws and public sentiment. Notwithstanding, a 
special act was passed in the case of John Carey, who had a wife and children 
in the States, to make legitimate the children of a woman whom he had in 
formally taken to wife while crossing the plains. Or. Statesman, April 3, 

17 Notwithstanding the antagonism exhibited at the opening of the session, 
the Maine-law bill being withdrawn, an act was passed of the nature of a local- 
option law, requiring retail dealers, or those who wished to sell by any quan 
tity less than a quart, to obtain the signatures of a majority of the legal voters 
in their respective precincts to petitions praying that licenses should be granted 
them; if in a city, the signatures of a majority of the legal voters in the 
ward where it was designed to sell. Before proceeding to obtain the signa 
tures, the applicant was required to post notices for ten days of his intention 
to apply for a license, in order to afford an opportunity for remonstrances to 
be signed. There were two many ways of evading a law of this nature to 
make it serve the purpose of prohibition, even in a temperance community; 


The report of the territorial auditor showed that 
whereas at the beginning of the present fiscal year 
he had found $4.28 in the treasury, at its close, after 
balancing accounts, there were $68.94 on hand. The 
territory was in debt between $7,000 and $8,000; but 
the estimated revenue for the next year would be 
over $11,000, which would not only discharge the 
debt, but lessen the present rate of taxation. En 
couraged by this report, the legislature made appro 
priations which amounted to nearly as much as the 
anticipated revenue, leaving the debt of the territory 
but little diminished, and the rate of taxation the 
same a course for which, when another legislature 
had been elected, they received the reproaches of their 

own organs. 18 

There began in April 1855, with the meeting of 
the democratic territorial convention at Salem, a 
determined struggle to put down the rising influence 
of whig principles. 19 At the first ballot for delegate 
to congress, Lane received fifty-three out of fifty- nine 
votes, the six remaining being cast by Clackamas 
county for Pratt. A movement had been made in 
Linn county to put forward Delazon Smith, but it 
was prudently withdrawn on the temper of the major 
ity becoming manifest. Lane county had also in 
structed its delegates to vote for Judge George H. 
Williams as its second choice. But the great per 
sonal popularity of Lane threw all others into the 

On the 18th of April the whigs held a convention 
at Corvallis, for the purpose of nominating a delegate, 

and for this very reason it was possible to pass it in a legislature unfriendly 
to prohibition. 

18 Or. Jour. Council, 1854-5, app. 21-7. The territorial officers elected 
by the assembly were Nat. H. Lane, treasurer; James A. Bennett, auditor; 
and Milton Shannon, librarian. 

19 Said the Statesman of April 17th: Defeat and disgrace to know-noth 
ing whiggery and canting hypocrisy was a decree which went forth from 
that meeting. . .The handwriting is upon the wall, and it reads, "Jo Lane, a 
democratic legislature, democratic prosecutors, democratic everything." 


and made choice of Ex-governor Gaines, against four 
other aspirants. The majority being for Gaines on the 
first ballot, T. J. Dryer and A. G. Henry withdrew, 
leaving M. A. Chinn and A. Holbrook. Gaines then 
received sixty-three votes and Chinn three. The 
convention adopted as its platform, "General Gaines 
against the world," and the campaign opened. 20 A 
movement was put on foot by the religious portion of 
the community to form a temperance party, and to 
elect members to the legislature on that issue; and a 
meeting was held for that purpose April 16th, which 
was addressed by George L. Atkinson, H. K. Hines, 
and W. L. Adams, the last named a rising politician, 
who in the spring of 1855 established the Oregon 
Argus, and advocated among other reforms a prohibi 
tory liquor law. As the paper was independent, it 
tended greatly to keep in check the overweening 
assumption of the Statesman, and was warmly wel 
comed by the new party. 21 

20 As the reader has been so long familiar with the names of the demo 
cratic leaders, it will be proper here to mention those of the territorial whig 
committee. They were E. N. Cooke, James D. McCurdy, Alex. Mclntyre, 
0. A. Reed, and T. J. Dryer. Oreyonian, April 14, 1855. 

21 The Oregon An/us was printed on the press and with the materials of 
the old Spectator, which closed its career in March 1855. The editor and 
publisher, Mr Adams, possessed the qualifications necessary to conduct an 
independent journal, having self-esteem united with argumentative powers; 
moreover, he had a conscience. In politics, he leaned to the side of the 
whigs, and in religion was a campbellite. This church had a respectable 
membership in Oregon. Adams sometimes preached to its congregations, 
and was known pretty generally as Parson Billy. The mistakes he made in 
conducting his paper were those likely to grow out of these conditions. Being 
independent, it was open to everybody, and therefore liable to take in occa 
sionally persons of doubtful veracity. Being honest, it sometimes betrayed a 
lack of worldly wisdom. The Statesman called it the Airgoose; nevertheless, 
it greatly assisted in forming into a consistent and cohesive body the scat 
tered materials that afterward composed the republican party. The Argus 
continued to be published at Oregon City till May 1863, D. W. Craig being 
associated with Adams in its publication. Six months after its removal, hav 
ing united with the Republican of Eugene City, the two journals passed into 
the hands of a company who had purchased the Statesman, the political status 
of the latter having undergone a change. Salem Directory, 1871, p. 81. Adams 
had in the mean time been appointed collector of customs at Astoria by Lin 
coln, in 1861, and held this position until he resigned it in 1866. In 1868 
he travelled in South America, and finally went to New England, where he 
delivered a lecture on Oregon and the Pacific Coast, at Tremont Temple, Oct. 
14, 1869, which was published in pamphlet form at Boston the same year. 
The pamphlet contains many interesting facts, presented in the incisive and 
yet often humorous style which characterized the author s writings as a jour- 


The Argus, however, placed the name of Gaines at 
the head of its editorial columns as its candidate for 
delegate to congress. The Portland Times* 1 was 
strongly democratic, and sustained the nomination of 
Lane. The Portland Democratic Standard labored 
of course for its proprietor, Pratt, till the almost 
unanimous nomination of Lane by the Salem conven 
tion took away its proper occupation, and it turned to 
general party uses. 23 

Lane arrived in Oregon early in April, and soon 
after the convention the campaign began, the whigs 
and know-nothings, or native Americans, uniting on 
Gaines and against the democracy. 

The native Americans, it may be here said, were 
largely drawn from the missionary and anti-Hudson s 
Bay Company voters, who took the opportunity fur 
nished by the rise of the new party to give utterance 
to their long-cherished antipathies toward the foreign 
element in the settlement of Oregon. Some of them 
were men who had made themselves odious to right- 
thinking people of all parties by their intemperate 
zeal against foreign-born colonists and the catholic 
religion, basing their arguments for know-nothing 

nalist. He studied medicine while in the east, and practised it after return 
ing to Oregon. In the West Shore, a monthly literary paper began at Port 
land in 1875 by L. Samuels, are Rambling Notes of Olden Times by Adams, 
in which are some striking pictures of the trials and pleasures of pioneer life, 
besides many other articles; but his principal work in life was done as editor 
of the paper he originated. 

22 Of the two papers started in 1850, the Star was removed to Portland 
in 1851, where it became the Times, edited first by Waterman, and subse 
quently by Hibben, followed by Russell D. Austin. It ran until 1858 in 
the interest of the democratic party. West Shore, Jan. 1876. Austin mar 
ried Miss Mary A. Collins of Holyoke, Mass. Oregon Argus, Oct. 13, 1855. 

23 Portland Orenonian, April 15, 1876. Another paper that came into 
being in 1855 was the Pacific Christian Advocate. It was first called the 
North Pacific Christian Herald, and had for publishers A. F. Waller 1 , Thos 
H. Pearne, P. G. Buchanan, J. R. Robb, and C. S. Kingsley, with Thos H. 
Pcarne for manager. See Or. Statesman, June 16, 1855. It soon afterward 
changed its name to Pacific Christian Advocate, published by A. F. Waller, 
J. L. Parrish, J. D. Boon, C. S. Kingsley, and H. K. Hines, with Thos H. 
Pcarne editor. The following year the methodist general conference, in ses 
sion at Indianapolis, resolved to establish a book depository and publish 
a weekly paper in Oregon; and that the book agents at New York be advised 
to purchase the Pacific Christian Advocate, already started, at $3,500, and 
to employ an editor with a fixed salary. Or. and its institutions, 107-8. 


principles upon the alleged participation in the Whit 
man massacre of the catholic priesthood. 24 

Anything like cant entering into American politics 
has always proven a failure ; and the democratic party 
were not too refined to give utterance to an honest 
disgust of the bigotry which attempted it in Oregon. 
The election resulted in the complete triumph of 
democracy, Lane s majority being twenty-one hun 
dred and forty-nine. 25 There were but four whigs 
elected to the assembly, two in each house. A dem 
ocratic prosecuting attorney was elected in each judi 
cial district. 26 The party had indeed secured every 
thing it aimed at, excepting the vote for a state con 
stitution, and that measure promised to be soon se 
cured, as the majority against it had lessened more 
than half since the last election. 

In spite of and perhaps on account of the dom 
inance of democratic influence in Oregon, there was 
a conviction growing in the minds of thinking people 
not governed by partisan feeling, which was in time 
to revolutionize politics, and bring confusion upon the 
men who lorded it so valiantly in these times. This 
was, that the struggle for the extension of slave ter 
ritory which the southern states were making, aided 
and abetted by the national democratic party, would 
be renewed when the state constitution came to be 
formed, and that they must be ready to meet the 

In view of the danger that by some political jug 
glery the door would be left open for the admission 
of slavery, a convention of free-soilers was called to 
meet at Albany on the 27th of June, 1855. Little 
more was done at this time than to pass resolutions 

24 Or. Am. Evang. Unionist, Aug. 2, 1848. 

25 Official, in Or. Statesman, June 30, 1855. The Tribune Almanac for 
1856 gives Lane s majority as 2,235. The entire vote cast was 10,121. There 
were believed to be about 11,100 voters in the territory. 

26 George K. Sheil in the 1st district; Thomas S. Brandon in the 2d; R. E. 
Stratton in the 3d; and W. G. T Vault in Jackson county, which was al 
lowed to constitute a district. 


expressing the sentiments and purposes of the mem 
bers, and to appoint a committee to draft a platform 
for the anti-slavery party, to be reported to an ad 
journed meeting to be held at Corvallis on the 31st 
of October. 27 This was the beginning of a move 
ment in which the Argus played an important part, 
and which resulted in the formation of the republican 
party of Oregon. It was the voice crying in the 
wilderness which prepared the way for the victory of 
free principles on the Northwest Coast, and secured 
to the original founders of the Oregon colony the 
entire absence of the shadow and blight of an insti 
tution which when they left their homes in the 
States the earliest immigrations determined to leave 
behind them forever. With regard, however, to the 
progress of the new party, before it had time to com 
plete a formal organization, events had occurred in 
Oregon of so absorbing a nature as to divert the 
public mind from its contemplation. 

I have already spoken of the round of visits which 
Indian Superintendent Palmer made in 1854, about 
which time he concluded some treaties none of those 
made by Gaines ever having been ratified with the 
Indians of the Willamette Valley. 28 It was not until 
October that he was able to go to the Indians of south - 

27 The committee were John Conner, B. F. Whitson, Thomas S. Kendall, 
Origen Thomson, and J. P. Tate. Or. Arcjus, July 7, 1855. The members of 
this first anti-slavery meeting of Oregon were Origen Thomson, H H 
Hicklin, T. S. Kendall, Jno. R. McClure, Wm T. Baxter, Wilson BJain, Jno. 
McCoy, Samuel Hyde, W. L. Coon, Wm Marks, W. C. Hicklin, H. F 
McCully, David Irwin, John Smith, Isaac Pest, J. VV. Stewart, G. W. Lam 
bert, J. B. Forsyth, J. M. McCall, John Conner, Thos Cannon, B. F. Whit- 
son, W. C. Johnson, Hezekiah Johnson, J. T. Craig, D. C. Hackley, S. R. 
McClelland, Robert A. Buck, Samuel Bell, J. P. Tate, U. H. Dunning 
Alfred Wheeler, Samuel Colver, D. H. Bodinn, W. C. Garwood, D. Beach] 
Charles Ferry, J. F. Thompson, Milton B. Starr. Or. Aryus, July 7, 1855. 

28 A treaty was made with the Tualatin band of Calapooyas for their land 
lying in Washington and Yamhill counties, for which they received , ],. *}00 in 
goods, money, and farm tools; also provisions for one year, and annuities of 
goods for twenty years, besides a tract of 40 acres to each family, two of 
which were to be ploughed and fenced, and a cabin erected upon it. Teach 
ers of farming, milling, blacksmithing, etc., were to be furnished with manual- 
labor schools for the children. The provisions of all of Palmer s treaties were 


ern Oregon with the assurance that congress had rat 
ified the treaties made at the close of the war of 1853, 
with some amendments to which they consented some 
what unwillingly, 29 but were pacified on receiving their 
first instalment of goods. S. H. Culver was removed, 
and George H. Ambrose made agent on the Rogue 
River reservation. 30 By the 1st of February, 1855, all 
the lands between the Columbia River and the summit 
of the Calapooya Mountains, and between the Coast 
and Cascade ranges, had been purchased for the United 
States, the Indians agreeing to remove to such local 
ities as should be selected for them, it being the in 
tention to place them east of the Cascades. But the 
opposition made by all natives, to being forced upon 
the territory of other tribes, or to having other tribes 
brought into contact with them, on their own lands, 
influenced Palmer to select a reservation on the coast, 
extending from Cape Lookout on the north to a point 
half-way between the Siuslaw and Umpqua rivers, 
taking in the whole country west of the Coast Range, 
with all the rivers and bays, for a distance of ninety 
miles, upon which the Willamette and coast tribes 
were to be placed as soon as the means should be at 
hand to remove them. 

No attempt to treat with the Oregon tribes east of 
the Cascade Mountains for their lands had ever been 
made, and except the efforts of the missionaries, and 
the provisional government, for which White may be 
considered as acting, nothing had been done to bring 
them into friendly relations with the citizens of the 
United States. The Cayuse war had left that tribe 

29 The amendment most objected to was one which allowed other tribes to 
be placed on their reservation, and which consolidated all the Rogue River 

30 Palmer appears to have been rather arbitrary, but being liked by the 
authorities, in choosing between him and an agent whom ne disliked, they 
dismissed the agent without inquiry. Sub-agent Philip F. Thompson of 
Umpqua having died, E. P. Drew succeeded him. Nathan Olney superseded 
Parrish. There remained R. R. Thompson, W. W. Raymond, and William 
J. Martin, who resigned in the spring of 1855, and was succeeded by Robert 
B. Metcalfe. These frequent changes were due, according to Palmer, to in 
sufficient salaries. 


imbittered toward the American people. Governor 
Stevens of Washington Territoy, when exploring for 
the Pacific railroad, in 1853, had visited and conferred 
with the tribes north and east of the Columbia con 
cerning the sale of their lands, all of whom professed 
a willingness to dispose of them, and to enter into 
treaty relations with the government. 31 Stevens had 
reported accordingly to congress, which appropriated 
money to defray the expense of these negotiations, 
and appointed Stevens and Palmer commissioners to 
make the treaties. But in the mean time a year and 
a half had elapsed, and the Indians had been given 
time to reconsider their hasty expressions of friend 
ship, and to indulge in many melancholy forebodings 
of the consequences of parting with the sovereignty 
of the country. These regrets and apprehensions were 
heightened by a knowledge of the Indian war of 1853 
in Rogue River Valley, the expedition against the Mo- 
docs and Piutes, and the expedition of Major Haller 
then in progress for the punishment of the murderers 
of the Ward company. They had also been informed 
by rumor that the Oregon superintendent designed to 
take a part of the country which they had agreed to 
surrender for a reservation for the diseased and de 
graded tribes of western Oregon, whose presence or 
neighborhood they as little desired as the white inhab 
itants. At least, that is what the Indians said of them 

Aware to some extent of this feeling, Stevens sent 
in January 1855 one of his most trusted aids, James 
Doty, among the Indians east of the mountains, to 
ascertain their views before opening negotiations for 
the purchase of their lands. To Doty the Indians 
made the same professions of friendship and willing 
ness to sell their country which they had made to 
Stevens in 1853; and it was agreed to hold a general 
council of the Yakimas, Nez Perces, Cayuses, Walla 

31 /. 7. Stevens, in Ind. Aff. Kept, 1854, 184, 248; U. S. H. Ex. Doc. 55, 
2, 33d cong. 1st sess. 


Wallas, and their allies, to be convened in the Walla 
Walla Valley in May. The place of meeting was 
chosen by Kamiakin, head chief of the Yakimas, be 
cause it was an ancient council-ground of his people, 
and everything seemed to promise a friendly confer 

A large amount of money was expended in Indian 
goods and agricultural implements, the customary 
presents to the head men on the conclusion of treaties. 
These were transported above The Dalles in keel 
boats/ 2 and stored at Fort Walla Walla, then in 
charge of James Sinclair of the Hudson s Bay Com 
pany. A military escort for the commissioners was 
obtained at Fort Dalles, consisting of forty dragoons 
under Lieutenant Archibald Gracie, 33 the company 
being augmented to forty-seven by the addition of a 
detachment under a corporal in pursuit of Some Indian 
murderers whom they had sought for a week without 


On the 20th of May the commissioners, who had 
hastened forward, arrived at Walla Walla, and pro 
ceeded to the council-grounds about five miles from 
Waiilatpu, 8 * where the encampment was made before 
the escort arrived. 35 The Indians, with their accus- 

32 Stevens speaks of this as the opening of navigation above The Dalles. 
They were succeeded, he says, by sailing vessels of GO tons freight, and soon 
by a steamer. Pac. R. R. Kept, xii. 19G-7. 

33 Lieut Lawrence Kip, of the 3d artillery, who accompanied Gracie on 
this occasion as u guest and spectator, afterward published an account of the 
expedition and transactions of the commission, under title of The Indian 
Council at Walla Walla, San Francisco, 1855, a pleasantly told narrative, in 
which there is much correct information, and some unimportant errors con 
cerning mission matters of which he had no personal knowledge. He givea 
pretty full reports of the speeches of the chiefs and commissioners. Lieut 
Kip also wrote a little book, Army Life on the Pacific Coast, A Journal of the 
Expedition against the Northern Indians in the Summer of 1858, New York, 
1859, in which the author seeks to defend the army officers from aspersions 
cast upon them in the newspapers, and even in speeches on the floor of con 
gress, as the drones of society, living on the government, yet a useless en 
cumbrance and expense. 

31 Kip speaks of visiting some gentlemen residing on the site of the old 
mission, who were raising stock to sell to emigrants crossing the plains, or 
settlers who will soon be locating themselves through these valleys. Indian 
Council, 1(>. 

3i) Kip also describes the council-ground as a beautiful spot, and tells us 
that an arbor had been erected for a dining-hall for the commissioners, with 


tomed dilatoriness, did not begin to come in until the 
24th, when Lawyer and Looking Glass of the Nez 
Perces arrived with their delegation, and encamped 
ac no great distance from the commissioners, after 
having passed through the fantastic evolutions, in 
full war costume, sometimes practised on such occa 
sions. 36 The Cayuses appeared in like manner two 
days later, and on the 28th the Yakimas, who, with 
others, made up an assemblage of between four and 
five thousand Indians of both sexes. An attempt 
was made on the day following to organize the coun 
cil, but it was not until the 30th that business was 

Before the council opened it became evident that a 
majority of the Indians were not in favor of treating, 37 
if indeed they were not positively hostile to the peo 
ple represented by the commissioners; the Cayuses in 
particular regarding the troops with scowls of anger, 
which they made no attempt to conceal. Day after 
day, until the llth of June, the slow and reluctant 
conference went on. The chiefs made speeches, with 
that mixture of business shrewdness and savage poetry 
which renders the Indian s eloquence so effective. 33 

a table of split logs, with the flat side up. The troops, too, were sheltered in 
arbors, and but for the showery weather the comfort of the occasion would 
have equalled its picturesqueness. 

36 See Hist. Or., i. 130-1, this series. 

31 Kip s Indian Council, 21. 

38 Thee! 
them by th. ^ 

thing to say? I wonder if the ground 
what the ground says. The ground says, " It is the great spirit that placed 
me here. The great spirit tells me to take care of the Indians, to feed them 
aright. The great spirit appointed the roots to feed the Indians on." The 
water says the same thing. The great spirit directs me, " Feed the Indians 
well." The grass says the same thing, " Feed the horses and cattle." The 
ground, water, and grass say, " The great spirit has given us our names. We 
have these names and hold these names. Neither the Indians nor the whites 
have a right to change these names. " The ground says, The great s irit has 
placed me here to produce all that grows on me, trees and fruit," The same 
way the ground says, "It was from me man was made." The great spirit 
in placing men on the earth desired them to take good care of the ground, 
and do each other no harm. The great spirit said, "You Indians who take 
care of certain portions of the country should not trade it off except you get 
a fair price." Kip s Indian Council, 22-G. In this argument was an attempt 
to enunciate a philosophy equal to the white man s. It ended, as all savage 


The commissioners exhausted their store of logic in 
convincing their savage hearers that they needed the 
benefits of the culture which the white race could im 
part to them. Over and over again, the motives of 
the treaties arid the treaties themselves were explained 
in the most painstaking manner. The fact was patent 
that the Indians meant to resist the invasion of their 
lands by the people of the United States. The 
Cay uses were against any sale. Owhi, chief of the 
Umatillas, and brother-in-law of Kamiakin, was op 
posed to it. Peupeumoxmox, usually so crafty and 
non-committal, in this matter was decided; Kamiakin 
would have nothing to do with it; Joseph and Look 
ing Glass were unfriendly; and only Lawyer con 
tinued firm in keeping his word already pledged to 
Stevens. 39 But for him, and the numerical strength 
of the Nez Perces, equal to that of all the other 
tribes present, no treaty could have been concluded 
with any of the tribes. His adherence to his deter 
mination greatly incensed the Cayuses against him, 
and some of his own nation almost equally, especially 
Joseph, who refused to sign the treaty unless it se 
cured to him the valley which he claimed as the home 
of himself and his people. 40 Looking Glass, war chief 

arguments do, in showing the desire of gain, and the suspicion of being 

39 I think it is doubtful, says Kip, if Lawyer could have held out but 
for his pride in his small sum of book lore, which inclined him to cling to his 
friendship with the whites. In making a speech, he was able to refer to the 
discovery of the continent by the Spaniards, and the story of Columbus mak 
ing the egg stand on end. He related how the red men had receded before 
the white men in a manner that was hardly calculated to pour oil upon the 
troubled waters; yet as his father had agreed with Lewis and Clarke to live 
in peace with the whites, he was in favor of making a treaty! 

40 Concerning the exact locality claimed by Joseph at this time as his home, 
there has been much argument and investigation. At the beginning of this 
history, Joseph was living near Lapwai, but it is said he was only there for 
the purpose of attending Spalding s school; that his father was a Cayuse, who 
had two wives, one a Nez Perce", the mother of Joseph, and the other a Cay- 
use, the mother of Five Crows; that Joseph was born on Snake River, near 
the mouth of the Grand Rond where his father lived, and that after the 
Lapwai mission was abandoned he went back to the mouth of the Grand 
Rond, where he died in 1871. These facts are gathered from a letter of 
Indian Agent Jno. B. Monteith to H. Clay Wood, and is contained in a 
pamphlet published by the latter, called The Status of Young Joseph and his 
Band of Nez Perce Indians under the Treaties, etc., written to settle the 


of the Nez Perces, showed his opposition by not com 
ing to the council until the 8th, and behaving rudely 
when he did come. 41 Up to almost the last day, 
Palmer, who had endeavored to obtain the consent of 
the Indians to one common reservation, finding them 
determined in their refusal, finally offered to reserve 
lands separately in their own country for those who 
objected to going upon the Nez Perce reservation, 
and on this proposition, harmony was apparently re 
stored, all the chiefs except Kamiakin agreeing to it. 
The haughty Yakima would consent to nothing; but 
when appealed to by Stevens to make known his 

question of Joseph s right to the Wallowa Valley in Oregon, his claim to 
which brought on the war of 1877 with that band of Nez Percys. Wood s 
pamphlet, which was written by the order of department commander Gen. 
O. 0. Howard, furnishes much valuable information upon this rather obscure 
subject. Wood concludes from all the evidence that Joseph was chief of the 
upper or Salmon River branch of the Nez Percys, and that his claim to the 
Wallowa Valley as his especial home was not founded in facts as they existed 
at the time of the treaty of 1855, but that it was possessed in common by the 
Nez Percys as a summer resort to fish. As the reservation took in both sides 
of the Snake River as far up as fifteen miles below the mouth of Powder 
River, and all the Salmon River country to the Bitter Root Mountains, and 
beyond the Clearwater as far as the southern branch of the Palouse, the west 
ern line beginning a little below the mouth of Alpowa Creek, it included all 
the lands ever claimed by the Nez Perces since the ratification of the treaty, 
much of which was little known to white men in 1855, and just which portion 
of it was reserved by Joseph is a matter of doubt, though Superintendent 
Palmer spoke of Joseph s band as the Salmon River band of the Nez Perces. 
Wood s Young Joseph and the Treaties, 35. 

Joseph had perhaps other reasons for objecting to Lawyer s advice. He 
claimed to be descended from a long line of chiefs, and to be superior in rank 
to Lawyer. The missionaries, because Joseph was a war chief, and because 
Lawyer exhibited greater aptitude in learning the arts of peace, endeavored 
to build up Lawyer s influence. When White tried his hand at managing 
Indians, he appointed over the Nez Percys a head chief, a practice which had 
been discontinued by the advice of the Hudson s Bay Company. On the 
death of Ellis, the head chief, whose superior acquirements had greatly 
strengthened his influence with the Nez Percys, it was Lawyer who aspired 
to the high chieftainship, on the ground of these same acquirements, and 
who had gained so much influence as to be named head chief when the com 
missioners interrogated the Nez Perec s as to whom they should treat with tor 
the nation. This was good ground for jealousy and discord, and a weighty 
reason why Joseph should not readily consent to the advice of Lawyer, even 
if there were no other. 

41 Cram says that Lawyer and Looking Glass had arranged it between 
them to cajole the commissioners; that the sudden appearance and opposition 
of the latter were planned to give effect to Lawyer s apparent fidelity ; and at 
the same time by throwing obstacles in the way, to prevent a clutch upon 
their lands from being realized. In these respects events have shown that 
Lawyer was the ablest diplomatist at the council; for the friendship of his 
tribes has remained, and no hold upon their lands has yet mured to the 
whites. Top. Mem., 84. 


wishes, only aroused from his sullen silence to ejacu 
late, "What have I to say?" This was the mood of 
the Indians on Saturday, the 9th; but on Monday, the 
1 1th, every chief signed the treaties, including Kamia- 
kin, who said it was for the sake of his people that he 
consented. Having done this, they all expressed sat 
isfaction, even joy and thankfulness, at this termina 
tion of the conference. 42 

The Nez Perces agreed to take for their lands 
outside the reservation, which was ample, $200,000 
in annuities, and were to be supplied besides with 
mills, schools, millers, teachers, mechanics, and every 
reasonable aid to their so-called improvement. The 
Cayuses, Walla Wallas, and Umatillas were united 
on one reservation in the beautiful Umatilla country, 
where claims were already beginning to be taken up. 43 

They were to receive the same benefits as the Nez 
Perces, and $150,000 in annuities, running through 
twenty years. The Yakimas agreed to take $200,000, 
and were granted two schools, three teachers, a num 
ber of mechanics, a farmer, a physician, millers, and 
mills. 44 By an express provision of the treaties, the 
country embraced in the cessions, and not included in 
the reservation, was open to settlement, except that 
the Indians were to remain in possession of their im 
provements until removed to the reservations, when 
they were to be paid for them whatever they were 
worth. When the treaties were published, particular 
attention was called to these provisions protecting the 
Indians in the enjoyment of their homes so long as 
they were not removed by authority to the reserves. 

42 Kip s Army Life, 92; Stevens, in U. 8. Sen. Ex. Doc. 66, 24, 34th cong. 
1st sess. 

43 One Whitney was living about a mile from the crossing of the Umatilla 
River with William McKay, on a claim he was cultivating, belonging to the 
latter. Kip s Indian Council, 29. This William McKay was grandson of Al 
exander McKay of Astor s company. He resided in eastern Oregon almost 
continually since taking this claim on the Umatilla. 

"Palmer s Wagon Trains, MS., 51; Or. Statesman, June 30 and July 21, 
1855; Puget Sound Herald, May 6, 1859; Wood s Young Joseph and the Trea 
ties, 10-12; Pendleton Tribune, March 11, 1874; S. F. Alta, July 16, 1855; 
-Sac. Union, July 10, 1855. 


And attention was also called to the fact that the Ind 
ians were not required to move upon their reserves 
before the expiration of one year after the ratification 
of the treaties by congress; the intention being to 
give time for them to accustom themselves to the idea 
of the change of location. 

As soon as these apparently amicable stipulations 
were concluded, the goods brought as presents dis 
tributed, and agents appointed for the different reser 
vations/ 5 the troops returned to The Dalles. That 
night the Indians held a great scalp-dance, in which 
150 of the women took part. The following day they 
broke up their encampments and returned to their sev 
eral habitations, the commissioners believing that the 
feelings of hostility with which several of the chiefs had 
come to the council had been assuaged. On the 16th 
Stevens proceeded north-eastward, toward the Black- 
foot country, being directed by the government to make 
treaties with this warlike people and several other 
tribes in that quarter. 

Palmer in the mean time returned toward The 
Dalles, treating with the John Day, Des Chutes, and 
Wascopan Indians, and purchasing all the lands lying 
between the summit of the Cascade Range and the 
waters of Powder River, and between the 44th paral 
lel and the Columbia River, on terms similar to those 
of the treaties made at Walla Walla. A reservation 
was set apart for these tribes at the base of the Cas 
cades, directly east of Mount Jefferson, in a well 
watered and delightful location, 46 including the Tyghe 
Valley and some warm springs from which the reserve 
has been named. 

Having accomplished these important objects, the 
superintendent returned home well pleased with the 
results of his labor, and believing that he had secured 
the peace of the country in that portion of Oregon. 

45 R. R. Thompson was appointed to the Umatilla reservation, and W. H. 
Tappan for the Nez Perec s. 

40 Lid. Aff. Kept, 1857, 370; Letter of Palmer, in Or. Statesman, July 21, 
1855; Puyet Sound Herald, May 6, 1859. 


The Nez Perces afterward declared that during the 
council a scheme had been on foot, originating with 
the Cayuses, to massacre all the white persons present, 
including the troops, the plan only failing through the 
refusal of Lawyer s party to join in it, which statement 
may be taken for what it is worth. On the other hand, 
it has been asserted that the treaties were forced; 47 
that they were rashly undertaken, and the Indians not 
listened to ; that by calling a general council an oppor 
tunity was furnished for plotting; that there were too 
few troops and too little parade.* 8 However this may 
be, war followed, the history of which belongs both to 
Oregon and Washington. But since the Indians in 
volved in it were chiefly those attached to the soil and 
superintendency of the latter, I shall present the nar 
rative in my volume on Washington. 

47 Wood s Young Joseph and the Treaties. 

48 Tolmie s Hist. Puget Sound, MS., 37; Roberts Recollections* MS., 95. 





BEFORE midsummer, 1855, war was again brewing 
in southern Oregon, the Applegate Creek and Illi 
nois Valley branches of the Rogue River nation be 
ing the immediate cause. On one pretence or an 
other, the former spent much of their time off the 
reservation, and in June made a descent on a mining 
camp, killing several men and capturing considerable 
property; while the murder of a white man on Ind 
ian Creek was charged to the latter, of whom a party 
of volunteers went in pursuit. 

On the 17th of June a company styling themselves 
the Independent Rangers, H. B. Hayes, captain, 
organized at Wait s mills in Jackson county, report 
ing to Colonel Ross for his recognition, 1 this being 

1 The original copy of the application is contained in the first volume of 
DowelVs Oregon Indian Wars, MS., 1-3. This is a valuable compilation of 
original documents and letters pertaining to the wars of 1855-6 in southern 
Oregon, and furnishes conclusive proof of the invidious course of the Salem 
clique toward that portion of the territory. Dowell has taken much pains 
to secure and preserve these fragments of history, and in doing so has vindi 
cated his section, from which otherwise the blame of certain alleged illegal 
acts might never have been removed. Then there are his Indian Wars; 
HIST. OB., VOL. II. 24 ( 369 J 


the first movement toward the reorganization of mil 
itary companies since the treaties of September 1853. a 
Knowledge of these things coming to Ambrose, in 
charge of the reservation Indians, Smith of Fort 
Lane started off with a company of dragoons, and 
collecting most of the strolling Indians, hurried them 
upon the reservation. Those not brought in were 
pursued into the mountains by the volunteers, and 
one killed. The band then turned upon their pursu 
ers, and wounding several horses, killed one man 
named Philpot. Skirmishing was continued for a 
week with further fatal results on both sides. 3 

A party of California volunteers under William 
Martin, in pursuit of hostile Indians, traced certain of 
them to the Rogue River reservation, and made a de 
mand for their surrender, to which Commander Smith, 
of Fort Lane, very properly refused compliance. Let 
the proper authorities ask the surrender of Indians 
on a criminal charge, and they should be forthcom 
ing, but they could not be delivered to a mere volun 
tary assemblage of men. Afterward a requisition was 
made from Siskiyou county, and in November two 

Scrap-Book; Letters; Biographies, and various pamphlets which contain al 
most a complete journal of the events to which this chapter is devoted. 

Benjamin Franklin Dowell emigrated from New Franklin, Mo., in 1850, 
taking the California road, but arriving in the Willamette Valley in Nov. 
He had studied law, but now taught a school in Polk county in the summer 
of 1851, and afterward in the Waldo hills. It was slow work for an ambi 
tious man; so borrowing some money and buying a pack-train, he began 
trrding to the mines in southern Oregon and northern California, following 
it successfully for four years. He purchased flour of J. W. Nesmith at his 
mills in Polk county at 10 cents per lb., and sold it in the mines at $1 and 
$1.25. He bought butter at 50 cents per lb., and sold it at $1.50; salt at 15 
cents per lb., and sold it at $2 and $3 per lb., and other articles in propor 
tion. When Scottsburg became the base of supplies, instead of the Willa 
mette Valley, he traded between that place and the mines. When war broke 
out, Dowell was the first in and the last out of the fight. After that he 
settled in Jacksonville, and engaged in the practice of law and newspaper 

2 Or. Argus, June 16, 1855; Sac. Union, June 12, 1855; S. F. Chronicle, 
June 15, 1855; 8. F. Alta, June 18, 1855. 

3 A bottle of whiskey sold by a white man to an Indian on the 26th of 
July caused the deaths, besides several Indians, of John Pollock, William 
Hennessey, Peter Heinrich, Thomas Gray, John L. Fickas, Edward Parrish, 
F. D. Mattice, T. D. Mattice, Raymond, and Pedro. DowvlV* Or. Ind. Wars, 
MS., 39; Or. Argus, Aug. 1855, 18; S. F. Alta, Aug. 13 and 31, 1855. 


Indians were arrested for murder on the reservation, 
and delivered up. 4 

On the 26th of August, a Rogue River Indian shot 
and wounded James Buford, at the mouth of Rogue 
River in the Port Orford district, then in charge of 
Ben Wright, who arrested the savage and delivered 
him to the sheriff of Coos county. Having no place 
in which to secure his prisoner, the sheriff delivered 
him to a squad of soldiers to be taken to Port Orford ; 
but while the canoe in which the Indian was seated 
with his guard was passing up the river to a place of 
encampment, it was followed by Buford, his partner, 
Hawkins, and O Brien, a trader, who fired at and 
killed the prisoner and another Indian. The fire was 
returned by the soldiers, who killed two of the men, 
and mortally wounded the third. 5 

The excitement over this affair was very great. 
Threats by the miners of giving battle to the troops 
were loud and vindictive, but the more conservative 
prevailed, and no attack was made. The savages 
were aroused, and matters grew daily worse. 6 

Agent Ambrose wrote several letters which ap 
peared in the Statesman, over the signature of A 
Miner/ in one of which, dated October 13th, he de 
clared that no fears were to be entertained of an out 
break of the Rogue River Indians, affirming that 
they were peaceably disposed, and had been so 

* These particulars are found in a letter written by William Martin to C. 
S. Drew, and is contained in Dowell s collection of original documents of 
the Or. Ind. Wars, MS., vol. ii., 32-9. 

6 Letter of Arago, in Or. Statesman, Sept. 22, 1855; Sac. Union, Sept. 12, 
1855; Coos Bay Mail, in Portland Standard, Feb. 20, 1880; Id., in 8. F. Bul 
letin, Feb. 6, 1880. 

6 See Nicjiols Rogue Piver War, MS., 14-15. On the 2d of September, 
Granville Keene, from Tenn., was killed on the reservation while assisting 
Fred. Alberding, J. Q. Taber, and a fourth man to reclaim some stolen 
horses. Two others were wounded and obliged to retreat. About the last 
of the month, Calvin Fields of Iowa, and John Cuningham of Sauve" Island, 
Oregon, were killed, and Harrison Oatman and Daniel Britton wounded, 
while crossing the Siskiyou Mountains with loaded wagons drawn by eigh 
teen oxen, which were also killed. An express being sent to Fort Lane, Cap 
tain Smith ordered out a detachment of dragoons, but no arrests were made. 
Of the Indians killed in the mean time no mention is made. 


throughout the summer. " God knows," he said, " I 
would not care how soon they were all dead, and I 
believe the country would be greatly benefited by it; 
but I am tired of this senseless railing against Cap 
tain Smith and the Indian agent for doing their duty, 
obeying the laws, and preserving our valley from the 
horrors of a war with a tribe of Indians who do not 
desire it, but wish for peace, and by their conduct 
have shown it." 

To prevent the reservation Indians from being sus 
pected and punished for the acts of others, Superin 
tendent Palmer issued an order October 13th that 
the Indians with whom treaties had been made, and 
who had reservations set apart for them, should be 
arrested if found off the reservations without a per 
mit from the agent. Every male over twelve years 
of age must answer daily to the roll-call. Early in 
October it became known that a party of wandering 
Indians were encamped near Thompson s Ferry, on 
Rogue River, and that among them were some sus 
pected of annoying the settlers. A volunteer com 
pany of about thirty, under J. A. Lupton, proceeded 
at a very early hour of the morning of October 8th to 
the Indian camp at the mouth of Butte Creek, and 
opened fire, killing twenty-three and wounding many. 
The Indians returned it as well as they were able, 
and succeeded in killing Lupton, and in wounding 
eleven others. 7 When daylight came it was found 
by the mangled bodies that they were mostly old 
men, women, and children, whom these brave men 
had been butchering! The survivors took refuge at 
the fort, where they exhibited their wounds and 
made their lamentations to Captain Smith, who sent 
his troops to look at the battle-field and count the 
slain. It was a pitiful sight, and excited great in 
dignation among the better class of white men. 8 

7 Among them Shepard, Miller, Pelton, Hereford, Gates, and Williams. 
Letter of C. S. Drew, in DowcWs Or. Ind. Wars, MS., 29; Nottarts, in Or. 
Statesman, Oct. 27, 1855; Nichols* Ind. Affairs, MS., 20. 

* Cram s Top. Mem., 44; Letter of Palmer to General Wool, in U. S. //. 


On the morning of the 9th of October the Indians 
appeared in the upper part of the Rogue River Val 
ley in considerable numbers. They were first seen at 
Jewett s ferry, where during the night they killed two 
men in charge of a train and wounded another. 
After firing upon Jewett s house, they proceeded to 
Evans ferry about daybreak, where they mortally 
wounded Isaac Shelton of the Willamette Valley on 
his way to Yreka. Pursuing their way down the val 
ley to the house of J. K. Jones, they killed him, 
wounded his wife so that she died next day, and 
burned the house after pillaging it. From there they 
went to Wagoner s place, killing four men upon the 
way. Wagoner had a short time before left home 
to escort Miss Pellet, a temperance lecturer from 
Buffalo, New York, 9 to Sailor Diggings, where she was 
to lecture that evening. Mrs Wagoner was alone 
with her child four years of age, and both were burned 
in the house. They next proceeded to the house of 
George W. Harris, who seeing their approach, and 
judging that they meant mischief, ran into the house, 
seized his gun, and fired two shots, killing one and 
wounding another, when he received a fatal shot. 
His wife and little daughter defended themselves with 
great heroism for twenty-four hours, when they were 
rescued by Major Fitzgerald. And there were many 
other heroic women, whose brave deeds during these 
savage wars of southern Oregon must forever remain 
unrecorded. 10 

As soon as the news reached Jacksonville that the 
Rogue River settlements were attacked, a company 
of some twenty men hastened to take the trail of the 
Indians down the river. An express was despatched 

Ex. Doc. 93, 112, 34th cong. 1st sess.; Sober Sense, in Or. Statesman, Oct. 27, 
1855; Letter of Wool, in U. S. Sen. Ex. Doc. 66, 59; 34th ccmg. 1st sess. 

9 Or. Argus, Sept. 29, 1855. 

10 See California Inter Pocula, this series, passim. It was stated that 
Mrs Harris, when relieved, was so marked with powder and blood as to be 
hardly recognizable. Or. Statesman, March 3, 1856. Mrs Harris afterward 
married Aaron Chambers, who came to Oregon in 1852, was much respected, 
and died in 1869. Jacksonville Or. Sentinel, Sept. 18, 1869. 


to Fort Lane, to Captain Smith, who sent a detach 
ment of fifty-five mounted men, under Major Fitzger 
ald, in pursuit of the savages. 11 

The volunteer and regular forces soon combined to 
follow, and if possible to have battle with the Indians. 
Passing the bodies of the slain all along their route, 
they came to Wagoner s place, where thirty of the 
savages were still engaged in plundering the premises. 
On the appearance of the volunteers, the Indians, 
yelling and dancing, invited them to fight, 12 but when 
the dragoons came in sight they fled precipitately to 
the mountains. After pursuing for about two miles, 
the troops, whose horses were jaded from a night 
inarch of twenty-five miles, being unable to overtake 
them, returned to the road, which they patrolled for 
some hours, marching as far as Grave Creek, after 
which they retired to Fort Lane, having found no Ind 
ians in that direction. 13 The volunteers also returned 
home to effect more complete organization before un 
dertaking such arduous warfare against an implacable 
foe who they now were assured was before them. 
There were other parts of the country which likewise 
required their attention. 

About the 10th of October, Lieutenant Kautz left 
Port Orford with a small party of citizens and sol 
diers to examine a proposed route from that place to 
Jacksonville. On arriving at the big bend of Rogue 
River, about thirty miles east from Port Orford, he 
found a party of settlers much alarmed at a threatened 

11 At that very moment an express was on its way from Vancouver to Fort 
Lane, calling for Major Fitzgerald to reenforce Major Haller in the Yakima 
country Or. Statesman, Oct. 20, 1855. Peupeumoxmox was threatening 
the Walla Walla Valley, and the Indians on Puget Sound preparing for the 
blow which they were to strike at the white settlements two weeks later, a 
coincidence of events significant of combination among the Indians. DowelVs 
Letters, MS., 35; Graver s Pub. Life, MS., 74; Autobiog. of H. C. Huston, in 
Brown s Or. Misc., MS., 48; Dowel? s Or. Ind. War, MS., 33-9; Or. Argus, 
Oct. 27; Evans Fourth of July Address, in New Tacoma Ledger, July 9, 1880. 

12 Hayes 1 Ind. Scraps, v. 145; Yreka Union, Oct. 1855. 

13 Three men were killed on Grave Creek, 12 miles below the road, on the 
night of the 9th. J. W. Drew, in Or. Statesman, Oct. 20, 1855. 


attack from Applegate Creek. Kautz returned to the 
fort for a better supply of arms and ammunition, in 
tending to resist the advance of the hostile party, 
should he fall in with it. A few days after resuming 
his march he was attacked by a portion of the band, 
losino- five of his men, two soldiers and three citizens. 
Thelndians were only prevented from securing a 
considerable amount of ammunition by the precaution 
of Kautz in unloading the pack-mules at the begin 
ning of the battle. He was able to secure an orderly 
retreat with the remainder of his party. 14 The only 
Indians in the whole country, from Yreka to the 
Unipqua canon, who could be regarded other than 
enemies were those under Rogue River Sam, who 
since the treaty of 1853 had kept faith with the 
white people; the Shastas, the natives of Scott Val 
ley, and many of the people about Grave and Cow 
creeks, and the Urnpquas being concerned in the war, 
in which the Shastas were principals, under the lead 
ership of Chief John. The Klamaths were also hos 
tile. 15 

To meet a savage enemy, well armed and prepared 
for war, knowing every mountain fastness, and having 
always the advantage of chosen positions, was not 
practicable with anything like equal numbers, 
mating the fighting men of the enemy at no more than 
400, it would require three or four times that number 
to engage them, because of their ability to appear un 
expectedly at several points; at the same time to dis 
appear as rapidly; and to wear out the horses and men 
of the white forces in following them. The armed 
men that were mustered in Rogue River Valley be 
tween the 9th and llth of October amounted to only 
about 150, not from any want of courage, but from 
want of arms. 16 No attempt at permanent organiza- 

Romie River War Speech, 14. 
f Ambrose to Palmer, in U. 8. H. Ex. Doc. 93, 62-65, 34th cong. 

1st sess. 
16 Sa 

the coil..-., . 
skilful in the use of them. 

8 ^Sa vs Ambrose: As in the war of 1853, the Indians have all the guns in 
the country. Those Indians have each a good rifle and revolver, and are 


tion was made by the territorial militia before the 
12th, the armed companies being governed by the 
apparent necessities of the case. 17 

On the 12th of October Colonel Ross began the or 
ganization of a volunteer force under the laws of the 
territory 18 by ordering James H. Russel, major of the 
9th regiment, to report to him immediately. Some of 
the captains of the militia were already in the field; 
other companies were headed by any one who had the 
spirit of a leader. These on application of the citizens 
of their neighborhoods were duly commissioned. 19 

17 A company under Rinearson was divided into detachments, and sent, on 
the evening of the 10th, ten to the mouth of the Umpqua canon, five three 
miles south to Leving s house, five to Turner s seven miles farther south, six 
to the Grave Creek house. On the next day thirty men made a scout down 
Grave Creek, and down Rogue River to the mouth of Galice Creek, the set 
tlers placing at their disposal whatever supplies of blankets, provisions, or 
arms they were able to furnish; yet twelve of Rinearson s company had no 
other weapons than pistols. A. G. Henry, in Or. Statesman, Oct. 20, 1855. 
The troops in southern Oregon at this time were two full companies of dra- 

foons at Fort Lane under Smith and Fitzgerald, and sixty-four infantry at 
Vinchester, in the Umpqua Valley, under Lieut Gibson, who had been es 
corting Williamson on his survey of a railroad route from the Sacramento to 
the Willamette Valley, and who now retraced his steps to Fort Lane. The 
small garrison at Fort Orford was not available, and Fitzgerald s company 
was during the month ordered to reenforce Major Rains at The Dalles; hence 
one company of dragoons and one of infantry constituted the regular force 
which could be employed in the defence of the south country during the com 
ing winter. 

18 The original orders are to be found in DowelVs Or, Ind. Wars, MS., 
vol. i. 45, 47, 53. 

19 M. C. Barkwell wrote Ambrose that at his request R. L. Williams 
would raise a company for the protection of that locality. The settlers about 
Althouse, on Illinois River, petitioned to have Theoron Crook empowered to 
raise a company to range the mountains thereabout; signed by Hiram Rice, 
J. J. Rote, Frederick Rhoda, Lucius D. Hart, S. Matthews, Charles F. Wil 
son, Elias Winkleback, S. P. Duggan, John Morrow, Allen Knapp, W. H. 
B. Douglas, Wm Lane, J. T. Maun, Geo. H. Grayson, R. T. Brickley, J. H. 
Huston, L. CofFey, H. Kaston, John Murphy, B. B. Brockway, A. L. Scott, 
Geo. W. Comegys, James C. Castlcman, D. D. Drake, John R. Hale, E. R. 
Crane, Alden Whitney, Joshua Harlan, S. H. Harper, M. P. Howard, R. S. 
A. Col well, George Lake, Thomas Lake, George Koblence, Jacob Randbush, 
Peter Colean, U. S. Barr, William Lance, Robert Rose, N. D. Palmer, James 
Hole, E. D. Cohen, Sigmund Heilner, Wm Chapman, John E. Post, John W. 
Merideth, A. More, ThosFord, and Gilharts. DoiveWs Or. Ind. Wars, MS., 
vol. i. 33-5. 

The white men of Phoenix mills, Illinois Valley, of Deer Creek, and Galice 
Creek also petitioned for permission to raise companies for defence, and the 
outlying settlements prayed for armed guards to be sent them. The petition 
from Phoenix mills was signed by S. M. Waite, S. Colver, Joseph Tracy, 
Jarius F. Kennedy, M. M. Williams, and J. T. Gray; that from liiinois Val 
ley and Deer Creek by John D. Post, William Chapman, G. E. Briggs, J. N. 


Where the people in remote or isolated situations 
asked for armed guards, a few men were despatched 
to those localities as soon as they could be armed. 20 
Two youne women, Miss Hudson and Miss Wilson, 
having been murdered 21 while travelling on the Cres 
cent City road, October 10th, A. S. Welton was as 
signed the duty of keeping open a portion of that 
highway, over which was carried most of the goods 
which entered the Illinois and Rogue River valleys 
at this time; guards being also afforded to pack-trains 
on the various routes to prevent their capture by the 
Indians. Considering the obstacles to be overcome, 
and the nature of the service, the organization of the 
9th regiment was remarkably expeditious and com 
plete, and its operations were well conducted. 

The first engagement between the volunteers and 
Indians was on Rogue River, where W. B. Lewis of 
company E was encamped on Skull bar, a short dis 
tance below the mouth of Galice Creek. Scouts re 
ported the enemy near, and evidently preparing an 
attack. In camp were all the miners from the dig 
gings in the vicinity, including nine Chinamen, who 
had been robbed and driven from their claims, and 
several Indian women and boys who had been cap 

The bar is on the south side of the river, with a 
high mountain in the background, covered with a 
dense growth of hazel and young firs. Around the 
camp for some distance the thickets were cut away, 
so as to afford no harbor for lurking savages, and a 

Knight, A. J. Henderson, William B. Hay, L. Reeves, Joseph Kirby, R. T. 
Olds* Samuel White, William E. Randolph, Frederick Rhoda L D Hart, 
Alexander McBride, C. C. Luther, S. Scott, O. E. Riley, J T L. MiUs, and 
Coltiuell On the 26th a company was organized in Illinois Valley. Orrin I. 
Root was chosen captain, and sent to Jacksonville for his commission. In 
this way most of the companies were formed. 

520 On cue 5th of Nov. Ross ordered Gardner with 10 men to protect 
Thompson s place on Applegate Creek. F. R. Hill was ordered to raise a 
company for Grave Creek, etc. 

*Evwut Protection to Immigrants, 59. This is a compilation of docu 
ments on the subject of the protection afforded by Walker s company m 
1854, with statistics of Indian outrages. The same matter is in U. A. ben. 
Ex. Doc. 40, 35th cong. 2d sess. 


breast-work of logs thrown up on the side most ex 
posed to attack. 

On the 17th of October the bushes were found to 
be alive with savages. J. W. Pickett made a charge 
with six men, who were so warmly received that they 
were glad to retreat, Pickett being killed. Lieuten 
ant Moore then took a position under a bank, on the 
side attack was expected, which he held four hours, 
exposed to a heavy fire; he and nearly half of his 
men were wounded, when they were compelled to re 
treat. One of the men, being mortally shot, fell be 
fore reaching the shelter of the camp, and a comrade, 
Allan Evans, in the effort to bring him in, was severely 
wounded. Captain Lewis was three times struck. 

The Indians, discovering that the weak point of 
the volunteer force was on the left, made a bold 
attack, in which they lost one of their most noted 
Shasta warriors. Finding they could not dislodge 
the volunteers with balls, they shot lighted arrows 
into their camp. All day the firing was kept up, 
and during the battle every house in the mining town 
of Galice Creek was burned except the one occu 
pied as the company s headquarters. By night one 
third of the company of thirty-five were killed and 
wounded. 22 Thereupon the enemy retired, their loss 
not ascertained. 

"I am proud to say," wrote Lewis to his colonel, 
"that we fought the hardest battle ever fought this 
side of the Rocky Mountains. More than 2,500 
shots from the enemy, but every man stood his 
ground, and fought the battle of a lover of his coun- 


On the day of the battle Ross wrote Smith, at 
Fort Lane, that Chief John of Scott Valley had 
gone up Applegate Creek with eighty warriors; and 
that Williams was in that vicinity with a limited 

"Killed, J. W. Pickett, Samuel Saunders; mortally wounded, Benjamin 
Taft, Israel D. Adams; severely wounded, Lieut Wm A. J. Moore, Allan 
Evans, Milton Blackledge, Joseph Umpqua, John Erioson, and Captain W. 
B. Lewis. Report of Capt Lewis, in Dowdfs Or. Ind. War., MS., ii. 18. 


force- 23 also that J. B. Wagoner 24 and John Hilltnan 
had on the 19th been despatched to Gahce Creek. 

It was all of no use. Let them kill and steal and 
burn never so bravely, the fate of the savages was 
fixed beforehand; and that not by volunteers white 
or black, but by almighty providence, ages betore 
their appearing, just as we of the present dominant 
race must fade before a stronger, whenever such a 

one is sent. . 

The red men continued their ravages, and the white 
men theirs, sending their bands of volunteers and reg 
ulars hither and thither all over the country in con 
stantly increasing numbers; and to the credit ot gov 
ernment officers arid agents, be it said that while the 
miners and settlers were seeking the shortest road to 
end the difficulties, they interposed their strength arid 
influence to protect innocent red men while defending 

the white. f 

Meantime, those who had in charge the duti 
providing subsistence and transportation for the vol 
unteers were not without serious cares. Assistant 
quartermasters and commissaries were appointed m 
different sections, but owing to their inexperience 
or inability, the service was very unsatisfactory. 
Fifteen companies 25 were in the field by the 20th 
of October, but the Indians kept them all employed. 

-xpress rider from Oct. 13th, five days 

. , 

after the murder of his wife and child, as long as first volunteer service 
Lsled-a service full of danger and hardship. See instructions in Dowells 
Or. Ind. Wars, MS., i. 63. Q . T 

"Report of Capt. Rinearson, in DowdVsOr. Ind. War MS., 77. I can 
name 12 of them. Co. A, T. S. Hams capt.; ^\J|g R B SV^ 
Co C, J. S. Rinearson capt., lieuts W. P. Wing, I. N. Bently R. W. Henry, 
Co D R. L. Williams capt., E. B. Stone 1st lieut, sergeant E. K. ^Elliott; 
Co E W B. Lewis, capt., lieuts W. A. J. Moore White; sergt I D. 
\dams; Co. F, A. S. Welton capt.; Co. G, Miles TAlcorn capt heut J. 
M Osborne; Co. H, W. A. Wilkinson capt.; Co. T_ Smith capt. ; Co. K 
S A Frye capt.; Co. L, Abel George capt.; Co M, F. R. Hill capt. 1 fie 
nantsofV J P Gardner, Orrin Root, M. M. Williams, Hayes and M P. 
Howard appear in the official correspondence as captains; ^^/"f^fe 
Morrison, and H. P. Conroy as lieutenants; and W. M. Evans as ordeiiy 
sergeant C. S. Drew was appointed adjutant; C. Westfeldt quartermaster 
and commissary; and C. B. Brooks surgeon. 



Not a pack-train could move from point to point with 
out a guard; not a settlement but was threatened. 
The stock of the farmers was being slaughtered 
nightly in some part of the valley; private dwellings 
were fortified, and no one could pass along the roads 
except at the peril of life. I might fill a volume 
with the movements of the white men during this 
war; the red men left no record of theirs. 


While both regulars and volunteers were exploring 
the country in every direction, the Indians, familiar 
with trails unknown to the white men, easily evaded 
them, and passed from point to point without danger. 
At the very time when Judah of the regulars, and 


Bruce and Harris of the volunteers, had returned 
exhausted from a long and fruitless pursuit, and when 
Ross expressed the opinion that the main body of the 
enemy was still in the vicinity of The Meadows, 
and below Galice Creek on Rogue River, the Indians 
suddenly appeared October 23d in the Cow Creek val 
ley, and began their depredations. Their first act of 
hostility in this quarter was to fire upon a party of 
wagoners and hog-drovers at the crossing of Cow 
Creek, instantly killing H. Bailey of Lane county, 
and wounding Z. Bailey and three others. The re 
maining men retreated as rapidly as possible, pursued 
by the savages, who followed and harassed them for 
two or three hours. The same day they attacked 
the settlements on Cow Creek, burning the houses of 
Turner, Bray, Redfield, Fortune, and others. 

On the 28th of October Fitzgerald being in the 
vicinity of Grave Creek discovered Indians encamped 
a few miles south of Cow Creek in the Grave Creek 
hills, 26 and determined to attack them. Ross, on re 
ceiving a despatch from Fitzgerald, set out on the 29th 
for the rendezvous, having sent to captains Harris, 
Welton, George, Williams, and Lewis. Bruce and Ri- 
nearson, who had but just come in, were directed to 
join the combined forces at Grave Creek, where were 
concentrated on the 30th about 250 volunteers 27 and 
105 regulars, only a portion of Fitzgerald s troop being 
available on account of the illness of its commander. 
Two companies of a battalion called out by Governor 
Curry were lying at a place about a day s march south 
of Umpqua canon, under the command of captains Jo 
seph Bailey and Samuel Gordon. 

When Ross reached the rendezvous late at night, 
he found the captain of the 1st dragoons awaiting 
him, impatient for an attack. 28 Spies from his own 

26 This band had attacked Kautz and his surveying party a few days pre 
vious, killing two soldiers and three settlers. 

Letter of L. C. Hawley in Or. Statesman, Nov. 24, 1855. Another gives 
the number at 387. DoweWs Or. Ind. Wars. 

28 Letter of John E. Ross to C. S. Drew in DowelVs Or. Ind. Wars, MS., 
i. 93. 


and Captain Bruce s company had reconnoitred the 
enemy s position, which was found to be on a hill, well 
fortified, and extremely difficult of approach. A map 
of the country was prepared, and a forced march de 
termined upon. Orders were issued to be ready to 
march at eleven o clock, though it was already half- 
past ten. The plan of attack was to plant howitzers 
upon an eminence three fourths of a mile from that on 
which the Indians were encamped, and after having 
divided the companies into three columns, so stationed 
as to prevent the escape of the Indians, to open upon 
the enemy with shell and grape-shot. It was hoped 
by this night march, which was continued till morn 
ing with occasional halts, to surprise the enemy, but 
some one having set fire to a tree, that idea was 
abandoned. On arriving at the edge of a ravine in 
front of their position, instead of planting the howitzers 
and shelling the Indians as was intended, a charge 

O O 

was made, in which Rinearson arid Welton led with 
their companies, augmented by portions of several 
others, and a part of the regulars rushing in disorder 
down into the ravine, through the thick bushes, and 
up the ascent on the other side, volunteers and regu 
lars all eager for the first shot. The Indians occupied 
a mountain, bald on the side by which the troops 
were approaching, and covered with heavy forest on 
the opposite or north side. Ross had directed Bailey 
and Gordon to flank on the north, that when the men 
in front should drive the Indians to this cover, they 
might be met by them and engaged until the main 
force could come up. The attempt was made, but they 
found it impossible to pierce the tangled undergrowth 
which covered the steep acclivity, with the Indians 
fortified above them, 29 and after having had several 
men wounded, returned to the point of attack. Bruce 
and Harris lay concealed a few hundred yards to the 
south of the attacking party, to be in readiness to in- 

29 Lieut Withers says the Indians had cut down trees to form an obstruc 
tion to any attack on that side. U. S. Sen. Ex. Doc., 26, 34th cong. 1st sess. 


tercept the enemy in that quarter; but finding that 
no enemy came their way, they too joined the army 
in front. In the mean time the Indians had retreated, 
as was anticipated, to the cover of the woods, and 
could not be approached without great peril from the 
open ground. The day wore on with vain endeavors 
to get at them; and at 3 P. M. Smith made a charge 
with a small force of dragoons, who after firing sev 
eral rounds with musketoons, utterly useless^ against 
the rifles of the Indians, and having several killed and 
wounded, fell back to their first position. 

When darkness ended the firing, the troops were 
encamped a short distance from the battle-ground, at 
a place called by them Bloody Spring, where the 
wounded were cared for. At sunrise next morning 
the camp was attacked from all sides, the Indians 
engaging the troops until about the middle of the 
forenoon, when being repulsed they withdrew, and 
the troops took up their march for Grave Creek and 
Fort Bailey, carrying their wounded on litters. ^ As 
to the results of the battle, the white men had little 
cause for congratulation. The volunteers had twenty- 
six killed, wounded, and missing; and the regulars 
four killed, and seven wounded, including Lieutenant 
Gibson, who was hit in the attack on the camp on 
the morning of the 1st of November. 30 The number 
of Indians killed was variously estimated at from 
eight to twenty. The number of Indians engaged 
in the battle was also conjectured to be from 100 to 

30 Capt. Rinearson s co., killed, Henry Pearl, Jacob W. Miller; missing 
and believed to be killed, James Pearsy; wounded, Enoch Miller, W. H. 
Crouch, and Ephraim Yager. Capt. Gordon s co. , wounded, Hawkins Shelton, 
James M. Fordyce, William Wilson. Capt. Bailey s co., killed, John Gilles- 
pie; wounded, John Walden, John C. Richardson, James Laphar, Thomas J. 
Aubrey, John Pankey. Capt. Harris co., wounded, Jonathan A. Petigrew, 
mortally, Ira Mayfield, L. F. Allen, William Purnell, William Haus, John 
Goldsby, Thomas Gill. Capt. Bruce s co., wounded mortally, Charles 
Godwin. Capt. Welton s co., wounded mortally, John Kennedy. Capt. 
William s co., killed, John Winters; wounded, John Stanner, Thomas 
Ryan. Of the regular troops three were killed in action on the field, and 
one by accidentally shooting himself; among the seven wounded was Lieut 
Gibson Report of A. G. Henry in DoweWs Gr. Ind. JFar*,MS., i., 169-71; 
Or. Statesman, Nov. 17, 1855; Ashland Tidings, Nov. 2, 1877. 


300. Such was the unfortunate termination of a 
combined effort on the part of the regular and volun 
teer troops to check the war in its incipiency, and 
signified that time, money, and blood must be spent 
in bringing it to a close. "God only knows," writes 
a correspondent of the Statesman, "when or where 
this war may end . . . These mountains are worse than 
the swamps of Florida." 

Immediately upon information reaching the Ump- 
qua of the onslaught of the 9th of October, 1855, at 
Rogue River, a petition was forwarded to Governor 
Curry, asking for five hundred volunteers for defence. 
The messenger, S. B. Hadley, giving notice en route, 
among other places at Eugene City, a request was 
sent the governor to permit Lane county to organize 
a company for the war. The effect of such petitions, 
and of the letters received from Rogue River, was to 
cause a proclamation by the governor, October 15th, 
calling for five companies of mounted volunteers to 
constitute a Northern battalion, and four companies 
of mounted volunteers to constitute a Southern bat 
talion, to remain in force until discharged; each com 
pany to consist of sixty men, with the usual comple 
ment of officers, making a total of seventy-one, rank 
and file; each volunteer to furnish his own horse, 
arms, and equipments, and each company to elect its 
own officers, and thereafter to proceed without delay 
to the seat of war. 

The proclamation declared that Jackson county 
would be expected to furnish the number of men 
required for the southern battalion, who would rendez 
vous at Jacksonville, elect a major to command, and 
report to headquarters. The northern battalion was 
to consist of two companies from Lane, and one each 
from Linn, Douglas, and Umpqua counties, to rendez 
vous at Roseburg. At the same time an order was 
issued from the office of E. M. Barnum, adjutant- 
general, leaving the movements of the two battalions 
to the discretion of their respective commanders, but 


directing that all Indians should be treated as enemies 
who did not show unmistakable signs of friendship. 
No other instruction was given but to advise a con 
cert of action with the United States forces which 
might be engaged in that section of the territory. 31 

Meanwhile, communications from democrats at 
Rogue River had reached the capital, and imme 
diately the war became a party measure. ^ ^ It was 
ascertained that Ross in calling out the militia had 
made several whig appointments contrary to the will 
of the ruling party, which had attacked the governor 
for appointing whig surgeons in the northern bat 
talion; so paramount were politics in ministering to 
the wants of wounded menl The governor, unfor 
tunately for his otherwise stainless record, was un 
able to stem the tide, and allowed himself to become 
an instrument in the hands of a clique who de 
manded a course of action disgraceful to all concerned. 
Five days after issuing the proclamation, the gov 
ernor ordered disbanded all companies not duly en 
rolled by virtue of said proclamation, information 
having been received that armed parties had taken 
the field with the avowed purpose of waging a war 
of extermination against the Indians without re 
spect to age or sex, and had slaughtered a band of 
friendly natives upon their reservation, despite the 
authority of the agent and the commanding officer 
of the United States troops stationed there. 32 The 
immediate effect of the proclamation was to suspend 
volunteering in Douglas county, to which Ross had 
written to have another company raised, 33 and to 
throw discredit on those already in the field. 

31 See proclamation and general order, in Or. Statesman, Oct. 20, 1855; Or. 
Arqus, Oct. 20, 1855. . 

32 Grover in the legislature of 1856-7 found it necessary to explain the 
course of Governor Curry by saying that news was brought to him of the 
slaughter of Indians by a rabble from the neighborhood of Yreka; which in 
formation proved incorrect, some of the best citizens being engaged in the 
affair out of self-defence. Or. Statesman, Jan. 27, 1857. This explanation 
referred to Lupton s attack on the Indians. Cram s Top. Mem., 44; Dowells 
Or. Ind. Wars, MS., i. 117. . . 

83 See Letter of Capt. F. R. Hill, in Dowett s Or. Ind. Wars, 177-8, voL 1. 
HIST. Oa., VOL. II. 25 


The first companies enrolled under the governor s 
proclamation were the two called for from Lane 
county, 34 one of which, under Captain Bailey, was 
present at the action of October 31st and Novem 
ber 1st, as already stated. The next companies to 
respond to the governor s call were those from Linn, 
Douglas, and Umpqua counties. 35 These constituted 
the northern battalion. The companies contained 
from 87 to 111 men each, and were quickly organized, 
William J. Martin being chosen major. 

On the 7th of November Colonel Ross ordered the 
assembling of the 9th regiment at Fort Vannoy, in 
order that all who desired should be mustered into 
the territorial service as members of the southern 
battalion. On the 10th captains James Bruce, R L. 
Williams, William A. Wilkinson, and Miles F. Alcorn 
offered and were accepted, in the order named, and 
an election for major resulted in the choice of Bruce. 36 
Complaint reaching the governor that by disbanding 

MS., where he says: I was just on the eve of getting a company to make 
a start, when the word was out that it was not legal, and the governor s 
proclamation did not call for but one company from Douglas and one from 

34 Co. A, North Battalion 0. M. Vols, Lane county, enrolled Oct. 23d: 
capt., Joseph Bailey; Istlieut., Daniel VV. Keith; 2d lieut, Cyrenus Mulkey, 
resigned Dec. 30th; Charles VV. McClure elected in his place. Co. B, Lane 
county, enrolled Oct. 23d: capt., Laban Buoy; 1st lieut, A. W. Patterson, 
resigned and transferred to medical department, L. Poindexter being elected 
in his place; 2d lieut, P. C. Noland. Or, Jour. House, 1855-6, ap. 145. 

35 Co. C, Linn county, enrolled Oct. 24th: capt., Jonathan Keeney; 1st 
lieut, A. W. Stannard; 2d lieut, Joseph Yates. Co. D, Douglas county, 
enrolled Oct. 25th: capt., Samuel Gordon; 1st lieut, S. B. Hadley; 2d lieut, 
T. Prater. Co. E, Umpqua county, enrolled Nov. 8th: capt., W. W. Chap 
man; 1st lieut, Z. Dimmick; 2d lieut, J. M. Merrick. Or. Jour. Council, 
1855-6, ap. 146. 

36 Co. A: capt., James Bruce; 1st lieut, E. A. Rice, who was elected 
capt. after the promotion of Bruce; 2d lieut, John S. Miller; 2d lieut, J. F. 
Anderson. Co. B: capt., R. L. Williams; 1st lieut, Hugh O Neal; 2d lieut, 
M. Bushey. Co. C: capt., Wm A. Wilkinson; 1st lieut, C. F. Blake; 2d 
lieut, Edwin Hess. Co. D: capt., Miles F. Alcorn; 1st lieut, James M. 
Matney; 2d lieut, John Osborn. Or. Jour. House, 1855-6, ap. 146-7. The 
militia organization as it now stood comprised the following officers: A. P. 
Dennison and Benj. Stark, aids de camp to the gov. ; John F. Miller, quarter 
master gen.; A. Zeiber and S. S. Slater, asst quartermaster general; M. M. 
McCarver, commissary gen.; B. F. Goodwin and J. S. Ruckle, asst com. 
gen.; Wm J. Martin, maj. north bat.; J. W. Drew and R. E. Stratton, adj. 
north bat.; Wm G. Hill and I. N. Smith, aids to major north bat.; James 
Bruce, maj. of south bat.; 0. D. Hoxie, adj. south bat.; J. K. Lamerick, 
mustering officer for southern Oregon. Or. Jour. House, 1855-6, ap. 143-7. 


the 9th regiment several sections were without defence, 
Curry, with Adjutant General Barnum, answered in 
person, arriving on the field about the last of Novem 
ber. The only change made, however, by the gov 
ernor s visit was the consolidation of the northern and 
southern battalions into one regiment, to be called 
the 2d Regiment of Oregon Mounted Volunteers. 
This change necessitated an election for regimental 
officers, and R. L. Williams was chosen colonel, while 
Martin was obliged to content himself as second in 

Immediately after the battle of Grave Creek hills, 
Major Fitzgerald proceeded to Fort Vancouver and 
thence to The Dalles, and his troops remained in gar 
rison during the winter. This reduced the regular 
force on Rogue River to Smith s command. An 
agreement was entered into between the regular and 
volunteer commanders to meet at the Grave Creek 
house about the 9th of November, prepared to pur 
sue and attack the Indians. In the mean time a scout 
ing party of Bailey s company was to find the Indians, 
who had disappeared, according to custom, from their 
last battle-ground. 37 

On the 17th of November Bruce, learning that a 
number of houses on Jump Off Joe Creek had been 
burned, sent a request to Martin to join him there. 
Communications were also sent to the commanders 
at Fort Lane and Fort Jones, and Judah with a 
small force joined in pursuit of the savages. Shortly 
after, Williams fell in with a small band at the mouth 
of Jump Off Joe Creek and killed eight. 38 

87 Just before they took their departure they went on the reserve, burned 
all the boards and shingles there, and every article of value belonging to 
chief Sam s people; a temporary house I had erected for the accommodation 
of persons laboring on the reserve, shared the same fate; they also killed or 
drove away seven of the cattle belonging to the agency. Agent Ambrose to 
Supt. Palmer, Nov. 30, 1855, in U. 8. H. Ex. Doc., 93, p. 119, 34th cong. 

8 38 0r. Statesman, Dec. 1, 1855; Rept of Major Martin, Dec. 10, 1855, in Or. 
Jour. House, 1855-6, ap. 122. 


The 21st saw the white men in full force en route 
down Rogue River, some on one side and some on the 
other. After four days, and encountering many dif 
ficulties, they came upon the enemy at The Meadows 
and found them well fortified. While preparing to 
attack, on the 26th, the Indians opened fire from a 
dense covert of timber bordering the river, which 
caused them to fall back. Being short of food and 
clothing for a winter campaign, they determined for 
the present to abandon the enterprise. 

While the southern army was returning to head 
quarters, roving bands of Indians were committing 
depredations in the Umpqua Valley. On the 3d of 
December a small party of the Cow Creek Indians 
attacked the settlements on the west side of the south 
Umpqua, destroying fifteen houses and much other 
property, compelling the settlers to shut themselves 
up in forts. On the 24th Captain Alcorn found and 
attacked a camp of Indians on the north branch of 
Little Butte Creek, killing eight warriors and captur 
ing some animals. About the same time Captain 
Rice, hearing of another camp on the north bank of 
Rogue River, probably driven out of the mountains 
by the weather, which was exceedingly severe that 
winter, proceeded with thirty men to attack them, 
and after a battle lasting for six hours killed the most 
of them and took captive the remainder. 39 

About the 1st of January, 1856, it was ascertained 
that a party of Indians had taken possession of some 
deserted cabins on Applegate Creek, and fortified them. 
Major Bruce immediately ordered Captain Rice to 
proceed to that place and attack them. Others joined. 
About two miles from Jacksonville they were fired on 

39 These two fights have blotted out Jake s band. Corr. Or. Statesman, 
Jan. 15, 1856. General Wool, in his official report of May 30, 1856, calls 
Jake a friendly old chief, and says that his band comprising 30 or 40 males 
was destroyed by the volunteers, with all their huts and provisions, * expos 
ing the women and children to the cold of December, who in making their 
way to Fort Lane for protection, arrived there with their limbs frozen. 
See Cram s Top. Mem., 45. 


and one man killed. 40 On arriving at the cabins, three 
of which were occupied by the Indians, late in the after 
noon of the 4th, the howitzer was planted and a shell 
dropped through the roof of one, killing two of the 
inmates. The white men had one killed and five 
wounded. There matters rested till next morning, 
when the cabins were found to be empty, the Indians 
of course having found means to escape. These sav 
ages made good shots at 400 yards. 

Toward the middle of the month Bruce s command 
had a fight with one hundred natives on a branch of 
Applegate Creek, the latter retreating with four killed. 
And thus the winter wore away, a dozen bands each 
of white men and red, roaming up and down the 
country, each robbing and burning, and killing as best 
they were able, and all together accomplishing no 
great results, except seriously to interfere with traffic 
and travel. Exasperated by a condition so ruinous, 
the desire to exterminate the savages grew with the 
inability to achieve it. Such was the nature of the 
conflict in which, so far, there had been neither glory 
nor success, either to the arms of the regular or vol 
unteer service; nor any prospect of an end for years 
to come, the savages being apparently omnipresent, 
with the gift of invisibility. They refused to hold 
any communication with the troops, who sought some 
times an opportunity to reason with them. 

The men composing the northern battalion having 
no further interest in the war than at first to gratify 
an evanescent sympathy, or a love of adventure, were 
becoming impatient of so arduous and unprofitable a 
service, and so demanded and received their dis 
charge. General Wool was then petitioned for aid, 
and he immediately despatched two companies under 
Colonel Buchanan. In the mean time the legislative 
assembly had elected J. K. Lamerick brigadier-gen- 

Or. Ind. Wars, MS., ii. 19; Lane s Autobiography, MS., 107; 
firown s Autobiography , MS., 40-1. 


eral of Oregon territory; and in conformity with a 
proclamation of the executive, he issued a call for 
four companies of mounted volunteers to supply the 
place of the northern battalion, 41 who were ordered 
to report to Lieutenant-colonel Martin at Roseburg. 
These companies were enrolled more rapidly than 
might have been anticipated, after the tedious and 
fruitless nature of the war had become known. 42 

Captain Buoy s company remained in the field un 
der the command of its former 2d lieutenant, P. C. 
Noland, now its captain. The southern companies 
were recruited, and kept the field; so that after a 
month of suspense, during which many of the inhab 
itants who up to this time had remained at their 
homesteads unwilling to abandon all their property, 
left their claims and removed to the Willamette Val 
ley, or shut themselves up in fortified houses to await 
a turn in events. That turn it was hoped General 
Lamerick, being a good democrat and an experienced 
Indian-fighter, would be able to give, when spring 
made it possible to pursue the Indians into the 
mountains. It has been said that Williams was in 
competent; but Lamerick was not guiltless of a blun 
der in ordering all the new companies concentrated 
in the Umpqua Valley; and the headquarters of the 
southern companies changed from Vannoy Ferry to 
Forest Dale, a place not in the line of the hostile 
incursions. Taking advantage of this disposition of 
the forces, Limpy, one of the hostile chiefs, with a 
party of thirty warriors, made a visit to Fort Lane, 
bearing a flag of truce; the object of the visit being 
to negotiate for the release of some of the women 
held as prisoners at the fort. 

41 The enrolling officers appointed by Lamerick were Wm H. Latshaw, 
A. W. Patterson, Nat. H. Lane, Daniel Barnes, James A. Porter, for com 
panies to be drawn from Lane, Bentou, Douglas, and Linn counties. Or. 
Statesman, Feb. 12, 1856. 

42 Wm H. Latshaw was elected capt. of the Lane county co. ; John Kel- 
sey of the Benton county co.; and Daniel Barnes of the Douglas county co. 
Or. Statesman, Feb. 19, 1856 Of the co. of 50 raised at Deer Creek (Rose- 
burg) in February, Edward Sheffield was elected capt.; S. H. Blunton 1st 
lieut; Elias Capran 2d lieut. Id. 


Following the outbreak in October, the agents on 
the coast, at Port Orford, the mouth of Rogue River, 
and the mouth of the Umpqua, used many precau 
tions to prevent the Indians in their charge from be 
coming infected with the hostile spirit of their breth 
ren of the interior. The superintendent sent his 
agents a circular containing regulations arid precau 
tions, among which was the collecting of the Indians 
on the several temporary reserves, and compelling 
them to answer to roll-call. 

The agent in charge of the Indians below Coos Bay 
was Ben Wright, a man admired and feared by them. 
Learning that overtures had been made to the Co- 
quilles and other coast tribes to join the hostile bands, 
Wright hastened to visit those under his charge, who 
lived up about the head waters of the several small 
rivers emptying into the ocean between the mouth of 
the Rogue and the Coquille rivers. He found, as he 
expected, emissaries of the hostile bands among these 
on the lower Rogue River, who, though insolent, took 
their departure when threatened with arrest; and he 
was able, as he supposed, to put a stop to further ne 
gotiations with the enemy, the Indians promising to 
follow his advice. 

On returning to the mouth of the river, he found the 
people alarmed by rumors of anticipated trouble with 
the Coquilles, and again hastened to arrest any mis 
chief that might be brewing in that quarter. He found 
these Indians quiet, and expressing great friendship, 
but much in fear of an attack from the settlers of the 
Umpqua Valley, who they had been told were coming 
to kill them all. Their uneasiness appeared to be in 
creased by discovering in their neighborhood a large 
camp of the families, women and children, of the hos 
tile bands, with a few men to guard them, knowing 
that such a circumstance would be liable to be con 
strued against them. They were promised an agent 
to remain with them and ward off trouble until the 
excitement should have abated. 


Returning to the coast, Wright fell in with a party 
of armed men from Coos Bay going toward the Ind 
ian camp with the determination to destroy it. To 
these men he represented that the Coquilles were 
friendly, and returned with them to their camp, where 
he succeeded in convincing each that neither had any 
occasion to fear the other; and appointing one of their 
number sub-agent on the spot, again returned to the 
coast with the others. At Randolph he found the 
settlers greatly excited by the news from the interior. 
Having concealed their portable property, they were 
removing to Port Orford for safety. At the mouth 
of Rogue River defences had been built, and in their 
wrath the white men were threatening to kill or dis 
arm all the Indians in the vicinity. A few cool and 
reflecting minds were able, however, to maintain a 
more prudent as well as humane policy, the excite 
ment on both sides seemed gradually to abate, 43 and 
Wright believed that with the assistance of the troops 
at Port Orford he should be able to preserve the peace 
and secure the public good. 

About the middle of November Agent E. P. Drew, 
who had in charge the Coos Bay and Umpqua Ind 
ians, became convinced that the former were in com 
munication with those at war, and hastily collecting 
the Umpquas on the reservation at the mouth of the 
river, and placing over them a local agent, went to 
Coos Bay. At Empire City he found congregated 
the settlers from the upper Coquille and Coos rivers, 
in anticipation of an outbreak. A company was 
formed and the savages attacked at Drolley s, on the 
lower branch of the Coquille, four being killed, arid 
four captured and hanged. There were few troops at 
Port Orford when the war broke out, and these would 
have been removed to the north on the call of Major 

43 Collector Dunbar at Port Orford wrote to Palmer that there was no 
doubt that Wright could maintain peace in his district. Ben is on the jump 
day and night. I never saw in my life a more energetic agent of the public. 
His plans are all good, there can be no doubt of it. 17. S. II. Ex. Doc., 93. 
127-9, 34th cong. 1st sess. 


Raines had not Wright represented so powerfully to 
Major Reynolds, who came to take them away, the 
defenceless condition of the settlements in that event, 
that Reynolds was induced to remain. Still feeling 
their insecurity, the white inhabitants of Whaleshead, 
near the mouth of Rogue River, as I have mentioned, 
erected a rude fort upon an elevated prairie on the 
north bank of that stream. A company of volun 
teers was also organized, which had its encampment 
at the big bend of Rogue River during the winter; 
but on the proclamation of the governor in February, 
calling for new companies to reorganize, the 1st regi 
ment of Oregon Mounted Volunteers had moved down 
near the settlement in order to fill up its ranks to the 
standard fixed by the proclamation, of sixty privates 
and eleven officers. 

The conduct of the Indians under Wright had been 
so good since the punishment of the Coquilles in the 
early part of the winter that no apprehensions were 
felt beyond the dread that the fighting bands might 
some time make a descent upon them; and for this 
the volunteers had been duly watchful. But what 
so subtle as savage hate? On the night of the 22d 
of February a dancing- party was given at Whales- 
head in honor of the day, and part of the volunteer 
company was in attendance, leaving but a few men 
to guard the camp. Early on the morning of the 
23d, before the dancers had returned, the guard was 
attacked by a large body of Indians, who fell upon 
them with such suddenness and fury that but two 
out of fifteen escaped. One, Charles Foster, con 
cealed himself in the woods, where he remained an 
undiscovered witness of much that transpired, and 
was able to identify the Indians engaged in the mas 
sacre, who were thus found to be those that lived 
about the settlement and were professedly friendly. 

While the slaughter was going on at the volunteer 
camp some Indians from the native village on the 
south side of the river crossed over, and going to the 


house of J. McGuire, where Wright had his lodgings, 
reported to him that a certain half-breed named 
Enos, 44 notoriously a bad man, was at the village, and 
they wished the agent to arrest him, as he was making 
trouble with the Tootootonies. Without the slight 
est suspicion of treachery, Wright, with Captain Po 
land of the volunteers, crossed the river to look into 
the matter, when both were seized and killed. 45 The 
bodies were then so mutilated that they could not be 

The death of Wright is a sad commentary on these 
sad times. He was a genial gentleman, honest, frank, 
brave, the friend and protector of those who slew 
him. It is a sad commentary on the ingratitude of 
man, who in his earlier and lower estate seems fitted 
to be ruled by fear rather than by love. During these 
troublous times in southern Oregon, I am satisfied 
that the United States government endeavored to do 
its best in pursuing a moderate and humane policy; 
and it was singularly fortunate about this time in 
having as a rule conscientious and humane men in 
this quarter, determined at the peril of their lives to 
defend their charge from the fury of the settlers and 
miners, who were exasperated beyond endurance by 
having their houses burned and their wives and chil 
dren captured or slain. And to none is the tribute 
of praise more justly due than to Benjamin Wright, 
who died at his post doing his duty. 

44 This half-breed Enos was formerly one of Fremont s guides, and is 
spoken of by Fremont as a very brave and daring Indian. Corr. Or. Statesman, 
March 11, 1856; Indian Aff., 1856, p. 201-2; Crescent City Herald Extra, 
Feb. 25, 1856. He was hanged at Fort Orford in 1857, for his part in the 
massacre. Or. Statesman, March 31, 1857; Tichenor s Historical Correspond 
ence, MS. 

45 Parrish, Or. Anecdotes, MS., 81-3, says that Wright was at a dance in a 
log cabin on Rogue River, about Christmas 1854! and that with others he 
was killed for his treatment of the women. Dunbar and Nash state that the 
agent kept a native woman, Chetcoe Jennie, who acted as interpreter, and 
drew from the government $500 a year for that service, and who betrayed 
him to his death, and afterward ate a piece of his heart. DowelVs Or. Ind. 
Wars, MS., ii. 27; Ind. Aff. Rept., 1856, 201-2; Or. Statesman, March 11, 
1856; Crescent City Herald, Feb. 26, 1856; U. 8. H. Ex. Doc., 39, p. 47-8, 
35th cong. 1st sess. 


Nor did this horrible and dastardly work end here. 
Every farmer in the vicinity of Whaleshead was killed, 
every house burned but one, and every kind of prop 
erty destroyed. The more distant who escaped the 
massacre, to the number of 130, fled to the fort, but 
being poorly armed, might still have fallen a prey to 
the savages, had they not with their customary want 
of persistence, drawn off after the first day s bloody 
work. At nightfall on the 23d a boat was despatched 
to Port Orford to inform Major Reynolds of the fate 
of the settlement. But Reynolds could not go to the 
relief of Whaleshead without leaving exposed Port 
Orford, that place containing at this period but fifty 
adult male citizens and thirty soldiers. A whale-boat 
was, however, despatched for the purpose of keeping 
open communication with the besieged ; but in attempt 
ing to land, the boat was swamped in the surf, and the 
men in it, six in number, were drowned, their bodies 
being seized by the savages and cut in pieces. Cap 
tain Tichenor with his schooner Nelly went to bring 
off the people of Whaleshead, but was prevented by 
contrary winds from approaching the shore. On the 
morning of the 24th the schooner Gold JBeach left 
Crescent City with a volunteer company, whose design 
was to attack the Indians. They, too, were prevented 
from landing, and except at the fort the silence of 
death covered the whole country. 

When the facts of the outbreak came to light, it 
was ascertained that the Indians attacked no less than 
seven different points within ten or twelve hours, and 
within a distance of ten miles down the coast on the 
south side of Rogue River, and also that a general 
fresh uprising occurred at the same time in other 
localities. 46 

46 The persons killed in the first attack were Benjamin Wright, John 
Poland, John Idles, Henry Lawrence, Patrick McCullough, George McClusky, 
Barney Castle, Guy C. Holcomb, Joseph Wilkinson, Joseph Wagner, E. W. 
Howe, J. H. Braun, Martin Reed, George Reed, Lorenzo Warner, Samuel 
Hendrick, Nelson Seaman, W. R. Tulles, Joseph Seroc and two sons, John 
Geisell and four children, Mrs Geisell and three daughters being taken pris 
oners; and subsequently to the first attack, Henry Bullen, L. W. Oliver, 


Those who took refuge in the fort were kept 
besieged for thirty-one days, when they were rescued 
by the two companies under Colonel Buchanan sent 
by General Wool, as before mentioned. A few days 
after the arrival of the troops a schooner from Port 
Orford effected a landing, and the women and chil 
dren at the fort were sent to that place, while 
Buchanan commenced operations against the Indians, 
as I shall presently relate more in detail. 

Daniel Richardson, George Trickey and Adolf Schmoldt in all thirty-one. 
Warner was from Livonia, N. Y., Seaman from Cedarville, N. Y. The 
drowned were H. C. Gerow, a merchant of Port Orford, and formerly of N. 
Y. ; John O Brien, miner; Sylvester Long, farmer; William Thompson and 
Richard Gay, boatmen; and Felix McCue. Letter of James C. Franklin, in 
Or. Statesman, March 18, 1856; Crescent City Herald, Feb. 25 and May 21, 
1856; Corr. Coos Bay Mail-, DowelVs Or. Lid. Wars, MS., ii. 27; Or. Argus, 
March 8, 1856; Or. Statesman, April 29, May 13 and 20, 1856; S. F. Alta, 
March 4, 1856; S. F. Bulletin, March 12, 1856; Cong. Globe, 1855-6, pt i., 780, 
34th cong. 1st sess.; Sac. Union, March 1, 1856. 




WHEN Superintendent Palmer determined to re 
move from the Rogue River and Umpqua reserva 
tions the Indians who had observed the treaties, to an 
encampment in the small and beautiful valley on the 
western border of Yamhill and Polk counties, known 
as the Grand Rond, so great was the anger and op 
position of the white people of the Willamette in 
thus having these savages brought to their door, so 
loud their threats against both Indians and agents, 
that it was deemed prudent to ask General Wool for 
an escort and guard. Palmer wrote Wool that he 
believed the war was to be attributed wholly to the 
acts of the white population, and that he ^ felt it his 
duty to adopt such measures as would insure the 
safety of the Indians, and enable him to maintain 
treaty stipulations, 1 recommending the establishment 

1 The future will prove, said Palmer, that this war has been forced upon 
those Indians against their will, and that, too, by a set of reckless vagabonds, 
for pecuniary and political objects, and sanctioned by a numerous population 
who regard the treasury of the United States a legitimate subject of plun 
der. U. S. H. Ex. Doc., 93, 24, 34th cong. 1st sess. See also DowdVs Let 
ters, MS., 42. Do well takes a different view. 


of a military post, and asking that a competent officer 
be directed to assist him in locating the proposed en 
campment, and making the improvements designed 
for the benefit of the Indians. Having once con 
ceived the idea of removing the Indians from the 
southern reservations, Palmer was not to be deterred 
either by the protests of the people or the disappro 
bation of the legislative assembly. 2 

About the last of January 300 Umpquas and 200 
Calapooyas were brought from the south and placed 
upon the Grand Rond reservation. As these bands 
had not been engaged in the recent hostilities, the 
feeling of alarm was somewhat softened, and much 
as their presence in the valley was deprecated, they 
were suffered to go upon the reserve without moles 
tation, although no troops were present to intimidate 
the people. 3 At the same time Palmer gave notice 
that he intended to carry out his first design of re 
moving all the other tribes whenever the necessary 
preparations had been made for their reception; 4 a 

2 During the debate over Palmer s course in the legislature, Waymire ac 
cused Palmer of being the cause of the war, and willing to bring about a 
collision between the United States troops and the citizens of the Willamette 
valley. Not only that, . . .but he actually proposes to bring 4,000 savages, 
red from the war, and plant them in one of the counties of this valley, with 
a savage and barbarous foe already upon its borders. "I will do it," said he, 
"and if you resist me, I will call upon General Wool for soldiers to shoot 
down the citizens." Or. Statesman, Jan. 15,1856. And on the hesitation of 
Colonel Wright, who was first applied to to furnish it without the sanction 
of General Wool, then in California, Palmer thus wrote Commissioner Man- 
nypenny: To be denied the aid of troops at a critical moment, upon flimsy 

Sretences or technical objections, is to encourage a spirit of resistance to au- 
iiority and good order, and effectively neutralize all efforts to reduce the 
Indians and lawless whites to a state of subordination. U. S. H. Ex. Doc., 
93, 131-2, 34th cong. 1st sess. 

3 The Indians were moved in a heavy storm of rain and snow, Capt. 
Bowie of the northern battalion with 20 men being ordered to escort Metcalfe 
and his charge. At Elk Creek the Indians were seized with a panic on 
account of rumors of the removal of Palmer from the superintendency, and 
refused to go farther. Palmer called upon Colonel Wright for troops, and 
was referred, as I have said, to General Wool, when, without waiting, Metcalfe 
proceeded alone to the reservation, having quieted the fears of the Indians. 

4 The opposition of the white population was not all that was to be over 
come, as Palmer had been warned by his agents. In order to induce the 
Umpquas to leave their homes, it was agreed by treaty that each Indian 
should be given as much land as he had occupied in the Uinpqua Valley, with 
a house as good or better than the one he left, with pay for all the property 
abandoned, and clothing and rations for himself and family until all were 


promise which was partly carried out in March by 
the removal of the Rogue River Indians from Fort 
Lane to the Grand Rond, none of that resistance 
being offered which had been feared. Preparations 
were then made for bringing all the tribes from Coos 
Bay south to the California line upon the coast reser 
vation selected in 1854. The legislature had asked 
for the removal of the superintendent on this ground ; 5 
though in reality it was a political dodge; and his 
removal was accomplished before he had fairly fin 
ished the work in hand. 8 

Immediately after the massacre of Whaleshead 
Governor Curry issued still another proclamation, 
calling for another battalion for service in the south. 7