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MARCH, 1912-DECEMBER, 1912 

Edited by 

Portland, Oregon 

The Ivy Presi 








By Rev. J. Neilson" Barry 227-239 


By George H. Himes 85-86 


By Walter Bailey 287-296 


By Robert Carlton Clark 140-159 


By Frances Packard Young 297-337 


By Leslie M. Scott 160-174 


By Ellen Condon McCornack 3-13 


By Frederick V. Holman 89-139 


By F. G. Young 1-2 


By T. C. Elliott 71-84 


By William Barlow .240-286 


By Clarence B. Bagley 347-362 










CANADIAN SETTLERS, ADDRESSES BY. Facsimile of, original text 

of, and translation of, by P. J. Frein, Ph. D 338-343 





SLACUM'S REPORT ON OREGON, 1836-7 175-224 


1836 371-379 


1830. Edited by T. C. Elliott 363-371 


Bagley, Clarence B., Transmission of Intelligence in Early Days 

in Oregon ...347-362 

Bailey, Walter, The Barlow Road 287-296 

Barlow, William, Reminiscences of Seventy Years. 240-286 

Clark, Robert Carlton, How British and American Subjects 
Unite in a Common Government for Oregon Territory 

in 1844 .140-159 

Elliott, T. C., The Earliest Travelers on the Oregon Trail. ...... 71-84 

Editing of Journal of John Work, Snake River Expe- 
dition, 1830-1 363-371 

Frein, P. J., Translation of Address by Canadian Settlers 338-340 

Himes, George H., Centennial of the Arrival of the First White 

Men in Baker County 85-86 

Celebration of the Sixty-Ninth Anniversary of the Or- 
ganisation of the First American Civil Government West 

of the Rocky Mountains 86 

Holman, Frederick V., A Brief History of the Oregon Pro- 
visional Government and What Caused Its Formation. . . 89-139 
McCornack, Ellen Condon, A Glimpse Into Prehistoric Oregon . . 3-13 
Scott, Leslie M., John Fiske's Change of Attitude on the Whit- 
man Legend 160-174 

Woodward, Walter Carleton, Rise and Early History of Political 

Parties in Oregon, VI 15-70 

Yoang, Frances Packard, John C. Calhoun as Secretary of War, 

1817-1825 297-337 

Young, F. G., Historial Series for Kindling an Oregon Sentiment 1-2 

Notes on Activity in Marking Santa Fe and Oregon 

Trails, and on History Buildings 86 



of the 

Oregon Historical Society 


Copyright, 1912. by Oregon Historical Society 
The Quarterly disavows responsibility for the positions taken by contributors to its pages 


By The Editor 

The Quarterly with this number presents the initial paper of 
a series designed to give a synthetic view of Oregon's past. 
The youth of the state need particularly such an account of the 
making of Oregon as will appeal to the imagination and lend 
itself to the forming of a realistic picture of the different stages 
of the process through which the, land and the people as we 
have them today came to be all for the purpose of inspiring 
the liveliest and most enlightened sentiment. 

The word patriotism in its derivation suggests mainly asso- 
ciated effort in the winning and in the defense of the home land. 
Thanks to the world peace movement, the indications for the 
future are that sentiment for the land we call our own must 
arise out of different associations and ideals cherished in con- 
nection with it. The people to lead in the world's civilizations 
henceforth will commemorate rather the policies that result in 
the making of a happier and richer national or commonwealth 
home than in any achievement in wresting that land from 

Man's co-operation with the forces of nature towards making 
his heritage a better dwelling place cannot be begun too soon. 
To evoke a commonwealth spirit aiming to promote the highest 
welfare of those to come after us nothing can be more useful 
than an exercise of the imagination in picturing truthfully the 


stages through which this Oregon home of ours has, as a whole, 
passed in coming to its present development. 

Mrs. Ellen Condon McCornack, in the introductory paper 
of this series, gives a delightful sketch of the conditions that 
obtained here when this section of the globe was in prepara- 
tion for the advent of man. 

The indefatigable research of her father, Thomas Condon, 
Oregon's most illustrious scientist, provided the materials for 
this picture. In the early sixties, while Oregon was yet a 
wilderness and isolated from the world, he began an assiduous 
labor of love, that of reading the story of Oregon's past as 
recorded in the exposed strata of rock found in different parts 
of the state. His work of nearly half-a-century led to 
discoveries that contributed most important elements to the 
perfecting of the theory of evolution, the nineteenth century's 
most important addition to the world's body of scientific 


By Ellen Condon McCornacL 


In preparing this sketch our principal source of information 
has been the chapter on the Willamette Sound from "The Two 
Islands," *by Professor Condon, but we, are also indebted for 
facts and suggestions to the following publications: Dana's 
Geology, Chamberlain and Salisbury's Geology, a publication 
by Professor Osborn of Columbia University, The Encyclo- 
paedia Britannica and the writings of John Fiske, George 
Kennan and others. 


The children of modern Egypt, Persia, India and other 
nations of antiquity, while studying the history of their coun- 
try, find a rich background of centuries of historic life which 
they are taught to reverence. 

The children of modern Europe, too, have a priceless heritage 
in their historic relations to classic Greece and Rome. But the 
children of the New World find but little of this historic back- 
ground as part of their nation's life. While we of the North- 
west have least of all, for we even lack the unique chapter of 
Colonial history of which our Eastern States are so justly 

In order to supplement their usual study of history, The Ore- 
gon Historical Society wishes to offer to the schools of our state 
a few sketches of Oregon's geological history, that, while the 
children of the Orient are studying the growth of dynasties and 
pyramids built by the, power of the few and degradation and 
oppression of the many; the children of the Northwest may 
be studying some of the long rich chapters of its ancient life 
and the upbuilding of its mountains. While the children of 
Europe are learning of the rise and fall of kingdoms, so inter- 
woven with the hatred, jealousies and crimes of ambitious 
men and women ; the children of the Northwest may be peer- 
ing into the mysteries of God's creation and noting the rise and 

*The revised edition of "The Two Islands" bears the title, "Oregon 


fall of continents, the upbuilding of our majestic snowpeaks 
and the evolution of our forest life. 

This change of historic background is not offered as a sub- 
stitute but as a compensation. And yet, it has its advantages. 
Do you cavil as to the result on character? If the, mind of 
man grows by what it feeds upon, the experiment may result, 
as is hoped by some, in the development of a nobler race, whose 
children have minds of breadth, purity and poise caught by 
breathing the atmosphere of the spirit of creation. 

The thoughts of those interested in this plan have naturally 
turned to the writings of Professor Condon and, in order to 
carry out their wish, the wellspring or source from which the 
material for this sketch has been largely drawn is the chapter 
on The Willamette Sound from Professor Condon's "Two 
Islands." But such additions have been made as will farther 
adapt it to the study of the boys and girls of Oregon. 


Long ago the climate of the northern part of the earth began 
to grow cold. And for a time it seemed to grow colder and 
colder until almost all of its land was covered by a sheet of ice. 
Of course the grass and shrubs and trees quietly fled before this 
ice sheet. Then the horse and camel and reindeer and all other 
herb-eating animals had to follow their food or die from cold 
and hunger. But when the flesh-eating animals, such as bears 
and tigers, found their prey had gone, they, too, joined the 
army of life ever moving toward the South in front of the 
creeping ice sheet. Sometimes it would be warmer for a while 
and the plants and animals could travel a little further north, 
but the increasing cold was sure to drive them south again. 
This long continued cold has been called the glacial period or 
Age of Ice. 

If now you have a simple map of Oregon and Washington 
(your geography map will do), you can trace the rivers and 
the mountains and see the country better as we talk. You see 
Oregon is nestled in between the high mountains and the warm 
Pacific Ocean and so was not covered by the great ice. sheet. 
But it was high and dry with its coast line several miles further 
west than now ; and with many snow-covered mountains and 
long rivers of solid ice, or glaciers, winding from the mountain 
tops far down to the valleys. 

After thousands of years, when this age of ice was passing 
away, we find our Pacific Coast was slowly sinking, while the 
waters of the sea were creeping higher and higher until all of 
our coast valley lay drowned beneath the ocean. The Pacific 
Ocean pushed the waters of the lower Columbia further and 
still further inland until after a long period of time they stood 
three hundred feet or more higher at the mouth of the Wil- 
lamette than they do today. From the present site of Astoria 
to near that of St. Helens the old Columbia became a grand 
entrance channel, from five to twenty miles in width and eighty 
miles or more in length, broad and deep enough to float the 
greatest fleet of battleships. 

It is doubtful if the Columbia river itself ever received more 


water from the mountains than it did at this time, for its numer- 
ous tributaries were fed by many melting glaciers still lingering 
from the age of ice. In some places where the river gorge 
was narrow, as at the Cascades, the waters must have been 
very deep. While beyond The Dalles, near the mouth of the 
Des Chutes, there was a large "lake like extension of the 
river" where this great volume of water could quietly write, its 
own history, for here it deposited layer after layer of sediment 
in which it carefully buried the bones and teeth of the animals 
that roamed on its shores or were washed down from the 
mountains when this lake stood over two hundred and fifty 
feet above the present surface of the Columbia. At this 
time, too, the Walla Walla Valley and the Valley of the Yaki- 
ma were flooded and were writing other chapters of the same 
old history. 

If the encroachment of the sea crowded back the Columbia 
until it produced such high water in Eastern Oregon and 
Washington, what was its effect upon the valley of the Wil- 
lamette ? When the waters stood over three hundred feet above 
their present level at the mouth of the Willamette they evidently 
covered the whole valley from the coast mountains to the 
Cascades and from the Scappoose Mountains on the north, to 
the hills that surround Eugene on the south. And it was a 
beautiful body of water, one hundred and twenty miles in 
length and fifty miles or more in width, for not only was the 
level valley covered but the waters had quietly climbed the 
lower slopes of the foothills until they stood far above the 
present altitude of the church spires of Portland and Salem. 

In the northern part of this Willamette Sound the Chehalem 
Mountains formed a fine wooded island from which could be 
seen the broad bay that covered Tualatin plains, on whose 
waters one might have sailed more than a hundred feet above 
the present towns of Forest Grove and Hillsboro. Across a 
narrow straight from Chehalem was the island of the Dundee 
Hills and from both of these elevations could be seen the great 
expanse of waters and the many distant snowpeaks of the 
Cascade Mountains. Perhaps the largest of these islands was 


the present Polk County Hills reaching from near Salem north- 
west to Amity. Then there was the island of the Waldo Hills and 
Knox's, Ward's and Peterson's Buttes of Linn County, while 
far to the south there were small low lying islands, the buttes 
of Lane County, and old Spencer towering above them all in 
his solemn dignity. 

We have seen that Oregon still had many glaciers, that were 
remnants of the age of ice. 1 Glaciers, as you know, are only 
slowly moving and solidly frozen rivers. But the waters of a 
river pass swiftly on leaving the larger stones found in their 
pathway, while a glacier slowly reaches out or down and freezes 
to the loose stones as it passes on, making them a part of its 
own frozen mass. When in the progress of its journey it reaches 
warmer waters, a great mass of ice often splits off from the 
front of the glaciers and the iceberg sails away like a phantom 
ship, carrying the frozen load of rocks which it has gathered in 
the heart of the far distant mountains. It was so on the Willam- 
ette Sound. We have no native granite in the valley, but 
throughout its entire length from near Portland and Forest 
Grove to near Eugene, granite boulders, varying from hand 
specimens to the weight of several tons, were dropped into the 
Willamette Sound by melting icebergs. An eminent authority 
assures us that very large boulders found in Yamhill County 
are of British-American type of granite. And these must have 
been carried through Puget Sound across the Columbia Valley 
and into Willamette Sound from some point beyond our north- 
ern boundary. 


For ages before the ice period many varieties of the horse 
and camel had made their home in Oregon. But as the climate 
became colder a part of these evidently migrated to South 
America, while it is thought many may have died of some epi- 

i The Eagle Creek Mountains of Wallowa County, the Elk Horn Mountains of 
Baker County, the Stein Mountains of Harney County, all had their glaciers. 
Mt. Hood and the Three Sisters and probably all the high peaks of the Cascade 
Range had their many and diverging glaciers. 


demic, or have been killed by fierce wolves or other flesh-eating- 
animals. From whatever cause our long line American horses 
and camels seem to have entirely disappeared. But in spite of 
the loss of the camel and the horse, some very large animals 
lived on the shores of the Willamette Sound. 

There was a great ground sloth, the Mylodon, whose an- 
cestors had recently come from South America over the newly- 
made Isthmus of Panama. He was larger than the rhinoceros, 
a great, clumsy creature with massive limbs armed with long, 
stout claws. Professor Owen, the English scientist, thought 
that instead of climbing trees, as do his smaller modern rela- 
tives, Mylodon planted himself firmly on his great heels and 
broad, stout tail, then grasped the tree with his strong arms 
and worked and wrestled until the tree was either broken off or 
pulled up by the roots, when he was ready to dine on its juicy 
twigs and leaves. He seems not to have been a very dangerous 
animal and perhapsi could not defend himself against the 
wolves, bears and great cats that must have been so common 
in our Oregon woods. 

There was also a large ancestor of the buffalo, the Broad 
Faced Ox, with horns larger and head wider than the modern 
buffalo, and skull so thick that it left but little room for brains. 
It lived along the Columbia River and undoubtedly roamed in 
herds all over the northwest. 

But perhaps the most common animal around the Willamette 
Sound was the elephant. There were at least two kinds, the 
Mastodon and the Mammoth. The Mastodon was much like 
the elephants we have seen in the, circus or menagerie, except 
as to its grinding teeth. It must have found abundant food in 
Oregon, for it lived in part upon the tender shoots of spruce 
and fir trees. But the most interesting of the elephant family 
was the enormous mammoth which is said to have "weighed 
more than twice as much as the largest modern elephant and 
was almost one-third taller." He lived in all parts of North 
America and Europe and some very fine specimens or mum- 
mies, after being kept in cold storage for thousands of years, 
were taken from the ice or frozen ground of Siberia, with not 


only the skeleton but the muscles, skin and hair all in a fine 
state of preservation. These northern specimens and perhaps 
all Mammoths had a mane and a coat of long, dark hair with 
short wool, reddish brown hair beneath. Their ivory tusks 
were of very great length, some of them curving downward 
then out and upward until they formed almost a complete circle. 
It is difficult to see how this circular tusk could be used for 
tearing down branches, twigs and leaves for food or as a 
weapon of warfare, and perhaps this difficulty may partly ac- 
count for the fact that the fantastic circular form has long since 
passed away, while the straighter tusks remain until now. Africa 
is supposed to have been the original home of the elephant and 
our American forms traveled over a land bridge into Europe 
on through Asia and over another land bridge into Alaska. 


The limited verdure of the age of ice was a chapter of the 
past, for the climate of the Willamette Sound was warmer and 
the forests even richer and more varied than we find them now. 
We would expect to find grand forests of pine, fir, spruce, red- 
wood, cedar and hemlock trees and against this dark back- 
ground of conifers to see the star-like blossoms and light green 
foliage of the dogwood, the creamy tassels of the ocean spray 
and the golden yellow of the Oregon grape, just as we see 
them now. The islands, too, would have their many grand old 
oaks, their mountain laurels, rhododendrons and flowering cur- 
rants and beneath them all a bright carpet of many flowers. 

Among the birds, too, we should expect to find man> of our 
modern friends. The bright oriole with its long pendant nest, 
the many warblers and their sweet songs, the meadow lark with 
notes so full of exultant joy or of tender pathos that, heard in 
our land of long ago, they would almost seem to foreshadow 
the coming of the human soul. 

But was there no human eye to see ? Were there no shelters 
of skins and boughs under the oaks and firs of those picturesque 


islands? Were no canoes waiting among the willows and the 
maples along the shore while their owners hunted elk and bear 
upon the mountain side? Were the voices of happy children 
never heard across those waters? We do not know. There 
might have been, for it is well known that man lived in South 
America at this time, and it has long been claimed, though per- 
haps not quite proven, that man lived in North America and 
even in California before the time of which we write. While 
Europe has a rich chapter of very ancient human history, tell- 
ing of the "Cave Dwellers," who lived in England, France, 
Belgium and other countries, when this same Mammoth ele- 
phant still lived in Europe and America. 

Let us borrow for a time, some of those people who made 
their homes in caves, and in imagination transfer them to 
our Willamette Sound. No scientist will object, for they really 
belong here and this old Oregon was far too beautiful to have 
no human beings hunting in its forests, fishing in its streams 
or building little villages upon its wooded islands. 

But what kind of people were the Cave Dwellers ? We sup- 
pose they must have been savages, but they were certainly a 
very interesting people, perhaps the ancient ancestors of the 
Eskimos of the far north. They lived in caves because they 
found many caverns already fashioned in the limestone hills of 
Europe. They knew nothing of metals, such as bronze or iron, 
but made their weapons of chipped flint and horn or bone. 
They had spearheads, scrapers and large implements of chipped 
flint. They made lances and bodkins and bone needles and 
used cooking hearths, so we know the women had already 
learned to cook and sew. But they also carved in bone and 
ivory and drew pictures of the Mammoth and the reindeer, the 
horse and ox, and made drawings of fish and flowers. Their 
heads, too, show well-developed brain power, and we know 
their minds must have been quick and active for they were sur- 
rounded by all kinds of fierce, hungry animals, many of them 
larger and stronger than man himself, and yet he held his own 
and prospered while many varieties of those great animals 
have long since become extinct. 


Let us imagine one of these primitive men standing on some 
eminence and looking out over our beautiful Willamette Sound. 
He sees the long, graceful shore line as it winds in and out of 
the many harbors formed by the submerged valleys of the 
smaller streams. He sees the broad expanse of waters with 
its many picturesque islands. He sees the stately evergreens, 
the great oaks and beautiful flowering shrubs upon the sunny 
hillsides. He sees the grand Cascade Mountains crowned with 
their lofty snowpeaks. But does he see all this as the Mammoth 
sees it, or does its beauty touch his soul ? 

When the earth trembles, as it often does, and loud rumblings 
come from the mountains, what does he think? He looks to- 
ward Mt. Hood in its pure majestic beauty, does he worship the 
mountain, or does his mind rise above and worship its creator ? 
Suddenly he sees white clouds of steam pouring from the 
mountain top, then with violent earthquake and loud explosions, 
he sees showers of glowing cinders and stones and jets of fiery 
liquid hurled far upward into the dense black cloud now spread- 
ing above the mountain. Why does he turn suddenly away 
from the awful grandeur of the scene and throw out his long 
bare arms and lift his eyes to the pure blue sky, where only one 
white cloud is drifting? Is it the dawn of prayer? When later 
on an iceberg comes gliding slowly across the waters, its 
beautiful icy pinnacles glistening in the moonlight, perhaps it 
seems to him the wandering spirit of that snowpeak driven out 
by the wild demon of fire. 

Sometime while digging an excavation through the, rich, deep 
soil the old Willamette Sound has left us, some one may find 
the bones and large grinding teeth of the Mammoth elephant, 
and mingled with them may be human bones or human imple- 
ments of chipped flint and a fragment of carving, perhaps even 
a picture of the long-haired Mammoth drawn with flint upon a 
piece of ivory. This discovery would be of great interest to 
scientific men, although it would not surprise them, for it has 
long been considered among the possibilities. But to us who 
are interested in Oregon's history it would open a rich and very 
ancient chapter of human life. 


You know it was Professor Condon who discovered the Wil- 
lamette Sound, and that he also first described and named it. 
In his book, "The Two Islands," we find these thoughts: 
"That fine old Willamette Sound may, in the days of the Mam- 
moth and the Broad Faced Ox, have welcomed to its scores of 
sheltered harbors, the ancient hunter, who, in his canoe, if he 
had one, floated one hundred feet or more above the present 
altitude of the church spires of Portland and Salem. A few 
more mill races dug, a few more excavations of winter floods, 
more careful search where mountain streams washed their 
trophies to their burial under still waters, and the question, Did 
man, too, live there then? may be set at rest as it regards the 
Willamette Sound. Oregon does not answer it yet." 




By Walter Catleton Woodward 

The Issues of War 


It has been seen that from the beginning of the war, the 
Statesman had been most energetic in support of the Adminis- 
tration and most aggressive in demanding a vigorous war policy. 
It not only supported the Administration but attempted to lead, 
or rather, drive it. The first manifestation of dissatisfaction, 
in fact, was occasioned by what Bush termed the one remark- 
able phase of the war the leniency of federal authorities to- 
ward traitors. He complained that the most notorious and 
virulent offenders, taken even in arms, were almost invariably 
treated more like honored guests than felons that they were. 
He, maintained that there was such a thing as sinning against 
humanity by overdoses of kindness and that the war would 
prove a contemptible failure if a "sickly sentimentalism" 
should let the "demons of secession go free, to repeat again the 
dread tragedy of rebellion/' 1 

For the first time, the Statesman distinctly questions the Gov- 
ernment's policy in an editorial, October 6, 1862, on "The Presi- 
dent's Proclamation." This referred to the preliminary procla- 
mation issued September 22 by Lincoln, that unless the inhabi- 
tants of the revolting states returned to their allegiance by 
January 1, the slaves should be declared free. In the first place, 
such a policy at this time was held to be unnecessary and im- 
practicable. But, more to the point, were the words: "It is 
not the loss that will fall upon the slave states that we object 
to. ... but the Government will have on hand at the, close 
of the war a 'Negro question' which will present more difficult 
phases than any shape in which the question has ever yet been 
seen." Another instance was this of the accuracy with which 
Bush foresaw and foretold the results which were to grow out 
of the war. From this time on the Statesman became more and 
more critical of Lincoln's policies. In a private letter to 
Nesmith, Deady wrote, October 22: "Bush is turning 'oppo- 

i Statesman, June 30, 1863, editorial, "What Shall be Done with the 


sitionist' and as a matter of course is regaining his health. Sup- 
porting a government is not his specialty." 

From the latter part of 1862 onward, from the exigencies 
arising from the prosecution of a great civil war, many difficult 
questions of policy arose., as regards both men and measures. 
The solution of these various questions disclosed the political 
differences existing in the ranks of those supporting the Gov- 
ernment, which had thus far been scarcely noticeable. Opposi- 
tion to Lincoln's administration began to organize. As repre- 
sentative of this general opposition, and showing the several 
grounds on which it was based, the attitude of the Oregon 
Statesman furnishes an excellent example, and as such will be 
followed in some detail. 

At the same time that Emancipation was being forecasted as 
an issue, the personal element was also being injected into the 
situation by the removal of General McClellan, a Democrat, as 
commander-in-chief of the armies. 2 Bush's loyalty to McClellan 
led him to criticize Lincoln severely for trying out so many 
generals. 3 He accused him of weakness and vacillation in yield- 
ing his better judgment to the clamor of radicals and fanatics 
of whom he said: "the nigger is their chief stock in trade." 
Referring to the Union Democratic victories in the fall elections 
in the East, Bush interpreted them, not as an expression against 
the war but as "simply a victory against party dogmas in the 
conduct of the war."4 He contended that the radical Republi- 
cans or politicians who had elected Lincoln had cried, "all 
parties are dead," adding sotto voce, "except the Republican 
party." Where they were not in the majority they had said, 
"away with parties," but where they were independent they 
had run Republican tickets. Democrats were expected not 
only to cease to become Democrats but to become Republicans, 
supporting the Administration in all its party measures, a 

2 "We have the news of McClellan's removal here. People and papers who 
know something about the merits of the matters are expending their opinions 
freely pro and con and it looks as if the matter would be taken into the next 
Presidential election, provided that political carnival is not deferred until after the 
war." Deady to Nesmith, Nov. 22. 

3 Statesman, Nov. 3, editorial, "The President and His Generals." 

4 Statesman, Nov. 17, editorial, "The Lesson of the Hour." 


demand "too impudent for concession." The result had been 
that the loyal Democrats had formed Union Democratic tickets 
wherever Republicans had made party nominations and had 
elected them so generally as to strike the country with complete 
surprise. Bush thus gave evidence of growing restiveness 
under his close associations with Republicanism. As a striking 
sequel to Dr. McBride's prediction made in February,* is the 
following extract from a letter of Deady to Nesmith, dated 
November 22 : "Bush is breaking ground against his Republi- 
can brethren and the time is not far distant when he and they 
will quit the entente cordial it only exists in name now." 

The Argus strongly supported the policy of the Emancipa- 
tion Proclamation and on December 6, 1862, for opposing it 
made a venomous attack on Bush in an editorial under the sug- 
gestive caption: "The Lion's Skin Torn From a Donkey." 6 
This editorial, while intemperate in language and radical in its 
presentation, presents so good a view, both of the attitude of 
the Republican radicals toward the Statesman at this time and 
of the position which Bush had assumed toward the Adminis- 
tration, that it is freely quoted in the following excerpts : 

"Now that it has made all the money out of the Union 
party it expects to, this sheet has thrown off its 'Union' 
cloak far enough to show its teeth which are now gnash- 
ing in real Corvallis Union style, at the President for 
proclaiming freedom to the slaves, at Congress for abolish- 
ing slavery in the District of Columbia, and at the Govern- 
ment generally for adopting what it terms the policy of 
'freedom-loving Austria' for suspending the writ of habeas 
corpus. . . . This sheet lets no opportunity slip to 
charge the Government with peculation and fraud, to cry 
down and depreciate its currency, 7 to rail at anti-slavery 
men as abolitionists. . . . and in short to play Into the 
hands of rebellion by such sly jeers and villainous false- 

5 Supra, p. 342. 

6 "Bush and Little Preach (Billy Adams) are throwing mud at each other in 
fine style. The Statesman begins to read as of yore." Deady to Nesmith, Dec. 18. 
(Adams still wrote for the Argus though Craig was now in direct management of 
the paper.) 

7 The Argus vigorously urged the acceptance and use of the legal tender notes 
at par. 


hoods as Pat Malone 8 has been retailing in much better 
style for months past. While such men as Malone deserve 
to be beaten with rods, he of the Salem concern deserves 
to be thrashed with scorpions. . . . The President's 
blow at the cause of the rebellion. . . . gave the seces- 
sion squirt at Salem a long coveted opportunity to plunge 
his carcass into the stinking pool of treason, with his 
'Union' cloak drawn closely round his breech as a tempta- 
tion to real Union men to follow. The same instinct and 
innate love of doing something dirty that led this black- 
hearted villain and white-livered scoundrel, among our 
Oregon volunteers in 1855, to stab Whigs has now 
prompted the whining cur to pin his nose to the seat of 
McClellan's breeches and raise a yell over his removal as 
a persecution of a Democrat. . . . The whole object 
of this sheet is to assist in breaking down the Administra- 
tion. . . . It is for the Union if slavery can be pre- 
served, to again stink and rule the government. . . . 
Some men may differ with us, but we have no time to 
argue with those who are green enough to wish to carry 
adders in their bosoms till they are stung to death 
If there is any hope for the success of pure principles in 
Oregon, Union men must scotch this new head of the 
hydra-headed snake of secession at once." 

On the other hand, the feeling manifested toward Bush by 
the organized Democracy was no more cordial, as is made evi- 
dent by Malone in the Corvallis Union : "The political harlot 
of the Salem Vampire has had a new revelation ! He has 
learned a new 'lesson' from the signs of the 'hour.' But he has 
reached the end of his tether. The wrigglings of the reptile in 
his efforts to steal into the Democratic party only breeds a big 
disgust. "9 

In defending himself and like Union Democrats, Bush showed 
how zealously they had upheld the Administration and only 
hesitated now at the manifestation of its growing partisan ten- 
dencies. He charged that there was a growing movement to 
reorganize the government as well as a rebellion to destroy it, 
referring to the determined efforts to free the Negroes. He 

8 Editor of the Corvallis Union at this time. 

9 Quoted in Argus, Feb. 14, 1863. 


alluded to Gov. Andrew's threat that Massachusetts would 
give no more troops unless the slaves were emancipated, and 
intimated that those stood better by the Administration who 
criticized and acquiesced than those who coerced, overawed and 
bullied it against its convictions. He declared he should con- 
tinue to stand by the Administration in all matters of right and 
criticise it when he thought it was wrong. 10 In allusion to the 
offer of a bet which had been made that within three months 
Bush would be a red hot secessionist, he replied that while he 
was in favor of maintaining the Government at every hazard, 
he wouldn't destroy it, either to enslave or liberate "niggers;" 
that he believed it to be a government of white men, and that 
if the liberties of that race could be preserved, he regarded it of 
comparatively little consequence what fate might betide the 
"nigger." 11 He declared that the radicals' test of loyalty had 
become, not, "Are you for the Union?" but "Are you for 
Emancipation?" 12 As for him, he was for the Union first and 
the Union only. The Emancipation Proclamation 13 and the 
removal of McClellan were the two rocks on which broke the 
Statesman's loyalty to Lincoln. 

In March, 1863, Bush laid down his scepter as editor of the 
Statesman. C. P. Crandall and E. M. Waite secured the paper, 
the former acting as editor. The policy continued to be that 
which had been adopted by Bush that of criticism of the Ad- 
ministration. In November of the same year, the Argus and 
the Statesman were consolidated under the name of Statesman, 
the paper being published by the Oregon Printing & Publish- 
ing Company, the directors of which were J. W. P. Huntington, 
Rufus Mallory, D. W. Craig, C. P. Crandall and C. N Terry.'4 
Radical Republicans and Douglas Democrats were thus asso- 
ciated together in the directorate. Loyalty to the Union was 
reaffirmed and with the change of management the tone of the 

10 Statesman, Dec. i, 1862, editorial, "Standing by the Administration." 

11 Ibid., Dec. 8. 

12 Statesman, Dec. 15. 

13 "After 12 o'clock to-night I suppose there will be no slaves in the rebellious 
states so Abraham's proclamation says. The shackles will fall at his word, I 
'spect."- Bush to Deady, Dec. 31. 

14 Statesman, Nov. 2. 


paper changed. There was no more depreciation of Lincoln and 
laudation of McClellan. The Statesman resumed its unwaver- 
ing allegiance of 1861. 

As far as actual political events were concerned, the year 1863 
was an uneventful one in Oregon. There were no political 
campaigns no elections. However, it was a critical year. The 
various fortunes of the conflict in the East were closely fol- 
lowed in distant Oregon. As the prospect for the success of the 
Union arms grew darker, secession sympathizers in Oregon be- 
came more rampant. The Dalles Mountaineer, a Douglas 
Democrat paper, announced near the end of the year that six 
Oregon newspapers had been suppressed as treasonable, : s in the 
following order: Albany Democrat, Jacksonville Gazette, Eu- 
gene Register, Albany Inquirer, Portland Advertiser and Cor- 
vallis Union. Their suppression was acquiesced in by the 
Mountaineer, but it expressed a doubt as to whether they had 
done half as much injury to the Union cause as the blind parti- 
san Republican papers which had steadily endeavored to instil 
the belief that to be a friend of the Union it was necessary to 
subscribe to the doctrines of such crazy fanatics as Wm. Lloyd 
Garrison and Wendell Phillips. It charged that the aim of 
"these miserable apologies for newspapers" had been to force 
every man either into the abolition or secession ranks, and that 
apparently it had been a matter of indifference with them which 
of the traitorous factions he joined. Evidence is thus fur- 
nished from another source of the Union Democratic sentiment 
against emancipation. 

A series of resolutions was introduced October 2, 1862, in 
the Confederate Congress and referred to the committee on 
foreign affairs, recognizing the practical neutrality of the States 
of California and Oregon and the Territories of Washington 
and Nevada. The resolutions suggested the advantages which 
would result to the people thereof upon an immediate assertion 
on their part of their independence of the United States and 
proposed the formation of a league, offensive and defensive, 
between the said states and Territories and the Confederate 

15 Quoted in Statesman, Dec. i, 1863. 


States of America. 16 It was well understood in Oregon that 
the plotters for a Pacific Republic were merely biding tfyeir 
time, waiting to strike until the further success of the Confed- 
erate armies should render the Union cause hopelessly des- 
perate. 17 It was for this reason, together with the danger of 
Indian outbreaks, that the companies of the Oregon volunteer 
regiment of cavalry, which had been enlisted for service in the 
war, were retained in the Northwest. 

The organization of secession sentiment in Oregon was rep- 
resented in the Knights of the Golden Circle. There were about 
ten circles in the state among them two at Portland, two at 
Salem and one each at Scio, Albany, Jacksonville and in Yam- 
hill County. 18 Fortunately, their operations were seriously 
handicapped, as two spies employed by Oregon's Adjutant- 
General, C. A. Reed, kept him fully informed of the work and 
plans of the Knights. A plan to assassinate Reed and capture 
the arsenal and several attempts to capture government arms 
are declared by him to have been apprehended and frustrated. 
Complete lists of the membership of the order were secured and 
on these lists appeared the names of nearly all the prominent 
Democratic 19 editors and politicians. The Knights divided on 
the question of the overt act in connection with the scheme of a 
Pacific Republic. Some were anxious to raise the standard of 
revolt in Oregon while others dissented. 

But in the dark days of 1863 the secession Democrats were 
not the only ones to whom the idea of an independent govern- 
ment on the Pacific Coast, appealed. One of the very promi- 
nent men in the state, both then and for nearly a half century 
afterward, a leading participant in the Union movement, argued 
openly in the state house with the state secretary and treasurer 
and before the Adjutant-General, in behalf of a Pacific 'Re- 

16 Reported in Statesman, Dec. 8, 1862. 

17 Conversation with Judge Williams. 

1 8 Statements relative to the Golden Circle are based on a personal interview 
with C. A. Reed, of Portland, who was Adjutant-General for Oregon during the 

19 In this period the term "Democratic," unmodified, refers exclusively to 
the Democrats who remained in the party organization and opposed the Union 
movement the Democrats known as Copperheads and Secession Democrats. 


public. "Now is the time to strike," he urged. "We are the 
natural allies of the South and the North will be in no position 
to oppose us." The Adjutant-General called him into his office 
and threatened him with arrest for treason if he repeated the 
expression of such sentiment. A few Union victories followed 
and the man in question made a public address in Salem in 
favor of upholding the Union. 20 

In the fall of 1863, by which time a considerable number of 
Union Democrats had broken with the Administration, there 
were continued references in the press to attempts being made 
by the Democratic leaders to unite the various factions of their 
party under one standard. 21 Many were the defiant allusions 
made by the Statesman during this period to the Copperheads 
the peace-at-any-price men, the real allies of the South. At 
the same time, under its new management, it attacked those 
who had supported the Union and who still professed to be War 
Democrats, but who were now in favor of leaguing themselves 
with the peace or Secession Democrats of the state, thus making 
the "tail for the snake of secession." To them, represented by 
such men as Bush, Harding and Thayer, it gave the name of 
Coppertails. The Statesman scoffed at their belief that the 
Copperheads would permit them to fix up a policy and plat- 
form suitable for loyal men to stand upon, and said, "The 
Democratic party as now constituted, is, nine-tenths of it, for 
peace at all events." 22 In defense of its position it quoted the 
platform as proposed by James O'Meara, leader of the Oregon 
Copperheads, the last plank of which read : "We are for peace, 
now and always, and shall regard any peace honorable that is 
conformable with the independence of the Northern States." 

In the closing days of the year, the Loyal Leagues made their 
appearance in Oregon. In April the Statesman had reported 

20 This incident was carefully related to the writer by Mr. Reed with the 
request that the name be withheld. 

21 "The secessionists of this state are taking immense trouble to reorganize 
the 'Democratic party.' Let them reorganize till the archangel blows his trumpet 
it won't make them any more numerous. ... It is still the same old 
Copperhead brigade. . . . Go ahead, old snake, you can't put on a skin that 
won't be known and 'spotted.' " Statesman, Dec. 7, 1863. 

22 Statesman, Dec. 14. 


that the New York papers announced that on March 9 a pledge 
was drawn up and signed by thousands of men in that city, 
binding the signers under the name of the Loyal National 
League, to an unconditional loyalty to the Government of the 
United States ; to an unwavering support of its efforts to sup- 
press rebellion. The League was a secret organization, estab- 
lished to bear the same relation to the Union cause that the 
Knights of the Golden Circle bore to that of the South. It was 
also given impetus by the action of those Union Democrats who 
had broken with the Administration and who were now consid- 
ered obstructionists by the unconditional supporters of the war. 
On account of the secret nature of the organization there were 
no references to it of a local nature by the Republican papers 
until February 29, 1864, when a leader appeared in the States- 
man "Union Leagues Golden Circles." "The Copperhead 
mind of this state is terribly alarmed about the introduction of 
the Loyal Leagues," said the Statesman, which, after showing 
that patriotism was the motive of the one and treason of the 
other, declared that there ought to be a Loyal League or Union 
Club in every precinct in the state. 

The "Union League of America for the State of Oregon," 
was organized at Portland, December 14, 1863. The initiative 
was taken by Governor Gibbs, the organization being effected 
through a dispensation granted to A. R. Elder of California by 
the Grand Council of that state. 23 It was provided that the 
Grand Council should be composed of the twenty-five persons 
named in the charter and of one delegate from each subordin- 
ate council in the state. The officers chosen were : Grand Presi- 
dent, Gov. Gibbs; Vice-Presidents, E. D. Shattuck, A. G. 
Hovey, Stephen Coffin, Thos. Frazar, S. M. Gilmore ; treas- 
urer, Addison M. Starr; secretary, H. C. Coulson; marshal, 
M. F. Mulkey; sentinel, E. L. Jones; herald, E. J. Northrup. 
Others of prominence among the charter members were 
W. Lair Hill, Thos. H. Pearne, John H. Mitchell, Dr. Wilson 

23 In July, 1909, Mr. Himes, curator of the Oregon Historical Society Col- 
lections, secured possession of the record books of the State League and of the 
Multnomah Council No. 2, containing in each case the constitution, proceedings 
and list of members. To these the writer was given access. 


Bowlby, W. C. Johnson, Thos. Monteith and Hiram Smith. 
Dispensations were recorded for the establishment of councils 
throughout the state. The Drew resolution, to be noticed later, 
was the only matter of political significance noted in the re- 
corded proceedings of the State Council. 

The Multnomah Council, Number 2, was organized at Port- 
land, December 28, and attained a membership of over two 
hundred. Judge Geo. H. Williams was elected president, Levi 
Anderson, vice-president, Joseph N. Dolph, assistant vice-presi- 
dent, and J. J. Hoffman, secretary, with other minor officers. 
The active political work of the League is indicated by action 
taken at a meeting on March 22, 1864, when a committee was 
elected to confer with a similar committee from Council No. 10 
of South Portland to select suitable persons to be put in nomi- 
nation for the various city officers. The two councils went 
into a joint nominating convention, March 26. At the meeting 
of the Multnomah Council on April 4, resolutions were intro- 
duced by J. N. Dolph and adopted, to the effect that no mem- 
ber of the Union League who gave his support or vote in favor 
of independent candidates of doubtful loyalty, should be con- 
sidered a reliable Union man. This was the sequel to the ac- 
tion of Amory Holbrook and a few followers in bolting the 
regular Union nominations in Multnomah County and putting 
out an independent Union ticket. Division of sentiment appar- 
ently followed the passage of the above resolution. On April 12 
after "animated discussion" a resolution was passed severely 
deprecating the conduct of certain members who had talked 
against the League and had endeavored to persuade persons 
from becoming members. At the same time, a committee was 
appointed to solicit the attendance of members at the next 
meeting, which was indicative of growing indifference. The 
last meeting of the Multnomah council of which record was 
made was held May 3, 1864. 

At a special meeting of the Grand Council of the State 
League held April 19 a resolution proposed by Judge Williams 
was adopted, protesting against the appointment of J. W. Drew 
as paymaster in the army on the ground that he was a man of 


doubtful loyalty and opposed to the Administration, and asking 
the President to remove him. Copies of the resolution were 
ordered sent to the National Grand Council at Washington and 
to the President. This raised the ire of Senator Nesmith, 
largely responsible for Drew's appointment, and was the occa- 
sion of a private expression on his part on the Loyal League in 
general and on some of the dramatis personse in particular. "I 
am ignorant of your opinion of that organization in Oregon 
called the Loyal League," he wrote to Deady, 2 * "but I know 
that your sense' of justice, if not your abhorrence of secret 
political organizations would force you to condemn so low, 
vile and dirty a trick. For my own part I regard the organiza- 
tion with more detestation than I did the Know Nothings. Its 
Origin and perpetuation in our state is only for the benefit of 
such lying, dirty demagogues as Gospel Pearne and Guts Gibbs 
who own, control and run it in Oregon." And Nesmith, though 
elected to the United States Senate in 1860 as a Democrat 
had been loyally supporting Lincoln in the prosecution of the 
war. The Loyal League had a brief course in Oregon. It was 
organized from patriotic motives, but judging from the records 
of the councils examined, it found no direct mission to fulfill 
and dissipated its energies in little political bickerings which 
were its undoing. 

The campaign of 1864 opened early in the year. The Union 
State Central Committee met at Salem, January 6, and issued 
a call for the various precinct and county conventions, leading 
up to the state convention to be held at Albany, March 30. 25 
The Statesman urged all loyal men to enter upon the campaign 
with vigor. The Union element of the state lacked organiza- 
tion, it contended. The Copperheads were declared to be using 
all the, whips and spurs of party drill clubs, open and secret, 
and lodges of the Golden Circle, through which "vile lies, 
false teachings and rankling passion" were disseminated. Union 
party meetings began to be held over the state. One of the 
most important of the early meetings was one held at LaFayette 

24 From College Hill, Ohio, July 18, 1864. 

25 Statesman, Jan. n, 1864. 


February 23, addressed by Judge Williams, Judge Boise and 
T. H. Pearne, who were the principal speakers in the campaign, 
on the Union party side. The meeting heartily endorsed Lin- 
coln's policies, including his amnesty and reconstruction policy, 
decried the "peace, peace" cry of the opposition and denounced 
the Democratic party for its affiliations with secessionists. 

Despite the patriotic assertions made at the time the Union 
movement was launched, patriotism and politics had refused to 
become divorced. As long as there were remunerative offices 
to be filled, this was inevitable. Late in 1862, Bush had claimed 
that the, Republicans in general were insincere in their expressed 
desire to ignore party lines. But through all the many political 
vicissitudes the Statesman had succeeded in maintaining what 
was an apparent life lease on the lucrative office of state printer. 
And now the Oregonian had some very pertinent comments to 
make upon the subject of non-partisan patriotism. 26 It assented 
to the idea that the Union party should be conducted without 
reference to past political affiliations of its members. Not, it 
declared, because the Republican party as such, had done any- 
thing inconsistent with the Union organization, "for the last 
is the natural result, the mere continuation of the former. It 
is in fact the same, with a different name, adopted to save the 
political pride of those who did not feel disposed, even for the 
sake of the country, to call themselves Republicans." Contend- 
ing that the Republicans were greatly in the majority in the 
Union party, the Oregonian asserted that it could not be de- 
nied that they had manifested a generous disposition to share 
honorable positions with their former opponents. In this the 
Oregonian avowed acquiescence. "We are opposed, however," 
it continued, "to the disposition which is sometimes too plainly 
manifested, to demand as the price of adherence to the cause 
of patriotism the entire control of the Union party, not for its 
welfare, but that those who have been managers of the Demo- 
cratic party may maintain their position as political leaders. It 
is all very well to say, let there be no distinctions in regard to 
former politics, but when this is only observed on one side, dis- 

26 Oregonian, Feb. 13. 


trust is awakened. The Union party has been cheated by this 
kind of management and for that and other good reasons, sin- 
cere Union men will insist that there shall be frank and decided 
devotion to the cause of the country alone," This tacit appeal 
to "sincere Union men" was evidently efficacious as Mr. Pit- 
tock, publisher of the Oregonian, received the nomination the 
next month for state printer! 

There was this inevitable jealousy between the two parties 
making up the Union organization. There was also the factor 
of personal interest and ambition, always quick to make capital 
out of an appeal to patriotism. The Douglas County Union 
convention condemned the practice "prevalent in this state" of 
men who held offices, actively engaging in political meetings 
and influencing men by promise of patronage, as a practice cal- 
culated to corrupt conventions and legislatures. 2 ? Further- 
more, there was political jealousy between different sections of 
the state. Southern Oregon demanded political recognition. 
The Oregon Sentinel of Jacksonville asserted, March 12, 1863, 
that when the war broke out, "whisky-soaked, taunting treason 
was hopefully jubilant in Southern Oregon" and that loyal men 
felt that but little was wanting to create revolution and parti- 
san warfare in their midst. But the treasonable doctrines that 
had been taught us as the tenets of the Democratic party had 
been spurned and refuted, the wavering had been recalled to 
their allegiance, and now the southern part of the state asked in 
no uncertain tone for the nomination by the Union party of 
Orange Jacobs as Congressman, or of some southern man who 
would look out for the interests of his own district. 28 Subjects to 
which the Southern Oregonians demanded attention were their 
mining interests, the opening and protection of an emigrant 
road into their section and a proper disposal of the Indians 
which were on their borders. The Jackson county convention 
in its instructions for Jacobs, declared that the northern part 
of the state having had four representatives and five Senators 
in the past four years, the South should have the undisputed 

27 Deady correspondence, March 23, to San Francisco Bulletin. 

28 Oregon Sentinel, March 19, 1864. 


right and privilege to furnish the next Representative. At the 
same time, it passed the resolution : "It is indispensable to the 
unity, harmony and success of the Union organization that 
we ignore all local issues and political divisions on local in- 
terests, which only inure to the advantage and success of fac- 
tionists and the common enemy !" 2 9 A good example, this, of 
the difficulty, which characterized the period, of harmonizing 
political theory and practice. As the war advanced the polit- 
ical considerations party, personal and sectional tended to en- 
croach more and more upon the purely patriotic. 

The Union State Convention heartily endorsed the war meas- 
ures of the Administration, including especially the, Emancipa- 
tion Proclamation. The prospective amendment to the Consti- 
tution abolishing slavery was championed. The Amnesty Proc- 
lamation was approved as a peace measure both honorable and 
magnanimous. Locally, a resolution was adopted against tax- 
ing mines "a Morgan for the election to catch miners' votes 
for somebody."^ It was the one concession granted to the 
Southern Oregon voters. 

On the first ballot for nomination of a Congressman to suc- 
ceed J. R. McBride, the leading candidates and the votes given 
them were: McBride 11, W. C. Johnson 9, Dr. Wilson Bowl- 
ley 4, O. Humason 15, J. H. D. Henderson 34, Joel Palmer 10, 
Orange Jacobs 25. 3I The fifth and deciding vote stood: Hen- 
derson 60, Palmer 31, Jacobs 21. Henderson, a Presby- 
terian minister and a school teacher, might be consid- 
ered a charter member of the Republican party and rep- 
resented the radical element in it. This was his first appear- 
ance in politics, except for his canvass for a seat in the legis- 
lature in 1854 on the Maine Law ticket. Sectional jealousies 
were largely responsible for the defeat of McBride for renom- 
ination. Oregon was at this time asking for a branch United 
States mint and McBride's disposition toward having it located 

29 Oregon Sentinel, March 19, 1864. 

30 Deady to the San Francisco Bulletin. 

31 Proceedings, in Statesman, April 4. 


at The Dalles raised a strong feeling against him in the west- 
ern and most populous part of the state. 

The vote on state printed 2 stood : Pittock of the Oregonian, 
57 ; Craig, of the Statesman, 50. For the first time since it was 
established in 1851, the Statesman lost the state printing of- 
fice. H. N. George, Geo. L. Woods and J. F. Gazley were 
nominated for Presidential electors. As delegates to the Na- 
tional Convention^ T. H. Pearne, J. W. Souther, F. Charman, 
M. Hirsch, Josiah Failing and Hiram Smith were selected and 
instructed to vote for the renomination of Lincoln. 

In commenting upon the results of the convention, the Ore- 
gon Sentinel said that considering the strength that Mr. Jacobs 
carried into the convention, "we are prepared to congratulate 
Congressional aspirants in Southern Oregon that there is no 
show for you." However, in its next issue, April 9, it at- 
tacks, both on the grounds of principle and policy, the proposi- 
tion of a few disgruntled ones to bring out an independent 
Union candidate. The latter were advised that if they wanted 
to get the Union party of Oregon to send a citizen of the south- 
ern counties to Congress or the Senate, they must change their 
tactics ; that the politicians of the Willamette had the power to 
control all these little matters and that nothing was to be gained 
by fighting or finding fault with them. 

While factional differences were making their appearance in 
the Union ranks, there was by no means entire harmony in the 
Democratic party. The Southern secession element was for 
peace at any price. On the other hand, many of those who 
were now returning to their old party allegiance, dissatisfied 
with Lincoln's administration, still professed to be War Demo- 
crats and demanded the continued prosecution of the war but 
only for the maintenance of the Union. Illustrative of this lat- 
ter attitude is the following resolution passed by the Polk 
County Democratic Convention : "We are in favor of prose- 

32 The election of a printer at this time was necessitated by the death of 
Harvey Gordon who had been elected in 1862. 

33 It is significant that according to the proceedings, the references in the 
convention were merely to the National Convention, the prefix Republican being 
studiously omitted. 


cuting the war for the purpose of suppressing rebellion, main- 
taining the Constitution and executing" the laws ; but we are 
opposed to any war for the abolition of slavery, or for any 
other purpose but for the maintenance of the Constitution and 
Union." In contrast to this was the following statement of 
O'Meara, one of the leaders of the secession Democrats : "The 
Democratic party is opposed to the present unnatural, unjust, 
savage abolition war. Our leaders must say so in obedience to 
the party command. There is no such thing as a prosecution 
of this war for the restoration of the Union and the supremacy 
of the Constitution." 

The platform adopted by the Democratic State Convention 
which met at Albany, April 13, demonstrated the truth of the 
prediction which had been made by the Statesman, that the 
Copperheads would erect no platform upon which loyal War 
Democrats could consistently stand. The first plank renewed 
faith in and devotion to the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions 
of 1798-1799. 34 There was an "irrepressible conflict" between 
this and the third plank which condemned the actions of the 
rebellious states. This is explainable by the evident, labored 
attempt to satisfy two elements in the same platform. How- 
ever, the same resolution went on to condemn and denounce 
"that usurpation of tyrannical authority which prohibits the 
return of those states to the Union, until they shall have made 
their constitutions conform, not to the will of their respective 
people, but to suit the anti-slavery views of President Lincoln 
and his party." An amendment of substitution was offered to 
this resolution declaring that the Union had not been dissolved 
and that when any seceded state should be brought back to its 
allegiance either voluntarily or by force, it should be restored 
to all its constitutional rights and privileges, free from all Con- 
gressional or executive dictation. The amendment was de- 
feated by a vote of 76 to 11, demonstrating the secession 
strength in the convention. Usurpation, tyranny, fraud and all 
violations of the Constitution and laws were condemned whole- 
sale in the usual terms. As a special mark of denunciation, 

34 Proceedings, Statesman, April 18. 


the abolition of slavery was singled out and characterized as 
unjustifiable, revolutionary and dangerous. Another attempt to 
bait the Douglas Democrats is found in the resolution: "We 
endorse the sentiment of Senator Douglas that the Government 
was made on a white basis for white men," etc. The Conven- 
tion declared it would hail with joy, peace on the basis of the 
Crittenden Compromise or any honorable basis and condemned 
all attempts to hinder such settlement as evincing unworthy 
partisan hate and malice. With a fine show of patriotic zeal 
the assembled Democrats capped their resolutions with a dec- 
laration against all secret political organizations as being sub- 
versive of our Republican form of government! Adequate 
mental reservation is to be presumed to have been made by the 
Knights of the Golden Circle in attendance. 

The fact that Ex-Governor Whiteaker was chairman of the 
convention is suggestive of its political animus. Col. J. K. 
Kelly, who had made the race for Congress as the candidate 
of the National Democrats in 1858, was now named as the 
regular Democratic nominee. 3 ^ He received 71 votes and his 
competitor, Benj. Hayden, 14. No nomination was made for 
state printer. A. E. Wait, Benj. Hayden and S. F. Chadwick 
were nominated for Presidential electors and Benj Stark, L. 
P. Higbee, W. McMillan, Jefferson Howell, John Whiteaker 
and N. T. Caton were elected delegates to the National Demo- 
cratic Convention. 

In the campaign which followed, the first plank of the Demo- 
cratic platform was made the center of attack by the Union 
party. The Virginia and Kentucky resolutions were shown 
to be the source of nullification and secession doctrines and 
Oregon Democracy was charged with at last fighting under 
its true colors. Lane came out from his seclusion and made a 
few "Copperhead, secession speeches." 36 Governor Gibbs and 
Judge Williams, especially the latter, were the leading Union 

35 "However he may dislike abolitionism, he does not believe in the anarchical 
and seditious teachings of the Resolutions of 1798. He is dragged into the 
canvass by those who desire to have the benefit of his ability and good name. 
If the party could elect, he would have been the last man selected." Deady, 
April 20, 1864, to San Francisco Bulletin. 

36 Statesman, May 30. 


speakers. The Democrats made a desperate effort to carry the 
state or at least to win enough seats in the legislature to give 
them a voice in the election of the next United States Senator. 
To this end they centered their efforts in certain counties. 37 In 
the June election Henderson was victorious over Kelly by a 
majority of 2643, the latter carrying but the four counties 
Columbia, Jackson, Josephine and Umatilla. 38 The Democrats 
elected but seven members of the legislature ; two in the sen- 
ate, one each from Josephine and Linn ; five in the house, three 
from Jackson, and one each from Josephine and Umatilla. 39 
The member from Umatilla was La Fayette Lane, son of the 
old General. 

It was for the legislature of 1864 to elect a successor to 
Senator Harding.-* Both Harding and Nesmith had been 
giving the Lincoln administration good support in the United 
States Senate. Oregon's Republican Congressman, McBride, 
had written to the Argus March 13, 1863, lauding the two 
Democratic Senators for devoting their energies to the support 
of Lincoln in overthrowing the rebellion. The Oregonian, 
March 18, 1864, cheerfully credited Harding with having "gen- 
erally reflected the wishes of the majority of his constituents 
in his congressional action." Nevertheless, neither Harding nor 
Nesmith was in accord with the Republican policies that were 
rapidly being developed by the issues of the war. They, and 
particulary Harding, had taken positions that were not at all 
satisfactory to those to whom they owed their election.^ 1 They 
were far from representative of the Union party in Oregon in 
1864. Hence, naturally, Harding was not considered seriously 
for re-election. The two recognized candidates were Judge 
Williams and T. H. Pearne. 

37 In Polk county, voters were colonized in large numbers from outside 
districts to vote for the Democratic ticket (see Statesman, June 6). 

38 Official returns in Statesman, July 18. 

39 Statesman, Sept. 5. 

40 When Nesmith and Baker were elected Senators in 1860, the latter was 
elected for the short term, ending in 1864. On his death, Stark filled the vacancy 
by appointment until the Legislature of 1862 elected Harding to serve the 
remaining two years. 

41 Oregonian, Dec. 19, 1863. 


In the organization of the legislature John H. Mitchell was 
elected president of the senate and now started on his long 
political career which was to be inextricably woven with the 
political history of the state. The senatorial campaign of 1864 
was singularly free from any suggestion of "unclean practice."^ 
Deady wrote to the Bulletin, September 13 : "The matter is 
decently and quietly managed on all hands. No open rooms, 
no free drinks or eleemosynary eatables. Plain, earnest men 
are gathered about in little groups discussing the election, with 
reference to the good of the country and some particular project 
or person." The first ballot, taken September 15, stood : Wil- 
liams 27, Pearne 20, W. H. Watkins 2, J. F. Miller 6. The 
vote for the latter represented the Democratic strength minus 
one vote, that of Curl, who voted for Williams. The third 
ballot resulted in election, Williams getting 31 votes, Pearne 
16, Watkins 2 and Miller 6. 

At last Judge Williams realized the ambition from the 
achievement of which his pronounced free state doctrine had 
heretofore been largely instrumental in preventing him. He 
was at this time considered a Republican practically, though 
he had never avowedly become so. It was at least well under- 
stood that he would never go back to the Democratic party.-" 
Considering the great place which Oregon's "Grand Old Man" 
has had for over a half century in the history of the state, the 
characterization which was made of him at this time by Judge 
Deady, is full of interest :*4 "He is clever in both the English 
and American sense of that much used and much abused word ; 
is generous and unsuspicious and does not long cherisb ill will 
towards any one. Personally, he is popular with the peop 1 e arid 
his election is very generally satisfactory or cheerfully ac- 
quiesced in. ... Though earnest, he is not destructive and 
will help build up rather than tear down. He is a good popular 
speaker, clear and distinct in his ideas, always forcible, often 

42 "The cleanest in the history of the state," said Judge Williams to the 
writer. "I didn't spend a dollar and used no influence whatever with members, 
and I don't believe Pearne did." 

43 Personal statement of Judge Williams. 

44 Correspondence, Sept. 19, to San Francisco Bulletin. 


eloquent and sometimes rises into the region of imagination and 
adorns his speech with pure poetic gems.45 . . . Judge 
Williams is a man of today and draws his inspiration from the 
associations and wants of the present." 

At this session of the legislature the notorious Viva Voce 
ballot law, by which the Democrats had made "daylight shine 
through the Know Nothing Wigwams" in 1855, again put in 
its periodical appearance. A bill of repeal was introduced in 
the house and was supported by the five Democratic members 
and opposed by all the Union members, in the realization that 
circumstances alter cases or, as an onlooker put it, that "What 
is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander."4 6 

Meanwhile, the Presidential campaign was in progress, and 
was rapidly becoming very active in Oregon. "Old Abe" and 
"Little Mac" were the watchwords of the contending parties. 
Clubs were formed in every direction. The Loyal Leagues were 
being disbanded by the Union men and Lincoln and Johnson 
clubs substituted for them. Many prominent Democrats who 
had been identified with the Union organization were now sup- 
porting McClellan, among them, Bush, Nesmith, Harding, 
Thayer, Hayden, Grover, Elkins and Humason. The attitude 
of Senator Nesmith was well expressed in what was known in 
Oregon as the "Milwaukie letter," dated at Milwaukie, Wis- 
consin, September 2, 1864, and written to Harding, who had 
returned from Washington to Oregon. Nesmith had just at- 
tended the National Democratic Convention at Chicago. His 
letter is important as showing the position of a certain class of 
loyal war Democrats who had been faithfully supporting the 
Lincoln Administration in prosecuting the war. He confessed 
that he took no particular interest in the canvass, yet, regarding 
McClellan as an honest man and a patriot, he should prefer to 
see him elected for the reason that it would remove the ob- 
stacles to terms of peace. In case the war continued, he thought 

45 As an example of his apt, poetic expression he addressed informally a 
company of friends who called to congratulate him in the evening of the day of 
his election. In thanking them for efforts in his behalf, he said: "I will write 
these obligations upon the tablets of my memory and recite them daily as the 
rosary of my friendship." 

46 Deady, correspondence, Oct. 22, to Bulletin. 


that McClellan would be surrounded by more competent and 
honest advisers than those by which Lincoln had been, and 
that the war would be prosecuted with more ability and vigor. 
He voiced his objection to the mixing of the slavery question 
with that which was the prime object of the war the preserva- 
tion of the Union. However, as far as the Chicago platform 
itself was concerned, he said it consisted of vague and glitter- 
ing generalities, and that he had no unity with the "peace bait" 
if it meant recognition of the Southern Confederacy. Indeed 
he pledged his best efforts to Lincoln toward bringing about a 
successful termination of the war. 

On the other hand, Judge Deady, who at the opening of the 
war was a radical, pro-slavery Democrat of the Breckinridge 
.school, supported Lincoln in 1864. The following keen char- 
acterization of the situation is found in a private letter written 
by him to Nesmith, November 12 : 

"I took no part in the election of consequence, but 
voted for Lincoln. This change of Presidents every four 
years to make a new deal of the offices, is the curse of the 
country and is as much the cause of our present troubles 
as all other things combined. Besides I have no very 
exalted opinion of Mac at best. He is neither one thing or 
the other. Mr. Lincoln I think a pure man, means well 
and is gifted with as much good common sense and saga- 
city as often falls to the lot of men, particularly Presidents. 
. . . The people are the authors of most of Mr. Lin- 
coln's mistakes (if they be mistakes) and as usual now 
seek to hold him alone responsible for them." 
It is evident from the contents of the newspapers prior to 
the November election that there was felt a vague alarm over 
the country at large of a Copperhead conspiracy of some nature 
that might result in revolution in the North in case of Republi- 
can success at the polls. That this alarm was strongly felt in 
Oregon, is clearly shown in the following notice which ap- 
peared in the Daily Statesman, November 10 : 

"The Mayor of this city has called a meeting tonight 
for the purpose of conferring in relation to the apprehen- 
sion which is generally diffused, of an armed outbreak. It 
has been thought best by men of all political organizations 


that such a meeting should be held and it is hoped that 
everybody who attends will do so in a fair, candid and 
calm spirit, so that the uneasiness now prevalent may be 
effectually removed." 

The meeting was held, pacifying speeches were made, and a 
committee composed of both Copperheads and Union men 
J. S. Smith, N. T. Caton, R. P. Boise, C. G. Curl and J . C . 
Peebles was appointed to draft pacificatory and reassuring res- 
olutions which were reported to another meeting held on the fol- 
lowing evening. "There was a meeting to suppress insurrection 
at Salem last night," wrote our faithful chronicler Deady to 
Nesmith. "Don't know how much cause there is for it, but 
suspect there is some truth in the statement that arms have been 
shipped here from California and distributed through the in- 
terior of the state." 

Oregon gave Lincoln a majority over McClellan of 1431 
votes.47 McClellan carried nine counties Baker, Benton, Jack- 
son, Josephine, Lane, Linn, Tillamook, Umatilla and Wasco 
but with small majorities ranging from 10 in Benton to 119 
in Umatilla. Lincoln's majority in November was only about 
one-half what Henderson's had been in June. The Union vote 
in the state had not fallen off it had increased by over 1100 
votes; but the Democratic vote had increased by nearly 2500. 
In the hitherto sparsely settled districts of Northeastern Ore- 
gon, the Democrats gained nearly 1000 votes in the five months. 
The vanguard of "Price's Army" had arrived. The cloud the 
size of a man's hand could be seen on the political horizon of 
the Union party. 

47 Official returns, in Statesman, Dec. 5. 


The feeling of political uncertainty which pervaded the Na- 
tion after the death of President Lincoln and the inauguration 
of Andrew Johnson, was strikingly reflected in Oregon. Politi- 
cal chaos reigned for months. The political associations which 
had resulted from the war were on the verge of dissolution over 
the issues which the war had raised. Readjustments were being 
sought, very cautiously and warily. But in all this political 
shifting, the new President was an important factor. The fact 
that he was an unknown quantity added to the confusion of the 
situation which political conditions in Oregon would have ren- 
dered sufficiently confusing at best. Every faction and every 
.newspaper was busily trying to find itself politically, in rela- 
tion to the President. Each faction was accusing all the others 
of crafty designs and selfish purposes. The unmodified Demo- 
crats hated Johnson and hated the Bush-Douglas-McClellan 
factionists who were evidently preparing to become Johnson 
Democrats. One wing of the Union party, whose exponent 
was the Statesman, was loyally supporting Johnson, but looked 
askance at the Bush faction. The members of the latter were 
accused of planning a flank movement for the purpose of cap- 
turing the Johnson idea for their wing of the Democratic party 
and thus knocking out the foundations from under the Union 
party's platform. The other wing of the Union party, led by 
the Oregonian, was already reflecting the radical Republican 
movement of the East by covertly attacking Johnson. The Ore- 
gonian and the Statesman were again manifesting that cordial 
hatred toward each other which had characterized the days of 
the old Democratic Regime, when the columns of each were 
made lurid by the flaming pens of Dryer and Bush. Each was 
soon applying the epithet of "Copperhead" to the other. 

Harding was now regarded as an apostate by the Unionists. 
On his return from Washington in March, 1865, the States- 
man, in what might be termed a prose version of Whittier's 
"Ichabod/' grieved over him as lost to the Union cause which 


had honored and trusted him.* 8 Bush and Harding were looked 
upon at the close of the war as the leaders of the Douglas- 
McClellan men in an effort to reorganize the Oregon Democ- 
racy on the basis of President Johnson's policy. The States- 
man spoke of this as "a flank movement intended to capture our 
Union platform" and said, "Democrats are welcome to a place 
under the Union banners, with Andy Johnson as our leader, 
but we would much rather they would come in open day."49 
The Statesman labored to show professedly loyal Democrats 
how impossible and unnatural was a union between them, under 
the leadership of Bush and Harding, with the secession, unre- 
constructed Democracy of the state, under the leadership of 
O'Meara and Malone. The latter was characterized as "the 
real Democracy of these latter years" which "will hang on to 
the old resolutions of 1798-1799 and vote with the Southern 
disorganizers, nullifiers, Mexican and English exiles arid the 
Booths and Surratts generally. They don't like the Govern- 
ment, never did and don't intend to." "What then, is your duty 
as citizens?" asked the Statesman in an editorial, "A Few 
Words to Democratic Subscribers. "$ "Plainly this: cast in 
your votes and influence with the party that has the ability and 
strength to conduct the affairs of the Nation successfully." 

But if on the one hand the Statesman was desirous of head- 
ing off Democratic reorganization along the lines suggested, no 
less anxious was the Copperhead Democracy itself. It desired 
Democratic reunion but not reorganization under the auspices 
of Bush and Harding, whom it characterized as "disorganizing 
reorganizes." Its attitude, was forcefully expressed by Malone 
in the Oregon Reporter, published at Jacksonville:* 1 

"Let not the men who stood the brunt of battle for the 
last four years, allow the Salem nest of Puritan sneaks 
who led their followers into the abolition ranks and cannot 
now get them back take the lead of them. These infamous 

48 Statesman, March 20, 1865. 

49 Ibid., October 2. 

50 Statesman, July 31. 

51 Quoted in the Statesman, Sept. 25. 


renegades have no party no strength. Having led their 
followers into the camp of the enemy, Bush and Harding 
are officers without privates. They have no party, but de- 
sire to get back and take the lead of ours. ... To 
thwart these men next June, let the legislative tickets be 
watched in the various counties. These fellows who elected 
Baker in 1860 must be punished. . . . Until these 
Judases are dead and buried and their memories made in- 
famous, there can be no clean foundation on which to build 
a Democratic party in Oregon." 

To add to the complexity of the situation, a controversy was 
raging in the ranks of the Copperhead Democracy itself, be- 
tween two of its leading papers, the Albany States Rights Dem- 
ocrat, edited by O'Meara and the Eugene Review, edited by 
Noltner. O'Meara insisted on "committing the party to an 
unequivocal endorsement of the most extreme doctrines ever 
taught by the politicians of the Calhoun school." He fought 
Johnson and opposed the idea of the party's adopting a policy 
of expediency insisted on remaining unreconstructed, in brief. 
The Review on the other hand wished to follow the expedient 
policy adopted by the Northern Democracy. It inclined toward 
Johnson and wished to profit by the strife between him and the 
Radicals. Thus, in 1865 we find on one hand, the Union party 
with its two Statesman-Oregonian, later Johnson-anti-Johnson, 
wings. On the other, the organized or Copperhead Democracy 
with its discords. And between the two organized parties 
fluttered the following of Bush and Harding, who, in the lan- 
guage of the old fable, had hardly determined whether they 
were to be beasts or birds. The manner in which, within the 
next three or four years, these various factions were fused and 
aligned in two political parties and the influences which brought 
about that result, it will be the purpose of the remaining pages 
to show. 

The Oregonian had spoken on the subject of reconstruction 
as early as the summer of 1864 and voiced clearly the congres- 
sional attitude. It held that before the seceded states should be 
readmitted to the Union they must first "be divested of all 
sovereign capacity and pass through a probationary territorial 


existence." 52 But after Lincoln announced his policy, the Ore- 
gonian reversed its attitude and supported it, holding that the 
states had never been out of the Union and attacking Sumner's 
territorial idea both as unhistorical and impolitic. 53 The first 
serious treatment of the subject by the Statesman appeared 
May 29, 1865, in a leader "Is It Reconstruction?" It asserted 
that the very term "reconstruction" implied a previous dissolu- 
tion. This had not been admitted by Lincoln, was not admitted 
by Johnson or by any sound, safe leader in the Union party 
and could not be it asserted, without admitting at once the 
whole secession theory. It championed Lincoln's doctrine, that 
the Government was dealing with individuals, not with states. 
On one hand it deprecated the attitude of the radicals, like 
Chandler, Sumner and Wade who looked upon the subjugated 
states as reduced to Territories, and on the other it objected to 
the contention of the Democrats in congress that the southern 
states had not been disorganized and that they were entitled to 
resume their federal relations with their existing secession or- 
ganizations and officers. The Statesman used the term "reor- 
ganization" in place of "reconstruction" and said in conclusion : 
"The work of reorganization will probably be brief and will 
have but one obstacle the status of the Negro. The work of 
pacification will require much time and careful management." 
The Oregonian had a few good words for Johnson during 
the first weeks of his term, but ere long began to oppose him, 
very mildly at first, in his reconstruction policy. What might 
be termed mild, question-mark editorials appeared in the Ore- 
gonian in the early fall of 1865. November 11, it asserted that, 
while it would not have been safe to follow the radicals implicitly, 
it was by no means wise to utterly discard their suggestions. It 
admitted that as the President had chosen to consider the rebel- 
lious states as never having withdrawn from the Union, it 
became necessary to follow out a line of policy which should be 
consistent with itself and which should not interfere with the 
rights of the states as separate political communities. Neverthe- 

52 Oregonian, July 23, 1864. 

53 Ibid., March 4, 1865. 


less, the Oregonian declined to acquiesce in such a policy which 
in general terms it admitted to be logical and necessary. It 
furthermore opposed Johnson for extreme clemency toward 
"the rebels" when he had said on his accession that treason was 
a crime and must be punished with severity. 

The Oregon Sentinel, which represented the Union party in 
the southern part of the state, declared the best test of a man's 
Unionism to be that he was a firm, consistent supporter of the 
Johnson Administration, exactly as the support of the Lincoln 
Administration had been the test during the war.54 Even after 
the veto of the Freedmen's Bureau bill in February, 1866, which 
marked the decisive break between Johnson and Congress, the 
Sentinel was conservative and declared its allegiance to the 
President. It made the statement that of the eight Union 
papers in Oregon, six favored the veto, agreeing that it was 
necessary and that the President had not and would not aban- 
don the Union party and go to the Democracy ; that only one 
paper had abused President Johnson for his vetoes 

On February 24, the Oregonian frankly admitted the schism 
between the President and Congress. It accused Johnson of 
ignoring the latter; of having pursued a plan which was ob- 
noxious to a very large proportion of the loyal people of the 
country ; of recognizing with political power, the rebels. "The 
Union party does not want to break with President Johnson. 
It is loth to declare its dissent from his policy. . . . But it 
will no longer potter with rebels nor will it consent to have the 
advantages of the great and costly victory it has gained, frit- 
tered away. . . . We will not abandon the President ; let us 
wait and see if he will totally abandon us." 

In a two column editorial, "A Decisive Hour," the Statesman, 
February 26, treated, rather dramatically,, the opening political 
feud at Washington. After defending the grounds on which 

54 Sentinel, Oct. 21, 1865. 

55 Ibid., March 17, 1866. The opposite view is given by Deady in a letter 
to Nesmith, March 2: "The Statesman sustains the President, but I know of no 
other Union paper or leading influence that does in this state. I know nothing 
about the merits of the Freedmen's Bill, but the reasons he gives for its veto 
I think radically wrong as is his whole theory about the states of the late Southern 
Confederacy. I suppose you agree with the President and I fancy are a candidate 
for the Senate." 


the veto was based as being in harmony with all the precedents, 
teaching and policy of Lincoln's Administration and avowing 
that it would therefore sustain him to the utmost, the Statesman 
made the following somewhat fervid utterance : 

"The radicals in Congress have abandoned both the Union 
party and the President. . . . The Copperheads are 
ready to catch at anything to divide us. They are now 
hurrahing for Johnson but cannot tell why. . . . We 
will be fools and recreant traitors if we permit the Copper- 
heads to champion the President. We are his proper and 
rightful defenders. ... As a Union party we must 
endorse Johnson unanimously. We must do it now. 
Your President has not deserted you. He has not gone to 
the Copperheads. . . . Never fear. Seward stands 
by Johnson ; the people stand by Johnson," etc. 
The Oregonian replied in like vein in a long editorial in 
which it practically read the Statesman out of theUnion party :5 6 
"The President seems disposed to sever his connection 
with the great Union party, and the Oregon Statesman 
goes with him. So do the Review and the States Rights 
Democrat. . . .57 The Statesman has found its long 
sought opportunity. . . . The combination against the 
Union party which it foreshadowed, has been effected. 
. . . The 'Johnson party' is born! . . . The 
Statesman is 'for Andrew Johnson against all his enemies.' 
We are for the whole loyal party and will not sever our 
connection with it to go with a single person, even though 
that person be the one who has all the federal offices at 
his disposal. The Democratic party in the coming canvass 
will go for Pres. Johnson. He will be their champion. 
And as the Statesman sustains him against the Union 
party, it may find its proper associations with the Review 
and the Democrat. But there will fee no division in the 
Union party. The little circle of 'mutual admiration' men 
who make the Statesman their organ may slough off if 
they will. The party will be far better off without them." 
These two quotations, the one from the Statesman and the 
other from the Oregonian, show clearly the opposite positions 
which the two leading Union papers of Oregon held and the 
resulting attitude which they manifested toward each other. 

56 Oregonian, March 3, 1866. 

57 Statesman, April 17, 1865. 


From this time on, the Oregonian attacked Johnson as unre- 
servedly as any well recognized political opponent, and as 

The views of the two journals as to the proper status of the 
Negroes, freed by the war, were almost as antithetical as on 
the general question of reconstruction. Governor Gibbs called 
a special session of the legislature, to meet December 5, 1865, 
to consider the Thirteenth Amendment which had been pre- 
sented by Congress to the various states. The Amendment 
passed the senate by a vote of 13 to 3 and the house by a vote 
of 30 to 4. The seven Democrats of the assembly vigorously 
opposed it. The Statesman was almost alone in opposing the call 
of the special session, arguing that the settling of the question at 
that time would rob the Union party of a good issue in the 
approaching campaign, and that it would entail useless expense. 
Emancipation suggested, almost immediately, other vital issues 
anent the future of the Negro, which began at once to receive 
attention. The chief of these issues was naturally that of negro 

The first explicit statement on the question made by the 
Statesman appeared October 2, 1865. It came out squarely 
against the issue and was inclined to ridicule those Union men, 
and especially the office-seekers for their delicacy in discussing 
the subject or avoidance of it altogether. In a sentence, its 
objection to the enfranchisement of the Negro was this : "We 
do not believe that any democratic or republican form of gov- 
ernment can successfully govern two separate and distinct races 
of people in large numbers with equal political rights to both 
races." The Oregonian did not yet give an explicit expression 
on the issue, satisfying itself with giving space to a few innuen- 
does at the position of the Statesman, which called forth the 
rejoinder "The Statesman has expressed its opinion plainly 
upon this, the most important question of the day, while the 
Oregonian, with its usual want of manly frankness, is waiting 
to see which way it will be prudent to jump."s8 

58 Statesman, Oct. 30, 1865. 


At the special session of the legislature above referred to 
three resolutions upon the subject were passed. The first an- 
nounced agreement with Pres. Johnson in his position that 
suffrage is a question that constitutionally belongs to the states, 
and not to Congress and that suffrage is a political and not a 
natural right. The second applauded the Negroes for loyal 
support of the, Union and declared it the duty of Congress to 
guide and assist them in attaining to the highest standard of 
which they were capable. The third declared that if the Negroes 
did not fare well in the South under the new conditions, Con- 
gress should take steps toward colonizing them in a new state 
of their own. The Oregonian, November 18, deprecated "set- 
ting the whole state in an uproar by discussing with vehement 
warmth" a question that "is not now and probably never can 
become a matter of paramount importance here." It asserted it 
to be a matter for each state to settle for itself and still did not 
commit itself on the general issue. 

Beginning in the year 1866, the Democratic papers of the state 
pushed the subject to the front in the effort to force a political 
issue in the approaching campaign on the subject of negro suf- 
frage or as they presented it, negro equality. The Oregonian, 
whose great anxiety was to avoid such an issue, was finally, 
May 5, goaded into the expressive, effective retort : 

"One cannot pick up any Democratic newspaper without 
finding these terrible words (Negro equality) staring at 
him from all parts of the page. . . . The world has 
furnished many remarkable instances of 'the ruling passion 
strong in death,' but the Democratic party has been per- 
mitted to become about the most remarkable example on 
record. Born of the slavery interest, nurtured by the 
profits of human bondage, hoisted to and kept in power by 
the slave trade and propagandist and now dying of an 
overdose of 'nigger' and self-administered treason, the 
Democratic party will have no consolation not derived 
from recollections of the 'nigger' and strongly objects to 
being buried in anything but a 'nigger' shroud, a 'nigger' 
coffin and a 'nigger' grave. It will expire with 'negro 
equality' last on its mortal tongue," 

Interest in and preparations for the election of 1866 began to 


be manifested very early. In November of the preceding year, 
in an editorial, "The Slate Made Up," the Oregonian made a 
bitter attack on the Statesman and "the little knot of chronic 
office-seekers who hover about the state capital," for trying to 
dictate the ticket to be nominated by the Union party. It ac- 
cused the Statesman, Nesmith, Harding and a few others, of 
making it up from among their own ilk, asserting that there 
was but one of the old Republican party among the "Clique's 
elect." In another attack, December 2, under the caption, "The 
Salem Program," the Oregonian charged the Statesman and its 
following with arranging to organize a third party a conserv- 
ative Union party, shutting out the radical Copperhead Demo- 
crats on one side and the radical Republicans on the other. 
From this time each paper labored to show that it represented 
the real Union party in Oregon. 

In 1865 the Democrats began to claim the next election on 
the strength of the emigrant vote, a good indication of the ex- 
tent and political nature of which had been given in the presi- 
dential election of the preceding year. Immediately at the 
close of the war it seemed to be generally understood that there 
would be a general emigration of Southern refugees to the 
Northwest, and the papers took up the discussion as to the 
legal and political status of such as voters. The legislature of 
1864 passed an act prohibiting any one voting in Oregon who 
had been directly engaged in the rebellion, saving his rights 
under Lincoln's amnesty proclamation. This law was modified 
at the special session of 1865 in a way which the Statesman 
declared made it "just such a harmless affair as any guerilla 
from Price's army would desire." 5 ^ It asserted that there were 
five or six hundred rebels in Oregon who had never taken 
either the amnesty oath of Pres. Lincoln or Pres. Johnson 
and objected strongly to allowing such a vote. It demanded 
that the Confederate rebellion be treated as something more 
odious than a Democratic holiday. In the language of An- 
drew Johnson "treason should be made odious." 

59 Statesman, Jan. i, 1866. 


The Union State Convention of 1866 met at Corvallis, March 
29. A young man from Multnomah County served as secre- 
tary of this convention. Since May of the preceding year he 
had been editor of the Oregonian and had already given evi- 
dence of that ability which was to give that journal the political 
prestige in Oregon which had been held by Bush and the 
Statesman and which has later given the editorial page of the 
Oregonian a national reputation. The young man was Harvey 
W. Scott. 

The platform adopted was a clever piece of political strategy, 
in which its framers succeeded admirably in their evident de- 
termination to be as vague as possible on the struggle between 
Congress and the President and on the issues confronting the 
country. 60 It declared that as to the best plan of restoring the 
late revolted states to the exercise of all their functions in the 
Union and as to the legislation necessary to freedmen, loyal 
men "may honestly differ." A remarkable echo, this, sugges- 
tive of the days of the old Democratic regime when good 
Democrats were accorded the privilege of honestly differing 
on the slavery question. That "obstinacy and pride of opinion" 
was rebuked, where or by whom displayed, that would give 
strength to the enemies of the Union through discord and di- 
vision among the friends. The third resolution expressed a 
desire for a full recognition of all civil and political privileges 
to the people of the revolted states, as soon as compatible with 
national safety and the protection of the loyal people in those 
states. 61 Imprecations were heaped on the men or party who 
would countenance repudiating the national debt. A further 
evidence of the attempt to suit both the strict and loose con- 
structionists in the Union party was found in the declaration - 
"We will as we ever have, support the State Governments in 

60 Proceedings, in Statesman, April 2. 

61 Deady, April 6, to Bulletin: "This is evidently the work of those who 
sympathize with Congress and at the same time are not disposed to dogmatize, 
so as to leave no room for those who lean toward the President to act and vote 
with the party. It assumes rather than asserts that the relation of the 'late 
revolted states' with the Union is a matter within the authority and power of 
Congress. In the end, much depends upon the instincts and personal proclivities 
of the candidate who stands upon it." 


all their rights, as the most competent administrators of their 
domestic concerns and the surest breastwork against anti- 
republican tendencies ; and preserve the General Government in 
its whole constitutional vigor." Another vivid reminder here 
of Democratic platform building in ante-bellum days. The 
Satesman manifested ill-concealed signs of disgust over the 
platform while the Democratic view was pungently expressed 
by the Oregon Daily Herald, April 5, which caustically ar- 
raigned the resolutions for their glittering generalities, double- 
dealing, misrepresentation and evasion. At the end of a long 
string of questions which it claimed had been totally ignored 
by "the Corvallis wire-pullers," the Herald asked "Shall 
President Johnson be supported in his praiseworthy attempts to 
restore the Constitution to its pristine vigor? Or shall the 
Radicals the Jacobins of America assume power and over- 
ride the Constitution?" 

In selecting the ticket, the policy which Oregon had adopted 
of electing a new man for Congressman for each succeeding 
term was followed and Rufus Mallory of Marion was named 
to succeed Henderson. He had been a Douglas Democrat 
and was one of the directors of the Oregon Printing and Pub- 
lishing Company, which published the Statesman. He was 
characterized by Judge Deady 62 as a man of very fair natural 
abilities a practical politician with his ear to the ground to 
catch the drift. Eastern Oregon was recognized in the nomi- 
nation of Geo. L. Woods, of The Dalles, for governor, a man 
of eloquence and prepossessing appearance. S. E. May and 
E. N. Cooke were renominated for state secretary and treasurer, 
respectively, and W. A. McPherson of the Albany Journal was 
named for printer. 

The platform adopted by the Democrats in state convention 
at Portland, April 5, was a lengthy one, treating the various 
issues in some detail. 63 However, it was by no means free 
from those "glittering generalities" with which the Herald 
had charged the Union resolutions such as an expression for 

62 Deady, April 6, to Bulletin. 

63 Statesman, April 23. 


the support of the state governments in all their rights and 
the Federal Government in all its vigor. The congressional 
policy relative to the South was heartily condemned and Presi- 
dent Johnson was as heartily and unequivocally endorsed. The 
shade of Senator Douglas was again tacitly invoked for aid in 
leading Douglas Democrats back into the fold, in a resolution 
endorsing his expression that this Government was made on a 
white basis for white men, hence "we are opposed to extending 
the right of suffrage to any other." The platform denounced 
as a base insult to the gallant living and heroic dead, the efforts 
of the Radicals to convert the Nation's victory into a partisan 
triumph, seeking to make the late war one of conquest, instead 
of suppression of the rebellion for subjugation instead of re- 
storing the Union, for the Negro instead of the white man. 
Centralization of power, the protective tariff and the system of 
national banks were, opposed and the taxation of United States 
bonds demanded. 

James D. Fay 6 4 of Jackson was nominated for Congress ; Jas. 
K. Kelly of Wasco for governor; L. F. Lane of Multnomah, 
for secretary ; John C. Bell of Marion for treasurer ; James 
O'Meara, of the States Rights Democrat, Linn, for printer. 
Editor O'Meara now found himself running for a lucrative office 
on a platform which strongly endorsed President Johnson 
whom he strongly opposed. 65 He accordingly came forth 
cheerfully with the manifesto "We shall stand by the Presi- 
dent. To be with the President is to beat back fanaticism." 66 

An interesting and significant characterization of the per- 
sonnel in general of the two state tickets is found in a private 
letter from Senator Nesmith, dated at Washington, May 20, 
1866, to Judge Deady. "It seems to me," he writes, "that the 
Democratic ticket with the exception of Kelly is such a one 
as Jeff Davis himself would select, while the other is such as no 
one ought to select. The first is controlled by men who de- 

64 "Of Irish descent, a little fellow with a gamey manner florid, fluent, ready 
and impudent. A thorough going anti-coercion Democrat." Deady, April 6, to 

65 Supra, p. 40. 

66 Quoted in Oregonian, April 28. 


sired to see the. Government disrupted and the latter is con- 
trolled by those who desire to keep it so. I sympathize with 
neither. I was in hopes that the conservative men of the state, 
would combine upon the President's policy and give some prac- 
tical aid in restoring the country to its former prosperous con- 
dition barring however the institution of slavery to which you 
were once so devoted. I perhaps expected too much of trading 
politicians who have more regard for party than for country." 

The bitterness and desperate nature of the campaign which 
followed' is better reflected in the Oregonian than in the 
Statesman, the former throwing its whole strength into the fight. 
It made a specialty of showing up the records of all the Demo- 
crats connected with the campaign and quoting past treasonable 
utterances by them, thus rendering the, campaign bitterly per- 
sonal. As a last appeal to voters it begged them to "give the 
old traitor, Jo Lane, another kick," asserting that if the Demo- 
crats gained the legislature, Lane was to be sent back to the 
Senate. The Democrats laid stress upon what they termed the 
fanatical and disruptive measures of the Radicals in Congress, 
charging that the Union party was composed of disunionists. 
They were insistent in their demand for the taxation of United 
States bonds, were strong against the tariff, and were hysterical 
over threatened "Negro equality." 6 ? On the whole, the Union 
party nominees and campaigners took the side of Congress as 
against Johnson. The Statesman, now the only Johnson paper 
in the Union party, became very much subdued in its attitude 
even to the extent of endorsing the reconstruction report of 
the Congressional committee. 68 The Unionists denied the im- 
putations of the Democrats on the subject of negro suffrage, 
some maintaining that this was not an issue in the canvass, 
others expressing their opposition to the principle. 

The result of the election was very close, especially as com- 
pared with the results of elections since the forming of the 
Union organization. The whole Union ticket was elected, the 

67 "Shall U. S. bonds be taxed? Shall the toiling millions of this land pay 
the taxes of the rich? Shall negroes be placed upon the same social and political 
footing with white men," etc. Oregon Daily Herald, April 5. 

68 Deady to Nesmith, June u. 


majorities ranging from 277 6 9, given to Woods for governor, to 
600 for May. The majority given to Mallory for Congress- 
man was 553. The composition of the new legislature was-, 
senate Union 15, Democratic 7; house Union 26, Demo- 
cratic 21.7 Here was plainly demonstrated the returning 
Democratic strength the drift toward political realignment. 
The legislature of 1862 had contained three Democrats ; that of 
1864, seven ; that of 1866, twenty-eight. The Union party had 
gained nearly 500 votes since the presidential election of 1864, 
but the Democrats had gained over 1300. 

The Statesman said the result was quite as good as it had 
reason to expect ; that the immigrant vote was much larger 
than any one expected, but that the Union ticket had either di- 
vided that vote or largely recruited from the McClellan vote of 
the last election, else it had been defeated. ? l The Oregonian 
asserted bluntly that much of the increased vote was due to 
the immigrations from Price's disbanded forces, "all of whom 
gave aid and comfort to the Democratic ticket in Oregon as 
they did to the rebellion in Missouri. "? 2 In noting that some of 
its exchanges viewed the election as a Radical triumph while 
others claimed that it was an endorsement of Pres. Johnson's 
course, the Oregonian asserted that men of candor would not 
claim that a victory, achieved by a party which sustained the 
congressional policy throughout in direct opposition to that of 
Johnson, was a very brilliant victory for the President. "The 
victory was fairly gained," it declared, after the severest con- 
test ever known in the state." 73 

The Union party was turning strongly toward the Congres- 
sional side of the great political controversy in the early months 
of 1866. The temporary espousal of Johnson by the Demo- 
crats of the state greatly accelerated this tendency and practi- 
cally forced the wavering ones in the Union ranks to associate 

69 This was the majority as found by the Legislature which canvassed the 
returns. See Oregonian, Sept. 15. 

70 Statesman, July 30. 

71 Ibid., June 18. 

72 Oregonian, June 9. 

73 Oregonian, June 30. 


themselves with the Radical element of the party. A Conserva- 
tive Union party in Oregon, under the leadership of the Presi- 
dent, as desired by Senator Nesmith, was made impossible. 
Whatever danger there was of a division of the Unionists was 
averted, and the way was paved for the future rehabilitation of 
the Republican party. The situation was forcefully expressed 
in a private letter from Judge Deady to Senator Nesmith, dated 
August 9, 1866: "You ask me to recommend a man for the 
place (U. S. Marshal) who is a Johnson man who is neither a 
Radical nor an opposer of the war. This is a narrow field in 
this state. Most decent people here are either with Congress 
or opposed to it. The latter class are generally Democrats and 
were opposed to the prosecution of the war." 

As early as March 6, 1866, a club had been formed at Wash- 
ington, D. C., by leading senators and others who supported 
Johnson. 74 In June the executive committee of the club called 
a "National Union Convention" to meet at Philadelphia, August 
14, for the purpose of effecting a national organization of the 
conservative Union forces. Senator Nesmith was prominently 
connected with the movement, and was a member of the execu- 
tive committee. Other Oregon representatives at Philadelphia 
as given by the Oregonian, September 22, were : W. H. Farrar, 
or "Slippery Bill Farrar," McClellan Democrat, a member of 
the committee on organization; Ex-Governor Geo. L. Curry, 
Copperhead editor of Portland Advertiser, which had been 
suppressed, vice-president for Oregon; E. M. Barnum, seces- 
sion Democrat, member of committee on resolutions. Senator 
Nesmith was the only man representing Oregon at this Na- 
tional Union Convention, who was a consistent Union man, and 
the Oregon representation was probably fairly suggestive of 
the political complexion of the convention at large. 

The calling of the Philadelphia convention and the enthusi- 
astic notice given it by the Democrats all over the country was 
an added and decisive influence in uniting the Union elements 
in Oregon on the side of the Radicals. The Oregon Sentinel, 

74 VV. A. Dunning, "Reconstruction, Political and Economic," p. 73. 


which only six months before was championing Johnson, now 
denounced the Philadelphia Convention and those connected 
with it. "We will yield Mr. Johnson to the Democracy cheer- 
fully and feel satisfied that he rightfully belongs there. . . . 
Johnson & Co. were forced to ally themselves to the Democ- 
racy in order to gratify their egotistical ambition and we have 
the mortification of seeing those whom we chose as leaders, 
made the silly or perhaps willing tools of men who can outwit 
them in political chicancery." The Statesman, which had so 
zealously espoused Johnson, likewise began to weaken as the 
strife between the President and Congress developed, and after 
the call had been issued for the meeting of the National Union 
Convention. D. W. Craig, formerly of the Argus, had secured 
the controlling interest of the Statesman75 and in August, 1866, 
sold the paper to Benjamin Simpson, a Union Democrat, who 
had been one of the directors of the Oregon Printing and Pub- 
lishing Company. Craig's editor, J. Gaston, said in his parting 
salutation "Let us stand, not for men, but for principles. If 
we divide into 'Johnson men' or 'Radicals,' into 'Douglas Demo- 
crats' or 'Republicans/ we but abandon the field of politics to 
the control of unmitigated Copperheads. "? 6 This was a de- 
cidedly different tone from that which had characterized the 
Statesman heretofore. 

But the accession of the new management marked another 
change in the checkered career of the paper. "A change has 
come over the spirit of the Statesman," announced the new edi- 
tors, the sons of the new proprietor, Sylvester C. and Samuel 
L. Simpson, in their salutatory. "Already you have heard the 
farewell shot of the retiring editor and now, ere its echoes 
have died away, we come to renew the battle. . . . Opposed 
to the Utopian ideas of fanatical reformers, yet having no sym- 
pathy with treason, we shall calmly yet earnestly discuss every 
measure for the restoration of the states and the general weal 
of our common country." The Statesman accordingly renewed 

75 Geo. H. Himes, "History of the Press of Oregon," in Oregon Historical 
Quarterly for December, 1902, p. 360. 

76 Statesman, Aug. 13. 


its allegiance to Johnson, espousing the Philadelphia Convention. 
It declared for the re-election of Nesmith as senator against the 
attacks directed against him by the Oregonian and savagely 
attacked negro suffrage. The "middle of the road" position, 
which the Statesman now assumed was a difficult and untenable 
one. As Deady had keenly observed, this was a narrow field in 
Oregon, or better, it was a wide field but very thinly populated. 
The political exigencies were sharply dividing the people into 
the Radical Unionists on the one hand and the Democrats on 
the other. Few indeed were they who maintained a middle 
position, and the Statesman was thus now the spokesman of a 
very small constituency. As the weeks passed, it seemed to 
realize the hopelessness of its position. On November 5, 1866, 
in answer to critics, who prophesied for it a speedy dissolution, 
the Statesman gave expression to a despairing protest which is 
here quoted in part as portraying very accurately the feelings 
of those who struggled against the political currents which 
would take them to one extreme or the other : 

"There must be a golden mean somewhere between" 
sympathy with rebellion and the worship of thick-lipped 
deities. . . . Surely there is a love of country which 
shall not combine with too great a veneration of the Negro. 
. . . With Stephen A. Douglas we entertain a few 
somewhat heretical notions about this being a white man's 
government and do not propose to yield them. . . . 
But there is one platform that is wide enough for us all 
support of the Union, and for the flag, love and loyalty. 
The Statesman was with the Government in the Valley of 
the Shadow' and shall not wander from its faith when 
the night is scattering and brighter fields are opening be- 
yond. ... A liberal policy toward the conquered 
states was the one, in our judgment, most worthy of the 
Nation and best calculated to harmonize the clashing an- 
tagonisms of a broken Union and soothe the virulence of a 
discomfited people ; and for that, no excess of radical ma- 
jorities shall drive us to the confessional." 

By this time, after the fall campaigns in the East in which 
the President had demonstrated his personal foibles, the States- 
man felt compelled to abandon him. But yet while "blushing 


for his imprudence in trailing the robes of office in the filth 
of brutal crowds," it declared itself to despise above all things 
"that party whose bosom is a shield to such infamous outlawry 
and whose banner is the protection of swaggering vagabond- 
ism." Thus did the, Statesman hurl final defiance at the Re- 
publican element which now wholly dominated the Union party. 
In the following month, December, 1866, the paper was sold to 
the owners of the Unionist with which it was merged, the name 
of the Statesman being dropped. The Oregonian., in announc- 
ing the demise of its old rival, granted that it had one time 
absolutely controlled the politics of the state but observed that 
its final plunge into the depths of Johnson "conservatism" had 
been too much for it. 77 Within a few years the old name was 
re-adopted but the days of the Statesman as an important factor 
in the political history of Oregon, were over. 

The Oregonian was the true exponent of the Union party as 
now constituted. The spirit of the party is exemplified in an 
editorial, December 15, 1866, on "Radical Reconstruction," 
which hailed with satisfaction the fact that Congress "is push- 
ing forward fearlessly." "The work of reconstruction is now 
to begin from the foundation and will go back to where it 
stood on the surrender of the rebel armies. . . . The ac- 
tion of the South has made it necessary. Traitors will take 
back seats. Loyal men will govern. Reconstruction, radical, 
thorough and complete., is to begin." 

Democratic support of President Johnson in Oregon was 
brief and fleeting. For the expediency of the, hour, the Demo- 
crats championed him in the spring campaign of 1866 as a 
flank movement against the Unionists. But their support was 
never hearty and sincere and the June election was hardly over 
before this became evident. On July 18, Deady wrote to 
Nesmith, "The Democratic papers here, are beginning to show 
their teeth at Johnson and Seward and I am quite sure that 
they will do the same towards you when it comes to the 
pinch." The Oregon Herald, now edited by Beriah Brown, 
formerly editor of the San Francisco Democratic Press/ 73 was 

77 Oregonian, Jan. 5, 1867. 
77-a In which Brown had 
act led to the gutting of the establishment on April 15, 1865. 

77-a In which Brown had unsparingly criticised President Lincoln, which 
led to 


made the official organ of the Johnson Administration in the 
State and thus remained a staunch Johnson advocate. The 
other Democratic papers refused to follow its lead and made 
the Herald a target for their splenetic shafts. The Oregonian, 
in commenting upon the efforts of the Herald to commit Ore- 
gon Democrats to Johnson, thus aptly characterized the Oregon 
Democracy : "This Johnsonized organ has made a grand mis- 
take. Oregon Democracy is not the sort of material the official 
appointee supposed. It is radical. It is earnest. Its ideas are 
precisely those which animated the late Confederacy. It will 
adopt no half way measures. It cannot be warped from this 
policy to that, as in other states. It never had any sympathy 
with the Philadelphia Convention or regard for Johnson. It 
will not tolerate anything but the most extreme doctrine. In 
supposing the party might be made somewhat more conserva- 
tive, Johnson's organ has made a grievous mistake. "78 

The term of Senator Nesmith was about to expire and it 
was for the legislature of 1866 to choose his successor. Serving 
in such a momentous period, embracing the whole of the Civil 
War, he had rendered conspicuous service to the Union.7 8a As 
Congressman McBride had written home,79 Nesmith, deserting 
his Democratic confreres, had supported nearly every Adminis- 
tration measure for the prosecution of the war. He exercised 
a large influence in the framing of some very important 
measures and some of them passed through the aid of the 
one Democratic vote. During his six years in the Senate no 
Oregonian had gone to Washington without feeling a sort of 
proud consciousness that his senator was a man among men 
and that it was something worth while to be known as one of 
"Old Nes' constituents/' 80 Under these, circumstances he might 
apparently, have expected re-election at the hands of a legisla- 
ture which was safely Union. But there was hardly even a 
possibility of such. On the issues which had arisen out of the 
war, he had disagreed with the Republican element of the 

78 Oregonian, Jan. 12. 

78-3 Nesmith was a member of the Committee on Military Affairs. 

79 Argus, March 13, 1863. 
SoDeady, Oct. 27, 1866, to Bulletin. 


Union party. In the policy of reconstruction he was now 
valiantly holding to a conservative or middle position. This 
did not suit Oregon politicians who "would that he were either 
hot or cold." He was in the position of the Statesman lead- 
ing a cause which had few followers. Individuals might dream 
of third parties, founded upon the policy of the President, the 
utterances of the Philadelphia Convention or "any other nar- 
row isthmus between these two great oceans of popular senti- 
ment and passion." 81 But it was all a dream and especially in 
Oregon. Differing with him as to the policy to be pursued 
toward the South, 82 Judge Deady, quondam pro-slavery Demo- 
crat, had in July written his friend Nesmith frankly of the 
situation : "I believe that you have more friends in the Union 
party than the other,, but the Union party of this state, particu- 
larly the brains and conscience of it, is thoroughly on the side 
of Congress and against Andy. And I do not think any per- 
sonal considerations (and all these are in your favor) will 
induce them to support anyone for the Senate that does not 
agree with them on this issue and all questions included in it." 
In a word, Nesmith was crushed between the upper and 
nether millstone. The Republicans considered him a Democrat, 
which was not unnatural, considering that he had been elected 
as such, had supported McClellan and was now the supporter 
of Johnson, and opposed the Republican policy anent the freed- 
men. On the other hand, the rock-bound, unreconstructed 
Democrats hated him with a cordial hatred. They disliked him 
politically for the support of the war and they cherished against 
him a personal grudge for his alliance with the Republicans in 
I860, which sent him to the Senate and resulted largely in the 
overthrow of the Oregon Democracy. The situation in which 
Nesmith found himself was more than suggestive of the general 
situation in Oregon. Political differentiation had been effected 

1 i Ibid. 

82 "Although I think you are altogether estray in your present political 
predilections, yet you are as likely to come around right as others who might 
start in so." Deady to Nesmith, Aug. 14, 1866. 


along new lines political realignment was rapidly being 
affeeted. 8 3 

The senatorial election of 1866 was the first of a long series 
of political intrigues and imbroglios which have been associated 
with the history of the Republican party in Oregon and which 
have made the state noted for its senatorial vendettas and 
deadlocks. And it is at least significant that in this first fac- 
tional fight, appeared the man round whom the fierce political 
warfare of the state was long to rage John H. Mitchell. Gov- 
ernor Gibbs was the Union caucus nominee for senator, with 21 
votes, Mitchell following with 15. Had all who entered the 
caucus abided by its decision, Gibbs would have been elected 
with one vote, to spare. But three members bolted the caucus 
nominee, and the highest vote which Gibbs received during the 
contest was 33. 8 s The first ballot stood : Gibbs, 33 ; J. S. Smith, 
Democrat, 21; Nesmith, 9; scattering, 6. The votes given 
Nesmith were from Democratic members. From the first to 
the eighth ballot there was little change, except that Nesmith's 
support went to Smith. H. W. Corbett received one vote on 
every ballot until the, eighth, when he received 5. The ninth 
ballot : Gibbs 20, Smith 30, Corbett 9, Jesse Applegate 4, W. C. 
Johnson 5. From then on to the fourteenth ballot Corbett in- 
creased slowly, Gibbs again attaining his maximum strength on 
that ballot. The Democrats changed from Smith to J. K. Kelly 
and on the fifteenth ballot transferred their support to Ex- 
Governor Whiteaker. W. C. Johnson then withdrew the name 
of Gibbs in the interest of party harmony and nominated Cor- 
bett. The sixteenth and final ballot read : Corbett 38, Smith 14, 
Prim 7, Kelly 5, Nesmith 4, Whiteaker 1. Some of the Union 
members, in switching from Gibbs to Corbett, took occasion to 

83 Deady, Oct. 27, to Bulletin. 

Nesmith, Washington, D. C., Nov. 13, to Deady: "I knew from the first 
that I had no party in the state and that there was no show. Some Republicans 
commended my course in support of the war. . . but denounced me freely 
because I was not in favor of its prosecution after the rebels had ceased to resist. 
Besides, I was not up to their standard with respect to the superiority of the 
negro over the white man. On the other hand a portion of the Democracy could 
not forgive me for having supported the war and because I did not support the 

85 Oregonian, Sept. 29 and Oct. 6. 


denounce bitterly the bolters who had thwarted the expressed 
will of the party organization. They asserted that they had 
been assured that if Corbett were not elected, Nesmith would 
be, which fear they declared made it easy for them to support 
Corbett. Antagonism was evident between the Union members 
and Nesmith. 

In commenting on the result, the Oregonian, October 6, said : 
"The second great triumph of the present session of the legisla- 
ture has been achieved by the Union party. The ratification of 
the Constitutional amendment was the first victory; 86 and this 
is now fitly followed by the election of a United States senator 
who is in the strictest sense identified with the Union party of 
Oregon and of the Nation." Deady characterized Corbett as 
"a Radical in thought and a Conservative in action, a man of 
strong convictions, but temperate and moderate in speech and 
conduct." 8 ? From the permanent organization of the Oregon 
Republican party in 1859 until 1862, the new senator had been 
chairman of the state central committee. Though the old Repub- 
lican leaders were generally averse to giving up their own 
party organization for an alliance with the Union Democrats 
in 1862, the determination of the question devolving largely 
upon Corbett, he yielded to the entreaties of the Douglas lead- 
ers and signed the joint call for the Eugene convention which 
led to the formation of the Union party. 

While the break between Johnson and Congress drew the 
political lines in such a way as practically to separate Republi- 
cans and conservative Democrats, both clung to the name 
"Union," each denying to the other the right to use it. Not 
until the spring of 1867 did the Oregonian use the name 
"Republican" in designating its political party. May 25, it 
declared it to be the imperative duty of the "Union-Republi- 
can" party to keep its organization compact and perfect, in 
preparation for the great campaign a year hence. June 22, in 
an editorial "The Republican Party," it explained and de- 

86 The Fourteenth Amendment passed the Legislature by the following vote: 
Senate, 13 to 9; House, 25 to 22. See Statesman, Sept. 24. 

87 Deady, Oct. 3, to Bulletin. 


fended the use of the new name or rather, the resumption of 
the old one. 

The trend of political affairs at Washington during 1867, 
naturally tended still further to make for political solidarity in 
Oregon. Feeling became more intense as the political warfare 
at Washington became more and more pronounced. It be- 
spoke a heated campaign in the state in the approaching elec- 
tion of 1868. The real sentiment and animus of the people 
are often more truly portrayed in resolutions adopted in 
county conventions than in state, where the platform makers 
proceed with more conservatism and caution. For example, 
the Polk County Democrats declared in March, 1868, that they 
would oppose with force if necessary, "any attempt of the 
abolitionists to impose a President upon the people of the 
United States, elected by the negro vote of the ten states now 
under military despotism/' The reconstruction act was de- 
nounced as revolutionary and treasonable and its immediate 
repeal demanded. 88 On the other side some of the Republican 
county conventions spoke aggressively against Johnson, "the 
treacherous apostate/' 8 9 and endorsed the impeachment pro- 
ceedings. The Clatsop Republicans declared that the abomin- 
able secession heresy of states rights, as expounded by the 
leaders in the secession Democratic party, was too absurd to be 
entertained by any unprejudiced man of sense or patriotism.^ 

The Democratic State Convention met March 19 at Portland. 
The committee on resolutions Col. J. E. Ross, R. B. Cochran, 
Benj. Hay den, Beriah Brown and J. H. Slater, appointed in 
the morning, were to report at the afternoon session.9 1 The 
convention re-assembled at 3 o'clock but the committee was 
not ready to report. Brown, editor of the Herald, ''Johnson's 
organ," said there seemed to be an irreconcilable difference in 
the committee and suggested that it be instructed to bring in 
two reports. At 7 in the evening, Hayden presented a majority 

88 Daily Herald, March 21, 1868. 

89 Wapato Union Club resolution March 18. 

90 Daily Oregonian, March 20. 

91 Proceedings, Daily Oregonian, March 20, 21. 


and Brown a minority report. O. Humason of Wasco moved 
that both reports be referred to a new committee, without 
reading. The motion carried by the close vote of 71 to 68, 
the new committee comprising Humason, J. C. Hawthorne, 
J. F. Miller, John Whiteaker, Chas. Hughes. Their report, 
presented the next day, was accepted. The struggle in the first 
committee suggests the expiring efforts of Johnson's friends in 
Oregon for Democratic vindication of the President. 

The platform was even longer than that of 1866, covering a 
range from a declaration in favor of liberal Congressional aid 
for a judicious system of railroad improvement in Oregon to a 
resolution of sympathy for the Irish in their struggle for civil 
liberty. It opposed the "sharing with servile races the priceless 
political heritage achieved alone by white men." The recon- 
struction acts and the usurpation by Congress of judicial and 
executive functions were denounced with a gusto which left 
nothing to be desired. There were the usual resolutions de- 
claring for the sacredness of the Constitution, limited powers 
of the federal government and the sovereignty of the states 
over their internal affairs. The platform called for the equali- 
zation of the burdens of taxation, the payment of the public 
debt in like currency as contracted and the taxation of United 
States securities. 

S.F.Chadwick, John Burnett and J. H. Slater were nominated 
as Presidential electors. As delegates to the National Demo- 
cratic Convention, N. M. Bell, W. W. Page, O. Joynt, Beriah 
Brown and P. P. Prim, were chosen. Hayden presented a reso- 
lution instructing them to vote for G. H. Pendleton as the 
Democratic candidate for President. Brown opposed it vigor- 
ously, asserting that he never had and never would serve 
under instructions. This was but an echo of the struggle in 
the committee on resolutions. Hayden suggested to Brown 
that he could easily resign, which the latter promptly did. J. C. 
Avery was elected delegate in his place and the Pendleton 
resolution was adopted. The apparent inconsistency between 
the Pendleton instructions and that plank of their platform 


declaring that good faith and justice demanded that the public 
debt be paid in like currency as contracted, did not seem to 
disturb the equanimity of the assembled Democrats. J. S. Smith 
was unanimously nominated for Congressman. 

The Republican view of the convention was expressed in the 
following declaration made by the, Marion County Union- 
Republicans: "We recognize in the names presented by the 
Copperhead Convention at Portland a very decided predomi- 
nance of the rebel element and the exclusion of every so-called 
'War Democrat' from a place on their ticket, which reminds us 
forcibly of the fact that we are again fighting the same old 
adversary in another campaign and demonstrates the political 
axiom that a Democrat can no more change his politics than 
the Ethiopian can his skin or the leopard his spots. "92 

The Union-Republican platform, adopted at Salem,, March 
24, endorsed the work of Congress as unreservedly as the 
Democrats had condemned it ; 93 spoke for the preservation, at 
the ballot box, of the fruits of the war ; favored the admission 
of the representatives of Southern states in Congress "at the 
earliest practicable moment when the public safety will per- 
mit ;" condemned every scheme for the repudiation of the whole 
or any part of the national debt and denounced the proposition 
to pay in legal tender notes those debts contracted to be paid 
in specie, as only a milder term of repudiation ; encouraged 
foreign immigration and met the Democratic "Irish" plank by 
expressing sympathy for all people struggling for civil and re- 
ligious liberty ; acknowledged debt of permanent recognition to 
American sailors and soldiers for saving the country ; bespoke 
liberal federal appropriations to aid in the construction of 

David Logan was nominated for Congressman, receiving 56 
votes as against 51 for P. E. Sullivan of Polk County. Orange 
Jacobs, A. B. Meacham and Dr. Wilson Bowlby were named 
for Presidential electors and Josiah Failing, J. L. Parrish, Max- 
well Ramsby, M. Baker, C. C. Beekman and H. R. Kincaid, as 

92 Daily Oregoni?n, March 24. 

93 Proceedings, Daily Oregonion, March 27. 


delegates to the National Convention. The convention was 
unfortunate in the selection of its congressional nominee. While 
a man of marked ability, Logan's habits made him a vulnerable 
candidate, There was great dissatisfaction over his nomina- 
tion and his defeat was freely predicted at once by members 
of his own party. 9 4 The temperance and church people deserted 
him, especially the Methodist Republicans, Smith, the Demo- 
cratic nominee, being a Methodist. 

The campaign of 1868 was marked by that vehemence of 
party feeling which had always rendered Oregon politics in- 
tense and strenuous. The Oregonian made a target of the first 
plank of the Democratic platform, which expressed renewed 
allegiance to the time-honored principles of the Democratic 
party. It insisted that these principles were embodied in the 
Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, with their offspring of 
nullification, secession and rebellion. On the subject of re- 
construction, the Democrats demanded the admission of the 
Southern representatives in Congress at once and now main- 
tained Lincoln's position that the seceding states had never 
been out of the Union. The question of repudiation, or the 
payment of United States bonds in gold or paper figured 
prominently. But more noisily discussed than all was the 
question of negro suffrage and equality. The Democrats ac- 
cused the Republicans of standing for universal negro suf- 
frage. This the latter denied, maintaining that the colored 
men had been enfranchised in the Southern states as a measure 
of necessity in reconstruction, but that those states, when again 
in the Union, would each have power to regulate the suffrage 
for itself. But the Democrats returned continually to the at- 
tack with such convincing arguments as, "Do you want your 
daughter to marry a nigger?" "Would you allow a nigger to 
force himself into a seat at church between you and your 

94 In a letter to Nesmith, March 27, Deady said Jesse Applegate was instru- 
mental in securing the nomination of Logan, controlling nearly all the southern 
county votes and capturing J. G. Wilson by making him chairman of the convention. 
"Billy Adams, Medorem Crawford and Huntington are furious and all swear they 
will not support Dave. Billy says openly that he will vote for Smith. I think 
that all the federal officers are opposed to Dave, while he is defiant and swears 
that if he is elected their heads shall tumble." 


wife?" and "D n a nigger!" On two points they kept up 

an incessant clamor they lost no opportunity to denounce 
"niggers" and "taxes." 9 * 

The June election resulted in a decisive victory for the 
Democratic ticket and the first defeat which the Union party 
had suffered since its organization. Smith was elected con- 
gressman over Logan by a majority of 1209 and the Demo- 
crats secured 43 of the 69 seats in the legislature, each house of 
which had a Democratic majority. The Oregonian took the 
defeat philosophically 96 and after the first shock sought to ex- 
plain how it happened. It stated that ever since the Califor- 
nia election of the preceding fall when an 18,000 Union ma- 
jority in that state had been turned in to a 9,000 Democratic 
one, it had been very difficult for the Union party to maintain 
its ground in Oregon. The Dalles Mountaineer, Democratic, 
attributed Logan's defeat to the finance question and the 
heavy taxes that the people were now compelled to pay. It 
even went so far as to assert its belief that if a vote were to 
be taken in Oregon upon the question of paying the national 
debt, the latter would be repudiated. 9 ? But the Union-Repub- 
lican press maintained that their defeat was not attributable to 
defection in the, ranks of their party, but that it was entirely 
owing to accessions to the Democratic party within the past 
two years from the disbanded Confederate armies to the "in- 
flux of a rebel, guerilla population" which had been emigrating 
westward to escape the consequences of reconstruction. 98 The 
election figures at least partially supported the Union-Repub- 
licans in this contention. The latter had barely held their 
strength shown by the election of 1866. The vote for Logan, 
admittedly not a strong candidate, was 300 above that given 
Governor Woods two years previous. But the Democratic vote 
had increased by 1800 in the same period, and, what was 

95 Daily Oregonian, June 5. 

96 "All that we have to say at this time is soon said. We are beaten. We 
(the Union party) are too big to cry and we are too badly hurt to laugh." Daily 
Oregonian, June 2. 

97 Quoted in Daily Oregonian, June 8. 

98 Oregon Sentinel, June 13, 
Daily Oregonian, June 12. 


more to the point, practically one-third of this increase was 
registered in the three northeastern counties alone Union, 
Grant and Baker which were steadily being populated by 
the Southern emigrants. And it is not to be supposed that 
these three counties received all this emigration. 

Five months later the Democrats carried the state for Sey- 
mour against Grant, for President. But in the November elec- 
tion the Democratic majority, 165," was so small that the 
influence of "Price's Army" as a determining factor in the po- 
litical readjustment in Oregon was more than ever pronounced. 
In an editorial on the result, "Oregon a Lonely Mourner for 
the Lost Cause," the Oregonian announced : "Price's rebels 
have once more come to the relief of the Copperhead cause. 
The reinforcement was opportune." The suggestive, though 
highly colored characterization of the much heralded "army" 
followed: 100 "It appears that Price's boys in Eastern Oregon 
can be relied on to give any required majority for the restora- 
tion of the 'Lost Cause.' The nomadic rebel Democracy of 
the country lying between the waters of the Missouri and up- 
per Columbia, combining the characteristics of the wild Indian 
and the unreconstructed rebel, can change about from one 
place to another to suit the exigencies of elections, voting now 
in Oregon, again in Idaho, Montana or Washington and back 
again in Oregon when the next occasion requires. . . . They 
constitute the Democratic flying brigade, operating on the 
frontier. It is anything but agreeable to have a majority of 
the actual voters of the state beaten by this wandering rebel 
horde who live nowhere and help to bear none of the burdens 
of government." 

Whatever the influences to which the returning Democratic 
majorities of 1868 were attributable, the fact remained, the 
ante-bellum political status in Oregon had for the time been 
re-established. Upon the new issues which had arisen, two 
distinct parties had aligned themselves. Upon these and ever 
new occurring issues the future political battles of the state 

99 Daily Oregonian, Dec. 4. 

100 Daily Oregonian, Nov. 10. 


were to be fought. Whatever its potency might continue to 
be elsewhere, the rallying cry of "Save the Union !" would no 
longer win political victories in Oregon. 

Having first reviewed the situation in Oregon in the ante- 
Territorial period, as a basis of political development, the 
writer has attempted to give a faithful portrayal of the rise 
of political parties in Oregon ; of the manner of their organi- 
zation and of the influences by which party organization was 
maintained. It has been the intention to present a view of the 
political life and activity of this early period. The history of 
the slavery question in Oregon has been followed in an en- 
deavor to show how extensive and how all-inclusive was the 
influence of the great National issue. It effected the organiza- 
tion of a new party and the overthrow of the Democratic re- 
gime and the disintegration of the Oregon Democracy. The 
general breaking down of old party lines on the opening of 
the war and the alignment of the people into the two classes 
of Union and Disunion, has been shown. And lastly, the 
process of political adjustment and realignment, growing out 
of the issues raised by the war, has been followed, leading up 
through the elections of 1868 which resulted in returning vic- 
tory for the Democrats. 

Having traced the political history of the state to this point 
of post-bellum readjustment, the purpose of the writer has 
been fulfilled. The Democratic party maintained in the main 
its advantage for a few years, after which honors were for a 
time pretty evenly divided between the two parties. The Re- 
publican party gradually assumed the ascendancy again, but 
the fierce factional struggles which have taken place within 
its ranks, have many times deprived it of the victories which 
its numerical superiority would imply. The story of these later 
political struggles is interesting partaking often of the dra- 
matic and sensational. However, they were not shaped and 
dominated by the force of great National and vital issues to 
the extent that were the earlier political activities, to the period 
of which the writer has confined his efforts. 


Necessarily, in treating a subject of this nature, great de- 
pendence must be placed in the newspapers of the period, as 
sources of material. First, in the records of what actually took 
place reports of conventions and meetings of various kinds, 
resolutions and platforms adopted, legislative proceedings, etc. 
Second, fully as important, but to be used more guardedly, the 
expression of public opinion upon those passing events, this 
public opinion being registered in editorial comment, contrib- 
uted articles and in oral public expression. Obviously, to meas- 
ure public sentiment at all accurately by newspaper utterances, 
it is necessary to have before one, papers representing the va- 
rious political points of view. In this the writer has been 
fortunate. From the time political activity in Oregon really 
begins, newspapers of opposite political tendencies have been 

Of these, the Oregonian, the Oregon Statesman and the 
Oregon Argus have been relied upon most extensively. They 
were the most representative of the Oregon press and ex- 
tended over the greater part of the period under consideration. 
On the period of ante-political organization, access was had 
to the Spectator, and, in a limited degree, to the Western 
Star, Milwaukie, changed to the Oregon Weekly Times in June, 
1851. Next in importance to the first three journals mentioned 
should be named the Oregon Weekly Union, the exponent of 
anti-Union sentiment in the Civil War era. Other papers di- 
rectly consulted, were the Oregon Weekly Times, the Oregon 
Sentinel and the Oregon Daily Herald. Indirectly, yet other 
papers have been frequently used, by means principally of edi- 
torial utterances reproduced in the above mentioned journals. 

Closely related to, but differing slightly from the Oregon 
newspaper sources, is the correspondence of Judge M. P. 
Deady to the San Francisco Bulletin, to be found in what is 
known as the "Deady scrapbook," in possession of the Oregon 
Historical Society. In Judge Deady the capacities of keen 
observation and trenchant expression were combined with the 
faculty of being able to write with a minimum of personal, 


political bias. For this reason, these letters, covering the 
crucial period of the sixties and written for the perusal of out- 
side readers, are almost invaluable. The same may be said 
of his personal correspondence. 

Supplementing the newspaper material in a very important 
manner, is the private correspondence, in the Oregon Histor- 
ical Society collections, of many men who were the most ac- 
tive participants in the politics of the time, notably Joseph 
Lane, Asahel Bush, J. W. Nesmith, Judge Deady and Jesse 
Applegate. In this connection may be mentioned also the per- 
sonal interviews with such men as Judge Geo. H. Williams, 
former Adjutant General C. A. Reed, W. R. Bishop and Geo. 
H. Himes, who, either from actual participation or observation, 
or both, threw much light on the events of a half century ago. 

Other primary material used was the collection of Oregon 
pioneer documents to be, found in the Bancroft Library of the 
University of California. These are largely memoirs and relate 
principally to settlement and to the period of the Provisional 
Government. As representative of these may be mentioned, 
Jesse Applegate's "Views of Oregon History," Deady's "Ore- 
gon History," Peter H. Burnett's "Recollections of the Past" 
and Elwood Evans' "History of Oregon." 

Likewise covering the period of the Provisional Govern- 
ment are Grover's "Oregon Archives" and a volume, "Unpub- 
lished Documents, Oregon Archives," Ms., in the Bancroft 

Of secondary material used, the "Quarterly of the, Oregon 
Historical Society," 1900-1909, contains much that has been 
suggestive and helpful. Such contributions, for example, as 
"The Genesis of Political Authority in Oregon" and "Social 
Evolution in Oregon," by J. R. Robertson, and "The Slavery 
Question in Oregon," by T. W. Davenport, are typical of va- 
rious articles dealing with both social and political beginnings 
in Oregon, together with various phases of political develop- 

The printed Proceedings of the annual meetings of the Ore- 



gon Pioneer Association have been used to some extent for 
material on the period of settlement principally. 

From the nature of the subject, the assistance to be obtained 
from secondary books, has necessarily been slight. Such books 
as have been used for reference have been sufficiently cited in 
the footnotes. 


The Vote on the Adoption of the Oregon Constitution, 
November 9, 1857. 

(From the official returns published in the Oregon Statesman, 
December 22.) 



Free Negroes 

Counties Yes 






Benton ... 440 






Clackamas. 530 






Clatsop ... 62 






Columbia.. 30 






Coos 68 






Curry 117 






Douglas . . 419 






Jackson . . 465 






Josephine . 445 






Lane 591 






I inn . . 1111 






Marion ...1024 






Multnomah 496 






Polk 528 






Tillamook . 23 






Umpqua . . 155 






Wasco 55 






Washington 265 






Yamhill ... 371 






Total ...7195 
Maj'ties .3980 








The Vote in the Presidential Election of 1860. 
(Official returns in the Statesman, Dec. 3.) 

County Douglas Lincoln Breckenridge Bell 

Benton 140 202 381 3 

Clackamas 173 409 324 3 

Clatsop 38 68 29 

Columbia 38 46 30 

Coos 88 71 22 3 

Curry 69 42 53 6 

Douglas 288 321 502 23 

Jackson 406 394 675 88 

Josephine 221 261 371 32 

Lane 166 492 555 8 

Linn 312 580 671 5 

Marion 864 598 286 17 

Multnomah 364 570 261 5 

Polk 390 180 215 4 

Tillamook 8 11 13 

Umpqua 72 151 75 3 

Wasco 147 168 255 2 

Washington 134 360 140 3 

Yamhill 213 420 216 7 

Totals 4131 5344 5074 212 

Plurality 270 


By T. C. Elliott 

This year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eleven is com- 
memorative in the basin of the Columbia River. Eighteen 
hundred and ninety-two marked our first centenary, when Prof. 
John Fiske crossed the continent from Cambridge to deliver 
before the Oregon Pioneer Association at Astoria an address 
in honor of the discovery of the Columbia River by Capt. 
Robt. Gray. In 1905 the Lewis and Clark Exposition (really 
suggested by the Oregon Historical Society) at Portland most 
fittingly commemorated the transcontinental explorations of 
that wonderful expedition. During this present year of 1911 
there have already been held exercises at Astoria to celebrate 
the coming of the Tonquin by sea with its division of the As- 
torians, and at Kettle Falls in honor of the arrival there of that 
great pathfinder David Thompson from Canada ; and now dur- 
ing these closing days of the year in this beautiful valley of 
the mountains is gathered this company to recall the presence 
here in December, 1811, of the land division of the Astorians 
under the leadership of Wilson Price Hunt. And what a 
passing was that one hundred years ago in contrast with the 
luxurious train service that brought your visitors to this city to- 
day ! Traveling on foot, reduced to dog and horse flesh for food, 
and even that very difficult to obtain ; weary, faint and anxious, 
their leader "pushed on from day to day, with no other alter- 
native to be sure but still courageously inquiring for the Co- 
lumbia River which he knew must be ahead of them could they 
survive to reach it. Those were the first white men yet known 
to have passed through Eastern Oregon: all honor to their 
passing ! 

It is not the purpose, of this address to retell the story of 
that journey in its detail; others will have done that and it is 
being religiously brought to your attention by the press. 

NOTE. An address delivered at the centenary exercises at Baker, Oregon, 
December 28, 1911. 


Rather let me refer briefly to the early development of this 
particular part of the transcontinental route then traversed for 
the first time and to a few of the fur traders, American and 
Canadian, who were prominent in the exploration and trade 
of the Columbia River basin, of which this valley is a part. 
We of today have personal recollection of that sudden rush 
to Alaska almost within the last decade, of how men of cul- 
ture and of career took part in the isolation, exposure and 
dangers incident to that remarkable movement. Bearing that 
in mind it is possible to better appreciate the call in earlier 
years of the fur trade to the men of family name, of educa- 
tion and of marked commercial ability who undertook and en- 
dured the hardships and associations common to such a life. Be 
it remembered that it was the fur trade that brought the Cabots 
to the coast of North America; the fur trade that following 
the voyage of Capt Cook lured the Yankee trading vessels to 
the Northwest coast of America and to the discovery of the 
Columbia River; the fur trade that opened the first transcon- 
tinental way across the Rocky Mountains at the sources of 
the Columbia; the fur trade that saved Oregon to the United 
States (if such a term is ever proper) by the opening of this 
track across the plains and mountains and furnishing our gov- 
ernment with information as to the country and actually mark- 
ing the way for the pioneer. And this Valley is located di- 
rectly upon the Oregon Trail. 

First in priority of travel and trade to be mentioned is Wil- 
son Price Hunt, who led the way through this Valley and 
passed none too comfortable a night here just one hundred 
years ago. Search the pages of your biographical dictionary 
and you will fail to find his name, but the building occupied by 
the Central National Bank upon one of the principal business 
corners of the historic city of St. Louis marks the location of 
his family residence ; he had been in business there before 
being associated with Mr. Astor and returned to that city 
after the affairs of the Pacific Fur Company were wound up. 
Mr. Hunt was a gentleman and a scholar. He was born in New 
Jersey in the year 1782. and doubtless endured troublesome 


nights in that state as well as in this valley, for that was 
before the control of the birth of mosquitoes by scientific de- 
vices. He was therefore less than thirty years of age when 
here one hundred years ago. He later became one of the 
prominent men of St. Louis when that city was the emporium 
for the entire region West of the Mississippi and by Pres. 
Monroe was appointed postmaster and held that office for 
nearly twenty years, and that when it meant something more 
than mere political skill to be appointed to such an office. He 
married in later life into a leading family and died there in 
April, 1842. With his neighbor, Gen. William Clark, an earlier 
traveler on the Columbia, he was one of the charter members 
of Christ Church, and his name plate appeared upon a pew in 
the former edifice of that, the oldest Protestant Episcopal Church 
of the Great Southwest. He was also prominent in Masonic 
circles. Upon Mr. Hunt devolved the chief authority in the 
conduct of the affairs of the Pacific Fur Company on the 
Columbia, and but for his enforced absence from Astoria the 
business of the Company might possibly have been brought 
to a different conclusion. We read of his passing bon mots 
and crossing commercial swords with Count Baranoff at Sitka, 
in Alaska, and of his purchasing for ten thousand dollars upon 
credit only the brig Pedlar at the Sandwich Islands in order to 
return to the Columbia and protect the interests of the Com- 
pany, transactions which reflect handsomely his forcef ulness and 
integrity. Quite appropriately might his name be honored by 
tablet or monument in this city, or by a peak of the Elkhorn 
Mt. range, as the man who first traveled the Oregon Trail 
from Shoshone Falls to the Pacific Ocean. 

Wilson Price Hunt did not see this Valley again, nor did 
many of those who were, in his party. The following summer 
(1812) a few of the Astorians returned through here, Mr. 
Robert Stuart to carry dispatches to Mr. Astor and Messrs. 
Crooks and McClellan to quit an enterprise with which they 
were already disgusted ; their journey to St. Louis lasted until 
the following spring and was full of peril and hardship. In 
spite of that Ramsay Crooks became eloquent about the coun- 



try he passed through and Thomas H. Benton in his "Thirty- 
Year's View" speaks of being entertained by Mr. Crooks at 
Brown's Hotel in Washington for days with descriptions of the 
region beyond the Rockies, while he, Benton, in 1821, was 
waiting for Missouri to be admitted to the Union and his 
credentials as its first senator to be passed upon by the Senate ; 
and it was this same Ramsay Crooks who helped to inspire 
Dr. John Floyd of Virginia to introduce that first measure ever 
introduced in Congress respecting the occupation of Oregon. 
Ramsay Crooks after 1813 became prominent in the fur trade 
of the Lakes and was in charge of Mr. Astor's interests there. 
And by way of diversion the opportunity offers here to retell a 
story of Mr. Silas B. Smith's of Clatsop Plains before the Ore- 
gon Hist. Society in 1899. Speaking of the arrival in the Colum- 
bia in 1840 of the ship Lausanne from New York with the rein- 
forcement of Methodist missionaries Mr. Smith said : "It was 
arranged that we should take passage on the ship. The bar pilot 
had been engaged at Honolulu, a sailor who had entered the 
river once twenty years before. No wonder there were terrors 
on the bar ! At Baker's Bay an Indian by the name of Ramsay 
was engaged as river pilot, the same who was interpreter on 
the, Tonquin at the time of her destruction at Clayoquot. He 
had only one eye but was a good pilot. Ramsay was his Eng- 
lish name ; it came, I think, from Ramsay Crooks, given the 
same way as General Joe Lane gave half his name to the Rogue 
river chief who was afterwards known as Chief Joe. * * * 
Above Oak Point a special express from Dr. McLoughlin met 
us with vegetables and fresh provisions ; with the express was 
a mulatto with the high sounding name of George Washing- 
ton. He had a statement from Dr. McLoughlin that he was a 
river pilot. Of course, with such a paper from the Doctor, 
he was immediately installed as chief pilot, to the great humilia- 
tion of Ramsay. George, however, did not run the vessel many 
miles before he placed her high on a sand bar. It was Ram- 
say's opportunity; stepping to the captain and pointing to 
George Washington, he said, 'He know how to cook the meat, 
he no pilot, you let me pilot ship and me run her aground, 


you take a knife/ and with a pantomimic sweep of his hand 
he drew it across his throat. It is needless to say the Indian 
was reinstated as pilot." 

In the summer of 1813 also a small party of Astorians 
passed eastward through this valley under the leadership of 
John Reed, who is described as a Hibernian. Among them 
were the interpreter, Pierre Dorion, and his wife, and the in- 
structions were to trade and trap for furs on the streams now 
known as the Weiser, Payette and Boise during the fall and 
winter. This party were killed by the Indians, all except the 
faithful Madame Dorion, that mother of the first child of 
white parentage to be born in Eastern Oregon, which event 
took place in this Valley on Dec. 30th, 1811. She found her 
way back to the Columbia in the spring of 1814 and among 
those to whom she related her story was the next fur trader of 
whom I would especially speak, Mr. Donald Mackenzie, who 
was then bound for New York by way of the Columbia and 
Saskatchewan and Montreal with the report of the final winding 
up of the Pacific Fur Company's affairs at Astoria and with 
drafts to the amount (according to Mr. Ross) of eighty thous- 
and dollars in his belt. The terms of the sale to the Northwest 
Company included transportation from Astoria to Montreal 
for such Astorians as wished to return. 

With the passing of the Astorians from the Columbia the use 
of this trail appears to have been discontinued for fours years, 
There may have been straggling white hunters passing over it 
but we as yet have no record. It remained for this same 
Donald Mackenzie to return to the Columbia before the Snake 
Country trade was again undertaken ; and that was in the year 
1818. Quite likely Mr. Mackenzie passed through this valley 
on an exploration trip during the winter of 1817-18, but of that 
we are not certain. 

Donald Mackenzie is a fur trader who has not yet received 
merited attention for what he accomplished on the Columbia. 
In family line he is said to have been related to Sir Alex. 
Mackenzie who made that first journey across the continent by 
land in 1792-3 and established British rignts north of the 49th 


parallel which made the political cry of "Fifty-four Forty or 
Fight" look so ridiculous to our diplomats in 1844-5-6. Donald 
Mackenzie had seen service in the fur trade in the Indian Coun- 
try of British North America with the "Northwesters" of 
Canada and joined the Astorians under some special induce- 
ment. At Cauldron Linn (at Milner, Idaho, about twenty 
miles above Shoshone Falls) in October of 1811 with a few 
others he separated from the main party and found his way 
to Astoria a full month in advance of Mr. Hunt, having suc- 
ceeded in forcing his way through the rough mountains along 
the east bank of Snake river and across Salmon river to the 
Clearwater and thence to the sea in canoes. If he had differ- 
ences with Wilson Price Hunt they were only those common 
to the different dispositions of men, and incident to his own 
really superior experience in the field life of the fur trade to 
that of Mr. Hunt himself ; and his service with the Pacific Fur 
Company was both intelligent and valuable. He returned to 
the Columbia in the fall of 1817 as a chief factor in the 
Northwest Company with instructions to assume the manage- 
ment of all the business of that Company in the Interior, as 
distinguished from that of the Coast and lower river, and 
especially to develop the trade in the Snake Country which he 
knew from actual observation to be so valuable. 

Donald Mackenzie was a wonderful man to deal with In- 
dians ; his influence over them was remarkable, due to his 
powerful physique and activity as well as his tact, courage, 
endurance and daring. (Washington Irving relates in "As- 
toria" his bold entrance into the lodge of one of the robber 
Klickitat chiefs at Wishram Celilo in quest of a rifle that 
had been taken from the whites). His hair is said to have been 
of the color some people prefer to call sandy and his weight 
about three hundred and twenty pounds. This would make 
him a very good physical duplicate of our own President Taft, 
but golf would have been slow exercise for him. He was a 
great pedestrian, could outwalk any of his associates and was 
continually on the move. 

The first thing that Donald Mackenzie did after getting the 


trade of the various posts of the upper river organized to best 
advantage and himself making a flying trip to the Snake coun- 
try, was to erect a Fort at the mouth of the Walla Walla river 
as a base for the Snake country trade. This was named Fort 
Nez Perces., but came to be more generally known as Fort 
Walla Walla (and the site is even now platted as such on the 
county records of Walla Walla County although a mere sand 
and gravel flat without improvement at the present day). This 
was in the summer of 1818. Not at all daunted by the lateness 
of the season, Mr. Mackenzie then organized his first Snake 
Country expedition. Quoting from Mr. Ross we are told that 
"the expedition was composed of fifty-five men of all denomi- 
nations, one hundred and ninety-five horses, and three hundred 
beaver traps, besides a considerable stock of merchandise ; but 
depending upon the chances of the chase, they set out without 
provisions or stores of any kind." * * * "The party took 
their departure at the end of September, in the full view and 
amid the cheers of all the natives. Turning his back, there- 
fore, upon the rest of his extensive charge, with all its ease 
and fruits of comfort, Mackenzie, without any second or friend 
in whom he could confide, placed himself at the head of this 
medley, to suffer new hardships and face new dangers, in the 
precarious adventure." This is the party which undoubtedly 
passed through the Powder River Valley in October of 1818 
and began to break up into small parties and occasion the 
leader much trouble in this very vicinity. Mackenzie led the 
main party clear to Black Bear River as he called it and leav- 
ing them there himself returned to Fort Nez Perces, arriving 
after traveling six hundred miles on snow shoes in mid-winter, 
accompanied by only six companions. Here was a winter 
journey not yet awarded poetic recognition and illustrating 
the energy, tirelessness and leadership of this man ! 

On his return trip to the Portneuf that spring Mr. Macken- 
zie (desiring to know the practicability of transporting his furs 
by water route) accomplished a feat that seems to us remark- 
able in the light of present day navigation; he ascended the 
Snake river from the, mouth of the Clear water to the mouth of 


Burnt river through what we know as the Box Canyon in a 
Canadian batteau or barge. Four of his companions returned 
to Fort Nez Perces down through the Canyon again in the 
bateau with the following letter to Mr. Ross: "Piont Suc- 
cessful, Head of the Narrows, April 15th, 1819. The passage 
by water is now proved to be safe and practicable for loaded 
boats, without one single carrying place or portage; therefore, 
the doubtful question is set at rest forever. Yet from the force 
of the current, and the frequency of rapids it may still be 
advisable, and perhaps preferable, to continue the land trans- 
port, while the business in this quarter is carried on upon a 
small scale. We had often recourse to the line. There are 
two places with bold cut rocks on either side of the river, where 
the great body of water is compressed within a narrow com- 
pass, which may render those parts doubtful during the floods, 
owing to rocks and whirlpools ; but there are only two, and 
neither of them are long." With but two companions he con- 
tinued on across the plains of Idaho and his letter continues: 
"I am now about to commence a very doubtful and dangerous 
undertaking, and shall, I fear, have to adopt the, habits of the 
owl, roam in the night and skulk in the day, to avoid our 
enemies. But if my life is spared, I will be at the river 
Skam-naugh (i. e. the Boise), with my people and return, by 
the 5th of June. Hasten, therefore, the outfit, with some addi- 
tional hands if possible, to that place. A strong escort will be 
advisable, and caution the person you may send in charge to be 
at all times, both day and night, on his guard." Their route 
followed the well established trail through this valley, and the 
value of the beaver skins packed through here, two packs of 
sixty pounds each to the animal, would surprise us, if known. 
Time is lacking to follow Mr. Mackenzie during his four 
years' development of the trade in the Snake country. From his 
journals quite surely were taken the names that became at- 
tached on the Arrowsmith (London) maps to many of the 
localities of the Upper Snake river region; Brule (or Burnt), 
Owyhee, Weiser, Payette, Malade, Portneuf and others ; and 
if these journals could become available it is almost certain that 


they would reveal him to have been a visitor to Great Salt 
Lake, the actual discoverer of which is still in doubt. 

In the fall of 1821 news was received at Fort Nez Perces 
that the name Northwest Company had passed out of legal 
existence and the trade been consolidated under that of the 
Hudson's Bay Company ; this marks the beginning of the, use 
of that powerful name on the waters of the middle and lower 
Columbia. This news rather disturbed conditions for the time 
and the command of the Snake Country expedition leaving in 
the Fall of 1822 was entrusted to Finan Macdonald, a clerk, 
but whose knowledge of the country of the upper Columbia 
basin could hardly have been excelled by anyone, for he had 
reached its waters with David Thompson in 1807-8 and had 
been west of the Rockies ever since. He it was who passed 
this way in the fall of 1822, but having ideas of his own as to 
a more direct route to and from the hunting grounds returned 
the following year across the mountains northward to the Bit- 
ter Root Valley and through the Flathead country to Spokane 
House. The career of Finan Macdonald is but little known 
and he is given only passing mention; his ideas of the better 
route were tried out during 1823-4 by Alex. Ross and the use 
of the trail from the Columbia to the Boise, by way of Powder 
river was again discontinued by large parties but undoubtedly 
used by detached trappers and couriers. 

During the organization of the Pacific Fur Company in 
1809-10 an office was necessarily maintained in Montreal ; Don- 
ald Mackenzie was one of those especially active there in the 
selection of the voyagettrs for the overland party. Employed 
for a time in Mr. Astor's office was a young man whose father 
dignified the position of "J ust i ce of the Court of the King's 
Bench" at Montreal, the Honourable Isaac Ogden. This young 
man, the youngest of a large family of children and his father's 
favorite, tired of the study of law in comparison with the 
glamour of the fur trade ; and there is reason to suspect from 
traditional accounts that he was given to youthful activities 
not necessarily vicious which disturbed the serenity of mind 
of his mother and her activities in society. (See Bancroft's 


Hist, of N.-W. Coast). He entered the employ of the North- 
west Company in 1811 (just one hundred years ago), and his 
daring career as a clerk in that Company on the Columbia and 
elsewhere was known to Donald Mackenzie, with whom prob- 
ably Governor Geo. Simpson of the Hudson's Bay Company 
consulted as to the difficulties and importance of the Snake 
Country trade. At any rate Peter Skene Ogden (a name now 
familiar and honored in Oregon history), is the next fur 
trader to be noticed as a traveler over this trail. He assumed 
command of. the Snake Country expedition in the winter of 
1824 and set out from Flathead Fort about the middle of 
December of that year at the head of "the most formidable 
party that ever set out for the Snakes/' consisting of "25 
.lodges, 2 gentlemen, 2 interpreters, 71 men and lads, 80 guns, 
364 beaver traps 372 horses." His first year was disastrous 
in that nearly half his men deserted under persuasion of a 
party of Rocky Mt. Fur Company (American) trappers, but 
for all that he passed through this valley en route to Fort Nez 
Perces about the first of November, 1825, with a goodly num- 
ber of beaver skins in his packs. 

The story of the career of Peter Skene Ogden could well 
occupy an entire address. He is the man whose name became 
tradition around Great Salt Lake in Utah so that upon the 
arrival there of the Mormons the present city of Ogden was 
christened in his honor ; the man who first explored the region 
of the Humboldt river, who first recorded the name of Mount 
Shasta, who first explored the central and southern Oregon 
country which is now being so rapidly developed ; the man who 
hastened up the Columbia immediately after the massacre of 
the white people at the Wai-i-lat-pu Mission in 1847 and 
ransomed the fifty or more women and children held in cap- 
tivity there by the Cayuse Indians. This story has been re- 
cently published by the Oregon Historical Society and is avail- 
able to such as desire it at your Public Library. You are more 
especially concerned in his associations with this particular Val- 
ley and the mountains which surround it and streams which 
flow through it. The Wilson Price Hunt party passed through 


here under conditions of dire distress, but their situation was 
not one whit less serious than that of Peter Skene Ogden's 
party of trappers while crossing the Elkhorn mountains from 
the waters of the John Day river to those of the Powder or 
of Burnt River in the winter of 1825-6. 

A few entries from his journals will tell that story in his 
own words : 

"Thursday, 26th (January, 1826). Ice forming- on river; 
course east by north 8 miles over a lofty range of hills bare of 
wood N. E. Here we leave the waters of Day's River. Since 
joining Mr. McDonald, allowing we had one hundred hunters, 
had we not our traps we must have starved to death. Where 
the Indians of this part reside in winter I cannot (tell) ; have 
no doubt concealed in the mountains. * * * 

"Friday, 27th. My guide refuses to proceed, says road is 
bad and horses require day's rest. I was obliged to comply. 
Thank God, when we get across the mountains I trust I shall 
soon reach Snake River or south branch of the Columbia; 9 
beaver and 1 otter. 

"Saturday, 28th. Our guide says there are 6 feet of snow 
in mountains ; impossible to pass in this direction ; must try an- 
other. Many in the camp are starving. For the last ten days 
only one meal every two days. Still the Company's horses 
must not fall a sacrifice. We hope when we get across the 
mountains to fare better ; today 4 beaver. 

"Sunday, 29th. Three inches of snow ; raised camp for S.E. 
6 miles ; our guide says he intends to return. A horse this 
day killed ; on examining his feet, the hoof entirely worn away 
and only raw stump. 

"February 2. We are now on the waters of the south branch 
of the Columbia. 

"February 3. This surely is the Snake Country; as far as 
the eye can reach, nothing but lofty mountains. A more gloomy 
country I never yet saw; too ( ?) horses killed for food today. 

"Saturday, February 4th. We have taken 85 beaver and 16 
otter on Day's River; my Snake guide brought in 4 sheep 
(Ibex). He says this is Burnt River. 


"Feb. 5th. Course E. N. E. Crossed river three times 
and found the ice sufficiently strong to bear our horses One 
of the men detected this day stealing a beaver out of another 
man's trap; as starvation was the cause of this he was par- 
doned on condition of promising not to do it again. 

"10th Feb. Followed the banks of Burnt River S. S. E. 
10 miles. One horse killed. Nearly every bone in his body 
broken. Two of the men could not advance from weakness. 
We have been on short allowance almost too long and re- 
semble so many skeletons ; one trap this day gave us 14 beaver. 

"11 Feb. Crossed Burnt River within 3 miles of its dis- 
charge into Snake River or South branch of Columbia. It 
has given us 54 beaver and 6 otter." 

But such experiences did not discourage in the least; the 
following season always found him at the, same post of re- 
sponsibility and subject to the same exposures. Those respon- 
sibilities were even greater than had existed in earlier years 
because the American trappers had arrived from across the 
divide of the Rockies and the competition was more keen and 
the Indians more troublesome. On his way to the Portneuf in 
1827 Mr. Ogden found Rocky Mountain Fur Company trap- 
pers at work as far west as the Weiser river and heard of 
them even in this very vicinity. And with three thousand 
beaver skins in his packs valued at between ten and twenty 
thousand dollars at Fort Vancouver it meant some care and 
responsibility to journey from the extremes of the Snake Coun- 
try (Pocatello or Winnemucca for instance) to the Columbia, 
often with less than a dozen people in his company. The usual 
custom was to leave Fort Nez Perces in September by the 
trail leading up the Walla Walla river as far as the Forks of 
that stream, five miles above Milton, Oregon ; to cross the Blue 
Mountain Range by what has become the Toll Gate road to the 
lower end of the Grande Ronde Valley at Summerville (and 
there they used to cut the lodge or tepee poles for the season) ; 
thence they passed through the Grande Ronde Valley and over 
the divide to the Powder river usually making a camp for the 
night at the large spring, called by them a fountain, now 


quite certainly located about five miles from this city and ap- 
propriately called Ogden's Fountain; and from here by the 
regular road to the Snake River at Huntington. It was along 
in this Valley that Mr. Ogden would begin to divide his party 
into detachments, sending them in different directions upon 
different streams with instructions to meet again at a certain 
place and date ; and rarely were the appointments missed. The 
whole party would return to Fort Nez Perces again in June or 
July following. 

In the summer of 1829 Mr. Ogden was ordered to conduct 
a party to California and he turned over the Snake Country 
Brigade to his worthy companion John Work (or Wark as 
spelled in Scotland) who succeeded to its difficulties and dan- 
gers. Our record of the journeys of John Work is not yet en- 
tirely available and we are unable to speak at length. John 
Work was another forceful fur trader who left his track along 
most of the streams of the Columbia basin. His journals were 
kept very regularly and usually with some elaboration, and to 
him we are indebted for much of the detail that can be stated 
with accuracy concerning those early days. His body lies 
buried at Victoria in British Columbia where the family line is 
perpetuated through descendants of William Fraser Tolmie, 
who married one of his daughters. Mr. John Work continued 
in charge of the Snake Country trade (as far as we know), 
until 1832-4, when that irrepressible Yankee from Cambridge, 
Mass., Nathaniel J. Wyeth, twice crossed the plains and moun- 
tains to compete with the Hudson's Bay Company for the com- 
merce of the Columbia and built Fort Hall on the Upper Snake. 
And with the advent of the American travelers from across 
the Rockies we will consider this chapter complete. 

The development of the "Oregon Trail" may be otherwise 
termed an example of "the survival of the fittest to survive." 
The white man has followed in the track of the red man ; first 
on foot, then on horseback, then in the wheeled wagon or 
"horse-canoe," a little later in the passenger coach, later still 
in the Pullman, and finally in the automobile. When Wilson 
Price Hunt fell into direst extremity the Shoshone Indian con- 


sented to show the way his people had traveled, from the time 
he could remember and earlier. This was the road used by 
the Cayuses on their way to the buffalo country ; for the plains 
and valleys of Southern Idaho and Oregon and Northern Utah 
and Nevada were once the range of the buffalo. This was the 
war track connecting the Snake with the Nez Perces nations, 
for it was the nature of the Indian to maraud. With the ad- 
vent of the white man came commerce, then habitation here 
and there, and progress step by step to the civilization of the 
present day. 

Such centenaries as this, .which recall the deeds and men of 
former years, fitly contribute to the culture of the present. 


By George H. Himes 

It was a happy as well as a timely thought on the part of 
Rev. J. Neilson Barry, rector of the Protesant Episcopal 
Church at Baker, Oregon, to begin early in 1911 to agitate 
the question of celebrating the one hundredth aniversary of 
the arrival of the first white men in the Powder Valley. These 
men were led by Wilson Price Hunt, a partner of John Jacob 
Astor, who left St. Louis on March 12, 1811, and constituted 
the overland section of the Astor Expedition. Mr. Barry followed 
the suggestion by making a critical study of the route followed, 
so far as it is described by Washington Irving in his "Astoria," 
and other books relating to the subject. And furthermore, 
from the time when the expedition left Snake River on its 
way to Powder River Valley and on westward to the locality 
where Baker is now situated, and on beyond to Grand Roride 
Valley, a distance of over one hundred miles, Mr. Barry ex- 
plored the route the Hunt party followed, by rail, bicycle, 
wagon or on foot, as the necessites of the self-appointed task 
required. By describing these experiences from day to day 
and comparing the trails he found with the roadways of the 
present time in the daily papers of his city for several weeks 
prior to the date fixed for the celebration December 28th 
much interest in the event was aroused among the citizens of 

During the afternoon of the day appointed two auto loads 
of the, guests from outside of Baker among them Judge 
Stephen A. Lowell and Senator C. A. Barrett, Pendleton, 
T. C. Elliott, Walla Walla, Washington, Senator Walter A. 
Pierce, Hot Lake, and George H. Himes, Portland were 
taken to "Ogden's Fountain" Peter Skene Ogden's camp, 
Sept. 30, 1828 and camping ground of Hunt one hundred 
years ago both on the "Cold Spring Ranch," six miles south 
of Baker, owned by Mr. D. H. Shaw. This trip was made in 
the teeth of a fierce snow storm, which gave the participants a 


hint of the conditions which both Ogden and Hunt and his 
men frequently encountered, to say nothing about the contrast 
in the method of locomotion. 

At six o'clock P. M. a banquet was given at the Geiser 
Grand Hotel, with over one hundred of Baker's principal citi- 
zens present in addition to the guests from abroad. Two espe- 
cially interesting characters David Littlefield and William H. 
Packwood were in attendance as guests of honor. Mr. Little- 
field is the only survivor of the party which discovered gold in 
Griffin's Gulch, about nine miles from Baker, in August, 1861, 
and Mr. Packwood is the only surviving member of the Oregon 
Constitutional Convention of August- September, 1857. Mr. 
Charles H. Breck, of Baker, was toastmaster and responses 
were made by a number of the visiting guests. 

At eight o'clock the formal exercises were held at Nevius 
Hall, with Judge William Smith, of Baker, presiding. The 
principal address was given by T. C. Elliott, Walla Walla, 
Washington, and his subject was "The Earliest Travelers on 
the Oregon Trail." This address appears in full elsewhere in 
this number of The Quarterly. Judge Lowell, Senators Pierce 
and Barrett, Mr. Littlefield, Mr. Packwood and Mr. Himes 
followed with short addresses; emphasis being given by each 
speaker to the educational value of preserving the memory of 
historical places and the actors connected with the same. 

At the suggestion of Mr. Himes the following telegram, 
signed by Mr. Elliott, Director, and himself as Assistant Sec- 
retary of the Oregon Historical Society, was sent to the Ameri- 
can Historical Association in session at Buffalo, New York: 
"Citizens of this place and members of the Oregon Historical 
Society are celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the 
entrance of Americans into the Powder River Valley. This 
body of men, led by Wilson Price Hunt, was the overland 
section of the Astor party. We send you greeting." 

An announcement was made by Judge Smith that the cen- 
tennial of the discovery of Hot Lake, Union County, would be 
celebrated in August next with special exercises and a barbecue. 


A few years ago the State of Kansas provided for the mark* 
ing of the course of the old Santa Fe Trail across that State ; 
last year a commission created by act of the legislature of 
Nebraska undertook the marking of the old Oregon Trail 
throughout its course in that state. Would it not be seemly 
for the State of Oregon to take cognizance of its wealth his- 
torical prestige? 

The legislature of Indiana at its last session provided for 
the initial steps toward erecting a building which shall house 
the state library and museum. This building is designed to be 
a "permanent memorial for the centennial of Indiana's state- 
hood." The state and local archives of that commonwealth 
have been examined as to their safety and the need is seen for 
the permanent and proper housing of these records. It is be- 
ing strongly urged that all documents, both state and local, 
which are not in current use, be placed under the care of the 
department of archives and history. 

At the eighth annual conference of historical societies held 
at Buffalo in December one of the two principal subjects of 
discussion was historical society buildings. The speakers empha- 
sized the need of clear and definite ideas of the purposes to be 
served by such a building. Among these were that it should be 
useful to as many people in a community as possible ; that it 
should contain an auditorium of ample size, thoroughly equip- 
ped for entertainments and especially for illustrated lectures ; 
the offices should be adapted to the sort of work to be carried 
on and that the building should contain some place where the 
quiet essential to historical and literary work may be found. 

At the third annual conference of archivists, also held in 
conjunction with the meeting of the American Historical As- 
sociation at Buffalo, the problem of protecting archives from 
fire was the main topic of discussion. This was suggested by 
the recent catastrophes at Albany and at Jefferson City. Con- 
stant supervision, with fire-fighting apparatus in readiness, 
was counted indispensable even in a building structurally fire- 





Oregon Historical Society 


Copyright, 1912, by Oregon Historical Society 
The Quarterly disavow! responsibility for the positions taken by contributors to iu paces 


Address delivered by Frederick V. Holman at Champoeg.May 2. 1912* 

In order to have an accurate idea of the Provisional Govern- 
ment of Oregon, the reasons which led to its creation, and of 
its beginning, it is necessary to consider the condition of affairs 
in the Oregon Country prior to, and in the years 1841 and 



Prior to the boundary treaty of June, 1846, fixing the 
present boundary line between the United States and Canada, 
from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, what is 
known as the "Oregon Country" was definitely bounded on 
the south by north latitude 42 degrees, then the north boundary 
of the Spanish settlements west of the Rocky Mountains, and 
now the north boundary lines of the States of California and 
Nevada ; on the west by the Pacific Ocean ; and indefinitely on 
the east by the summit of the Rocky Mountains; and on the 
north by an undetermined line, claimed by the United States 
as being 54 degrees and 40 minutes, north latitude. It in- 
cluded all of the present States of Oregon, Washington, and 
Idaho, and parts of the States of Montana and Wyoming, and 
a large part of the present Dominion of British Columbia. 

* (When Mr. Holman began writing this address, he intended it should be 
merely an address at the anniversary of the meeting of May 2, 1843. As it was 
desired to have it printed in this Quarterly, while he wrote it in the form of an 
address, he made it a brief history of the Oregon Provisional Government, including 
causes which led to its formation. A portion only of this address was read by him 
at Champoeg, May 2, 1912. Editor.) 


In this addresss I cannot go into the details of the respec- 
tive claims of the United States and of Great Britain to the 
Oregon country, nor on what these respective claims were 

After the discovery of the Columbia River by Capt. Robert 
Gray, May 11, 1792, there were, no land expeditions by either 
government, nor expeditions by any of its citizens to the 
Oregon country until the expedition of Lewis and Clark which 
reached the mouth of the Columbia River in 1805, and except- 
ing also the journey of Alexander Mackenzie, one of the part- 
ners of the Northwest Company, in 1793, which was north of 
latitude 52 degrees. On this journey, Mackenzie discovered 
the upper waters of what is now called the Fraser River in 
British Columbia. Nor shall I more than mention the estab- 
lishment by the Northwest Company (of Montreal), in 1806, 
and thereafter, of posts in the northern interior of British 
Columbia on the Fraser River, its tributaries, and its and their 
vicinities, nor the discovery by David Thompson, in 1807, of 
the head waters of the Columbia River. 

I shall but merely mention the founding of Astoria, April 
12, 1811, by the Pacific Fur Company, controlled by John 
Jacob Astor; of the treacherous sale of the assets of this 
company by Duncan McDougal one of Astor's partners to 
the Northwest Company in October, 1813 ; of the capture of 
Astoria, November 13, 1813, by a British sloop-of-war, and of 
the restoration of Astoria to the United States, October 6, 1818, 
under the provisions of the treaty of Ghent, signed December 
24, 1814, by which the war of 1812 was terminated. 

The Northwest Company continued the business and enter- 
prises in the Oregon Country, which it had acquired by the 
purchase of the business of the Pacific Fur Company, and also 
of the. business which the Northwest Company had established 
on its own account in the Oregon Country, until it coalesced 
with the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821. In 1824, Dr. John 
McLoughlin came to take charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's 
affairs west of the Rocky Mountains. He changed the head- 


quarters of the company from Astoria, near to what is now the 
City of Vancouver, Washington, naming the place Fort Van- 
couver. From his arrival in Oregon until 1840, and for a 
few years after that year, he was the great and noble auto- 
crat of the whole Oregon Country, its ruler and the protector 
of all peoples therein, not only of the Indians, but of the white 
people, without regard to race, citizenship, or religion. And 
this came about by common consent, and by the fact that he 
was by nature a great leader and captain of men absolute, 
severe, just, honest, humane, kindly, and courteous to all white 
people to those connected with his company as well as to 
those having no relation to it. He was the absolute, but just, 
master of the Indians, of whom, it is estimated, there were 
one hundred thousand in the Oregon Country when he came, 
in 1824. 


Unfortunately, the Treaty of Ghent did not settle the Ore- 
gon question. By what is called a convention, instead of a 
treaty, between the United States and Great Britain, signed 
October 20, 1818, it was provided that the Oregon Country 
should be free and open for a period of ten years, to the citi- 
zens and subjects of the two countries, i. e., what was called 
joint-occupancy. Another convention for joint-occupancy be- 
tween these countries was signed August 6, 1827, which con- 
tinued in force until the boundary treaty of 1846 went into 

There were no laws of the United States in effect in this 
whole Oregon Country. There was little trouble between the 
white people, or between the white people and the Indians, 
for the great command of Dr. John McLoughlin was practi- 
cally supreme; although it had no more than a moral force 
with citizens of the United States, for he did not attempt to 
exercise authority over them. 

By the Act of the British Parliament in July, 1821, the 
Courts of Judicature of Upper Canada were given jurisdic- 
tion of civil and criminal matters in the Indian Territory and 


othetf parts of America, not within the protection of Lower 
or Upper Canada, nor of any civil government of the United 
States. Under this law, Justices of the Peace in the Oregon 
Country were appointed. James Douglas, afterwards knighted 
and Governor of Vancouver's Island, was the first Justice of 
the Peace at Fort Vancouver. But this act of Parliament did 
not apply to American citizens, and no attempt was made to 
enforce it upon them. 


As early as 1825, from what he had seen of the Oregon 
Country, Dr. John McLoughlin concluded that Western Ore- 
gon was the finest portion of North America, that he had seen, 
for the residence of civilized man. He later ascertained that 
wheat of an exceptionally fine quality grew there. 

The Hudson's Bay Company was bound, under heavy penal- 
ties, not to discharge any of its servants or employes, in the 
Indian country, and to return them to the places where they 
were originally hired. But prior to 1827, several Canadian 
servants or employes, whose times of service were about ended, 
did not desire to return to Canada but to settle in Oregon. To 
accommodate these persons, Dr. McLoughlin agreed to keep 
them on the books of the Company, to purchase, their wheat, 
and to sell them supplies at very reasonable prices. The first 
settler in the Willamette Valley was Etienne Lucier. He first 
settled at a point about where Stephens' Addition to East Port- 
land is situated, but in the year 1827, or 1828 (the exact year 
is doubtful), he moved to what is now called French Prairie, 
not far from Champoeg, and made there his permanent resi- 
dence, which continued during his life. He died in 1853. 

In course of time, other French-Canadian servants or em- 
ployes of the Hudson's Bay Company settled on French 
Prairie, so that, in 1841, there were a number of families there, 
the number of grown men being about sixty. 

Hon. Willard H. Rees, in the annual address, in 1879, before 
the Oregon Pioneer Association, speaking of these French- 
Canadian settlers, said: 


"There were a very few of the old Canadian settlers who 
had received any book education, and as few that could 
speak any English. The latter was in a great measure 
owing to the formation by the early fur traders of a dialect 
called the Chinook Jargon, comprising words from the In- 
dian, French and English languages." 

Nevertheless, they were men of good character, and of 
kindly disposition, and regarded Dr. McLoughlin with simple, 
but absolute, reverence. Among these French-Canadians, in 
addition to Etienne Lucier, were Joseph Gervais, and Louis 
LaBonte, who came to Oregon with the party of Wilson Price 
Hunt in 1812. 



Prior to 1841 a number of American citizens, and a few 
British subjects, most of them having Indian wives, had settled 
in' different parts of the Willamette Valley, and particularly 
near French Prairie, in parts of Yamhill County, and on what 
was called the Tualatin Plains, situated in Washington County. 
These men were men of high courage, and most of them had 
been engaged in trapping or trading with the Indians. It is dif- 
ficult, if not impossible, now, to ascertain the names of all of 
these early settlers, and in some instances, there is doubt as 
to the exact years in which they settled in Oregon. After a 
somewhat careful examination, however, I believe that I have 
obtained the names of most, if not all of them, who were living 
in Oregon in February, 1841, and, at least, approximately the 
respective years in which they settled in Oregon. The Ameri- 
can citizens I shall hereinafter call "Americans." 

The following men were Americans : William Cannon, who 
came to Oregon in 1811, with the party of Wilson Price Hunt. 
He was living in the Willamette Valley when Commodore 
Wilkes was here in 1841. Solomon H. Smith, Calvin Tibbetts, 
and G. Sargent came to Oregon with the first expedition of 
Nathaniel J. Wyeth, in 1832, and settled in the Willamette 
Valley. George W. Ebberts, a free trapper, is said to have 
settled in the Willamette Valley in 1833, but in Bancroft's His- 


tory of Oregon, it is said he came in 1839, and in Gray's 
History of Oregon, it is said he came in 1840. 

It was in 1834 that the real settlement in Oregon by Ameri- 
cans began. The first expedition of Nathaniel J. Wyeth, in 
1832, was a failure because his vessel, loaded with goods and 
supplies, was wrecked in the South Pacific ocean, but his party 
was very small when it arrived in the Oregon Country. He 
returned to his home in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1834 he 
came again to Oregon with a large party, well equipped. With 
him came the first missionaries : Rev. Jason Lee, and Rev. 
Daniel Lee, Canadians and British subjects, Cyrus Shepard, 
P. L. Edwards, and Courtney M. Walker, Americans. They 
were all Methodists. These Methodist missionaries settled on 
or near French Prairie at a place about ten miles north of 
Salem, and there established the first mission of any kind in 
the Oregon Country. 

After continuing his enterprise for a time, this second ex- 
pedition of Wyeth's failed, and he sold all his assets to the 
Hudson's Bay Company. Of the men in this second expedi- 
tion, there settled in Oregon: James A. O'Neil, Thomas J. 
Hubbard, Charles Roe, Richard McCrary, all Americans. 

In 1834 there came from California, a party led by Ewing 
Young, who settled in Chehalem Valley, on the west side of the 
Willamette River, not far distant from Champoeg. In addi- 
tion to Ewing Young, there were the following white settlers . 
Lawrence Carmichel, Joseph Gale, Webley John Hauxhurst, 

John Howard, Brandywine, Kilborn, and 

John McCarty, all Americans. 

In 1835 there also came a party from California who 
settled in the Willamette Valley. They were : Dr. W. J. Bailey, 
born in Ireland, George Gay, an Englishman, each of whom 
joined with the Americans in founding the Provisional Govern- 
ment, and John Turner, an American. 

William Johnson, an Englishman, settled near Champoeg 
about 1835. Commodore Wilkes speaks of staying at John- 
son's house in 1841. Wilkes says that Johnson was a seaman 
and took part in the naval fight between the Constitution and 


the Guerriere in the war of 1812, but Wilkes does not say on 
which ship Johnson fought. Presumably, from Wilkes' nar- 
rative, Johnson was on the Constitution. After being a trap- 
per for several years, Johnson settled in Oregon. 

In 1836 there came the first missionaries appointed by the 
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. They 
were: Rev. H. H. Spalding, Dr. Marcus Whitman, and their 
wives, and W. H. Gray, Presbyterians. They established their 
missions at Waiilatpu, near the present city of Walla Walla, 
Washington, and at Lapwai, near the present city of Lewiston, 
Idaho. In 1838 they were joined by Rev. dishing Eells and 
Rev. Elkanah Walker, and their wives, Congregationalists, 
appointed by the same Board, who established a mission at 
Tshimakain (now spelled Chemakane), near Ft. Colville, Wash- 
ington, and by Cornelius Rogers who was a teacher, first at 
Lapwai and afterwards at Waiilatpu. None of these mission- 
aries took part in forming the Provisional Government, except- 
ing W. H. Gray, who had left these missionaries and settled in 
the Willamette Valley prior to 1841. They were all Americans. 

In 1837 the following Methodist missionaries arrived in 
Oregon: Dr. Elijah White and wife, Rev. David Leslie and 
wife, Rev. H. K. W. Perkins, Alanson Beers and wife, W. H. 
Willson, and three women missionaries, who afterwards mar- 
ried Methodist missionaries. In 1837 Henry Wood came from 
California with the Cattle Company. They were all Ameri- 

In 1838 there came to Oregon the first Catholic mission- 
aries. They were : Rev. Francis Norbert Blanchet, afterwards 
the first Catholic Archbishop of Oregon, and Rev. Modeste 
Demers, afterwards a Bishop. They were French-Canadians 
and British subjects. Rev. Pierre DeSmet, the noted Jesuit 
missionary, did not come to Oregon until 1840, and did not 
make Oregon his permanent home. He was a Belgian. 

In 1839 or 1840, there were several free trappers who made 
Oregon their home, having left the service of the American 
Fur Company. They settled on Tualatin Plains. They were: 
William Craig, John Larison, Joseph L. Meek, Robert Newell, 


C. M. Walker, and Caleb Wilkins. Osborn Russell probably 
came in 1842. They were all Americans and were brave, 
hardy and competent mountain men who were well styled 
"Independent Trappers." In the report of Gov. Joseph Lane 
"to the Secretary of War, or the Commissioner of Indian 
Affairs," dated October 13, 1849, he said that Robert Newell, 
who had been appointed a sub-agent of Indian affairs, "is an 
old mountaineer having spent ten years in the mountains [from 
1829 to 1839], where he followed trapping," and that "from 
1839 to the present time [1849], he has resided within the 
district to which he is assigned to duty and has become well 
acquainted with the Indians in the valley of the Willamette." 

In May, 1839, a party of fourteen persons left Peoria, 
Illinois, for Oregon. A few only of this party arrived and 
settled in Oregon in 1840. They were: Amos Cook, R. L. 
Kilbourne, Robert Shortess, and Sidney Smith, Americans, 
and Francis Fletcher and Joseph Holman, Englishmen. In 
1839 there came John Edmund Pickernell, an English sailor, 
who went by the name of Edmunds. 

Later in 1839, another party left Peoria for Oregon, which 
also did not arrive in Oregon as a party. One of this party 
was Robert Moore, who arrived in 1840 and took up a land 
claim on the west side of the Willamette Falls, opposite Ore- 
gon City. Others who settled in Oregon were Pleasant Arm- 
strong, George Davis and Joel Walker. Rev. J. S. Griffin, 
Ashael Munger and their wives, independent missionaries, 
arrived in Oregon late in 1839. They wintered with the 
Presbyterian missionaries. In 1841 Griffin and wife settled 
on Tualatin Plains. Munger and wife came to Salem late in 
1841. They were all Americans. 

In 1840 there came another party of independent mission- 
aries, all Americans. They were: Rev. Harvey Clark, Rev. 
P. B. Littlejohn, Alvin T. Smith, and their wives. They also 
settled on Tualatin Plains. 

There were some other Oregon settlers who arrived in or 
prior to 1840. Some of these were : John Green, Felix Hatha- 
way and Charles Watts, Americans. I am unable to give the 


years in which they settled in Oregon. They were of the 
party of eight that built the vessel STAR OF OREGON in 
1841. W. H. Gray in his History of Oregon, page 190, says 
that Felix Hathaway, who was a ship carpenter, was a sur- 
vivor of the William and Ann, a vessel which was wrecked at 
the mouth of the Columbia River in 1829. All other Oregon 
histories and accounts of the wreck say that no one survived 
the disaster. 

George LeBreton, an American, who was chosen May 2, 
1843, the Clerk or Recorder of the Supreme Court of the Pro- 
visional Government, came to Oregon, in 1840, on the Brig 
"Maryland," as supercargo, the brig being commanded by 
Captain John H. Couch. LeBreton made Oregon his home. 

So far as I have been able to learn, only two white men 
settled in the Willamette Valley in 1841 : William M. Doughty, 
a free trapper, an American, and Charles McKay, a Scotchman, 
but in 1841 a party consisting of twenty-three families being 
about sixty persons, all British subjects, and agriculturists 
from the Red River Settlement and Territory, some of whom 
were French-Canadians, arrived at Ft. Walla Walla, October 
4 of that year, and a short time after, most of them settled 
on the Nisqually Plains on Puget Sound. Later, probably 
in 1842, most of them settled in the Willamette Valley (Lee 
and Frost's "Ten Years in Oregon," 216). One or two 
stayed on the Nisqually Plains. Two or three families settled 
on the Cowlitz River. This is the party, on whose supposed 
arrival in the fall of 1842, is largely based the Whitman Myth. 


In 1838 Rev. Jason Lee returned to the eastern states to 
obtain additions to the Oregon Methodist Mission. Even at 
that time, the Mission, as a mission, was a failure, for the 
reason that there were scarcely any Indians in the Willamette 
Valley to be converted. Nevertheless, he raised a large sum 
of money, and the ship Lausanne was chartered, which brought 
a number of missionaries and a large quantity of goods for a 
store and materials for the construction of grist and saw mills. 


With the arrival of the Lausanne the Oregon Methodist Mis- 
sion became in effect a Methodist colony. (Hines' "Missionary 
History of the Pacific Northwest," page 139). In this His- 
tory Rev. H. K. Hines says, that after the arrival of the 
Lausanne party, often called the "great re-enforcement," the 
entire force attached to the Methodist missions was as follows : 

"Ministers : Jason Lee, Daniel Lee, David Leslie, H. K. W. 
Perkins, G. Hines, A. F. Waller, J. L. Frost, W. W. Kone 
and J. P. Richmond. In the secular department, Dr. Elijah 
White, Ira L. Babcock, George Abernethy, H. B. Brewer, 
L. H. Judson, J. L. Parrish, James Olley, Hamilton Camp- 
bell, Alanson Beers, W. H. Willson and W. W. Raymond. 
Teachers : Miss Margaret Smith, Miss Chloe A. Clark, Miss 
Almira Phillips, Miss Elmira Phelps, with Miss Orpha 
Lankton as stewardess. All of the ministers, and all in 
the secular departments, except W. H. Willson, had families. 
Together, they constituted a missionary force of forty-one 
adults, and in the several families there were not far from 
fifty children." 

As I have said, there were no laws in Oregon which applied 
to American citizens, but the Hudson's Bay Company, through 
Dr. McLoughlin, exercised a commanding influence over the 
conduct of affairs. There were no lawsuits, for there were 
no courts and but little trouble between the American settlers, 
or between them and the Hudson's Bay Company's people, and 
other British subjects, although there was occasionally some 
small friction. The Indians in the Willamette Valley were a 
negligible quantity. The Methodist mission, by reason of its 
numbers, and having a store and mills, attempted to exercise 
control over public affairs, although not in an offensive way. 
These early American settlers in Oregon, and the British 
subjects, who affiliated with them, were not the kind of men to 
be forced to do anything by either the Hudson's Bay Company 
or the Methodist mission, or by anyone. The French-Canadian 
settlers were men, by nature, peaceable, and made no trouble. 
It was a peculiar, but pleasant, state of affairs, where men re- 
spected the rights of each other and there was no government. 


To these settlers in the Willamette Valley the conditions 
must have seemed almost ideal. The French-Canadians had 
been in the wilderness for many years, where they had trapped, 
paddled the canoes for many a weary mile each year, and 
carried the heavy packages over many portages. They had 
been subject to discipline and to the exercise of authority by 
their superiors in the Hudson's Bay Company. They were old, 
or becoming so, from age, and by reason of hardships suffered. 
Their gentle dispositions caused them to take kindly to retire- 
ment and an easy way of living. Their Indian consorts were 
patient, obedient, and were constant workers. Their children 
were contented. They were under the protection of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company and of Dr. John McLoughlin, whom to 
obey was a pleasurable duty. All their wheat was taken by 
the Company at a good and constant price. They purchased 
their goods at prices which gave the Company a very moderate 
profit. Their fields and their gardens supplied them in abun- 
dance. The streams were full of trout, and game, especially 
deer, was plentiful. They had priests of their religious faith. 
The Methodist missionaries did not try to proselyte them. 
Their only trouble was the knowledge that sooner or later 
death would come. They paid no taxes. They, their families, 
and their properties, were safe from assault or other dangers. 
The Indians were peaceable and not to be feared. They were 
not troubled by letters or newspapers. What more could 
they ask? 

The other settlers were of a different mold and character. 
They were nearly all men of the frontier and of the moun- 
tains. Most of them were men who dared to do, and who had 
settled in the Willamette Valley, after years of hardships, priva- 
tions, and daring. They had lived with and fought savage 
Indians, taking chances on their lives on many occasions. They 
were not accustomed to take orders from anyone unless they 
had agreed to his command, nor to fail in anything they under- 
took. They were accustomed to look danger straight in the 
eye, and not be afraid ; to encounter hardships, and not to 
shirk ; to hear the call of duty, and to perform it. They were 


not afraid of the Hudson's Bay Company, and Dr. John Mc- 
laughlin was the friend and benefactor of each of them. To 
them the Missionaries were not rulers nor dangerous. They 
were merely harmless and amusing. To attempt to coerce 
these, settlers would have been unwise. To interfere with their 
families, their rights, or their properties, would have been dan- 
gerous. And so they lived in an easy and careless fashion with 
their Indian wives and their half-breed children, without care 
and without need for laws, but always respectful of the rights 
of others. They, too, grew some wheat and vegetables, and 
hunted and fished, and occasionally did some trapping in an 
idle way for pleasure and profits, for Dr. McLoughlin took 
their surplus wheat and furs and sold them merchandise on 
the same basis he treated the French-Canadians. They had no 
more trouble than the latter, and took life nearly as easily. It 
was a pleasant way for trappers and frontiermen to spend the 
time, especially after the days of declining years began. 

It is one of the traditions or instincts of Americans to form 
temporary organizations where laws do not prevail. This was 
the case in Eastern Tennessee, where a provisional government 
was established in 1772, which was known as the "Wautauga 
Association," and the "State of Franklin" in 1784. It was done 
in the formation of mining districts in California before it 
became a State, and in early mining days of Oregon and Idaho. 
March 16, 1838, a mass meeting of the American citizens was 
held in the Willamette Valley, and a memorandum drawn up 
and sent to Senator Linn, who presented it to the Senate Janu- 
ary 28, 1839. It was signed by thirty-six settlers. After 
setting forth the fertility of the soil, and the commercial ad- 
vantages of Oregon, the petition set forth: 

"We have thus briefly shown that the security of our per- 
sons and our property, the hopes and destinies of our chil- 
dren are involved in the objects of our petitions." 
This petition also set forth that there was no civil code in 
Oregon, and that the petitioners could "promise no protection 
but the ulterior resort of self-defense." It ended as follows: 
"It is therefore of primary importance that the Government 
should take energetic measures to secure the execution of all 


laws affecting- Indian trade and the intercourse of white men 
and Indians." 

In 1840 another petition was sent to Congress, setting forth 
the condition of affairs, and calling the attention of Congress to 
their condition as an infant colony, without military force and 
civil institutions to protect their lives and property and chil- 
dren. It ends as follows : 

"We respectfully ask for the civil institutions of the Ameri- 
can Republic. We pray for the high privilege of American 
citizenship, the peaceful enjoyment of life, the right of acquir- 
ing, possessing and using property, and the unrestrained pur- 
suit of rational happiness." 

Another petition to Congress, dated March 25, 1843, was 
signed by a number of settlers in the Willamette Valley. The 
prayer of the petition is as follows : 

"And now your memorialists pray your honorable body, that 
immediate action of Congress be taken in regard to their 
country, and good and wholesome laws be enacted for our 
territory, as may, in your wisdom, be thought best for the 
good of the American citizens residing here." 

Of course, Congress could take no action in this matter, par- 
ticularly, for the reason that the convention for joint-occupancy 
was in force, and this convention, by its terms, could not be 
terminated without at least one year's notice from one country 
to the other. These petitions, however, show that as early as 
1838, the idea of some form of government was in the minds 
of the American settlers in Oregon. 

Ewing Young, in February, 1841, had become the most 
prosperous American settler in Oregon. He was a man of 
great force of character, who had lived in Mexico and Cali- 
fornia and on the American frontier for a number of years be- 
fore coming to Oregon. He died on February 15, 1841, and 
was buried February 17, on which occasion many of the 
American settlers were present. It became known that he had 
left no will, and, so far as known, he had no heirs. 

On February 15, a meeting was organized by electing Rev. 
Jason Lee chairman, but no record can be found of this meet- 
ing. February 17, another meeting was called, and Rev. Gus- 


tavus Mines was chosen Secretary, and George LeBreton was 
added to the committee. It was decided that a committee of 
seven be elected for the purpose of drafting a constitution and 
code of laws for the government of the settlements, south of 
the Columbia River ; and that all settlers, north of the Colum- 
bia River, not connected with the Hudson's Bay Company, be 
admitted to the protection of the laws of this government on 
making application to that effect. There were then no American 
settlers north of the Columbia River, although there were a few 
Protestant Missionaries east of that river, and north of the 
present north line of the State of Oregon. It was also deter- 
mined for the committee to propose the making of certain 
offices. (Oregon Archives, page 5). A meeting was held on 
February 18 ? at the Methodist Mission, and Rev. David Leslie 
was elected chairman and Sidney Smith and Gustavus Hines 
were chosen secretaries. The proceedings of the previous 
meeting were presented to the assembly and were accepted in 
part. It was determined that a committee be chosen for framing 
a constitution and drafting a code of laws and that the fol- 
lowing persons compose the committee : Rev. F. N. Blanchet, 
Rev. Jason Lee, Rev. Gustavus Hines, J. L. Parrish, David 

Donpierre Charlevon, Robert Moore, Etienne 

Lucier, and William Johnson. Dr. Ira L. Babcock was ap- 
pointed to fill the office of Supreme Judge with probate powers, 
and George LeBreton was chosen to fill the office of clerk of 
courts and public recorder. A sheriff was chosen as well as 
three constables. It was resolved that, until a code of laws 
be adopted by the community, Dr. Babcock be instructed to 
act according to the laws of the State of New York. It was 
further resolved to meet on the first Tuesday of June, 1841. 
At the meeting on June 1, 1841, Rev. F. N. Blanchet re- 
quested to be excused from further serving on the committee 
to draft a constitution and code of laws. He was excused, 
and Dr. W. J. Bailey was chosen to fill the vacancy, and the 
committee was instructed to meet on the first Monday in 
August, 1841, and that they report to an adjourned meeting 
on the first Tuesday in October, 1841. 


It was further resolved that this committee be instructed to 
confer with Commodore Wilkes,, of the American squadron, 
and with Dr. John McLoughlin, with regard to framing a con- 
stitution and code of laws for the community. The committee 
was instructed to take into consideration certain other matters. 
So far as can be found, there was no meeting in October., and 
no further proceedings resulted from this preliminary organi- 

In Commodore Wilkes' Narrative of the United States Ex- 
ploring Expedition, Vol. IV, page 352, he said that a com- 
mittee of five waited upon him to consult and ask his advice 
relative to the establishment of laws. He then said : 

"After hearing attentively all their arguments and reasons 
for this change, I could see none sufficiently strong to induce 
the step. No crime appears yet to have been committed,, and 
the persons and property of settlers are secure. Their principal 
reasons appear to me to be, that it would give them more 
importance in the eyes of others at a distance, and induce 
settlers to flock in, thereby raising the value of their farms 
and stock. I could not view this subject in such a light, and 
differed with them entirely as to the necessity or policy of 
adopting the change. 

"1st. On account of their want of right, as those wishing 
for laws,, were, in fact, a small minority of the settlers. 

"2nd. That these were not yet necessary even by their own 

"3rd. That any laws they might establish would be a poor 
substitute for the moral code they all now followed, and that 
evil-doers would not be disposed to settle near a community 
entirely opposed to their practices. 

"4th. The great difficulty they would have in enforcing 
any laws, and defining the limits over which they had con- 
trol, and the discord this might occasion in their small com- 

"5th. They not being the majority, and the larger part of 
the population being Catholics, the latter would elect officers 
of their party, and they would thus place themselves entirely 
under the control of others. 

"6th. The unfavorable impressions it would produce at 
home, from the belief that the missions had admitted that in a 
community brought together by themselves they had not enough 
of moral force to control it and prevent crime, and therefore 
must have recourse to a criminal code. 


"From my own observation and the information I had ob- 
tained, I was well satisfied that laws were not needed, and 
were not desired by the Catholic portion of the settlers. I 
therefore could not avoid drawing their attenion to the fact, 
that after all the various officers they proposed making were 
appointed, there would be, no subjects for the law to deal 
with. I further advised them to wait until the Government of 
the United States should throw its mantle over them. These 
views, I was afterwards told, determined a postponement of 
their intentions." 

Dr. McLoughlin, at first, was not in favor of establishing a 
government, unless it was absolutely an independent one and 
merely for mutual protection. The movement was controlled 
by men, some of whom he knew were unfriendly, if not openly 
opposed or hostile to him and to his Company. Among these 
were several Methodist Missionaries, with whom he had had 
trouble in relation to his land claim at Oregon City. He had 
reason to fear that his right to his land claim might be inter- 
fered with by such a government. That his fears in this re- 
spect were justified is shown by the land laws adopted by the 
Provisional Government, July 5, 1843. It was apparent that 
it was intended to make such a government in the interests of 
the United States, if not actually opposed or hostile to Great 
Britain and to the Hudson's Bay Company. If such were the 
case, he would be disloyal to the country, of which he was a 
subject, and false to his company, of which he was the head 
in all the Oregon Country. A resolution passed at the meeting 
of February, 1841, certainly sounded like hostility to his Com- 
pany. It was that: 

"All settlers north of the Columbia River, not connected with 
the Hudson's Bay Company, be admitted to the protection of 
our laws on making application to that effect." 


It is interesting to take into account the number of people in 
Oregon in 1840 and 1841. In J. Quinn Thornton's "History 
of the Provisional Government of Oregon" (Transactions of 
the Oregon Pioneer Association for the year 1875, pages 43- 
96), he says: 

"In the autumn of 1840, there were in Oregon thirty-six 
American male settlers, twenty-five of whom had taken native 


women for their wives. There were also thirty-three American 
women, thirty-two children, thirteen lay members of the Pro- 
testant Missions, thirteen Methodist ministers, six Congrega- 
tional ministers, three Jesuit priests, and sixty Canadian-French, 
making an aggregate of one hundred and thirty-seven Ameri- 
cans, and sixty-three Canadian-French (including the priests 
in the latter class) having no connection as employes of the 
Hudson's Bay Company. 

"I have said that the population outside of the Hudson's Bay 
Company increased slowly. How much so, will be seen by 
the fact that up to the beginning of the year 1842, there were 
in Oregon no more than twenty-one Protestant ministers, 
three Jesuit priests, fifteen lay members of Protestant churches, 
thirty-four white women, thirty-two white children, thirty-four 
American settlers, twenty-five of whom had native wives. The 
total American population will thus be seen to have been no 
more than one hundred and thirty-seven." 

Rev. Gustavus Hines, in his "Missionary History of Oregon/' 
says that in 1840 there were only nine Methodist ministers in 
the Oregon Mission. Some of the lay members, of which J. 
L. Parrish, the Mission blacksmith, was one, became ministers, 
which probably accounts for the difference in the estimates of 
Thornton and Hines as to the number of Methodist ministers. 

In Gray's "History of Oregon," pages 185-192, he endeavors 
to give a list of the early settlers in Oregon, and says that 
he, at one time, made a list of names, but the list had been 
lost. He further says: 

"It will be seen that we had in the country in the fall of 
1840, thirty-six American settlers, twenty-five of them with 
native wives ; thirty-three American women ; thirty-two chil- 
dren, thirteen lay members of the Protestant Missions, nine- 
teen ministers (thirteen Methodist, six Congregational), four 
physicians, three American and one English, three Jesuit 
priests, and sixty Canadian-French, making outside of the 
Hudson's Bay Company, one hundred and thirty-seven Ameri- 
cans and sixty-three Canadians, counting the three priests as 

This is one of the instances in which Gray's History agrees 
with other Oregon histories. 



Dr. Elijah White first came to Oregon in 1837, as a Metho- 
dist missionary and physician to the Mission. He quarreled 
with Rev. Jason Lee and returned to the eastern states in 
1841. Early in 1842, while in New York, he was appointed 
by the United States Government as "Sub-Indian Agent for 
Oregon/' whatever that might mean. What right the govern- 
ment had to appoint such an officer in Oregon, where joint- 
occupancy was in force, has never been fully explained. What 
his duties were seem never to have been defined. He, there- 
fore, conducted himself as he pleased. He was instructed to 
go to Oregon without delay, which he did. He proceeded to 
western Missouri and succeeded in getting together about 112 
persons, of whom about 50 were men over 18 years of age. 
May 16, 1842, the party left Elm Grove, Missouri, for Oregon. 
This is what is known as the "Oregon Immigration of 1842." 
At Fort Laramie, Francois Xavier Matthieu and a few other 
French-Canadian trappers joined the immigration. Leaving 
their wagons at Fort Hall, they came to Oregon on horses 
and arrived at Oregon City early in October, 1842. 

What Dr. White lacked in real authority he supplied by 
his imagination and ingenuity. His attempts to act as a quasi- 
ruler met with opposition and in some cases with resentment. 
He was in favor of a provisional government, provided he was 
chosen governor, and be, at the same time, "Sub-Indian Agent." 
He wished to be captain and also beat the drum. It was a 
case of ambition thwarted. He may have been wanting in 
some qualities, but he never was lacking in "nerve." 

In 1842, A. E. Wilson, an American, came to Oregon as 
supercargo of the brig Chenamus, commanded by Capt John 
H. Couch. Wilson remained in Oregon City in charge of a 
store, stocked with goods brought on the Chenamus, and owned 
by Cushing & Company of Newburyport, Massachusetts. 


In the winter of 1842-43, the advocates of a provisional gov- 
ernment continued to agitate it. There was a discussion of 


the matter by the Oregon Lyceum or Falls Debating Society 
at Oregon City. After a long discussion, the following reso- 
lution was presented by George Abernethy, the Steward of 
the Methodist Mission, afterwards Governor of the Provi- 
sional Government: 

"Resolved, That if the United States extends its jurisdiction 
over this country within the next four years, it will not be 
expedient to form an independent government." 

For some reason or reasons Rev. Jason Lee and George 
Abernethy opposed the formation of the Provisional Govern- 
ment in 1843, although the former was chairman of the meet- 
ing held February 17, 1841, and he was one of the committee 
appointed at the meeting of February 18, 1841, to frame a 
constitution and to draft a code of laws. It is probable that, 
as leaders of the Mission Party, they feared that such a gov- 
ernment would interfere with the power of the Mission and 
they preferred to let well enough alone. In Brown's Polit- 
ical History of Oregon, he says (page 96) that at a meeting 
of the Committee on Government, in March, 1843 : 

"Rev. Jason Lee and George Abernethy were disposed to 
ridicule the proposed organization as foolish and unnecessary, 
and repeated some anecdotes to illustrate their meaning." 

Thornton, in his "History of the Provisional Government," 
says, that at said meeting of the Committee : 

"Nearly all the principal men at the Falls, including the 
Rev. Jason Lee and Messrs. George Abernethy and Robert 
Moore, were present by invitation and they participated in 
the deliberations ; most of them, especially Rev. Jason Lee and 
Hon. George Abernethy, going so far as to speak of the con- 
templated measure as both unnecessary in itself and unwise 
in the manner proposed." 

But these ideas did not prevail with all of the Methodist 
Missionaries for several of them were at the meeting of May 
2, 1843, and voted in favor of forming a provisional govern- 

On the one side against a provisional government, some edu- 
cated man, one undoubtedly who wrote French, or some other 
foreign language better than English, but who did not dis- 
close his name, prepared a paper signed by French-Canadians, 


saying among other matters, that they did not wish a provi- 
sional mode of government. (Thornton's "History of the Pro- 
visional Government of Oregon," page 61.) This paper is not 
dated. It is entitled "An Address of the Canadian citizens of 
Oregon, to the meeting at Champoeg, March 4, 1843." (Ore- 
gon Archives, pages 12 and 13.) The address indicates that 
a meeting was expected to be held at that time, but there is 
no record of such a meeting. It recites that the Canadian citi- 
zens of the Willamette "present to the American citizens, and 
particularly to the gentlemen who called said meeting," their 
views set forth in the address. The address also says "That 
we do not intend to rebel against the measures of that kind 
taken last year, by a party of the people." This can refer only 
to the meetings held in 1841. So the address must have been 
prepared some time in 1842. 

Although there is some question as to the author of this 
document, it is commonly believed to have been written by 
Rev. F. N. Blanchet. Possibly it was written by Rev. Modeste 
Demers. Blanchet was a close friend of Dr. McLoughlin, who 
openly opposed the formation of such a government, and the 
French-Canadians, who approved every action of the latter, 
of course, would support his wishes in the matter. 

On pages 349 and 350 of volume 4, Wilkes' Narrative, he 
says that in June, 1841, he visited the Catholic Mission about 
twelve miles from Champoeg and talked with Rev. F. N. 
Blanchet (whom he calls "Bachelet") who was in charge. 
Wilkes says: 

"He spoke to me much about the system of laws the ma- 
jority of the settlers were desirous of establishing, but which 
he had objected to, and advised his people to refuse to co- 
operate in ; for he was of the opinion that the number of set- 
tlers in the Willamette Valley would not warrant the estab- 
lishment of a constitution, and, as far as his people were con- 
cerned, there was certainly no necessity for one, nor had he 
any knowledge of crime having been yet committed." 

It fully appears that in 1843, prior, at least, to May 2, those 
particularly opposed to the formation of a provisional govern- 
ment were the Hudson's Bay Company, its officers, servants 


and employes, and those who advocated its interests, includ- 
ing the French-Canadians, who then were or had been in its 
employ, the Catholic Missionaries, and some of the Methodist 
Missionaries. But such opposition did not deter the hardy 
and determined settlers who owed nothing to the company or 
to the missions. 

W. H. Gray was actively in favor of such a government. He 
was always against "the existing order." But in this case he 
had other and better reasons, which prevailed. He was not 
opposed to the "order" which he established or assisted in 
establishing himself. 


The fact that predatory animals had become destructive of 
domestic animals in the Willamette Valley, afforded a good 
excuse to call a meeting, ostensibly for the purpose of con- 
sidering means to lessen the evil. It has been sometimes as- 
serted that its originators feared to announce its main purpose. 
It was not fear it was a discreet political move, if the reasons 
given were not exactly the real ones. But they were effective. 
After consulting together, a meeting was held by several 
American settlers, pursuant to notice, February 2, 1843, at the 
Oregon Institute, to take into consideration the propriety of 
adopting measures for the protection of domestic animals from 
wild ones. A committee of six was appointed to give notice 
of a meeting to be held the first Monday of March, 1843. This 
meeting of February 2, has ever since been called "The Wolf 

On the first Monday in March, 1843, the meeting was held. 
James A. O'Neil, who was fully aware of the real, the main 
object of the meeting, was chosen chairman. The committee 
made its report and resolutions were adopted relative to paying 
bounties for the destruction of wolves and other dangerous 
wild animals. But the most important action was the last, 
immediately prior to adjournment, being the adoption of the 
following resolution: 


"That a Committee be appointed to take into consideration 
the propriety of taking measures for the civil and military 
protection of this colony." 

And a resolution was adopted that the said Committee con- 
sist of twelve persons, who were named in the resolution. 

It will be seen that the true beginning of the Provisional 
Government of 1843, was at the Wolf Meeting, or the ad- 
journed March meeting, and not May 2, 1843. The lattei 
meeting merely authorized carrying the plan into execution. 
But each of these earlier meetings lacked the dramatic setting 
and action of the meeting of May 2. The intention to hold 
the May meeting provoked active opposition in addition to the 
opposition of Rev. Jason Lee and George Abernethy and others. 
Prior to the meeting of May 2, called by the Committee of 
Twelve, meetings were held by those opposed to the forming of 
a government, at Fort Vancouver, Oregon City, and French 


It has been sometimes asserted that the meeting at Cham- 
poeg May 2, 1843, was attended by all the male inhabitants of 
Oregon. This is a misstatement of fact. Excluding the Hud- 
son's Bay Company's officers, employes and servants and all 
persons then living north and west of the Columbia River, 
and including men living south of the Columbia River and 
west of the Cascade Mountains, it seems to be unquestioned 
that there were then not less than 61 white men, other than 
French-Canadians, who were not connected in any way with 
the Hudson's Bay Company, and most of them American citi- 
zens, and not counting men of the immigration of 1842, who 
were then in the Willamette Valley. The exact number of 
these immigrants, then in Oregon, cannot be ascertained. A 
low estimate of the number of men would be 40. So, May 2, 
1843, only 42 American citizens and 8 British subjects af- 
filiating with them, out of about 100, were present at this 

The estimate of the number of French-Canadians in the Wil- 
lamette Valley made by J. Quinn Thornton, W. H. Gray and 
F. X. Matthieu, the latter of whom I personally interviewed last 


week at his home in Portland, is, that besides Reverends F. N. 
Blanchet and Modeste Demers, there were at least 60 French- 
Canadian men who were settlers in the Willamette Valley, of 
which only 52 voted at this meeting. 

Therefore, the total number of men who were then in Ore- 
gon south and east of the Columbia River, was about 160, of 
which 102 only were present at the meeting. These estimates 
may not be accurate, but they are approximately correct. 

It must be borne in mind that the meetings of May 2 and 
July 5, 1843, were merely mass meetings, not called by any 
lawful authority, and certainly not binding on any one, who 
did not participate in these meetings. 

At a meeting of the Committee of Twelve, held at Oregon 
City about March 10, 1843 ? it was agreed to hold a public meet- 
ing at Champoeg May 2, to determine the matter of the forma- 
tion of a government. I have not ascertained the form of 
notice, but the time for the meeting was well known. 

The meeting of May 2, 1843, was a most dramatic occasion. 
There were the 51 French-Canadian settlers, formerly in the 
active employ of the Hudson's Bay Company. Among them 
was Etienne Lucier. There was also Francois Xavier Mat- 
thieu, who was counted as one of them, merely by reason of his 
race. He had escaped from Canada, in 1838, on account of his 
connection with the Canadian rebellion of 1837-38. He had 
spent the winter of 1842-3 with Lucier and had frequently told 
of what he considered the tyranny of the British in Canada, 
which had caused the rebellion. He had expatiated on the 
excellencies of the government of the United States and how 
much better to be under its control than under the domination, 
of what he considered the tyranny, of the British government. 
The facts about Matthieu in this address, I have learned from 
personal interviews with him, the last of which was only the 
week preceding this address. 

The 51 French-Canadians had been carefully drilled to vote 
"no" on every question and motion proposed by the Americans 
at this meeting. 


So far as I have been able to ascertain none of the Canadian 
immigrants of 1841 were present. On the other side there 
were 50 men, most of them American citizens eight of them 
being British subjects who affiliated with the Americans. These 
eight were : Dr. J. W. Bailey, Francis Fletcher, George Gay, 
Joseph Holman, William Johnson, Charles McKay, John L. 
Morrison and John E. Pickernell (then known as Edmunds). 
As I have already said, they were resolute men, and it was 
not easy to prevent them from carrying out a purpose once 
determined on. Among them were such men as Joseph L. 
Meek, usually called "J oe " Meek, a man of courage and ex- 
perience and a leader of men. There was William Cannon, 
who came with the Hunt party in 1812, and O'Neil, Hubbard, 
Hauxhurst, Johnson, and George Gay. I shall not further 
enumerate the names, as a list of them is hereinafter set forth. 
There were also present several of the immigrants of 1842. 

Dr. Ira L. Babcock was chosen chairman and Messrs. Gray, 
LeBreton and Willson, secretaries. The main business was 
action on the report of the Committee of Twelve, which pro- 
posed a mode of provisional government and submitted a list 
of offices to be filled. The minutes of this meeting, which will 
be found on pages 14 and 15 of the Oregon Archives, are 
brief, but they set forth: 

"The Committee made its report, which was read. And 
"A motion was made that it be accepted, which was lost. 
"Considerable confusion existing in consequence, it was 
moved by Mr. LeBreton, and seconded by Mr. Gray, that the 
meeting divide, preparatory to being counted ; those in favor 
of the objects of this meeting taking the right, and those of a 
contrary mind taking the left, which being carried by acclama- 
tion, and a great majority being found in favor of organiza- 
tion, the greater part of the dissenters withdrew." 

This is the official account. It is well known, however, 
that the motion was put in such a manner that all present, 
particularly the French-Canadians, did not know how to vote. 
After the viva voce vote there was long delay and great discus- 
sion, wrangling, and confusion. This vote apparently was 
opposed to accepting the report of the Committee. It looked as 


though a Provisional Government would not be organized. The 
meeting began in the Hudson's Bay Company's warehouse, 
sometimes called "the granary." The room was crowded and 
all could not get in. During the discussion and confusion, the 
participants had moved to an open field near the granary, near 
the bank of the Willamette River. At last, the leaders of those 
in favor of the establishment of a Provisional Government 
believed it was safe to propose a division. A motion was made 
for a division and count. When the motion was made, "Joe 
Meek," with his commanding figure, clothed in a hunting cos- 
tume of buckskin, and, with a voice of authority which was irre- 
sistible to those in favor of establishing the government, strode 
to the right and called out: 

"Who's for a divide? All in favor of the report and or- 
ganization, follow me !" 

The fifty American and British in favor of the motion fell 
into line. Apparently, there were 52 Canadians against them, 
but among them was Matthieu, who stayed with them a short 
time and urged them to side with the Americans. All of them, 
but Lucier, refused. Matthieu crossed over to the American 
side and Lucier followed, and so the report of the Committee 
was adopted, 52 for and 50 against. Matthieu's conduct at 
this meeting, I have from his own lips. 

The 50 French-Canadians withdrew and the meeting pro- 
ceeded to fill the offices recommended by the Committee's re- 

As the Committee of Twelve had not reported a constitu- 
tion or a code of laws, it was resolved : 

"That a committee of nine persons be chosen for the pur- 
pose of drafting a code of laws for the government of this 
community, to be presented at a public meeting, to be here- 
after called by them on the 5th day of July next, for their 

Mr. George H. Himes, who has been a most efficient Sec- 
retary of the Oregon Pioneer Association continuously for 
more than twenty-five years, has given me a list, which he 
has prepared and verified during many years, of these fifty- 
two persons who voted in favor of the Provisional Govern- 


ment at the meeting of May 2, giving their names, places of 
birth, years of birth, church preferences, and years of arrival in 
Oregon, and has arranged them in alphabetical order not 
in the order in which they appear on the memorial monument 
at Champoeg. 

CHAMPOEG, MAY 2, 1843. 

Church Arrived in 
Name. Place of Birth. Born. Preference. Oregon 

Armstrong, Pleasant M New York . . 1815 . . Presbyterian 1840 

Babcock, Dr. I. L New York Methodist 1840 

Bailey, Dr. W. J Ireland . . 1805 . . Episcopalian 1835 

Beers, Alanson Connecticut . . 1800 . . Methodist 1837 

Bridges, J. C Unknown 

Burns, Hugh Presbyterian ... .1842 

Campo, Charles Unknown 

Cannon, William Pennsylvania . . 1755 . . Unknown 1812 

Clark, Rev. Harvey Vermont. .1807. . Congregationalist.1840 

Crawford, Medorem New York . . 1819 . . No choice 1842 

Cook, Amos Maine. .1818. .Methodist 1840 

Davie, Allen J Alabama. . 1816. .Baptist 1842 

Doughty, William M North Carolina. . 1812. .No choice 1841 

Ebberts, George W Kentucky. . 1810 . . Baptist 1833 

Fletcher, Francis England . . 1815 . . Episcopalian 1840 

Gay, George England . . 1810 . . Episcopalian .... 1835 

Gale, Joseph District of Columbia. .1800. .Episcopalian 1834 

Gray, William H New York. . 1810 . . Presbyterian .... 1836 

Griffin, Rev. John S Vermont. .1807. .Congregationalist.1839 

Hauxhurst, Webley New York . . 1809 . . Methodist 1834 

Hill, David Connecticut . . 1809 . . Congregationalist.1842 

Howard, John Presbyterian 

Holman, Joseph England . . 1815 . . Methodist 1840 

Hines, Rev. Gustavus New York . . 1809 . . Methodist 1840 

Hubbard, T. J Massachusetts . . 1806 . . Unknown 1834 

Johnson, William , . England . . 1784 . . Episcopalian .... 1835 

Judson, Rev. L. H Connecticut . . 1802 . . Methodist 1840 

Le Breton, Geo. W Massachusetts . . 1810 . . Catholic 1840 

Leslie, Rev. David New Hampshire . . 1797 . . Methodist 1837 

Lewis, Reuben New York . . 1814 . . Presbyterian 1842 

Lucier, Etienne Canada . . 1783 . . Catholic 1812 

Matthieu, Francois X Canada . . 1818 . . Catholic 1842 

Meek, Joseph L Virginia . . 1810 . . Methodist 1829 

McCarty, William Catholic 1834 

McKay, Charles At sea (Scotch) . . 1808 . . Presbyterian .... 1841 

Moore, Robert Pennsylvania . . 1781 . . Presbyterian 1840 

Morrison, John L Scotland , , 1793 . ,/Presbyterian .... 1842 



Newell, Dr. Robert Ohio . 

O'Neil, James A New York. 

Parrish, Rev. J. L New York. 

Pickernell, John E England . 

Robb, James R Pennsylvania . 

Russell, Osborn Ohio . 

Shortess, Robert Pennsylvania . 

Smith, Alvin T Connecticut . 

Smith, Sidney New York . 

Smith, Solomon H New Hampshire. 

Tibbetts, Calvin Massachusetts . 

Weston, David Indiana . 

Wilkins, Caleb Ohio. 

Wilson, A. E Massachusetts. 

Willson, Dr. W. H New Hampshire. 

. 1804 . . Episcopalian 1840 

Methodist 1834 

.1806.. Methodist 1840 

Episcopalian 1839 

. 1816 . . Methodist 1842 

.1809.. Unknown 1842 

.1804. .Methodist 1840 

.1802. .Congregationalist.1840 

.1809.. Unknown 1839 

. 1809 . . Congregationalist.1832 


.1820.. Unknown 1842 

.1810.. Baptist 1835 

Unknown 1842 

.1805.. Methodist , ..1837 


Alabama 1 Kentucky 1 Pennsylvania ... 4 

Canada 2 Maine 1 Vermont 2 

Connecticut .... 4 Massachusetts . . 4 Virginia 1 

Dist. of Columbia 1 New Hampshire. 3 Scotland 2 

England 5 New York 10 Unspecified 5 

Indiana 1 North Carolina.. 1 

Ireland 1 Ohio 3 Total 52 

Church preference : Baptists, 3 ; Catholics, 4 ; Congregation- 
alists, 6; Episcopalians, 7; Methodists, 14; Presbyterians, 8; 
unknown, 10; total, 52. 

Mr. Himes has also furnished me with the following list of 
those who voted against the organization of the Provisional 
Government. Mr. Himes has been engaged in collecting these 
names through a series of years : 


Aubichon, Alexis 
Aubichon, Jean B. 
Ausant, Louis 
Arquoit, Amable 
Bargeau, Cyfois 
Beleque, Pierre 
Biscornais, Pascal 
Boivers, Louis 
Bonnenfant, Antoine 

Briscbois, Alexis 
Briscbois, Olivier 
Brunelle, Joseph 
Chalifoux, Andre 
Chamberlain, Adolph 
Cornoyer, Joseph 
Delard, Joseph 
Depot, Pierre 
Despart, Joseph 


Donpierre, David Lambert, Augustin 

Dubois, Andre LaPrate, Alexis 

Ducharme, Jean B. Longtain, Andre 

Felice, Antoine Lor, Moyse 

Forcier, Louis Matte, Joseph 

Gagnon, Luc Maloin, Fabien 

Gauthier, Pierre Mongrain, David 

Gervais, Joseph Papin, Pierre 

Gingras, Jean Pariseau, Pierre 

Gregoire, Etienne Remon, Augustin 

LaChapelle, Andre Roi, Thomas 

LaBonte, Louis Rondeau, Charles 

Laderout, Xavier Sanders, Andre 

Laferty, Michel Senecalle, Gideon 

LaFramboise, Michel Servant, Jacques 

Lalcoure, Jean B. Van Dalle, Louis B. 

It is but fair to state that some of these French-Canadians 
took part in the actual formation of the first Provisional Gov- 
ernment, July 5, 1843, and, so far as I have been able to ascer- 
tain, all of them supported the first Provisional Government 
when it became established, and some, of them made contribu- 
tions for its support. After the organization of the Terri- 
torial Government of Oregon, most of them, if not all of them, 
became naturalized citizens of the United States. It would 
be as unfair to say that they were not sincere in opposing the 
formation of a provisional government, as it would be to say 
that those who voted in favor of its organization were not 
acting from proper motives. They were subjects of Great 
Britain and were as much entitled to their views as were the 
fifty-two persons who voted in favor of the organization of 
the government. Revs. F. N. Blanchet and Modeste Demers 
had a right to oppose the formation of a provisional govern- 
ment as well as Rev. Jason Lee and George Abernethy, and 
as well as Revs. Harvey Clark and Gustavus Hines had to 
favor it. 

Great credit should be given to Etienne Lucier for voting 
in favor of a provisional government. Without his vote there 
would have been a tie and the authorization of a provisional 
government would have been postponed. He came to Oregon 


with the Hunt party, arriving in Oregon in 1812. When 
Duncan McDougal sold out Astor's Fur Company, i. e. The 
Pacific Fur Company, to the Northwest Company, Lucier, with 
nearly all of the Pacific Fur Company's employes, entered the 
service of the Northwest Company. He was with the latter 
company when it coalesced with the Hudson's Bay Company 
in 1821. He was in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company 
when Dr. McLoughlin took charge in Oregon in 1824. Until 
1827 or 1828 he continued in that employ. He was the first 
settler in the Willamette Valley, and settled on French Prairie 
in 1827 (as stated by Willard H. Rees in his address before 
the Oregon Pioneer Association in 1879). He was induced 
to settle there by Dr. McLoughlin and his name kept on the 
company's books. Dr. McLoughlin bought Lucier's wheat, 
furnished him with supplies at a low cost, and protected him. 
He regarded Dr. McLoughlin with great veneration and af- 
fection, and wished to do whatever the latter asked of him. 
He knew that he was expected to vote with the other French- 
Canadians against the formation of a government. His priest 
also expected the same of Lucier. In voting with the Ameri- 
cans he was opposing his old neighbors, his friends, who were 
of the same country, race, and religion. It required great 
moral courage and fortitude to vote as he did. He has not 
always been given the credit he deserves in this matter. All 
honor to him for doing as he did, and yet, it is questionable 
whether he would have so voted had Matthieu not led the way. 


The Provisional Government, as formed July 5, 1843, was 
very crude and unsatisfactory. There was no power to levy 
taxes, so it had to be supported by individual subscriptions. 
There was no provision for the amendment of its organic act 
or laws. It was impossible to distinguish between what was 
constitution and what were laws. Through jealousy, there was 
no governor selected. The head of the government was an 
executive committee of three, a kind of commission form of 
executive. The government was lacking in many respects, but 


in a somewhat crude way, it stood for law and order and the 
protection of life, liberty, and property. The legislative pow- 
ers were exercised by a committee of nine persons. 

There is a glamour of romance about its formation and par- 
ticularly by reason of the closeness of the vote at the meeting 
of May 2. Had more of the American settlers been present, 
the result would have been considered as a matter of course, 
as were the previous meetings and the meeting of July 5, when 
the original Provisional Government went into force. Had 
the report of the Committee of Nine been rejected July 5, that 
would have ended the matter, for the time being, as was the 
case with the proceedings of 1841. Had the ten or more 
French-Canadians who did not attend the meeting of May 2, 
been present, and by their votes defeated the report of the 
Committee of Nine to establish a provisional government at 
that time, that also would have ended the matter, probably un- 
til the arrival of the immigration of 1843. 


The immigration of 1843, the most important in the results 
of its coming of all the Oregon immigrations, was making 
preparations to leave for Oregon May 2, 1843. It left Inde- 
pendence, Missouri, May 20, 1843. It reached Oregon in the 
fall of that year. It was composed of about 875 persons. Of 
these, 295 were men over the age of 16 years. It was the 
first important immigration to Oregon of homebuilders. They 
came together in Missouri by a common impulse and without 
preconcert. They started without organization or leaders. 
They refused to accept the advice to leave their wagons at Fort 
Hall, and determined to take them as far as they could and 
brought them overland to The Dalles. They were mostly 
strong, forcible, and determined men and women. They did 
not think of failure. Their main thought was that they would 
go to Oregon and make it their home and assist in making it 
an American community. There were in this immigration men 
of ability and leadership, such as Jesse Applegate and Peter 
H. Burnett, who were learned in the law and in history. Such 


men at once became prominent in Oregon affairs. I cannot 
go into details in this address. Had the meeting of May 2, 
1843, been unsuccessful, it cannot be doubted that a provisional 
government would have been established in 1844. In the lat- 
ter year the immigrants of 1843 took charge of the Provisional 
Government and gave it form and substance. 

But let us also give honor and credit where honor and credit 
are due. Because the immigration of 1843 was so large in 
numbers and would have established a provisional government 
after its arrival, does not detract from what the settlers of 
Oregon did in May and July, 1843. They did not know there 
was to be such an immigration in 1843, which did not leave 
Missouri until eighteen days after the meeting of May 2. They 
acted upon the exigency of the times as they saw it. They 
made possible the true Provisional Government of 1845, and 
of the succeeding years, until Oregon became a territory. All 
honor and praise to them for their foresight and courage ; for 
their Americanism and their adherence to Anglo-Saxon tradi- 
tions and instincts; for their love, and their regard for law, 
the rights of life and liberty, and of the pursuit of happiness. 
What they did is a heritage, of which their descendants should 
ever be proud. 

It was as much from sentiment as from expediency that the 
original Provisional Government was established. Possibly 
it was more by reason of sentiment than of expediency. But 
that does not lessen our regard and appreciation of what was 
done. The sentiment came from high and patriotic motives. 
It was undoubtedly a moving cause to assert and to establish 
that Oregon belonged to the United States. This was a greater 
reason than the mere establishment of a provisional government 
for the small number of people then in the Oregon Country. 
The report of the Legislative Committee was for the adoption 
of "laws and regulations, until the United States of America 
extend their jurisdiction over us." 


It gives me great pleasure to welcome, today Francois Xavier 
Matthieu, the last survivor of the meeting of May 2, 1843, who 


is here present, and who has just passed his ninety- fourth 
birthday. I congratulate him on his good physical and mental 
condition, with an unimpaired memory, his modesty, his sim- 
plicity, his mental, as well as moral, honesty. These are only 
some of the qualities which endear him to all true Oregonians. 
The noble and efficient part he took at the meeting of May 2, 
1843, will never be forgotten. Already it is established in his- 
tory and in the traditions of Oregon. Long may his life be 
and, as long as he lives, he will have Oregon's heartfelt esteem 
and affection. And when he passes away, his memory will be 
cherished as long as the Oregon pioneers and what they did 
are known. 


There are some persons who believe that the meeting of 
May 2, 1843, saved Oregon to the United States, but this is 
not the fact. Such a belief comes from ignorance. It may 
be creditable to their enthusiasm, but not to their knowledge of 
Oregon history. What is now the State of Oregon did not 
need savers it was not in peril. The American people would 
not have submitted to its loss. The next year, 1844, James K. 
Polk was elected President of the United States, largely on 
the popular cry of "54-40 or fight." This belief must take its 
place in the realm of myths in which those of fairies, of ghosts, 
of Santa Claus, and of "Whitman Saved Oregon" are taking 
their eternal rests. In 1843, and until June 15, 1846, there was 
joint-occupancy in all of the Oregon Country which could not 
be terminated except by the United States or Great Britain 
giving one year's notice to the other of such termination. For 
Congress and the President to exercise or attempt to exercise 
control over any part of the Oregon Country would have been 
an unwarrantable violation of a treaty, a breach of faith, and 
tantamount to a declaration of war against Great Britain. What 
Congress and the President could not do could not be done by 
the resolutions of a mass meeting, carried by forty-two Ameri- 
can citizens and ten British subjects. 


I have not found a copy of the report of the Committee of 
Nine which was adopted May 2, but the report of the Legis- 
lative Committee which was adopted July 5, 1843, began as 
follows : 

"Sec. 1. We, the people of Oregon Territory, for the 
purposes of mutual protection and to secure peace and pros- 
perity among ourselves, agree to adopt the following laws 
and regulations, until such time as the United States of Amer- 
ice extend their jurisdiction over us." (Oregon Archives, 
page 28.) 

This is identical with the preamble of the organic law adopted 
by a vote of the Oregon people July 26, 1845. It is, infer- 
entially only, a declaration in favor of the United States ever 
having control of Oregon. There was no mention of the rights 
of Great Britain. The oath of office of the Provisional Gov- 
ernment of 1843 was not one of subordination to the United 
States. It was rather a declaration that Oregon and its Pro- 
visional Government were independent of any other country. 
The oath of office under the Organic Law of 1845 was that 
of a provisional government only, and, inferentially, recognized 
that Great Britain as well as the United States had some claim 
or right in Oregon, at least that citizens of the United States 
and subjects of Great Britain, in holding office under the Pro- 
visional Government, and in taking the oath of office, were in 
nowise disloyal to their country or to its sovereign. This was 
very far from the Provisional Government being for the pur- 
pose of giving the United States the control of Oregon, ex- 
cluding Great Britain therefrom, and saving Oregon from 
British claims and establishing the claims of the United States. 
Had the meeting of May 2 declared for the sovereignty of 
Great Britain, that would not have established it or changed 
the status under the convention of joint-occupancy. 

As early as 1825 Great Britain was willing to concede to 
the United States all of the Oregon Country south of the 
Columbia River and south of latitude forty-nine, east of that 

In a document found among the private papers of Dr. John 
McLoughlin, after his death, in his handwriting, a full copy 


of which is printed in the Transactions of the Oregon Pioneer 
Association for 1880, he said, in reference to his advice to the 
French-Canadians, old employes, settling in the Willamette 

"Many of the Canadians objected to go to the Willamette 
[Valley] because it would become American Territory, 
which I told them it would be as the Hudson's Bay Company, 
in 1825, officially informed me that, on no event, could the 
British Government claim extend south of the Columbia." 

So, unless there was a war over the Oregon question in 
which Great Britain would be successful, there was no chance 
or danger that the part of Oregon over which the original 
Provisional Government assumed to exercise control would be- 
long to Great Britain or required saving to the United States. 

While this may not have been known to any of the fifty-two 
persons who voted for a provisional government, May 2, 1843, 
it does not change the fact. One can not find what is not 
lost, nor save that which is not in peril. 

I do not wish to belittle what these fifty-two persons did on 
that second day of May. I do not seek to detract from the 
praise and honor to which they are entitled. As a grandson 
of an Oregon pioneer of 1843, and the son of two Oregon 
pioneers of 1846, I take pride in the action, on that memorable 
day, of these fifty-two and in the formation and perpetuation 
of the Oregon Provisional Government. It is no small thing 
that the Oregon pioneers were able, and willing to establish and 
to maintain a government for their own protection and regula- 
tion without aid, support, or encouragement from the United 
States Government. But I wish, and you should wish, to 
know the facts, and knowing the facts, to take pride in them 
and discard what is merely fiction. There is enough in the 
establishment and maintenance of the Provisional Government 
for all Oregonians to be proud of. 

History should deal in facts. Let us, while we may, estab- 
lish Oregon History on a proper and accurate basis. The 
facts of history outweigh, more than a thousand fold, the 
romances of unreality. 


After the establishment of the government of 1843, Dr. 
McLoughlin continued his beneficent rule north of the Colum- 
bia River, and over the forts and posts of his Company, north, 
east and south of the Columbia River. And, while the Metho- 
dist Missionaries tried to be assertive and active in the Wil- 
lamette Valley, they were largely innoxious as rulers after the 
arrival of the immigration of 1843. 


When the leaders of the Methodist Mission found that a 
provisional government was to be established, they sought to 
make it serve the purposes of the Mission party. As they 
found they could not prevent it, they sought to control it. In 
this they succeeded temporarily, to a large extent. 

Article 4 of the Law of Land Claims, adopted by the meet- 
ing of July 5, 1843, was in the interests of the Mission and 
was not altogether creditable. This law, after providing that 
an individual might hold a claim of not more than 640 acres 
in a square or oblong form, provided as follows : 

"No person shall be entitled to hold such a claim upon city 
or town sites, extensive water privileges, or other situations 
necessary for the transaction of mercantile or manufacturing 
operations, and to the detriment of the community. Provided, 
that nothing in these laws shall be so construed as to affect 
any claim of any mission of a religious character, made pre- 
vious to this time, of an extent not more than six miles square." 

The first clause of this Article 4 was intended to deprive Dr. 
McLoughlin of his land claim at Oregon City, which some of 
the Methodist missionaries had been endeavoring to take from 
him in ways not creditable to their religious pretensions. 
The last clause became very unpopular with new settlers. It 
was true that it applied to the Catholic as well as to the Metho- 
dist Mission, but to allow a Mission to hold an entire town- 
ship, i. e., 23,040 acres, in one body, in the fertile Willamette 
Valley, was an audacious attempt, to put it not stronger. The 
immigrants of 1843 and 1844 would not submit to such outra- 
geous provisions as contained in said Article 4 of the land laws. 


As I have said, most of the men of the immigration of 
1843 were strong, resolute, and determined men. Some of 
the organic laws of the Provisional Government of 1843 did 
not suit their ideas of fairness. Article 4 of the law of land 
claims was not their only objection to the so-called Organic 
Laws of 1843. Many of them did not like the attempted dom- 
ination of affairs by the Methodist Mission. They found the 
original Provisional Government to be little more than a 
government in name, lacking power, crude, and inefficient. 
No power being given to levy taxes, it could be ended, at any 
time, by lack of funds which came from subscriptions only. 

Prior to the meeting of the newly elected Legislative Com- 
mittee, June 18, 1844, there appears to have been no meeting 
of the Legislative Committee, after the public meeting held 
July 5, 1843, when the original Provisional Government was 



An election was held the second Tuesday of May, 1844, at 
which a new Executive Committee and Legislative Committee 
were chosen. It is significant that only one member of the 
Provisional Government of 1843 was chosen, viz. : David 
Hill, he being re-elected as a member of the Legislative Com- 
mittee. No member of the, Methodist Mission was elected. 
The names of those elected and the year of arrival in Oregon 
are as follows : 

Executive Committee : Dr. W. J. Bailey, 1835 ; Osborn Rus- 
sell, 1842, and Peter G. Stewart, 1843. Legislative Commit- 
tee : Peter H. Burnett, 1843 ; David Hill, 1842 ; Matthew C. Gil- 
more, ( ?) ; T. D. Keizur, 1843 ; A. L. Lovejoy, 1842 and 1843 ; 
M. M. McCarver, 1843; Robert Newell, 1840; Daniel Waldo, 
1843. For some reason Yamhill District was not representa- 
tive at either of the two sessions of the Legislative Committee 
in 1844, although that district or county was entitled to one 
member. Why this occurred or whether there was a failure 
to elect I have been unable to ascertain. 

Peter H. Burnett was a lawyer of ability and, on his ar- 
rival in Oregon, became a leader in Oregon's affairs. He was 


afterwards Supreme Judge of the Provisional Government and 
the first Governor of the State of California. In his book 
"Recollections and Opinions of an Old Pioneer" he sets forth 
many of the defects in the original organic laws of 1843. The 
Legislative Committee of 1844 determined that none of these 
organic laws were a part of a constitution, but were all statutes 
and could be amended or repealed. They proceeded on this 
theory. The land law of 1843 was repealed and another en- 
acted which did away with the grant of six miles square to 
missions and with the unfair attempt to rob Dr. McLoughlin 
of his land claim at Oregon City. This amended land law con- 
firmed the right of all persons who had theretofore made, and 
granted to all who should thereafter make, with a bona fide 
intention of occupying and holding the same for himself, 640 
acres ; and provided that all claims thereafter made should be 
"in a square form, if the nature of the ground should permit ; 
and in case the situation will not permit, shall be in an oblong 
form;" and that "in all cases where claims are already made, 
and in all cases where there are agreed lines between the par- 
ties occupying adjoining tracts, such claims shall be valid to 
the extent of six hundred and forty acres, although not in 
a square or oblong form." (Laws of Oregon, 1843-9, 
page 77.) 

An Act was passed for the collection of taxes. The number 
of the Legislative Committee was increased from nine to thir- 
teen. June 27, 1844, an Act was passed that at the next an- 
nual election one person should be elected as the executive or 
governor, in whom should be vested all executive powers, in 
place of the, Executive Committee of three (Laws of Oregon 
1843-9, page 98). A commission form of executive had been 
found unsatisfactory. 

June 18, 1844, the Executive Committee sent its message to 
the Legislative Committee in which it was said: 

"In view of the present state of affairs, gentlemen of the 
Assembly, we would recommend to your consideration the 
adoption of some measures for a more thorough organization." 

In this message the Executive Committee also recommended 
vesting the executive power in one person. 

When the Legislative Committee met, at an adjourned ses- 
sion December 16, 1844, the Executive Committee sent an- 


other message in which it was said of the claims of the United 
States and of Great Britain to the Oregon country: 

"But one claims as much right as the other, and both claim 
the right of joint occupancy of the whole, without prejudice 
to the claims of any other state or power to any part of said 


"We would advise that provision be made by this body for 
the framing and adoption of a constitution for Oregon, pre- 
vious to the next annual election, which may serve as a more 
thorough guide to her officers, and a more firm basis of her 
laws. It should be constructed in such a manner as would 
best suit the local situation of the country, and promote the 
general interests of the citizens, without interfering with the 
real or pretended rights of the United States or Great Britain ; 
except when the protection of life and property actually re- 
quire it." (Oregon Archives, page 57.) 

In conclusion, the message set forth: 

"As descendants of the United States and of Great Britain, 
we should honor and respect the countries which gave us 
birth; and, as citizens of Oregon, we should, by a uniform 
course of proceeding, and a strict observance of the rules of 
justice, equity, and republican principles, without party dis- 
tinction, use our best endeavors to cultivate the kind feeling, 
not only of our native countries, but of all the powers or states 
with whom we may have intercourse." (Oregon Archives, 
pages 58-59). 


Another election was held in May, 1845, and the newly 
elected Legislative Committee met June 24, 1845. Jesse Apple- 
gate, an immigrant of 1843, became its leader. 

Article 3 of the report of the Legislative Committee upon the 
Judiciary, adopted July 5, 1843, is as follows : 

"Art. 3. Each officer heretofore elected, or hereafter to be 
elected, shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, take 
an oath or affirmation, to support the laws of the territory, and 
faithfully to discharge the duties of his office." (Oregon 
Archives, page 29). 

Notwithstanding this provision of the original provisional 
government, when the Legislative Committee met June 24, 
1845, it appears from the record as follows : 


"On motion of Mr. Applegate, 

"The following oath was administered to the members, 
to-wit : 

'' 'I do solemnly swear that I will support the Organic Laws 
of the Provisional Government of Oregon, so far as the said 
Organic Laws are consistent with my duties as a citizen of 
the United States, or a subject of Great Britain, and faithfully 
demean myself in office, so help me God.' " (Oregon Archives, 
page 71). 

This oath was not authorized, and was in contravention of 
said Article 3 of the report of the Legislative Committee upon 
the Judiciary, July 5, 1843. 

The oath administered to the members of the Legislative 
Committee June 24, 1845, was adopted as the oath of all officers 
under the Organic Laws, adopted by the people July 26, 1845. 
(See Section 9 of Organic Laws of 1845). The change in 
this form of oath became very important when the Hudson's 
Bay Company, its officers and employes, became a part of the 
Provisional Government in August, 1845. Without such change, 
it is altogether likely that this company and its officers and 
employes would not have become a part of the Provisional 

This latter form of oath was a distinct recognition of the 
rights of British subjects who were willing to become members 
of the Provisional Government. If the Provisional Govern- 
ment was originally in favor of the United States alone, 
by this oath it was changed so that it was without prejudice 
to the rights of Great Britain and its subjects as well as to 
those of the United States and its citizens. It was an oath 
suitable and proper for a temporary or provisional government, 
until joint-occupancy should end and the laws of either country 
be in force. 

To show that this was the understanding, early in the session 
of this first meeting of the Legislative Committee, which began 
June 24, 1845, a committee of five was appointed to prepare a 
memorial to Congress. In this memorial, after setting forth 
dangers from the Indians, it is said : 


"To prevent a calamity so much to be dreaded, the well- 
disposed inhabitants of this territory have found it absolutely 
necessary to establish a provisional and temporary government, 
embracing all free male citizens, and whose executive, legisla- 
tive, and judicial powers should be equal to all the exigencies 
that may arise among themselves, not provided for by the 
governments to which they owe allegiance; and we are most 
happy to inform your honorable body, that, with but few in- 
dividual exceptions, the utmost harmony and good-will has 
been the result of this, as we conceive, wise and judicious 
measure; and the British subjects and American citizens vie 
with each other in their obedience and respect to the laws, and 
in promoting the common good and general welfare of Oregon. 

"Although such has been the result, thus far, of our tempo- 
rary union of interests, though we, the citizens of the United 
States, have had no cause to complain, either of exaction or 
oppression at the hands of the subjects of Great Britain, but on 
the contrary it is but just to say that their conduct toward us 
has been most friendly, liberal, and philanthropic, yet we fear 
a longer continuance of the present state of things is not to 
be expected our temporary government being limited in its 
efficiency, and crippled in its powers by the paramount duty we 
owe to our respective governments, our revenue being inade- 
quate to its support and the almost total absence, apart from 
the Hudson's Bay Company, of the means of defence against 
the Indians, which recent occurrences led us to fear entertain 
hostile feelings towards the citizens of the United States." 

After setting forth protection given to British subjects by 
the Hudson's Bay Company and by the Act of Parliament of 
July, 1821, which I have already mentioned, this Memorial 
prays Congress to establish a territorial government to em- 
brace Oregon and its adjacent sea-coasts. It further sets forth : 

"And we pray that in the event you deem it inexpedient as a 
measure, or contrary to the spirit of existing treaties, to estab- 
lish a territorial government in Oregon, that you extend to us 
adequate military and naval protection, so as to place us, at 
least, upon a par with other occupants of the country." 

This Memorial was passed June 27, 1845 (Oregon Archives, 
page 79). A copy, dated June 28, 1845, was signed by two 
members of the Executive Committee, by eleven members of 
the Legislative Committee, by J. W. Nesmith as Judge of the 
Circuit Court, and attested by J. E. Long the Clerk. It was 


presented to Congress and ordered printed. ( Brown's Political 
History of Oregon, pages 160-162). 

This Legislative Committee of 1845 proceeded to draft a 
new Organic Law and submit it to the people, i. e., the people 
of the Willamette Valley. It was adopted by vote of the 
people July 26, 1845, and Oregon then had a true provisional 
government. Its new Organic Law was practically a constitu- 
tion, and it had a Governor instead of an Executive Committee. 

The effect of the adoption by the people of this Organic Law 
was later said by Jesse Applegate to be that "both the Metho- 
dist Mission and the Hudson's Bay Company ceased to be 
political powers either to be courted or feared in the colony, 
and to the close of its existence the Provisional Government 
of Oregon attained all the ends of good Government." (Ban- 
croft's History of Oregon, Vol. 1, page 479). 

The Preamble and Enacting Clauses of the Organic Law of 
the Provisional Government of Oregon, adopted by vote of the 
people July 26, 1845, are as follows : 

"We, the people of Oregon territory, for purposes of mutual 
protection, and to secure peace and prosperity among ourselves, 
agree to adopt the following laws and regulations, until such 
time as the United States of America extend their jurisdiction 
over us : 

ritory, for the purposes of temporary government, be divided 
into not less than three nor more than five districts, subject to 
be extended to a greater number when an increase of popula- 
tion shall require. 

"For the purpose of fixing the principles of civil and re- 
ligious liberty, as the basis of all laws and constitutions of 
government, that may hereafter be adopted, 

"BE IT ENACTED That the following articles be con- 
sidered articles of compact among the free citizens of this 

In the Organic Laws of 1843, the boundaries of Oregon 
were not set forth. Four districts or counties were created. 
The two northern districts were Twality and Clackamas. 
Twality District was declared to comprise: 


"All the country south of the northern boundary line of the 
United States, west of the Willamette, or Multnomah River, 
north of the Yamhill River and east of the Pacific Ocean." 

Clackamas District was not described by boundaries. It was 
declared to comprehend "all the territory not included in the 
other three districts." 

June 27, 1844, the Legislative Committee passed an Act : 

"That all those parts of any counties heretofore organized 
which lie north of the Columbia River be and they are hereby 
stricken off respectively, and that the said river shall consti- 
tute the northern boundary of said counties, respectively." 
(General and Special Laws of 1843-9, page 74). 

As there were no counties north of the Columbia River this 
was practically an abandonment of jurisdiction north of that 
river, if the original Provisional Government ever had juris- 
diction north of that river. In fact, in 1843, there was no 
attempt even to assert jurisdiction north of the Columbia 
River. There was then, at least, a tacit understanding that 
north of that river the Hudson's Bay Company controlled the 
country and that the Provisional Government had control only 
south of that river and west of the Cascade Mountains. 

December 24, 1844, an Act was passed "explanatory" of said 
Act of June 27, 1844. This latter Act defined the boundaries 
of "Oregon" and made the northern boundary line "the parallel 
of fifty- four degrees and forty minutes of north latitude." The 
eastern boundary was made "along the main dividing ridge of 
the Rocky Mountains," latitude forty-two was made the south- 
ern boundary, and the Pacific Ocean, the western boundary 
(General and Special Laws of 1843-9, page 72). But no 
county was then created, north of the Columbia, so that north 
of that river Oregon had a boundary but it was without the 
control of the Provisional Government. It was merely a dec- 
laration of boundaries, not an assumption of jurisdiction north 
of the Columbia River. 



The, number of the officers, employes and servants of the 
Hudson's Bay Company in the Oregon Country was several 


hundred. There were the sixty persons, British subjects, com- 
posing the immigration of 1841 from Canada, who first settled 
on Nisqually Plains, none of whom took part in the meeting 
of May 2, 1843. 

The American Missionaries living at Waiilatpu and Tshima- 
kain, now in the State of Washington, and at Lapwai, now in 
the State of Idaho were the only American citizens living in 
the part of the Oregon Country controlled by the Hudson's 
Bay Company. They took no part in the Provisional Govern- 
ment. If the Provisional Government extended east of the 
Columbia River and of the Cascade Mountains, there were 
some white trappers, few in number, who had their habitats 
there but took no part in the Provisional Government. The 
Hudson's Bay Company had several of its twenty -one forts or 
posts east of the Columbia River, including Fort Hall, 
Fort Boise and Fort Walla Walla. There were also Fort 
Umpqua, on the Umpqua River, and a post at what is now 

It will, therefore, be seen that up to July 26, 1845, the Pro- 
visional Government had no practical jurisdiction, excepting in 
parts of the Willamette Valley if it can be said to have had 
jurisdiction at all or more than mere existence. It was a gov- 
ernment in name rather than of power or of authority. As was 
said by Frances Fuller Victor, in Bancroft's History of Ore- 
gon, referring to the formation of the original Provisional 
Government "after all, there appeared to be no great need of 
law in Oregon." (Bancroft's History of Oregon, Vol. I., page 

While there was undoubtedly a strong feeling by a few 
Americans of forming a provisional government in favor of 
the United States, that was merely incidental to the main 
object of having some kind of an organization for mutual pro- 
tection and benefit. So far as the records show there was no 
direct or practical attempt to make that organization more than 
a local provisional or temporary government. 

The adoption of the Organic Law July 26, 1845, and the dis- 
cussion of the new Legislature about exercising jurisdiction 


north of the Columbia River, brought matters to a condition 
that was liable to create friction, if not serious trouble, between 
the Provisional Government and the Hudson's Bay Company. 

If the Provisional Government should attempt to control 
the Hudson's Bay Company and to collect taxes on its prop- 
erty, without its consent, a very serious condition would have 
ensued which might have resulted in a conflict of arms. The 
Act of the Provisional Government of December, 1844, de- 
claring the, northern boundary line of Oregon to be latitude 54 
degrees and 40 minutes, was an echo of the popular cry of 
"54-40 or fight" which had elected James K. Polk as President 
of the United States in 1844. 

As I have said, the immigration of 1843 comprised about 
875 persons. The immigration of 1844, which arrived in the 
fall of that year, had about 1400 persons. It was known in 
Oregon in the summer of 1845, that the immigration of 1845 
which would arrive in the fall of that year would be a large 
one. It was made up of about 3000 persons. Joseph L. Meek, 
as Sheriff, in the spring of 1845 took a census. Practically it 
was of the residents of the Willamette Valley at the end of 
the year 1844. It showed a population of 2110 of whom 1259 
were males and 851 females. (Vol. 1 ? page 267, Elwood 
Evans' "History of the Pacific Northwest"). 

It was at this critical time and shortly after the adoption of 
the new Organic Law by vote of the people July 26, 1845, 
that Jesse Applegate privately interviewed Dr. John Mc- 
Loughlin as to the desirability, if not the necessity, of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company and its officers and employes uniting with 
the American citizens in the Provisional Government. Dr. 
McLoughlin at first objected. Applegate then urged on Dr. 
McLoughlin the security it would be to his company, and how 
it would be for the maintenance of peace and order if British 
subjects and American citizens were united in Oregon in a 
provisional government, which would not conflict with their 
duties and rights to their respective governments. The result 
was that Dr. McLoughlin consented, but on the condition that 
his company should not be compelled to pay taxes on its goods 


except upon those sold to settlers, and he and James Douglas, 
his chief assistant, consented to receive a formal proposition 
from a Committee of the Provisional Legislature. (VoL 1, 
pages 494 and 495 Bancroft's "History of Oregon"; Vol. 1, 
pages 268 and 269, Elwood Evans' "History of the Pacific 

At a meeting of the Legislative Committee (changed by the 
new Organic Law to the Legislature) on August 14, 1845, Jesse 
Applegate discreetly introduced the following resolutions which 
were adopted by unanimous vote : 

"Resolved that, whereas the adoption of the amended 
Organic Law, by the people of Oregon, was an act of neces- 
sity rather than of choice, and was intended to give to the 
people the protection which, of right, should be extended to 
them by their government; and not as an act of defiance or 
disregard of the authority or laws of the United States ; 

"It is further resolved 1st That, in the opinion of this 
house, the Congress of the United States, in establishing a 
territorial government, should legalize the acts of the people 
in this country, so far as they are in accordance with the con- 
stitution of the United States." (Oregon Archives, page 106). 

On the same day a committee of the Provisional Legislature 
addressed a communication to Dr. McLoughlin asking the 
Hudson's Bay Company to become parties to the Provisional 
Government. Dr. McLoughlin and James Douglas on behalf 
of that company, forthwith replied consenting to join the 
Provisional Government. This communication and the reply 
thereto are given in full in a foot-note in Vol. 1, page 495, 
Bancroft's "History of Oregon." They are as follows: 

" 'Oregon City, Aug. 14, 1845. To Dr. John McLoughlin, 
Chief Factor of H. B. Co. Sir : As a question has arisen in 
the house of representatives on the subject of apportionment 
upon which we feel peculiarly situated, we beg leave to ask of 
you a question, the answer to which will enable us to come to 
a definite conclusion upon that subject. The question to which 
we would be happy to receive an answer is this : Do you think 
the gentlemen belonging to the company over which you pre- 
side will become parties to the articles of compact, by the pay- 
ment of taxes and in other respects complying with the laws 


of the provisional government ? Your answer to this query is 
most respectfully solicited. Yours, with the highest respect. 
I. W. Smith, H. G. Lee, J. M. Garrison, Barton Lee." 
^ " 'Oregon City, Aug. 15, 1845. I. W. Smith and others. 
Gentlemen: We have the honor to acknowledge your favor 
of the 14th inst, and beg in reply to say, that, viewing the 
organization as a compact of certain parties, British and Ameri- 
can subjects residing in Oregon, to afford each other protection 
in person and property, to maintain the peace of the community, 
and prevent the commission of crime a protection which all 
parties in this country feel they particularly stand in need of 
as neither the British nor American government appear at 
liberty to extend the jurisdiction of their laws to this part of 
America; and moreover seeing that this compact does not in- 
terfere with our duties and allegiance to our respective gov- 
ernments, nor with any rights of trade now enjoyed by the 
Hudson's Bay Company we, the officers of the Hudson's Bay 
Company, consent to become parties to the articles of com- 
pact, provided we are called upon to pay taxes only on our 
sales to settlers. We have the honor to be, etc., John Mc- 
Loughlin, James Douglas.' ' : 

The initials of Smith, Chairman of this Committee, are a 
misprint. His initials, as given in the Oregon Archives, are 
"J. M.". 

September 2, 1845, at Fort Vancouver, Dr. John McLoughlin 
wrote an autograph letter to Dr. W. F. Tolmie, of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company, and then at Fort Nisqually, in relation to 
this agreement to join the Provisional Government. This 
original letter is in the possession of the Oregon Historical 
Society. In it Dr. McLoughlin wrote : 

"You will see by the accompanying copy of a letter addressed 
to me by several members of the Oregon Legislature, that we 
are invited to join the Legislature, and by our answer that, as 
it is merely a compact between the subjects of two nations 
living together in a country, free to both, to enable them to 
maintain peace and order among them, which could not be kept 
in any other way, and it does not interfere with our allegiance, 
as you see by the subjoined oath taken by the persons holding 
office, we considered it our duty to accede to the request, and 
we pay duties merely on the articles we sell to the settlers, as 
other merchants, and on our stock the same as other farmers." 


August 18, 1845, Vancouver District or County was created. 
It was composed "of all that portion of Oregon Territory north 
of the middle of the main channel of the Columbia River." 
This Act was approved by Governor Abernethy August 20, 
1845. August 19, 1845, the Legislature proceeded to the elec- 
tion of district judges for the District of Vancouver. It re- 
sulted in the election of James Douglas, the chief assistant of 
Dr. McLoughlin, for a term of three years, of Charles Forrest, 
Superintendent of the Hudson's Bay farm on the Cowlitz 
River, for one year, and of M. T. Simmons, an American immi- 
grant of 1844, of Newmarket, near Puget Sound for two years. 
(Oregon Archives page 119). 

Thus the Provisional Government became, in fact, a true 
temporary government extending, theoretically, at least, over 
the whole Oregon Country and applying to all residents therein 
without regard to allegiance or citizenship. It so continued 
until the boundary treaty of June 15, 1846, and thereafter 
south of the present boundary line between the United States 
and Canada, west of the Rocky Mountains, until the organiza- 
tion of the Territory of Oregon, March 3, 1849. If the original 
Provisional Government was in the interest of the United 
States this came to an end in August, 1845, and it was, and 
continued to be, until the boundary treaty went into force, 
merely a government for the people of the Oregon Country by 
their common consent and acquiescence and without regard to 
their allegiances. 

As I have said, in May and July, 1843, there was no real 
need for a provisional or other government in Oregon, even 
in the Willamette Valley. But the arrival of the immigration 
of 1843, made such a government convenient, if not necessary. 
If, for no other reason, to enable settlers to take up land and 
not to interfere with the rights of prior locators. Such a gov- 
ernment became necessary on the arrival of the immigration of 
1844 which more than doubled the population of the Wil- 
lamette Valley. It became imperative on the arrival of the 
immigration of 1845. The immigration of 1846 was between 
1,500 and 1,700 persons. That of 1847 was between 4,000 and 


5,000. That of 1848 was few in numbers as most of the over- 
land immigrants went to California on account of the discovery 
of gold there. 

Among the early acts of Governor Lane's administration 
was the taking of a census of all, except Indians, in Oregon 
Territory. It showed the following population in 1849 : Total 
population 9,083, of whom 8,785 were American citizens and 
298 foreigners. There were 5,410 males and 3,673 females. 
In the counties of Vancouver and Lewis, being all of Oregon 
north of the Columbia River, the total population was 304, of 
whom 189 were American citizens and 115 foreigners. (Evans' 
"History of the Pacific Northwest," Vol. 1, page 305). 

I have been unable to ascertain, whether there was included 
in this census, men whose homes were in Oregon, who had 
gone to the mines in California. A large part of the male 
population of Oregon was then at the mines. Probably the 
absentees were counted, as their homes were in Oregon. 


The Whitman massacre began November 29, 1847. I shall 
not, in this address, go into the horrible, details of that event. 
It resulted in what is known as the Cayuse war. It was the 
first Indian war on the Pacific Coast, north of Mexico. All 
wars in the Oregon Country, previous to that time, had been 
prevented through the influence and power of Dr. McLoughlin. 
This war was fought by volunteers from the Willamette Val- 
ley and without aid or assistance from the United States. It 
was carried on by the Oregon Provisional Government. There 
were no regular troops in Oregon until May, 1849. 

The Cayuse war aroused Congress to see the necessity of a 
territorial government for Oregon. The Act for the establish- 
ment of Oregon Territory passed Congress and became a law 
August 14, 1848. March 2, 1849, General Joseph Lane, Ore- 
gon's first territorial governor, arrived at Oregon City. March 
3, 1849, he issued his proclamation assuming charge as Gov- 
ernor of the Territory of Oregon. The Provisional Government 
thus ended. Shortly afterwards the Territory of Oregon was 


organized. Its first legislature met at Oregon City July 16, 
1849. The last session of the Legislature of the Provisional 
Government adjourned sine die February 16, 1849. 


In one sense the Oregon Provisional Government may be 
said to have had its beginning in February, 1841. The Wolf 
meeting in March, 1843, the Champoeg meeting of May 2, 
and the meeting of July 5 of the same year, were but carry- 
ing into practical effect what had been attempted in 1841. 
As I have shown, the organization of a provisonal government 
was largely a matter of sentiment, but in the summer of 1845 
the organization of a true, provisional government became a 
necessity, not only from existing conditions, including the in- 
crease of population by the arrival of the large immigration of 
1844, but in anticipation of the arrival of the immigration of 
1845 and of succeeding immigrations until, at least, the settle- 
ment of the Oregon Question between the United States and 
Great Britain. It is most creditable to the pioneers of Oregon, 
up to the organization of the Oregon Territorial Government, 
in 1849, that the Provisional Government conducted itself as 
though it had real sovereignty in the disputed Oregon Coun- 
try ; that it derived and sustained its powers "from the consent 
of the governed" ; that it was always just and fair to all peoples 
and their properties within its control and power; that it was, 
at least, tacitly recognized by Congress as competent to conduct 
affairs in the part of the Oregon Country determined as be- 
longing to the United States by the boundary treaty of June 
15, 1846, up to the organization of the Territorial Government. 

By the Act of Congress of August 14, 1848, establishing 
the Territory of Oregon, it was provided that the existing 
laws of the Provisional Government, then in force, excepting 
all laws making grants of land or encumbering the titles of 
land, should continue to be valid, and to operate therein so far 
as the same were not inconsistent with the Constitution of the 
United States and the principles and provisions of said Act. 

This was a high and just compliment to the law makers of 
the Oregon Provisional Government. The effect was to con- 


tinue in force all its laws except those relating to the acquisi- 
tion of land, and excepting also a law which was passed, appar- 
ently February 15, 1849, the day before the final adjournment 
of the last Legislature of the Provisional Government, and 
approved February 16, 1849, "For the weighing and assaying 
of gold, and melting and stamping the same." (Laws of 1843- 
9, page 58). Of course, this was not lawful, under the Con- 
stitution of the United States. But Congress had refused to 
extend the jurisdiction of the United States over Oregon, 
although the boundary treaty had been in force nearly two 
years and a half. There was practically no money in circula- 
tion, although gold dust was used, which was very unsatisfac- 
tory. Prior to the discovery of gold in California the only 
mediums of exchange were wheat, beaver skins, and store 
orders. The necessity of the law was its justification. It was 
characteristic of the early pioneers who had established and 
maintained this Provisional Government, because of the neces- 
sity of such a government but not against the United States. 
As the government of the United States had given them no 
laws they made laws for themselves. It is true no money was 
coined under this law, for on March 3, 1849, forty-seven days 
after its approval, Governor Lane, by his proclamation, placed 
Oregon Territory under the government of the United States 
and the Act organizing the Territory. 


It is well for us to be here and celebrate this anniversary. 
Whether it be the important day of the organization of the 
Provisional Government, is of small moment. We observe the 
Fourth day of July as the day of American Independence, but 
the American Revolutionary War had begun more than a year 
prior to the Declaration of Independence, and the war did not 
end until more than seven years thereafter, but the Fourth of 
July is the day we celebrate. It might well have been the date 
of the battle of Lexington, or the day the Treaty of Peace was 
ratified between Great Britain and the American Colonies. By 
common consent of the people of Oregon the second of May is 


the day to celebrate the establishment of Oregon's Provisional 
Government by the American settlers and those associated with 
them, who, in a country without government, established law 
and order and a representative form of government, based on 
the best thoughts, principles and traditions of the American 
people, and of the Anglo-Saxon race. 




By Robert C. Clark, Ph.D. 

It is not the purpose of this paper to state with any detail the 
already so well-told story of the organization of a Pro- 
visional Government in Oregon. The main features of that 
narrative have been too long a matter of record and based upon 
too complete evidence to need repetition at my hands. Such of 
its details are as given elsewhere will, so far as is consistent 
with clearness, be omitted here. This paper is, therefore, an 
attempt to supplement and correct existing accounts. It is now 
possible to perform such a task by the discovery of new 
materials in the form of letters written by officials of the 
Hudson's Bay Company 1 and by a more thorough use 
of the well known sources. To make needed additions to the 
existing accounts of the movement on the part of the settlers 
of the Willamette Valley to establish a government in the years 
1841-1843; to explain the influences opposing this enterprise; 
to give more definitely the sources of the first constitution; 
and lastly, to tell how a union of all the people of Oregon 
territory south of the Columbia river, British and Ameri- 
cans, was brought about in 1844, these in brief are the 
aims of this paper. 

While the Oregon country was occupied jointly by British 
and American citizens with equal right from the agreement of 
1818 to the treaty of 1846 that established the northern 
boundary of the United States west of the Rocky Mountains, 
neither Great Britain nor the United States extended any 
governmental authority over the territory. The former in- 
trusted to the Hudson's Bay Company the power to keep order 
and administer justice for her subjects, the latter left her 
citizens entirely to their own resources. The officials of the 
Hudson's Bay Company, located at Vancouver on north bank 
of the Columbia, had the authority of magistrates and could 

h Paper read before Pacific Branch American History Association, April 6, 1912. 
Copies of these have been kindly loaned to the author by Professor Schafer. 


arrest and confine their own employes for any minor offense. 
For the more serious crimes the accused had to be sent to 
Canada for trial. The authority of the Company, moreover, 
was recognized by its retired servants, Canadian citizens and 
others who had taken up their residence in the Willamette 
valley or elsewhere in Oregon territory. 2 Citizens of the United 
States left to their own resources had elected officers to admin- 
ister justice, for themselves as early as 1838. 3 And in very 
serious cases improvised juries had administered on the spot 
a very acceptable justice.* Thus it will be seen that the Ore- 
gon country really had from an early period as much govern- 
ing authority as was needful for the conditions of the time. 
In these years there were no serious quarrels between persons 
recognizing a conflicting allegiance. Such conflicts were, how- 
ever, an ever increasing danger to the peace of the community 
as the number of Americans was swelled by yearly immigra- 
tions. But the French-Canadians were so peaceful, industrious, 
and inoffensive, the Americans for the most part so law-abid- 
ing, that it was possible to postpone for some years the organi- 
zation of a government that might embrace the whole com- 
munity. Such a movement began early in 1841 after the 
coming in 1839 and 1840 of a few adventurous men from the 
middle western states. This small immigration furnished two 
or three men of good education and some legislative expe- 
rience who seem to have given the impulse and furnished in part 
the leadership for such an enterprise. 

Now at the outset of this effort to organize a government 
there were not more than 140 white men settled in the region 
south of the Columbia river, made up almost equally of citizens 
of Great Britain and the United States. The former consisted 
for the most part of French-Canadians and half-breeds, with 

2 McLoughlin letter of March 20, 1843; F. C. Amer. 401; Wilkffs' Narrative, 
IV., 330. 

3 Oregon Settlers' Petition of 1840; 2$th Congress 3d. Sess. H. Reports, 101; 
Gray's History of Oregon, p. 194, speaks of "self-constituted tribunals." For two 
years before 1840 persons had been chosen as "judges and magistrates." Hines' 
Oregon History, p. 417. 

4 Samuel Parker, Journal of an Exploring Tour in 1835, p. 181. 


their Indian wives. 5 The latter, of those attached to the 
Methodist and other missionary enterprises, ministers and lay- 
men; and independent and unattached American element, 
mountain men, ex-trappers with native wives, and a few men 
who had gradually filtered over the mountains from various of 
the western states (some had come via California.) In addi- 
tion there were a few of various nationalities upon whom sat 
lightly any especial allegiance. These people were scattered 
along the prairies bordering on the Willamette river and its 
tributaries. Such a community was naturally fitted for a com- 
mon government since communication by means of the water 
courses was fairly easy and certain bonds of common interest 
had arisen. 

The immediate need of more efficient legal machinery was 
seriously felt when one of the better-to-do residents of the 
valley died leaving a valuable estate and no heirs to take pos- 
session of it. Out of this situation developed a movement to 
create an organization with sufficient authority to deal with 
such matters. This movement was not a complete success, but 
as a result of it the community secured a full corps of officers, 
with the exception of an executive head. These were chosen 
in February, 1841, at a gathering described as a "full meeting 
of the inhabitants of Willamette Valley" 6 and the supreme 
judge was instructed to act according to laws of the State of 
New York until a code of its own be adopted by the com- 
munity. A legislative committee, appointed at this time to 
draft a constitution and laws, failed to report to a subsequent 
meeting in June and so the settlement failed to secure a fully 
organized and constitutional government. It is to be noted, 
however, that as a result of this movement a definite body of 
officials were given authority to administer justice for the 
community. Though their power and tenure of office were not 
placed upon a constitutional basis, yet they had an authority 
emanating directly from the people. The instruction to follow 

5 Lord Durham's description of the contemporary French in Canada seems a 
good characterization of those in Oregon. "They are mild and kindly, frugal, 
industrious, and honest, very sociable, cheerful and hospitable, and distinguished 
for a courtesy and real politeness." Report of Earl of Durham, 1838, p. 17. 

6 Grover, Oregon Archives, p. 5. 


the laws of New York gave a measure of guidance to their 
judicial officers. 7 The people now had a machinery for making 
arrests, punishing offenders, and settling disputes more elabo- 
rate and more efficient than possessed before. The officers 
elected at this February meeting held office for more than two 
years. Another public meeting in May, 1843, authorized them 
to continue in office until July 5 of that year. A foreign visitor 
writing at the time testifies that the Willamette settlement is 
"ready to take cognizance under a code of its own formation of 
such cases of outrage as may occur." 8 From the facts here 
given it will be seen that the Willamette community had taken 
in 1841 a long step towards establishing an organized govern- 

At the outset of this movement of 1841 all the people of the 
valley seemed to have joined in it. The journals of the public 
meetings speak of them as full meetings of all the inhabitants. 
Americans, French-Canadians, Englishmen were chosen im- 
partially for the offices created. The French Catholic priest, 
F. N. Blanchet, was named first on the legislative committee. 
A policy of conciliation and comprehension was evidently fol- 
lowed. The June meeting even went so far as to refer the 
question of the expediency of forming a government to the 
Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company. Apparently a 
spirit of harmony and good will prevailed at this period. 

But such unanimity of opinion and feeling did not long 
endure. There were some men who did not deem a govern- 
ment necessary.9 Captain Wilkes, of the United States Explor- 
ing Expedition, visiting the Willamette settlement at this time, 
advised against such a movement. Furthermore, the Hudson's 
Bay Company was opposed to it. Its officers feared a conflict 
with the young and belligerent community. The company had 
assisted in bringing into the country the priests who admin- 

7 Dr. Babcock, supreme judge, was a native of New York. This is probably 
the reason for such instruction. James A. O'Neil, who came to Oregon in 1834, 
was a native of New York, had studied law to some extent in his native state, and 
had a copy of the New York statutes. This statement is made on information 
given many years ago by the late Medorem Crawford, also of New York State. 
Information given by Mr. George H. Himes. 

8 Letter of Sir George Simpson, 1841. Am. Hist. Rev., XIV., p. 81. 

9 Wilkes' Narrative, IV., p. 330. 


istered to the French-Canadians and expected them to use 
their influence to further its interests. 10 The Canadians were 
for the most part retired servants of the Company and obedient 
to its instructions. Now under the direction of their spiritual 
advisers the French withdrew their support from the move- 
ment to form a government. Writing in November, 1841, one 
of the managers of the company could boast, "This last sum- 
mer the Willamette community made strong effort to form a 
constitution for themselves, but the Company's influence over 
the Canadian settlers in a large measure defeated that object." 11 
Though one of the Catholic clergy had been selected as head 
of the constitutional committee, a little pressure from the 
officials of the company secured his resignation. 

Thus the active hostility of the Hudson's Bay Company, the 
indifference of many of the Americans and opposition of others, 
the refusal of the Canadians to join the movement caused a 
failure to secure a constitution at this time. Besides many were 
satisfied with having secured a body of officials able to deal 
with such exigencies as might arise in the immediate, future, 
and the very coming together for common action in a matter 
of public interest had shown the colony able to deal with affairs 
of consequence as they might come up. 12 

By the arrival in the fall of 1842 of some 140 Americans led 
by Dr. Elijah White, recently appointed by the government of 
the United States a sub-agent for the Oregon Indians, a new 
impetus was given to the agitation for a government. In Sep- 
tember of 1842 a public meeting was held to receive the cre- 
dentials of Dr. White. 13 As far as the formal minutes of the 
meeting show it came together merely to express the sentiments 
of the community on appointment of Dr. White. Hines says 
that White made claims to larger powers than those of an Indian 
agent, equivalent to those of governor, but no definite conclu- 
sion was reached on this point. '* Though the formal minutes 

10 Letter of Sir George Simpson, Am. Hist. Rev., XIV., p. 81. 

1 i Ibid. 

12 Hines' Oregon History, p. 420. 

13 White, Ten Years in Oregon, p. 168. 

14 Oregon Hist., p. 421. White calls this the "largest and happiest public 
meeting ever convened in this infant colony." 


of this meeting show only an expression of approval of the 
recognition given the needs of the community by the United 
States in the appointment of an Indian agent, there is other 
evidence that the claim of Dr. White to an authority over the 
territory equivalent to that of a governor aroused again a 
discussion of the question of organizing a provisional govern- 
ment. At least Dr. White's activity seems to have given anxiety 
to the officials of the Hudson's Bay Company who char- 
acterized him as "active, forward and very presumptuous" 
and held him responsible along with some of those con- 
nected with the missions for further meetings of the peo- 
ple held with "a view to the election of a governor." 1 ? 
But whatever efforts of this nature may have been made in 
1842 were again defeated by the Canadians who "outvoted" 
the Americans. 16 

Further incentive for urging on the formation of a pro- 
visional government grew out of the grievances against the 
Hudson's Bay Company held by some of the Americans, espe- 
ically those connected with the Methodist Mission. McLough- 
lin, chief factor at Vancouver ? laid claim to land at the Falls 
of the Willamette that was coveted by the Methodists. Some 
of these as early as 1841 had formed a milling company and 
seized upon a site on an island in the river at the Falls, on the 
ground that McLoughlin had taken possession of on behalf of 
the Company in 1829. 1 ? The missionaries had also erected build- 
ings on the east bank of the river, a further encroachment on 
the McLoughlin claim. In 1842 McLoughlin had the claim 
surveyed and laid out into lots for a town named Oregon City. 
He had also set up a rival mill and the American company were 
fearful of its competition. The conduct of the Company in its 
dealing with the colony and of McLoughlin in insisting upon 
the priority of his claim at the Falls were made subjects of 
complaint and grievance in a petition to Congress drawn up 
in a meeting of the Americans held early in 1843. They urged 

1 5 Letter of Sir George Simpson written from Red River Settlement, June 
21, 1843, F. O. Amer., 401. 

1 6 Ibid. 

17 Simpson Letters, Am. Hist. Rev., XIV., 80. 


as a reason for the speedy extension to them of the jurisdiction 
of the United States the need of "laws that will be respected 
and obeyed" in order to put an end to the monopolistic control 
exercised over the colony by the Hudson's Bay Company. This 
petition bore the signatures of a large, number of the Ameri- 
cans in the colony, 65 names in all. 18 

Now while there might be some hope of protection from 
Congress and perhaps the McLoughlin claim might ultimately 
be disallowed by that body, a more speedy way of securing 
"law that will be respected and obeyed" was at hand. The 
same men who had put their names to the petition to Congress 
now revived the project for organizing a government for the 
settlement. (Twenty of the signers of the Petition of 1843 
voted for organization of a government in May of that year.) 
They saw a means of checkmating the Hudson's Bay Company 
in the formulation of a skillfully devised land law that would 
deprive McLoughlin of his land claim. 

To advance this object meetings of the settlers were called 
early in 1843. To disguise their true purpose and to persuade 
the Canadians to join them these meetings were called to con- 
sider measures for protection against wild animals. Out of 
them came the appointment of a committee to issue a call for 
a public assembly to "consider the propriety of taking measures 
for the civil and military protection of the colony." 1 9 

Some of the French-Canadians had attended these so-called 
"Wolf Meetings," but were not yet ready to join the movement 
to establish a government. 20 McLoughlin was kept well in- 
formed of what was going on in the Willamette country and 
the Canadians were still well under his control. He, as well as 
the higher officials of the Hudson's Bay Company, were by this 
time beginning to realize that though the movement might be 
postponed so long as their retired servants were able to out- 
vote the Americans, the latter were now "numerous enough to 
carry their point." 21 The Canadians seem to have begun to 

1 8 Holman, McLoughlin, p, 198, for Petition of Citizens of Oregon, 1843. 

19 Graver, Oregon Archives. 

20. The second meeting was at the home of J. Gervais, Grover, Oregon 
Archives, p. 9. Letter of McLoughlin, March 20, 1843, F. O. Amer. 401. 
21 Letter of Sir George Simpson, June 21, 1843, * 0, Amer. 401. 


yield to the persuasion of their neighbors and McLoughlin 
writes as if he, too, realized that it was to their advantage to 
join the Americans. In a letter of March 20, 1843, he says, 
"Tho some of the Canadians were present at the meeting of 
March 17 (the second of the Wolf Meetings) still, though in no 
way inclined to join in the measure to erect a temporary gov- 
ernment, yet they must admit the strength of the argument 
used by the Americans that they must,, now that people are 
coming here from different countries, adopt some plan to keep 
peace in the country, and that while they, the Canadians, are 
bound, those who come from the states are amenable to no 
authority. " 22 

Perhaps if the enterprise had been less partisan and not so 
manifestly the outcome of dislike of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, the Canadians would have been persuaded to join it. But 
McLoughlin had received information of the petition against 
the company directed to the Congress of the United States. 23 
Besides in the minds of the officers of that organization there 
was a real danger that the success of the movement might lead 
to "serious difficulties, for if these people enter on the exercise 
of self government they will unquestionably attempt to assume 
authority over all the inhabitants of the district, British as well 
as foreign/' 2 * So pursuing the same policy as before they 
endeavored to defeat the undertaking by the use of the Cana- 
dians. At a meeting of the inhabitants of the Willamette settle- 
ments on May 2, 1843 ? the Canadians attended in full force 
and all but defeated a motion recommending the establishment 
of a provisional government. 25 Upon the passing of this 
motion by the small majority of two the dissenters withdrew. 26 
The fear of the Hudson's Bay Company officers that the Ameri- 
cans would be numerous enough to carry their object had 
been realized. 

22 F. O. Amer. 401. 

23 Letter of Simpson, June 21, 1843, cited above tells of a letter written to 
McLoughlin by an American lawyer, Hastings, of a "close meeting" at Falls of 
Willamette for purpose of petitioning Congress. 

24 Ibid. 

25 The journal of the meeting shows that the motion was at first declared 
lost. A division is said to have given a majority in favor of organizing. Gray, 
Hist, of Oregon, p. 279. 

a6 Journal of meeting of May 2, 1843, in Oregon Archives. 


This May assembly, undiscouraged by the desertion of al- 
most half their number, proceeded to elect a full corps of officers 
for the colony, excepting a governor. A legislative committee 
given authority to draft a constitution and laws, having com- 
pleted its work in the six days of session allowed, presented 
it to a meeting of the people held July 5. This meeting adopted 
the Organic Articles and Laws which thus became Oregon's 
first written constitution. 

The legislative committee of nine that made this contribu- 
tion to state constitution making were not lawyers. There 
were as yet no lawyers in the colony. Its chairman, Robert 
Moore, had been a member of the Missouri legislature. The 
leading spirit of the committee seems to have been Robert 
Shortess, a native of Ohio, formerly a school teacher, and of 
good education. He had been the principal mover in calling 
the meeting earlier in the year that had drawn up the petition 
to Congress complaining of the conduct of the Hudson's Bay 
Company, and now did most of the work of formulating the 
Organic Articles and Laws that were to give the colony an 
organized government. There happened to be in the settle- 
ment a copy of the statute laws of the Territory of Iowa 
enacted in 1838-39, and containing the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, the Constitution of the United States, the Ordinance 
of Congress for the government of the Territory Northwest of 
the, River Ohio, 1787, an Act to divide the Territory of Wiscon- 
sin and to establish the territorial government of Iowa, and 
lastly the Statute Laws of Iowa arranged in alphabetical order 
beginning with "abatement" and ending with "worshipping 
congregations." With so much constitutional and legal material 
available, and such as had proved useful for the last and more 
infant of the territories of the United States, the work of 
the committee became largely a matter of compilation and 
adaptation. The Organic Articles as finally adopted are there- 
fore scarcely more than a rehash, with necessary changes in 
phraseology, of the Ordinance of 1787 and the Organic Law 


of Iowa, together with some parts of the Iowa code. 2 ? Land 
and militia laws suitable to local conditions, together with a 
provision for districting the territory, were added. The two 
novel features of the constitution were the vesting of the 
executive power in three persons and the provision for secur- 
ing funds to support the government by voluntary subscription. 

The land law seems to show the animus and purpose of the 
whole movement. While it makes provision for registering 
land claims with the recorder of the territory and thus ful- 
filled one of the chief objects of those desiring a constitution, 
by furnishing a means of avoiding conflicts in land claims and 
laying the basis for a more secure title, in its fourth clause it 
prohibited the holding of a claim of 640 acres "upon city or 
town lots, extensive water privileges or other situations neces- 
sary for the transaction of mercantile or manufacturing opera- 
tions." Then in order to shut out the Hudson's Bay Company 
and yet recognize the rights of the Methodist mission a proviso 
was added that "nothing in these laws shall be construed as to 
affect any claim of a religious character made prior to this 

The constitution of 1843 fell far short of providing an or- 
derly and stable government. Its makers showed great timid- 
ity and hesitation, and failed completely to provide the proper 
sanctions for such a government. It manifestly included within 
the bounds of its powers only those who had participated in its 
formation or voluntarily submitted to its terms. Perhaps a 
majority of the settlers did not recognize the government set 
up by it. The provision for supporting the government by 
the circulation of subscription papers shows that there was no 
intention on the part of the makers of this constitution to coerce 
any one. They even hesitated to fix a northern boundary to 
the territory because they did not wish to claim a definite 
jurisdiction over the Hudson's Bay Company officials and prop- 

27 Careful comparison of the Organic Articles with these sources shows how 
phrases were picked out here and there and woven together to describe the various 
authorities set up. Section i of the Articles is almost identical with the articles of 
compact closing the Ordinance of 1787. Articles 4, 5, 6, 7, in section 2, are 
adapted from sections 7, 2, 4, and 9, respectively, of the Iowa Organic Law. The 
other articles are taken from the code of Iowa. The Statute Laws of Iowa, 
Reprint of 1839 edition. 


erty. 28 For all practical purposes, then, the settlers of the Wil- 
lamette were little bettered by adopting this constitution in 
1843. There, was as yet little need of a better organized gov- 
ernment than that furnished by election of officers in 1841. 
The government was entirely American. The British and Cana- 
dians considered it a purely "American compact," protested 
against it, 29 and on withdrawing from the meeting in May, 
1843, "delivered to the Americans a declaration of their reasons 
for remaining separate." 30 Nor did the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany in any way recognize the authority of the provisional gov- 
ernment. With these important elements completely beyond its 
jurisdiction and control the, most important need of a govern- 
ment, an organization obeyed by all inhabitants, reconciling all 
conflicting interests, empowered to settle without resort to arms 
but through peaceful judicial procedure all conflicts that might 
arise, such an organization was not secured. This government, 
too distinctly partisan in character, could not be permanent. 

Until the arrival at the Willamette in the fall of 1843 of 
some 800 prospective settlers the question of governmental 
status seems not to have troubled the colony. For a time it 
seemed doubtful if the new arrivals, so greatly outnumbering 
those settlers already in the territory, would acknowledge a 
government of so questionable origin as that of July, 1843. 
Some of them favored the establishment of an independent 
state on the ground "that if the country becomes a territory of 
the United States it will be so remote from the seat of gov- 
ernment that it will be, very difficult for them to get the laws 
made that they require." 31 While the majority were, opposed 
to independence they doubted the success of a movement that 
failed to take in all the inhabitants, British as well as Ameri- 
can. The Canadians, too, impressed by so large an addition 
to the American element, now realized that it would be no 
longer "possible to maintain peace and order" without a gov- 

28 Oregon territory was made to include all the region south of the northern 
boundary of the United States. As this boundary west of Rocky Mountains had 
not yet been determined the language is no doubt intentionally vague. 

29 Warre and Vavasour documents, Quart. Oreg. Hist. Society, X., 51. 

30 McLoughlin letter to Captain Gordon, September 15, 1845, F. O. Amer., 459. 

31 McLoughlin letter July 4, 1844; Accompaniment to Mitchell's Map of Texas, 
Oregon and Calif., 17; Burnett letter in Niles Register, LXV1II., 393. 


ernment.3 2 Besides the Americans now called upon their 
French neighbors to join them in forming a government for 
all.33 New arrivals and old settlers combined in this effort to 
secure a union with the Canadians. 34 At last a meeting called 
apparently for the purpose of hearing the wishes of the Cana- 
dians and to harmonize such differences of opinion as had 
arisen was held in March, 1844. To this assembly the Cana- 
dian residents of the Willamette Valley presented an address, 
drawn up by one of their priests Me. Langlois3S in which 
they set forth their objections to the existing government and 
suggested what seemed to them a better plan of organization. 

The evidence that such a meeting was held for the special 
purpose of conciliating the Canadians and considering a plan 
of union is as follows : 1. The salutation of the address reads, 
"We, the Canadian citizen residents of the Wallamat, ma- 
turely considering the object for which the people are gathered 
in the present meeting, present the unanimous expression of 
our desire for union." 2. The signatures of president, two 
vice presidents, two secretaries, three Americans, one (Joseph 
Gervais) certainly, another probably (Francis Renay) French- 
men, indicate a meeting of some kind, made up of both Ameri- 
cans and Canadians, though so many officers may show a 
permanent organization. These signatures are found at the 
bottom of the French copy of the address. 3. McLoughlin in 
a letter of September, 1845, says that the address was handed 
in in March to a meeting then assembled. 4. There is an 
indorsement in a different handwriting from that of the ad- 
dress on back of the English copy, "Address of the Canadians 
to the Meeting at Champa " (illegible). 

Inasmuch as it has been the practice to date, this address as 
drawn up in 1842 and presented some time in 1843, it seems 
desirable to give the reasons for fixing its date as 1844. 

32 Letters of McLoughlin, F. O. Amer., 440, 459 

33 Ibid. 

34 Signatures of officers at bottom of Canadian Address, Oregon Archives, 
Provisional, i. 

35 McLoughlin states positively that it was drawn up and presented by him. 
It has always been incorrectly attributed to F. N. Blanchet. Lanj?lois arrived at 
the Willamette Falls, September 16, 1842. He later became superintendent of 
St. Joseph's College founded at Oregon City by Blanchet. De Smet's Oregon 
Missions in Early Western Travels, 29: 135. 


There are in existence three known contemporary copies of 
this address of the Canadian citizens. Two of these, one writ- 
ten in French, the other apparently an English translation, 
have been preserved in the, office of the Secretary of State at 
Salem and are apparently the original copies presented to the 
meeting mentioned above. The third, an English translation 
sent by John McLoughlin, Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay 
Company at Vancouver to the home office, is to be found in 
the foreign office of the British Government. 36 No one of these 
three copies is dated. The two English copies are not duplicates 
nor are they good translations of the French. The English 
translation found at Salem was printed, with errors of tran- 
scription, in Grover's Oregon Archives, in 1853. The French 
original seems to have been overlooked or at least is unnoticed 
in any existing account of the Provisional Government. All 
of these accounts alike place the document in 1842 and 1843 
as noted above. Apparently the only reason for so dating it 
has been because the copyist who made the copy for the 
printed Oregon Archives in 1853 took the indorsement to be 
found on the back of the English translation and made it read 
"Address of the Canadian Citizens of Oregon to the Meeting 
at Champoeg, March 4, 1843." No note is made of the fact 
that the indorsement is written in a hand different from that 
of the document itself and that the name of the place of meet- 
ing is of doubtful reading. Accepting the heading as given 
and finding no record of a meeting for the purpose indicated 
by the address on March 4, all writers on early Oregon his- 
tory have concluded that the address was made to the meeting 
at Champoeg, May 2, 1843. They have further been encour- 
aged in this error by the misleading English translation and 
by the statement of W. H. Gray, one of the members of the 
legislative committee of 1843, who says37 that the 
address was handed in to a sub-committee of three, 
of which he was a member, by the clerk of the legislative 
committee, examined and handed back to him. Gray, how- 

36 A copy has been loaned me by Professor Schafer who has also called to 
my attention the existence of the French original. 

37 History of Oregon, 273. 


ever, was writing some 25 years after the event with the printed 
address before him. His identification of this document as the 
one that was handed in to his committee cannot be accepted 
as positive. There is evidence as already given that the Cana- 
dians handed in at the time of their withdrawal from the May 
meeting in 1843 a protest and declaration of a character differ- 
ent from this address. The first gave reasons for remaining 
separate, the, second expresses a desire for union. The first 
may be the document that Gray had in mind. 

However this may be, that the address of the Canadians was 
delivered in 1844 seems susceptible of the most positive proof. 
1. McLoughlin inclosing a copy of the address [the Hudson's 
Bay copy mentioned above] in a letter of July 4, 1844, writes 
that "the American citizens called on the Canadians to join 
them and organize a government for themselves, and though 
the Canadians refused last year, they consented this year, but 
first gave in the 'address'." This shows that though in 1843 
the Canadians were unwilling, in 1844 they had changed their 
minds and that the address was presented after they had de- 
termined on joining the union. 2. In another letter of March 
20, 1845, McLoughlin says, "From the great additional number 
of immigrants who came in 1843 the Canadians considered it 
necessary to have an organization to pass laws and on strength 
of the address handed in in March to the meeting then assem- 
bled" voted at the election in May, 1844. This shows that it 
was not until after the great increase in the numbers of Ameri- 
cans by the immigration of 1843 that the Canadians became 
convinced of the necessity of a government. These new-comers 
did not reach the Willamette until late in November of that 
year. This fixes March, 1844, as the date. 3. There is also 
the further evidence of the names appended to the French 
version of the address. The signatures run from the bottom 
of the last page towards the top, filling the blank margin. 
They are quite evidently genuine as a comparison with other 
signatures of the same men has shown. S. Smiths 8 signs as 

38 Awkwardly written, but Mr. George H. Himes is positive that it is the 
signature of Sidney Smith. 


president; J. Gervez [signs with his mark, usually written 
Gervais] as vice president; Francis Renay, apparently as a 
second vice president; and Charles E. Pickett and S. M. 
Holderness as secretaries. Now the two last came to Oregon 
with the immigration of 1843. 39 

An examination of the internal evidence furnished by the 
document itself is quite as convincing as that already given 
that it belongs to the year 1844. 1. In the first and second 
clauses of the address the Canadians say that they "desire laws 
and regulations for the protection of persons and property and 
will not resist the measures of this nature passed last year by 
a part of the people, although not approving of all the regula- 
tions then made. Let the magistrates finish their year." Now 
in the opinion of those accepting 1842 as the date of the ad- 
dress these clauses have reference to the effort made in 1841 
to form a government. Yet there were no definite laws or 
regulations adopted then, no officers elected for any prescribed 
term, and whatever action then taken had been that of the 
whole people, Canadians as well as Americans, and not of "part 
of the people" as described in the address. These statements 
of the address seem to apply exactly to situation created by 
the movement of 1843. Laws and regulations had then been 
adopted by a part of the people and officers elected for a year. 
Moreover at the date of the address the Canadians are ready 
to form a union with the other settlers. In 1843 they were op- 
posed to forming a government, attempted to outvote the 
Americans and withdrew from the May meeting when defeated. 
This certainly fixes the date at some time subsequent to the 
meeting of July 5, 1843, at which the government was finally 
established. 2. The address shows a knowledge of the, arti- 
cles and laws adopted at that meeting. It is largely a criticism 
of the American plan of union and such a criticism as would 
have been made after having studied its organic act. Since 
the work of the legislative committee that drew this up was 
not completed until the latter part of June, 1843, such knowl- 

ZgNesmith list of 1843 Immigrants, Trans. Oreg. Pioneer Assoc., 1879. 


edge of it as shown in the address could hardly have been 
obtained prior to that time. The address could not have been 
written in 1843 because the reference to action taken "last 
year" would have no meaning. No constitution and laws were 
issued in 1842. 

Those writers who have found internal evidence for 1842 
or 1843 as the date of the address have depended on its 5th 
clause as given in the printed English translation. This clause 
is there made to read, "we are opposed to the regulations an- 
ticipated." This seems to imply foreknowledge on the part 
of the Canadians as to the. kind of constitution and laws the 
Americans intended to adopt in 1843, and thus makes intelligible 
the objections found in the address. The Canadians really said 
something entirely different as shown by an examination of the 
same clause of the French original. "We oppose any regula- 
tions too much in advance of our state of society" is what they 
really said. 

It seems entirely possible that the indorsement on the back 
of the English copy which has heretofore led the unwary his- 
torian astray may be correct in everything but the year. If 
it was made by some one at a later period the mistake would 
be easy to understand, or even if written at the time by some 
one of the secretaries (the ink is the same as that of the sig- 
natures on French document) it would have been easy for the 
slip to be made. With the evidence thus conclusive that the 
address was composed in 1844, with other independent evi- 
dence that of the McLoughlin letter of March 20, 1845, that 
it was presented at a meeting in March, it seems quite prob- 
able that this meeting was held on March 4, the day of the 
month given in the indorsement. 

The Canadians stood out in this address for a union that 
would incorporate all the various elements of the community. 
The plan of government adopted in 1843 was as they express 
it "too individual," meaning too distinctly American. Until 
the boundary of the territory has been definitely fixed by 
treaty between Great Britain and the United States they insist 
that the country must be open alike to citizens of every na- 


ionality,* and any government that shall be formed should 
be respectful of the rights of all the inhabitants.* 1 

They criticise the American plan of government as providing 
too many offices "filled with too many useless titles for our 
state of poverty," as they express it. "In a new country, the 
more men employed and paid by the public, the fewer remain 
for industry." So in their plan of organization they would 
have a single council, its members elected from different dis- 
tricts, perform all the necessary governing functions. A mag- 
istrate from whose decisions appeals may be taken to the cen- 
tral council, would be elected for each district to act as a jus- 
tice of the peace. Further they would secure the right of the 
individual citizen to be heard in affairs of general public in- 
terest in the meetings of the council when assembled to discuss 
and regulate the needs of the colony.* 2 

At the outset in a new colony they would have as few laws 
as possible "as the more laws there are the more opportunity 
for trickery for those who make the law a profession." They 
would also guard against technicalities in the law that "would 
substitute cunning for trickery." They would have such laws 
as may be adopted require of the community as little expense 
as possible. Especially should they not be made burdensome 
to new comers. For this reason taxes should be light as pos- 
sible; the land law should not provide unnecessarily trouble- 
some requirements as to fixing exact boundaries to a claim 
and registering it.*3 A militia law would not be necessary 
because a militia is not needed and when created would be an 
object of suspicion to the natives and besides a hindrance to 
the necessary work of the community. 

The Canadians also made request in this address for some 
measure of local autonomy for themselves. They fear being 
completely submerged by the Americans and seek some guar- 
antee that their customs will be respected and that they may 

40 Clauses n and 12. "Whether subjects of England, France, Ireland or 

41 Clause n. "Free to every individual to establish himself here without 
distinction of origin and without right to make him pay for becoming a citizen. 

42 Clause 1 6. Curiously omitted from the English versions. 

43 "We are opposed to any registrations whatever." (Clauses 4 and 9). 


be free to make such regulations as are suited to their own 
needs. Such in brief is the purport of this curious document. 

Unfortunately we are without a record of this March meet- 
ing of 1844 to which this address of the Canadians was pre- 
sented. Minutes of other public meeting of the time have been 
preserved in our archives, but for some reason this one is men- 
tioned by no contemporary American writer, and only casually 
alluded to by the Hudson's Bay official correspondence. But 
from what followed the meeting it seems that some under- 
standing must have been reached in it. Possibly the Americans 
suggested that the new legislature soon to be elected would be 
able to repeal the obnoxious laws and consider the suggestions 
given as to modifications in the existing form of government. 
The letters of the Hudson's Bay Company officials written at 
the time imply some kind of definite compact or agreement be- 
tween Canadians and Americans. 44 In their address the Cana- 
dians had professed a willingness to obey the laws adopted in 
1843 and to recognize the government then set up and now, 
apparently, satisfied with assurances given them they agreed 
to associate themselves with the organization already formed 
and to signify such union by participating in the election of 
officers in the coming May. At this annual election they voted 
for the first time and helped to elect a new executive committee, 
a legislative committee, and the other prescribed officers. 45 

The new executive and legislative committees showed very 
great consideration for the sentiments of the Canadian and 
British settlers, 46 and a desire for harmony and compromise. 
At the suggestion of the executive the legislative committee 
passed several laws that indicate such a spirit. Following the 
suggestion of the Canadian address the land law was repealed 
and a new one enacted that abandoned the requirement for 

44 British and Yankees have joined in forming a sort of provisional govern- 
ment," writes the commander of the British ship of war, Modeste, who visited 
Oregon in July, 1844. F. O. Amer., 440. "The Canadians and other retired 
servants of the Company became parties to these measures (those passed by 
legislative assembly of 1844.) "Letter of Sir George Simpson. 

45 McLoughlin Letter March 20, 1845. 

46 One of the executive committee. Dr. Bailey, characterized by McLoughlin 
as a "cockney," was an Irishman by birth. Gray speaks of him as having come 
to the meeting in 1841 with the Canadians pledged to elect him for governor. 
Hist, of Oregon, p. 275. 


registration of land claims. The clause 4 of the old act that 
was intended to deprive McLoughlin of his claim at the Falls 
of the Willamette is dropped.*? By another measure the north- 
ern boundary of the territory over which the provisional gov- 
ernment claimed jurisdiction was fixed at the Columbia River.* 8 
This shows an unwillingness to encroach upon the Hudson's 
Bay Company. Provision was also made and agreed to by the 
Canadians, for supporting the government by taxation and de- 
priving those who refused to contribute of any right to vote 
or to receive protection from the government. The form of 
the executive was also changed and provision made to elect 
a governor at the next annual election. So important were the 
changes made in the Organic Laws and Articles of 1843 by 
the legislative committee of 1844 that something like, a new 
constitution was then made. It was under these new articles 
of compact and agreement that the Canadians and British sub- 
jects south of the Columbia joined with the Americans in 
constituting a government. 

From the new facts herein first presented showing how the 
Canadians were led finally to join with the Americans in form- 
ing a temporary government for the Oregon territory it is now 
clear that the movement of 1843, participated in by only a "part 
of the people" must not be considered as anything more than 
one of several steps in the direction of setting up a constitutional 
government. The first of these steps had been taken in 1838 
when the American element elected magistrates for themselves ; 
the second in 1841 by the selection of a larger body of officers ; 
the third in 1843 with the placing of the government on a more 
definite constitutional basis. But until 1844 the British and 
Canadian citizens held aloof and were only brought into the 
union in that year under the circumstances described. By this 
fourth step a government embracing all the inhabitants and 

47 General and Special Laws of Oregon, 1843-1849, 77. It is worth while 
noticing that the Methodist mission had been disbanded and its land and property 
distributed to its individual members so that there was no reason to retain the 
proviso of clause 4. 

48 General Laws, 74. In the next session, Dec., 1844, changed again to 
54 40', but in taking the census the sheriff was not required to go beyond the 
Columbia. Ibid, 72. 


comprising all the territory south of the Columbia River was 
established. Not until the next year and by means of a special 
agreement with the Hudson's Bay Company and by forming a 
third constitution was the region north of the Columbia and 
its residents brought into the bounds of the infant state. But 
this is a story by itself and not to be related here. 


(By Leslie M. Scott 

John Fiske, the eminent historian, once accepted as authentic 
the story that Whitman "saved" Oregon. But later scrutiny 
changed his view and before his death in 1901 he repudiated 
the story completely. 

This matter is brought up at this time by re-publication, by 
the Oregon Pioneer Association, of Mr. Fiske's address, de- 
livered by him at Astoria, May 11, 1892; also by recent pub- 
lication of the Marshall work (Acquisition of Oregon) which 
dissects and destroys the "Whitman myth." Mr. Marshall was 
directly instrumental in changing the view of Mr. Fiske. Let- 
ters exchanged by them after 1892, discussing the subject, are 
in possession of Mr. C. B. Bagley of Seattle, publisher of the 
Marshall book, and have been read by the present writer. 

Mr. Fiske accepted the Whitman-saved-Oregon story in his 
address at Astoria; but the address as published in 1909 (Un- 
published Orations; Boston Bibliophile Society) is wholly re- 
vised and rewritten in the part relating to Whitman ; the orig- 
inal remarks are expunged and the substitute are expanded. 
The version as finally authorized by the historian eliminates the 
legend, dismisses as a "fiction of the imagination" the tale that 
Whitman "saved" Oregon by leading the migration of 1843. 
The revision is published by the Oregon Pioneer Association. 

This change of view in the historical eye of Mr. Fiske has 
important bearing on accepted facts and future researches into 
old Oregon annals. Mr. Fiske's Astoria address gave immense 
weight to the "legend." Lighter authorities found themselves 
somewhat flattened by the steam roller from Cambridge. But 
Mr. Fiske heard protests ; looked further ; reversed his earlier 
conclusions. Then unwilling to bequeath the error to posterity, 
he expunged it and rewrote his Astoria "speech." He calls 
Whitman faithful missionary and "martyr;" speaks of him 
sympathetically as a daring pioneer, pursuing the westward 


movement of his time, but withholds from him the title that 
the disputed story has conferred during half a century that 
of "empire saver." 

"We do well on this commemorative occasion," says the re- 
vised version, "to honor the faithful missionary who endured 
severe privations, braved great dangers, and fell a martyr to 
the missionary work to which he had devoted his life. But 
we should do him great injustice to ascribe to him projects 
of empire for which neither his words nor his acts give any 
warrant, which necessitate the appropriation to him of the 
labors of others and require an entire misreading of our diplo- 
matic history in regard to the history of Oregon." 

For the sake of true history it is fortunate that we have the 
corrected conclusions of Mr. Fiske, so clearly and strongly 
stated as they appear in the posthumous publication. 

In the original address the latter part, about 1300 words, is 
devoted to Whitman. In the revision this part is enlarged to 
4000 words and completely altered. 

The revision is changed from the original but little in other 
respects only in literary refinements of a word or a sentence 
now and then. The original was published in the Morning 
Oregonian of May 12, 1892, inserted in that paper by the late 
editor, H. W. Scott, who received it from Mr. George H. 
Himes, Secretary of the Oregon Pioneer Association, who ob- 
tained it from Mr. Fiske. The original compared with the 
revision bears evidences of hasty composition, and the part 
relating to Whitman shows immature investigation. Mr. Fiske 
accepted Barrows, Gray, and others before looking into the 
subject for himself. 

Mr. Fiske at Astoria repeated the "wagon-on-the-Columbia" 
story; said Hudson's Bay men discouraged immigration and 
barred wagon progress; told the tale of Whitman spurred by 
the Red River immigration in 1842 to make his "ride" to "save" 
Oregon in the Webster- Ashburton negotiations. Portrayed 
the nation as awakened by Whitman to the value of Oregon 
and the immigration of 1843 as actuated by him. These sev- 
eral myths have been disbelieved and disproved during many 


years by real admirers of Whitman who have regretted the 
false aspects that they gave the life and character of the heroic 
pioneer and missionary. The completest disproof is that of 
Professor William I. Marshall, recently published in two vol- 
umes by Lowman & Hanford Co. of Seattle. 

Mr. Marshall was a very persistent prober after facts of 
Oregon history and equally persistent in combating authors 
of the "legend." In 1895 he wrote Mr. Fiske a letter of eight 
pages, closely typewritten, exposing details of the "legend." 
This Mr. Fiske acknowledged with thanks and asked for more. 
Mr. Marshall later supplied Mr. Fiske with further information. 
It seems evident that Mr. Marshall gave Mr. Fiske much of 
the evidence on which he based the, revision of his Astoria 

The present writer, believing himself a faithful admirer of 
Whitman's character and work in the acquisition of Oregon, 
offers the foregoing for the sake of Whitman's place in verified 
history. The writer feels that the time is here when this sub- 
ject can be examined free from the controversy that has been 
urged during many years. 



MAY 11, 1892. 

"In that same year, 1832, four Flathead Indians made a pil- 
grimage to St. Louis, we are told, in search of the white man's 
book of salvation. What manner of patent medicine their sav- 
age head may have fancied the sacred volume to contain, 
whether it would give them ample hunting grounds or ward 
off the dreaded tomahawk and still more dreaded incantations 
of the next hostile tribe, it would be hard to say ; but the inci- 
dent attracted the attention of the American Board of Missions 
and led to the sending of missionaries to the Indians of Ore- 
gon. Among these the coming of the Reverend Henry Spald- 
ing and Doctor Marcus Whitman, with their wives, may be 
said to mark the beginning of a new era in the taking posses- 
sion of the country. It was in September, 1836, that they 
reached Fort Walla Walla, after their arduous journey. 

One of the most picturesque scenes in the early history of 


New England is the migration of Thomas Hooker and his 
church in June, 1635, from Cambridge, to the bank of the Con- 
necticut River, there they forthwith made the beginning of the 
town of Hartford. The picture of that earnest party in pur- 
suit of a lofty purpose a party of husbands and wives with 
their children, taking with them their cattle and their house- 
hold goods, and led by their sturdy pastor, a great founder of 
American democracy is a very pleasant one, Mrs. Hooker 
being in poor health, was carried all of the way on a litter. 
That was a pilgrimage of something more than one hundred 
miles, through a country not hard to traverse, under June 
skies. Much more striking and not less sweet is the picture 
of our little party of devoted missionaries two centuries later, 
making their toilsome way across this continent and threading 
the intricate mountain passage between the upper Missouri 
and the lower Columbia, Mrs. Spalding much of the time ill 
and sometimes so exhausted as to make her recovery seem 
doubtful. That journey stands out as typical of the bringing 
across these rugged Sierras, the home with all its sacred and 
tender associations ; and it will long live in history as it de- 
serves to. An incident especially marked it ; the resolute Whit- 
man brought his wagon all the way, up hill and down dale, in 
spite of rocks and bushes and whatever hindrances the forest 
could offer until the rattle of its wheels was heard upon the 
banks of the Columbia. 

With the obstinacy with which he clung to this wagon the 
Doctor had a purpose. There was a belief that the mountains 
which encompassed Oregon were impassable for wheeled vehi- 
cles. Doctor Whitman had now satisfied himself that this was 
not the case. What he had done once with a single wagon 
he could do again if need be with a hundred. It was well that 
the experiment had been tried. From 1838 to 1842 missionary 
parties and emigrant families kept coming to Oregon and for 
the most part abandoned their wagons at Fort Hall, as they 
were told it was impossible to take them over the Blue Moun- 
tains. In every way the agents of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany did their best to spread such reports and to discourage 
immigration. They lost no chance of asseverating that Oregon 
was not only inaccessible, but worthless when reached, at least 
so far as the needs of permanent settlers were concerned. The 
secret, however, was one that could not long be kept. It needed 
but a brief experience to teach the settlers that for agricultural 
purposes this country about the Columbia River was unsur- 


passed if not unequaled in America. As the truth grew upon 
men's minds more families came across the Blue Mountains, 
and presently the Hudson's Bay Company, thoroughly alarmed, 
made up its mind to abandon its old-time policy and try to 
beat the American settlers at their own game. Colonizers were 
to be brought from Canada in overwhelming numbers. It was 
in October, 1842, that Doctor Whitman heard of the approach 
of such a colony of 140 persons. In a moment he grasped the 
fact in all its relations. The Ashburton Treaty was in progress 
and there was a possibility that it might terminate the joint 
occupation of Oregon and surrender the American claim. No 
time was lost. At once the stout Doctor decided to ride to 
Washington and lay the case before Daniel Webster, Secretary 
of State, and take such further measures as would bring wagons 
over the mountains, not singly, but by the hundred. Our 
thoughts again revert to New England and to Paul Revere's 
famous midnight ride, a gallop of twenty miles over the high- 
way to send an alarm and forestall the British in their designs 
upon Concord. 

Marcus Whitman's ride was likewise to send an alarm. It 
was a ride to forestall Great Britain in grasping an imperial 
domain. It was a midwinter ride of four thousand miles 
through forest and desert and over frightful mountain passes, 
amid frequent peril of cold and famine and hostile savages. 
It will be cited hereafter, side by^ side with the prodigious foot 
journey of La Salle, among the grand and stirring events in 
American history. 

Striking far south into the Santa Fe trail, the Doctor 
reached St. Louis and thence made his way to bur Federal 
Capital, where he arrived in March, 1843. The Ashburton 
Treaty had been completed in the preceding August, before 
he had started on this long journey and fortunately it had left 
the Oregon question for future adjustment. That delay gave 
the United States an immense advantage when next the ques- 
tion came up. Whitman's untiring zeal made it known that 
on the Columbia River was an empire worth saving. When 
he started westward in June, 1843, to return to his wife and 
friends, he led a train of two hundred emigrant wagons, not 
to be left behind at Fort Hall, but to keep on their way over 
the Blue Mountains. It was the vanguard of the era of occu- 
pation. Before three years had elapsed, there was an Ameri- 
can population of nearly twelve thousand persons in Oregon, 
staunch men and women come to build up homes, the sturdy 
stuff of which a nation's greatness is made. 


Here we may fitly end the story, for the title of the Ameri- 
can people to the possession of the Oregon Territory, which 
was organized in the movement of the good ship Columbia, a 
century ago today, was practically consummated by the rush 
of immigrants half way between that time and the present, 
and when in the Treaty of 1846, the vast territory was amicably 
divided between Great Britain and the United States, we had 
little difficulty in keeping for ourselves the land upon which 
to erect the three goodly states of Oregon, Washington and 
Idaho, besides the section that fills out the contour of Montana, 
and when we look at this country now, with its climate un- 
surpassed in all America, its scenery rivaling that of Switzer- 
land or Italy, its noble forests, its fertile and smiling valleys, 
its boundless economical resources, and realize how all this has 
been made part of our common heritage, we are made to feel 
that the day we celebrate was indeed an auspicious day and 
worthy of an eminent place in our national calendar. All 
honor to the sagacious mariner who entered these waters a 
hundred years ago ! All honor to the brave pioneers whose 
labors and sufferings crowned the good work. Through long 
ages to come theirs shall be a sweet and shining memory." 


"In that same year (1832) four Flathead Indians made a pil- 
grimage to St. Louis, we are told,, in search of the white 
man's Book of Salvation. What manner of patent medicine 
their savage heads may have fancied the sacred volume to 
contain, whether it would give them ample hunting grounds or 
ward off the dreaded tomahawk and still more dreaded incan- 
tations of the next hostile tribe, it would be hard to say. But 
the incident attracted the attention of some religious enthusi- 
asts, and the vague plea of the Indians for help was put into 
a simple yet touching appeal for teachers to make known to 
them the white man's Book of Salvation. This appeal made a 
great impression upon two of the religious organizations of 
the country, the Methodists and the Presbyterians. The Meth- 
odists were the first to take action, and under the lead of Jason 
Lee, a type of the religious missionary and states-building 
pioneer, a Methodist mission was established in the Willam- 
ette Valley in 1834. In 1835 the American Board of Commis- 
sioners for Foreign Missions, the great missionary organization 
of the Congregationalists, Presbyterian and Dutch Reformed 
Churches an organization which has exerted a powerful influ- 


ence in the evangelization of the "waste places" of the earth 
became interested in the spiritual welfare of the Oregon In- 
dians and despatched the Rev. Samuel Parker and Dr. Marcus 
Whitman on an overland tour of exploration and observation 
to the Oregon territory. 

"Before they reached the territory they fell in with some re- 
turning traders and explorers, whose stories of Oregon and the 
Indians satisfied Parker and Whitman of the great need of a 
mission there; and for its more speedy establishment it was 
decided that Parker should go forward and locate, the region 
of the mission, while Whitman should return to the East for 
helpers, and should endeavor to bring out some families, in 
order to make the home the nucleus for practical missionary 
work. Early in 1836 we therefore find Dr. Whitman back in 
the East, accompanied by two Indian boys, earnestly engaged 
in spreading information in regard to the missionary field in 
Oregon, setting forth the great need of helpers, urging peo- 
ple to engage in the work as one of the highest forms of Chris- 
tian service, and making clear the ways and means of getting 

"It is not my purpose, nor is this the occasion, to enter upon 
the discussion of the value of the services rendered to the 
building up of civil government in these imperial common- 
wealths by the devoted Methodist and American Board mis- 
sionaries, who in advance of the great tide of immigration 
which rolled into the territory from 1842 to 1846, had settled 
and made their homes in the beautiful valleys of the Willamette 
and Walla Walla. They were indeed an heroic little band in 
this great widerness. 

"Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound 
Save his own dashings. 

"In 1839 the number of persons connected with the Metho- 
dist mission was seventy-seven, and the, number connected with 
the other missions was sixteen, with twenty more on the 
way. In 1842 the latter had broadened its work to three sta- 
tions Waiilatpu, Lapwai and Chemakane. Few as were the 
missionaries in numbers,, the missions themselves were radiat- 
ing points from which went forth steady streams of informa- 
tion to the people of the East in regard to the attractive cli- 
mate, the wonderful fertility of the soil and the great beauty 
of physical aspect. Then, too, when the great tide of immigra- 
tion set in, the missions became welcoming stations, sweet 
havens of rest to the hardy pioneers after their perilous jour- 
neys across the plains and over the mountains. If in their 


religious zeal the missionaries seemed to overlook the child- 
ish imperfections of the Indian's mind and tried to give him 
theological doctrines that were beyond his comprehension, 
the, while presenting him with a system of Christian ethics 
which they were openly violating by taking to themselves 
his choicest lands, let it pass. The day of scientific ethnology 
had not come, and the proper way to civilize aboriginal man 
was not yet comprehended. With all their shortcomings, we 
well may honor these devoted servants of Christ who, brav- 
ing every privation and danger that they might spread the 
gospel of salvation as they understood it, to the Indians, 
brought hither the Christian home and the school, and became 
no inconsiderable factors in wresting this fair and bounteous 
region from the hands of a giant monopoly. 

"It is in evidence that about 1839 the Catholics made their 
presence felt among the, Indians and the few Canadian set- 
tlers in the territory. The mystic rites of the Catholic service 
specially appealed to the Indian ; and the priests, by the sim- 
plicity of their lives and by evidencing no disposition to take 
possession of the country for the benefit of white settlers, easily 
ingratiated themselves with the Indians, thereby arousing the 
hostility of the missionaries, and thus there was injected into 
the early settlement of the territory somewhat of the religious 
strife between Catholics and Protestants which for centuries has 
been the disgrace of Christendom. The incidents of this strife 
need not detain us further than to remark that the Indians 
for whose spiritual good both parties were ostensibly striving, 
were more or less demoralized by the un-Christian conduct 
of their teachers ; and if in some instances they showed pref- 
erence for the Catholics, it must be considered that the Catho- 
lics were not appropriating their lands. 

"During this period neither the people nor the government 
of the United States were ignorant of, or idle in regard to, 
their interests in the Oregon territory. The report of the Lewis 
and Clark expedition, the diplomatic correspondence with Eng- 
land, the report of Commodore Wilkes, who visited the terri- 
tory in 1840, on his return from Japan ; the quite elaborate 
report of T. J. Farnham, who made extensive explorations in 
the, territory in 1840 in behalf of proposed immigration from 
Illinois, the discussions in Congress and the letters of the mis- 
sionaries, all had made known the exceeding richness of the 
territory and had aroused a widespread interest in it; and it 
was only waiting for the government to establish its author- 
ity in the territory by some understanding or treaty with 


England, for a great tide of immigration to get in motion for 
the region on the, Columbia River. 

"It has been often stated, and by persons who should have 
known the facts in the case, that in 1842, when the Webster- 
Ashburton treaty took place between England and the United 
States with reference to our northeastern boundary, the north- 
western boundary to the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast 
was deliberately put aside as of little consequence, and that 
our government then was so indifferent to the whole question 
that it stood ready to trade away our rights to the better por- 
tions of the Oregon Territory for some fishery considerations 
on the Atlantic Coast. Let us look at the facts. 

"It is a matter of common knowledge that between nations 
possessing extensive unexplored regions of coterminous ter- 
ritory and enjoying much commercial intercourse, there fre- 
quently arise international issues of varying degrees of impor- 
tance, which through prolonged negotiation get diplomatically 
grouped as a distinct and interrelated body of issues. The 
first treaty between England and the United States, in 1783, 
which had to be very general along main lines, left a number 
of questions of minor importance to be settled by the "logic 
of events" in the future intercourse between the two peoples 
who were henceforth to be independent of one another. Among 
the unsettled or undefined questions were : A definite boundary 
line between the Northern States and Canada; the rights of 
sovereignty on land and sea as between the two nations; the 
rendition of fugitives from justice; fishery rights along the At- 
lantic Coast; the right of search on board each other's ships, 
etc. These were prolific sources for disputes, and for over 
fifty years in fact, from the very beginning of our govern- 
ment some of the disagreements had existed, until the dip- 
lomatic intercourse between the two nations had become so 
completely befogged with the various projects and counter 
projects for their adjustment, that at the beginning of the ad- 
ministrations of Presidents Harrison and Tyler, in 1841, our 
foreign relations were in a very critical condition. Daniel Web- 
ster was Secretary of State. Wise, practical statesman that he 
was, he saw that the only way to a peaceful adjustment was 
by the balancing of equivalents ; that is, by giving and taking 
on both sides. To this end he reduced the related issues to 
the fewest number, and these to their vital points. He found 
the Oregon boundary among questions at issue. He saw that 
this was an issue wholly unrelated to the other and more press- 
ing ones, that it could afford to wait until its consideration 


could be taken up entirely independent of other issues and set- 
tled on its own merits ; that its introduction alongside the older 
and more pressing ones would inevitably lead to some unfavor- 
able compromise on the Oregon issue, itself, or compel an 
unfavorable compromise on the other issues in its behalf. 
He therefore rejected it entirely from consideration, and sub- 
sequent events fully justified his action in doing so. He was 
completely successful in adjusting the other issues in the 
memorable treaty of 1842; and four years later, when the 
Oregon Treaty came before the Senate, amicably proposing 
the forty-ninth parallel as the boundary line of the two govern- 
ments in the territory, Mr. Webster was there as Senator 
from Massachusetts to give the treaty his hearty support. The 
history of the diplomatic negotiations between England and 
the United States over the Oregon boundary question shows 
that our government from the beginning maintained that the 
forty-ninth parallel was the proper boundary line, and that 
the keynote of Mr. Webster's policy was this line and nothing 
else. The people of the region of the Columbia, therefore, owe 
a special debt of gratitude to Mr. Webster for his wisdom in 
keeping the Oregon question distinct from the unrelated issues 
with which he had to deal in the perplexing negotiations of 

"It would be pleasant on this occasion, if time permitted, to 
dwell upon some of the incidents and experiences of that great 
immigration into this territory which took place between 1841 
and 1846, when the sovereign title to this fair domain passed 
peacefully and permanently into the hands of the United States. 

"One of the most picturesque scenes in the early history 
of New England is the migration of Thomas Hooker and his 
church, in June, 1635, from Cambridge to the banks of the Con- 
necticut River, where they forthwith made the beginnings of 
the town of Hartford. The picture of that earnest party in 
pursuit of a lofty purpose, a party of husbands and wives with 
their children, taking with them their cattle and their house- 
hold goods and led by their sturdy pastor, the great founder 
of American democracy, is a very pleasant one. Mrs. Hooker 
being in poor health, was carried all the, way on a litter. That 
was a pilgrimage of something more than one hundred miles, 
through a country not hard to traverse, under June skies. This 
Massachusetts pilgrimage in behalf of civil and religious lib- 
erty has long been a theme on which historians and liberal- 
minded people have loved to dwell. But how insignificant it 
appears in comparison with the great pilgrimage to Oregon, 


which took place in 1843, and which virtually determined the 
destiny of this great region for all time to come ! The story 
of this pilgrimage is yet to be told. It comprised an organiza- 
tion of nearly a thousand persons gathered principally from 
the states bordering on the Mississippi. It was made up largely 
of families with their children, taking with them their house- 
hold goods and large numbers of horses and cattle. The jour- 
ney was one of over two thousand miles across arid plains, 
broad and rapid rivers and over almost impassable mountains. 
Viewed in its historic aspect this was not merely a move- 
ment of individuals intent upon bettering their material con- 
dition. It was all this and more. It was the carryine of social 
and political organization from the region of the Mississippi 
to the region of the Columbia, and laying the foundations for 
civil government in the three imperial commonwealths that 
were to be. 

"This great movement has suffered in its historic importance 
by being presented, not as the legitimate outgrowth of the so- 
cial and political activity of the time which was carrying the 
"Star of Empire" westward, but rather as the, result of the 
political labors of the American Board missionary Dr. Mar- 
cus Whitman that it was in fact but the culmination of his 
wise, far-seeing labors to save the territory from becoming ex- 
clusively a British possession through the machinations of the 
Hudson's Bay Company and the Catholics. So much has been 
written upon the "Saving of Oregon" by Dr. Whitman that a 
brief statement of his identification with the settlement of the, 
territory and the establishment of the sovereignty of the United 
States to it, is admissible here. x 

"We have seen that Dr. Whitman and Mr. Spalding, acting 
under the auspices of the American Board of Commissioners 
for Foreign Missions, established a mission to the Indians in 
the Walla Walla Valley in 1836. It is evident that early in 
1842 the Board was seriously exercised over the future of their 
mission. The Board was apprised of some dissensions within 
the mission itself, and of serious dangers surrounding it, aris- 
ing from the growing hostility of the Indians, which it was 
alleged was secretly abetted by the Catholic priests as well 
as by the roving trappers and adventurers in the territory. 
Then, too, the discussion of the Oregon question in Congress 
and by the press was bringing the settlement of the terri- 
tory, the establishment of civil government and the treatment 
of the Indians therein, into the, political arena, where it was 
felt that the mission had no place. Accordingly, the officers 


wisely decided to curtail the mission, with the evident pur- 
pose of withdrawing it altogether. In the spring of 1842 in- 
structions were sent to Dr. Whitman to give up two of his 
stations, to have Mr. Spalding return to the East, and to con- 
centrate the remaining mission force at one station. 

"Dr. Whitman received these instructions in the latter part of 
September, 1842. He was greatly exercised over them. He at 
once called a council of his co-workers and laid before them 
the instructions of the board. The majority were at first in 
favor of complying with the orders of the Board, but Dr. 
Whitman took decided ground against such action. The peo- 
ple in Boston did not understand the situation. Great efforts 
and sacrifices had been made to establish the missions, and it 
was never so much needed as now, with the Papists active 
among the Indians, trying to undo the work that had been 
done, and the tide of immigration that was to control the des- 
tiny of the territory just setting in. The force of the mis- 
sion should be increased rather than diminished ; it should have 
an additional preacher, with the addition of five to ten Chris- 
tian laymen, the latter to look after the material or business 
interests of the, mission in dealing with the Indians and the 
immigrants. Dr. Whitman was a resolute, forceful man. He 
closed the discussion by announcing his purpose to start at 
once to Boston to present his views to the Board before any 
definite action was taken upon the instructions. His asso- 
ciates, seeing his determination, reluctantly acquiesced in his 
plan, which involved a perilous Winter journey over the moun- 
tains. This did not dishearten the resolute Doctor, and on the 
3d of October, 1842, he set out on his journey. It was one 
of great privations and many hair-breadth escapes. He reached 
Boston the last of March, 1843. There is some, question as to 
the manner of his reception by the officers of the Board. It 
would appear that his disobedience of orders and his crossing 
the continent to challenge in person the wisdom of the Board 
was not regarded with entire favor. It is said that his recep- 
tion was chilly and that the Board refused to pay the expenses 
of the trip. Be that as it may, he, succeeded in getting a sus- 
pension of the order recalling Mr. Spalding and curtailing the 
mission stations, and he was authorized to secure additional 
Christian laymen to assist in the practical work of the mis- 
sion, providing this could be done "without expense to the 
Board or any connection with it." It does not appear that he 
succeeded in getting any addition to the missionary force. 


"While in the East Dr. Whitman visited Washington. In 
view of the very great interest in Oregon, his evident purpose 
was to lay before the proper authorities his conclusions, de- 
rived from his experience, as to the practicability of a wagon 
route to the Columbia; and also to urge the desirability of the 
government establishing a mail route from the Missouri to the 
Columbia, with government posts or stations along the way, 
not only for protecting and aiding the immigrants, but also 
for the purpose of extending a measure of civil government 
over the vast region between these two rivers. In returning 
Dr. Whitman joined, in May, 1843, the great immigrant expe- 
dition to which I have, referred and which he found com- 
pletely organized and on its way when he reached the Missouri 
River. That he freely rendered valuable assistance to this 
expedition as pilot and counsellor during its long and arduous 
journey is not questioned. Such service was entirely consistent 
with his robust Christian character. But the claim put for- 
ward, many years after his death, that this whole expedition 
was the direct outgrowth of his efforts to save Oregon, that he 
organized it and heroically led it, with all its impedimenta 
of horses, cattle and wagons, that he might demonstrate to a 
doubting government at Washington the entire feasibility of 
such an undertaking, is wholly a fiction of the imagination. 
This expedition was the outgrowth of the westward movement 
of the American people in the development of their social and 
political life, and it would have occurred just as it did had 
Dr. Whitman never been born. 

"The trip of Dr. Whitman to the East was not without its 
direful effects upon Dr. Whitman himself. His return, accom- 
panied by such an army of occupation to appropriate their 
lands, aroused to greater fury than ever the bitter fury of 
the Indians. He became a marked man for vengeance. His 
God could not be on the Indians' side. In spite of sullen dis- 
content and warnings, he and his devoted wife struggled val- 
iantly at their post for four long years, when they were bru- 
tally murdered by the very Indians they were endeavoring to 
uplift and to save, and the mission came to an end. 

"We do well on this commemorative occasion to honor the 
faithful missionary who endured severe privations, braved great 
dangers and fell a martyr to the missionary work to which 
he had devoted his life. But we should do him great injus- 
tice to ascribe to him projects of empire for which neither 
his words nor his acts give any warrant, which necessitate 
the appropriation to him of the labors of others and require 


an entire misreading of our diplomatic history in regard to 
the territory of Oregon. 

"To return to the immigration of 1843. After four months' 
arduous journey, this vanguard of the great army of occu- 
pation that was to follow, with its convoy of horses and cattle, 
reached Oregon, and its numbers spread themselves over the 
valleys of the lower Columbia and immediately set to work 
in true American fashion to establish homes and schools and 
to organize a provisional government of their own. Among 
them were a number of persons of great force of character, 
who gave the impress of their personalities upon the religious. 
industrial and political development of the territory. Having 
shown the way, and having demonstrated the complete feasi- 
bility of an overland route to Oregon, they were followed by 
other hardy pioneers from the States, and before three more 
years had passed there was an American population in the 
territory of over twelve thousand persons no miscellaneous 
rabble of adventurers, but staunch and self-respecting men and 
women, come to build up homes the sturdy stuff of which a 
nation's greatness is made. 

"Here we come to the end of the story, for the title of the 
American people to the possession of the Oregon territory 
which was originated in the movements of the good ship Colum- 
bia a century ago was practically consummated by the rush of 
immigrants half-way between that time and the present. Title 
(in full measure) by occupation was thus added to title by dis- 
covery, and when in 1846 the question of sovereignty again 
came up for consideration between Great Britain and the 
United States the great territory was amicably divided and we 
had little difficulty in keeping for ourselves the land upon 
which to erect the three goodly states of Oregon, Washington 
and Idaho, besides the section that fills out the contour of 
Montana and Wyoming. 

"Perhaps no one who has not visited this glorious country 
can adequately feel the significance of these beginnings of its 
history. When one has spent some little time in this cli- 
mate unsurpassed in all America and looked with loving eye 
upon scenery rivaling that of Italy and Switzerland ; when one 
has sufficiently admired the purple mountain ranges, the snow- 
clad peaks, the green and smiling valleys, the giant forests ; 
when one has marvelled at the multifarious and boundless eco- 
nomic resources and realizes how all this has been made a part 
of our common heritage as Americans, one feels that this latest 
chapter in the discovery and occupation of our continent 


is by no means the least important. All honor to the saga- 
cious mariner who first sailed upon these waters a century ago ! 
And all honor to the brave pioneers whose labors and suffer- 
ings crowned the, work! Through long ages to come, theirs 
shall be a sweet and shining memory." 



Introductory note on the occasion of the Slacum Mission, 
the most helpful influence he exerted during his very brief 
stay in Oregon and the matters emphasized in his report. 

Just what impelled President Jackson in November, 1835, to 
seize an opportunity "to obtain some specific and authentic 
information in regard to the inhabitants of the country in the 
neighborhood of the Oregon or Columbia river" is not yet 
clear. Bancroft connects this move by the national executive 
with the publication by Hall J. Kelley of an account of the 
hardships suffered by Americans in Oregon through measures 
of the Hudson's Bay officials, represented as arbitrary and 
cruel; Marshall suggests that Captain Bonneville's report on 
this region at this time may have occasioned this step at 
Washington; the investigations of Dr. J. R. Wilson led him 
to look upon this effort of President Jackson to get light on 
the situation in Oregon as bound up with his larger scheme 
of acquisition of territory in the southwest, stretching from 
Texas to and including the harbor of San Francisco. Doctor 
Wilson came to this conclusion because Jackson's interest in 
this direction had in the first instance been aroused by letters 
from Slacum. The scope and character of the report suggest 
that the author had a pretty clear and full appreciation of all 
the vital American interests in the Oregon situation in the 

"A full and accurate report" . . . "in regard to the 
country and its inhabitants" was desired, one including "all 
such information, political, physical, statistical and geograph- 
ical as [might] prove useful and interesting to this govern- 
ment." Neither the magnitude of the task imposed, the failure 
of the government to supply an outfit, nor the mishaps encoun- 


tered in entering upon his mission deterred Slacum. He seems 
to have advanced a large part, if not all, of the funds neces- 
sary for the undertaking. 

The data he succeeded in collecting during some twenty days 
while he was on land in Oregon were repeatedly used in later 
committee reports to both the Senate and the House, "and 
referred to in debates in both houses as of the highest value." 

While he was commissioned simply to observe what the 
situation in Oregon was, he seized every opportunity to im- 
prove conditions and was the leading factor in bringing the 
Oregon community up so that it was upon a higher plane 
because of his few days of wholesome functioning there. The 
success of the Oregon Cattle Company's undertaking made 
for peace as well as plenty. In bringing about an understand- 
ing, good will and co-operation, where feud, defiance and de- 
structive tactics were developing, Slacum's visit to Oregon was 
a veritable godsend. Not the least of his good offices to the 
community was the assurance he gave the "Canadians" that 
their pre-emption rights would be recognized by the American 

What far-reaching national interests demanded did not es- 
cape him. He emphasized as strongly as Wilkes was to en- 
force a few years later the vital necessity of retaining Puget 
Sound as an American possession. 

A mission like his into a region dominated by the representa- 
tives of another nation made his status not far different from 
that of a spy. Word of his coming gave this suggestion to 
those in authority at Fort Vancouver. Nevertheless, his bear- 
ing was such as put him immediately on terms of mutual defer- 
ence with them. The many courtesies he, enjoyed from them 
did not make him forget his duty to report faithfully those 
elements in the Oregon situation affecting American interests 
there, however much the seamy side thus brought to view re- 
flected on the magnanimity of the Hudson's Bay Company 

The fearful handicap put upon American enterprise on the 
Columbia by their monopoly tactics ; their introduction of tar- 


iff-free goods into distinctively American territory ; their coun- 
tenancing of Indian slavery ; their exploitation of the fur-bear- 
ing resources of the region south of the Columbia, and the 
condition of commercial tutelage in which the tribes were 
held all these things were pointed out as they were matters 
of vital concern to the authorities at Washington responsible 
for the welfare of the American citizen. 

We all regret that he omitted a graceful and generous rec- 
ognition of the aid given the Cattle Company by Dr. Mc- 
Loughlin something in the same vein as was his assurance 
that Captain Domines with the Owyhee was saved from an 
attack through the intervention of McLoughlin. 

Sen. Ex. Doc. 24, 25th Congress, 2d Session, Vol. I. 





Compensation For His Services in Obtaining Information in 
Relation to the Settlements on the Oregon River. 

DECEMBER 18, 1837. 

Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, and 
Ordered to Be Printed. 

To the Senate and House of Representatives- of the United 
States of America in Congress Assembled: 

The memorial of William A. Slacum. 

That he is a purser in the navy of the United States; that 
on the 12th of November, 1835, he received the communication 
(marked A) which accompanies this memorial, from the Sec- 
retary of State, by the direction of the President of the United 
States, charging him with the performance of a certain "com- 
mission" therein specified, to-wit. : "To obtain some specific 
and authentic information in regard to the inhabitants of the 
country in the neighborhood of the Oregon, or Columbia river ; 


and, generally, endeavor to obtain all such information, polit- 
ical, physical, statistical, and geographical as may prove useful 
or interesting to this Government." 

That, on the 1st of June, 1836, your memorialist commenced 
to perform this commission. He left Guaymas, which is situ- 
ated near the head of the Gulf of California, on that day, and 
proceeded to Petic. He arrived there on the 4th of the same 
month, and purchased mules, provisions, &c., for his journey 
to the Columbia river. These preparations being made, he 
was informed by the best authority that the land route to the 
Columbia was, at that season of the year, impracticable. (See 
letter No. 1.) Accordingly, he was compelled to abandon that 
attempt,, and he returned to Guaymas, in the hope of being 
able to procure a vessel, by which to effect his object. There, 
so anxious was your memorialist to fulfil the trust confided to 
him, he chartered the only vessel he could procure, being a 
small boat of 12 tons burden, (and which had formerly been 
the long-boat of the ship James Monroe, of New York,) and 
in her he set sail for the Columbia river, on the 7th of July, 
1836. (See letter No. 2.) After navigating about 400 miles 
in this frail boat, having been out in her 19 days, and been 
well-nigh lost, your memorialist was forced to put into Mazat- 
lan in distress, and there abandon her. (See letter No. 3.) 
At the latter place your memorialist heard that a vessel was 
lying at La-Paz, Lower California, that was soon to sail for 
the Sandwich islands. This being now the only hope left of 
accomplishing his mission that year, your memorialist deter- 
mined to proceed to the Sandwich islands in her, and there 
procure, if possible, a vessel to go into the Columbia. Accord- 
ingly, he sailed from La-Paz on the 10th October, (see letter 
No. 4,) and reached the Sandwich islands the 5th of Novem- 
ber following. There he chartered the American brig Loriot, 
and set sail for the Columbia on the 24th of the same month. 
(See letter No. 5.) He arrived in the Columbia river on the 
22d of December, 1836. 

Your memorialist here begs leave to refer your honorable 
body to his memoir, which accompanies this memorial, (marked 


B,) and which contains a full and true account of all that 
transpired during his presence in the Columbia river and its 
tributaries. It ? together with the maps and charts which are 
herewith presented, and which make a part of the said memoir, 
comprises the result of your memorialist's laborious and peril- 
ous mission. 

Having made this narrative of his operations, your memor- 
ialist begs leave to submit the following considerations to your 
notice, : 

1st. This undertaking was not in the tenor of his official 
duties. He was charged with its performance by the Presi- 
dent's direction, through the Department of State. 

2d. Although "the necessary and reasonable expenses" at- 
tending this mission were promised to be paid by the Govern- 
ment, your memorialist regrets to state, that engagement has 
not been entirely fulfilled. In the settlement of his accounts at 
the proper department, considerable deductions have been 
made, and refused to be allowed, from the amount of actual 
expenses paid by your memorialist, and which he humbly thinks 
ought to be allowed and repaid to him. (See papers marked 
C, and letters Nos. 6 and 7.) 

3d. Your memorialist has not submitted any account against 
the Government for the expenses of preparing for the land 
journey to the Columbia river. He has exhibited no account 
for the freight, insurance, or interest of the moneys devoted 
by him to the public service; nor has he charged the United 
States with the money which he thought it prudent and politic 
to expend in presents to the natives, and others whom he 
visited. (Paper marked D contains the probable amount of 
these expenses.) 

All the above-mentioned charges and expenses, which were 
incurred and paid by your memorialist for the benefit solely 
of his Government, he has not presented against it, because he 
had reasonably expected that the President, in consideration 
of the services he had rendered, would have made him a suit- 
able compensation. 


In this expectation your memorialist has been disappointed, 
and therefore he presents this memorial to your honorable 
body, with the, request that, if you approve his services, you 
will indemnify him for the actual expenses he has paid in per- 
forming them ; and will also make him whatever remuneration 
you may deem those services to merit from the Congress of 
the United States. And as in duty bound, your memorialist 
will ever pray, &c. 



Washington, November 11, 1835. 

SIR: Having understood that you are about to visit the 
Pacific ocean, the President has determined to avail himself of 
the opportunity thus afforded, to obtain some specific and 
authentic information in regard to the inhabitants of the coun- 
try in the neighborhood of the Oregon or Columbia river. In the 
belief that you will willingly lend your services in the prosecu- 
tion of this object, I now give you, by the President's direction, 
such general instructions as may be necessary for your guid- 
ance, in the execution of the proposed commission. 

Upon your arrival on the northwest coast of America, you 
will embrace the earliest opportunity to proceed to and up 
the river Oregon, by such conveyances as may be thought to 
offer the greatest facilities for attaining the ends in view. 
You will, from time to time, as they occur in your progress, 
stop at the different settlements of whites on the coast of the 
United States, and on the banks of the river, and also at the 
various Indian villages on the banks, or in the immediate 
neighborhood of that river ; ascertain, as nearly as possible, 
the population of each; the relative number of whites (dis- 
tinguishing the nation to which they belong) and aborigines ; 
the jurisdiction the whites acknowledge; the sentiments enter- 
tained by all in respect to the United States, and to the two 
European powers having possessions in that region ; and, gen- 
erally, endeavor to obtain all such information, political, physical, 
statistical, and geographical, as may prove useful or interesting 


to this Government. For this purpose it is recommended that 
you should whilst employed on this service, keep a journal, 
in which to note down whatever may strike you as worthy of 
observation, and by the, aid of which you will be enabled, when 
the journey is completed, to make a full and accurate report 
to this department of all the information you may have col- 
lected in regard to the country and its inhabitants. 

Your necessary and reasonable travelling expenses will be 
paid from the beginning of your journey from the coast of the 
Pacific to the Columbia river,, and till your return to this city. 
Vouchers, in all cases where it may be practicable to get them, 
will be required in the settlement of your account at the 
Treasury Department. 

I am, sir, your obedient servant, 




March 26, 1837. 

SIR: My letters from Guaymas, Mazatlan, and San Bias, up 
to the 10th of October Iast 4 will have acquainted you with the 
difficulties I encountered in endeavoring to get to the Columbia 
river by the route along the seacoast from Lower California, 
and also of my intention to proceed to the Sandwich islands to 
purchase a vessel to take me into the Columbia. 

From information I received at Oahu, I considered it neces- 
sary to have a vessel under my entire control, in order to be 
independent of the Hudson Bay Company, (who have abso- 
lute authority over the inhabitants on either side of the river, 
and from whom alone the commonest wants or supplies could 
be procured;) at the same time to have a shelter under the 
flag of my country, from whence I might hold communica- 
tions with the Indians and whites, and obtain the information 
required in the "Instructions" I had the honor to receive from 
the Department of State, of November 11, 1835. I have now 


the honor to communicate the following account of my pro- 
ceedings, and the result of my observations. 

I left Oahu in the American brig Loriot on the 24th of 
November last, and on the 22d of December made Cape Disap- 
pointment, the northern point of entrance to the Columbia. 
The wind was high from the westward, and the bar presented 
a terrific appearance, breaking entirely across the channel from 
the north to the south shoals. The wind blowing directly on 
shore, and^ believing it would be impossible to work off 
against the heavy westwardly swell, we attempted the passage 
at twelve M., and crossed the bar safely, in not less than five 
fathoms, and anchored, at two o'clock, in Baker's bay. 

I am thus particular because the idea generally , prevails that 
the bar of the Columbia should never be crossed when it breaks. 
In the afternoon the wind strengthened to a gale but we were 
completely sheltered by Cape Disappointment. 

About eight o'clock at night we were visited by a large canoe, 
containing twelve Indians of the Chenook tribe. The princi- 
pal chief, Chenamus, and his wife, were of the party; they 
brought us wild fowl, ducks, geese, &c. The first question 
Chenamus asked on coming on board was "Is this King George 
or Boston ship?" Chenamus told us two vessels were lying 
at Fort George, distant fourteen miles, on the opposite side of 
the bay. 

It was late in the afternoon of the 23d before we weighed, 
when we stood up the bay towards Fort George. We anchored 
at night opposite the fort, (at the entrance of the river formed 
by Chenook point and Point George,) distant five miles. 

Early on the morning of the 24th, I crossed over in the boat 
to the fort, and found the ships alluded to by the Indians were 
the Hudson Bay Company's ships Nereide and Llama, both 
loaded and ready for sea; the former with the, annual supply 
of goods suitable for the Indian trade at the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany's depots along the coast at the north, from Pugitt's sound 
in 47 30' north, to Fort Simpson, in 54 40' north ; the latter 
with a valuable cargo of British manufactures, bound to St. 
Francisco, California. Ascertained the, Hudson Bay Company's 


ship "Columbia" crossed the bar on the 26th of November, 
bound to London, with a valuable cargo of furs and peltries, 
valued at ;80,000 $380,000. 

On the morning of the 25th, John Birnie, the Hudson Bay 
Company's trader at Fort George, doubtless with a view to 
inform the chief factors (Messrs. McLaughlin and Finlayson) 
of the appearance of the Loriot, despatched a canoe to Fort 
Vancouver. I availed myself of this opportunity to write to 
Mr. Finlayson, (a gentleman whom I had known formerly at 
the Sandwich islands,) requesting him to send me down a pilot 
and a stove, if to be procured at the fort. 

The wind favoring, on the 26th we stood up the river, but 
made little progress against a strong current; the wind falling 
light, at night we were compelled to anchor. 

On the 31st I received an answer from Mr. Finlayson, (by 
the pilot whom he sent down,) giving me a polite invitation to 
visit Fort Vancouver was told that Mr. Douglass, one of the 
partners of the Hudson Bay Company, had come down the 
river. That gentleman, however, proceeded to Fort George by 
an inside passage; and I afterwards understood the chief object 
in his coming down was to inquire into the cause of my visit, as 
it was already known that the Loriot had no cargo on board, 
ing up against the wind, with but few hours slack tide; but 

Up to this period we had made but little headway in work- 
this favored my landing daily, and visiting every Indian lodge 
and village on the river, from "Chenook" to "Oak point." 

The next day, Mr. Douglass, returning from Fort George, 
called aboard the Loriot, and repeated the invitation given me 
by Mr. Finlayson, to visit Fort Vancouver; and, as there was 
but one more Indian settlement between this point and the 
Hudson Bay Company's establishment at Vancouver, I em- 
barked with Mr. Douglass, in his canoe, with nine "Canadian 
voyaguers" [Sic]. We made about fifty miles in twenty-four 
hours, and landed next day at the fort, where I met a hospitable 
reception from Dr. John McLaughlin and Mr. Duncan Fin- 


Political and statistical. State of the country. In 1670, a 
charter of Charles the 2d granted an exclusive trade to the 
governors and company of adventurers of London, trading into 
Hudson's bay. They were to have the sole trade and commerce 
of and to all the seas, bays and straights [Sic], creeks, lakes, 
rivers, and sounds, in whatsoever latitude, that lie within the 
straights commonly called Hudson's straights together with all 
the lands, countries, and territories upon the coasts of such 
seas, bays, and straights, which were possessed by any English 
subject, or subjects of any other Christian State together with 
the fishing for all sorts of fish, of whales, sturgeon, and all other 
royal fish, with the royalty of the seas. As late as 1825, this 
extensive charter had not received any parliamentary confirma- 
tion or sanction. 

In consequence of the many difficulties and quarrels between 
the Northwest and Hudson Bay Companies, the British Govern- 
ment compelled them to merge their stock into one company, 
and they are now called the Hudson Bay Company. This 
coalition took place in 1821. It is therefore under the charter 
of the Northwest Company, if such exists, that the Hudson 
Bay Company now claim the exclusive right to, and the trade 
and commerce of, all the country from the north bank of the 
Columbia river, to 54 40' north, along the coast of the North 
Pacific ocean, and from thence of all the country within three 
marine leagues of the coast to the Frozen or Arctic sea. 

In 1818, when Fort George (Astoria) was formally given 
up by Captain Hickey, of his British Majesty's ship Blossom, 
and Judge Prevost and Captain Biddle, the American commis- 
sioners, had placed the customary placards declaratory of the 
event on Cape Disappointment and Point George, the question 
would scarcely have been asked by any of his British Majesty's 
subjects to whom the country of right belonged. Soon after 
the departure of the United States ship Ontario, Captain Biddle, 
the buildings at Fort George were destroyed by fire. It is said 
the act was commited by the Indians, who likewise took away 
the placards put up by the American commissioners. 


The Northwest Company being at this time established at 
Fort George, (having purchased of Mr. John Jacob Astor, of 
New York, his interest in his trading establishment, called by 
him Astoria,) continued to trade with the Indians, and built a 
trading-house near the site of the old fort. This was kept up, 
first by the Northwest, and since by the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany, to the present day. For several years previously to the 
coalition, however, the interior trade of both companies had 
become materially lessened by their vicious and destructive 
opposition to each other ; but from this period, the coalition, in 
1821, the now Hudson Bay Company have extended their enter- 
prises over an extent of country almost incalculable. 

I shall endeavor to point out the enterprise of this company, 
and the influence they exercise over the Indian tribes within 
our acknowledged lines of territory, and their unauthorized 
introduction of large quantities of British goods within the 
territorial limits of the United States. 

Fort Vancouver, the principal depot of the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany west of the, Rocky mountains, stands on a gentle acclivity, 
four hundred yards from the shore, on the north bank of the 
Columbia, or Oregon river, about 100 miles from its mouth. 
The principal buildings are enclosed by a picket forming an 
area of 750 by 450 feet. Within the pickets, there are thirty- 
four buildings of all descriptions, including officers' dwelling- 
houses, workshops for carpenters, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, 
coopers, tinners, &c., all of wood except the magazine for pow- 
der which is of brick ; outside and very near the fort there are 
forty-nine cabins for laborers and mechanics, a large and com- 
modious barn, and seven buildings attached thereto ; a hospital 
and large boat house on the shore, six miles above the fort. On 
the north bank,, the Hudson Bay Company have erected a saw- 
mill on a never-failing stream of water that falls into the 
Columbia ; cuts 2,000 to 2,400 feet of lumber daily ; employs 28 
men, chiefly Sandwich Islanders, and ten yoke of oxen ; depth 
of water, fours fathoms at the mill where the largest ships of 
the company take in their cargoes for the Sandwich islands 

186 DOCUMENT ',''. 

The farm at Vancouver contains, at this time, about 3,000 
acres of land, fenced and under cultivation, employing gener- 
ally 100 men chiefly Canadians and half-breed Iroquois; the 
mechanics are Europeans. These, with the factors, traders, 
clerks, and domestics, may be estimated at thirty. The laborers 
and mechanics live outside the fort in good log cabins two or 
three families generally under one roof; and as nearly every 
man has a wife, or lives with an Indian or half-breed woman, 
and as each family has from two to five slaves, the whole num- 
ber of persons about Vancouver may be estimated at 750 to 800 
souls. The police of the establishment is as strict as in the best 
regulated military garrison. The men are engaged for the 
term of five years, at the rate of 17 to 15 per annum; but, as 
the exchange is reduced to currency at the rate of five shillings 
to the dollar, the pound sterling is valued at $4; hence, the 
price of labor is $5 66J to $6 66| per month. 

The ration consists of eight gallons of potatoes and eight 
salt salmon a week per man, in winter, and peas and tallow in 
summer ; no bread or meat allowed by the company at any time. 
Out of this ration, each man has to support himself and family, 
or make his Indian slaves hunt and fish for their support. 

The farm at Vancouver has produced this year, 8,000 bushels 
of wheat, 5,500 bushels of barley, 6,000 bushels of oats, 
9,000 bushels of peas, 14,000 bushels of potatoes, besides large 
quantities of turnips, (rutabaga,) pumpkins, &c. About 6,000 
bushels of wheat, of the old crop, remain on hand this year. 

Stock consists of about 1,000 head of neat cattle, 700 hogs, 
200 sheep, 450 to 500 horses, and 40 yoke of working oxen. 
There is a large threshing machine, distillery, (not at present 
in operation,) and a grist-mill. In short, the farm is abundant- 
ly supplied with all the requisite utensils for a much larger 
establishment ; and it will be much increased the ensuing year. 
A thriving orchard is also planted ; the apple, quince, pears, and 
the grape grow well. 

Trades, &c. A large ship arrives annually from London, 
and discharges at Vancouver; cargo, chiefly coarse woollens, 
cloths, baizes, and blankets ; hardware, cutlery, calicoes, cottons ; 


and cotton handkerchiefs; tea,, sugar, coffee, and cocoa; to- 
bacco, soap, beads, guns, powder, lead, rum, playing cards, 
boots, shoes, ready-made clothing, &c., &c. ; besides every 
description of sea stores, canvass [Sic], cordage, paints, oils, 
chains and chain cable, anchors, &c., to refit the company's ships 
that remain on the coast. These are the ship Nereide, the brig 
Llama, the schooner Cadborough, and sloop Broughton; the 
steamboat Beaver, of 150 tons, two engines of thirty horse 
power each, built in London last year. These vessels are all 
well armed and manned; the crews are engaged in England, 
to serve five years, at 2 per month for seamen. The London 
ship, with the annual supply, usually arrives in the Columbia 
in early spring, discharges, and takes a cargo of lumber to the 
Sandwich islands; returns in August to receive the furs that 
are brought to the depot (Fort Vancouver) once a year, from 
the interior, via the Columbia river, from the Snake country, 
and from the American rendezvous west of the Rocky moun- 
tains, and from as far south as St. Francisco, in California. 
Whilst one of the, company's vessels brings in the collections of 
furs and peltries made at the different depots along the coast 
at the north, (see map,) the steamboat is now being employed 
in navigating those magnificent straights from Juan de Fuca 
to Stickeen. Immense quantities of furs, sea otter, beaver, 
martin and sable can be collected along the shores of these bays 
and inlets. The chief traders at Nasquallah, in 47 30', Fort 
Langley, in 49 50', Fort McLaughlin, in 52 10', Fort Simpson, 
in 54 40' north purchase all the furs and peltries from the 
Indians in their vicinity and as far as New Caledonia in the 
interior, and supply them with guns, powder, lead, tobacco, 
beads, &c. ; all of which supplies are taken from the principal 
depot at Fort Vancouver. 

An express, as it is called, goes out in March, annually, from 
Vancouver, and ascends the Columbia 900 miles in batteaux. 
One of the chief factors or chief traders, takes charge of the 
property, and conveys to York factory, on Hudson's bay, the 
annual returns of the business conducted by the Hudson Bay 
Company west of the Rocky mountains, in the Columbia dis- 


trict. This party likewise conveys to the different forts along 
the route, (see map,) goods suitable to the Indian trade; other 
parties take up supplies, as they may be required, to Walla- 
wallah, 250 miles above Vancouver; to Colville, 600 miles 
above; to the fort at the junction of Lewis's river, 700 miles 
above; and to the south to the Fort McRoys, on the river 
Umpqua, in latitude 43 50' north: and last year, chief trader 
McLeod took up to the American rendezvous, in about latitude 
43 north, a large supply of British manufactures. This as- 
semblage of American trappers and hunters takes place annually 
on the western side of the Rocky mountains, generally in the 
month of July, and amounts from 450 to 500 men, who bring 
the result of their year's labor to sell to the American fur 
traders. These persons purchase their supplies for the trappers 
at St. Louis; though, after being subject to the duties on these 
articles, (chiefly of British manufacture,) they transport their 
goods about 1,400 miles by land, to sell to citizens of the United 
States within our acknowledged lines of territory. Last year, 
they met a powerful opponent, in the agent of this foreign 
monopoly, chief trader McLeod, who could well afford to 
undersell the American fur trader on his own ground first, 
by having the advantage of water communication on the Colum- 
bia and Lewis's rivers for a distance of 700 to 800 miles ; and, 
secondly, by introducing the goods free of duty, which is equal 
to at least twenty-five to thirty per centum : but a greater evil 
than this exists in the influence the, Hudson Bay Company 
exercises over the Indians, by supplying them with arms and 
ammunition, which may prove, at some future period, highly 
dangerous to our frontier settlements. Besides this the policy 
of this company is calculated to perpetuate the institution of 
slavery, which now exists, and is encouraged, among all the 
Indian tribes west of the Rocky mountains. 

I shall refer to this more particularly hereafter. From what 
I have seen, I feel perfectly satisfied that no individual enter- 
prise can compete with this immense foreign monopoly estab- 
lished in our own waters; for instance, an American vessel, 
coming from New York or Boston to trade on the northwest 


coast or the Columbia, would bring a cargo chiefly of British 
manufactures, on which the duties had been paid; or, if the 
cargo was shipped for drawback, the vessel would have to enter 
some other port to discharge and reload, in order to get the 
benefit of the debenture certificates ; whereas the Hudson Bay 
Company's vessels come direct from London, discharge at 
Vancouver, pay no duty, nor are they subject to the expense 
and delay of discharging and reloading in a foreign port. 

Since the year 1828, a party of forty to fifty trappers, (Cana- 
dians,) with their women, slaves, &c., generally amounting to 
150 to 200 persons and 300 horses, go out from Vancouver, 
towards the south, as far as 40 north latitude, These parties 
search every stream, and take every beaver skin they find, 
regardless of the destruction of the young animals: excesses, 
too, are unquestionably committed by these hunting parties on 
the Indians; and every small American party (save one) that 
has passed through the same country has met defeat and death. 
The parties being much smaller than those of the Hudson Bay 
Company, the Indians attack them with success; and the 
Americans hesitate not to charge the subordinate agents of the 
Hudson Bay Company with instigating the Indians to attack 
all other parties. 

In 1829, the American brig Owyhee, Captain Domines, of 
New York, entered the Columbia, and commenced trading with 
the Indians for beaver skins and peltries. In the course of nine 
months Captain Domines procured a cargo valued at ninety- 
six thousand dollars. It happened that this year the fever that 
has since desolated the Columbia from the, falls to Oak point 
appeared, and Dr. McLaughlin, the chief factor of the Hudson 
Bay Company, with all the gravity imaginable, informed me 
the Indians to this day believe that Domines, of the "Boston 
ship" brought the fever to the river. How easy was it for the 
Hudson Bay Company's agents to make the Indians believe 
this absurdity, for reasons, too, the most obvious! Domines 
was daily assailed with reports that the Indians intended at- 
tacking him when his vessel was lying at the rapids of the 
Willhamett, alias the "Maltonomah," of Lewis and Clark. The 



Rev. Jason Lee told me Dr. McLaughlin had informed him 
that the principal chief of the Willhamett tribe had proposed to 
cut off the Owyhee, doubtless thinking it would prove agree- 
able to the Hudson Bay Company. Dr. McLaughlin, of course, 
forbid the measure. 

The Indians are taught to believe that no vessel but the 
"Company's" ships are allowed to trade in the river ; and most 
of them are afraid to sell their skins but at Vancouver or Fort 
George ; of this I had positive evidence from the Indians them- 
selves, as well as from a remark made by chief trader, McLeod, 
aboard the "Llama" in Baker's bay. It was mentioned in the 
course of conversation that a Madam "Perand," wife of one of 
the Canadian settlers on the Willhamett, had just come in with 
twenty to thirty fine beaver skins. Some one of the party re- 
marked, turning towards Captain Bancroft, of the Loriot, "there 
is a fine chance for a bargain." Mr. McLeod quickly replied 
"d n the skins shall Madam Terand' sell to cross the bar of 
the. Columbia." This was said in the presence of Captains Mc- 
Neil, Bancroft, Brotchie, Rd. Bevrevie, and myself. 

The next American vessel that entered the river after the 
Owyhee and her consort, the "Convoy," was the brig "Mary 
Dane," [May Dacre] of Boston. She arrived in 1835, to pro- 
cure a cargo of salmon. In consequence of some arrangement, 
the cause of which I am unacquainted with, Mr. Wyeth, the 
owner and agent, agreed not to purchase furs, provided Dr. 
McLaughlin would throw no impediment in his way of procur- 
ing salmon. This enterprise failed ; only 800 to 900 pounds of 
salmon were obtained. 

Stock, &c. of the Hudson Bay Company, is held in shares, 
(100.) Chief traders and chief factors who reside in America, 
are called partners. Chief factors are entitled to one-eight of 
one share, or rather the profits arising from the same, equal 
to about $4,500 to $5,000 per annum. Chief traders one- 
sixteenth, or half the above amount, $2,250 to $2,500. They 
are not stockholders in perpetuity, as they cannot sell out as 
other stockholders but have only a life estate in the general 


A council annually assembles at "York Factory," where 
reports from the different "districts," east and west of the 
Rocky mountains are read and recorded, and their proceedings 
forwarded to London, to the "Hudson Bay house." Chief fac- 
tors and chief traders hold a seat at this council board, and 
Governor Simpson presides. It is here, that every new enter- 
prise is canvassed, expense and probable profits carefully in- 
inquired into, as each member feels a personal interest in every 
measure adopted. If it is ascertained that in certain "districts" 
the quantity of beaver diminishes, the trappers are immediately 
ordered to desist for a few years, that the animals may increase, 
as the wealth of the country consists in its furs ; and so strict 
are the laws among many of the northern Indian tribes that to 
kill a beaver out of season, (i. e. in the spring or summer,) is 
a crime punished with death. The enforcement of this law is 
strongly encouraged by the Hudson Bay Company. Not so 
careful, however, are the company of the territory not their 
own ; on the contrary, they have established, a fort and trading 
house called "McRoy's Fort," on the river Umpqua, in 43 50'. 
This fine stream falls into the Pacific, (but is not laid down in 
any printed map;) ten thousand beaver skins are collected here, 
and double this amount brought out of the country adjacent, 
within our lines ; and the Indians are encouraged to "trap the 
streams" at all seasons ; from Wallawallah, Lewis's river, and 
the Snake country, all lying between 42 and 46 north lati- 
tude, 50,000 skins are collected. The price of a beaver skin in 
the "Columbia district" is ten shillings, $2, payable in goods 
at 50 per cent on the invoice cost. Each skin averages one 
and a half pound, and is worth in New York or London $5 
per pound; value $7 50. The beaver skin is the circulating 
medium of the country. 

Indian slavery. The price of a slave varies from eight to 
fifteen blankets. Women are. valued higher than men. If a 
slave dies within six months of the time of purchase, the seller 
returns one-half the purchase money. As long as the Hudson 
Bay Company permit their servants to hold slaves, the institu- 
tion of slavery will be perpetuated, as the price, eight to 


fifteen blankets, is too tempting for an Indian to resist. Many 
instances have occurred where a man has sold his own child. 
The. chief factor at Vancouver says the slaves are the property 
of the women with whom their workmen live, and do not 
belong to men in their employ, although I have known cases 
to the contrary. We shall see how this reasoning applies. These 
women, who are said to be the 'owners of the slaves, are fre- 
quently bought themselves by the men with whom they live, 
when they are mere children; of course they have no means 
to purchase, until their husbands or their men make the pur- 
chase from the proceeds of their labor ; and then these women 
are considered the ostensible owners, which neither lessens 
the traffic, nor ameliorates the condition of the slave, whilst 
the Hudson Bay Company find it to their interest to encourage 
their servants to intermarry or live with the native women, as 
it attaches the men to the soil, and their offspring (half breeds) 
become in their turn useful hunters and workmen at the differ- 
ent depots of the company. The slaves are generally employed 
to cut wood, hunt, and fish, for the families of the men 
employed by the Hudson Bay Company, and are ready for any 
extra work. Each man of the trapping parties has from 
two to three slaves, who assist to hu;it, and take care of the 
horses and camp ; they thereby save the company the expense 
of employing at least double the number of men that would 
otherwise be required on these excursions. 

After passing ten days at Fort Vancouver, and visiting the 
Indian lodges near the farm, &c. finding it would be impossible 
to get a party to accompany me at this season of the year 
across the mountains, I determined to visit the only white settle- 
ment on the river Willhamett, the Multonomah of Lewis and 
Clark. On the morning of the 10th January, having been 
furnished by Dr. McLaughlin with a canoe and six men, and 
all the necessaries for the voyage, I left Fort Vancouver to 
ascend the Willhamett. I shall withhold a description of this 
beautiful river for the present. On the night of the llth, I 
passed the falls thirty miles distant. On the 12th, at midnight, 
I reached "Camp Maud du Sable," the first white settlement on 


the river. My men had been in the, canoe paddling against a 
strong current for twenty-two hours, without any intermission 
except in making the portage at the falls. "Camp Maud du 
Sable" is distant about fifty-five miles from the Columbia, 
running nearly due South. The first settler was "Jean Baptiste 
Deshortez McRoy," who came to the country with the Ameri- 
can Fur Company in 1809, (Astor's company.) McRoy pitched 
his tent permanently at this place, six years since. For the 
first two years he was almost alone ; but within four years past 
the population has much increased, and is now one of the most 
prosperous settlements to be found in any new country. 

The Rev. Jason Lee, missionary of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, of New York, having heard through Dr. McLaughlin 
of my intention to visit the Willhamett settlement, politely 
came down from the mission house, distant eighteen miles, to 
meet me at this place. In company with this gentleman, I 
called on all the settlers in the lower settlement, and next day 
visited the mission house and upper settlement. No language 
of mine can convey an adequate idea of the great benefit these 
worthy and most excellent men, the Messrs. Jason and Daniel 
Lee ? Messrs. Shephard and Edwards, their assistants, have 
conferred upon this part of the country, not by precept, but 
example as I think the following result of their labors will 

To use Mr. Jason Lee's own words, "it was after having 
heard that an Indian, of the Flat Head tribe had crossed the 
Rocky mountains to inquire of Governor Clark, at St. Louis, 
about the God that the pale faces worshipped, that first led 
me to think of establishing a 'mission' west of the mountains." 
Two years since, last October, Mr. Lee's party encamped on 
the ground where their dwelling now stands, immediately on 
the banks of the "Willhamett." They commenced felling tim- 
ber with their own hands, and by Christmas they erected the 
frame of their house and had it half covered in, and fenced 24 
acres of land. In the spring they put in a crop which produced 
the first year, 1835, 


150 bushels of wheat, 

35 do. of oats, 

56 do. of barley, 

87 do. of peas, 

250 do. of potatoes. 
2d year, 1836 : 

500 bushels of wheat, 

200 do. of peas, 

40 do. of oats, 

30 do. of barley, 

4J do. of corn, 

3 do. of beans, 

319 do. of potatoes, 

with a full supply of garden vegetables. They have built a 
good barn, added to their dwelling-house, which now consists 
of four large rooms, 18 by 20 feet, lofts and cellar, have a 
good garden and 150 acres of land enclosed under good fenc- 
ing. With the exception of three months' hired labor of a 
carpenter to finish the inside of their dwelling and make tables, 
forms, &c. for their school room, the above is the work of 
these pious and industrious men, assisted by the Indian chil- 
dren of the school. Their family at present consists of 3 
adults, and 19 full blooded, and 4 half breed Indian children, 
10 of whom are orphans. 7 girls and 15 boys attend the school ; 
likewise 8 half breeds' children of the neighboring settlers. 
The children are all taught to speak English. Several of them 
read perfectly well. They are all well clothed and fed, and are 
already very cleanly in their habits. The larger boys work on 
the farm in fine weather. They can plough, reap, and do all 
ordinary farm work well. Several of them evince good me- 
chanical genius. Mr. Lee assures me that most of the boys 
have earned their board, clothing, and tuition, estimating their 
labor at the lowest rate of wages allowed by the Hudson Bay 
Company. Their school and family could be much increased, 
but they do not wish to add to their number until they receive 
further assistance, thinking it the wisest plan at present, for 
the sake of example, to attend strictly to the mental and 
physical instruction of these "Neophytes." 


The land on which the mission house is established is rich 
alluvial deposite, open prairie, interspersed with good timber. 
Mr. Lee acknowledges the kindest assistance from Dr. Mc- 
Laughlin, of Fort Vancouver, who gave him the use of horses, 
oxen, and milch cows, and furnished him with all his supplies. 
Indeed Dr. McLaughlin has acted towards many of the settlers 
in the same manner, giving them the use of cattle and horses 
on the following terms : The produce of the neat cattle and 
horses belong to the Hudson Bay Company, and are liable to 
be called for at any time. If the cattle die, the persons holding 
them are not charged with their value. Horses to be returned 
in kind, or the sum of $8, the current value of the horse, is 

To convey an idea of the industry and progress of the Will- 
hamett settlement, I beg to refer to paper B. It would be doing 
the Messrs. Lee and their associates injustice, were I to omit 
speaking of their successful and happy efforts in establishing a 
temperance society among men who are generally considered as 
being almost without the pale of moral restraint, (I mean trap- 
pers ;) and it affords me great pleasure to add, that every white 
man in the settlement entertains the highest respect for the 
character and conduct of the Lees and their associates. This 
circumstance is sufficient evidence of their worth. Papers C 
and D will show their laudable efforts in arresting this destruc- 
tive element, the white man's poison, the Indian's certain death. 
The case of Ewing Young, referred to in paper C, will be 
understood by his statement E, and some verbal explanations 
which I shall make in relation to his case. 

After duly considering the great benefit that would result to 
this thriving country if the distillery of Ewing Young could be 
prevented from being put into operation, and inasmuch as he 
candidly admitted it was nothing but sheer necessity that com- 
pelled him to adopt the measure, I told him (Young) that I 
thought he had gained his point without adopting the expedient 
that produced it, as I was authorized by Mr. Finlayson to say, 
"if he would abandon his enterprise of distilling whiskey, he 
could be permitted to get his necessary supplies from Fort 


couver, on the same terms as other men ;" and further : I pro- 
pose to loan him $150, get him a supply of decent clothing from 
the. fort, in my name, and give himself and his partner, Car- 
michael, a passage to California as he informed me he was 
exceedingly anxious to go thither to clear himself of the 
calumny that General Figaroa, had through Dr. McLaughlin, 
circulated against him, producing in effect the most unjusti- 
fiable persecution. Mr. Young seemed deeply sensible of my 
offer: said a cloud hung over him so long, through Dr. Mc- 
Laughlin's influence, that he was almost maddened by the harsh 
treatment he had received from that gentleman. I left him 
under a promise of receiving an answer to my proposition next 
day. In the course of conversation with Mr. Lee, Young, and 
other settlers, I found that nothing was wanting to insure com- 
fort, wealth, and every happiness to the people of this most beau- 
tiful country but the possession of neat cattle, all of those in the 
country being owned by the Hudson Bay Company, who refuse 
to sell them under any circumstances whatever. I then pro- 
posed to give to as many of the settlers as chose to embark in 
the Loriot, a free passage to California, where they might pro- 
cure cattle at $3 per head. The advantage of being landed in 
California or Bodega free of expense, and the risk of the road, 
was very great. A meeting was accordingly held in the lower 
settlement, where the paper F was drawn up. Mr. Young 
was appointed leader of the party. All the settlers who had 
money due them from the Hudson Bay Company contributed to 
the enterprise. Ten men embarked in the Loriot, and were 
landed safely at Bodega, on the 20th February. I advanced 
Mr. Lee $500. This sum, added to the contributions of the 
settlers, produced $1,600, a sum sufficient to purchase five hun- 
dred head of cattle in California. I will here remark that when 
I parted with Mr. Young, at Monterey, on the 2d March, he 
had every prospect of procuring all the cattle required, on the 
north side of the bay of St. Francisco. He had likewise re- 
ceived propositions from several Americans residing at Cali- 
fornia to return with him to the Willhamett with their stock 
of cattle, thus doubly reinforcing the settlement from this ac- 



cession the party will receive in California. They will doubt- 
less reach the Willhamet safely in June, the distance by the 
coast of the Pacific being about six hundred miles. The men 
are all experienced woodsmen. I certainly view this measure 
as one of the highest importance to the future growth and 
prosperity of this fine country, even if no other object is 
attained by my visit to the Columbia. 

A large cargo of wheat, five thousand five hundred bushels, 
could at this time be procured from the settlers on the Will- 
hamett. It would find a good market at the Sandwich islands, 
the Russian settlements at Norfolk sound, (Sitka,) or in Peru; 
but some steps must be taken by our Government to protect 
the settlers and the trader, not from the hostility of the In- 
dians, but from a much more formidable enemy, that any 
American trading house establishing itself on the Willhamet 
or Columbia would have to encounter, in the Hudson Bay 
Company. All the Canadian settlers have been in the service 
of the company; and from being for a long time subject to 
the most servile submission to the chiefs of the monopoly, are 
now, although discharged from the service of the company, 
still blindly obedient to the will of those in authority at Van- 
couver, who, on their part, urge the plea that, by the legisla- 
tive enactments of Canada, they are prohibited from discharg- 
ing their servants in the Indian country. Therefore they 
consider the people of the Willhamett although freemen in 
every sense of the word still subject to the protection and 
authority, otherwise thraldom of the Hudson Bay Company 
it being only necessary for the authorities at Vancouver to 
say, "if you disobey my orders, your supplies shall be cut off ;" 
and the settler knows at once that his few comforts, nay, 
necessaries of life, are stopped, rendering him more miserable 
than the savage that lurks around his dwelling. 

At the public meeting that took place at "Camp Maud du 
Sable" on the subject of the expedition to California the live- 
liest interest appeared to be felt when I told the "Canadians" 
that, although they were located within the territorial limits 
of the United States, their pre-emption rights would doubtless 


be secured them when our Government should take possession 
of the country. I also cheered them with the hope that ere 
long some steps might be taken to open a trade and com- 
merce with the country. They now only find a market for 
their wheat, after being compelled to transport it themselves 
in canoes, (the portage of the Willhamett in their way,) at 
Fort Vancouver, at the low price of 50 cts. per bushel, pay- 
able in goods at 50 per cent, advance, whilst the Russians are 
paying $1 50 this year in California for their supplies for 
"Sitka." The quantity annually required is about 25,000 

The entrance of the Columbia river is formed by Cape Dis- 
appointment on the north, in latitude 46 19' north, and 123 
59' west longitude, and Point Adams, on the south, in 46 14' 
north and 123 54' west longitude, physical and geographical. 

It was between the years 1780 and 1782, 1 I believe, that 
Captain Meir [Meares] in an English merchant ship of Lon- 
don, saw "Cape Disappointment," and entered the bay be- 
tween the two capes; but, as "Chenook" and "Tongue point" 
interlock, Captain Meir [Meares] left the bay under the im- 
pression that it extended no further inland. He published an 
account of his voyage in London, in 1785 1786, on his re- 
turn, and called the bay Deception bay. The next year, 1783 
to 1784, Captain Gray, of Boston, in the American ship "Co- 
lumbia" entered the bay and stood up the river as far 
as the point designated on the map as Gray's bay, 
where he overhauled and refitted his ship. Captain Gray 
called the river the "Columbia," after his ship. In 1787, Van- 
couver entered the river, and Lt. Brougton, in the cutter 
Chatham, stood up the river as far as the bluff, (the old site of 
Fort Vancouver,) about one mile distant from the site of 
the present fort. But the Spaniards had doubtless a knowl- 
edge of this country long before this period. The expedition 
from San Bias, in 1776, saw the river, and called it the "Ore- 
gon." (Manuscripts in the marine archives at Madrid.) The 

i Lieut. Slacum was writing without his authorities at hand so should not 
have allowed himself to venture with any dates. Ed. Quarterly. 


Russian expedition under Behring, in 1741, did not come as 
far south as Cape Flattery, in 49 north. As I have not the 
means at present of giving any further information of the 
early discovery of this part of the country, I shall now speak of 
its present appearance, &c., begging to claim your attention 
to the maps of the Columbia and the country south as far as 
the Russian settlements as Bodega. 

In entering the Columbia river, you find a bar extending 
across the channel, (two miles in width,) from the north to 
the south shoals. The shoalest water on the bar is four and a 
half fathoms; but as the prevailing winds in winter are from 
the westward, and the entrance lies exposed to the swell of 
the Pacific ocean, the bar breaks with a wind of any force if 
from the west of north or south and west of east. At present, 
vessels are kept outside for several days waiting for clear 
weather to run in, having neither beacon, buoys, nor lights to 
guide them when close in with the shore. This delay would 
be obviated in a great measure if the coast was surveyed and 
properly lighted. "Cape Disappointment" is a high r bold 
promontory,, about 400 feet above the sea, covered with timber 
from its base to the top. "Point Adams" is low, and cannot 
be seen at a great distance. The sailing directions which I 
shall be able to present with a chart of the river, will more 
fully explain the appearance of the, bay and river. As far as 
the depth of water is marked on the chart, it may be fully 
relied on. I cannot leave this subject without pointing out 
the great facility and the advantages that would result from a 
thorough cut of not more than three-quarters of a mile through 
the lowest point of the Cape Disappointment, from Baker's 
bay to the ocean. The soil is light, and the height not more 
than sixty feet at the point proposed; and I have not the 
slightest doubt that a deep and safe channel would soon be 
made by the action of the tide (at the rate of five to six knots 
an hour) as it sweeps around the bay, bringing with it the 
whole volume of water of the Columbia and its tributaries. 

Every thing around the shores of Baker's bay shows the 
richness of the soil. The pines, firs, and the most beautiful 


variety of flowers, grow to" an extraordinary size, whilst the 
finest grasses are seen at this season fringing the sides of the 
hills to the water's edge. For the first ten miles, as you ascend 
the Columbia from Chenook and Point George, which may, 
properly speaking, be called the mouth of the river, its width 
is about four miles. It then narrows to about one mile, and 
continues at this width to Vancouver, (with but two excep- 
tions, for a mile or two.) At "Oak Point" village, the oak 
is first seen: from thence the oak, ash, laurel, cotton wood, 
beach, alder, pines, firs, yew, and cedar , are found to the falls. 
Geological formations at Fort George are concretions of 
shells, sandstone, and plumbago. On the Willhamett, remark- 
ably fine gray granite is found. 

Indian statistics. The first tribes of Indians in Baker's bay, 
are the Chenook on the north, Clatsops on the south. The lat- 
ter live at Point Adams and on Young's river, where Lewis 
and Clark wintered. Both tribes at this time do not exceed 
800. Rum Rumley [Concomly] the principal chief of the Clat- 
sops, who was always the white man's friend, and who rendered 
every assistance in his power to Lewis and Clark, is no more; 
and, as an evidence of the effect of intemperance among these 
miserable Indians, out of 40 descendants of this chief not one 
is this day alive, Chenamas (Chenook) claims authority over 
the people from "Baker's bay" to the Cowility [Cowlitz] ; but 
Squamaqui disputes his authority from Gray's bay to the above 
point. From the river Cowility to the falls of the Columbia, (see 
map,) "Kassenow" claims authority. His tribe, since 1829, 
has lost more than 2,000 souls by fever. They are principally 
"Rea Ratacks," very erratic, and the only good hunters on the 
river below the falls, as all the other tribes immediately on 
the river below the falls, as well as those who frequent the 
waters of the Columbia during the season of the salmon and 
sturgeon, subsist chiefly on fish and wild fowl; and the ease 
with which they procure food, fish, and fowl, with the delicious 
vegetables the "Wapspitoo" [Wapato] and "Kamass" engen- 
ders the most indolent habits among these people. 


Willhamett or Multonomah tribes live in the valley formed 
oy the range of mountains, running north and south, in which 
Mount Hood and Mount Vancouver is laid down in Arrow- 
smith's map, (sometimes called the Klannet range, from the 
Indians of that name,) and on the west by the Kallamook and 
Yamstills, running south parallel with river and ocean. -In 
ascending this beautiful river, even in midwinter, you find both 
sides clothed in evergreen, presenting a more beautiful pros- 
pect than the Ohio in June. For 10 to 12 miles, on the left 
bank, the river is low, and occasionally overflows. On the 
right the land rises gradually from the water's edge, covered 
with firs, cedar, laurel, and pine. The oak and ash is at this 
season covered with long moss, of a pale sage green, contrast- 
ing finely with the deeper tints of the evergreens. 

The first tribe of Indians are the Kallamooks, on the left 
bank, on a small stream of the same name, 30 miles from its 
mouth: 2d are Keowewallahs, alias Tummewatas or Willham- 
etts. This tribe, now nearly extinct, was formerly very nu- 
merous, and live at the falls of the river, 32 miles from its 
mouth, on the right bank. They claim the right of fishing at 
the falls, and exact a tribute from other tribes who come 
hither in the salmon season (from May till October). Prin- 
cipal chiefs deceased. This river at the present day takes 
its name from this tribe. 3d. "Kallapooyahs" occupy lodges 
on both sides of the river. 4th. "Fallatrahs" on a small 
stream of same name, right or west bank. 5th. Champoicho 
west bank. 6th. Yamstills west bank. 7th. Leelahs 
both sides. 8th. Hanchoicks. All these five tribes speak 
Kallapooyah dialect, and are doubtless of that tribe, but at 
present are divided as designated, and governed by chiefs as 
named. All these tribes do not exceed 1200. The ague and 
fever, which commenced on the Columbia in 1829, likewise 
appeared on this river at the same time. It is supposed that 
it has been more fatal in its effects. It has swept off not 
less than 5000 to 6000 souls. In a direction still further south, 
in Tularez, near St. Francisco, California, entire villages have 
been depopulated. I am happy to add, however, that this 



scourge to these poor Indians is disappearing. The above 
named constitute all the Indians to be found on the Willhamett, 
from its source in the mountains to its entrance into -the Co- 
lumbia, a distance of about 200 miles. 

The brig Owyhee, Captain Domines, moored at the rapids 
about a mile below the falls, in 12 feet water. Above the 
falls there is doubtless steamboat navigation for 150 miles. 
For a distance of 250 miles in extent by 40 in breadth, in- 
cluding both sides the river (6,500,000 acres) the land is 
of the most superior quality, rich alluvial deposit, yielding 
in several instances the first year 50 bushels of fine wheat to 
the acre. The general aspect of the plains is prairie, but well 
interspersed with woodlands, presenting the most beautiful 
scenery imaginable. The pastures at this day (12th January) 
are covered with the richest grasses, 8 to 12 inches high. I 
should be almost afraid to speak of the extraordinary mildness 
of the climate of this country, were I not enabled to present 
you thermometrical observations at Vancouver and Fort 
Simpson, in 52 north, and Bodega, in 39. I may fairly state 
the difference to be equal to 15 of latitude between the coasts 
of the west and east of this continent. It is to be kept in 
view, that the Willhamett is due south from the Columbia. I 
found on my return to Vancouver, on the 19th January, that 
snow had fallen, and the river was closed with floating ice, 
that had come down and blocked up the passage. Although 
I was not more than 70 to 80 miles south, I neither saw snow 
nor ice. 

I consider the Willhamett as the finest grazing country in 
the world. Here there are no droughts, as on the Pampas 
of Buenos Ayres, or the plains of California, whilst the lands 
abound with richer grasses, both in winter and summer. In 
1818, the Hudson Bay Company had one bull and two cows; 
last year they salted 70, and have now upwards of 1,000 head 
of neat cattle from this stock. No comment is necessary in pre- 
senting this fact to your notice. The low grounds of the 
Columbia overflow, and the highlands are covered with tim- 
ber of great size, which would require immense labor in clear- 


ing. Fort Vancouver is the only spot, from Fort George up- 
wards, where a farm of any size could be opened. 

From the map of the country south of the Columbia, which 
I shall be, able to prepare from the rough though correct 
sketches in my possession, you will discover there are four 
rivers which fall into the Pacific ocean between 41 33' north 
latitude and Columbia. Three of these, with "Pelican bay," 
in latitude 42 4' north, are within the limits of the United 
States, but are not laid down in any published chart of the 
present day. 

Klamet river, 41 33' north latitude, 123 54' west longitude. 

West "Rougues" river, 42 26, north latitude, 124 14" west 

West Cowis [Coos] river, 43 31' north latitude, 124 4' west 

West Umpqua, 43 50' north latitude, 123 56' west longi- 

Last year, 1836, the Hudson Bay Company's schooner 
"Cadborough," entered two of these rivers with 8 feet of water. 
"Pelican bay" is a good harbor. From the, information of 
Mr. Young and other trappers, I am told the Umpqua is 
nearly the same size as the Willhamett. The lands are equally 
good and well timbered. The river called "Rougues," or 
sometimes Smith's river, abounds with the finest timber west 
of the Rockv mountains; and it may be fairly estimated that 
the valleys of the rivers certainly within the limits of the 
United States,* contain at least 14,000,000 of acres of land 
of first quality, equal to the best lands of Missouri or Illinois. 
The Indians west of the Rocky mountains, between the Co- 
lumbia and 42 north latitude, may be estimated at 100,000, 
two-thirds of whom are armed by the Hudson Bay Company. 
North of the Columbia, along the coast to Cape Flattery, the 
"Chehulis" Indians inhabit the country. They have a friendly 
intercourse with the Indians of Baker's bay, although they 
speak a different dialect. On the "Cowility," (see map), which 
falls into the Columbia, there are a few Indians of the Klacku- 

*Exclusive of the Columbia and Willhamett. 


tuck tribe. Coal has been found here. Dr. McLaughlin now 
compels the Canadians, whose term of service expires, and who 
are anxious to become farmers, to settle on this river, as it 
lies to the north of the Columbia. The reason he assigns is, 
that the north side of the Columbia river will belong to the 
Hudson Bay Company. If one side of the river is claimed, 
with the same propriety they might claim both sides. The 
navigation of the Columbia is absolutely necessary to the Hud- 
son Bay Company; without this, they have no passage into 
the heart of their finest possessions in the interior, New Cale- 
donia, etc. I know not what political influence they command ; 
but this monopoly is very wealthy; and, when the question of 
our western lines of territory is settled, they (the Hudson Bay 
Company) will make the most strenuous efforts to retain free 
navigation of the Columbia more important to them than 
the free navigation of the St. Lawrence is to the people of 
the United States. 

I beg leave to call your attention to the topography of 
"Pugitt's sound" and urge, in the most earnest manner, that 
this point should never be abandoned. If the United States 
claim, as I hope they ever will, at least as far as 49 degrees 
of north latitude, running due west from the "Lake of the 
Woods," on the above parallel we shall take in "Pugitt's sounc}." 
In a military point of view, it is of the highest importance to 
the United States. If it were in the hands of any foreign 
power, especially Great Britain, with the influence she could 
command (through the Hudson Bay Company) over the In- 
dians at the north, on those magnificent straights of "J uan de 
Fuca," a force of 20,000 men could be brought by water in 
large canoes to the sound, "Pugitt's" in a few days, from 
thence to the Columbia; the distance is but two days' march, 
via the Cowility. I hope our claim to 54 of north latitude 
will never be abandoned; at all events, we should never give 
up Pugitt's sound, nor permit the free navigation of the Co- 
lumbia, unless, indeed, a fair equivalent was offered, such as 
the free navigation of the St. Lawrence. I am now more 
convinced than ever of the importance of the Columbia river, 


even as a place where, for eight months of the year, our 
whalers from the coast of Japan might resort for supplies, 
which, in the course of a few years, would be abundant, if the 
citizens of the United States could receive, from the Govern- 
ment the protection due to them. A custom-house, established 
at the mouth of the Columbia, would effectually protect the 
American trader from the monopoly which the Hudson Bay 
Company enjoy at this time, and a single military post would 
be sufficient to give effect to the laws of the United States, 
and protect our citizens in their lawful avocations. 

We descended the Columbia in the Loriot on the 23d of 
January, and found the Hudson Bay Company's ships Nereide 
and Llama still in "Baker's bay," having been detained since 
the 22d of December. On the 29th of January, a violent gale 
from the southeast commenced before daylight. On the morn- 
ing of the 30th, the Loriot parted both cables, and was driven 
ashore. We received every assistance from the Nereide and 
Llama. In two or three days the Loriot was got afloat. In 
the mean time., Captain Bancroft went up to Fort Vancouver, 
and succeeded in getting a good chain-cable, stream, and 
anchor. On the 10th of February, the bar was smooth and 
the wind from the eastward. We got under way with the 
Hudson Bay Company's ships Nereide and Llama, and crossed 
the bar safely, and stood on our way towards "Bodega," the 
Russian settlement in California. 

Nothing material occurred from the day we left Columbia 
until the morning of the 19th of February, when we made the 
land off the "Presidia Ross." The wind bein.r light, I took 
the boat at 8 miles distant, and passed in for the fort. About 
three miles distant from the Loriot, I met three Bydackas com- 
ing off to us. An officer delivered a polite message from the 
Russian Governor, and immediately returned to the shore with 
me. About 2 o'clock I landed, and met a hospitable reception 
from Mr. Peter Rostrometinoff, the Russian military and civil 
commandant of the Russian American Fur Company. The 
Presidia Ross lies in 38 40' north latitude, immediately on 
the ocean, on a hill sloping gradually towards the sea. The 


rear is crowned by a range of hills 1500 feet in height, cov- 
ered with pines, firs, cedar, and laurel, rendering the position 
of the fort highly picturesque. The fort is an enclosure 100 
yards square, picketed with timber 8 inches thick by 18 feet 
high, mounts four 12-lb. carronades on each angle, and four 
6-lb. brass howitzers fronting the principal gate; has two 
octangular block-houses, with loop holes for musketry, and 
eight buildings within the enclosure and 48 outside, beside a 
large boathouse at the landing place, blacksmith's shop, car- 
penters' and coopers' shop, and a large stable for 200 cows, 
the number usually milked. The Russians first settled at 
"Bodega," about 18 miles south of Ross, in 1813. It was 
thought to afford facilities for ship-building, and a good point 
for seal fishing and "sea otter" hunting. Two vessels of .up- 
wards of two hundred tons have been built here, and several 
smaller vessels of 25 to 40 tons. The oak, however, of which 
these vessels have been built, is not good, although it is an 
evergreen, and resembles in grain the "post oak;" it is of far 
inferior quality. This establishment of the Russians seems now 
to be kept up principally as a "point d'appui;" and hereafter 
it may be urged in furtherance of the claims of the "Imperial 
Autocrat" to this country, having now been in possession of 
Ross and "Bodega" for 24 years, without molestation. Two 
ships annually come down for wheat from (Sitka). Their 
cargoes are purchased in California ; likewise, tallow and jerked 
beef, for bills on the Russian American Fur Company, St. 
Petersburg. These bills fall into the hands of the American 
traders from Boston and the Sandwich Islands, who receive 
these bills from the Californians as money in payment of goods. 
Ross contains about 400 souls ; 60 of whom are Russians and 
"Fins," 80 "Kodiacks," the remainder Indians of the neighbor- 
hood, who work well with the plough and sickle. All the 
Russians and Finlanders are artisans. Wages $35 to $40 per 
annum. They export butter and cheese to Sitka. But few 
skins (seals) are now taken no sea otters. This year the 
farm is much increased. Two hundred and forty fanegas, 
equal to 600 bushels, of wheat is sown. It generally yields 12 


bushels for one. Stock, 1,500 head of neat cattle, 800 horses 
and mules, 400 to 500 sheep and 300 hogs. 

Climate, Etc. Within the last three years a very material 
change has taken place in the climate along this coast. Form- 
erly, in the months of May, June, July, August, September, 
and October, the winds prevailed from northwest to west; 
November, December, January, February, March, and April; 
southwest to south-southeast winds prevailed; but for three 
years past the winds are exactly reversed. It is, consequently, 
much colder in winter than formerly. In May and June fogs 
settle on the hills near Ross, and produce rust in wheat. 

Thermometrical observations at Ross, in 1836, Fahrenheit. 
Latitude 38 41' north. 

In October, 1836, maximum 66 average 12 M. 

minimum 43 

November, " maximum 72 

" " minimum 38 

December, " maximum 62 

minimum 36 

January, 1837, maximum 58 

" " minimum 38 

February, " maximum 56 

" " minimum 43 

Timber. Oaks, four species two are evergreen; sweet- 
scented laurel, excellent wood ; cedar of Lebanon ; "Douglass 
pine" grows to an extraordinary size ; common pines, firs, alder, 
and the red wood a species of cedar, the best wood in the 

An agent of the Russian Government was here last year. 
He came through via Siberia from St. Petersburg, and visited 
all the posts in Kamschatka, and on the northwest coast. He 
got permission from the late General Figaroa (then command- 
ant general of California) to put up a large building on the 
bay of St. Francisco, ostensibly to be used as a granary to 
receive the wheat purchased in California; but, in effect, it 
was intended as a block-house, and was to have been made 
defensible. The timber was got out, and now lies ready to 



be used. General Figaroa died, and his successor, "Chico, " pro- 
hibited the Russians from erecting their block-house. 

Mr. Rostrometinoff readily granted me permission for the 
party that accompanied me from the Columbia to land at 
Bodega. He also furnished a house for their use until their 
cattle could be collected, and provided me with horses and 
guides to proceed by land to the bay of St. Francisco. Of 
my proceedings in California, I must beg to refer to the com- 
munication which I shall have the honor to lay before you in 
a few days, accompanied by a chart of the Columbia, etc. 

In the mean time, I have the honor to remain your most 
obedient servant, WILLIAM A. SLACUM. 


Secretary of State. 


Wallamette Settlement. 

Articles of agreement made and entered into this 13th day of 

January, m the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 

and thirty-seven. 

Whereas we, the undersigned, settlers upon the Wallamette 
river, are fully convinced of the importance and necessity of 
having neat cattle of our own, in order successfully to carry 
on our farms, and gain a comfortable, livelihood ; and whereas 
we find it impossible to purchase them here, as all the cattle 
in the country belong to the Hudson Bay Company, they re- 
fusing to sell them under any circumstances; and as we be- 
lieve that the possession of cattle would not only benefit us 
personally, but will materially benefit the whole settlement, 
we, the undersigned, do therefore agree 

1st. To avail ourselves of an offer of W. A. Slacum, Esq., 
of the United States Navy, to take passage in the American 
brig Loriot, Captain Bancroft, free of charge, to proceed to 
California, to purchase cattle for ourselves and all our neigh- 
bors who choose to join us in this enterprise, either by accom- 


panying us themselves or furnishing the means of purchasing 
cattle in California. 

2d. We agree to contribute funds according to our means, 
making a common stock concern, subject to the following con- 
ditions: The expenses of all those who go to California are 
to be borne by the company, calculating the time so employed 
at the rate of twenty dollars per month ; provisions likewise to 
be paid by the company. 

3d. The wages of the men thus employed are to be cal- 
culated as so much money, and each one is to be credited ac- 
cordingly ; and each and every member of the company shall 
have his portion of the cattle which may arrive safely at the 
Wallamette, there to be divided agreeably to capital and wages 
employed in the enterprise. 

4th. All those who go for the purpose aforesaid, to Cali- 
fornia, hereby bind themselves to return to the Wallamette 
with the cattle, and to use their best endeavors to protect the 

5th. We hereby agree that Ewing Young shall be leader 
of the party, and P. L. Edwards, treasurer, and that they shall 
be joint purchasers of the cattle. 

6th. If any man desert the, company in California, he shall 
forfeit all wages which he may have earned. If, after the 
arrival of the party in California, any man shall choose to 
labor for his personal benefit, he shall have liberty to do so; 
provided that he shall be bound to invest the proceeds of his 
labor in the common stock, and he shall not enter into any 
engagements which shall prevent him from leaving when re- 
quired ; but such person shall not be entitled to any remunera- 
tion from the company for the time so employed. 



JAMES A. O'NEAL, mark. 










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January 2, 1837. 

GENTLEMEN: Whereas we, the members of the Oregon 
Temperance Society, have learned with no common interest, 
and with feelings of deep regret, that you are now preparing 
a distillery for the purpose of manufacturing ardent spirits to 
be sold in this vicinity; and whereas we are most fully con- 
vinced that the vending of spiritous liquors will more effectually 
paralyse our efforts for the promotion of temperance than any 
other, or all other obstacles that can be thrown in our way; 
and whereas we do feel a lively and intense interest in the suc- 
cess of the temperance cause, believing, as we do, that the pros- 
perity and interests of this rising and infant settlement will 
be materially affected by it, both as respects their temporal 
and spiritual welfare; and that the poor Indian, whose case is 
even now indescribably wretched, will be made far more so by 
the use of ardent spirits ; and whereas, gentlemen, you are not 
ignorant that the laws of the United States prohibit American 
citizens from selling ardent spirits to Indians, under the pen- 
alty of a heavy fine ; and, as you do not pretend to justify your 
enterprise, but urge pecuniary necessity as the reason of your 
procedure; and as we do not, cannot, think it will be of pe- 
cuniary interest to prosecute this business, if, as you have 
determined to do, you discontinue it the present season; and 
as we are not enemies, but friends, and do not wish, under 
existing circumstances, that you should sacrifice one single 
penny of the money you have already expended, we do, there- 
fore, for the above, and various other reasons we could urge, 

Resolved, first, That we, the undersigned, do most earnestly 
and feelingly request you, gentlemen, to abandon your enter- 
prise forever. 

Resolved, secondly, That we will, and do hereby agree, to 
pay you the sum you have already expended, if you will give 
us the avails of your expenditure, or deduct the value of them 
from the bill of expenses. 


Resolved, thirdly, That a committee of one be appointed to 
make known the views of this society, and present our request 
to Messrs. Young and Carmichael. 

Resolved, fourthly, That we, the undersigned, will pay the 
sums severally affixed to our names to Messrs. Young and 
Carmichael, on or before the 31st day of March, 1837, the 
better to enable them to give up their enterprise. 

Resolved, fifthly, That the inhabitants of this settlement who 
are not attached to this society shall be invited to affix their 
names to this request, and to give what they feel free to give 
for the promotion of this object. 


XAVIER LA DESCOSTE 6 bushels of wheat 


JOHN HORD - 4.00 




CHARLES PLANTE - 6 bushels of wheat 




S. H. SMITH - 4.00 

JAMES O'NEIL - 6.00 






The undersigned jointly promise to pay the balance, be the 
same more or less. 



The undersigned are not members of the Oregon Temper- 
ance Society, but concur in urging the foregoing request. 








T. J. HUBBARD - $8.00 


NOTE. T. J. Hubbard has since joined the temperance 


WALLAMETTE, January 13, 1837. 

GENTLEMEN : Having taken into consideration your request 
to abolish our enterprise in manufacturing ardent spirits, we 
therefore do agree to stop our proceedings for the present. 

But, gentlemen, the reasons for our first beginning such an 
undertaking were the innumerable difficulties and tyrannizing 
oppression of the Hudson Bay Company here, under the abso- 
lute authority of Dr. John McLaughlin, who has treated us 
with more disdain than any American citizen of feeling can 
support. But as there are now some favorable circumstances 
occurred that we can get along without making spiritous 
liquors, we resolve to stop the manufacturing of it for the 

p. $. Gentlemen, we do not feel it consistent with our feel- 
ings to receive any recompense whatever for our expenditure, 
but we are thankful to the society for their offer. 

We remain, etc., yours, 




Thermometrical observations taken at Fort Vancouver, latitude 
45 37' north. 

1833, June, Minimum 7 A. M. 52 Maximum, 12 M. 66 
July, do. do. 47 do. do. 89 
August, do. do. 52 do. do. 83 
September, do. do. 48 do. do. 81 
October, do. do. 35 do. 3P.M. 73 
November, do. do. 30 do. do. 62 
December, do. do. 09 do. do. 52 

1834, January, do. do. 06 do. do. 43 
February, do. do. 28 do. do. 64 
March, do. do. 30 do. do. 66 
April, do. 6 do. 32 do. do. 83 
May, do. do. 42 do. do. 86 
June, do. do. 49 do. do. 90 
July, do. do. 55 do. do. 93 
August, do. do. 49 do. do. 86 
September, do. do. 46 do. do. 86 
October, do. do. 36 do. do. 73 
November, do. do. 31 do. do. 61 
December, do. do. 18 do. do. 49 

1835 January, do. do. 29 do. do. 52 

February, do. do. 28 do. do. 58 

March, do. do. 31 do. do. 61 

1836, April, do. 7 do. 40 do. 4 P. M. 68 
May, do. do. 42 do. do. 81 
June, do. do. 48 do. do. 83 
July, do. do. 55 do. do. 97 
August, do. do. 54 do. do. 98 
September, do. do. 40 do. do. 86 
October, do. do. 41 do. do. 81 
November, do. do. 29 do. do. 61 
December, do. do. 16 do. do. 53 

1837, January, do. do. 22 do. do. 48 



Amount of Mr. Slacum's account, as made out at 
the Department of State $5,969.74 

From which the following deductions have been 
made at the same, viz. : 

*From item No. 14, one-third of the amount, 
being for board, etc., of servant, not 
allowed $9.08 

From item No. 15, one-third of the amount 
being for stage-fare of servant from Mex- 
ico to Vera Cruz 47.82 

From item No. 16, one-third, being for pass- 
age of servant to New York 61.66 

From item for expenses in Mexico, one-third 

for the proportion of servant 3.66 

From item for expenses in and from New 

York to Washington, for the same 9.66 

From item for hire of the servant, the hire 
and expenses of whom is allowed from the 
period of the commencement of the jour- 
ney of Mr. Slacum, in execution of the 
duty confided to him, to that of his arrival 
in Mexico, when it is considered he could 

have dispensed with his services 6.00 



The amount of expenses in the within account greatly ex- 
ceeds that anticipated; it not having been contemplated that 
Mr. Slacum would have to charter a vessel at the Sandwich 
Islands for the purpose of reaching the Columbia river ; but, 
inasmuch as it appears that this was done by him after a fruit- 
less attempt to go up the coast in a small vessel, hired on the 
coast of Mexico, in his anxiety to perform the duties intrusted 
to him, I have approved the account, and submit it to the Presi- 
dent for his approbation. 

November 13, 1837. 

Approved: M. VAN BUREN. 


*The servant above alluded to, and on whose account the above deductions 
are made, I carried with me from this District to Mexico. His expenses were only 
charged to the Government from the commencement of my iourney from the west 
coast of America until my return to this city. He is a native citizen of the 
United States, a man of well-tried fidelity, courage, and integrity; and I could 
not, therefore, think of leaving him alone, a stranger, in a foreign and dan- 
gerous country. W. A. S. 



From No. 14, one-third of the amount, being for 
board, etc., of a servant at Mexico, not allowed. . . $ 9.08 

From No. 15 one-third, being for stage-fare from 
Mexico to Vera Cruz 47.83 

From No. 16, one-third, being for passage of servant 
to New York 61.66 

From item for expenses in Mexico, one-third, for 
proportion of servant 3.66 

From item for expenses in and from New York to 
Washington, for the same, 9.66 

From item for hire of servant, the hire and expenses 
of whom is allowed from the period of the com- 
mencement of the journey of Mr. Slacum, in the 
execution of the duty confided to him, to that of 
his arrival in Mexico, when it is considered he could 
have dispensed with his services 6.00 


No. 1. 

PETIC, June 7, 1836. 

SIR: I have the honor to acquaint you with my having 
reached this place a few days since, on my way to the Oregon. 
I could not procure a vessel at Guaymas, to go up the coast, 
therefore felt compelled to attempt the journey by land, in- 
tending to cross the Rio Colorado, in 113 west, and 33 north 
latitude. I entertained some fears of not being able to cross 
the river, and two days ago met Dr. William Keith, late United 
States Consul at Petic. He had just returned from Upper 
California. In answer to my inquiries as to the difficulties 
of the route, at this season of the year, he answered me thus : 
"From the Augua Salada, to the Tinaga Alta, is a distance 
of 28 English leagues, without water. From thence to the 
river Gila you are still without water. That at the Tinaga Alta, 
is collected during the rainy season in the rocks. We had great 
difficulty in watering our animals, and Don Silvestre de la 
Portilla, who followed four days after in our track, informed 
us the water had given out; consequently you would have a 
journey of at least 55 leagues to perform, without watering 


your horses. From the 20th of April, until the 20th of Au- 
gust, Grand river is not in a condition to cross. I crossed on 
the 15th of April last, and found the river considerably swollen; 
in twelve hours it rose 4^2 feet, and it continues to rise until 
the 15th of July. On either side of the river for the distance 
of from 3 to 4 leagues, it is low, level, and muddy, and soon 
begins to overflow. The journey at this season of the year is 
impracticable; there is no case existing of its having been 
done. In fact, no one who is aware of the situation of the part 
where travelers are obliged to cross Grand river, would at- 
tempt it, unless in case of life and death." From the above 
statement of Dr. Keith, I feel, with the greatest degree of 
reluctance, compelled to abandon the journey by land. I shall 
return to Guaymas immediately, and hope I may find a vessel 
of some size in which I can beat up the coast. 

I have the honor to remain, etc., etc., 

To the Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, 

Secretary of State, Washington. 

No. 2. 

GUAYMAS, July 7, 1836. 

SIR : I had the honor of addressing you on the 7th ultimo, 
from Petic, on the subject of my route to the Oregon, and the 
cause of its impracticability at this season of the year. 

I have now to acquaint you with my having chartered a 
small vessel of the country, of 12 55/95 tons, in which I em- 
bark this day. I almost fear I shall not be able to work up to 
windward on the northwest coast, as the vessel is so very 
small. If, however, I should be blown off the coast, I must 
run for the Sandwich islands, and then do the best I can to 
get into the (coast) river. No exertion shall be wanting on 
my part to execute the trust reposed in me. 

I have the honor to remain, etc., 

To the Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, 

Secretary of State } Washington. 


' No. 3. 

MAZATLAN, July 27, 1836. 

SIR : I have the honor to hand you, enclosed, duplicates of 
my respects of the 7th of June, from Petic, and 7th of July, 
from Guaymas. I sailed from the latter port on the 7th inst, 
in the schooner Loretano, of twelve tons. This small vessel 
was the only one I could procure to prosecute the voyage to 
the Oregon. Off Cape St. Lucar, we encountered such tem- 
pestuous weather that I have been compelled to put in here in 
distress, water started, and leaking badly. When I tell you 
the Loretano was formerly the long-boat of the ship James 
Munroe, of New York, you will understand the size of my 
ship, in which I have attempted to get to the river. After 
navigating about four hundred miles in her in this gulf, I feel 
satisfied she will never beat to the windward a distance of two 
thousand eight hundred miles against the northwest winds, 
which blow with great violence at this season of the year on 
the coast; and I assure you, sir, it is no sinecure to be out 
now, on any part of the coast, in so small a craft. I have just 
heard that an English barque, the "Falcon," is lying at La-Paz, 
loading pearl shells for Canton. She will touch at the Sand- 
wich islands. I shall therefore, cross over to La-Paz, and take 
passage in her to Oahu. This will be my last hope of being 
able to reach the river this season. However, I feel confident 
of being on the banks of the Oregon by the first of November, 
and back in time to make my report to the Department of 
State before the adjournment of next Congress. I have been 
unfortunate heretofore in both my essays. I trust I shall be 
able now to get from the Sandwich islands to the river, with- 
out any further difficulty. 

I have the honor to remain, etc., 




To the Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, 

Secretary of State, Washington. 
No. 4. 


October 10, 1836. 

SIR: I have been unavoidably detained in California until 
this time. We sail, however, this day, for the Sandwich islands. 
I hope to be there by the, 1st proximo, and by the 10th of De- 
cember on the banks of the Oregon. 

I have forwarded to Mr. Ellis, in Mexico, a claim against 
the Government of Mexico, evidently of the most just and 
plain character; and although I have every confidence in the 
ability and friendly disposition of Mr. Ellis to do everything 
in his power to get the claims of his countrymen acknowledged, 
I could still have wished to have gone to Mexico, to urge, in 
person, the claim in question, amounting to nearly ten thousand 
dollars. But the duty that has been assigned me, I shall en- 
deavor to accomplish to the satisfaction of the Government, to 
the postponement of all matters of a private nature. 

I have the honor to remain, etc., etc., 

To the Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, 

Secretary of State, Washington. 
No. 5. 

November 24, 1836. 

SIR: I have the honor to acquaint you that I arrived here 
on the 5th instant, from Lower California, via San Bias. To- 
morrow I sail for the Columbia river, in the American brig 
Loriot, Captain Bancroft, and I may fairly calculate on being 
at Fort George in twenty days from this date. 

My coming hither has very much facilitated my views, and 
I have received information connected with American interests 
in the Oregon of the highest importance. 


I have chartered the brig Loriot at $700 per month, as per 
enclosed memorandum of agreement, as I must be independent 
of the Hudson Bay Company, who are in possession of four 
forts on the Columbia, and two on the Willhamett, and they 
will, doubtless, endeavor to throw every obstacle in the way 
of proceeding up the river; but I have guarded against any 
ordinary contingency by having a good boat to proceed in 
after taking the Loriot above Fort Vancouver, the principal 
establishment of the Hudson Bay Company, situated about 
ninety miles from the mouth of the river. I have also pur- 
chased some few articles of trade, such as blankets, tobacco, 
etc., to lull suspicion and facilitate my movements. 

After accomplishing the objects of my mission to the Ore- 
gon, I shall run down on our line of coast to the Bay of 
Bodega, the Russian establishment, ninety miles north of San 
Francisco, and if I can meet a party sufficiently strong, I shall 
cross the Indian country to the United States, following the 
line of the Sacramento to its source, which must be near the 
head waters of the La Platte. The Russians are exceedingly 
anxious to get a footing on the bay of San Francisco. Last 
year, they erected a large block-house on the north side of the 
bay, ostensibly to be used as a granary to secure their wheat 
purchases for their more northern establishments at Sitka, etc. 
The people of California, however, are exceedingly jealous 
of their encroachments ; whilst, on the other hand, they (the 
Californians) are most anxious to throw off the Mexican yoke, 
and claim the protection of the United States. The American 
ship Rasselas came in yesterday, from Monterey ; came out with 
the United States ship Peacock, Commodore Kennedy. The 
captain of the Rasselas reports that the "Rancheros" were 
marching against the Government troops about one hundred 
strong. Last year, the "Rancheros" displaced two governors, 
and the third will, doubtless, follow their example. There are, 
at this moment, at least 300 American riflemen in Upper Cali- 
fornia, enough to take possession and hold the country, because 
the people are decidedly opposed to the lawless exactions of 
those who have been sent from Mexico to rule over them. I 


hope to get to the United States in April, and trust the in- 
formation I may be enabled to lay before the Department of 
State may prove useful and interesting. 

I have used of my private funds about $1500, as the enclosed 
vouchers show. I shall most probably be compelled to draw 
on the department for my further expenses. 

I have the honor to be, sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 

To the Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, 

Secretary of State, Washington. 

No. 6. 

ALEXANDRIA, September 13, 1837. 

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your 
communication of the llth instant, and beg to ask a reference 
to my letters of June 7th, from Petic ; of July 7th, from Guay- 
mas ; of July 27th, from Mazatlan ; of October 10th, from San 
Bias and November 24th, from Honolulu. Those letters ex- 
plain the difficulties I had to encounter, and the reasons which 
influenced my conduct in going to the Sandwich islands, as 
the only practicable route by which I could carry into effect 
the orders I had the honor to receive from the President of 
the United States, through the Department of State, in No- 
vember, 1835. Those orders, directing me "to embrace the 
earliest opportunity to proceed to and up the Oregon, by such 
conveyances as may be thought to afford the greatest facilities 
for attaining the end in view," in my humble opinion, fully 
justified my chartering the brig Loriot, to convey me to the 
river Columbia. On the subject of freight, I beg leave to 
assure you, that none was taken on board, either on my ac- 
count, or that of any other person. The provisions, accoutre- 
ments etc., of the American settlers from the Willhamett, whom 
I conveyed from that river to Bodega, were taken aboard the 
Loriot free of expense, as the agreement of the settlers, now 


on file in the Department of State, shows ; and the benefit that 
will result to the United States from that measure alone, will 
be, nay is, at this moment more than ten times equivalent to 
all the expenses incurred in my journey. From the 1st day 
of June, 1836, when my private affairs were closed in Guaymas, 
I devoted myself to the duty assigned me; wholly regardless 
of my private interest, which would have led me to the capital 
of Mexico, to prosecute, in person, the claim I hold against 
that Government. (See my letter of October 10th from San 

In conclusion, I beg leave most respectfully to remark, that 
inasmuch as I have paid on the account of the Government of 
the United States in specie, which I carried with me at my 
own risk, it seems to be but fair that I should be reimbursed 
in the same currency, to the full amount of my account. 

With sentiments of the highest respect, 

I am your most obedient servant, 

To the Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, 

Secretary of State, Washington. 

No. 7. 


SIR: In submitting this account for the actual expenses I 
have paid in gold and silver, on account of the Government 
of the United States, I wish it to be distinctly understood that, 
from June, 1836, when I closed my private affairs as nearly 
as I could in Guaymas, I devoted all my time and energies 
to execute the commission intrusted to me, to the postpone- 
ment of my private interest, which would have led me to 
the city of Mexico, to urge in person the claim I hold against 
that Government, for about 10,000 dollars. 

I distinctly state, likewise, that I had no private business at 
the Sandwich islands, or elsewhere, to attend to, after June, 
1836, when I commenced my journey towards the Columbia 
river from Lower California. When I failed in getting to the 


Columbia by land from Lower California, (see my letters of 
June and July, from Guaymas,) I availed myself of the only 
alternative, namely, that of going to the Sandwich islands to 
procure a vessel to take me into the river ; my anxiety to pro- 
ceed caused me to take up a small vessel of 20 tons, to per- 
form a voyage of 3,000 miles. Finding on examination that 
this vessel was not sea-worthy, I chartered another even 
smaller, and after being out 19 days, and nearly entirely 
wrecked, I was compelled to abandon this vessel, and take 
passage in the English barque Falcon for the Sandwich islands, 
where I chartered the Loriot, and proceeded to the Columbia 
river. Hence has arisen the charges for Joven Teresa, and the 
Loretano, (see my letter from Mazatlan, of July, 1836,) the 
charges for clothing, blankets, &c. were as necessary for my 
use, to withstand the rigor of the climate, exposed as I was, 
as to the arms which I carried with me at my own expense. 
Part of the clothing I gave to the Indians for services ren- 
dered. I took with me gold and silver at my own risk, and 
which was calculated to increase the dangers of the journey : 
these were neither few nor light. I have made presents of 
arms, &c. to persons who have been civil to me, and have 
actually expended, in this way, over $200. I have not charged 
these items in my account, nor is there any charge for interest, 
because I have reasonably thought that the arduous duty I 
have performed would receive the attention of the Executive 
of the United States. 

With great respect, I remain, 


To the Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, 

Secretary of State, Washington. 

No. 8. 



October Wth, 1836. 

MY DEAR SIR: I have much pleasure in acknowledging the 
receipt of your favor of the 20th, just from Mexico. 


I have requested my frie'nds, Messrs. Barren, Forbes, & Co. 
to forward to you the drafts on the custom-house at Guaymas, 
and have to beg the favor of your doing all you can to get 
the claim adjusted. I am compelled to proceed, on duty for 
the Government, to the Oregon,, else, I should hasten to Mexico, 
to endeavor to make some settlement of this, to me, important 
claim. I put the greatest trust in your getting the claim ac- 
knowledged at once from its apparent equity. 

Yours most truly, 





The sixty-ninth anniversary of the organization of the first 
American civil government west of the Rocky Mountains 
was celebrated at Champoeg, thirty-three miles south of Port- 
land, on May 2, 1912, for the twelfth time. Ex-Governor T. T. 
Geer, a native son of Oregon, whose father came across the 
plains in 1847, was president of the day. The principal ad- 
dress was made by Mr. Frederick V. Holman, President of the 
Oregon Historical Society, and a well known lawyer of Port- 
land. His subject was "A Brief History of the Oregon Pro- 
visional Government and What Caused Its Formation." Mr. 
Holman is also a native son of Oregon of the year 1852. His 
grandfather came to Oregon in 1843 and his father and mother 
in 1846. The sole survivor of the one hundred and two per- 
sons who were present on May 2, 1842 Mr. Francois Xavier 
Matthieu was on the platform. He passed his ninety- fourth 
birthday on April 2nd. With the exception of his eyesight, he 
is an unusually vigorous man, both mentally and physically. 
Following Mr. Holman, short addresses in the nature of greet- 
ings to the assembled pioneers, their descendants and friends, 
were made by Mrs. La Reine Helen Baker and Mr. Samuel 
Hill. Upwards of one thousand persons were in attendance. 

Through the initiative of Mr. Joseph Buchtel, a pioneer of 
1852, and a number of other pioneers, fifteen acres of land 
adjacent to the site of Champoeg where the historic meeting of 
May 2, 1843, was held, and the spot now marked by a small 
monument, has been secured, and an effort will be made to 
secure state aid in the near future and convert it into a state 
park, one feature of which will be a suitable auditorium in which 
to hold annual celebrations. 

The fortieth annual reunion of the Oregon Pioneer Associa- 
tion was held in Portland at the Masonic Temple on June 20th. 
Robert A. Miller, President, presided. The annual address was 
delivered by Hon. Robert G. Smith, Mayor of Grants Pass, 
Josephine County. The annual banquet, provided by the Pio- 
neer Woman's Auxiliary, was laid in the Multnomah County 

Armory. Twelve hundred sat at the tables. No one can be a 
member of the Oregon Pioneer Association except those who 
came to, or was born in, some part of the original "Oregon 
Country" prior to January; 1, 1860. Only one exception is 
made, and that is in connection with California. Any one who 
came to, or were born in, that State prior to January 1, 1860, 
now residing in Oregon, are eligible to membership upon the 
same terms as if they had always been residents of Oregon. 
The average age of the twelve hundred pioneers present at the 
reunion was sixty-nine years. It was not an uncommon ex- 
perience for persons attending this reunion to meet old acquaint- 
ances whom they had not seen for periods of twenty to fifty 
years, and in one case sixty-four years. 


of the 

Oregon Historical Society 


Copyright, 1912. by Oregon Historical Society 
The Quarterly disavows responsibility for the positions taken by contributor* to its pages 


By Rev. J. Neilson Barry, Baker, Oregon 

Two famishing white men were eagerly searching among 
the debris of a deserted Indian camping ground for some mor- 
sel of food that may have been left behind, and were vainly 
endeavoring to swallow some dry fish bones which they had 
pounded between stones. The men were utterly destitute, as 
treacherous Indians had robbed them of everything, including 
all their clothing, and they were now starving in a trackless 
wilderness after having journeyed an entire year since they 
had left the last frontier habitation of a white man. 

One of these two men was Ramsay Crooks, a partner of John 
Jacob Astor in the Pacific Fur Company. He had left St. Louis 
with the overland expedition to Astoria, but had become so en- 
feebled from hunger and privations that he had been unable 
to keep up with the main party, so, with five others equally 
debilitated, he had been painfully struggling through the snow 
along their route, under such vicissitudes of sufferings that 
four of his companions had been unable to continue the journey, 
and now, with one comrade, he was on the verge of perishing 
from destitution. 

It is an illustration of the wonderful development of civil- 
ization in the West that in later years through transcontinental 
trains, with Pullmans and dining cars, ran along the very route 
on which this man so nearly lost his life, while his son, Col. 
William Crooks, was the assistant to the president of that rail- 


A traveler on the observation car of a through Pullman train 
who sees the pine-clad mountains, and the sagebrush plains, 
with the wonderful transformation which is taking place wher- 
ever civilization has gained a foothold, must naturally feel an 
interest in the story of the first travelers through this region, 
so charmingly told by Washington Irving in "Astoria," which 
was written in part at the home of Ramsay Crooks in St. Louis. 

The attempt in 1811 of an American corporation, the Pacific 
Fur Company, to establish Astoria as a trading post at the 
mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon, was of far-reaching 
consequences, as it became one basis for the claim to the Ore- 
gon country as part of the territory of the United States. 
. The overland expedition to Astoria under Wilson Price Hunt 
did much to increase the knowledge of what had been an un- 
explored wilderness, and contributed to the ultimate discovery 
of that natural highway between the Mississippi and the Pacific, 
which became the route of the trappers, and in later years 
"The Old Oregon Trail" of the emigrants, and is now used 
by the trunk line of a transcontinental railway system. 

The chief natural features along the route of the Astorians 
have remained unaltered, although irrigation has produced an 
almost miraculous change in parts of the desolate wilderness, 
such as that around "Caldron Linn," now Milner, Idaho, which 
has become like an immense garden. A network of railroads 
now covers what was formerly a trackless wild, while through- 
out the region, where no foot of white man had ever trodden, 
are now scattered a steadily increasing multitude of towns and 
cities, with all the adjuncts of modern civilization that they 

It was the view from the Pullman car that first caused the 
writer of this article to desire to learn the stories that must lie 
behind the outward scenes, and later the fertile Baker valley 
at the foot of the beautiful Elkhorn range was recognized as 
the "fine level valley" and "chain of woody mountains" men- 
tioned in "Astoria." 

The thought that here had actually trodden the footsteps of 
the half famished, but resolute, band of explorers, aroused the 


desire to identify other portions of their trail, and so for several 
years every fact that might throw light upon the subject was 
eagerly sought. Through the courtesy of Gen. H. M. Chit- 
tenden in lending manuscript notes used in the preparation of 
his most valuable work, the "American Fur Trade of the Far 
West," and with much assistance from Mr. T. C. Elliott, of 
Walla Walla, Wash., and from very many others, the entire 
route has been approximately ascertained. 

The first stage of the journey was along well known water- 
ways. Mr. Hunt and Mr. McKenzie started from Montreal, 
Canada, in July, 1810, and went by way of the Ottawa River 
and Georgian Bay to Mackinaw, Mich., where they obtained 
recruits for the expedition. Crossing Lake Michigan, they 
went by Green Bay across Wisconsin, by the Fox and Wiscon- 
sin Rivers, to the Mississippi, down which they sailed to St. 
Louis, Mo., where they arrived September 3rd,, 1810 (Chap- 
ter 13). 

Having obtained recruits, they left St. Louis October 21st, 
and ascended the Missouri River to near the present site of 
St. Joseph, Mo., where the expedition went into winter quar- 
ters, while Mr. Hunt returned to St. Louis. (Chapter 14.) 

Mr. Hunt, with additional recruits, left St. Louis March 12th, 
1811, and having passed St. Charles, Mo., saw the famous 
hunter, Daniel Boone, at La Charette, near Marthasville, War- 
ren County, Missouri. At Fort Osage, near Sibley, Mo., he 
was met by a detachment of the expedition under Ramsay 
Crooks, who was destined, upon his return journey from As- 
toria, to taste bread at this place for the first time in nearly 
a year. (Chapter 15.) 

Having rejoined the expedition near St. Joseph, Mo., Mr. 
Hunt started April 21st and, following the route of Lewis and 
Clark, ascended the Missouri, passing the mouth of the Platte 
River and the present site of Omaha, little knowing how much 
time and suffering would have been saved if he had abandoned 
the river at that point and struck westward across the country. 
Continuing up the Missouri, they passed the hill, on the Ne- 
braska side of the river, a short distance below Sioux City, 


Iowa, where Blackbird, the noted chief, was buried; his skull 
is now in the National Museum at Washington, D. C. (Chap- 
ter 16.) 

The Niobrara River, Nebraska, then called the Quicourt, was 
passed on May 24th, and near Chamberlain, S. D., Mr. Hunt 
held a parley with the Indians. (Chapter 18.) 

On June 2nd a massacre by Indians was narrowly averted 
near Cul de Sac Island, and the next day the Astorians were 
overtaken near Dorion Island by Manuel Lisa, of the Missouri 
Fur Company, who had left St. Louis after Mr. Hunt had as- 
cended the Missouri some two hundred and forty miles, and 
who for two months had been making a strenuous race of 
eleven hundred and fifty miles in order to have the protection 
of the Astorians while passing this dangerous part of the river. 
(Chapter 19.) 

On June llth Mr. Hunt camped near Ashby Island, and the 
next day arrived at the Arickara village, some eight or ten miles 
above the mouth of Grand River, S. D., then called Big River, 
thirteen hundred and forty-three miles from St. Louis. (Chap- 
ter 20.) 

The second stage of the journey was by horseback across a 
difficult part of the country, as they abandoned the route of 
Lewis and Clark up the Missouri River for fear of the Black- 
foot Indians. The expedition, consisting of sixty-four persons, 
left the Arickara village July 18th, and, having followed the 
present course of the Chicago, Milwaukee & Puget Sound Rail- 
way for a short distance, they turned toward the southwest, 
passing through Corson, Perkins and Harding Counties, S. D. 
(Chapters 23, 24 and 25.) 

On August 13th Mr. Hunt altered his course to the west- 
ward, and entering what is now Montana, reached the Little 
Missouri River near the present site of Ericson, Custer County, 
Montana. ( Chapter 25. ) 

Having crossed the Little Missouri, Mr. Hunt attempted to 
continue westward, but was prevented by the Powder River 
Mountains, which were formerly included under the general 
designation, Black Hills. Turning to the southwest, he passed 


near the present site of Alzada, Custer County, Montana, into 
what is now Crook County, Wyoming 1 , where on August 17th 
he caught sight of Cloud Peak of the Big Horn range. (Chap- 
ter 26.) 

Following the ridge between the watershed of the Powder 
River and the Belle Fourche fork of the Cheyenne in Crook 
County, Wyoming, they probably crossed the present line of 
the Burlington & Missouri River Railway in the neighborhood 
of Gillette. On August 24th they reached the Powder River 
near the mouth of Pumpkin Creek, Johnson County, Wyoming. 
This valley was a "hunter's paradise," and was later a favorite 
wintering place for trappers on account of the abundance of 
game. Continuing onward along Powder River and Nine- 
Mile Creek, they camped near the present site of Mayoworth, 
Johnson County, Wyoming, at the foot of the peak known as 
the Horn. (Chapter 27.) 

Although much uneasiness had been felt in regard to Rose, 
their renegade interpreter, he performed a very valuable ser- 
vice in showing to them the Indian trail across the Big Horn 
range, by the middle fork of Powder River and Beaver Creek, 
which is still used as a highway. ( Chapter 28. ) 

Having crossed the Big Horn Mountains, they descended 
Little Canyon Creek and encamped September 6th near the 
present town of Redbank, Big Horn County, Wyoming. Cross- 
ing the divide to the valley of Badwater Creek, Fremont County, 
Wyoming, they followed that stream to its junction with Wind 
River, which they ascended, passing the site of Riverton on 
the Wyoming & Northwestern Railway. They continued up 
Wind River past the fork near Circle, Fremont County, Wy- 
oming, and near Union turned off on the beaten Indian trail, 
which is now a public highway, and crossed Union Pass, from 
the summit of which they saw the Tetons. Keeping to the 
southwest, they reached Green River (Spanish River), which 
they followed a short distance, camping September 17th oppo- 
site Gros Ventre Peak, near Kendall, Uinta County, Wyoming, 
going from there to the north fork of Beaver Creek, where 
they spent five days. (Chapter 29.) 


Crossing a divide, they reached Hoback's River, named from 
John Hoback, one of the hunters with the Astorians. This 
they followed to its junction with the Snake River, a short dis- 
tance above the Grand Canyon. (Chapter 30.) 

Having detached Carson and three other hunters on Septem- 
ber 28th, they forded the Snake and were led by Indian guides 
along the trail, which is now a public highway, across the Teton 
Pass into Pierre's Hole, the valley of the Teton River, Fremont 
County, Idaho. On October 8th they arrived at the deserted 
post called Henry's Fort, which consisted of the first buildings 
intended for permanent occupancy that had been erected by 
white men within the Oregon country, and seem to have been 
.a short distance below St. Anthony, Idaho, on the north, or 
Henry, fork of the Snake River. (Chapter 31.) 

Here they began the third stage of their journey in canoes, 
which they had constructed, since they most unfortunately 
abandoned their horses under the impression that they were 
near Astoria and could navigate the Snake River. Having de- 
tached Mr. Miller and four hunters, they embarked at Fort 
Henry October 19th and the same day passed the mouth of 
the south fork of the Snake River, which they termed Mad 
River. On October 21st they portaged around Idaho Falls, 
the Blackfoot Mountains being on their left, and on the 24th 
reached American Falls, which are said to have been so named 
at a later day by the Canadians with the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, because a party of American trappers, descending the 
river, came unexpectedly to the cataract and were swept over 
and perished. The Oregon Short Line Railway now crosses 
the river at this point. On October 28th the Astorians met 
disaster at Caldron Linn, the present site of the dam of the 
Twin Falls irrigation system at Milner, Idaho. (Chapter 32.) 

Further navigation of the Snake River being impossible, 
the surplus goods were placed in caches on the north side of 
the river, opposite Milner, and the expedition divided into sev- 
eral detachments and began on foot the fourth stage of their 
j ourney . ( Chapter 33 .) 


The exploring parties under John Reed and Robert Mc- 
Lellan having united, they followed along the north or right 
bank of the Snake River to the canyon below Weiser, Idaho, 
where they were overtaken by the detachment under Donald 
McKenzie. The Snake River from this point to near Lewiston, 
Idaho, flows through a region of precipitous mountains, in- 
cluding the almost impassable range called the Seven Devils. 
Even to the present time no wagon road has been constructed 
across this difficult country, which is aptly described as being 
"on edge." The gorge, through which the Snake River flows, 
being only surpassed by the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. 
In some way McKenzie and his ten companions succeeded in 
crossing this region in twenty-one days, and possibly ascended 
Captain John Creek and crossed a shoulder of Craig's Moun- 
tain to the headwaters of Sweetwater Creek, near Waha, Nez 
Perce County, Idaho, where they found wild horses grazing. 
Making their way to the Clearwater, near Lapwai, they reached 
the Snake River near Lewiston, Idaho, being again on the route 
of Lewis and Clark, which they followed, descending the Snake 
through Washington to the Columbia,, and down that river to 
Astoria, where they arrived January 18th, 1812. (Chapter 

The main body of the expedition left at "Caldron Linn," 
Milner, Idaho, consisted chiefly of Canadians, as most of the 
American hunters had been detached, which contributed to 
their subsequent suffering from scarcity of provisions. Having 
divided into two parties, they set out November 9th. The group 
on the north side of the Snake River under Wilson Price Hunt 
followed along the river through Lincoln and Elmo re Coun- 
ties, Idaho, and camped November 18th in Ada County, oppo- 
site the present site of Grand View, and south of Cinder Cone, 
or Kuna Butte, which is a well known landmark in that vi- 
cinity. The "rimrock" in that vicinity is now still destitute of 
sagebrush. Leaving the river, they followed an Indian trail 
across a section destitute of water until the recent introduction 
of irrigation. Crossing the route of the present Oregon Short 
Line Railroad near Orchard station, they reached the Boise 


River a short distance below the present city of Boise. It 
was on this river that Reed, Dorion and others were subse- 
quently massacred by Indians, of which an account is given 
in Chapter 51, and the river was in consequence called 
Reed's River in the early days. Although the Astorians 
suffered greatly for lack of water on their way from the 
Snake to the Boise River, yet it was fortunate that they 
took this route, as it enabled them to procure some horses, 
without which many would probably have subsequently per- 
ished in the Snake River canyon. Following the Boise 
River along the route, in later days, of the "Old Oregon 
Trail," toward Malheur Butte, subsequently a well known 
landmark, they reached the Snake near where Fort Boise stood 
in after years. Turning northward, they followed along the 
present route of the Oregon Short Line down along the Snake, 
crossing the Payette and Weiser Rivers near the present towns 
with those same names. Little realizing that there was a nat- 
ural route used by the Indians between this point and the Co- 
lumbia, they continued down the Snake and entered the canyon 
November 27th. Traveling then became excessively arduous, 
but they still continued onward until December 5th, when they 
had probably reached near the present line dividing Washington 
and Adams Counties, Idaho. (Chapter 34.) 

The detachment under Ramsay Crooks left "Caldron Linn," 
Milner, Idaho, November 9th and, following along the left or 
south side of the Snake River, through Twin Falls and Owyhee 
Counties, Idaho, they entered what is now Malheur County, 
Oregon. Continuing northward along the Snake River, they 
passed near where Huntington, Baker County, is now situated, 
and then followed along the present line of the Northwestern 
Railroad to probably a short distance beyond Homestead, Baker 
County, Oregon, where they were forced to turn back and re- 
trace their steps. While ascending back up the river they came, 
December 6th, to a point opposite to where Mr. Hunt was on 
the Idaho side. When he had learned through Mr. Crooks 
of the impassable nature of the canyon, his party also turned 
back and retraced their steps southward up the river. (Chap- 
ter 35.) 


The two companies of half famished travelers struggled 
along on opposite sides of the Snake until they emerged into 
the open country. Mr. Hunt, on the Idaho side, found an 
Indian camp, near where Weiser now stands, where he for- 
tunately was able to obtain an Indian guide to lead him along 
the natural highway across the Blue Mountains to the Colum- 
bia, a route first used by the Indians and later forming part of 
the old Oregon Trail, and now traversed by the main line of the 
Oregon- Washington Railway. Having constructed a canoe of 
horse-skin, Mr. Hunt's party crossed to the Oregon side of the 
river, probably in the vicinity of Olds Ferry, Idaho. (Chapter 

Leaving the Snake River December 24th, they passed the 
present site of Huntington, Ore., and ascended Burnt River, 
which is called Woodville Creek in Chapter 44. The Canadian 
Carriere gave out and had to be placed on a horse, probably 
near Durkee, Baker County, Oregon. On December 28th they 
reached Powder River and encamped near Baker. A promi- 
nent peak of the "chain of woody mountains/' the beautiful 
Elkhorn Range, has been recently named Hunt Mountain in 
honor of the leader of this expedition. Continuing northward 
along Baker Valley, the party camped near the present site 
of the village of North Powder, Union County, where the 
Dorion baby was born. This was the first child with the blood 
of the white race in its veins to be born on the "Old Oregon 

Following the Powder River along the line of the Oregon- 
Washington Railroad to where the river enters the canyon, 
above Thief Valley, they turned off among the hills toward 
Telocaset, Union County, when La Bonte gave out, and was 
placed upon a horse, while Mr. Hunt shouldered his pack. This 
was one of the eight white men with this expedition who subse- 
quently became permanent settlers in Oregon. Having reached 
the now famous Grand Ronde Valley, the party camped near 
the present site of Union, near Hot Lake, which is described 
in Chapter 44. 


It is still possible to almost locate the spot from which the 
Indians pointed out the gap, near La Grande, through which 
they must pass, where it becomes visible, around a point of a 
hill, from the road between Union and Cove. Crossing the 
Grand Ronde Valley, they passed near the present site of La 
Grande, and ascended along Tillakum Creek to the summit of 
the Blue Mountains, near Kamela. 

The following day, January 7th, the little Dorion baby ended 
its brief life of arduous traveling, and its unmarked grave is 
probably somewhere near Duncan Station, and near where, on 
a later occasion, Madame Dorian hid her other two children, 
while she crawled on her hands and knees, from hunger and 
exhaustion, to seek for food and succor. 

The old Indian trail, which the travelers undoubtedly were 
following, reaches the Umatilla River near Thorn Hollow Sta- 
tion, and it was near here that poor Carriere disappeared for- 
ever. Following down along the Umatilla River, the explorers 
passed the site of Pendleton, and later turned from the river 
and struck across country to the Columbia, which they reached 
between Wallula, Wash., and Umatilla, Ore. 

They were then once more on the route of Lewis and Clark, 
for the first time since leaving the Arickara village in South 
Dakota six months before. Crossing to the north side of the 
Columbia, into what is now Washington, they followed down 
the river along the present route of the Spokane, Portland & 
Seattle Railway, to the noted Indian village of Wishram, which 
still exists near the station unfortunately named Spedis, since 
the ancient name, so well known in history, would be most 
appropriate now for that station, which is at the head of the 
Long Narrows, or Celilo Rapids, which extend from this point 
to The Dalles, Ore. The United States Government is now 
constructing locks at this part of the Columbia, an undertaking 
which is said to be exceeded in cost only by the Panama Canal. 

Having procured canoes, the party embarked from opposite 
The Dalles, Ore., and descended the Columbia through the 
great gorge which cleaves the Cascade Range. Portaging 


around the rapids at Cascade Locks, where Indian tradition 
says that the "Bridge of the Gods" formerly spanned the river, 
they descended the Columbia to Astoria, where they arrived 
February 15 ; 1812, nearly a month later than the detachment 
under Mr. McKenzie. (Chapter 38.) 

Mr. Ramsay Crooks and John Day, the Kentucky hunter, 
who were mentioned at the opening of this paper, had been 
left behind by Mr. Hunt, since they, with four Canadians, 
had become too exhausted from hunger and privation to con- 
tinue with the main expedition. These six having gotten to- 
gether near Weiser, Idaho, started in January, 1812, to follow 
the tracks left in the snow by Mr. Hunt's party and, ascend- 
ing Burnt River, crossed the divide into Baker Valley, where, 
like Mr. Hunt, they were disappointed at not finding any Indian 
encampment, since they were greatly in need of provisions. For 
some reason Indians appear not to have encamped in Baker 
Valley, possibly from some superstition. The Powder River is 
shown on the Lewis and Clark map as "Port-pel-lah," with the 
North Powder tributary as "Ta-kin-pa," which were names 
evidently learned from the Nez Perce Indians near Lewiston, 
Idaho. Captain Fremont mentions meeting an Indian in this 
valley October 15th, 1843, but his lodge was "in the mountain 
to the left" (Hunt Mountain). The late Hon. A. H. Brown, 
once the State Treasurer of Oregon, who was one of the first 
settlers in the Baker Valley, learned from the Indians that the 
valley was called by them "The Peace Valley," as there was a 
tradition that no battle had ever been fought here. The fact 
that the valley was originally caused by an earthquake, and 
since the city of Baker has been built an earthquake has oc- 
curred, it is possible that some superstition may have arisen 
in this connection. 

Not finding an Indian encampment, three of the Canadians 
turned back to the Snake River, while the other three travelers 
continued along the trail of Mr. Hunt's party until they reached 
the Grand Ronde Valley, where there was no snow. There, 
about the, last of March, Dubreuill, the Canadian, became ex- 
hausted and was left with a lodge of Shoshones. 


Mr. Crooks and John Day, with the aid of information gained 
from the Indians, managed to cross the Blue Mountains, and 
followed the Umatilla River to the Columbia, near Umatilla, 
where Chief Yeck-a-tap-am befriended them. From here they 
followed along the route of the present Oregon-Washington 
Railway to the mouth of the river, which has ever since been 
called the John Day, where they were treacherously robbed and 
stripped by some Indians, after which they managed to make 
their way back to Chief Yeck-a-tap-am near Umatilla, whose 
kindness to them was afterwards rewarded by a scarlet suit, 
like the household of King Lemuel. 

The party under Mr. Robert Stuart, which was returning 
from the Okanogan in Washington, fortunately picked them 
up and carried them to Astoria, where they arrived May llth, 
1812, nearly two months later than the second group of the 
overland expedition. (Chapter 41.) 

While Mr. Hunt was at the junction of Hobach River and 
the south fork of the Snake, in what is now Uinta County, 
Wyoming, Carson and three other hunters were detached Sep- 
tember 28th, 1811 (Chapter 31). After a successful hunt they 
were attacked and robbed by Indians and one of the trappers 
was killed. Carson and his two companions made their way 
to the Boise Valley, Idaho, where they fell in with the four 
Canadians who had been with Mr. Crooks and John Day. These 
seven were picked up by John Reed, the clerk, while on his trip, 
during the summer of 1812, to visit the caches at "Caldron 
Linn," Milner, Idaho, and they accompanied him to the post 
Mr. McKenzie was attempting to establish on the "Shahaptan," 
probably the Clearwater River, Idaho (Chapter 52). When 
Mr. McKenzie abandoned that post, they went with him to As- 
toria, where this fourth and last group of the overland expedi- 
tion arrived January 15th, 1813, almost a year later than the 
first party to reach the goal of their long journey, and nearly 
two years and three months after the main expedition had left 
St. Louis. (Chapter 53.) 

When we read of the experiences of these travelers a century 
ago, we can understand something of the development of civil- 


ization in the West, especially when we realize that now reg- 
ular trains carry passengers from St. Louis to Astoria in forty- 
two hours. 

The charge has been made that Washington Irving was ro- 
mancing when he wrote Astoria, yet from his detailed descrip- 
tions of natural features, it has now become possible to approx- 
imately identify the entire route, which lay through a formerly 
unknown wilderness, and in many places to almost be able to 
trace the footsteps of the overland expedition to Astoria. 



By William Barlow 

I am now in my seventy-ninth year, 1 and have been a pretty 
close observer of changes and events that have taken place 
during my own recollection. And, if anything, a closer ob- 
server of what my parents and grandparents told me when I 
was young, as I was always tought to confide in all they said. 

There was one of my grandfathers I never saw. He was 
killed or wounded unto death in the Revolutionary War. My 
mother and grandmother often told me what a great, patriotic 
grandfather I had; of this I will have more to say hereafter. 
Of course, all sons of Revolutionary sires have a lasting grudge 
of King George the Third, and a more bitter grudge against 
the Tories. 

I will first give a history of the Barlow side of the house, 
as handed down from my great-grandfather Barlow. But I 
have no exact dates. I only know they came from Scotland 
long before the Revolution and settled in old Virginia. They 
always claimed that we had Bruce and Wallace blood in our 

In those days the crown appointed all the magistrates, who 
domineered over the people as they saw best. They did not 
consider the common people had any right that they were bound 
to respect. 

One day great-grandfather Barlow was going to mill with a 
heavy load of grain on a sled, snow about a foot deep outside 
of the traveled track. The royal magistrate, with a fine cutter, 
prancing steeds and jingling bells, came, dashing up in front 
of the old farmer. With a wave of his hand to turn out of 
the beaten track, which grandfather failed to recognize, the 
result was disastrous. The magistrate, cutter and all went over 
into the gutter. The old gent stopped his big team to assist his 
royal highness in getting out of his self-made unpleasantness. 
But instead of thanking the old gent for his kindness, he sprang 
to his feet, drew his sword and went for the old man. But 

i The writer states in the body of these reminiscences that he was born on the 
26th of October, 1822. 


just as he got in reach, the butt of the old gent's blacksnake gave 
him a clip on the lug of the ear which dropped him in the beau- 
tiful snow over a foot deep. That and the blacksnake, or both to- 
gether, seemed to cool the young officer off. So he got up and 
begged the old gent's pardon. Grandfather helped him get the 
rig all straightened out, and told him he had got him so he 
thought he could take care of himself, and each one went his 
own way. To grandfather's surprise, that was the last he ever 
heard of the affair. 

My own grandfather, William Barlow, for whom I was 
named, followed Daniel Boone to Kentucky, and had to con- 
tend with numerous tribes of Indians. Kentucky was not 
claimed by any particular tribe of Indians, but held as mutual 
hunting ground by all the surrounding tribes. The climate and 
blue grass production of the soil made it a great resort and 
home for all the carnivorous and herbaceous wild animals of the 
forest that were found east of the Mississippi River. Among 
these were bear, panther and wolves, buffalo, elk and deer, be- 
sides all the little fry, such as foxes, coons, oppossums, hogs, 
hedgehogs, squirrels, rabbits and wild turkeys, in unlimited 

So all the first settlers had to do was to get in a little patch 
of corn for bread. This was pounded in a mortar, burnt out in 
a big stump, with a big wooden pestle. This pestle swung from 
a natural spring pole, by bending down a young hickory tree 
and tying a rawhide made of buffalo skin to the top of the little 
hickory sapling that was stout enough to raise the big pestle 
above the mortar so the corn would roll to the center of the big 
stump whenever the pestle went up. Thus one could have 
a bushel of cornmeal in a very short time. Of course, it had 
to be sifted through a rawhide deerskin sieve, that was made at 
home and equally as good as the best wire ones that we use 

Grandfather said the way they protected themselves from 
the numerous tribes of Indians, who made desperate efforts to 
keep the whites off their happy hunting ground, was by build- 
ing their log houses in straight rows right opposite each other, 


with a porthole or lookout on one side of the door, that could 
be closed up at night and opened up in the day to give light 
in the house. All the inmates had to observe a certain rule of 
rising in the morning at a stated hour, or as soon as they could 
see across the street, about sixty feet wide. Thus they could 
see if there were any redmen at their neighbors' doors. The 
only way the wild Indians could hope to cope with Kentucky 
rifles was by placing a watch at the door of each house with 
a tomahawk in hand to strike down the inmate as soon as he 
opened the door. But before the door opened each watcher, al- 
most at the same time, fell dead at the door he was watching. 
There was no truce to bury the dead, but the Kentucky braves 
gave the red braves a decent burial all in one grave. One such 
occurrence as this was the last time the noble redman of the 
forest ever tried that plan. 

Of course, the bow and arrow was no match for the Kentucky 
rifle, many of which the frontiersmen made themselves. My 
grandfather was a gunsmith and made as good accurate shoot- 
ing guns as are made in this day and age of the world. 

Kentucky now began to settle up in earnest, mostly from 
Virginia and Tennessee. Cornwallis had surrendered and 
Tories had to hunt their holes. Peace and quiet now reigned 
throughout the land. Kentucky was filling up rapidly with 
the F. F. Vs. 

My grandfather soon met and married a Miss Sarah Kim- 
brough, of Welsh descent. Her father moved from Virginia 
with all his household, including a large family of negroes, 
many cattle and horses, and an even half-bushel of Spanish- 
milled dollars, the only real land office money we had at that 
time that amounted to anything. This silver is now considered 
unsound, dishonest, corrupt fifty-cent dollars. Rag money is 
good enough for the common people now. I only mention 
this to show what a wonderful change has taken place since I 
was a man grown. 

In 1812 war again broke out between the United States and 
Great Britain. I had two uncles who were old enough to shoul- 
der a rifle. One of them made his own gun, he being a gun- 


smith himself. In fact, both of them were fine mechanics at 
anything in the iron or steel line. Both of them were strongly 
solicited not to enter the ranks, but to enter the armory corps 
as mechanics, to repair and keep guns in order. Uncle Jim 
said that would suit him better than to be set up as a target for 
redcoats' muskets, but Uncle John said he volunteered to shoot 
redcoats and he was going to do that or he would go home. So 
each one got his wishes granted. 

But Uncle Jim made the most money, had the easiest time 
and saw the most fun. He was a great hand to tell jokes and 
anecdotes, particularly on the Irish. He used to tell one with 
a great deal of eclat about a couple of Irish soldiers when they 
were lying at barracks. They called him master armorer, as 
he was head mechanic at the armory. The Irish boys came 
rushing in one evening both out of breath. 

"Master armorer, master armorer, me and my comrade here 
has got a wager of a dollar apiece and a quart of whiskey." 

"Well, what is it, my boys ?" 

"Well, my friend and comrade here bets me a dollar that he 
can drink this quart of whiskey all at one time and live till 
morning. Now, if he is here in the morning a live man, you 
give him the two dollars. But if he is not here at six o'clock in 
the morning the money is mine. Is that stated right, com- 

"Just right, just right, and I'll get the money,, whiskey and 
all, and divil a bit will I give ye." 

Next morning a little after six o'clock the head spokesman 
came bounding in. 

"Master armorer, give me the money." 

"Is your comrade dead ?" 

"Och, and he is as straight (and stiff, too) as a shingle. Darn 
fool, I told him so, but he said it was just like finding the two 
dollars and getting the whiskey besides." 

Uncle John's regiment had gone to New Orleans 


Where Pakenham had made his brags, if he and fight were 


He would have his gals in cotton bags, in spite of old Kentucky. 
But Jackson he was wide awake, and wasn't dazed at trifles, 
For well he knew what aim we take with our Kentucky rifles. 

Pakenham had at least three to our one of regular British 
soldiers. He came on with all the pomp and dash of a Welling- 
ton. Jackson said : "Hold your fire, my boys, until you can see 
the whites of their eyes." 

When the word was given all along the line to "make ready, 
take aim, fire," Uncle John said it seemed as though the whole 
British army went down at once. 

Jackson again commanded, "Keep cool, my boys, take your 
time, load your rifles well, so every ball will tell, then give them 
plenty of time to rally and close up the ranks. We are per- 
fectly safe ; no ball will go through these cotton bales." 

So the second charge was worse than the first. 

Then Pakenham made a third desperate effort at the head 
of his invincibles, as he called them. But the third time he 
went down with them with a Kentucky ball through his most 
vital parts. All was lost; nobody to rally them, and army de- 

We had lost nothing, comparatively speaking. We had killed 
more than our whole army numbered, Uncle John said. 

Jackson declined to follow them, and said : "Let them go ; 
we have no guns to sink their ships, but we can whip them on 
land as fast they come ashore." 

Uncle John told us that Pakenham was corked up in a cask 
of whiskey and shipped back to England, but when the vessel 
arrived in Liverpool the general was there, but the brandy was 
gone. On investigation, it was found that the cask had a spigot 
in it or gimlet hole with plug in it that could be drawn any 
time. The sailors evidently thought that anything that would 
preserve flesh would have the same effect on their stomachs. 

So that ended the war of 1812. In fact, this battle was fought 
long after peace was declared. Henry Clay, one of our peace 
commissioners at Ghent, won a thousand guineas from one of 


the English peace commissioners on that battle. One of the 
English lords, after the treaty of peace was signed, said, "I 
will now bet a thousand guineas that New Orleans is in pos- 
session of Lord Pakenham." Henry Clay said, "Draw your 
check for that amount. Here is mine." 

Now I will go back and fetch up the mother's side of the 
house. My grandfather Lee was a thoroughbred Protestant 
Irishman. Had it not been for the great rivalry between the 
Catholics and Protestants, Ireland would have been an inde- 
pendent state long before our Revolutionary War. 

Great-grandfather Lee fought clear through the Flanders 
war, seven years for the crown, then rebelled and fought seven 
years against the crown. At the end, he and many others were 
overpowered and surrendered as prisoners of war. All the offi- 
cers of high rank had to lie in a dungeon one hundred feet 
under ground and live on half an allowance of bread and water 
for one year. All who lived the time out and could pay 500 
pounds sterling to the crown could go free. 

Great-grandfather was one that lived the time out and was 
able to pay the fine. He called his two sons, William and 
Frank (William was my grandfather) to his bedside, as he was 
yet too feeble to be out. He said : "My sons, I am getting old 
and feeble ; I am broke down and almost broke up. I will have 
to stay here, but I want you both to go right to America. Some 
day that will be a free and independent country. It is too 
large and there are too many independent, free-thinking people 
there to be corralled by any of the King George tyrants. Scotch, 
Irish and English Liberals are getting over there as fast as they 
can, and they are just the material that will fight for freedom." 

So when the Declaration of Independence was declared 
Grandfather Lee was one of the first to volunteer for service 
during the war. He was lieutenant of a home-made battery in 
Charleston, South Carolina, and when the British fleet came 
into the harbor he was ordered to swab and test one of the new 
castings. Unfortunately it burst all to pieces and shattered one 
of grandfather's legs, so he, was disabled for the balance of the 
war. He got well enough, however, to raise a hearty and hardy 


family of sons and daughters. But about the time the family 
was all grown, the old veteran took sick and died, while his 
wife was hale and hearty. The boys and girls were young and 
stout, so they all thought while the family was all together 
they would emigrate to a newer, richer and healthier state. 
So they sold out and moved to the State of Kentucky. After 
remaining there two years, they concluded they would try a 
free state, so crossed over to Indiana, which had recently be- 
come a state. 

My father, Samuel Kimbrough Barlow, about the same time 
had left Ketnucky and gone over to Indiana to try his fortune 
in a free state. There he met, wooed and married one of the 
Lee girls, Miss Susannah Lee, who was my mother. A nobler 
woman never breathed the breath of life. She lived to raise 
her family and came to Oregon in 1845. She died on the place 
that I now live on and was almost worshipped by all who knew 

It was from her that I got my first idea of gold mines. She 
was born and raised in the State of South Carolina, and at that 
time such a thing as gold or silver mines were never heard of 
west of the Mississippi. But she would tell us children about 
the great gold mines of South Carolina. She said she knew a 
man there who had a gold mine on his own land and owned the 
negroes that worked it. Said his income was one dollar a min- 
ute ; that is, if the negroes came up to their task. This was to 
fill a goose quill an inch and a half long every day, and any 
over that was to be put in the darkey's sack. In case the darkey 
failed to have dust enough to fill the goose quill, any day, it was 
filled out of the negroe's surplus sack; but if the darkey had 
no dust in this sack to make up the deficiency, he was stripped 
to the bare back and the overseer was compelled to hit him a 
lick with the rawhide for every troy grain short. 

Now, I will take up my own father's life and what brought 
him to Oregon. In the first place, he was a great admirer of 
Henry Clay, more particularly on account of Clay's being a 
strong believer in the emancipation of the negroes. He thought 
he was the greatest natural statesman that ever lived, but I think 


no more so than was Lincoln. They were both poor boys and 
had to struggle for a living. Clay was the son of a poor widow 
and went to mill with a sack on a mule's back, borrowed books 
and read by fire, not torchlight. Lincoln did the same thing, 
only he did not have to support a widowed mother. Clay was 
elected to Congress when a very young man and was speaker 
of the house almost all the time. He came very near getting 
beat by voting for the enormous salary of $1500 per year fof 
Congressmen instead of $5 per day, as they had been getting ; 
but the next election the Democrats brought that against him 
with powerful effect. This is the way he defended himself: 
Without trying to justify himself in the least, one of his most 
substantial friends was selected to notify him of his doom. This 
old appointee, with rifle in hand and tears in his eyes, ap- 
proached Clay with almost death silence. 

"Well, Henry, I have been appointed to notify you that we 
can't stand that $1500 salary." 

"John," he said, "please let me look at your gun. That looks 
like a good gun, or has been a good gun." 

"Yes, and it is just as good as it ever was." 

"Well, John, doesn't it sometimes flash in the pan ?" 

"Yes, but very seldom." 

"Well, what do you do with it then, John ?" 

"Oh, I just pick the flint and try it again." 

"Well, can't you pick the flint and try me again ?" 

"We will, we will !" sounded a hundred voices. 

Well, from that time on Henry Clay held Kentucky in the 
hollow of his hand. But like all or most all of our most bril- 
liant men, he never could be elected President of the United 
States. But when his last defeat by James K. Polk, of Ten- 
nessee, a man comparatively unknown, came to Clay, this was 
a little more than the old gent, my father, S. K. Barlow, could 
stand. He said he would leave the states that did not recognize 
their great statesman and go to Oregon. By the time Oregon 
became a state he expected he and Clay would both be dead. 
But Polk made a better president than the old gentleman 
thought he would. He was really elected as an Oregon man, 


and "54-40-or-fight" was what made him president. But he 
did not carry out his "54-40-or-fight," either. 

I voted for Clay, myself being 22 years old in 1844, though 
I never regretted Folk's election as Clay had never committed 
himself on the boundary question. Father always said, Clay 
would have had 54-40 and would not have had to fight either. 
Of course, Canada and British Columbia should belong to the 
United States by natural boundaries. I have always thought 
it strange, that we did not exact it at the close of the last war 
with Great Britain. In fact, we had virtually taken Canada. 
Had whipped England at Plattsburg and on Lake Erie and 
could have taken Quebec from the rear without any trouble. 
But the Briton had sued for peace and always were the shrewd- 
est diplomats. We never, never valued the North Pole as much 
as they did. But now with Alaska, we would have the whole 
North American continent except Mexico. This acquisition 
without Mexico would be worth to us more than all Asia and 
Africa put together ; in fact, we do not want those countries, all 
of them or any of them. Even the Sandwich Islands are detri- 
mental to us and we are going to have trouble about them 
some day. The delegates selected to our Congress will try to 
seat the old Kanaka squaw on the throne. Of course that will 
not be done. But just as we are now, we are the greatest 
and most powerful nation on the globe. But expansion was 
Spain's downfall and it will be the fate of England some day 
and who knows how it will affect America ? 

Now, I will commence back with father in 1836 at Bridge- 
port, Indiana, ten miles west of Indianapolis. My father was 
owner and proprietor of the little town situated in a densely 
timbered country. There were five boys and two girls of us, all 
growing up fast. We were making a good backwood's living, 
by making at home everything we ate, drank and wore. But 
to stay there and wear ourselves out in that white oak timber 
and on land not very productive, even when it was got in culti- 
vation, was more than the old folks thought they could stand. 
Hearing there was land already cleared in Illinois, the adjoin- 
ing state, and having a fair offer as they thought for their In- 


diana farm, they accepted $1600.00 for the 160 acres less what 
had been sold off in town lots, probably about 25 or 30 acres. 

But now came the sticking point. This money was to be 
paid in land office script. Jackson had just vetoed the United 
States National Bank bill, the notes of which had always been 
land office money ; State Bank paper, Father would not look at. 
There was no gold in the country and very little silver. So they 
struck out for Indianapolis and had to give 5 per cent premium 
for Mexican silver dollars, which was best money we had then 
in the United States, and was land office money at that. 

So the old gent thought he would make a sale and sell off 
all his loose property. I recollect just how he wrote out the 
notice, and that has been sixty-five years ago. 

"Gentlemen, I will say to you, that I will sell at a vendue: 

"Horses, hogs, sheep and cattle, plows and hoes and chains 
that rattle, 

"And some fine honey bees, and things as good as these." 

The sale came off, which added a few hundred dollars more 
to our farm money, and had to take that in any kind of money 
that was in circulation. 

But before he started with his family, he thought it best to 
go on alone on horseback and select a location. The Black 
Hawk War was over, and no fears were entertained in trav- 
eling through Illinois and Iowa ; but by two going together for 
company, it would make it more pleasant. So Uncle John 
Thompson, a good old Baptist preacher, said he would go 
along, if father would agree to take in Iowa, as he was very 
anxious to get out of the woods, and go where he said God 
had done the clearing. So they started early in the Spring 
to look at the cleared-land country, which they were delighted 
with. They said they could put in a hundred acres quicker and 
cheaper than they could put in ten acres in Indiana. They went 
clear up to Lake Michigan, where Chicago now stands. It was 
then an Indian trading post. A man there had jumped a quar- 
ter section of land and offered to sell his right to it for $400.00, 
and the improvements on the place were worth the money 
Father said, "I believe I will buy that place. Some day there 
will be a great town right here." 


"Nonsense," said Uncle John. "Do you think any man of 
common sense would live where it takes two men to hold his 
hat on?" 

Just then a big puff of wind from the Lake lifted my fath- 
er's hat high in the air. When he had recovered it, he said, 
"Well, John, I don't know but that you are about right. We 
will go south where there is more timber." 

They had already been down about Peoria, Fulton and Knox 
counties ; now they could go back that way and select a place 
to move the family. Father was well pleased without going 
any further. Uncle John said he did not care to go over into 
Iowa then, as he had not sold out and did not know when he 
could. So father selected Farmington for his rendezvous 
until he could look up vacant land with timber and prairie land 

After being gone just six weeks he came back to Indiana. 
We were soon on the road, as we had our teams and wagons 
all ready ; three yokes of oxen to one wagon and a good span 
of horses to another. It was at this time that I first saw a 
friction match. Father went up to Indianapolis to buy a little 
outfit for the trip; the storekeeper said here is something you 
should have, as you are going to camp out all the way, and this 
box will beat your old flintsteel and punk a hundred times. 
They are something new, but they will all go and never miss 
fire. They are worth twenty-five cents a box and there are 
over a hundred in a box. They will start you a hundred fires 
and so much quicker. So father took them, as they only came 
to one coon skin anyway. 

In a few days we were on the road to Farmington, Illinois. 
We crossed the Illinois river at Peoria, twenty-five miles from 
Farmington. We moved into an old log house close to town 
that cost us nothing for the use of it ; bought a cow or two and 
we herded the horses and cow on the commons. 

Father struck out for the land office at Quincy to get field 
notes of certain townships where he might select the land that 
he wanted to buy. But he could not find any prairie and tim- 
ber land joining, but selected three 80-acre lots of smooth 


prairie and one 80-acre lot of timber two miles off. We moved 
right on the place, made a sod house, hired a lot of men, all 
good choppers, and one good hewer. Paid seventy-five cents 
for the choppers each and one dollar for the hewer per day 
and board. In a few weeks, we had up a big hewed log house 
a story and a half high. We had two rooms twenty feet square 
with a twelve-foot entry between them. It was the finest house 
in the county and a good house when we left for Oregon in 
1845. We broke, fenced and had more land in cultivation in 
one year than we could have had in Indiana in ten years with 
the same help. We remained on that place until March 30, 
1845. Had been there nine years but only raised eight crops. 
But never got two good wheat crops during that time. Oats 
and corn were always good, but prices were poor, ten cents a 
bushel for oats and twelve and a half for corn, and that in 
store pay. Pork brought from a dollar and a half to two and 
a half a hundred pounds, but that always brought cash; cash 
money had to be paid for taxes. We came out about even 
every year, though we were never in debt. 

We were all about grown now ; had lost one brother, Eli, the 
brightest one of the family. 

We could sell out now and make fine outfit for Oregon. We 
could have laid out a thousand dollars for young cattle, which 
would have made us a fortune in Oregon, but the old gent 
thought he would better keep his money than take chances 
by the stock being run off by the Indians. 

March 30th, 1845, arrived. Well, now we are off for Ore- 
gon, the land of sundown. We had four wagons, four yoke 
of oxen to one wagon and three to each of the others. They 
were all young, well-broken cattle, and could trot like horses. 
With wagons loaded light, they could walk off twenty-five or 
thirty miles a day easy. People came from far and near to 
bid us a last farewell, as they said. We had enough for an 
army of well-drilled soldiers to undertake without helpless 
women and children. Our outfit had a good effect, for in '47 
there were quite a number came from that neighborhood. The 
Grimes and Geers came first, as they said they would follow 
us soon. 


We rolled on without a hitch, crossed the Mississippi at 
Quincy, Illinois, and the Missouri river at Utica, Missouri. 
Went up on the south side all the way to Independence, where 
the grand start was to be made. There we lost one yoke of 
oxen, strayed or stolen, we never knew which, but they were 
the only animals we lost on the whole trip. Bought another 
yoke of oxen for twenty-two dollars and two or three cows 
for five dollars a head, to give milk on the road. We wanted 
father to buy one hundred cows, as he could have got them 
for five or six dollars apiece, and could get plenty of young 
men to drive them just for their board. Of course, we would 
have to furnish them each a horse or mule. Mules were better 
for the trip, but American mares were more profitable. When 
we got to Oregon father sold a young American mare, bought 
in Missouri, and which he had ridden nearly all the time, 
for $300.00 in Oregon City. I bought a nice yearling 
filly and traded her for a half a section of land on the Clacka- 
mas river, six miles from Oregon City. If we had bought 
American cows they would have been worth from $75.00 to 
$100.00 each in Oregon. But we did not do it; if we had it 
would have changed our whole lives. We would only have had 
to go up the valley on account of range and could have sold 
out the first year. But we got a hundred and fifty dollars for 
what oxen we had to sell. Of course, it was all in Oregon 
currency, which were orders on any of the stores in Oregon 
City, from Ermatinger to Abernethy. But these orders would 
bring flour and money, which we needed. 

Now, I will go back to Independence, Missouri, and fix 
for starting across the great American desert, as a great many 
thought it was. But now it is the richest part of the United 
States, and it has furnished the gold and silver to make the 
balance of the country blossom like a rose; and if they had 
not have demonetized silver it could have blossomed like a 
hundred roses. Of course, this demonetization set the country 
back at least a hundred years. For without gold and silver 
at the old parity of 16 to 1, we would have had no use for the 
worthless rag money which we can heap all together, and 


touch a match to and in five minutes you would have nothing 
but an irredeemable and irrecoverable heap of ashes. But if 
you could put all the gold and silver together and melt it down 
it would be worth just as much as it ever was, less the mintage. 
Besides, it would give employment to millions of people, that 
would give us a better market for our produce than all Europe 
ever has given us. Whenever a man tells me that there is not 
just as sound metal and just as good metal in silver as there 
is in gold to make an honest dollar, I will tell you he is either 
a knave or a fool, and should be either in the penitentiary or 
the asylum, according to his intellect, for he is a dangerous 
man in either case. 

But you must excuse me for getting off the subject every 
once in a while, but I have to cross the streams whenever I 
come to them, and every stream develops something new. So 
when I wish, if anything looms up before me, I will have to 
disagree and investigate the new subject. 

But now we are at Independence again, five thousand strong 
or five thousand weak, if women and children could be con- 
sidered weak. At least, two-thirds of our company were 
women and children, and we had a thousand wagons at least. 

The first thing to do was to organize. We called a repre- 
sentative meeting, elected a big captain over all, and one little 
captain over every forty or fifty wagons, each company elected 
it's own captain and he appointed his lieutenants, etc. But it 
soon all became etc. and etc. The guard was kept up for some 
time, and we stopped and started when the captain ordered. 
He always went on to look out a camping ground, taking into 
consideration wood, water and grass. 

My father was captain of a company all the way. He very 
seldom had anybody with him, though he would sometimes be 
miles and miles ahead of his company. 

Sometimes he would meet or overtake big bands of Indians 
and would always stop and talk with them, and give them more 
or less tobacco. He must have, given away several hundred 
pounds of tobacco, which he had laid in for that purpose before 
he started. The Indians got to know him all along the route. 


He would go to their camps, call for their chief, get down 
off his horse, take off his saddle, and give his horse and lariat 
to the chief, who would send him out with some young boy 
to good grass. He would talk, smoke and eat with the chief, 
and his horse would be brought up in the morning looking fine. 
The boy always was given a plug of tobacco and the old chief 
several plugs. But if the old gent had sneaked off and tried 
to hide, the Indians would most likely have stolen his horse 
and maybe killed him. But this did not happen. 

After he got to The Dalles, father went on to Tygh Valley 
to look for a starting point for going through the Cascade 
mountains with his wagons. We had hired Steve Meek, 
brother of Joe Meek, to pilot the emigrants clear through to 
The Dalles, for one dollar a wagon and board. 

He said he knew every trail and camping ground from Fort 
Laramie to Vancouver, west of the Cascade mountains. But he 
proved himself to be a reckless humbug from start to finish. 
All he had in view was to get the money and a white woman 
for a wife before he got through. He got the wife and part 
of the money. He and his company then went on and made a 
stand at the mouth of the Malheur river, which empties into 
the Snake River, where, he said, he could make a cut-off that 
would take them to The Dalles before we could get to the 
Grand Ronde Valley. This route, he said, would give them 
plenty of wood, water and grass all the way, and there would 
be no Blue Mountain to cross, which he described as almost 
impassable. The result was the whole emigration had gone 
clear through the Dalles six weeks before this company was 
heard of. He had got lost and did not know where he was. He 
told those with him he would fetch them through all right and 
they were afraid to desert him or discharge him, for fear they 
would all perish. Finally, after they had all lost a portion 
of their stock, and a large number of the people had perished, 
they came in sight of the Deschutes river. But the perpen- 
dicular basaltic walls prevented them from reaching the water, 
so they had to follow down the river on top of the bluff for 
miles before they could get a drink of water to cool their 


parched lips. One night, Meek took his wife and ponies and 
disappeared in the darkness ; he got across the Deschutes river 
at the mouth of Tygh creek, got dried salmon and other pro- 
visions from the Indians (for he was at home when he was 
with them) and struck out on the Mount Hood trail. That 
was what saved his life, as vengeance was sworn against him. 
I never knew what became of him, but I understood from his 
brother that Stephen Meek settled in Southern Oregon and Joe 
would have nothing to do with him. 

Now, I have got Steve Meek through and disposed of, I 
will go back to the big Kaw River, right among the Kaw In- 
dians, where Kansas City now stands. They were the first 
tribe of Indians on the route that we had to meet, and were 
a noble, fine-looking Indian, and they treated us fine. They 
were about to start on a buffalo hunt up the Big Platte River 
but they were in fearful dread of the Sioux Indians, for they 
claimed all the buffalo on the Big Platte River. 

But the Kaws disputed their right to all the buffalo, but if 
the two tribes happened to come together there was sure to 
be bloodshed, unless the Kaws could get back to their own 
hunting ground. But none of them molested us in the least. 

So we rolled on until we struck the North Platte River at Ash 
Hollow, where, according to arrangements at the start, we 
were all to go into camp and let the big chief, Captain Welch, 
take the lead. But there were four or five companies ahead 
of us, the Barlow company ; but when we got there there were 
no companies to be seen ; so from that time on each company 
was an independent company of its own, and the "Devil take 
the hindmost," was the saying. 

Grass was good and water plenty, but wood was not very 
plentiful. But we had a good substitute in the way of buffalo 
chips. We soon came in sight of vast herds of buffalo, and 
close by, as we thought. But when we started to go to them, 
we found they were from five to eight miles away. To further 
illustrate this illusion, when we came in sight of Chimney 
Rock, some of the young men took their guns, said they would 
go around by the rock and get on top of it, then overtake the 


teams before time to camp. It was then about ten o'clock. 
We moved on at a good rate for ox teams, and we just got 
opposite the rock at camping time. Some of the men who 
went on to it and went up on top did not get in that night. 
It was a least fifteen miles away. 

Buffalo from that time on were in unknown quantities. I 
am sure we could see five thousand head at once in lots of 
places, and wolves were very nearly as thick. Some of the 
boys made a terrible slaughter both among the buffalo and 
wolves. They just shot them down to see them fall, did not 
even skin them and the hides were worth from four to eight 
dollars each. Father called a meeting of his company, and 
admonished the boys in the kindest kind of words, not to kill 
any more than just enough for meat. For, he said, it was 
robbing the Indians of their natural food and might arouse the 
wrath of the great Sioux nation, whose country we were now 
crossing. He said, as long as we went straight through and 
did not kill too many of their buffalo, they would not molest 
us. Up to this time, we had not had a mishap. No sickness, 
but peace and kindness reigned supreme. Stock had actually 
improved all the time, but just now (and as I kept no diary I 
cannot give the date, but it was way up in June) we had quite 
a mishap. Somebody's untrained, worthless dog (something 
that should not have been allowed on the road) had gone over 
the bank of the Big Platte River to cool off. He stayed there 
until all the teams had passed. The loose stock was just com- 
ing up some distance behind, when the big dog made a bound 
from the water to the top of the bank and gave himself a 
big shake to throw the water out of his hair. Away went the 
cows, horses, bulls and all, with such a rattle and jam that 
it would almost raise the hair on a dead man's head. When 
the stampede started, the animals were half a mile behind the 
wagons, which was the distance they were allowed to keep. 
But on they came with renewed fury at every bound. The old 
Captain, who happened to be back with his company, took 
in the situation at a glance, clapped spurs to his noble mare 
and bounded along the line with a trumpet voice to those in 


the wagons to halt and drop their wagon tongues. But it was 
too late for all to accomplish. Some of the hind teams were 
all ready on hearing the order. Our four family wagons and 
Games' two were ahead that day. James Barlow's big team 
was in the lead, but failed to stop when he said "whoa." So 
he dropped his lead ox in his tracks with the butt of his whip 
stock. J. M. Bacon's team was next. In this wagon, Mother 
Barlow rode, and it had to stop as it was jammed up against 
James' wagon. That gave mother time to jump out and run 
to the bank of the river about twenty yards off and jump down 
the bank, only a few feet high. I had been quick enough to 
get my team loose from the wagon, but J. L. Barlow and 
Games' two teams got under considerable headway, but for- 
tunately one of Games' oxen fell down, and that was more 
than the balance of the team could pull. This gave my sister, 
Mrs. Gaines, good time to get out with the baby, about a year 
old, and get down the bank of the river. She always said 
that that ox-broken neck saved her life, as she was just fixing 
to jump, and it might have been her neck instead of the ox's. 
It was her natural disposition to make the best of everything. 

The cleanup of this stampede were a few broken wagon 
tongues, a few smashed-up wagon wheels, one ox with a 
broken neck, another with a broken leg and two days' layover 
for repairs. Fortunately, no human being was even crippled. 
Some were slightly bruised, but at the end of the second day 
everybody was ready to move. Cattle were well refreshed and 
getting restless. We found the best plan was to make a 
drive every day. Cattle stayed togethed better and did not try 
to wander off. I have no recollection of our company's losing 
a single head on the way, though a few oxen got sore feet 
and had to be taken out and driven with the loose cattle for 
a few days. But that was on account of wagons' being too 
heavily loaded. 

We had one old deadbeat whom we called "Noey" and his 
wagon "Noey's Ark." He had one span of mares and one 
yoke of cows and both of them gave milk, which was the prin- 
cipal nourishment he had for half a dozen children, himself 


and wife. His wagon beds were built close out to the wheels, 
so it took about a half-acre of ground to turn on. The object 
was to make the bed large enough to hold all the worthless 
rubbish that he could not sell or give away before he started. 
He said the things might come in mighty good play when he 
got through. But he never would have gotten through if it 
had not been for my old mother. He did not belong to our 
company. We found him camped by himself, his company 
had gone off and left him several days before. Mother said, 
"We must not leave him there to be butchered by the Indians." 
But father did not think the Indians would molest him, as he 
had nothing that they would have. But if everybody went off 
and left him, he would starve or freeze to death when winter 
came on. So the old gent went to see him and told him he 
could join us, if he would let us overhaul his wagon and throw 
out every worthless article. His wife began to cry and said 
they would need everything when they got through. But the 
old gent said, "You will never get through with that load and 
old team." So they finally consented to be overhauled. The 
old gent called two or three of the best men of the company 
to come and overhaul the wagon; they took everything out 
that was in it, and a more worthless lot of trash was never seen. 
They put back what few necessaries they had, such as bed 
clothes, wearing apparel and all the provisions they had, but 
that was very light. It lightened up his wagon more than 
half, so his old cows and mares could waddle along and 
keep up for awhile. But we could not stop the whole company 
to wait on him. We had got him across the Big Platte River 
and up to Fort Laramie, where he could get all the jerked 
buffalo meat he wanted for almost nothing. There were 
thousands of Indians coming in then from their big buffalo 
hunt with tons of jerked meat and hundreds of buffalo robes 
to trade for Indian goods at the Fort. So mother fitted Noey 
and his family out with quite a supply of provisions, such as 
bacon, flour, coffee, sugar and so forth. She told them they 
must take their time and try and get through. I don't know 
whether she told them she would pray for them, but I do know 


she did pray for all the poor and needy, every night, and she 
certainly could not leave them out, because she knew their 

Now, I have written this simple fact to illustrate what I 
have always said about the privations and starvations of the 
dear old emigrants. I will now say again, for myself and our 
company, that I never passed a more pleasant, cheerful and 
happy summer in my whole long life, and see no reason why 
the others cannot agree with this statement. We never had 
any sickness nor fear of any, more than we would have had 
in the oldest state in the Union, until we ran into the Cascade 
Mountains. Up to that time, we never had an obstacle in the 
way that we could not easily overcome. We forded every 
stream from the Big Kaw, where Kansas City now stands, to 
Oregon City, and we never doubled our teams to get over any 
hills or mountains that I can recollect. We never lost a horse, 
cow, nor ox on the entire trip. 

When we got to Fort Hall, on the Snake River, we laid by 
a day or two. Some of our company wanted to go to Cali- 
fornia and here was where the roads parted. But my father 
said he was going to drive his teams into the Willamette Valley. 
Superintendent Grant, of Fort Hall, the agent of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, was present, and remarked, "Well, we have 
been here many years and we never have taken a pack train 
over those mountains yet, but if you say you will take your 
wagons over the mountains, you will do it. The darned Yankees 
will go anywhere they say they will." So the next morning, 
a mutual and friendly division took place. About half the 
wagons took the California road and the remaining twenty 
wagons continued on the Oregon route. Our family com- 
pany, consisting of thirteen wagons, traveled down the Snake 
River on the south side and crossed it the first time at the 
Great American Falls ; thence over to Boise River to its mouth 
at Fort Boise. We then crossed Snake River again, the deepest 
river we had forded. We raised our wagon beds about one 
foot and got nothing wet. We then went down the Snake 
River to the mouth of the Malheur. There Steve Meek was 


waiting to get a crowd for his famous cut-off that would save 
more than half the distance to The Dalles, he thought. There 
the Geers, Moores and Sweets bid us boodbye and said they 
would wait for us at The Dalles. But we got to The Dalles 
six weeks before they did, besides they had lost two or three 
of their family. 

At this camp the old gent lost a fine Indian pony that he 
had bought to rest and recruit his fine American mare, and 
that was the only animal we lost from start to finish. 

Nothing transpired from there on to The Dalles that requires 
special notice, except the peculiar way we had to cross the 
Deschute. River. 

We had to drive out into the Columbia River and strike 
the sandbar made by the Deschutes River and circle around on 
that to reach the bank of the Columbia River below the mouth 
of the Deschutes. 

We were now nearing The Dalles, where decision had to 
be made about tackling the supposed impracticable mountains. 
It was early in the fall, somewhere close to October, and we 
had plenty of provisions to last us two months and our teams 
were in good condition, or would be by having a few days' 
rest on good grass. I knew the old captain was determined to 
go through the mountains. He said, "God never made a moun- 
tain that He had not made a place for a man to go over it or 
under it, if he could find the place," and, he said, "I am going 
to hunt for that place." But he further remarked he did not 
ask anyone but his own family to go with him, and wanted no 
one to go who knew what the word "can't" meant. So we 
drove out to Five-Mile Creek, where there was wood, water 
and plenty of good grass. He said we could stay there and 
look after the stock and the women could wash and clean up 
as much as they wished, until he got back from a little recon- 
noitre to look out for a starting point. He had his eye on a 
low sink in the mountains just south of Mt. Hood ever since 
we had crossed the Blue Mountains. Our company was now 
reduced down to thirteen wagons, all good teams, and were 
well provided with provisions and tools. But the old gent said 


we will divide up so all should share alike who went with him. 

We had a young fat cow which he would kill and divide. 

In a few days the old gent got back from his preliminary 
survey and reported everything favorable as far as he went. 
He had been about sixty or seventy miles. By this time, W. H. 
Rector caught up with him and said he would go, too, if Cap- 
tain Barlow would let him. "Why, yes, you are just the man 
I am looking for; young, stout and resolute." Although his 
wife was a very weakly woman, she was anxious to make the 

Well, in two or three days the start was made. All were 
stout and hearty, both old and young, except Mrs. Rector, and 
her lack of physical strength was somewhat made up by mental 

Our teams were fresh and buoyant and walked right along. 
We made Tygh Creek the first day, it being twenty-five or 
thirty miles from our camp. Here we laid over one day to let 
the teams eat and rest, as we had a long steep hill to pull up 
and would have no water for about fifteen miles. A canyon 
had to be crossed that would require some pluck to cross it 
with a wagon. But when we had passed these barriers, we 
found plenty of wood, water and grass. The old gent said 
he would cross the canyon so our cattle could not get back. 
It was a deep bluff canyon and there was no other crossing 
for miles either way. Father had already examined the lo- 
cation on his first trip out, as a good point to start from. 

So the next morning the old gent said he would take Mr. 
Rector and go ahead, hunt and blaze out the best place to 
make the wagon road. The balance of us could follow up and 
cut out the road. We would leave a man or two in camp to 
look after the stock and attend to the wants of the women and 
children. There were about twelve of us who could do a 
man's work. Mother wanted me to stay, and Mrs. Rector 
wanted one of her sons to stay, the only one who was large 
enough to work. 

At this time we killed our heifer, so the men would have 
plenty of meat. Besides we had plenty of bacon and flour to 


last a month or over. The only thing we were deficient in 
was good tools. Of course, we Had saws and axes, but they 
were in bad condition, and we had only a small grindstone and 
a few worn-out files. But there was very little heavy timber 
to cut. The timber and brush on the east side of the Cascades 
is very different from that on the west side. Over a portion 
of the east side one can drive a team right through the timber. 

Days and weeks had now passed and we had no tidings 
yet of the pathfinders. We had made only one move of ten 
or twelve miles, in order to be closer to our workers who were 
cutting the road. The road was now cut out to the head or 
source of the Little Deschutes River close up to Mt. Hood. 
Some of the men had gone down to the river over a very 
long but not a very steep hill. But we concluded not to go 
down with our wagons until the blazers returned. For if 
we had to go back, we did not want to have to climb that hill. 

A day or two after this, just about dark, the keen crack of 
the old gent's rifle rang out with joyous hopes of glad tidings. 
In an instant, the boys sprang to their rifles and answered the 
salute with a half-dozen shots that made the woods ring for 
miles around. The air was light and the vibration was beau- 
tiful. Then the old pathfinder's rifle rang out again close at 
hand. "Tallows" were lit and men, women and children went 
with a rush to meet the stalwarts. I will pass over the meeting 
of the husbands and wives. The first thing the old gent said 
was, "Don't give us anything to eat. A little coffee is all we 
need now. It will be food and stimulant enough." Rector 
said, "You can speak for yourself, but I am going to eat some- 
thing. You would not let me eat those big snails and now I 
am going to eat whatever my wife will cook for me." But 
his wife was very cautious about what she gave him. Mother 
gave father only a little coffee and a very little bread. Then 
he smoked his pipe and that revived him very much. After a 
little more coffee, mother had a good feather bed for him 
and he went to bed and slept sound all night, and was almost 
as fresh as ever in the morning. 


Up to that time, there had not been a word said about the 
trip, but next morning- all hands wanted to know the result 
of their preliminary journey. 

"We have found a good route to make a road," my father 

"Yes," Rector said, "the route we have blazed out is a good, 
practical route, and if Mrs. Rector were as stout and healthy 
as I am we would go through. But if anything should happen 
to her I would never forgive myself. We talked it over last 
night, and I think I will take my wagon and go back to The 

Father said: "Mr. Rector, you are at perfect liberty to do 
as you please. If I had any fear of losing even any of my 
company on account of the road, I would not say go. But 
we can go on and in one day from right here we can reach 
within two or three miles of the summit. Then, if you think 
best, we can build a good house and cache everything in it. 
We will send the cattle over the trail. Some of the young men 
will be willing to stay and look after the goods for ten dollars 
a wagon and I will send back provisions to keep them all 

William Berry said that was right to his hand. I said, "I 
would be another. Besides, I would go in and fetch the winter 
grub out myself. That is, if we had to, for we did not know 
but that we might get through. 

Now, when we arrived at the selected spot, it was already 
getting late in the season, away up in November. The days 
were short and snow was liable to cover us up at any time. 

So it was decided to build a house, send the stock over the 
Indian trail that went over Mt. Hood, high enough to be on 
perpetual snow. The Indians always made their trails over 
the highest ground they could find. Though the distance 
might be twice as far, they preferred the high land, as toma- 
hawks and scalping knives are poor tools to cut out logs and 
big trees. When they came to a big log that they could not go 
around or jump their ponies over, they would hack a notch in 
it just wide enough to let a pony squeeze through. The small- 


ness of these openings made it hard to get some of our big 
cattle through. Some of the emigrants had a number of head 
killed or crippled in this way. But our little band got through 
without a scratch. The bulk of all the cattle and horses went 
over the Mt. Hood trail that fall and some families rode over 
on oxen's and cows' backs. Old Mother Hood rode all way 
from The Dalles to Oregon City on a cow's back. 

But most of the families went down the Columbia River on 
the Hudson's Bay bateaus. They left their wagons at The 
Dalles and often found them cut up by the Indians and the 
spokes of the wheels used for whip handles. Some few got 
their wagons down that fall on rafts to the Cascades and then 
hauled them from there down with teams, or got them taken 
down and up to Portland on bateaus. This cost them about 
all each wagon was worth. 

To return to the summit. The bulk of the men were at work 
building the mountain cache. I took three of the young men 
and started over Mt. Hood with all the stock except the horses, 
which were left to carry out the women and children. I had 
a horse to ride as I was to go back as soon as I got the stock 
over Mt. Hood. This took only two days. Then I started 
back to camp, being gone just three days. 

The house was pretty well along, considering the tools, and 
the men who had to do the work. Albert P. Gaines and Wil- 
liam Berry were the principal workmen. Both could handle 
tools well, but the others were mere supernumeraries. The 
old gent was now almost worn out. Bacon was a good hand 
with a needle and thread, and he was kept busy fixing up 
clothing for the men. We had eleven or twelve wagons, and 
it required a large house to hold all the plunder and the three 
men that were going to stay all winter. But one of the men 
backed out, so I agreed to go below and come back with pro- 
visions and stay at least six months. About the first of De- 
cember, everything was packed away nice and snug. House as 
tight as a jug, all the cracks chinked up with moss, a good 
store of food and mountains of good dry wood. We had a few 
books, which would serve to while away the time. In fact, 


enough of everything to make any lazy man feel happy. Up 
to this time there had been no snow at all. Berry went up 
to the top of the summit with us. We had left him provisions 
enough for one month, and with a good gun there were plenty 
of fine squirrels that he could kill. 

All went well with the emigrants until we started down on 
the Oregon side of the Cascades. We called it Oregon, as that 
was all the habitable part of Oregon then. Then the real 
simon-pure hard times commenced. There were huckleberry 
swamps to wallow through as best we could ; women and chil- 
dren had to be carried off of their horse's back to let the horse 
get out of the mire, if he could, and if he could not we had 
to pry him out. Of course, these, swamps were only in spots. 
The old gent expected to corduroy all these places before he 
took the wagons over them. But they were worse than he 
thought, as he had only crossed them on foot. But when we 
went to put horses on them, packed with heavy loads, they 
went down frequently. So we moved very slowly, only from 
three to five miles a day. It commenced snowing and that 
covered up the grass and our horses had to browse on the 

We were now at the top of Laurel Hill. We camped for 
the night and there was about twelve inches of snow on the 
ground. One of our best horses died from eating laurel. The 
old gent saved his harness and brought it up to camp. Mother 
said, "Poor, old Grey is dead, but I hope his meat is good, and 
we will not starve so long as we can eat horse meat." Mrs. 
Caplinger broke down at this and commenced crying right 
out. Mrs. Gaines, my oldest sister, said, "What is the matter ?" 
Mrs. Caplinger replied, "We are all going to freeze and starve 
to death right here." "Nonsense," said Mrs. Gaines, "we are 
right in the midst of plenty. Plenty of wood to make fires, 
plenty of horses to make meat, plenty of snow to make water, 
so when it comes to starving here is your old dog as fat as 
butter and he will last us a week." "Would you eat my old 
dog?" "Yes, if he were the last dog in the world," Mrs. Gaines 


But alarm was in the air and fear prompted William Barlow 
and J. M. Bacon to push on to Foster's for more supplies. 
In the morning bright and early we started on ahead for the 
valley with a little coffee and four small biscuits as our share 
of the provisions. We took only a dull chopping ax and a 
pair of blankets as our outfit. We went down Laurel Hill 
like shot off of a shovel. In less than two hours we had to 
look back to see any snow. We soon struck the Big Sandy 
trail where thousands of cattle and horses had passed along. 
There was no trouble to follow the trail now ; at this point the 
new Barlow road ended. The only trouble was in crossing 
the stream that ran like water from a floodgate, and the num- 
ber of crossings were too numerous to keep any account of. 
The water was very nearly as cold as ice, but at most of the 
crossings we found drifts or boulders that we managed to 
cross on without getting wet. I carried the ax and coffee, 
Bacon carried the biscuit. But when we got down to the last 
crossing of the Big Sandy, it was getting late in the evening. 
The river was wide and still rising ; there was no way to cross 
without swimming or cutting a tree down that stood on the 
bank about one hundred yards above the ford. There was a 
rock island right in the middle of the river, and I saw that all 
the water was running on our side of the stream. It was quite 
narrow from bank to rock, not over forty feet. I said to Ba- 
con, "If we can get that tree down and lodged on the rock, 
unless it breaks it two it will make a good crossing." "Yes," he 
said, "but we have nothing but that old dull ax and I can't 
chop." I knew that without his telling me, for he was a sailor 
by trade. So I went at it, and in about an hour the tree fell, 
but broke in two and went sailing down the river. All I could 
say was, "Well, John, we will make a big fire under that 
cedar tree and make a pot of coffee and our four biscuits will 
make us a good meal. But in the morning I am going to cross 
that stream." John drew a long breath, then said, "Well, 
I am sorry and ashamed to tell you, but I lost those biscuits 
in the river, in jumping from one boulder to another. I tripped 
and fell and away went the bread, and you know no human 
being could catch them." 


"Yes," I said, "I know it would be hard to catch anything 
after it was in a man's own bread basket." But I never really 
thought that John had really eaten them. 

We made a big fire under a large cedar tree that would turn 
the rain as well as the best thatch roof that could be made, 
wrapped ourselves up in our blankets and lay down and slept 
as sound as we had ever on the road. 

We had slept together all the way across the plains. In the 
morning, got up and made a good pot of coffee. After break- 
fast, as we called it, I went out and cut what I called a safety 
pole about ten feet long. I said, "Now, John, if I should slip 
and fall I am a goner, and you tell my mother that I lost my 
life in trying to save hers." She was the nearest and dearest 
and most helpless of any of the family. 

But I made no blunder. I would place the pole firmly on the 
bottom among the boulders, then would brace against the pole 
and swing out as far as the pole would let me go on the other 
side; again I would brace myself against the strong current, 
lift my pole around on the other side, and place it again in the 
same manner until I reached the shore. We had no big guns 
or even firecrackers to celebrate the event, but the big cheers 
that John gave me from the other side and the consolation that 
I felt in being victorious over the raging river was enough. 

Now we had only eight miles more before we met friends 
and help. So I bounded away like a mountain buck, and in 
three hours more I was at Foster's. James and John L. Barlow 
(Doc) were there herding the stock. I told them to mount 
the best horses they could get and hie away to Oregon City, 
get some men and eight or ten good horses and be back here 
at ten o'clock tomorrow morning. All of which they did in 
good shape. But I had prostrated myself by over-eating, and 
I thought I had been very cautious. However, I climbed up 
on one of the horses and started on a lope, and that seemed 
to help me very much. 

We met our hungry emigrant party that evening just at 
dark. They had been making short moves every day. The 
The main thing now was to keep them from over-eating ; they 


had had something to eat all the time, but their rations had been 
short and not choice either. The next day we arrived at 
Philip Foster's, where we laid over one day, rested and ate 
cautiously but heartily. The next day, December 25th, 1845, 
we arrived in Oregon City. A few of the party stayed at 
Foster's for rest. Albert Gaines afterward took up a claim 
there and stayed a year or two. It was Christmas night when 
we landed in Oregon City, just eight months and twenty-four 
days from Fulton County, Illinois. 

At this time, Oregon had a Provisional legislature of its own, 
and Governor Abernethy was governor. The old pathfinder 
went to the assembly and asked for a charter to build and make 
a wagon road over the Cascade Mountains south of Mt. Hood. 
The request was immediately granted. And it was not long 
before he accomplished what he said he could and would do. 

He never was a man that hunted after notoriety. He only 
wanted to benefit mankind in building this road and wherever 
he could. All he asked in the venture was to get his money 
back in doing it. To show that that was all he wanted, when 
he got all the cost of the road, or what he thought was all 
the cost, he threw open the road to the public. He had five or 
six hundred dollars in notes that he had taken for toll in lieu 
of cash. But to his surprise, he never got the half of it, though 
the parties said the first money they could get would go to him, 
but when they got out of reach they forgot all that. The worst 
thing he did do was throwing up the charter, and it was the 
worst thing for the emigrants that could have been done, for 
there is no road that will keep up itself, and it soon became al- 
most impassable. Poor jaded teams would mire down and 
emigrants lost sometimes more than three times what the toll 
would have been,, besides the delay and time lost. Soon after 
Foster and Young re-chartered the road and made some money 
on the investment, besides making it prove a great accommo- 
dation to emigrants. This road was kept in pretty fair condi- 
tion until the railroad was built down the Columbia River. 
Even now it seems to be the best route across the Cascade 
Mountains that has been found. 


Samuel Kimbrough Barlow was born in Nicholas County, 
Kentucky, in the year 1795. He died at Canemah, Oregon, 
in 1867. If he were alive today (1904) he would be 105 years 
old, but he did live long enough to accomplish all he set out 
to do. Though he never got rich, he always had a competence. 
He was one of the most strictly conscientious honest men I 
ever knew and one of the most strictly temperate, though he 
never belonged to any temperance organization in his life. He 
used to say that if he found a drunken man lying on the road, 
he would get him up, take him home, feed him, give him a good 
bed to sleep on and breakfast in the morning. The next time 
he found him drunk he would roll him out of the road to keep 
the wagons from running over him. The third time, he would 
not move him out of danger in any way, for the, quicker he 
got crushed to death the better. 

I will now say in conclusion of this brief sketch of the old 
pioneer's life, that he was one of the most beneficial men to 
Oregon and the emigrants who came with wagon and team. 
He prepared the way so they could roll right in to the Willam- 
ette with all their effects of every kind. They thereby saved 
time and much risk of losing their lives in running the Cascade 
rapids, for all admit that that was a great hazard. Well-trained 
Hudson's Bay men did lose a great quantity of fur and quite a 
number of men. Old Dr. McLoughlin used to tell it in this 
way : "Dangerous place, dangerous place ! We have lost thou- 
sands and thousands of pounds of beads and many boats in 
running the Cascades." 

I said : "What becomes of the men, doctor ?" 
"Oh, well, they did not cost us any money." 
But the old doctor was good to his men and very sym- 
pathetic. He was a sturdy old Scotchman and a strict dis- 
ciplinarian. But as I am not writing a history of the doctor's 
life, I will say that this was just put in to show the hazard 
of going down the Columbia River at that time with women 
and children in rather frail boats; it also further proves the 
benefit to the people that the old gent's road had over all other 
routes, and that it was not made for selfish gain in any way, 


as he proved by throwing it open to the public as soon as he 
got his money back. It had cost about two thousand dollars 
and was sixty- five miles long. This ends the old pioneer's part 
of this history. 

Now I will go back seventy years and tell as briefly as pos- 
sible what I know of my own knowledge of the changes, habits 
and style of that period. I was born on the 26th day of Oc- 
tober, 1822, in Marion County, Indiana, twelve miles south- 
west of Indianapolis, on Little Whitelick River, right in the 
midst of a Quaker settlement. So my early training had to 
be of the strictest kind. I never saw a drunken man or heard 
an oath sworn or profane language of any kind until I was 
ten years old ; never heard the words "Yes, sir/' or "No, sir," 
but instead "Yes, man," or "No, man." If one would say 
"Madam" to a woman she would say, "Thou is mistaken, 
friend, I am neither mad nor dumb." Their ways were very 
peculiar ways, but I must say, they were very peculiar good 
ways. They had no use for lawyers, as all difficulties were 
settled by the Church. They had no use for drones, all had to 
work alike. A lazy man they disposed of. If they could not 
get rid of him any other way they would just hate him out of 
the hive. Bees kill their drones, but the Quakers were averse 
to taking blood under any circumstances, so they first turned 
their drone out of the church, and afterwards hated him out 
of the neighborhood. You might think strange that they let 
him into the church, but in that respect they are just like the 
Catholics, if the parents are Quakers their children are also 
Quakers so long as they conform to the rules of their religion. 
These rules were honesty, industry, strict morality and teetotal 
temperance. This is all the religion they had, and when summed 
up it is, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto 
you." Any slight deviation from any of the rules would turn 
them out of the church, or would have done it when I was a 

I will now give their style of matrimony sixty years ago. 
No priest or preacher of any kind, judge or justice of the peace 
or any kind of law officer had anything to say about it. The 


contracting parties simply married themselves and it took them 
just three months to do it. Their churches were all built with 
two departments, one for the women and one for the men, but 
arranged so they could be thrown into one room. The first 
month, each of the contracting parties rose in his or her own 
department where neither could hear what the other said. We 
will take the woman first. She rises and says: "My beloved 

sisters, John and myself have concluded to become man 

and wife; if there is no objection, and we do not change our 
minds within the time allotted for the ceremony." John 
Killom gets up in his department and repeats the same thing, 
only calling the girl's name instead of his own. The next 
monthly meeting they both get up in their respective depart- 
ments and state that they have had no cause or wish to change 
their minds and if nobody else has any objections, they will con- 
tinue in the good work for the time allotted. The third month 
the gentleman gets up and walks into the ladies' department 
and takes his seat beside his affianced, but she can have a 
bridesmaid and he can take a groom in with him if he likes. 
Then, at a signal from the ladies' department, the doors are 
thrown wide open and the two contracting parties with the 
groom and maid rise in their seats and declare themselves man 
and wife in the presence of the whole audience. 

Then congratulations and shaking of hands finish the cere- 
mony, and it is just as good and lawful and legal a marriage 
as ever was performed by any priest or magistrate in the United 
States. I am not sure whether they keep up this ancient custom 
or not. I see they have discarded the old broad brim hat and 
shad-belly coat, and eat with their hats off. They are shrewd 
and witty in business as the most accomplished broker you 
can find in any state, the only difference in their system of 
doing business and ours is in the modus operandi. Under 
their system of government one Superior Court and one term 
a year would be all Oregon or any state would ever need. I 
have only written this little history of what I call a model class 
of people to show the changes that have taken place since I 
was a boy seventy years ago. 


I will now take up the schools to show the difference between 
now and then. I am decidedly in favor of the new system, be- 
cause the poorest child in the country can get a better educa- 
tion now than the richest man's child could then, at least in 
the Western states. Such a thing as a school tax was never 
thought of and would have been unanimously hooted down 
if it had been thought of. Of course, there were no very poor 
people in the West in those days ; the poor people had to stay 
back East. All the men in the West owned their own farms, 
built their own schoolhouses, hired their own teachers and 
sent their children to school during the winter season. This 
gave them what they thought was a fair education. Reading, 
writing and ciphering were the main branches. Geography 
and a little English grammar were indulged in occasionally, 
providing the teacher could get that high up himself. He did 
not have to have a certificate, as there was no superintendent 
to examine him, and no school directors to hire him. If he 
were a new man, he would generally have a recommendation 
from where he taught before. The main things he had to have 
were nerve and muscle, as he was required to keep good order. 
The first thing he stocked up with was a good supply of good 
hickory gads. He might not have to use all of them, but he 
had obligated himself to keep good order, and most of the em- 
ployers said, "If you spare the rod, you'll spile the child." To 
think about a woman teacher in those days would have been 
perfectly preposterous. In fact, no woman would have thought 
of undertaking it. But now they handle all kinds of scholars 
much better than men and use no corporal punishment, or next 
to none. The man who wanted to teach school would find by 
going through the county where there was a log schoolhouse 
because there were no other kinds to be found. I never saw a 
frame schoolhouse in the country until I came to Oregon. 
These log houses in the Middle West, however, were comfort- 
able, large and well built logs smoothed down and closely 
chinked, and all had substantial puncheon floor. There was 
always a huge fireplace that would take in at least a six-foot 
back log. 


I never saw a stove in a schoolhouse in that country. In fact, 
there was not one farmer in ten that had even a cooking stove. 
My father bought a cooking stove and a Franklin heating 
stove when we went to Illinois, to save wood and hauling, as we 
had to haul our firewood about three miles. The cookstove 
was a three-hole concern with the bakeoven in the middle. 
People came from miles around to see it. It cost $50.00. It 
would be worth now just nothing at all. 

But I must now finish up our school teacher business. He 
would come around with his subscriptions to see if he could 
make enough money to make him $15.00 or $18.00 per month 
and his board. 

He would board around with his scholars if required, but 
much preferred to be boarded at one place if the subscribers 
would agree to it. But many would not agree to that arrange- 
ment, as they said they had plenty of hog and hominy which 
did not cost them anything and they would just as soon board 
the teacher as not and save their three dollars a week, as that 
was the ordinary price of board then. Poultry and eggs were 
so low that it was considered a disgrace for a boy to be seen 
carrying them to market. These trifles belonged to the old 
ladies and the girls in the family, and they had to take some- 
thing out of the store in payment for their chicken and eggs. 

To show what contempt a high-minded boy had for carry- 
ing eggs to market, I will illustrate it by relating a circum- 
stance that took place in our neighborhood. An old lady 
wanted a quarter's worth of tea, as she was expecting some lady 
company, and it was customary on such occasions to draw a 
good cup of Young Hyson tea. So the old lady gathered up 
ten dozen eggs and they were worth three cents a dozen, that 
would more than pay for the tea, which was worth twenty- five 
cents a pound. But she must take, it all out in tea, and that 
amount would last them a whole year, as they only made tea 
on rare occasions. The boy protested all he could, said he 
would pay for the tea with his own money, but all to no use. 
His mother said the eggs did not cost any thing and would 
soon spoil and the money would keep any length of time. So 



off he went, but kept out of sight of everybody he saw on the 
road until he got to the store. He then set his basket down 
on a platform outside of the store and slipped in to see if there 
was anybody in the store that would laugh at him. Just then 
a man came running in and said that there was an old sow out- 
side with her head in someone's basket of eggs. The boy's first 
thought was that he would neither claim basket nor eggs. But 
his second thought was that he dare not go home without the 
basket, so he stepped to the door and saw that the eggs were 
all smashed to jelly. "Well," he said, "I guess that basket is 
mine, but the eggs seem to belong to that old sow." But he 
got the tea and threw a bright quarter down on the counter 
with pompous satisfaction and walked out. He washed the 
basket clean and went home joyous that he had escaped the 
disgrace of selling eggs. His mother praised him for a fine 
boy and he had saved his money besides. The boy thought that 
he had done well himself in satisfying his mother and himself 
and to get praise he did not deserve. 

But now the hen and the product of the hen bring more 
money to the farmer than all the wheat he sells, and there is 
not half as much hard labor about it. Besides, this is something 
that can be done and is done mostly by women and children 
and merely amusement and recreation for them. I think this 
is enough to illustrate the difference between then and now. 

As I have already crossed the plains or great American 
desert as it was called, scaled the Rocky Mountains, and helped 
build a road over the Cascade Mountains and landed on the 
Pacific Coast, I will now make one bound and light down in 
Oregon City again and commence to do business for myself in 
my own way. The first thing I did was to go back with 
provisions to the man I had left with the wagons and goods 
on or near the summit of the Cascade Mountains; this was 
Mr. William Berry, afterwards son-in-law of Stephen Coffin, 
one of the proprietors of the now great city of Portland, of 
which I will have a good word to say before I get through 
these memoirs. 


I started across the Cascades with one man and three horses 
on January 1, 1846. They were loaded with sugar, coffee, 
flour and bacon enough to supply two of us until June. I had 
agreed to stay with Berry for company and to help guard the 
property cached away until the road could be made through 
for teams and wagons to pass through. The man who went 
with me was to return with the horses. It was thought by 
some that we could not cross the mountains with a load at 
that time of the year, but it was a groundhog case and had 
to be done. Though the snow was from three to five feet 
deep we could see the blazes on the trees which the old gent 
had marked, so there was no danger of getting lost. But our 
horses would occasionally break through the crust of snow that 
had formed about two feet below the surface by rain and then 
freezing. Then we would have to take our shovels and dig the 
horse out and get him on top again, but that only happened a 
few times. When night came we would tie our horses to a 
tree, feed them oats we had with us, make a fire and cook 
supper. Then we would dig a hole in the snow, wrap ourselves 
in our Hudson's Bay blankets and jump down in our snow 
houses and sleep sound and warm. We were only three days 
from Foster's to the Cascade cache, where we found Berry 
as happy as a clam at high water. The Indians had been to 
see him, brought him plenty of dried salmon and huckleberries. 
Besides, there was a man by name of Foster who had followed 
our trail in from the east side and wanted to winter with Berry. 
He had plenty of money and would pay for everything he used 
if we would let him stay. He did not want to go through the 
mountains any further, and he never did. In the spring he 
got up his horses that he had kept down on the creek on good 
grass all winter and went back to The Dalles. We accepted 
his proposition and sold him part of the grub that I had taken 
in for his winter supply. One morning Berry said, "Now, 
Barlow, if you want to go back to the valley I am perfectly 
willing to stay." I said, "All right," pretty gleefully, "and I 
will allow you all the income from the wagons and will keep out 
only the expense of this trip." To this he readily agreed. The 


next morning Eaton and myself started back. Eaton was the 
man's name that went with me over the mountains. We had a 
harder trip going back than we did going over heavily loaded. 
There came on a blinding snowstorm and our matches got 
wet so we had to resort to an old flintlock gun and that flashed 
in the pan several times ; but finally we got a fire started, set 
an old dead tree on fire that lit up the mountains in fine 
shape, so we could find our horses, as they had wandered off 
in the dark. We, never could have found them if we had 
failed to get a fire, and I really believe we would have frozen 
to death, as we had left our best blankets back with Berry. So 
much for that trip. 

In dead of winter we got back to Oregon City. The next 
thing to do was to find something to do, as I never could be 
idle. I bought a squatter's right to a section of land up on 
the Clackamas River.. It cost me a young American filly valued 
at $250.00. I went right on the place, hired a man, and went 
to work, preparing a place to plant out a peck of apple seeds 
that I had brought over the plains and packed out on horseback 
from our mountain cache whence I had just returned. And 
right here I will state that I let an independent fortune slip 
through my hands. 

I had started from Illinois with a complete assortment of the 
best grafted fruit trees that Illinois could produce, and they 
were all growing and doing well. I could have got them 
through in good shape, but I met a lot of men from Oregon 
who were good intelligent men. I think Jason Lee was one 
of them. I showed him my young trees that were in a box that 
weighed about 300 pounds, dirt and all. 

"What are you going to do with them when you get them 
there?" one said. 

"I am going into the nursery business/' I replied. 

"My dear sir," they said, "there is as good fruit in Oregon 
as anywhere in the world. There are old bearing orchards at 
Vancouver and in the French prairie, and you have the hardest 
part of the road ahead of you, besides you cannot get your 


wagons to the Willamette Valley without taking them to 
pieces in order to load them on the bateaus going down the 
Columbia River." 

"Well, if that is the case, I might as well lighten up my load 
right here." So I dumped on the ground close up to Inde- 
pendence Rock, at least $50,000.00. For, as it turned out, the 
box with all its contents could have set right in the wagon 
until it reached Oregon City. Of course we never dreamed 
of crossing the Cascade Mountains then. As it was, the watch- 
man left with the wagons could and would have attended to 
them with perfect safety. But this opportunity was all gone 
now, so I turned my attention to preparing my apple seed for 
planting out in the spring. Good luck attended me, as almost 
every seed came up, and I had at least 15,000 young seedling 
apple trees that sold readily in the fall at fifteen cents apiece. 

When I say I lost $50,000.00, I mean just what I say. There 
were no grafted apple trees in the territory and I could have 
made a full monopoly of all the grafted apples and pears on 
the coast, as California had nothing but seedlings. Of course, 
you will once in a thousand times get a fine apple from the 
seed. In fact, that is the way all our fine apples and pears 
originate. But you might plant a bushel of seed all from the 
same tree and you would not get one apple of the same kind. 
But you can graft all the fine fruit into the seedling root and 
you will get just the kind of fruit that the graft is. Or even 
a bud put into seedling stock will have the same effect, but 
you must cut off the seedling stalk above the bud. To sub- 
stantiate what I have said about the value of the fruit scions 
or grafts that I dumped on the ground at Sweetwater close to 
the summit of the Rocky Mountains in 1845, I will just refer to 
Mr. Henderson Luelling, who crossed the plains in 1847, two 
years later than I did, with substantially the same kind of fruit 
trees that I had, and he supplied the country as fast as he could 
grow the trees at one dollar apiece for one-year-old trees. I 
paid him in 1853 $100.00 for one hundred grafted trees. I 
was talking with his son a few days ago about the profits to 
themselves and the benefits of their importation to the country, 

NOTE. On the above page, 7th line from the bottom, Mr. Barlow alludes to 
Henderson Luelling, and in the second line from the foot of the page speaks of 
"talking with his son." On the next page, second line from the top, Mr. Barlow 
refers to "Seth," in a way that indicates to the general reader that "Seth" was a 
son of Henderson Luelling. This is wrong. Seth Luelling, or "Lewelling," as 
he spelled his name late in life, was a brother of Henderson, and an uncle by 
marriage of William Meek and Henry W. Eddy, who were sons-in-law of Hender- 
son Luelling. George H. Himes, Assistant Secretary, Oregon Historical Society. 


estimating it at a million dollars. I think their own profits ran 
up to hundreds of thousands, though Seth could not say how 
much money was made, as he was not in partnership with the 
old gentleman at that time. But Meek, his brother-in-law, was 
in with his father and built the Standard flour mill at Mil- 
waukie out of his profits of the nursery. I think the nursery 
was the foundation for Meek's and Eddy's large fortunes. I 
would have been two years in advance of them, and I knew 
all about the nursery business back in Illinois. Eddy and Meek, 
I think, were both sons-in-law of Mr. Luelling and were in- 
terested with him in all his successful business ventures. I 
only write this to substantiate what I lost by listening to men 
that I thought knew what they were talking about. 

But I thought then and believe now that they thought they 
were telling me the truth. 

Well, it is now the winter of '46, and it was as fine a winter 
as I have ever seen in Oregon. I hired a man and went on 
the place that I had traded for. We could work every day 
in our shirt-sleeves. If it rained at all it rained at night. Wages 
were very low. Could get a man for little more than his 
board. No money in the country, so had to tak.e his pay in 
truck and "turnover," as we called it. Most of the business 
was done by and through merchants of whom there were four 
in Oregon City, and they were rated about like the Irishman's 
whiskey. He said he had never seen any poor whiskey in his 
life, but he had seen some a great deal better than others 
and all would make drunk come. All the merchants floated 
more or less paper money, which was only redeemable at their 
own store, and you had to take just what they had to sell or 
take nothing. That was what made some a great deal better 
than others. Abernethy's was considered the poorest paper, 
though you could get flour and lumber at his mills,, gunflints 
and remnants at his store. Ermatinger, or the Hudson's Bay 
store, was gilt-edged. You could get all kinds of substantial 
goods at that store if you had their paper. The way this paper 
was floated was through the agency of Dr. McLoughlin. He 
had a large flour mill, three run of fine, French burrs and they^ 


made as good flour there then as any mill does in Oregon 
today. He bought the bulk of all the wheat that was raised 
in Oregon at that time, paid the farmer or whoever had the 
wheat with paper on Ermatinger or the Hudson's Bay store. 
They in turn would pass it to the credit of the wheat man, 
then he would draw orders in favor of any person or persons 
to the full amount due him and those orders were good until 
they were taken in. It made no difference how many hands 
they had passed through or when it was presented, it would be 
put to your credit ; and you could draw on it a dollar at a time 
or take it all up then if you wished which they would really 
prefer. I just state this to show how business was done before 
there was any money in the country and the people got along 
just as well as they do now and in some respects better. For 
they could not run their hands into their pockets then and call 
up all hands to take a drink. They could get a bottle of good 
Hudson's Bay brandy and then call up all hands to drink it, but 
there was virtually no drinking done in Oregon. There is more 
whiskey and beer drunk now in Portland in ten minutes than 
was consumed in Oregon from 1845 to 1848. 

There was a man by the name of Dick McCary who started 
a large distillery in the woods down the river between Portland 
and Oregon City. It consisted of one big kettle and a few coils 
of some kind of piping. He made what was called Dick 
McCary's Best. It was made out of Sandwich Island black 
strap molasses and it "would make drunk come mighty quick," 
as the Irishman said. But it was soon found out by the Indians. 
So a posse of law-and-order men went down from Oregon City 
and pitched the whole thing into the river and would have 
pitched Dick in, too, but he was not to be found. There were 
rigid Oregon laws against selling any kind of intoxicating 
drinks to Indians, which of course was right, for at times they 
owned the country and outnumbered the whites two to one, and 
a drunken heathen is the worst heathen in the world. 

But after the government had organized a territorial govern- 
ment in Oregon, appointed a governor and supreme judge, 
plenty of whiskey soon followed the flag. But the Oregon law 


was very severe on persons selling whiskey to Indians and 
O. C. Pratt, first U. S Judge, was very strict in enforcing 
the law but lenient (?) in fines and punishments. The least 
fine was a thousand dollars for each offense or imprisonment 
for one year or both at the discretion of the court. 

Sidney W. Moss was keeping a hotel in Oregon City and of 
course kept all kinds of liquors to sell to white customers, but 
whether he ever sold any whiskey direct to Indians was always 
a question in my mind. But he was indicted and convicted 
under two indictments. The judge ousted one indictment as 
it was the first offense and just fined him $1,000.00 on the 
second indictment. He thought that would be a lesson for 
him and others and it was, too, for there were no more in- 

Moss promptly walked up to the clerk and paid the thousand 
dollars, demanded a receipt and started to walk out. The judge 
said, "Mr. Moss, I hope this will be a lesson not only to you but 
others," and was going on to make a long talk but Moss had 
his ire up and said, "Never mind, your honor, that is not 
interest on the Willamette water I have sold," and walked out. 

Now I will go back to the place that I bought on the Clacka- 
mas. I stayed there until May, '46, making rails and improving 
the place. The winter was the finest I have ever seen in Ore- 
gon, stock got rolling fat on range by the first of May. Old 
Uncle Arthur, who lived on the same prairie about one mile 
away, had new peas for Christmas dinner. I was invited to dine 
with his family, but did not go as I wished to take dinner with 
my mother that day in Oregon City. Uncle Arthur had come 
out in '44. Those peas were volunteer that had come up from 
the spring planting of '45. I have seen that several times since 
in Oregon and I think we could have had them last Christmas 
(1903) if they had been planted at the right time. 

In the summer of 1846 I went with my father to make the 
road back to the wagons. Everything was safe and in good or- 
der, household goods and all. Our teams soon arrived and we 
started with the first wagon over the mountain. I wanted to 
drive the lead team so I could say I had driven the team that 


drew the first wagon over the Cascade Mountains. But I am 
not sure whether I did it or not. There was a rush and as 
Gaines, my brother-in-law, and we had six wagons in our 
family we all wanted to stay together and there might have 
been one wagon got over the summit first. Mr. Savage of 
Yamhill told me a few years ago that there was one wagon got 
ahead of me and he was with us all the time. That wagon 
was driven by Reuben Gant, now a resident of Philomath, 

At any rate, we made the road and got all our wagons and 
household goods out in perfect order and then went back and 
helped finish the road clear across the mountains. We estab- 
lished a toll-gate about ten miles this side of Tygh Valley where 
there was fine bunch grass, wood, and water. Here all the 
emigrants laid over one or two days for recruit before starting 
through the mountains. I staid with my father until all emi- 
grants got through in the winter of '46. We then started out 
and made the trip clear through to Oregon City in two days. 

The old gent gave me $400.00 for my summer's work. I laid 
that out for a house and lot on Main street in Oregon City, the 
first real estate I had owned. The claim I had bought was only 
a squatter's right held by a record. 

By this time, emigrants were getting pretty thick around 
Oregon City. I soon had an offer of $600.00 for my right to 
the Clackamas place. I reserved all my young seedling apple 
trees, about 10,000 from one to two feet high, worth ten to 
fifteen cents apiece in anything you could get. I then went out 
to the big Molalla prairie and bought a section of land with no 
timber on it for $400.00. Now this was in the spring of '47. I 
hired rails made to fence in 100 acres and broke up fifty acres 
for wheat in the Fall. Of course, I did not do all the work 
myself. In fact, I did not do any of it. I had all I could do to 
cook and look after my stock. Hands were cheap and would 
work for little more than their board. Many were trying to 
get enough to get back "to the States" as we said then. 

But when gold was discovered in California, they changed 
their outfits and went in that direction. Three or four very 



fine young carpenters heard that I wanted a fine barn built and 
would trade horses for work. They came out to see me and I 
told them just what kind of a barn I wanted built. It was to be 
74x40 feet 18 feet high, but they must take it from the stump. 
I would deliver everything on the ground, lumber and all, but 
they must make the shingles. The, lumber I would get sawed, 
as there was a sawmill started about a mile off. That suited 
them exactly. 

"Well how much wages are you going to want," I asked. 
They thought they ought to have one, dollar a day and board. 

"Well, if you can put up with bachelor cooking you can take 
the job," I said. They had some tools and I bought some more. 
I had to get a broadax and a chopping ax or two. They went 
right to work with a will. I saw they meant business right 
from the start. They drew a draft of the barn so they would 
know just how to get out the timber, to which they had to 
walk about a mile. It was Uncle Sam's timber and free for all. 
They thought they would better take their dinner with them. I 
had several fine cows and we made up all our bread with pure 
cream. So every morning they would start with a big pone of 
cream bread, a jug of milk, a pot of coffee and often Chinook 
salmon that needed no lard to cook it in. In those days, could 
get a salmon that weighed twenty or thirty pounds for ten or 
fifteen cents. I had also plenty of salt beef and pork. The men 
said they never lived better in their lives and that it beat city 
grub out of sight. So they finished the barn in time for me to 
store my crop of wheat in August. I fitted them out for the 
mines and they went off the best pleased set of fellows I ever 
saw. But I never heard of them afterwards. 

Pretty soon the emigrants began to pour in. This was now 
1848. One evening, about the middle of September, I saw 
three or four emigrant wagons steering for the house. I went 
out to meet them. When lo ! and behold, up drove old Mathias 
Swiggle and all his family. He was our old neighbor right 
from Illinois. He hallooed so loudly you could hear him a half 
a mile away. He wanted to know if here was where old Samuel 
K. Barlow's son William lived. I told him it was. He said, 


"Your father told me to come right here and stay all winter. 
Will has plenty of everything and I see for myself that you 
have got the best place in the county, for you came here three 
years ago when you could get pick and choice/' "But, Mr. 
Swiggle, I did not take up this place myself. I had to buy it to 
get it, and all it cost the man I bought it of was a dollar to get 
it recorded and a little expense in building that log cabin. I 
paid him $400.00 just to get off and I had it recorded just as he 
had it staked out. 

"Well, I knew you would have the best place if you did have 
to buy it," he said, after looking over the level prairie and my 
improvements. That was just what I wanted to hear him say, 
for I wanted to sell the place, and I knew he had the gold and 
plenty of it. As yet there was little gold coming from Cali- 
fornia. So I told him to unload everything in the big new barn 
and rest a while and I would show him plenty of land to take 
up for nothing. In a few days, we took a ride all round that 
part of the country. There was plenty of land but no clean, 
smooth prairie like mine. He said he was too old to grub out a 
farm but wanted a farm already made. One day he said, "Will, 
I don't suppose you would sell your squatter's right to this 
place at all?" 

"Never had anything in my life but what I would sell except 
my wife, and I have only had her for a few weeks and don't 
want to dispose of her for a while, at any rate." 

"Well, what will you take for the place all gold right down 
in your fist ?" 

"Well, for all gold right down, I will take two thousand 

"I won't give it, I won't give it." 

"Well, there is no harm done, Mr. Swiggle." 

"But," he added, "I will tell you just what I will give you. 
I have been talking with my old shell (he always called his 
wife and old shell), I will just give you $1600.00 in gold and 
pay you 50 cents per bushel for all the wheat in the barn and 
thrash it out myself. That will make you $2000.00." 


"Well, I will talk with my young 'shell'," I replied, "and let 
you know in the morning." 

I intended to take it, as I knew ready cash was the stuff for 
the times. Everybody was fixing for the mines next spring 
and they would pay anything to get money to pay their passage 
on the old brig Henry. 

So I sold and went right down to Oregon City and went into 
anything and everything. Double invested sometimes in one 

Among other things, I bought 7000 bushels of wheat at 50 
cents a bushel delivered in Abernethy's mill on the island. I 
had it ground at the Island mill, put it in wooden barrels, stored 
it away and let it wait for development. I was satisfied that 
flour was bound to have a boom sooner or later. Oregonians 
were running off and leaving their families and people were 
pouring into California from all parts of the world. Flour had 
to come around the Horn to supply the demand in California. 
I had 600 barrels and Uncle Walter Pomeroy had about 
the same amount. We had it stored together in one of his 
buildings. I said to the old gent one day, "We would better 
look after our flour as wooden barrels need re-coopering occa- 

"Well, Billy, I will tell you what I have been thinking about. 
One of us had better own all that flour." 

I replied, "I have no money to buy your flour and I don't wish 
to sell at the price it is going at now." 

"We need no money in this deal, as I will take your note 
without interest for six months or I will give you mine on the 
same terms. Say what you will give or take, and I will take 
you up one way or the other." 

"Well," he said, "Put it at $7.00." 

"Draw up the note," I said, "And I will sign it as soon as we 
find out how many barrels there are of it." 

The next day we got a cooper and a man to help him over- 
haul it all ; my own and what I had bought of him. It all came 
out right. Besides he had about 50 barrels of middlings, that 
I gave him $4.00 a barrel for, making in all $4,400.00. In less 


than thirty days, it went up to $9.00 a barrel in jobbing lots. 
So I sold off about 300 barrels and stopped jobbing it. Pretty 
soon it went up to $12.00 and I sold enough at that price to 
take up my note and had 800 barrels left. In thirty days there 
was no mail from California except when the old brig Henry 
would get back. So along in the fall, she came up to Astoria 
and it might take her a month to reach Portland. 

At this point the manuscript of William Barlow ended. 
Heard my father say, "Some one of the younger generation can 
now take up the history of the Barlow family, as it is known 
either by actual observation or by hearsay to many who can tell 
it better than I can." In regard to the above flour transaction, 
I have heard my father say that he took the remaining number 
of barrels to San Francisco on the brig Henry and cleared on 
the flour transaction $6,000.00. 


I came to Oregon in 1845 and supposed we would find similar 
nut-bearing trees to those found all over the Atlantic and 
Middle West States. 

But when I arrived here, I found there were no nut-bearing 
trees of any kind, except some small hazel nuts, which were, of 
a very different kind from those which grew wild in Indiana. 

So I made up my mind that I would send back, the first 
good opportunity, and have a bushel of black and white, walnuts 
sent out. 

In 1858, Mr. John Dement, a good friend of mine, was 
going back by way of the Isthmus and he said he would send 
me a bushel by Adams Express. But remarked that it would 
cost considerable. 

I said, "Never mind the cost. I want to get them here by 
Winter, so I can prepare them for planting the next Spring." 

He did just as I told him, but had to pay in advance to San 
Francisco for expressage. But he had plenty of money of his 
own, besides he had some Indian war claims to collect for me. 

These he did not collect till later on. However, he hurried 



the walnuts on, so I would get them in time for Fall planting. 
They were forwarded to me at Oregon City and when all the 
charges came in, I was out just sixty-five dollars. I went down 
to town, brought the sack up and told my wife what they cost. 

She said, "Well, I declare, I could have got that many wal- 
nuts in Missouri for fifty cents." 

I said, "Well, we will crack a few of them anyway to see if 
they are good. If they grow, I will get my money back and 
several hundred per cent." 

She said, "One is enough to tell that and one is enough to 

"No," I said, "We will have one apiece." 

They were both good and brought old Missouri and Illinois 
and Indiana right home to us. 

So I made a box, put sand and dirt in it, planted the nuts in 
the box and buried them all in the ground. I kept them moist 
all Winter and by Spring, they were all beginning to open. I 
then prepared the ground in fine shape and planted the nuts 
in rows. 

There were just 765 nuts of both kinds, but there were not 
over 100 butternuts out of that number. About 760 came up 
and such a growth I never saw before. I kept the ground well 
watered and well worked and the roots were larger and longer 
than the tops. A large portion of the roots went down three 
feet deep. Later in the Fall, I took them all up, set out about 
100, gave away a great many to my particular friends and put 
the balance on the market at $1.50 each. I allowed a big com- 
mission to the nursery man who handled them, and the whole 
venture left me a net profit of $500.00. Besides I had my wal- 
nut avenue, 400 feet long, with a row of walnuts on each side. 
There is one tree that is over three and one-half feet in diame- 
ter six feet from the ground, and its branches spread out 80 
feet in diameter or 240 feet in circumference. 


By Walter Bailey 

Among the numerous obstacles overcome by the American 
frontiersmen in the monumental task of building a wagon road 
across the continent, the last and one of the greatest was the 
Cascade Mountains. Unlike the Appalachian and Rocky Moun- 
tain ranges, the Cascades presented., to the eager eyes of the 
road hunter, no natural pass. To those who would cross with 
wagons, two alternatives were presented; first, the narrow 
gorge through which the swift turbulent Columbia sweeps and 
second, the range of steep rocky mountain tops which join the 
white hooded peaks of the Cascades. 

The stalwart pioneers who led the first wagon train of 
American home makers, from the valley of the Mississippi to 
the falls of the Willamette did not dare, because the season 
was late and their stock fagged, to try the mountain heights. 
With rafts and the few available boats, they descended the 
troubled stream, suffering severely en route from rapids and 
storms. 1 

The immigration of the next year followed the same route. 
The stock of both trains were driven over the rough mountain 
trails into the Willamette Valley. 2 

During the latter days of September, 1845, the third great 
company of Western immigrants arrived at The Dalles, then 
the terminus of the wagon road. The old mission station be- 
came a great frontier camp. Hundreds of prairie, wagons, large 
droves of stock and crowds of way-worn people lined the bleak 
shore of the Columbia^ 

Their appearance showed the effects of their long overland 
journey. Part of their number had suffered severe hardship 
and nearly lost their lives in following an unreliable guide over 
a supposed "cut-off" through the dry wastes of Eastern Ore- 
gon.* Some of the travellers were becoming destitute, of pro- 

1 Bancroft's Oregon, Vol. I, p. 410. 

2 Ibid., pp. 412, 453. 

3 Palmer's Journal, p. 120. 

4 Ibid., p. 121. 


visions, and many had little or no money. Disease added its 
terrors to those of impending starvation. 5 Only two boats were 
running down to the Cascade rapids and transportation prices 
were high. But for the sending of relief parties from Oregon 
City and the kindly aid of the Hudson's Bay men, the immigrant 
camps at the old mission post must have become a scene of 
awful suffering. 

Among the last to arrive in this camp was the company 
commanded by Samuel K. Barlow. Captain Barlow did not 
like the situation at The Dalles and the prospect of exhausting 
his provisions by a long delay and his money for a dangerous 
passage down the river. 6 And Barlow, a true pioneer, pos- 
sessed that stern self reliance and restless ardor which causes a 
man, when he disapproves of the route of his fellows, to break 
a path of his own. At the early age of twenty he had left the 
home of his parents in Kentucky because his father was a 
slave holder and Samuel was bitterly opposed to human slavery. 
He had started west with the emigrants because his admired 
friend, Henry Clay, had been defeated for president and Barlow 
could not stay where he had fought a losing fight. 

True, to his principles,, Captain Barlow began looking for a 
new route into the Willamette valley. Two trails, he was told, 
had been opened across the mountains by stock drovers and 
horsemen. 7 One way was to swim the stock across the Colum- 
bia, skirt the mountains along the north bank and ferry back at 
Fort Vancouver. A second route was the old Indian trail south 
of Mount Hood, a path said to be steep and difficult. 

Captain Barlow determined to attempt the southern route 
with wagons. If there was already a trail it would probably be 
possible, he reasoned, to widen it into a wagon track. Says his 
son, William Barlow : 8 "After resting a few days and recruit- 

-m .! >! .:':': -.: '!.! :' .'':.-;.--;"": "lir.-Jirj" [r; 

5 Bancroft's Oregon, Vol. I, p. 516. 

6 Evans' History of the Northwest Biography of S. K. Barlow. 

7 Quarterly Oreg. Hist. Soc., Vol. Ill, p. 72. 

8 Evans' History of the Northwest Biography of S. K. Barlow. 


ing his followers, teams and cattle, like a general refreshing his 
troops for a new fight, notice was given that the company's 
captain, S. K. Barlow, was going to cross the Cascade moun- 
tains with his family, wagons and plunder. An invitation was 
extended to any and all who felt disposed to join his expedi- 
tion ; but he wished none to follow him who had ever learned 
the adaptability of the word 'can't.' "9 

Old mountain men who had trapped through every valley in 
the mountains, the missionaries who had lived for years in their 
shadows, and Hudson's Bay men, trained trailers of the wilder- 
sess, all declared the attempt to be folly especially so as it 
was late in the season and the cattle were somewhat jaded by 
two thousand miles of prairie and mountain. 

Captain Barlow, however, "declared his belief in the goodness 
and wisdom of an allwise Being and said 'He never made a 
mountain without making a way for man to go over it, if the 
latter exercised a proper amount of energy and perseverance.' '' 

When the start was made, on or about September 24th, 10 
the party consisted of seven wagons and about nineteen persons 
including besides the family of Mr. Barlow, Messrs. Gaines, 
Rector, Gessner, Caplinger, William G. Buffum 11 and families, 
together with John Bown, Reuben Gant and William Berry. 

For forty miles the way led over rolling mountain land, cross- 
ing a branch of the Des Chutes. 12 At the end of this distance 
a halt was called for rest and repairs. Camp was pitched on 
Five-Mile Creek, where water and grass were plentiful. During 
the delay in the march Captain Barlow left for a reconnoitering 
trip. 1 ^ From the Blue Mountains a small gap had been ob- 
served south of Mt. Hood. Through this opening the leader 
hoped to build the future roadway. 

9 Evans* History of the Northwest Biography of S. K. Barlow. 
10 Palmer's Journal, p. 120. 

it Quarterly Oreg. Hist. Soc., Vol. Ill, p. 72, supplemented by information 
furnished by Geo. H. Himes. 

12 Palmer's Journal, pp. 125-6. 

13 Quarterly Oreg. Hist. Soc., Vol. Ill, p. 73. 


While Barlow was absent some horsemen arrived from The 
Dalles. 14 Their leader was Joel Palmer, who with Barlow had 
been aid in the company of Presley Welch, and who was after- 
wards the government Indian agent for Oregon. Having ar- 
rived at The Dalles after Barlow's departure, Palmer had deter- 
mined to follow and had induced about twenty-three wagons 
and nearly as many families to accompany him. After getting 
started he had gone ahead of the wagons to explore. He fol- 
lowed Barlow into the mountains but returned after several 
days reconnoitering without meeting him. After Barlow re- 
turned to camp, it was mutually agreed to join forces and push 
on with the road building. 

At this point it was decided to send a party with the loose 
cattle onto the settlements.^ Two families determined to go on 
with the drovers. This party was instructed to procure pro- 
visions and assistance and meet the roadbuilders. 

After dispatching a small party back to the Dalles for beef 
and wheat the main party now began the arduous task of cut- 
ting a road through the timber. The eastern side of the Cas- 
cades was not heavily timbered, however, and progress was 
rapid, though there is recorded some complaint about the in- 
compatibility of big trees, rusty tools and tender muscles. It 
being the dry season, fire was used effectively in clearing the 
mountain sides. 

When they came face to face, with the steep mountain sides 
several families gave up the enterprise and returned to The 
Dalles. 16 Palmer and Barlow were still determined to push on. 
On the morning of October llth 1 7 they set out ahead to find a 
way over the main dividing ridge. This lay further to the west 
than they had expected and their previous exploration had 
showed no sign of a western descent. In their absence the 
company continued the road building. 

14 Palmer's Journal, p. 126. 

15 Ibid., p. 128. 

1 6 Evans. 

17 Palmer's Journal, p. 131. 


After several days travel on foot in the heart of the range 
Barlow and Palmer found a passable route for wagons to the 
western descent. But their own journey was fraught with so 
much hardship and suffering on account of the snow that they 
were forced to conclude that the season was too late and the 
journey too long to risk being snowed in among the moun- 
tains. 18 It had previously been determined that, should the pass- 
age prove impossible, the wagons and impedimenta should be 
cached and the company should proceed with the stock over 
the mountains. Therefore, on the return of the leaders a rude 
house was construed about five miles east of the summit. In 
this were placed the perishables of the company. 

Three young men, William Barlow, John Bown, and William 
Berry volunteered to remain and guard the deposit, but it was 
found that scarcely any provisions could be left and Berry was 
left in solitude to keep a long winter's vigil amid the mountain 
storms. 1 ** 

Packing a few necessary articles upon the horses and oxen, 
only the weakest having saddle horses, the remainder of the 
company pushed on toward the outpost of the scattered Oregon 
settlements. 20 

Even greater hardships were experienced on the western 
slope of the Cascades. On the very summit they encountered 
treacherous swamps ; there was no grass for the stock and they 
broused the poison laurel bushes ; provisions gave out entirely 
and the woods became so dense and the canyons so deep and 
precipitous that some despaired of ever reaching civilization. 
William Barlow relates how his sister, Mrs. Gaines tried to 
cheer her disheartened companions, saying, "Why we are in 
the midst of plenty plenty of snow, plenty of wood to melt it, 
plenty of horse meat, plenty of dog meat if the worst comes." 21 

A packtrain with flour and other provisions from Oregon 
City came to their relief and all passed safely through to the 

1 8 Palmer'* Journal, p. 140; Brans. 

19 Brans. 

ao Palmer'a Journal, p. 141. 

ai Quarterly Orcg. Hist. Soc., Vol. Ill, 76. 


Captain Barlow, early in December, applied to the territorial 
legislature, then in session in Oregon City, for a charter to 
open a road across the Cascade mountains. 22 He was allowed 
to address the House on the subject and on December 16th, a 
charter was granted. As soon as the snow left the mountains 
in the spring, Barlow engaged a force of about forty men and 
opened the road from Foster's farm in the Clackamas valley 
to the camp where the wagons were left. 23 

A subscription list was circulated among the Oregon settlers 
to help defray the expenses of this construction, but a writer in 
the Oregon Spectator of February 18, 1847, declares that he 
"has it from an authentic source that only thirty dollars was 
ever received." 

For two years following the construction, Captain Barlow 
personally collected the toll. In 1846 according to his report 
"one hundred and forty-five wagons, fifteen hundred and fifty- 
nine head of horses, mules and horned cattle, and one drove of 
sheep" passed through the toll gates. 2 * 

The Barlow road continued to be extensively used by immi- 
grants until the building of the railroad along the Columbia, and 
it is still in use. 

From 1848 to 1862 the road was leased by Barlow to various 
operators, among whom were Philip Foster and Joseph 
Young. 2 * These men did little except collect the tolls and the 
highway lapsed into an almost impassable condition. 

In October, 1862, 26 the Mount Hood Wagon Road Company, 
capitalized at twenty-five thousand dollars, was organized to 
take over and reconstruct the old road. This enterprise appears 
to have been a failure but in May, 1864, a new company called 
the Cascade Road and Bridge Company was incorporated. 

22 Oregon Archives, 1853, p. 126. 

23 Evans; Quarterly Oreg. Hist. Soc., Vol. Ill, p. 79. 

24 Evans; Oregon Spectator, Oct. 29, 1846. 

25 Evans; Quarterly Oreg. Hist. Soc., Vol. Ill, p. 79. There is scanty material 
concerning the operation of the road during these years. It is probable that the 
California gold rush and the Indian troubles diverted men's attention from 
internal improvements. During one year at least the toll gates were unguarded. 

26 Art. of Incorp. of the Mt. Hood Wagon Road Co., Clerk's office, Oregon 

27 Art. of Incorp. of Cascade Road and Bridge Co., Clerk's office, Oregon 


This organization 2 ? incorporated by Joseph Young, Egbert 
Alcott, Stephen Coleman, Frederick Sievers and Francis 
Revenue, made extensive improvements in the route, building 
bridges and making corduroy roads across the swamps. 

In 1882 2b the road was deeded to the Mount Hood and Bar- 
low Road Company, organized by Richard Gerder, S. D. Cole- 
man, H. E. Cross, F. O. McCown, and J. T. Apperson. These 
men shortened and improved the route and constructed an 
important branch road. The Mount Hood and Barlow Road 
Company, now under different management, still operates the 
road. One of the first measures to come before the people of 
Oregon under the Initiative law was a proposal that the state 
purchase the Barlow road and abolish tolls. The measure was 
defeated by a small majority. 

Among the memorable occurrences in "crossing the plains" 
the passage over the Cascade mountains by the Mt. Hood route 
stands out most vividly in the memory of a large number of 
Oregon pioneers. The dangers, toil and hardship ; the beauties 
of the mountains and the pleasant surprises of the great dense 
forests; the laborious climb on the eastern slope and the steep 
descent of "Laurel Hill" on the west ; all combined to make an 
impression on the minds of the pioneers which later, served for 
many a fireside reminiscence. Autumn after autumn, from 
"forty-six" to "sixty-four" witnessed long lines of expectant 
homeseekers toiling through the rocky defiles and over the 
steep ridges. 

The diaries and letters written by the travellers express a 
strange mixture of happiness and sorrow, contentment and 
dejection, hope and despair, ectasy and misery.^ Says one, 
"Some men's hearts died within them and some of our women 
sat down by the roadside and cried, saying they had aban- 
doned all hope of ever reaching the promised land. I saw 
women with babies but a week old, toiling up the mountains in 
the burning sun, on foot, because our jaded teams were not 
able to haul them. We went down mountains so steep that we 

28 Corporation deed on file in the Clerk's office, Oregon City. 

29 Bancroft's Oregon, Vol. I, p. 561, note. 



had to let our wagons down with ropes. My wife and I carried 
our children up muddy mountains in the Cascades, half a mile 
high and then carried the loading of our wagons up on our 
backs by piecemeal, as our cattle were so reduced that they were 
hardly able to haul up our empty wagon/' 

Of Laurel Hill an emigrant of 18533 complains : "The road 
on this hill is something terrible. It is worn down into the soil 
from five to seven feet, leaving steep banks on both sides, and 
so narrow that it is almost impossible to walk alongside of the 
cattle for any distance without leaning against the oxen. The 
emigrants cut down a small tree about ten inches in diameter 
and about forty feet long, and the more limbs it has on it the 
better. This tree they fasten to the rear axle with chains or 
ropes, top end foremost, making an excellent brake." 

On the other hand many make no mention of hardship but 
are enraptured and captivated by the charming blushes of the 
snowy peaks. From The Dalles at five in the morning one is* 1 
"thrilled by the spectacle of Mount Hood's snowy pyramid 
standing out, clearly defined against the pale grey of dawn ; not 
white as at noonday, but pink, as the heart of a Sharon rose, 
from base to summit. A little later it has faded, and by the 
most lovely transitions of color and light, now looks golden, 
now pearly, and finally glistens whitely in the full glare of the 
risen sun." 

Even the prosaic Palmer finds room to exclaim among his 
practical observations : "I had never before beheld a sight so 
nobly grand."3 

Curry, a newspaper editor,33 i n his new charge the Oregon 
Spectator, records at some length his impressions of the moun- 
tain road, " -The breath of the forest was laden with the 

scent of agreeable odors. What a feeling of freshness was dif- 
fused into our whole being as we enjoyed the pleasure of the 
pathless woods. In every glimpse we could catch of the open 

30 Diary of E. W. Conyers, Transactions Oregon Pioneer Assn., 1905. 

31 Overland Monthly, Vol. Ill, p. 304. 
33 Palmer's Journal, p. 130. 

33 Spectator, Oct. 20, 1846. The article is unsigned. It was written, howerer, 
by George L. Curry, the editor. 


day, there, above and beyond us were the towering heights, 
with their immense array of sky-piercing shafts. 

"Up, up to an altitude fearfully astounding the ascent is 
steep and difficult, but there are many such ridges of the 
mountains to be crossed before you can descend into the flour- 
ishing valley of the Willamette. Down, down into the deep, dark 
and silent ravines, and when you have reached the bottom of it, 
by precipitous descent, you may be able to form an idea of the 
great elevation which you had previously attained. The cross- 
ing of the Rocky mountains, the Bear River range and the "big 
hill" of the Brules, with the Blue Mountains, was insignificant 
in comparison to the Cascades. Here is no natural pass you 
breast the lofty hills and climb them there is no way around 
them, no avoiding them, and each succeeding one, you fancy 
is the dividing ridge of the range." 

The Barlow road was an important asset to both immigrants 
and settlers. It enabled the former to divide their trains and 
avoid the overcrowded condition on the Columbia ; it furnished 
the latter a means of communication and trade with the 
settlers east of the mountains. Large numbers of Willamette 
valley cattle were driven over it to be slaughtered in the mines 
and many a packer has paid toll at its gates. 

Judge Matthew P. Deady, 34 an esteemed citizen and noted 
jurist of Oregon, is reported to have said of this road: "The 
construction of the Barlow road contributed more towards the 
prosperity of the Willamette Valley and the future State of 
Oregon than any other achievement prior to the building of the 
railways in 1870." 

The general references consulted in the preparation of this 
paper are as follows : 

Palmer's Journal, published in Thwaites' Early Western 

Elwood Evans' History of the Northwest. 

Bancroft's History of Oregon. 

The Oregon Spectator, Vols. I and II. 

34 Quoted in Quarterly of the Oreg. Hist. Soc., Vol. Ill, p. 79. 


The Oregon Archives, published in 1853. 

Oregon Pioneer Transactions for 1889 and 1905. 

Records in the office of the County Clerk of Clackamas 

"The Story of the Barlow Road" in the Oregon Historical 
Quarterly, Vol. 3. 

John C. Calhoun 


Secretary of War 


Frances Packard Young 

Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for 
the Degree of Master of Arts 

A Thesis presented to the Department of History 

May. 1912 




Calhoun becomes Secretary of War in 1817 1 

Calhoun's work as a Congressman 2 

Favors a national tariff in 1810 3 

Advocates internal improvements 4 

Characterizations of Calhoun as a Congressman 5 

Outline of work as Secretary of War 7 


Centralization and Economy in the War Department 8 

Lack of public revenue a cause for economy 9 

Calhoun's argument against the reduction of the army 10 

Argument by Mr. Williams, a member of Congress, in favor of 

reduction 11 

Criticisms of Calhoun's report 12 

Congressional action against military appropriations 13 

Comparative annual expenses of the army 14 


Bonus Bill speech compared with report of 1819 15 

Congressional opposition to the building of forts 16 

Report on Fortifications 17 

The Mix or Rip Rap Contract 18 


Rapid settlement of the West . . 21 

Change in system of Indian trade 21 

Calhoun's report on this change 22 

System of forts planned by Calhoun 23 

Attitude of Congress toward Indian Appropriations 24 

Plans for Indian colonization, West of the Mississippi 24 




Cause of Seminole War 27 

The U. S. army is ordered into Florida 28 

Jackson takes Pensacola and St. Marks 30 

His account of the capture of these forts 31 

Calhoun condemns Jackson for this action 32 

Jackson is protected by public opinion 33 

Calhoun's War policy 33 

Treaty for annexation of Florida 34 

Action of Congress 34 



Calhoun becomes a candidate in 1822 36 

Party divisions 37 

Compared with other candidates 37 

Factions of the different candidates, in the Cabinet and House of 

Representatives 39 

Relation between the attacks on Calhoun and his candidacy 40 

Newspaper partisanship 41 

Nomination of Calhoun 41 

Calhoun's strength as candidate for President and then for Vice- 

President 42 

Final Election . . 43 



Calhoun's personality 44 

Social position in Washington 45 

Mental qualities 45 

Characteristics as a public official 46 

Criticisms of Calhoun 48 

Calhoun's explanation of his own political views 48 

Attitude on Slavery 50 



It is generally agreed that the United States engaged in 
a struggle for economic independence in 
CONDITION its second war with England, and proved 
OF THE to the world that it wished to protect its 

UNITED STATES own citizens. From that time on, the 
nation slowly grew in power until in 
1817 when James Monroe became President, the treasury was 
well filled and the people had a feeling of prosperity. 1 
Monroe offered the position of Secretary of War to four 
different men, before he appointed John 
CALHOUN C. Calhoun to fill that place in the 
APPOINTED AS cabinet. The President invited Henry 
SECRETARY Clay to take the post, but Clay declined, 
OF WAR rather offended because he was not made 

Secretary of State. He next thought 
of Andrew Jackson, Governor Shelby of Tennessee and 
William Lowndes of South Carolina, but they all refused. 
Finally he selected Calhoun, who had justified his appointment 
by his efforts in Congress to further the material advance- 
ment of the United States. 2 

A brief sketch of Calhoun's congressional career from 1811 
to 1817 is necessary before considering 
CALHOUN'S his Secretaryship. Coming into Con- 
WORK AS A gress as a young man, when the United 
CONGRESSMAN States was on the verge of a war, Cal- 
houn's patriotic enthusiasm led him to 
support defensive measures. On December 12, 1811, he gave 
his reasons for favoring a war. 

i Schouler, History of the United States. II, 499. "Partly by internal taxes, 
but chiefly by those upon imports, Congress and this administration planned a 
permanent revenue, sufficient for meeting all current expenses and interest, and 
so to apply an annual surplus besides of $10,000,000 towards discharging the 
principal. When the year 1817 opened all was auspicious for instituting such a 
policy; most of the treasury notes had been cancelled; nearly the whole national 
debt was refunded; cash to the amount of $10,000,000 lay in the treasury] direct 
taxation could at once be dispensed with and various obnoxious items of internal 
revenue besides." 

z Hunt, G. John C. Calhoun, 43. 


"One principle necessary to make us a great people is to 
protect every citizen in the lawful pursuit of his business." 3 

In a speech a year later, on December 4, 1812, he asserted 

"It is the duty of every citizen to bear whatever the general 
interest may demand, and I, Sir, am proud in representing a 
people pre-eminent in the exercise of this virtue. Carolina 
makes no complaint against the difficulties of the times. If 
she feels embarassments, she turns her indignation not against 
her own Government, but again the common enemy. She 
makes no comparative estimate of her sufferings with other 
states. . . . High tariffs have no pernicious effects and 
are consistent with the genius of the people and the institutions 
of the country/' 4 

Calhoun made this last statement to answer an argument 
put forth by Mr. Widgery from Massachusetts, a few days 
before, which he considered to be an expression of New Eng- 
land sectionalism. 5 

The Committee of Commerce and Manufactures presented 

a tariff bill to the House in February, 1816. Two months later 

Calhoun declared in support of the 

ARGUMENT IN measure that it required commerce, agri- 
FAVOR OF culture and manufactures to produce 

NATIONAL wealth for a nation. The United States 
TARIFF States possessed agriculture and com- 

merce, what she needed was manufac- 
tures, and these could not exist without protection from 
European competition. His argument in detail was that, 

"Neither agriculture, manufactures, nor commerce, taken 
separately, is the cause of wealth; it flows from the three 
combined, and cannot exist without each. . . . Without 
commerce, industry would have no stimulus ; without manu- 
factures it (U. S.) would be without the means of production; 

3 Calhoun, J. C. Works. II, x. 

4 Calhoun, J. C. Works, II, 31. 

Annals of Congress, i2th Cong., 2nd Sess., Vol. 3, page 315. 

5 Just before Calhoun's speech this representative spoke against the "Mer- 
chant's Bonds" Measure. 310. 


and without agriculture neither of the others can subsist. 
When taken separately, entirely and permanently, they 

As opposed to the sectional reasons for tariff, this argu- 
ment might be called tariff nationalism. 

Calhoun spoke in favor of national aid for internal im- 
provements, as earnestly as he did for 
NEED FOR tariff. Without adequate means of com- 
INTERNAL munication, no country could advance in 
IMPROVEMENTS national prosperity. The extent of terri- 
tory which the United States occupied 
exposed them "to the greatest of all calamities next to the loss 
of liberty and to that in its consequences disunion. We are 
great, and rapidly I was about to say fearfully growing. 
This is our pride and our danger; our weakness and our 
strength. Little does he deserve to be entrusted with the liber- 
ties of the people, who does not raise his mind to these truths." 7 
In 1812 the nation had been hindered by not being able to 
move troops quickly from place to place. Was she to be 
caught like that again ? 

During his term in Congress, Calhoun served as chairman 

of the Committee of Foreign Relations. 8 

CHARACTERIZA- Elijah H. Mills, a Federalist, wrote of 

TIONS OF Calhoun in 1823 : 

CALHOUN AS A "He came into Congress very young 
CONGRESSMAN and took a decided part in favor of the 
late war, and of all the measures con- 
nected with it. He is ardent, persevering, industrious and 
temperate, of great activity and quickness of perception, and 
rapidity of utterance. . . . His private character is esti- 
mable and exemplary, and his devotion to his official duties is 
regular and severe." 9 

Tcllhoun, J. C. Works, II, 163-6. 

7 Calhoun, J. C. Works, II, 186. 

Speech on Bill to set aside bank dividends and bonus for internal improve- 

8 Hunt, G. John C. Calhoun, aa. 

Calhoun at first occupied second place on the committee, but when the chair- 
man, Gen. P. B. Porter, retired from Congress, Calhoun was made chairman, 

9 Mass. Hist. Society Proceed. XIX, 37, 1881-2. 

Letters of Elijah H. Mills. After the first sentence the characterization 
belongs to the time when Calhoun was Secretary, but might well be applied to his 
Congressional career also. (Representative from Massachusetts in 1816.) 


Another man described Calhoun's legislative career as, 
"Short, but uncommonly luminous; his love of novelty and 
his apparent solicitude to astonish were so great, that he has 
occasionally been known to go beyond even the dreams of 
political visionaries and to propose schemes which were in 
their nature impracticable or injurious, and which he seemed 
to offer merely for the purpose of displaying the affluence 
of his mind and the fertility of his ingenuity." 10 

Babcock, in the "Rise of the American Nationality," has 
characterized Calhoun, when in Congress, as a "Young South- 
erner of good family, fine endowments, and fine education, he 
was an ardent nationalist, working for, arguing for and dream- 
ing of a great and powerful United States safely bound to- 
gether for its work in the world. He was ambitious, but could 
afford to wait for his promotions. . . . Through all the 
quiet energy of his work, and the luminous diction of his 
speeches runs a strain of passion and chivalrous sentiment. 
More clearly than anyone else of this time did Calhoun fulfill 
the prophetic function for the South, showing forth its best 
spirit and noblest impulses, as yet unwarped and uncorroded by 
slavery." 11 

Mr. Nathan Appleton, a visitor in Washington about 1816, 

"That he had been introduced to many distinguished men, 
among whom were Mr. Clay and Mr. Calhoun." 12 

These two men worked together during this Congressional 
session, both believing in tariff and internal improvements, 
and not realizing as yet, their conflicting ambitions. 1 3 

10 Am. Hist. Review, n, 510-2; 1905-6. 
F. 7. Turner, The South 1820-30. 

Taken from Letters from North America, by A. Hodgson, I, 81; 1824. 

11 Babcock, Rise of American Nationality, Am. Nation Series, an. 

i a Mast. Hist. Society Proceed. V. a6i. i86o-a. 
Memoirs of Nathan Appleton. 

13 William and Mary Quarterly, XVII; 143-4, * paper on the U. S. Congress 
and SOIM of Itt Celebrities, Colton, Henry Clay, I, 434-6, VI, 108. 



When Calhoun became Secretary of War in 1817, it was his 
first interest to strengthen the army for 
OUTLINE OF the needs of an expanding boundary 
CALHOUN'S line. His Indian policy was the most 
WORK AS complete plan that had, up to 1818, been 

SECRETARY formulated to take care of the large un- 
OF WAR settled territory in the, western part of 

the United States. 14 In the events con- 
nected with the Seminole War and the Acquisition of Florida, 
he was conservative and patient, trying to avoid rather than 
make war. 

Toward the last of his Administration, he was nominated 
for President by the legislature of South Carolina, 15 but he 
consented to run for Vice-President when it seemed that he 
could not compete with Jackson. Clay and Calhoun were 
rivals in this Presidential Campaign, while in political ideas 
they were no longer united. Whether or not Calhoun gov- 
erned the War Department with the idea of gaining the sup- 
port of the people to this higher office, is a question. 



After administering the office of Secretary of War for some 
time, Calhoun stated his ideas concerning 
CENTRALIZATION a more efficient management of the De- 
IN THE WAR partment. He outlined his plans in let- 
DEPARTMENT ters to authorities who were connected 
with the control of the army. On Feb- 
ruary 5, 1818, Calhoun wrote to John Williams, Chairman of 
the Military Committee of the Senate, concerning the reorgani- 
zation of the medical staff of the army. His main object in 
taking this step was to introduce responsibility and centraliza- 
tion into its government and ultimately to reduce the cost of 

14 Von Hoist, Calhoun. 45. 

Niles' Register, XV. Supplement, 25. 

1 5 Letters of Calhoun, House of Representatives, Documents, Am. Hist. Assn. 
Vol. 115, page 216. 1899-1900. 


administration. He planned to accomplish this by placing some 
medical expert at the head, to whom all the surgeons should 
make quarterly reports. The same system was to be carried 
out in the Quartermaster's Division. 16 

Several times Calhoun impressed upon the commanders of 

the, army the necessity for strict economy. 

ECONOMY IN March 15, 1820, he wrote to Andrew 

ADMINISTRATION Jackson: "Each head of appropriation 
has been reduced to its lowest amount, 
and it will require much economy and good management to 
meet the ordinary expenditure of the year. You will accord- 
ingly take no measure, in the present state of business which 
will much increase the expense of your division/' 17 

These two letters illustrate Calhoun's plan of action through- 
out his entire administration. Every man in office must be 
responsible to the head of the department and in the perform- 
ance of his work, observe the most careful economy. This did 
not mean that Calhoun wished to reduce the military force 
as a means of lessening the expenses. To his mind it was 
far more economical to have a well prepared army in case of 
a crisis, than to waste time and money organizing one when 
the nation was thrust into war. 

The basis for the practice of economy in the War Depart- 
ment may be found in the efforts of Con- 

LACK OF PUBLIC gress from 1818 to 1823, to reduce the 

REVENUE CAUSE expenses of the Government. One ex- 

FOR ECONOMY planation for this policy was given by 

Mr. Butler of New Hampshire on March 

14, 1820, when he asserted in a speech before the House, that 

the Treasury showed a decrease in revenue of fifty per cent, 

and that the exports of the United States for three years before 

1820 were only one-half their usual amount. 18 

16 Letters of Calhoun, House Documents, Vol. 115, Am. Hist. Ass. Vol. II, 
133-4- Calhoun did not take up the duties of Secretary of War until December 
5, 1817. Hunt, John C. Calhoun, 43. 

17 Letters of Calhoun, House Documents, Vol. 115, Am. Hist. Ass. Vol. II, 171. 

1 8 Annals of Congress, i6th Cong., ist Sess., II, 1836. Turner, F. J. Rise 
of the New West, Am. Nation Series, 140, states that customs receipts fell between 
1816 and 1821 from $36,000,000 to $13,000,000 and the revenue from public lands 
from $3,274,000 in 1819 to $1,635,000 in 1820. 


The expense of a standing army was attacked first and a 
resolution passed by the House in April, 
CALHOUN'S 1818, asking the Secretary of War if 
ARGUMENT military appropriations could not be re- 
AGAINST duced. 18 Calhoun replied at the next 

REDUCTION session of Congress. 20 In this report he 
OF THE ARMY considered the army under four heads, 
number, organization, pay and emolu- 
ments. In 1818 the army was no larger than it was in 1802, 
considering the increase in population and territory between 
those years, and at the earlier date it was considered as small 
as public safety allowed. These facts made it impossible to 
reduce the number of soldiers. The officers' staff must not 
be made smaller, because, if war were declared, the lack of 
executive authority would cause great confusion. The great 
extent of territory over which the army was scattered had 
necessarily advanced the cost of transportation of men and 
supplies. Calhoun did not wish to decrease the pay of the 
men and officers, for the cost of living was much higher in 
1818 than it had been in previous years. The only way to 
economize, which he suggested in this report, was to prevent 
waste in the handling of public property. In this connection 
Calhoun advised that public bids be made for supplying army 
rations, instead of having them bought through private con- 
tract, as had been done in the past. 

Notwithstanding Calhoun's protest against decreasing the 
number of soldiers, Mr. Williams of 
ARGUMENT North Carolina, introduced a resolution 
IN FAVOR OF in February, 1819, to reduce the standing 
REDUCTION army to six thousand. 21 In support of 
this resolution he asserted that an in- 
crease of territory and population did not necessitate a cor- 
responding increase in the army, that large towns and cities 
did not need the protection of arms or forts, and that it was 
extravagance to support a large staff of officers. 23 

Register, XIV, 145. 

Annals of Congress, ith Cong, ist Sess., II, 1766. 
ao Niles' Register, XV, Supplement, 39. 
si Annals of Congress, III, 1155, and Sess., isth Cong. 
22 Ibid, 1156-7. , 


Mr. Simpkins of South Carolina, opposed Mr. Williams' 
resolution and reminded Congress of the 
MR. SIMPKINS unfortunate condition of the United 
SUPPORTS States in 1812 because of the lack of 

CALHOUN'S military forces. He declared that Cal- 
POLICY houn was justified in demanding a large 

army to protect the citizens of this na- 
tion. 23 

In May of the next year, Henry Clay brought forth a similar 

resolution, 24 and finally Congress asked 

CALHOUN'S Calhoun to give his opinion on the reduc- 

PLAN FOR tion. 25 The Secretary of War had al- 

REDUCING THE ready realized the advisability of econ- 

NUMBER OF omy, as shown in his letter to Jackson 

SOLDIERS in March, 1820, which has been quoted 

above. Calhoun's reply in December, 

1820, assumed that this change was inevitable and he resolved 

to manage it as wisely as possible. 26 He did not want Congress 

to abolish whole regiments, but only to decrease the number 

of soldiers in such divisions, in that way avoiding the possibility 

of having to train new bodies of men in case the army was 

suddenly increased for a war. It was easier to command 

some new recruits along with others already experienced in 

military tactics, than to use companies which were entirely 

ignorant of such things. Neither did he, want the number of 

officers reduced, for mere soldiers were easy to drill, but it 

took time to make a good officer. 

In the speeches which were made in favor of a reduction, 

this report was severely criticised. Mr. 

CRITICISM OF Williams again took the floor to oppose 

CALHOUN'S the recommendations of the Secretary of 

REPORT War and asserted that the standing army 

was dangerous to the liberties of the 

people, and that since it was a "necessary evil," they should 

33 Ibid, 1155-6-7. 

24 Annals of Congress, i6th Cong, ist Sess., II, 2233. 

25 Annals of Congress, i6th Cong. 2nd Sess., Ill, 607. 

26 Annals of Congress, i6th Cong., 2nd Sess., Appendix, 1715. 


have as little of it as possible. He combated Calhoun's argu- 
ment for a large staff of officers and the maintenance of a 
standing army, which was always prepared for immediate 
warfare. Because our population was double that of 1802, 
was no reason for an army twice as large. He knew that 
there were not as many as seventy-three forts to defend, as 
Calhoun had reported, and that it was not necessary to use the 
army to protect the frontier which the 
PASSAGE United States had recently acquired. 27 

OF BILL The Bill to reduce the army to six thou- 

sand soldiers was passed on January 23, 
1821, by a majority of 109-48. 28 

The 16th and 17th Congresses hesitated to make even the 

necessary military appropriations for 

CONGRESSIONAL 1822 and '23, because Calhoun had over- 

ACTION AGAINST drawn the account for 1821, and they 

MILITARY feared that such an act was a dangerous 

APPROPRIATIONS usurpation of power. 29 Others were 

afraid that the United States Treasury 

could not meet all the demands, while a few accused him of 

needless extravagance. 30 

Mr. Cannon, of Tennessee, attacked the appropriation for 

the support of the West Point Military 

ATTACK ON WEST Academy, and even made a motion that 

POINT MILITARY they consider abolishing it. He declared 

ACADEMY that it was a school where only the sons 

of rich men were taught military science. 

This would result in establishing an aristocracy in the United 

27 Annals of Congress, i6th Cong., 2nd Sess., Ill, 767. 

28 House of Representatives, Journal, i6th Cong., 2nd Sess., 160. 

Vote on Bill to reduce army to 6coo. First figure is the negative vote from 
the State named. Second figure is the number of representatives from that State: 

Kentucky 3-12 Alabama i- i Illinois i- i 

Maryland 4- 9 Georgia 2- 6 Ohio i- 6 

Pennsylvania 8-25 N. Carolina 1-14 New York 8-27 

New Jersey 1-3 Massachusetts 4-23 Virginia 4-27 

Louisiana i- i S. Carolina 4- 9 Tennessee i- 6 

Delaware 1-2 

Taken from House Journal, i6th Cong., 2nd Sess., p. 161. Out of these rep- 
resentatives 28 were listed in some party and 14 of them belonged to the Demo- 
cratic party in 1818. Congressional Bibliography. 

29 Annals of Congress, i6th Cong., 2nd Ses., Ill, 710. 

30 Annals of Congress, i7th Cong., ist Sess., I, 1105. 


States and destroy the democratic government. He was not 
opposed to the teaching of military science, but he wanted such 
instruction given to the general mass of citizens. 31 

The Secretary of War prepared a report in 1822 of the 

army expenses for the years 1818 to 1822, 

COMPARATIVE showing that the numbers of the army for 

ANNUAL those years had increased, but that the 

EXPENSES cost of maintenance for each man had 

OF THE ARMY decreased. 32 These expenses he divided 

into two parts, those which are fixed by 

law, such as officers' salaries, and those which can be changed 
at the will of the Secretary of War. The two divisions had 
become smaller, year by year, because the officers had kept 
strict account and had carefully preserved public property. 33 In 
1823, he again claims that the accounts show remarkable econ- 
omy in the organization of the army, chiefly through the atten- 
tion which each officer had given to his department. 34 Besides 
the reports mentioned above, Calhoun prepared exact state- 
ments each year, showing how much money had been spent and 
for what it was used. 35 

31 Annals of Congress, i6th Cong., ist Sess., II, 1603-4. 

32 House of Representatives, Journal, i7th Cong., ist Sess., 318. 
Niks' Register, XXII, 38-40. 

33 Numbers in the army for 1818-1822: 1818, 8199 men; 1819, 8428; 1820, 
9698; 1821, 8109; 1822, 6442. 

Expenditures for each person in the army: 1818, $451.57; 1819, $434.70; 1820, 
$315.88; 1821, $287.02; 1822, $299.46. 

Niles', XXII, 38-9-40. 
34Niles' Register, XXIV, 263. 
35 House of Representatives, Journal, i6th Cong., 2nd Sess., 117; 

i7th Cong., ist Sess., 262. 



On April 12, 1818, Calhoun was asked by Congress to give a 

report on the national construction of 

COMPARISON OF roads and canals. 36 The Secretary of War 

BONUS BILL considered such internal improvements 

SPEECH AND necessary both for military defense and 

REPORT OF 1818 the development of trade, but in reply in 

ON INTERNAL January, 1819, he made commercial rea- 

IMPROVEMENTS sons secondary, while in the speech he 

delivered on the Bonus Bill in February, 

1817, he had advocated internal improvements, primarily to 

strengthen the nation commercially and politically, and only 

incidentally to serve as a means of defense in war. 

Calhoun worked out a system of inland transportation which 
would protect the northern, eastern and 
REPORT ON southern boundaries. Local roads not ex- 
ROADS AND tending beyond the boundaries of a state, 
CANALS were to be left to that state, but those 

JANUARY, 1819 going through a large section of the 
United States were to be built by the 
government. The most important work would be a highway 
along the eastern coast, over which troops could be marched 
when it was dangerous to transport them by sea. North of the 
Chesapeake Bay the coast is very accessible, making it expedient 
to build roads from all parts of the country to this section, so 
that it would be easy quickly to concentrate troops at any point. 
Calhoun suggested that other roads be built from Albany to 
the Lakes ; Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and Richmond 
to the Ohio river, and from Augusta to Tennessee. On the 
northern frontier he planned canals between Albany, Lake 
George and Lake Ontario, and between Pittsburg and Lake 
Erie. Roads were to be built from Plattsburg to Sackett Har- 
bor, and from Detroit to the Ohio. The southwest was natural- 
ly guarded by the Mississippi River, while a canal from the 

36 Annals of Congress, isth Cong., ist Sess., II, 1678. 


Illinois river to Lake Michigan completed the system of com- 
munication. The cost of building these roads was to be reduced 
by employing part of the army and paying them slightly higher 
wages than they ordinarily received. 37 Congress went so far 
as to appoint a committee in December, 1819, to consider the 
building of roads and canals, but it was discharged before any- 
thing was accomplished. 88 

In its economical mood toward military appropriations, the 

House considered the advisability in Jan- 

CONGRESSIONAL uary, 1820, of stopping the construction 

OPPOSITION TO of all forts. 30 It also asked Calhoun for 

BUILDING OF a statement of the money that was being 

FORTS used for this purpose, and the progress 

which had been made on the different 

fortifications. 40 

This time he gave the report of one of his chief engineers, 

who had special charge of such works. 

REPORT ON He had had the northern, southern and 

FORTIFICATIONS eastern coasts inspected and had planned 

a system of forts, such that each fort was 

connected with the next in a continuous chain of defense. They 
were all to fulfill some of the following conditions i* 1 

1. Close some important harbor to the enemy. 

2. Deprive the enemy of strong positions where he could 

get a foothold in the United States. 

3. To protect the cities from attack. 

4. To protect avenues of internal trade. 

5. Cover coast trade. 

6. Cover great naval establishments. 

The whole system was to cost a little more than one million 
dollars, and even then, the forts were not all to be built at once, 
but were divided into three classes, according to the nation's 
need for them. A committee was appointed on December 8, 

37 Annals of Congress, isth Cong., 2nd Sess., IV, 2443. 

38 Annals of Congress, i6th Cong., ist Sess., 708. 
Ibid, II, 3241. 

39 Ibid, I, 891. 

40 Annals of Congress, i6th Cong., ist Sess., II, 1594. 

41 Annals of Congress, i6th Cong., 2nd Sess., Appendix, 1731, Feb. 7, 1821. 


1819, to consider the subject of fortifications. It made a report 
on April 24, 1820, which was laid on the table without any 

The fulfilling of the Mix or Rip Rap contract for fortifica- 
tions on the Chesapeake Bay caused Cal- 
THE Mix OR houn to be severely criticised. 42 The 
RIP RAP House of Representatives appointed a 

CONTRACT committee to investigate the affair, and 
CONDEMNED BY they gained the following information 
CONGRESS about the forts. The contract had been 

given to Mix in April, 1818, but the com- 
mittee was sure that other men could have been found who 
would have furnished the stone much cheaper. After the work 
was started, Mix did not deliver the stone at the appointed 
time, and sold parts of the contract to other men. The chief 
engineer of the government, who was a relative of Mix, bought 
an interest in it and the committee suspected some fraud in 
that transaction. They condemned the engineer for not adver- 
tising the bids and for the careless methods used in issuing the 

The testimony of several stone merchants was taken and 
most of them agreed that Mr. Mix had 
DEFENCE OF furnished the stone for a very low price 
MR. Mix and that if the cost of freight and labor 

had not unexpectedly dropped, he would 
have lost money. The lowering of freight rates made it possible 
for him to make profit. Whether or not the stone was deliv- 
ered on time was not decided. The engineer who succeeded the 
one mentioned above, asserted that it was not customary to ad- 
vertise for bids, when the work was to be done in such a closely 
settled district as the region about the Chesapeake Bay. 

42 Hunt, G. John C. Calhoun, 60. 


The only faults which were connected with the transaction, 
were the tardy supplying of stone, and the 
ALL suspicious reselling of the contract. No- 

FoTHE ^ WaS t0 blame if the low frdght rates 

CONTRACT ARE anc * wa es ma de the prices of 1818 look 
STOPPED BY extravagant to the Congressmen in 
CONGRESS 1822. Calhoun had nothing to do with 

this contract, except as he gave his silent 

sanction to the whole transaction, although it came out in the 
evidence that when the engineer had considered buying a share 
in it, Calhoun had warned him of the effect such a deal would 
have on public opinion. The committee recommended in their 
report, on May 7, 1822, that no further appropriations be made 
to Mr. Mix for his work. 43 

In all his military work Calhoun grasped large situations and 
dealt with comprehensive plans. His re- 
CALHOUN'S port on military roads showed that he had 
MILITARY an accurate knowledge of the geography 

ADMINISTRATION of the United States, and a keen appre- 
ciation of the strategic points for defense. 

The advice on the reduction of the army revealed his ability to 
solve, in a clear and logical manner the most perplexing ques- 
tions. It is interesting to surmise how much he could have 
done if he had had the support of Congress. 


Regulation of Indian affairs as well as the administration of 
of the Army, formed an important part 
RAPID of Calhoun's work as Secretary of War. 

SETTLEMENT Between 1812 and 1820, the land be- 
OF THE WEST tween the Alleghanies and the Mississip- 
pi, as far south as the Gulf, was settled 
very rapidly. Tennessee, Kentucky and the banks of the Miss- 

43 All the Mix Contract papers are found in the American State Papers, I7th 
Cong., ist Sess., Sec. 109. 



issippi had the densest population, while between these two 
dates, five new western states were admited to the Union. 44 
In 1820 over one-third of the people of the United States lived 
in this region. These facts made the Indian question one of 
national importance. 

Since 1802 Congress had managed the trading stations, but in 

1819 it considered abolishing these posts 

CHANGE IN SYS- and opening the fur trade to individ- 

TEM OF INDIAN uals. 45 In December of that year Calhoun 

TRADE made a report dealing with this change. 47 

Before taking up the real subject of the 

report, he summarized the history of Indian trade. When there 
were no European settlements in America, the Indians had been 
able to supply their own meagre wants, but after they began to 
trade with white men, they demanded 
CALHOUN'S more than they knew how to make for 
REPORT themselves. This made them dependent on 

the merchants of the colonies and later, of 
the United States. By taking advantage of these circum- 
stances, Calhoun wanted the government to establish a just and 
efficient control over the Indians, and our trade with them. 
He advised the government gradually to abolish its factories 
and to open the trading privileges to every man who bought a 
license from his department. Calhoun planned to sell the per- 
mits for $100, intending by this means to protect the Indian 
from the merchant with small capital. These traders would 
be hard to keep under government control, for if they were 
tried for some offense, they would forfeit their outfit, rather 
than obey the laws which secured justice to the Indian. 

44 Turner, F. J. Rise of the New West, 70. The new states were Louisiana 
(1812), Indiana (1816), Mississippi (1817), Illinois (1818), Alabama (1819). 

45 Walker, Statistical Atlas of U. S. Region including Kentucky, Tennessee, 
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and 

The original 13 Atlantic States had in 1820, 7417 inhabitants. The above 
named group had in 1820, 3,216,390 inhabitants. 

46 Annals of Congress, isth Cong., and Sess., Ill, 546. 
Annals of Congress, isth Cong., ist Sess., II, 1675. 

47 Niles' Register, XV, Supplement, 25. 

Annals of Congress, isth Cong., 2nd Sess., Ill, 366. 


For purposes of administration the territory was divided 
into two districts, one in the "immediate 
DIVISION OF neighborhood of civilization," and the 
TRADING second was the land "west of the Miss- 

DISTRICTS issippi." In the first district individual 

traders could carry on the work satis- 
factorily, while in the other one conditions made this plan 
impossible. Here the Hudson's Bay Company was so strong 
that it was impossible for unorganized men to compete with 
them. 48 Calhoun tried to overcome this difficulty by creating 
a company of American Fur Traders, in which each man who 
was a stockholder, would buy a share for $100. 

Calhoun planned a line of forts on the western frontier 
for two purposes; to foster and protect 
SYSTEM OF trade and keep out English interference. 
FORTS PLANNED In 1818 an expedition was sent out to 
BY CALHOUN establish a post on the Yellowstone River, 
but later in the year he decided to trans- 
fer it to Mandan, because that place was nearer the English 
post on the Red River. 49 At the same time he planned a chain 
of forts to guard the frontier.* Two posts were to be established 
on the Mississippi, one was Fort Armstrong and the other was 
siuated at the juncture of that river with the Minnesota river. 
At the head of navigation of the Minnesota, he built a second 
fort, which had an overland connection with Mandan and the 
third was situated at the head of the St. Croix. 51 

Congress cut down the Indian Appropriations, assuming the 
same attitude toward them that they did toward those for 
military purposes. In 1822 they hesitated to give Calhoun money 

48 Niks' Register, XV, Supplement, 25. 

Annals of Congress, isth Cong., 2nd Sess., IV, 2455. 

Calhoun gives no suggestion that he had ever had any experience with the 
small traders mentioned above. 

49 House of Representatives, Documents, V. 115, p. 115, 162. 
Am. Hist. Ass., 1889-1900, V. 2. Letters of Calhoun-, 

Turner, Rise of the New West, 114. In 1820 Calhoun sent Gov. Cass to 
Minnesota to drive out the English and establish American influence. 

50 House of Representatives, Documents, V. 115, 1899-1900, II, 147-8. 
Letters of Calhoun. 

Adams, J. Q., Memoirs, IV, 143. 

51 See map. 


to conduct this part of his Administration because they did not 
know definitely what the money was to 
ATTITUDE OF be used for. One Congressman said that 
CONGRESS it bribed the savages not to cut the throats 
TOWARD INDIAN of white men. Others thought he had 
APPROPRIATIONS been extravagant and wasteful in In- 
dian affairs. 52 There were, however, 
enough in favor of the measure to keep it from being de- 
feated. 63 

Mr. McCoy, a Baptist missionary among the Indians of the 
United States, wrote on June 23, 1822, to 
PLANS FOR Lewis Cass, then Governor of Michigan 
COLONIZATION Territory, and to two members of Con- 
OF INDIANS gress, concerning a plan for colonizing 
WEST OF THE the Indians, then living east of the Miss- 
MISSISSIPPI issippi, on land west of that river. 5 * The 
suggestions of Mr. McCoy may have had 
some connection with the Resolution for having the Com- 
mittee of Indian Affairs, of the House, inquire into the pur- 
chasing of land in the west, to be used for the purpose of 
colonization. 65 On December 30, 1823, a month before this 
Resolution was passed, Mr. McCoy called on the Secretary of 
War and again urged the plan of moving the Indians to 
permanent homes in the west. Mr. Calhoun was in favor of 
the policy, and said that it would be successful if they could 
convince Congress of its advisability. 66 To accomplish this, 
the Board of Missions presented a petition to Congress in 
March, 1824, praying for the removal of the Indians. 67 On 
January 27, 1825, Monroe sent a message to Congress, urging 
them to take this step and accompanying his message was a 
more detailed report from Calhoun. 68 He enumerated the places 
from which Indians ought to be removed, and located favorable 

52 Annals of Congress, i7th Cong., ist Sess., I, 693-695. 

53 House Journal, i?th Cong., znd Sess., 312. 

54 McCoy, History of Indian Affairs, 200. 

55 Annals of Congress, i8th Cong., ist Sess., I, 1164. 

56 McCoy, History of Indian Affairs, 218. 

57 Annals of Congress, i8th Cong., 2nd. Sess., II. 

58 Niles' Register, XXVII, 363. 


spots for their settlement west of Arkansas and Missouri. In 
carrying out this plan there were several principles to be ob- 
served. Above all, the government should try to keep peace 
among the different tribes, and the schools, which they had giv- 
en, were to be moved with them, so that they should have the 
same advantages of civilization. The government agents must 
assure them that this new land will not be taken away from 
them. An effort should also be made to unite all the tribes and to 
introduce the laws of the United States among them, so that in 
time they might enjoy the privileges of citizens. To this end 
Calhoun advised Congress to hold a convention of the leading 
Indians. 59 

The main ideas which run through Calhoun's reports in this 
chapter, are, the necessity of keeping English traders out 
of the United States territory, and the peaceful admission of 
the Indians to participation in the United States Government. 
He realized that if the English were allowed to trade in our 
possessions, they would incite the natives to war and drive 
out our traders. The Indians could not be civilized while they 
were treated as a foreign and often antagonistic nation. 


No part of his work as Secretary of War exhibits Calhoun's 
diplomacy and caution so well as his connection with the 
Seminole War and annexation of Florida. 

The War was caused by the attacks of the Seminole Indians 

on citizens of the United States, in 

CAUSE OF THE Spanish territory and on the American 

SEMINOLE WAR side of the boundary. 60 The Governor of 

Pensacola 61 asserted in 1818, that he had 

neither the force nor the authority to conquer the Indians, but 
that he was as anxious as the United States to stop the out- 
rages which they committed. 62 Nevertheless the Committee on 

Register, XXVII, 40 

Ses egster, , 404. 

60 Annals of Congress, i6th Cong., ist Sess., II, 1618-9. 

61 An important Spanish fort in the southwestern part of Florida. 

62 Annals of Congress, i$th Cong., 2nd Sess., IV, Appendix, 1970. 



Foreign Affairs, reported to the House of Representatives that 
the Spanish had "permitted the Indian inhabitants of that 
territory, whom they had promised by treaty to restrain, to en- 
gage in savage hostilities against us." 68 

Mr. Adams, the Secretary of State, asserted that the Spanish 
were aiding the Indians, by giving them supplies and allowing 
the fort to be used for their councils of war. 04 

After some hesitation, Calhoun, in the name of the Presi- 
dent, ordered General Gaines to cross the 

THE U. S. ARMY boundary of Florida and subdue the na- 
Is ORDERED tives. This message was sent in a letter 
ACROSS THE from the Secretary of War to General 

BOUNDARY INTO Gaines, dated December 16, 1817, in 
FLORIDA which Calhoun wrote, 

"On the receipt of this letter, should 

the Seminole Indians still refuse to make reparation for their 
outrages and depredations on the citizens of the United States, 
it is the wish of the President, that you consider yourself at 
liberty to march across the Florida line, and to attack them 
within its limits, should it be found necessary, unless they 
should shelter themselves under a Spanish fort. In the last 
event you will immediately notify this Department." 85 

General Jackson was not ordered to join Gaines until the 
26th of December, 1817, 66 and it is very likely that he enjoyed 
the same privilege of crossing the Florida boundary. On 
December 26th, Calhoun wrote to Jackson, telling him that 
Gaines had probably by that date carried the war into Florida, 

"With this in view, you may be prepared to concentrate your 
force, and to adopt the necessary measures to terminate a con- 
flict, which it has been the desire of the President, from con- 
siderations of humanity to avoid ; but which is now made nec- 
essary by their settled hostilities." 67 

63 Annals of Congress, i6th Cong., ist Sess., IL 1618-9. 

64 Annals of Congress, isth Cong., and Sess., IV, 1826-39. 
Letter of Mr. Adams to Mr. Erving, Minister to Spain. 

65 State Papers, isth Cong., and Sess., I, Sec. 14, page 35. 

66 Ibid. Page 33. 

67 State Papers, i$th Cong., and Sess., Sec. 14, page 33. 


Again on January 16th, 1818, Calhoun wrote to General 

"The honor of the United States requires, that the war with 
the Seminoles should be terminated speedily, and with ex- 
emplary punishment for hostilities so unprovoked. Orders 
were issued soon after my arrival here, directing the war to 
be carried within the limits of Florida, should it be necessary 
to its speedy and effectual termination." 68 

It would have been useless to order the war carried on in 
Florida, without allowing General Jackson to cross the bound- 
ary of that territory. A good summary of Jackson's powers 
was given in a letter from Calhoun to William W. Bibb, Gov- 
ernor of Alabama Territory, written on the 13th day of 
May, 1818: 

"Enclosed is a copy of the order authorizing General Gaines 
to carry the war into Florida ; and you will consider it as fur- 
nishing authority to the troops of the territory to pass the 
Florida line, should it be necessary. I send also a copy of a 
message of the President communicatng information in regard 
to the Seminole War. General Jackson is vested with full 
powers to conduct the war, in the manner which he may 
judge best/' 69 

No direct orders to General Jackson to enter the Spanish 
territory, as were given to General 

JACKSON TAKES Gaines, can be found in the State Papers. 

ST. MARKS AND Nevertheless, he took his troops into 

PENSACOLA Florida in the first part of 1818, and on 

April 2, captured St. Marks, 70 while in 

the following May he obtained the surrender of Pensacola, 71 

both of which were important Spanish forts of the coast. 

In June and July of that year, the newspapers made com- 
ments on the merits of Jackson's action. The "National In- 
telligencer" commended him 72 and states that he had taken the 

68 Ibid. Page 37. 

69 Ibid. Page 39. Evidently Calhoun did not know of the capture of St. 
Marks and Penascola when he wrote this letter. 

70 State Papers, isth Cong., and Sess., I, Sec. 14, page 50-1. 

71 Ibid. Page 87. 

72 Niles' Register, XIV, 337-383. 


forts for purely patriotic motives. The Democratic Press, as 
Niles classed it, praised Jackson for this act, 73 while the "Rich- 
mond Enquirer," a paper which favored Crawford, called it, 

"an act of war and perfidy, showing a grasping nature on 
the part of the United States." 74 

The "Franklin Gazette," a Calhoun paper, said, 75 

"Jackson is a man of great courage and noble character, but 
does not see the value of strict discipline and subordination. 
He has placed the country in a most delicate situation." 76 

Jackson sent a report to Calhoun dated June 2, 1818, giving 

an account of the taking of Pensacola, and his reasons for doing 

so. 77 On his march toward that fort, he had been warned by 

the Spanish governor to advance no 

JACKSON'S farther, but being confident of the hostile 

ACCOUNT OF feelings of the Commander toward the 

His CAPTURE OF United States, he proceeded on and took 
PENSACOLA the fort with little resistance. Jackson 
did not change the Spanish government 
of Pensacola, but established revenue laws on the coast to stop 
smuggling and admit the American merchants to equal rights 
with those of Spain. This event practically closed the war, as 
there were very few Indians left who had not recognized the 
superiority of Jackson's army. He asserted further, that it was 
impossible to establish an imaginary boundary line when Spain 
was not doing anything to subdue the Indians in her territory, 
and that 

"The immutable principles of self-defense, justified, there- 
fore, the occupancy of the Floridas and will warrant the Amer- 
ican government in holding them until such time when Spain 
can maintain her authority in it." 

Calhoun emphatically disapproved of the capture of St. 
Marks and Pensacola. He wrote to Charles Tait of South 
Carolina, on July 20, 1818 : 

73 Ibid. 369. 

74 Adams, J. Q., Memoirs, VI, 50. This reference states that the "Richmond 
Enquirer" was a Crawford paper. 

Niles' Register, XIV, 371. 

75 Adams, J. Q., Memoirs, VI, 244-5, gives evidence that the "Franklin 
Gazette" supported Calhoun. 

76 Niles' Register, XIV, 398-9. 

77 State Papers, isth Cong., 2nd Sess., I, Sec. 14, page 87. 


"The taking of Pensacola was unauthorized and done on his 

(Jackson's) own responsibility. The place 

CALHOUN will be given back to Spain, for above all 

CONDEMNS things the peace of the country should 

JACKSON FOR be preserved. We have nothing to gain 

THE CAPTURE OF in a war with Spain, and would be liable 

THESE FORTS to lose our commerce in such a war. We 

want time. Let us grow." 78 

On the same day that this last letter was written John Q. 
Adams stated that Calhoun considered the capture of these 
two towns a violation of the Constitution and an act of war 
against Spain. The Secretary of War even accused Jackson 
of having deliberately disobeyed his orders and acted on his 
own arbitrary will. 78 Yet Calhoun wrote to Jackson on De- 
cember 23, 1818, 

"Its (Florida) acquisition, in a commercial, military and 
point of view would be of great importance to us." 80 

He may have been working for the same thing that Jackson 
was righting for, but condemned Jackson's methods ; or, taking 
his letter to Governor Bibb into account, he did not realize, 
before the seizure of St. Marks and Pensacola, what the 
consequences of such an act would be. 

President Monroe ordered the two forts to be surrendered 
to the Spanish government until affairs 
THE FORTS in Florida could be decided definitely. 81 
RETURNED TO The remaining question of what to do 
SPAIN AND with Jackson was practically determined 
JACKSON by public opinion. Calhoun wrote to 

PROTECTED BY Mr. Tait, that the popularity of the Gen- 
PUBLIC OPINION eral made it impolitic to punish him. 83 
President Monroe confirms this state- 
ment in a letter which he wrote to Madison, acknowledging 

78 Gulf State Historical Society, I, 92. Letters of Calhoun to Mr. Tait. 

79 Adams, J. Q., Memoirs, IV, 113. 

80 Letters of Calhoun, House Documents, V. 115, Am. Hist. Ass. V. II, 87; 

81 State Papers, isth Cong., 2nd Sess., Sec. 14, page 87, August 14, 1818. 

82 Gulf State Historical Magazine, I, 94. 
Letters of Calhoun to Mr. Tait. 



that if Jackson had been brought to trial, the interior of the 
country would have been agitated by appeals to the sectional 
interests and imputations of subserviency to Ferdinand of 
Spain. 83 

Throughout this series of incidents, Calhoun's principal idea 

was to bring about peace as soon as pos- 

CALHOUN'S sible. 84 He wished to avoid war with 

WAR POLICY Spain or England, whom he thought 

would come to Spain's aid, because of 

the heavy expense of war and the inevitable injury to the 

nation's commerce. 85 

The Acquisition of Florida was a natural sequel to the 
conditions involving the Seminole War. 
TREATY FOR Before Jackson crossed the boundary 
ANNEXATION line, rumors were afloat that Florida was 
OF FLORIDA to be transferred to this country. 86 A 
treaty to that effect was drawn up by 
the Department of State and in September, 1819, was ratified 
by the Senate. 87 Everything was to be settled when King 
Ferdinand of Spain signed the same document. For various 
reasons this did not take place until 1821. In May, 1820, a 
minister from Spain told the government that the King did 
not wish to sign the treaty until he knew what policy the 
United States would assume toward the South American re- 
publics. 88 At the same time his attention was called away from 
Florida affairs by a revolution in Spain. 89 

83 Letters of Monroe, VI, 87, Feb. 7, 1819. 

84 State Papers, isth Cong., and Sess., I, Sec. 14, pages 37-8. 

85 House of Representatives, V. 115, Documents. Am. Hist. Ass., 1899-1900, 
V. 2, pages 145-6. 

Calhoun's Letters. Niles' Register, XVI. 88 

86 Nilcs' Register, XIII, 29, 95. 

87 Letters of Monroe, VI, 106. 

88 Letters of Monroe, VI, 118. 

Letters of Calhoun, House Documents, V. 115, Am. Hist. Ass., V. II, 181; 

89 Niles' Register, XVIII, 137. 


Congress became impatient at his delay, and on March 9, 
1820, the Foreign Affairs Committee, at 
ACTION OF the suggestion of the President, intro- 
CONGRESS AND duced a bill which recommended, in very 
ITS INFLUENCE strong terms, the immediate occupation 
ON CALHOUN of Florida. 90 President Monroe called a 
cabinet meeting on March 21, to con- 
sider the postponement of proceedings relative to Florida to 
the next session of Congress. At this meeting Calhoun firmly 
opposed such a measure and ridiculed the idea that we hesitate 
on account of foreign interference or the recent revolution in 
Spain. 91 In the same month he wrote to Jackson expressing 
his hope that Congress would take immediate action in regard 
to Florida, but he made no reference to his disapproval of 
Jackson's conduct in the Seminole War. 92 The following May, 
Calhoun took exactly the opposite stand and advised the Presi- 
dent to refrain from acting on the matter until the next Con- 
gress met. 93 He was convinced that at present they should not 
take such a step, which he felt would bring about a disagree- 
ment between the Executive and the Legislature. Calhoun had 
reasonable grounds for this last opinion, because on March 30, 
the House had voted to lay the Florida bill on the table, and 
doubtless did not wish to consider the matter again. 94 

Above all things Calhoun did not think that the United 
States should go to war with Spain for 
SUMMARY the possession of Florida. If the nation 
OF HIS could annex the territory in peace, he 

PRINCIPLES would approve of the step, but they 
could not afford to fight for it. He con- 
demned Jackson because his actions might lead to a war in 
which not only Spain, but also England, would oppose the 
United States. The nation needed to accumulate strength in 
commerce and internal development. It could not afford to 

90 Annals of Congress, i6th Cong., ist Sess., II, 1618-9. 

91 Adams, J. Q. Memoirs, V, 29, 

92 Letters of Calhoun, House Document, V, 115, Am. Hist. Ass., V. II, 171; 

93 Adams, J. Q., Memoirs, V, 100-1. 

94 Journal of the House, i6th Cong., ist Sess., 353. 


spend money for military supplies, which could be used to great- 
er advantage in building roads and canals. Calhoun expressed 
the policy of his administration in three words of his letter to 
Mr. Tait, when he wrote : "Let us grow." 



John Q. Adams wrote on December 29, 1821, less than a 
year after Monroe's second inauguration, 
CALHOUN that a delegation of men from Pennsyl- 

CONSENTS vania had called on Calhoun and asked 

TO BECOME him to become a candidate in the Presi- 
A CANDIDATE dential election of 1824. 95 He as- 
IN 1824 sented, but a few days later assured a 

friend, Mr. W. Phemer of New Hamp- 
shire, that, after some hesitation, he only wished to run 
against a southern man, for personally he was in favor of a 
northern President. 96 Presumably Calhoun meant by this 
that he was willing to compete with Crawford, the Secretary of 
the Treasury, a man whom he thoroughly disliked. In a con- 
versation with Mr. Adams, on April 22, 1822, Calhoun 

"spoke with great bitterness of Crawford, of whose manoeu- 
vers and intrigues to secure the election to the next Presi- 
dency and to blast the administration of Mr. Monroe, of 
which he is a member, he (Calhoun) has a full and thorough 
knowledge. He said there had never been a man in our 
history, who had risen so high of so corrupt a character or 
upon so slender a basis of service; and that he (Calhoun) 
had witnessed the whole series of Crawford's operations 
from the winter of 1816 to this time." 97 

95 Adams, J. Q., Memoirs, V, 466, 468. 

96 Ibid. 477-8. 

97 Adams, J. Q., Memoirs, V, 497-8. 


The other candidates who appeared in 1822, were J. Q. 

Adams of Massachusetts, Henry Clay of 

COMPARISON Kentucky, Andrew Jackson of Tennessee, 

WITH OTHER DeWitt Clinton of New York and Craw- 

CANDIDATES ford of Georgia. All of these, with the 

exception of Clay, were over ten years 

older than Calhoun, who was thirty-eight at the time of his 

nomination. 98 "His age, or rather his youth," was an obstacle 

to success from the very beginning of the campaign." 

Party lines were very indefinite in the preliminaries of this 

campaign. Gallatin wrote that if Calhoun 

PARTY was nominated he would be the "Federal" 

DIVISIONS candidate. 100 Elijah H. Mills, writing to 

IN THIS a friend in 1823, classed Calhoun as a 

CAMPAIGN "Democrat" with principles like those of 

Adams, inferring that he belonged to the 

old conservative democratic party, but of a very different class 

from that of Crawford. 101 In 1824 Niles stated that Calhoun 

was nominated by the Democratic Republicans at Harrisburg, 

Pennsylvania. 102 Calhoun in his letters, speaks of Crawford as 

a Radical, and suggests that he (Calhoun) would like to have 

the support of the New York Republicans. 103 

The following description of this campaign is given by Lyon 
G. Tyler, in "The Life and Letters of the Tylers :" 

"At this time, five aspirants had loomed up, William H. 
Crawford, Andrew Jackson, John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay 
and John Quincy Adams. All these claimed to be of the 
good old Republican school, successors in principle as in 
time of Jefferson, Madison and Monroe. But the truth, that 
only the first had any pretensions to true orthodoxy. The 
others were latitudinarians from centre to circumference, 
new men, supporters of the War of 1812, and all fortunate 
enough to be on the national stage at that important juncture, 
to gather political capital to speculate on for the rest of their 

98 Niks' Register, XXIII, 369. 

99 Story, J., Life and Letters of, I, 426. 

100 Adams, Life of Albert Gallatin, 581. May 13, 1822. 

101 Letters of Elijah H. Mills, Mass. Hist. Society, XIX, 37. 1881-1882. 

102 Niles' Register, XXVI, 20. 

103 Letters of Calhoun, House Documents, V. 115, Am. Hist. Ass., V. II, 
page 206. 


natural lives. Restless in the harness of the old party ideas, 
they had kicked the traces of strict construction, and were 
now eagerly bidding for the scattered Federal vote by vie- 
ing with one another in patronizing the vast schemes, em- 
braced under the name, 'American System/ "104-105 

As most of the candidates mentioned above were in the House 

or the Cabinet, they began to form small 

FACTIONS OF factions in these departments, through 

THE DIFFERENT which they fought for their elections. 106 

CANDIDATES IN This was partially the cause for the oppo- 

THE HOUSE AND sition to the military and Indian appro- 

CABINET priations for the Secretary of War. Rufus 

King of New York, wrote on January 

8, 1822, to C. King, 107 

"The premature nomination of sundry gentlemen as candi- 
dates for the Presidency and among them the nomination of 
Mr. Calhoun, has given rise to this discussion, concerning the 
proposed appropriation asked for by the Secretary of War 
for the Indian Department. Those who may be in favor of 
some other candidate than Mr. Calhoun, are supposed to take 
this occasion to manifest their dislike to him, though the 
occasion is ill taken, and if such be the motive, it seems more 
likely to serve than injure him." 

In the Cabinet this discussion was made apparent by the 
enmity between Calhoun and Crawford. John Q. Adams, the 
Secretary of State, who was also a candidate for the Presidency 
in this campaign, stated on July 8, 1822 : 

"The relations in which I now stand with Calhoun are deli- 
cate and difficult. At the last session of Congress he suffered 
a few members of Congress, with a newspaper in Pennsyl- 
vania, to set him up as candidate for the succession to the 
Presidency. From that moment the caballing in Congress, 
in the State Legislatures, in the newspapers, and among the 
people had been multiplied ten fold. My personal intercourse 
with him now is necessarily an intercourse of civility and not 
of confidence." 108 

104 Ibid., 210. 

105 Tyler, L. G. Letters and Times of the Tylers, 341; 1880. 

1 06 Adams, Life of Albert Gallatin, 562. 

107 King, R., Life and Correspondence, VI, 437. 

1 08 Adams, J. Q. Memoirs, VI, 42. 


In April, 1824, Adams again wrote that precedent and popu- 

"was the bent of his (Calhoun's) mind. The primary prin- 
ciples involved in any public question are the last that occur 
to him. What has been done and what will be said are the 
Jachin and Boaz of his argument." 10 ^ 

It was even asserted by Niles that these cabinet members 
worked to promote their own interests 
RELATIONS rather than those of their country. 110 
BETWEEN THE Mr. Von Hoist in his "Life of John C. 

ATTACKS ON Calhoun," writes that "The Presidency 
CALHOUN AND was at the bottom of these acrimonious 
His CANDIDACY bickerings" against the Secretary of 
War. 111 This was undoubtedly true after 
December of 1821, when Calhoun first declared his intention 
to be a candidate for the Presidency, and serves to explain the 
atacks on the military and Indian appropriations in 1822. 112 
However, the speeches of Mr. Williams of North Carolina, 
against Calhoun's reports in 1819 and the early part of 1821, 
must have been prompted by some other motives, for Calhoun's 
future aspirations could hardly have been known at that time. 113 
Newspapers played an important part in the election of 1824. 
Four of the Washington papers supported 
NEWSPAPER three of the candidates. The "National 
PARTISANSHIP Journal" worked for Mr. Adams, the 
"National Intelligencer," and "Washing- 
ton Gazette" favored Crawford. Calhoun"s paper was the 
"Washington Republican," 114 while in the north, the New York 
"Patriot," the "Franklin Gazette" and "Boston Galaxy" were 
trying to make him President. 115 

109 Ibid., 177. 

1 10 Niles' Register, XXIV, 337. 

in Von Hoist, John C. Calhoun, 53. The failure of the Yellowstone Expedi- 
tion, mentioned in III, was used against Calhoun in this election. Turner, F. J. 
Rise of the New West. Am. Nation Series, 126. 

1 12 House of Representatives, Journal, i7th Cong., ist Sess.., 620. 

Adams, J. Q. Memoirs, V, 466-468. 

Annals of Congress, isth Cong., 2nd Sess., Ill, 1155. 

Annals of Congress, i6th Cong., 2nd Sess., Ill, 767. 

113 Annals of Congress, isth Cong., 2nd Sess., Ill, 1155. 
Annals of Congress, i6th C 

Niles' Register, XXII, 9-10. 

1 14 Niles' Register, XXIV, 178. 

115 Adams, J. Q. Memoirs, VI, 244-5. 


In November, 1823, the South Carolina legislature nominated 
Calhoun for President, 116 giving as their 
NOMINATION reasons, 

OF CALHOUN "his devotion to the administration, 

superiority to local views and sectional 
principles, his zeal and energy in the late war with England, 
and his pure and incorruptible integrity." 117 
When it became evident that General Jackson was the choice 
of Pennsylvania, and that that state would determine the elec- 
tion, Calhoun very wisely decided to be a candidate for Vice- 
President. 118 

Early in 1824 a test vote in the Assembly and Senate of New 
York indicated that he had very little sup- 
CALHOUN'S port in those Houses. Adams, Crawford 
STRENGTH AS and Clay, in the order named, received 
CANDIDATE FOR more votes than Calhoun in the Assem- 
PRESIDENCY bly. In the Senate, Adams and Crawford 
were ahead of him. "9 A few days later, 
on March 20, 1824, the citizens of Carbarrus County, North 
Carolina, resolved that they would support Jackson, Calhoun or 
Adams for the Presidency, before they would Crawford. 120 
As candidate for Vice-President, Calhoun proved to have the 
support of practically all of the states and 
UNITED SUPPORT of both the Adams and Jacksonian fol- 
OF BOTH lowers. In New York the friends of 

PARTIES FOR General Jackson met and nominated 
VICE-PRESIDENCY Jackson and Calhoun for President and 
Vice-President. 121 The electors of Ver- 
mont, who supported Mr. Adams, also voted for Calhoun. 122 
Maryland gave Jackson seven votes and Adams, three, for 
President, while Calhoun received ten for Vice-President. 123 

116 Letters of Calhoun, House Doc. V, 115. Am. Hist. Ass., V. II, 216. 

ii7Niles' Register, XXIV, 243. 

nSColton, Private Correspondence of Henry Clay, IV, 87. 

Adams, Life of Albert Gallatin, 601-2. 
npNiles' Register, XXVII, 19. 

120 Ibid. 39. 

121 Ibid. 99. 

122 Ibid. 161. 

123 Niks' Register, XXVI, 39- 


On March 4, 1824, the "Democratic Republicans," at Harris- 
burg, Pennsylvania, nominated Jackson 
FINAL ELECTION and Calhoun. They paid tribute to the 

latter for 

"his democracy, enlightened views of national policy and 
fearless devotion to public good ; 124 his services in the War of 
1812, and the economy and system in the War Department, 
which saved the country much money." 125 

When the final vote was taken by the House of Representa- 
tives, the three states which Calhoun lost, Delaware, Virginia 
and Georgia, were three of the four states which supported 
Crawford. All the states whose representatives voted for either 
Adams or Jackson were in favor of Calhoun. 126 


There are very few sketches of Calhoun's character which 
apply only to the time when he was Secretary of War, perhaps 
because he did not stand out so prominently in public life in 
that period of his career. 

When Calhoun assumed the Secretaryship, he brought his 

family to Washington and bought the 

CALHOUN'S home on the heights of Georgetown to 

PERSONALITY which they gave the name "Oakley." He 

was very well liked socially on account of 

his pleasant, unassuming manners and charming personality. 
His unfathomable blue eyes and firm set features, gave indica- 
tions of deep thought and self-reliance. When people looked 
at him they realized that he had qualities which would make 
him a distinguished character among his fellow men. 127 At this 
time all his virtues were well summarized by one of his later 
political enemies, who said, "Mr. Calhoun deserves all that you 
can say for him. He is a most captivating man." 128 

124 Ibid. 20. 

125 Ibid. 41. Apparently these were not the same men who approached Cal- 
houn about the presidential candidacy. 

126 Miles' Register, XXVII, 382-388. 

127 Hunt, G., John C. Calhoun, 36. 

"Saw in him an indescribable attribute which set him apart from his 
fellow men and proclaimed him to be moulded upon greater lines." 

128 Colton, Henry Clay Correspondence, Dec. 5, 1824. IV, 107. 


The Calhoun family were prominent in the life of Washing- 
ton. Their official dinners were described 
SOCIAL as being the most pleasant of any given 

POSITION IN by members of the cabinet, the reason be- 
WASHINGTON ing that they invited women, and that 
Calhoun was an exceedingly good con- 
versationalist. 129 The attentions and aid which they received at 
the death of one of their daughters indicated the regard which 
people had for them. Young men especially seemed to be 
greatly attracted by Calhoun, and many were influenced by his 
political ideals. 130 

Calhoun was not a man who studied patiently and deeply on 

any problem. After giving it a brief 

MENTAL survey and grasping the essential points 

QUALITIES OF he depended on his intuition and genius 

CALHOUN to arrive at a solution. Often this method 

brought him correct and even brilliant 

conclusions, but sometimes he advocated such radical measures 

that his followers rejected them and lost their confidence in 

him. Once he advised a member of the Cabinet to study less 

and trust more to his genius. 

"He certainly practised his own precepts and became justly 
a distinguished man," wrote William Wirt, "It may do very 
well in politics where a proposition had only to be compared 
with general principles with which the politician is fa- 
miliar" 131 

Another, writing of Calhoun's early career, declared : 

"He wants, I think, consistency and perseverance of mind, 
and seems incapable of long continued and patient investiga- 
tion. What he does not see at the first examination, he sel- 
dom takes pains to search for; but his analysis never fails to 
furnish him with all that may be necessary for his immediate 
purposes. In his legislative career, which, though short, was 
uncommonly luminous, his love of novelty and his apparent 
solicitude to astonish were so great that he has occasionally 
been known to go beyond even the dreams of political vision- 

129 Ticknor, George, Life of, I, 349. 

1 30 Hunt, G., John C. Calhoun, 39. 

131 Am. Hist. Review, II, 571-2, 1905-6. John P. Kennedy, Memoirs of the 
Life of W \ll\am Wirt, 1849; II, 164. 


aries and to propose schemes which were in their nature im- 
practicable or injurious, and which he seemed to offer merely 
for the purpose of displaying the affluence of his mind and 
the fertility of his ingenuity." 132 

A New England man classed Calhoun next to Webster in 

intellectual power and second only to 

CHARACTERISTICS Clay as an orator. When Calhoun finished 

AS A PUBLIC speaking he left the impression of im- 

OFFICIAL mense power. 133 and "every thought that 

he uttered or imagined was marked by his 

grand characteristic, impetuous energy." 134 These three men 
were called at a later time the 

"illustrious triumvirate and the greatest of the second gene- 
ration of statesmen, who, within a brief time of one another, 
fell, shattered by the contentions of Congress." 135 

A personal friend of Calhoun's gave the following character 
sketch of him : 

"He is ardent, persevering, industrious and temperate, 
of great activity and quickness of perception, and rapidity of 
utterance, as a politician, too theorizing, speculative and meta- 
physical, magnificent in his views of the powers and capaci- 
ties of the government, and of the virtue, intelligence and 
wisdom of the people. He is in favor of elevating, cherishing 
and increasing all the institutions of the government, and of 
making a vigorous and energetic administration of it. From 
his rapidity of thought, he is often wrong in his conclusions, 
and his theories are sometimes impracticable. He has always 
claimed to be, and is, of the Democratic party, but of a very 
different class from that of Crawford ; more like Adams, and 
his schemes are sometimes denounced by his party as ultra 
fanatical. His private character is estimable and exemplary, 
and his devotion to his official duties is regular and severe. 136 

132 Am. Hist. Review, II, 570-2, 1905-6. 

Quoted by A. Hodgson, Letters from North America, I, 81. Published in 

133 Gulf State Hist. Mag., I, 284. Documents, A New England Estimate of 

1 34 Hart, S. P. Chase, 10. 

135 Illinois Hist. Society, 1908, p. 56. 
Steven A. Douglas, by Adlai E. Stevenson. 

136 Mass. Hist. Society Proceed., XIX, 37; 1881-1882. 
Letters of Elijah H. Mills. 


Calhoun gave men such ah impression of seriousness, perhaps 

even coldness at times, that he rarely had any intimate friends 

and, as he grew older, withdrew more and more to himself. 137 

All the reports of Calhoun's character were not as favorable 

as those given above, for Gallatin in his 

CRITICISMS OF letters called him a 

CALHOUN "smart fellow, one of the first among 

second rate men, but of lax political 

principles and a disordinate ambition, not over delicate in the 
means of satisfying itself." 138 

Lyon G. Tyler in his book on the Tylers, writing of the Presi- 
dential candidates in 1823, accused Calhoun of gaining political 
glory in the War of 1812, and living on it for the rest of his 
life. 139 

In July, 1824, Calhoun stated his views on the interpretation 
of the Constitution, in a letter to Robert 
CALHOUN'S S. Garnett, declaring that the, 
EXPLANATIONS "one portion of the Constitution which 
OF His OWN I most admire, is the distribution of 

POLITICAL VIEWS power between the States and general 
government This is our invention 
and I consider it to be the greatest improvement which has 
been made in the science of government, after the division of 
power into the legislative, executive and judicial. It is only 
by this admirable distribution that a great extent of territory 
with a proportional population and power, can be reconciled 
with freedom, and consequently, that safety and respectability 
be given to free States. As much then as I value freedom, in 
the same degree do I value State rights." Speaking of the 
interpretation of the Constitution on this point, he said : "I 
can give but one solution to this interesting question, and 
that is, it ought to be drawn in the spirit of the instrument 
itself. Believing that no general and artificial rule can be 
devised that will not act mischeviously in its application, I am 
forced to the result that any doubtful portion of the Consti- 
tution must be construed by itself in reference to the true 
meaning and intent of the framers of the instrument, and 
consequently that the constitution must, in each part, be more 

137 Mass. Hist. Society Proceed., XVIII, 459, and Series. 
Schouler's Characterization of Calhoun. 

138 Adams, Henry, Life of Albert Gallatin, 599. 

139 Tyler, Letters and Times of the Tylers, I, 341. 


or less rigid, as may be necessary to effect the intention, 
and I think it may be said with confidence that I have never 
uttered a sentence in any speech, report, or word in conver- 
sation that could give offence to the most ardent defender of 
States rights. I have never done any act which, if con- 
demned in me, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Madison and Mr. Monroe 
must not be equally condemned. I have nowhere in my 
public capacity asserted the right of applying money (for 
internal improvements) so appropriated without the consent 
of the States, or individuals affected." 140 

Calhoun expressed his views concerning the slavery ques- 
tion, and the Missouri Compromise in the 
ATTITUDE following letter to Mr. Tait of South 
ON SLAVERY Carolina, written on October 26, 1820, 
just after Calhoun had returned from a 
trip to the north : 141 

"Judging from such facts as come to my knowledge, I cannot 
but think that the impression, which exists in the minds of 
many of your virtuous and well-informed citizens to the 
South, and among others who are your own, that 
there has commenced between the North and the South a 
premeditated struggle for superiority, is not correct. That 
there are some individuals to the North, who for private ob- 
jects, wish to create such a struggle, I do not doubt. It 
suits their ambition, and gives them hopes of success, as the 
majority of votes both in Congress and the electoral college 
is from the north ; or rather from non-slave-holding states. 
But their number is small and the few there are, are to be 
found almost wholly in New York, and the middle states. I 
by no means identify the advocates for restriction and Mis- 
souri with them. The advocates of restriction are acuated by 
a variety of motives. The great body of them are actuated 
by motives perfectly honest. Very few look to emancipation. 
I state the case, as I am well assured that it exists. We to 
the South ought not to assent easily to the belief, that there 
is a conspiracy either against our property, or just weight in 
the Union. A belief of the former might and probably would 
lead more directly to disunion, with all of its horrors. That 
of the latter would co-operate, as it appears to me, directly 

140 Letters of Calhoun, House Documents, V 115 Am. Hist. Ass., V. II, 219-23; 

141 Gulf States Historical Magazine, I, 99- Letters of Calhoun to Tait. 


with the scheme of the few designing men to the North who 
think they see their interest in exciting a struggle between 
the two portions of our country. If we, from such a belief, 
systematically oppose the North, they must from necessity, 
resort to a similar opposition to us. Our true system is to 
look to the country and to support such measures and such 
men, without a regard to sections, as are best calculated to 
advance the general interest. I firmly believe that, those in- 
dividuals and sections of country, who have the most enlight- 
ened and devoted zeal to the common interest, have also the 
greatest influence. 

"I have sometimes feared that the Missouri question will 
create suspicions to the South very unfavorable to a correct 
policy. Should emancipation be attempted, it must and will 
be resisted at all costs, but let us first be certain that it is the 
real object, not by a few but by a large portion of the non- 
slave-holding states." 

Social justification was Calhoun's argument in defense of 
slavery. In conversation with J. Q. Adams, during March of 
1820, he said : 

"Domestic labor was confined to the blacks, and such was 
the prejudice, that if he (Calhoun) who was the most popu- 
lar man in his district, were to keep a white servant in his 
house, his character and reputation would be irretrievably 
ruined. I (Adams) said that this confounding of the ideas 
of servitude and labor was one of the bad effects of slavery ; 
but he thought it attended with many excellent conse- 
quences. It did not apply to all kinds of labor not, for 
example, to farming. He himself has followed the plow ; so 
had his father. Manufacturing and mechanical labor was 
not degrading. It was only manual labor the proper work 
for slaves; no white person could descend to that. And it 
was the best kind of guarantee to equality among the whites. 
It produced an unvarying level among them. It not only did 
not excite, but did not even admit of inequalities, by which 
one man could domineer over another." 142 

142 Adams, J. Q., V, 10. 




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(By the Canadian settlers of the Willamette Valley to the 
American settlers on proposed political organization.) 


We, the Canadian citizens, inhabitants of (this word looks 
like Wallamet which would be about the way a Frenchman 
would write "Willamette") considering with interest and re- 
flection the subject which has brought the people to this as- 
sembly, do present to the citizens of American extraction, and 
particularly to the gentlemen who have solicited the said 
assembly, the unanimous expression of our cordial sentiments, 
of our desire for union and for perpetual and unalterable peace 
among us all, and considering our duty and interest of the new 
colony, we declare : 

1st. That we desire laws or regulations for the well being 
of ourselves, and for the security of our property and our 

2nd. That we will not rebel against the measures of that 
nature passed last year by a part of the people; although we 
do not approve certain regulations nor certain kinds of laws. 
Let those (last year's P. J. F.) magistrates finish their year. 
(This last clause seems to have been inserted as an after- 
thought P. J. F.) 

3rd. That we will not make new demands upon the Ameri- 
can government because it is not decided that this land belongs 
to it and because we have our reasons, until the time for fixing 
the boundary of the States (U. S.) be decided upon. 

4th. That we object to too anticipatory regulations which 
may lead to lawsuits over boundary stones, supposed directions, 
and the registry of lands, in view of the fact that we have no 
guarantees from the government to be established, and that 
perhaps even tomorrow all those measures may be abrogated. 

5th. That we do not desire a kind of temporary government 
which may be too individual and too encumbent with officers 
useless to us in our poverty, and who would be a burden to the 
colony rather than an advantage to it. Moreover, lawyers and 


literary men are too rare and have too much to do in a country 
so new. 

6th. That we want rather the system of senate, or Council, 
to decide quarrels, punish crimes, except capital punishment, 
and to make suitable regulations for the people. 

7th. That the Council might be elected and composed of 
members from all parts of the country, after the manner of 
civilized countries, to act in a body, or to be represented par- 
ticularly by the president, for example, and by a justice of the 
peace for each part of the country, except the right of appeal 
to the entire body of the Senate. 

8th. That those members be asked to devote their attention 
to their own and the public's welfare, through the love of right 
rather than through hope of gain, so as to remove from the 
mind of the people all suspicion of personal interest on the part 
of their representatives and honorable legislators. 

9th. That every law burdensome and oppressive to the peo- 
ple especially to the newcomers must be avoided. Such are 
imposts, useless taxes, all kinds of registration. (This prob- 
ably means things that had to be registered to make them legal, 
and possibly requiring a stamp of the government, P. J. F.) 
We will have none of them. 

10th. That the militia is useless at this time and rather a 
source of danger because the tribes of savages may take 
umbrage at them ; they are also the cause of delay in the neces- 
sary (public P. J. F.) works and at the same time they are a 
financial burden. We will have none of them either, for the 

1 1th. That we consider this country as free, today and until 
it has been decided by the two governments; free for every- 
body to establish themselves in it without any distinction of 
origin, and without any right to fine them so that they may be- 
come pretended citizens of English, Spanish or American al- 

12th. That, thus, we intend to be free, we, the subjects of 
England, as well as those of France, of Ireland, of California, or 
of the United States, or even the native Indians ; and we desire 


a union with all respectable citizens who wish to establish them- 
selves in this country, where we ask to be free to make any 
regulation suitable to our needs, with the general provision 
that we have some manner of redress for any grievance done 
us by foreigners and that our customs and our reasonable rights 
be respected. 

13th. That we are ready to submit to a legitimate and rec- 
ognized government, if such come. 

14th. That nobody is more desirous than we of prosperity 
of welfare, and of general peace and especially of the guar- 
antee of our liberty and of our rights. That is our hope for 
all who are now becoming and who will hereafter become our 
fellow citizens, and for long years of peace! (Here is added 
the Old French: li suivent les nos meaning "may we attain 
unto it") 

15th. That it be not forgotten that laws are needed only for 
necessary cases. The more laws there are, the more oppor- 
tunity for knavery on the part of lawyers and the greater will 
be the trouble perhaps, some day. 

16th. That, besides the members called to the legislative 
hall to discuss and pass regulations for the needs of the colony, 
every honest person shall have the right to take part in the dis- 
cussions and to give his opinion, since the welfare of all is at 

17th. That it be remembered, during a lawsuit, that import- 
ance should be given to ordinary proofs of fact rather than to 
subtle points of law, so that justice may be attained and that 
trickery be not practiced. 

18th. That in a new country, the greater the number of men 
employed and paid by the public, the fewer the men left for 




Nous les citoyens canadiens, habitans du Wallamet, consid- 
erant avec interet et reflexion le suyet qui reunit le peuple a la 
presente assemblee presentons aux citoyens d'origine americaine 
et particulierement aux messieurs qui ont sollicite la dite as- 
semblee 1' unanime expression de nos sentimens de cor- 
dialite, de desir d' union et de paix perpetuelle et inalterable 
entre tant de monde en vue de notre devoir et de 1' interet de la 
nouvelle colonie et declarons : 

1 Que nous souhaitons des lois ou reglemens pour le bien- 
etre de nos personnes et la securite de nos biens et de nos 

2 Que nous ne voulons point nous rebeller contre les 
mesures de ce genre passees 1' annee derniere par une partie du 
peuple ; quoi que nous n' approuvions point certains reglemens 
ni certains modes de loi. Que ces magistrats achevent 1' annee. 

3 Que nous ne voulons point adresser de nouvelle demande 
au gouvernement americain par ce qu' il n' est pas decide que 
ce terrain lui appartienne, et par ce que nous avons nos raisons, 
en attendant que la ligne soit decidee pour fixer les frontieres 
des Etats. 

4 Que nous nous opposons aux reglemens trop anticipes et 
exposant a des suites pour les bornes, les directions supposees 
et les enregestremens des terres, vu que nous n'avons pas de 
garanties vis avis du gouvernement a venir, et que peut-etre des 
demain toutes ces mesures seront brisees. 

5 Que nous ne voulons pas d' un mode de gouvernement 
temporaire trop individuel et trop rempli de grades inutiles a 
notre pauverete et surchargeants plutot la colonie qu' il ne 1* 
avancerait. D' ailleurs les hommes de loi et de lettres sont trop 
rares et ont trop a faire dans un pays si nouveau. 

6 Que nous desirons plutot le mode de senat ou conseil pour 
juger les differens, punir les crimes (excepte la peine de mort), 
et faire les reglemens convenables au peuple. 

7 Que ce conseil pourrait etre elu et compose de membres 
de toutes les parties du pays, sur le plan des pays civilises, pour 


agir en corps, ou se faire representer en particulier par le presi- 
dent, par exemple, et par un juge de paix, sauf le droit de rappel 
au corps du senat entier. 

8 Que ces membres soient pries de s' interesser a leur bien- 
etre et a celui du public par amour du bien plutot que par espoir 
de recompense afin d' oter de T estime du peuple tout soupc.on 
d' interet dans les personnes de leurs representans et respect- 
ables legislateurs. 

9 Qu' il faut eviter toute loi surchargeante et penible au 
peuple, surtout aux nouveaux arrivans; les impots, les taxes 
inutiles, les enregistremens quelconques sont de ce generenous 
n' en voulons point. 

10 Que la milice est inutile a present et plutot un danger 
d* ombrage pour les nations Sauvages, et un retardement aux 
travaux necessaires, en meme terns que c' est une charge nous 
n' en voulons point non plus a present. 

11 Que nous regardons le pays comme libre aujour d' hui 
jusqu* a ce qu'il aitete decide entre les gouvernemens, libre a 
tout individu de s' y etablir sans distinction d' origine et sans 
droit a lui faire payer pour qu' il devienne citoyen soit de pre- 
tention Anglaise, espagnole ou Americaine. 

12 Qu' ainsi nous pretendons etre libre, nous sujets anglais 
aussi bien que ceux de France, d' Irlande, de Californie ou des 
Etats-Unis, ou du pays meme; et nous desirons 1' union avec 
tous les citoyens respectables qui veulent s' etablir dans le pays 
ou-nous demandons de nous reconnoitre libre entre nous de 
faire tel ou tel reglement convenable a nos besoins, sauf la 
reserve generale d' avoir moyen de justice de tout etranger qui 
nous offenseroit et que nos coutumes et nos pretensions rai- 
sonnables soient respectees. 

13 Que nous sommes prets a nous soumettre a un gouverne- 
ment legitime et connu, s' il vient. 

14 Que personne n' est plus desireux que nous le sommes 
de la prosperite, de 1' amelioration et de la paix generale et 
surtout de la garantie de nos libertes et de nos droits. Cest le 
voeu que nous faisons pour tous ceux qui deviennent ou qui 
deviendront nos compatriotes et pour de longues annees de 


w ? 

li suivent les nos. 

15 Qu' on n' oublie pas qu' il ne faut de lois que pour les 
cas necessaires. Plus il y a de lois, plus il y a d' occasion de 
fourberie pour ceux qui en font profession, et plus il y aura 
peut-etre de derangement un jour. 

16 Qu' outre les membres appeles a la chambre d' assemblee 
pour discuter et regler les besoins de la colonie, toute personne 
honnete ait droit de prendre fait et cause dans ces conferences 
et de donner son avis, puis qu'il s' agit des affaires de tous. 

17 Q' on n' oublie pas, dans un proces, qu' avant toute sub- 
tilite sur 1' accomplissement des points de la loi les preuves or- 
dinaires de certitude du fait sont a faire valoir, afin de rendre 
justice et non pas d' exercer a la ruse. 

18 Dans un pays nouveau, plus il y a d' homines employes 
et payes par le public, moms il en reste pour 1' Industrie. 

S. SMITH, Prest. 




S. M. HOLDERNESS f ^ ectretans I - ) 


of the 

Oregon Historical Society 


Copyright, 1912, by Oregon Historical Society 
The Quarterly disavows responsibility for the positions taken by contributors to its pages 


By Clarence B. Bagley 

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen : 

In these days of wireless and other telegraphs, telephones, 
railroads and steamships, automobiles and flying machines, 
those who have no personal recollections of pioneer life cannot 
realize the privations and dangers, intensified by difficult and 
often total lack of means of travel and communication, among 
the people of Oregon in its early years. It is with the thought 
that a brief recitation of a few incidents connected with the 
exchange of information between near and remote points in 
those days would be of interest that this paper is prepared. 

The aborigines of the Northwest coast had absolutely no 
methods of recording events, and no method of communicating 
intelligence with each other beyond the limits of their voices. 

The nomadic or plains Indians on both sides of the Rocky 
Mountains were skilled in the use of fires, smoke, blankets and 
gestures to convey to each other information pertaining to their 
daily affairs, and in the high, clear altitudes have been known 
to communicate with each other a distance of 60 miles. 

Catlin records a rude system of pictographs, marked or 
burned on prepared skins of animals or bark of trees, whereby 
many notable feats of Indian chieftains in the matter of horse- 
stealing, scalp-lifting, or just plain killing, were preserved after 
a fashion. 

*Read before the annual meeting of the members of the Oregon Historical 
Society, held at Portland, December 21, i^J2. 


A search through the works of Cox, Ross, Gibbs, Dall, Kane 

and 20 or 30 other early writers about Indians and their daily 
life does not show that the natives within the present confines 
of Oregon and Washington used signals to convey informa- 
tion to a distance, but they undoubtedly must have done so. In 
a monograph prepared by Colonel Granville O. Haller regard- 
ing his campaign into the Yakima country during October, 
1855, he remarks: "The Indians evidently possessed some 
system of telegraphy or signals. At times groups of Indians 
were observed so near as to be within the range of the howitzer 
in places where they unconsciously exposed themselves to 
danger without being able to see into camp; yet the moment 
the howitzer was moved toward such parties they instantly 
dispersed, no doubt warned by their friends, through signals." 
Personally, I do not accept this as conclusive, for on Puget 
Sound I have been present when Indians were calling to each 
other intelligibly at a distance of more than 1000 yards, and it 
may have been that some equally strong lunged savage was 
directing his comrades orally during the engagement. 

From the time the Astor expedition failed, for 10 years few 
white men penetrated the lower Columbia. About 1824, the 
Hudson's Bay Company established Fort Vancouver and it at 
once became the center of the vast operations of that company 
on the Pacific. For a quarter century all communication of 
intelligence from Sitka on the north to Yerba Buena and 
Mazatlan on the south, from Fort Hall, and even on to the 
Great Lakes and to the St. Lawrence, and westward to the 
Sandwich Islands was conducted by that company. It had 
ships to and from London, schooners to Honolulu, steamers 
from Nisqually to Victoria, Langley and Sitka. Expresses 
were sent in every direction as the needs of the service re- 
quired. By canoe down the Columbia and up the Cowlitz to a 
landing near the Cowlitz Farms, and thence to Nisqually by 
land. The trip usually required six days. From Nisqually, 
by canoe, to Victoria and Langley, though sometimes the Cad- 
boro served, and after 1836 the steamer Beaver and later the 
Otter, in place of canoes. 


There were three ships in the trade between England and 
Vancouver the Vancouver, Columbia and Cowlitz. Outward 
bound, they were loaded with machinery, tools, goods and 
articles of trade not produced on the Pacific Coast. After 
unloading, they went north to Sitka, or to the Sandwich 
Islands, in either case carrying lumber and flour and bartered 
as they went. The round trip took three years, including the 
return to England carrying the furs and skins collected all over 
the Pacific slope and making up the cargo with wool, hides, 
horns and tallow. Of more interest than all else were the let- 
ters from home, newspapers and books and friends and visitors 
who came to stay for a time or permanently. Practically all 
the news from home came that way during the early years 
after 1824. 

In 1838, about three years after the establishment of the 
Methodist Missions in Oregon, it had become apparent that, 
so far as the work among the Indians was concerned, it had 
been and must be a failure. To Jason Lee and others, the 
establishment of civilization with religion and good govern- 
ment as the foundation of the edifice became the paramount 
issue. It was agreed that Lee should become the messenger 
to personally represent to the Church Board, to the authorities 
at Washington and the public generally the needs and value of 
the country ; to secure men and means for extended church 
work and to enlist the attention of those who might wish to 
migrate to it. He carried with him a petition or memorial 
signed by three- fourths of the white male population of Ore- 
gon. It gave an accurate description of the country, its fer- 
tility, climate and general adaptability for the home of thous- 
ands of settlers. The document was a literary gem, full of 
patriotic sentiment more the work of a statesman than a 
preacher. Late in March, 1838, a party consisting of P. L. 
Edwards, of the Mission, a Mr. Ewing returning to his home 
in Missouri, and two Indian boys named William Brooks and 
Thomas Adams, headed by Jason Lee, began the long and 
hazardous journey eastward. Going up the Columbia River to 
The Dalles and Fort Walla Walla and to Whitman Mission, 


inland about 25 miles, they remained there until April 12. Then 
eastward by way of Forts Boise and Hall, they left the latter 
post June 21. After the usual dangers and trials of the over- 
land route in those days they reached the Shawnee mission 
near Westport on the first of September, five months on the 
way. Here Mr. Lee was overtaken by a messenger who had 
been dispatched for the purpose by Dr. McLoughlin, carrying 
the sad news that Mrs. Lee and their infant son had died a 
little more than two months before. Could any deed more 
fully portray the nobility of character and kindliness of heart 
than this of John McLoughlin, by sending a courier 2000 miles 
to apprise a friend of his great bereavement ? 

May 6, 1842, an emigrant train, composed of 112 persons, 
left Independence, Mo., for Oregon. I have always felt that 
more prominence should have been given to this expedition, as 
it was the first of its kind, but the notable ride of Dr. Whitman 
and the voluminous and interminable discussion of matters con- 
nected with his errand and the migration to Oregon in 1843 
have completely eclipsed the earlier expedition in the minds of 
the reading public. 

Three men who became in later years notably prominent in 
Oregon affairs were a part of this train Dr. E. White, Medor- 
em Crawford and A. L. Love joy. The wagons were left at 
Fort Hall. 

February 23, 1842, the prudential committee of the mission 
board that had control of the Whitman-Spalding-Eells mission 
passed resolutions discontinuing three of the four stations, re- 
calling Spalding and Gray to the states and ordering Whitman 
to dispose of the mission property at the station thus abolished 
and directing Whitman to join Walker and Eells at Tshimakain. 

News of this destructive order was brought to Whitman by 
Dr. E. White, reaching him about September 10. At once he 
dispatched messengers to his colleagues and they assembled at 
Wai-il-at-pu September 26-28. After the objections of Eells 
and Walker were overcome, H was decided that Whitman 
should go East by the overland route. October 5 was the time 
set and the other members of the mission returned to their 


stations to prepare long- letters to send by him. However, he 
started two days earlier, or on October 3, 1842. A. L. Lovejoy 
accompanied him. Usually they would have had little difficulty 
in getting across the Rocky Mountains before winter set in. 
They reached Fort Hall in the short space of 11 days. Par- 
enthetically, I may say that in 1852 it took our Oregon train, 
using horses, from July 12 to August 20 to drive from Fort 
Hall to Umatilla so they certainly made good time on this 
part of the trip. Instead of going by the direct route through 
the South Pass, they turned south through Salt Lake and Taos, 
towards Santa Fe. They encountered storms, snow, ice and 
partly frozen rivers. Their guide lost his direction and only 
the most heroic efforts and a succession of seeming miracles 
preserved them from destruction. From Taos they started for 
Bent's Fort, on the head waters of the Arkansas River. Near 
that fort they overtook a party en route for St. Louis. Mr. 
Lovejoy remained at the fort until Spring, but Dr. Whitman 
pressed on and reached Westport, now a part of Kansas City, 
February 15, 1843, about 19 weeks on the way. From there to 
St. Louis he went on horseback and thence by stage eastward, 
as the winter was unusually severe and the frozen rivers did 
not break up until April to permit steamboat navigation. He is 
recorded as being in New York City March 29 and in Boston 
from March 30 to April 8. His movements between February 
15 and March 29 are not recorded, but a winter trip by land 
from the Missouri River to the Atlantic seaboard would prob- 
ably have consumed most of that time. This was almost six 
months after leaving home. 

The Provisional Government, June 28, 1845, adopted a reso- 
lution of about 1000 words, addressed to the United States 
Congress, which was not printed in the Grover archives. I 
am sure it would interest all those present, if there were time, 
to -hear it read, and as it was signed by those who, in later 
years, played an important part in Oregon affairs, I venture to 
give their names : Peter G. Stewart, W. J. Bailey, and Osborn 
Russell, executives; J. W. Nesmith, Judge of Circuit Court; 
M. M. McCarver, speaker ; Jesse Applegate, Medare G. Foisy, 


W. H. Gray, J. M. Garrison, Abijah Hendricks, David Hill, 
H. A. G. Lee, Barton Lee, John McClure, Robert Newell, J. W. 
Smith, Hiram Straight, members of the Legislative Council. 
Ability on the part of its author and moderation in its prepara- 
tion are apparent in every paragraph. It recites the condition of 
the people, "the fact that the temporary government being lim- 
ited in its efficiency and crippled in its powers by the paramount 
duty we owe to our respective governments, our revenues being 
inadequate to its support and almost total absence apart from 
the Hudson's Bay Company of the means of defense against 
Indians. . . . The citizens of the United States are scat- 
tered for a wide extent of the territory without a single place 
of refuge. We have neither ships of war, nor of commerce, 
nor any navigation of the rivers of the interior." 

It asked for a distinct territorial government, for means of 
protection against Indians, for Indian agents, and the acquire- 
ment of the lands from the Indians ; for donations of lands to 
settlers then in Oregon and to come; for navy yards and 
marine depots on the Columbia River and Puget Sound (this 
was before an American settler had reached Puget Sound) ; 
for proper commercial regulations ; for adequate military pro- 
tection to emigrants or by military escort ; for "a public mail to 
be established to arrive and depart monthly from Oregon City 
and Independence, Mo., and that such other local mail routes 
be established, as are essential to the Willamette country and 
other settlements." 

December 23, 1845, it passed "an act to create and establish 
a Postoffice Department, under which William G. T'Vault 
became Postmaster-General. February 5, 1846, he advertised 
in the Spectator for the carrying of mails on the following 
routes: (1) From Oregon City to Fort Vancouver, once in 
two weeks by water. (2) From Oregon City to Hill's in 
Twality County; thence to A. J. Hembree's, in Yamhill 
County; thence to N. Ford's, Polk County; thence to Oregon 
Institute, Champoeg County; thence to Catholic Mission and 
Champoeg to Oregon City, once in two weeks on horseback. 


The Whitman massacre occured November 29-30, 1847. An 
express was at once sent to Fort Vancouver, arriving there 
December 6. Mr. Douglas' letter was read in the Legislature 
the afternoon of the 8th, and preparations for war with the 
Indians were begun at once. On the 15th resolutions were 
passed providing for sending a special messenger overland to 
Washington. Joseph L. Meek was chosen for the Eastern trip, 
and $500 was appropriated to pay his expenses, but as it was 
given him in the form of a draft from the Methodist mission 
upon the mission authorities in New York City, he had to de- 
pend upon his own resources in making the trip. He was a 
member of the Legislative Council, but resigned December 16 
and began his preparations for a trip that only a mountain man 
would have dared to attempt or hoped to accomplish. January 
4, 1848, with credentials from the Oregon Legislature and 
dispatches to the President and Congress, and two traveling 
companions, John Owens and George W. Ebberts, he set out on 
the expedition so full of peril by reason of the inclement season 
and the hostile spirit of the Indians. 

At The Dalles they overtook the Oregon riflemen. Chafing 
under the necessity of having to wait the slow movements of 
the little army, it was almost the first of April before the party 
began the ascent of the Blue Mountains. In the meantime 
Meek had assisted at the interment of his old friends, Dr. Whit- 
man and wife, and his own little daughter, who was being 
educated at the mission and who died of exposure in the days 
following the massacre. 

The well-known emigrant route was followed most of the 
way. The snows were deep and at times the cold intense. At 
Fort Boise, at the mouth of the Boise River, near its con- 
fluence with the Snake River, and at Fort Hall, on the Snake, 
about 15 miles above where the Portneuf joins the larger 
stream, they were entertained with generous hospitality and 
supplied with everything they wished to add to their outfit. 
After leaving Fort Hall on the way over the divide to Bear 
River, the soft drifts of new fallen snow compelled them to 
abandon their horses and proceed on snowshoes, which they 


constructed from willow twigs. Provisions became scarce ; one 
night they supped on two polecats they were fortunate enough 
to encounter. Near the headwaters of Bear River they met 
another historic character, Peg-leg Smith, who supplied their 
pressing needs and sent them on their way with all the pro- 
visions they could carry. From Bear River they went over to 
Green River, and from there to Fort Bridger. Here they found 
Bridger, who fed them well and supplied them with good 
mules. In the South Pass the snows were very deep, and two 
of their mules were lost in it, so they had to ride and walk by 
turns. Game was scarce, and by the time the party reached 
Fort Laramie they were nearly starved, as well as almost 

From that point to St. Joseph, Mo., the difficulties from cold 
and snow and lack of food were not so great, but they were in 
constant danger from Indians, and but for Meek's previous ex- 
perience in caring for his scalp it is doubtful if they would have 
got through safely. From St. Joe to St. Louis they went by 
steamer. Here Meek got in communication with the President 
by telegraph, and thence to Washington by steamer and stage 
the remainder of the trip was made in comparative ease. The 
trip from the westerly slope of the Blue Mountains to the Mis- 
souri River was made in a little more than a month over two 
mountain ranges during inclement weather. It was one of the 
notable achievements in that period of heroic efforts and ac- 

After Meek's departure, the Oregon Legislature also re- 
solved to send a messenger overland to California to notify 
Governor Mason of the massacre and through him the com- 
mander of the United States squadron, asking for arms and 
ammunition for arming the settlers and a war vessel to be 
stationed in the Columbia River. Jesse Applegate, at the head 
of a party of 16 experienced men, set out on that errand about 
the first of February, but encountered such depth of snow they 
were compelled to return. The letters they carried were deliv- 
ered to the brig Henry, March 11, and in due time reached their 
destination, but not in time to do any good. In fact, I do not find 


that the commander of the squadron made any effort to extend 
aid to the colonists in their distress. 

The Oregon and American Evangelical Unionist, the third 
newspaper published in Oregon, was published at Tualatin 
Plains, the first number appearing June 7, 1848. Under the 
heading "Mails," it said, "Probably the greatest embarrassment 
to the successful operation of the presses in Oregon is the want 
of mails." It had made arrangement with Mr. Knox to carry 
the paper on the east side of the Willamette and with Mr. 
Stoughton on the west side from Oregon City through Tuala- 
tin, Yamhill and into the upper part of the valley, once in two 
weeks. Mr. Knox started out with 16 subscribers. It had also 
made arrangements to receive mails regularly from Portland 
once each week and oftener by express whenever foreign in- 
telligence appeared in the river. 

"June 31st The Hudson's Bay Company's bark Cowlitz 
from the Sandwich Islands crossed the Columbia bar the 14th 
and arrived at Vancouver the 20th, and at once began loading 
wheat for Sitka. She brought news of the death in Washing- 
ton February 23d of the venerable John Ouincy Adams," just 
five months before. 

July 5, the arrival of the Evelyn with Sandwich Island notes 
to June 3 is noted at length. It copied from the Polynesian of 
Honolulu, and the Sandwich Island paper had in turn copied 
from London papers as late as February 26. These papers 
came by way of Mazatlan on the west coast of Mexico. No 
regular communication existed between Mazatlan and Aca- 
pulco in Mexico and San Francisco, or the Columbia River, 
but a line of schooners plied between the west coast of Mexico 
and the Sandwich Islands while the Hudson's Bay Company 
had frequent communication between these islands and Van- 
couver. Newspapers and letters were carried by water to 
Eastern ports on the Gulf of Mexico, thence overland to the 
west coast and in this way information regarding occurrences 
in the Atlantic States four months previous and in Europe still 
a month earlier was brought to Oregon and published as news. 


The ratification of the tre'aty with Mexico at Washington on 
the 15th of March was discussed by the newspaper at length 
and with much animadversion as being in the interests of the 
slave holding oligarchy of the South. 

August 16th, by the Louise regular files of California papers 
to May 29th received, announcing the discovery of gold "some 
way above Sutter's fort, about 130 miles from San Francisco." 
June 17, the Mary had arrived direct from Boston. All this 
news was from the Polynesian of June 24, via Sandwich 

The treaty between Great Britain and the United States was 
concluded at Washington June 15, 1846, that fixed the inter- 
national boundary at latitude 49 degrees and settled the "Ore- 
gon Question." No item of news of that period possessed a 
small part of the interest to the white people of Oregon, 
whether American or foreign born, still it was more than four 
months before it reached them. In a letter I have from Peter 
Skene Ogden and James Douglas to Dr. William Fraser Tolmie 
at Nisqually, under date of November 4, 1846, Vancouver, is 
the following paragraph : "The barque Toulon arrived lately 
in the river with very important intelligence from the Sand- 
wich Islands. It appears that the Oregon boundary is finally 
settled, on a basis more favorable to the United States than we 
had reason to anticipate . . . Business will, of course, go 
on as usual, as the treaty will not take effect on us for many 
years to come." 

In early years the Hudson's Bay Company established a 
house at Honolulu, shipped thence lumber, timber, salmon, 
grain, flour and such other articles as were in demand in the 
Sandwich Islands, and in turn brought back such products of 
the Islands as were serviceable at Vancouver. 

As early as 1845, the authorities at Washington began mak- 
ing spasmodic efforts for mail service from the Atlantic States 
to Oregon, via Havana, Aspinwall, across the Isthmus to Pan- 
ama, thence up the Coast to the Columbia River, and 
thence to the Sandwich Islands, but little came of it until the 
discovery of gold in California. Early in 1847, Cornelius 


Gilliam, of Oregon, was appointed postal agent for the Oregon 
Country. He was clothed with plenary powers to appoint post- 
masters and manage the postal affairs of the then Pacific 
Northwest. John M. Shively* was appointed postmaster at 
Astoria, and William G. T'Vault at Oregon City. During the 
so-called Cayuse War that followed the Whitman massacre, 
Colonel Gilliam commanded the Oregon forces, and in March, 
1848, was accidentally shot and killed at Well Springs, Uma- 
tilla. In the archives of this society are several very interest- 
ing official communications from the postal authorities at 
Washington to Mr. Gilliam. One of them did not reach Ore- 
gon until several months after his death. After the close of 
the Mexican war and the cession of California to the United 
States, a postal agent to reside at San Francisco was appointed 
by the United States mail authorities and clothed with the same 
power that had formerly been conferred upon Colonel Gilliam. 
He appointed postmasters at Portland, Oregon City, Salem and 
Corvallis, but not until June, 1850, did a mail steamer come up 
the Coast, but even then the visits of steamers were few and 
far between until in 1851. The steamer Columbia arrived from 
New York with mails and passengers in March of that year. 
Her schedule between San Francisco and Portland was once 
each month. 

The carrying of mails in the early days was a matter of 
great expense and exceeding difficulties and by land was at- 
tended with danger from storms, floods, wild animals and 

On the same steamers that brought the first mails were ex- 
press messengers. The Adams Company opened an office in 
Portland in 1852, but gave up the field to Wells, Fargo & 
Company in 1853. Until the formation of an express company 
by the managers of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company 
soon after the completion of that road in 1883, Wells, Fargo 
& Company had a practical monopoly of the express business 
of the Pacific Coast. If "safety and celerity" were desired it 

*Mr. Shively, the first postmaster west of the. Rocky Mountains, wae appointed 
by Jacob Collgmer, Postmaster-General, 


was the rule among business men to transmit their letters under 
the care of this company. The company bought government 
stamped envelopes and put its own stamps on them and charged 
more than one hundred per cent profit for the service, the 
government mail service at the same time escaping the charge 
for carrying an immense amount of mail matter that it col- 
lected full postage upon. 

Individuals engaged in carrying letters and light packages 
overland from Oregon to California in the early '50s and as a 
reward for their arduous and dangerous task received 50 cents 
an ounce for the contents of their pouches. 

In January, 1852, the Oregon Legislature passed a resolution 
asking the delegate to secure the location of a postoffice in 
each county seat and that a mail route be established to each 
one of them ; also that he "request" the Pacific Mail Steamship 
Company to comply with the terms of its contract, obligating 
it to leave mail at Umpqua City on the upward and downward 
trips of its steamships between San Francisco and the Colum- 
bia River. For 40 years that company observed no law, regu- 
lation or contract that was not to its liking. 

In January, 1853, the Honorable Matthew P. Deady, mem- 
ber from Yamhill, introduced a resolution that "the regular 
transportation of the mails from all parts of the territory and 
the states is a matter of vital importance to the whole people, 
and six weeks having elapsed since the meeting of the Legis- 
lature during which time but one mail has arrived at the 
capital, our delegate be requested to obtain such instructions 
from the Postmaster-General as would compel the Postal Agent 
in the territory to see that the mails are faithfully and 
punctually conveyed." To this Stephen Waymire added an 
amendment, "or that the present Postal Agent be removed." 
On this there was only one negative vote. My father lived in 
and near Salem from 1852 to 1860, and I retain vivid recollec- 
tions of many similar long delays. One winter the Columbia 
River was frozen for many weeks, so that the wooden steamers 
of that period could not break their way through and we were 
without news from the states for three long months. I am of 
the opinion it was this winter of 1852-3. 


Construction of the railroad across the Isthmus of Panama 
was begun in 1850, and on January 30, 1855, the first train 
was run from Aspinwall to the City of Panama. From that 
time the mails to and from the Pacific Coast were carried on 
steamers plying regularly between New York and Aspinwall 
on the Atlantic side, taking seven to nine days for the run, and 
on the Pacific side between Panama and San Francisco, con- 
suming from 12 to 15 days. Steamers usually went into Aca- 
pulco on the Mexican coast for fresh water and sometimes re- 
plenished their supply of coal. The trip across the railroad 
was but a matter of a few hours' run. 

An advertisement appearing in the Columbian at Olympia, 
September, 1852, attracted my attention. It tells of the sail- 
ings in April of that year of the United States mail ship 
Georgia, commanded by David D. Porter, U. S. Navy (Ad- 
miral David D. Porter, of Civil War fame), to leave New 
York via Havana to Aspinwall. It said : "The Panama Rail- 
road is now in operation and the cars running to within a few 
miles of Gorgona. Passengers will thus be enabled to save 
about 35 miles of the river navigation, and also the expense 
and danger heretofore attending the landing of boats off 
Chagres. The following will be the rates of fare to San Fran- 
cisco: First cabin, $315; second cabin, $270; steerage, $200." 

In 1855 the construction of a telegraph line from Portland 
to San Francisco was begun. The line was actually completed 
as far as Corvallis, and a few messages transmitted, at least as 
far as Salem. It went through Oregon City and to Salem on 
the east side, and at the latter place crossed over to the west 
side, and thence to Corvallis. The wire was light iron and the 
insulators the necks of common 'junk' bottles placed around 
straight iron pins or nails in the tops of poles. The gathering 
of bottles and sale to W. K. Smith, who then had a drugstore 
in Salem, was a flourishing industry among the small boys of 
the village until the supply was exhausted. After that saloon- 
keepers found it necessary to keep their bins of empty bottles 
under lock and key. About the first spending money the writer 
ever earned was for these bottles. They were legal tender at 


10 cents each, and that was the smallest coin known in Oregon 
in those days. The line was a failure, technically and finan- 
cially. The wires soon began to break down. Animals and 
men got tangled in them, and runaways and serious injuries 
became so frequent that the adjacent farmers were compelled 
to make common cause and strip the wire from the poles. Coils 
of it were seen for years on fence stakes and other places where 
it could be kept out of the way.* 

The telegraph line was completed from Sacramento to Yreka 
October 24, 1861, but it was not until March 5, 1864, that it 
reached Portland. September 4 of that year it reached 
Olympia, and October 26, Seattle. From that time until the 
completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad across the conti- 
nent, in 1883, while the telegraph served the newspapers and 
business needs of Oregon and Washington, the mail service 
was a never-ending source of frauds, injustice and hardships 
to the general public. The Oregon Railroad was begun in 
1868, but not completed until 1887, and the Northern Pacific, 
begun at Kalama in 1871, reached Tacoma in 1873. Those 
sections of railroad, joined to steamboat service on the 
Columbia River and Puget Sound, helped to better mail and 
passenger service, but one reading the newspapers of the 
Northwest will find the mail service under discussion and 
complaint year in and year out from 1849 to 1883. 

In Portland and the lower Willamette Valley, served by sea 
and gradually by stage, it was bad enough, but as practically 
all the mails for Washington came by way of Portland and 
the wagon road from the Columbia River to Olympia was, in 
winter, notoriously the worst in the world, the trouble of Ore- 
gonians were but a drop in the bucket compared to ours on 
Puget Sound. 

The last link in the telegraph line from St. Louis, Mo., to 
Yreka, in Northern California, was completed October 24, 
1861. This cut off from the Pony Express its most profitable 
business, and it was at once discontinued, and in commenting 

*An insulator, a piece of wire, and a stamp used to stamp the dispatches, is 
in the possession of this Society. 


on this fact the Sacramento Union said : "It is with regret we 
part with the Pony, but it seems to be considered by those who 
established the Express that it has accomplished its mission. 
It effected an important and sudden revolution in the reception 
of news from the Atlantic side and has proved of great benefit 
to the people of California. During the year 1860 the trips by 
pony were made with astonishing regularity rarely varying 
more than a few hours from the time expected. The Pony 
Express also developed the Central route ; it directed public 
attention to it; and by its regular trips in Winter as well as 
summer, demonstrated to the world the practicability of the 
route for mail purposes. The result was a contract for carry- 
ing the Pacific mails overland daily. As that mail is, or ought 
to be, delivered daily, the proprietors of the Pony seem to have 
concluded that the Express is no longer needed." 

The Pony Express was a remarkable enterprise of semi- 
official character, and for a couple of years served to bridge 
over the link of nearly 2000 miles between St. Joseph, Mo., 
and Sacramento, Cal. It was started April 18 ? 1860, and the 
first trip was made in 10 days, lacking seven minutes. More 
than $250,000 were wagered on the result. Miller, one of the 
partners, attended to the details of the inauguration of the 
service. He bought 300 of the fleetest horses he could find in 
the West and employed 125 men, 80 of whom were post riders. 
Men of light weight but known courage and experience on the 
plains were selected. It was necessary that some portions of 
the race against time should be run at the rate of 20 miles an 
hour. The horses were stationed from 10 to 20 miles apart 
and each rider was supposed to ride 60 miles, though it hap- 
pened more than once that when the rider arrived at the end of 
his run he found the other man sick or injured or dead, and 
then the tired rider ran out the other man's stunt. Only two 
minutes could be spared for shifting mails and changing steeds. 
At first, where there were no permanent stations, tents for one 
man and two horses were set up. Single miles were recorded 
as being done in one minute and 50 seconds. The dangers and 
difficulties, fights with Indians, dare-devil feats and hair- 


breadth escapes of these wild riders have furnished themes for 
countless stories during the past 50 years. 

The "star mail routes" and expresses by stage, on horse- 
back and on foot across the plains and all over the Pacific 
Coast would require a separate paper to describe them. Horace 
Greeley, Albert D. Richardson, Schuyler Colfax, Bret Harte, 
"Mark Twain," Joaquin Miller and a host of notable writers 
have perpetuated the memory of notable stage drivers, and 
the route over which they drove. As soon as the constantly 
diminishing space between the ends of the Central and Union 
Pacific railroads made it feasible, stages were run carrying 
passengers and mails. This was also true between Roseburg 
and Yreka, over the Siskiyou and Shasta ranges ; from Monti- 
cello, on the Cowlitz near its mouth, over the Cowlitz Moun- 
tains and to Olympia, on Puget Sound; from The Dalles to 
Goldendale, Yakima and Ellensburg; from Wallula to Walla 
Walla, Waitsburg, Colfax, Spokane and Colville; from Boise 
City to Florence and the mining towns of Idaho and Montana 
and to Salt Lake City. Baker City and the whole of Eastern 
Oregon were for many long years served only by stage. All 
the little towns of the Willamette Valley nestling near the foot- 
hills of the Cascades and the Coast ranges got their mail by 
stage or on horseback, once a week sometimes ; once a month 
at others. All over this whole region of today the daily mail 
and the rural mail delivery are accepted as a matter of course, 
and only a gray-haired man or woman here and there remem- 
bers the old days and the isolation and privations of pioneer 



(Printed from copy made by Mias Agnes C. Laut in 1905 from the original in the Hudson's 
Bay Company's House, London, England) 



Readers of the Quarterly will recall the publication of the 
Journals of Peter Skene Ogden in Volumes 10 and 11, record- 
ing the explorations and fur trapping experiences of that ener- 
getic H. B. Co. fur trader in Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Nevada 
between the Cascade Mountains and the main range of the 
Rockies during the years 1825 to 1829 inclusive. 

There is abundant indirect evidence that in the late summer 
of 1829, Mr. Ogden led his company of trappers to the south- 
ward from Fort Walla Walla, through Eastern Oregon and 
along the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Range and into 
Southern California, and that merely a detached party visited 
the Snake Country of Southern Idaho. But there is no record 
available and it is necessary to pass by the experiences of that 
year's journey with the hope that the original journal will be 
found at some future time. Upon the return of Mr. Ogden in 
the early summer of 1830 it was found that by orders from 
Gov. Simpson he had been transferred to the trade along the 
Coast in company with Mr. Finlayson, and the command of the 
Snake Country Brigade had been assigned to Mr. John Work, 
a very worthy successor. Mr. Work was of Irish descent and 
his name is properly spelled Wark. In this Quarterly (Vol. 10, 
page 296 et seq.), has already appeared an account of a journey 
made by him in the spring of 1830 from Fort Colvile to Fort 
Vancouver and a brief mention of his career. 

Mr. Work's journals for at least two expeditions are avail- 
able for use in this Quarterly, and that for only the first part of 
the expedition of 1830-31 is now given. This is another of 


the transcripts made by Miss Agnes C. Laut from the original 
in the Hudson's Bay Company's House in London; it (the 
transcript) is now a part of the Ayers Collection in the New- 
berry Library of Chicago, and through the courtesy of that 
Library this copy has been obtained. 

The track of Mr. Work's party in 1830 follows very closely 
that of Mr. Ogden in the Fall of 1827, for which compare 
with Vol. II, page 355 et seq., of this Quarterly. From Fort 
Walla Walla, at the mouth of the Walla Walla River, across 
the Blue Mountain range and through the valleys of the Grand 
Ronde, Powder and Burnt Rivers to the Snake River at Hunt- 
ington and on to the mouth of the Payette River it follows very 
nearly the scientifically recorded journey of John C. Fremont 
in 1843. Thence Mr. Work followed up the Payette River 
for two days, crossed over to the Boise River and from the 
sources of one of the forks of that river over to the Camas 
Plains and the waters of the Malade River in Southern Idaho. 
He then visited in turn the branches of that river and of the 
Lost River and proceeded across the lava bed plateau to the 
Blackfoot and the Portneuf Rivers. Evidently the intent was 
to trap pretty thoroughly the very sources of the various 
streams already named. It is of interest to recall that the year 
1830 found in the camps of the American trappers in the Snake 
country some of the "mountain men" who afterward took an 
active part in the early government of Oregon, namely, Joseph 
L. Meek, Doc. Robt. Newell, Joseph Gale and others. 

August 1830. 

Sunday 22. On the 15th the Snake Trappers whom I am 
appointed to take charge of reached Fort Nez Perces 1 from 
Fort Vancouver with their supplies. The following days were 
occupied arranging about horses. On the 20th they moved off 
from the fort. I remained two days to arrange papers and 
accounts to write letters and this morning followed and came 
up with camp near the foot of the Blue Mountains on a branch 2 

1 Fort Nez Perce is the original Northwest Company's name for the trading 
post erected by them in the summer of 1818 and later known as Fort Walla Walla; 
for description of the building of the Fort, consult Alex. Ross's "Fur Hunters of 
the Far West." 

2 This branch stream was probably Pine Creek, which empties into the Walla 
Walla River at the town of Touchet, sixteen miles east of Fort Walla Walla; the 
horses belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company were herded on what is still known 

as the Hudson s Bay ranch on this creek. 


of the Walla Walla. I reckon the distance 24 miles E. S.-E. 
The party consists of 37 men, 4 hired servants, a slave, 3 2 
youths, in all 40 able to bear arms and armed, and 29 women 
and 45 children (22 boys, 23 girls), a total of 114 souls. These 
are provided with 21 lodges to shelter them, 272 horses and 
mules, 337 traps. The horses are pretty well loaded with pro- 
visions, as the journey lies through a country where animals 
are scarce. In the above party are 26 Canadians, 2 Americans, 
6 half-breeds from east of the mountains, 2 Iroquois, 1 Nip- 

Monday, 23 Aug. Sultry weather. Moved 8 miles E. S.-E. 
to the foot of the mountains, where we encamped 4 on a small 
branch of the Walla Walla. Our journey is to last a twelve- 
month, and we must take care of our horses at the beginning. 

Tuesday, 24 Aug. Early on the move and camped in 5 
hours east of the summit of the mountains. Four Cayuse 
Indians going to the buffalo hunt joined us. They have no 
women, but one of them has a slave girl who followed him and 
was sent back twice ; but today again came up. On her refusing 
to return, he shot her, the ball wounding 3 places, but not 
mortally. This is the way of treating disobedience. I made 
him to understand that the whites did not suffer such occur- 
rences among them. 

Thursday 26th. Encamped at entrance 5 of Grand Ronde 
River. All hands employed getting lodge poles to pass the 

Monday 30th. Proceeded to Powder River through a fine 

Thursday, 2 Sept. Proceeded to Burnt River. Kanota 
killed 2 antelope. Dupard & Pritchett took 5 beaver. 

3 Not a "gentleman of color" from the South, but a captive from some other 
tribe and usually designated as such by having his hair cut short. This slave 
gave a good account of himself before his death soon after, as will be seen a 
little further on. 

4 Probably near either Blue Mountain Station on Dry Creek or the town of 
Weston on Pine Creek, both in Umatilla County, Oregon; from this place they 
crossed the Blue Mountain divide the following day. 

5 This is at Summerville, Union County, Oregon, formerly known as Indian 
Valley: after four days here they passed through the Grande Ronde Valley and 
over the divide to Powder River. 


Sunday, 5 Sept. Proceeded to Snake River, 6 here about 200 
yards wide. 

Tuesday, 7 Sept. Alex Carson who is to take charge of 5 
men, Depat, Cloustine, Sanders, Turner & Jean Ba'tiste, crossed 
the river northward to hunt the Wazer7 and Payette's Rivers 
and cross the waters to some of the branches of Salmon River. 
A party was sent last year but too late to cross the waters they 
did not do well. These are to be at Nez Perces (Fort) the 
10th of July (next). This reduces us 6 men, 4 women, 30 
horses. We are still strong enough to oppose the Blackfeet. 

Thursday 9th. Reached the discharge of Payette's River 
up which we proceeded. Payette found a horse here among 
the Snakes stolen 3 yrs. ago. The Indian pleaded he had traded 
it, but got from Payette only a knife. 

Saturday llth. Marched S. E. from Payette's River to 
Reid's River 8 to the south flat, to the north mountains. 

Monday, 13 Sept. Cut across to Sickly River ;9 here we 

Thursday 16th. Pritchett's wife in labor we did not move 
camp. Kanota & Etang returned with 7 beaver. The woman 
delivered of a boy. 

Sunday 19. Reached Little Camas Plain. 10 . 

Saturday, 25 Sept. Fine weather : encamped near the moun- 
tains. The people all out in different directions hunting. At 
8 p. m., about an hour and a half after we encamped, one of 
the men, Thomas Tanateau, came running to the camp afoot 
almost out of his senses with fear and related that as he P. L, 
Etang, Baptiste Tyagnainto & L. Kanote's slave were 
going to their traps on the upper part of the stream in the 
mountain, they were set upon by a war party of Blackfeet and 
his three companions killed on the spot, that he barely escaped. 

6 Huntington, Oregon, having come by way of Powder River and Burnt 

7 The Weiser River in Idaho; called the Wazer by Arrowsmith. 

8 The Boise River, known as Reed's River after John Reed of the Astor 
party who started a trading post at its mouth. 

9 The Malade, or Wood River of present maps; but the party can hardly have 
reached it yet. 

10 Not far northeast but across the ridge from Mountain Home on the Oregon 
Short Line Ry. 


Five of my men were in camp. Some soon arrived & we put 
ourselves in a state of defence and made pens for our horses. 
The men scanned the hills in vain for the enemy. Three 
Cayuse Indians with us found poor L'Etang and the slave mur- 
dered, stripped and the latter scalped. Baptiste was still alive. 
They brought him to camp through the dark. He is wounded 
but not dangerously and gives the following account of the 
melancholy occurrence. The four were ascending a steep hill 
afoot leading their horses and not paying attention to the sides 
of the road when Indians started up from the long grass and 
fired then rushed and seized him but not before he discharged 
his gun and killed one. He called on the slave to fire when the 
Indians rushed upon the latter and killed him. In the interim 
Baptiste ran to cover in a tuft of willows where he hid till the 
Cayuse found him, gun powder horn and shot pouch were torn 
from him. L'Etang made no defence. The slave killed one 
when he fired and it was his struggle enabled B to escape. 
^Thomas was not wounded. His pursuers were near taking him 
but heard Kanota's rifle fired at a deer. The Indians made off 
without taking time to mangle the bodies as they are wont to 
do scalping only the slave. The enemy consisted of 20 men 
their motive to get horses and arms. Another man, F. Cham- 
paign had a narrow escape. They stole 3 of his traps. These 
men risked (?) themselves but the Snakes being ahead, it was 
thought the Blackft would hang on the rear. Payette and 12 
men interred our unfortunate companions. 4 men arrived from 
Reid's River with 27 beaver ; 42 beaver this day from our own 
river. Sold L'Etang's property by auction. 

Tuesday 28. Encamped on Sickly River where it received 
the Camas Plain River." Country rugged and barren. Black- 
feet tracks are observed prowling about camp. 

Saturday, 2 Oct. Marched N by E to Muskeg Swamp 
where the N. fork of Sickly River has its source. 12 A party 
of Snakes 1 1 years ago took 300 beaver in 2 encampments here. 
Few beaver are here now driven by fire & destroyed by some 

11 At the hot springs about eight miles west of Stanton in Elaine County, 
Idaho; present site of Magic Reservoir of U. S. Reclamation Service. 

12 The North Fork of the Malade would be the Little Wood River of today. 


sickness for there is no sign of recent hunting here. Little 
but reeds growing. The beaver feed on the roots. Whether 
this causes the sickening quality of the flesh or the roots, 
several of the people are sick from eating the beaver. Hem- 
lock is also found the roots of which cause the flesh to be 
poisonous. 13 

Sunday, 10 Oct. One of the men who went up the river 
brought back news he had met a party of 20 American hunters 
just arrived from Snake River across the plains. They had 
been 2 days without water. One of them an Iroquois called 
Pierre, 14 who deserted from us came to our camp; but little 
news was obtained from him. Americans are encamped within 
a short distance of us. 

Tuesday, 12 Oct. Left Sickly River and struck across the 
plain to a small rivulet that bears Bevens' name. Eastward lie 
the plains 1 s towards Snake River. Our object is to search 
Salmon River. There are 2 roads of the same length the 
north branch of Sickly River and the one we take by Goddin's 
River, 16 preferable because level and leading sooner to the 
buffalo for provisions, the people being out of food. Moreover 
the Americans may not follow us by this road not knowing 
our route. Their horses are (s)low but they have no families 
or lodges and little baggage to embarrass them wh. gives 
them an advantage over us. The Americans raised camp be- 
fore us and proceeded up the river, but on seeing us strike 
across the plain they left the river and followed along the foot 
of the mountains and encamped behind where Payette and 
party were defeated by the Blackfeet 2 yrs. ago. I did not see 
a Mr. Rabides who is at the head of the party but it appears 
they are 200 men, 100 hunters. Crooks & Co. are the out- 
fitters. A Mr. Fontenelle 1 ? who manages this business is now 

13 The Malade was so named by Donald Mackenzie because his men were 
made sick by eating beaver there; Alex. Ross reports a similar experience and 
now John Work adds his testimony and explanation. 

14 Evidently the same Pierre who gave Alex. Ross so much trouble in 1825 
in the Bitter Root Valley. 

1 5 The dry lava bed plateau of central southern Idaho, beneath which the 
mountain streams flow to Snake River. 

i6Arrowsmith shows this name of the Big Lost River and Day's River or 
Day's Defile would be the Little Lost River of today. 

17 Consult Chittenden's Hist, of Amer. Fur Trade. A trapper named Robidoux 
is mentioned; also Lucien Fontenelle. Both were with the American Fur Company 
of the Missouri River, with which Ramsay Crooks of Astor Company fame was 


at Snake River with 50 men. They have great quantity of 
goods en cache. They have been hunting on the Upper Snake. 
They were set upon by the Blackfeet on Yellowstone River 
and 18 men killed. They had intended to go to the Flatheads 
this fall but were deterred by the advanced season. 

Thursday, 14 Oct. A. (?) Plante, M. Plante, P. Findlay, 
& Payette killed each a buffalo. Are now in a barren country 
covered with wormwood. 

Wednsy. 20. Reach what is called the Fountain & a swamp 
where Goddin's River has its source. A road here thro' the 
mountains to Days' Defile : A road also from the south. Buf- 
falo are numerous but the Banock Snakes have driven off the 

Saturday 23rd. The women availed themselves of the hot 
springs to wash their clothes. 

Tuesday, 2nd Nov. Camped near head of Day's River. 
Three years ago a party of freemen wintered here with Mr. 
McKay 18 we met 2 Flatheads. Their camp is 6 days' march 
off, very strong, Flatheads, Pendant d'Oreilles and Spokanes 
with Nez Perces being together. 

Saturday, 6 Nov. The two Flatheads left to-day. I wrote 
by them to Mr. C. F. McLoughlin apprising him of our route. 

Tuesday, 23rd Nov. A party of Freemen under Mr. Ogden 
passed the winter here some years ago. There was neither ice 
nor snow in the valley then. 

Sunday, 28 Nov. Stormy cold weather snow showers (?) 
and drifting. Crossed the height of land 12 miles S. E. The 
snow 2 ft. deep. The horses are jaded. People are fatigued. 
Large herds of buffalo are about. 

Wednesday, Dec. 1. Proceeded to the entrance of Day's 
Defile. 1 ? Six of the men, August Finlay at the head of the 
party, O. Finlay, M. Finlay, A. Hoole ( ?). A. Plante and Bte 
Gardipie separated from camp and took the road round the 

18 Consult Mr. Ogden's journal for winter of 1828 when he was so anxious 
about this Thos. McKay party; the latter was son-in-law of Chief Factor John 
McLoughlin at Fort Vancouver. 

19 Where the river canyon opens upon the plain, which they crossed a few 
days later in about the line of branch line of Oregon Short Line of today to the 
Blackfoot Mountains east of the Snake River and City of Blackfoot. 


end of the mountain. These men are all half Indians. The 
two roads meet at the end of a few day's march, the road 
thro the pass is hilly, and uneven (depth) of snow 2 ft. Horses 
gave out on the way. Excellent feeding at camp half way. 
Herds of buffalo observed in the valley. 

Dec. 9, Thursday. Crossed plains to a dry branch of God- 
din's River. 

Friday 17th. Arrived ( ? ) of Snake River lower 

end of Blackfoot Hill. Found good feeding for horses and a 
great many Snakes are encamped around. Loss of horses alto- 
gether crossing plains 26. Cold caused the loss. The Ameri- 
cans hunted this quarter summer and fall. Lately a party of 
them crossed the mountains to White River to winter. We 
found poor L'Etang's rifle among the Snakes, picked up in 
bushes where Blackfeet had camped. 

Tuesday, 21 Dec. Clear and cold. Large party of Snakes 
paid us a visit on horseback as a mark of friendship passed 3 
times round our camp firing volleys. They were well armed 
and wore the scalps and mangled remains of the 2 Blckft 
whom they killed 2 days ago suspended from their horses' 

January, 1831. 

New Year's day. None of the people went hunting. They 
endeavored to regale themselves. Each man was treated with 
a dram of rum and some cakes. 

2nd Sunday. Foggy late last night 16 Flathds and Nez P 
came from the American camp 20 at White River on the E. side 
of the waters. They are afoot. Have been 10 days on the 
journey. They sold their horses to the Americans at high 
prices and now wear blankets of blue green and white besides 
having guns, rifles and beads. The Americans are to come 
this way in spring to form a post among the Flatheads. The 
Americans have 2 parties 6 chiefs and a great many men. 

March, Thursday 17. Cloudy rain cold. The Snakes are 

20 Probably this refers to the vicinity of Ft. Bridger on a branch of Green 
River and to the trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, the partnership 
of Fitzpatrick, Jackson and Sublette. This was the company with which Meek, 
Newell and Gale were associated. Arrowsmith shows a White Mud River, which 
would be our Bear River. 


moving off down the river. The chief the Horn 21 and a few 
old men paid us a visit. 

Friday 18. Moved camp across the plain to Portneuf ( ?) 

(The rest of this continued to another volume). 



Colubia River, Oct. 2, 1836. 

To Brothers Wm. & Edward Porter & their wives : 
Very Dear Brothers and Sisters 

It gives me great pleasure that I am permitted to say, the 
Lord has brought us safely through our long, doubtful jour- 
ney ; and that our eyes have actually seen the long, long, long- 
vvished-for Walla Walla, the end of our journey of 4100 miles. 
By the blessing of God, we arrived here on the 3rd of Sep., 
seven months and three days from the time myself and wife, 
left her father's house, a clay that will I think be long remem- 
bered by us ; a day may I not ask, that will be set apart by 
that little band at least of dear friends : (oh my soul, shall I 
never see them again!) assembled in that sacred room on the 
day of our departure, as a day of prayer and thanksgiving to 
that God, who has sustained, and finally brought to completion, 
the hazardous expedition undertaken by the missionaries of 
the Board. I cannot realize that I have crossed the Rocky 
mountains since the morning I drove sorrowfully out of 
Prattsburgh, and am now actually on the banks of the 
terrible Columbus, but it is really so. I have already been paid 
a thousand fold by what my eyes have seen, and all America 
with her gold and happiness could not purchase a place for 
me in the states, if I must leave these poor heathen standing 
thick around, pleading with their own tongues, actually, for 

21 Probably the same chief named The Horse in Mr. Ogden's journal. 

22 This letter was secured through the late Prof. R. K. Warren, of Portland, 
a native of Bath, New York, about eighteen years ago. George H. Himes, Assistant 
Secretary Oregon Historical Society. - 


the bread of eternal life, unpitied. Call my anxiety that I 
coldly expressed for the poor heathen when in the states, 
enthusiasm, madness or any other name which closed up the 
pulpit in my beloved Seminary against me as I passed last 
spring, and gave occasion for my beloved father in theology 
and one of the professors to absent themselves from the cele- 
bration of our departure, held in the Cong. Church of Cincin- 
natti; the snowbanks of the Rocky mountains did not kill it, 
the hot blasts of the sandy desert did not wilt it, but the actual 
sight of what fancy only pictured before, told me in voice of 
thunder, I had not pleaded the cause of the heathen, only 
attempted it. Oh that our churches at home could see and feel 
what their missionaries witness every day on heathen ground ! 
There would be a very different story told in their pulpits, and 
a very different one told on their treasurer's books. 

For particulars respecting the journey I must refer you to 
my letter to Mr. Green, if published, which occupies four or 
five sheets and consequently cannot be written over to every 
individual friend. I will however give a brief sketch, and 
first, you will please connect the following points with a line 
on some map which will give our route, very nearly. From 
Liberty, Mo., 300 miles above St. Louis, up the south side of 
Missouri river to mouth of Platte, Lat. 41 degrees, longitude 
95 degrees, up the north side of Platte to the forks Lat. 41 
degrees, Long. 102 degrees up the north fork to Ft. William 
of N. F. Co., foot of the mountains, Lat. 41 degrees 50 minutes, 
Long. 106 degrees, 40 minutes. This fort has been built three 
or four years, raises grain, and have fine cattle. Up the west 
branch still, till a few days of rendezvous, a place appointed 
this year on Green river, a branch of the Colorado, to meet 
all the trappers perhaps 300 of the Co., in the mountains ; also 
the Indians that came to trade. Then about 42 degrees, 56 
minutes, Long. 110 degrees, 5 minutes, S. W. into the borders 
of Mexico onto the waters of Timpanagos or Salt Lake, so 
called from its depositing great quantities of salt, Lat. 41 de- 
grees, 50 minutes, Long. Ill degrees, 25 minutes, south of this 
lake. I have just learned there is a fine country of land, well 


timbered with pine, oak, and what is unknown so far as I have 
been able to learn in any other part of the mountains, sugar tree. 
No winter, grass green through the year, Utaws and Navihoes 
in the vicinity, wild Indians, no man safe among them. Navi- 
hoes raise great quantities of grain, cattle, sheep, etc., and make 
their own clothing, and have their own religion, reject the Cath- 
olics of California, could be reached without doubt by any other 
religion. Who will go ? Thence west to Fort Hall, on Snake or 
Lewis river, Lat. 42 degrees, 13 minutes, Long. 113 degrees. This 
fort was built in 1834 by Capt. Whyeth of Boston, who came 
that year into the country to engage in the fur trade and with 
whom the missionaries Lees came. No female accompanied 
them. Here turnips have been raised but too frosty for farm- 
ing. Some timber on a small spot and apparently several thous- 
and acres of good soil. This is a dangerous situation, in the 
vicinity of the Black Feet, a blood-thirsty Indian tribe, fre- 
quently at the gates of the fort, have destroyed many lives 
and stolen hundreds of horses. From this fort, north of west 
down Snake river, to Snake Fort at the junction of Wood and 
Snake rivers, Lat. 44 degrees 10 minutes, Long. 116 degrees 20 
minutes, called Wood river from its having a little timber on 
it, a species of poplar called cotton wood, found abundant in 
the western states, and the only timber except a little pine 
sometimes on the mountains, found whenever any is found 
in the mountains. This fort was built last year by the Hudson 
Bay Co., where 16 years ago a fort, and all the men except one 
were cut up. On Wood river there is considerable land not 
subject to frosts, a favorable situation for settlement, the first 
we met with from fort W., a distance of 1050 miles. This is 
a safe country ; Indians friendly. Snakes and Bonnocks. From 
this fort northwest to Walla Walla, at the junction of Colum- 
bia and Walla Walla rivers Lat. 40 degrees 10 minutes Long. 
119 degrees 15 minutes. This fort was built 19 years ago by 
the Hudson Bay Co. Much good land up the Walla Walla 
river some 50 miles; timber plenty near the mountains, some 
90 or 100 miles ; none within 60 miles of the fort, except flood 
wood down the Columbia ; fertile spots of 5 or 20 acres within 


16 or 18 miles. Abundance of corn, potatoes, peas, garden 
vegetables, cattle, hogs &c., raised here. Natives very friendly, 
formerly very dangerous cannibals, one man perfectly safe 
among them anywhere now. Cheyooses 2 ^ [sic] and Walla Walla 
speaks the Nez Perces language; one of us will probably 
settle on the W. river. About six days to Walla mountains, 
the valleys became covered with a short fine bunch grass, evi- 
dently a very strong species of grass, from the fact that cattle 
and horses grow very fat on it, summer or winter. Our cattle 
were in good flesh when they ended their long journey. They 
are now good beef. The cattle and horses of this country ex- 
ceed for fatness, anything I ever saw in the states. This grass 
extends for hundreds of miles around. The Walla Walla 
country is consequently good for herding. The system of the 
Hudson Bay Co. forbids them to sell cattle to any person, even 
their own traders or clerks. They will lend to any extent, none 
killed. In this way, the country is fast filling up with cattle. 
However, a few have been killed this year at Vancouvers, and 
Dr. McLoughlin has ordered Mr. Pembran 2 3 a to kill one fat ox 
at this fort we are to have half of it. There are at Vancou- 
ver, 700 head of cattle ; from 20 to 100 at several other posts. 
Three days after arriving at this fort we started on a visit to 
Vancouver, 300 miles; went down the Columbia in a boat pro- 
pelled by six oarsmen, were detained two days by head winds, 
and reached Vancouver the seventh day. We were very 
kindly received by Dr. McLoughlin the chief factor in Colum- 
bia. We were much disappointed at the abundance of neces- 
saries and comforts of life here to be obtained, and cheaper 
than in the city of New York, from the fact that all goods come 
to this country free of duties. Two ships from London this 
year heavily ladened with goods. Two now in port, one from 
the Sandwich Islands : both sent this fall. Two more expected 
soon from the coast. The company have also a steamboat 
for the coast. The farm at Vancouver produced 4,000 bushels 
of wheat and other grains except corn, in proportion. The 
Dr. has a beautiful garden of about 15 acres, containing all 

23 Cayuses. 

233 Mr. Pambrun, 


manner of fruit. As soon as we get a location, we shall, Provi- 
dence permitting, supply ourselves with fruit trees. I will 
name some: Apple, peach, plum, cherry, grape, prunes, etc. 
We left our wives at Vancouver till we find a location and 
build, as they can be better accommodated there than in this 
place. Two white women arrived at Vancouver before them. 
The farmer's wife in the spring and the Rev. Mr. Beaver's 
wife in the ship just arrived. We remained at Vancouver a 
week, returned in 12 days with the boat heavy laden with sup- 
plies for us, such as flour, pork, butter, tallow, salt, farming 
utensils, Indian goods, etc., etc. The Columbia is the most 
frightful river I ever saw navigated by any craft. The Cas- 
kades or rapids, about 100 miles from Vancouver and 200 
miles from the ocean, it is easy passed with any craft from 
there to the mountains, a distance of 700 miles it is a swift 
current, frequent rapids, three or four compressed channels and 
one or two falls I believe there are six in the whole river, 
three between this and Vancouver. Portages are made of 
property, one of boat and property carried by 50 or 100 Indians 
for a small piece of tobacco. Tide sets up 50 miles above 
Vancouver. Probably a larger quantity of water must flow 
than in the Mississippi, but it is frequently pressed into a 
channel of ten rods. Many lives are lost in this river. None 
but Canadians and Indians would ever think of navigating this 
terrible Columbia. Last night we had a little shower of rain, 
the first drop in this region since the first of May and the first 
we have experienced since the 24th of June as we were entering 
the mountains. Air is very pure and healthy. I think this the 
healthiest country in the world. Rain is plentiful in Columbia 
in the winter season; water in this country is most delicious. 
We have become so attached to our mode of living as to prefer 
a lodging in the open air to indoors. The atmosphere at night 
is exhilarating. 

Have just returned from exploring the Walla Walla river. 
Doct. W. has found an excellent strip of land ; timber sufficient 
in 25 miles instead of 50; rich soil extends for about 12 miles 
in length; beneath [beyond?] on the mountains in about four 


miles of this building spot is the greatest country I've seen 
yet. His location is about east of this. Brother Gray and 
the men will go to building immediately. Doct. W. and myself 
expect, God willing, to go into the Nez Perces country on the 
9th. Several Nez Perces have arrived to conduct us to their 
country. My beloved chief, spoken of in several letters, who 
came out to meet Mr. Parker, Dr. Whitman and myself, and 
who has stuck by us from the beginning, I think will be here 
tomorrow. The Nez Perces are certainly the handsomest In- 
dians I ever saw, the most friendly, a most likely of the red 
men and live better than any other tribes on this side of the 
mountain. The Cheyoos among whom Doctor_has settled, next ; 
the Walla Walla's next. All these speak the Nez Perces lan- 
guage. But as we pressed west the Indians became more 
wretched and filthy. The women have a small covering about the 
loins, the men are entirely naked, with no appearance of shame. 
You may frequently see four or five hunting in each other's 
herd [heads] and eating the prey. They were formerly in the 
habit of shooting all the horses of a chief over his grave. I saw 
a large pile of horse bones the other day in such a place. This 
custom the Hudson Bay. Co. have broken up. It was once the 
custom, if a mother died at any time within six weeks after the 
birth of a child, to bury the living child with the mother. This 
custom was also broken up by the Company. There has been 
no case until now for five years. A Walla Walla woman 
died soon after the birth of a child. The father gave a 
horse for another woman to nurse the child; three days after, 
the father of the mother, took the child and buried it alive 
with its mother. The father of the child takes it very hard. 
The women of this country are great gamblers; six or eight 
of them will frequently stake property, especially among the 
Nez Perces, to the amount of $500.00 mostly ornaments. Let 
me tell the dear Christian ladies who lay out the Lord's money 
to appear fine, could they see a Nez Perces woman with 
herself and house [horse] equipped, pass through one of their 
cities, they would go to their drawing room, take down their 
sham trappings and cast them into the fire, as not worth notic- 


ing in comparison with the splendid equipage of a Nez Perces 
lady and her milk-white steed. 

You will hardly believe when I tell you, that Mr. Pambra 
[Pambrun] who has done so much to forward our object, 
spending more than a month in traveling with us, and has 
been with us to look at a location, and says he will do every- 
thing in his power to help us, and wishes us to take his children 
to bring up, is a Roman Catholic. 

Tell your dear children all, I remember them. Have seen 
5000 Buffalo at once probably. Hope they will all become 
missionaries. Letters or a box of good clothing can come to 
us by way of the Sandwich Islands. Direct, postpaid to Rev. 
David Green, Boston, to Doct. McLoughlin, chief actor of 
the H. B. Co., Vancouver. Tell Mr. and Mrs. Bridges I am 
much pleased with their new relation. I supposed Miss Hop- 
kins was to marry Mr. Bull, till I received your letters. Get 
all the good friends in P. to write six sheets in one letter to 
me. Give my love to your dear father and all friends in P. 


P. S. Oct. 20, Vancouver. God has brought me back to 
this place. Since I left Utica, I have traveled 5,300 and my 
wife 4,900 miles ; we have yet to travel 425 to end our wander- 
ings. The Lord directed us to a favorable location, among the 
Nez Perces, 125 miles east of Walla Walla, and 12 east of 
Lewis river on a river putting in from the north called Koos- 
koos. The Nez Perces are much rejoiced that I have found a 
place. They say, "only let us know what you want, and it 
shall be done at once." They are to meet me at Walla Walla, 
the 15th of November to take all my effects to their country. 
In the meantime, God willing and assisting, I expect to take 
a boat load of supplies with the hands up the river while Doct. 
W. remains to prepare his house. 


Mrs. Spalding writes in fhe same letter to Mrs. O. and C. 
Porter : 
Dear Sisters : 

Allow me the privilege of addressing you a few lines through 
the medium of Mr. Spalding's letter, which after reading what 
he has written respecting the state of my health during the 
greater part of our journey you doubtless will receive not only 
as the voice of one from the far West but of one from another 
world. But bless the Lord with me, dear sisters, for His 
preserving mercy which has brought our little company through 
that long and hazardous journey in good health and under 
favorable circumstances in every respect. Mrs. Whitman and 
myself have spent our time since the 12th of September at 
Vancouver in the family of Dr. McLoughlin where we have 
been favored with all the attentions and luxuries of life desir- 
able. The principal exercise our situation here affords us is 
walking in the garden, to which place we frequently resort to 
feast on apples and grapes, and riding occasionally on horse- 
back. The riding-horses here are high-spirited, trained to 
gallop, and a ride of ten or fifteen miles is performed in a very 
short time. You may think us adepts at performing on horse- 
back after the experience our late journey has afforded us. I 
was thrown from my horse twice in consequence of his taking 
fright and becoming unmanageable, [sic] but received no seri- 
ous injury. I have been wonderfully and I sometimes almost 
think miraculously preserved and brought through a journey I 
often thought I could not survive. Surely the mercies of the 
journey demand our consumate [sic] gratitude. I long to 
exchange my present comfortable situation for one among the 
poor Nez Perces where I can spend the strength which I have 
wholly regained in laboring to benefit them. I did not leave my 
friends and all I hold dear and valuable in my native country to 
reap the comforts and luxuries of life in a land of strangers. No, 
I trust the only object I had in view in coming to this heathen 
land was to labor for the temporal and spiritual good of those 
whose minds are enshrouded in heathen darkness. I long to 
see their precious souls enlightened and interested in the bless- 


ings of that gospel which brings life and immortality to light. 
Remember and pray for us that we may labor successfully for 
the promotion of our Master's cause in this heathen land. A few 
words to the little folks. Tell them we often think how happy 
they must be to have kind parents to take care of them, give 
them good food and clothes and books and send them to school 
where they can learn much that will be very useful to them. 
We have seen a great many Indian children who have no 
clothes and never have bread or anything very good to eat. 
They sometimes get a little meat but when they have no meat 
they eat roots, grass, seeds, crickets and a great many bad 
things. They are very poor children and know nothing about 
God. Dear children, is not your condition a happy one indeed ? 




Oregon City, Willamette Falls, O. T. 

27th June, 1845. 
My Dear Friends : 

As Dr. White is on the eve of starting with a small party for 
the United States, I avail myself of the opportunity to return 
you my most sincere thanks for your long and affectionate 
letter bearing date 15th of March, 1844, which was gratefully 
received on the 5th of December of the same year. 

I have read it until it is completely and entirely worn out ; the 
fragments I have carefully deposited in my desk and frequently 
refer to them as the only reward for the innumerable and 
lengthy letters written by me for the last four or five years. 

I console myself with the hope that you may do better for 
the future. 

It was gratifying to me to hear that you were all in the 
enjoyment of health and prosperity for the continuation of 
which you have my best wishes. 


Well Cozs Theophilus arfd Jane are married this is no more 
than I expected to hear. I wish them all the joy imaginable 
together with a dozen pledges of affection. 

I suppose that I may never expect to see a line from either 
of them again, as the objects which await their attention at 
present is of more interest than a wandering cousin. 

If Aunt Peggy, Sally, Harriet and Jessie had all formed 
similar connections, I suppose that I might have waited for a 
letter until the year nineteen hundred and a long time to come. 
As for David, he never would condescend to correspond with 
me, and Miss Margaret and Joseph 2 * seem to partake of the 
same disposition. Uncle and Aunt would be excusable for not 
writing if they would only make the others do it. 

Harriet expresses a wish that I should bring her some 
'curiosities when I return. I can only give her the assurance 
that I have a large quantity of them collected, but the period of 
my return depends very much upon circumstances. This likely 
leads you to make the injury of what I am about. You will 
laugh heartily at the answer ; however, you shall have it, since 
I am confident that your critical remarks will have but little 
tendency to lower the dignity of the Supreme Judge of Oregon. 

I am engaged in reading law and discharging the duties of 
the above mentioned office for which I receive a salary of five 
hundred dollars per year, besides all the fees for probate busi- 
ness, which swells the amount to about $600. 

I am well, doing well and well satisfied. I am sorry that 
I have not room to give you a history and description of our 
Government and laws, but I hope that you will not form an 
unfavorable opinion of it from the fact that you happen to 
be acquainted with one of its most important officers. 

We have five organized counties, the Gov., Judge, Sheriff, 
Recorder, Attorney, Treasurer and Assessor are State officers 
and operate for the whole, and hold two courts in each county 
annually; the Justices form the inferior courts. We have a 
Legislature composed of thirteen members who have now just 
commenced their annual session at this place which is the seat 
of Government. 

24 Joseph G. Wilson, who came to Oregon in 1852, was elected to Congress in 
1872, and died July 2, 18733 cousin of Mr. Nesmith. 


I was appointed to my present office in December last to 
fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Dr. Babcock, 
who left for New York by water. I received the nomination 
of the Champoeg Convention and ran for the office at the 
election which took place on the first Tuesday of the present 
month at which I received the unanimous vote of the whole 
Territory happening to be on all tickets, two of which I send 
you enclosed which were printed for Champoeg County. They 
are the first tickets printed in Oregon. You should preserve 
them as curiosities. 

The question of adopting a constitution was before the people 
at the late election, but was rejected. All names marked thus X 
on the tickets were elected. Everything appears prosperous 
and flourishing in the colony. 

By the Brig Cowlitz from California via the Sandwich 
Islands, we have American and English papers up to the first 
of January, 1845, which informs us that Polk is elected 
and Texas annexed, also a revolution in California. The 
patriots will be reinforced from this place, 

Don't fail to write every opportunity ; you can send letters by 
the Hudson Bay Co.'s express by paying the postage to Mon- 
treal or Quebec, direct to Fort Vancouver, Columbia River. 

Dr. White, U. S. Sub. Ind. Agent west of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, will bear this letter to the States, as he goes through 
Cincinnati ; he may call on you. If he does, I know that you 
will receive him kindly for my sake. He is a most worthy 
man, indefatigable in the discharge of his duties, full of his 
urbanity and kindness, besides being my particular personal 
and political friend. 

Law books are scarce here. I sent last year to St. Louis for 
a few volumes, but have heard nothing from the agent since. 
We have a very good circulating library in town, but few books 
that are of much aid in the study of law. 

The Cowlitz brought President Tyler's message ; we are all 
waiting with great anxiety to see what Congress will do for 


Three more merchant Bris are expected in daily ; one from 
New York, which left January last and will bring us a printing 
press, 25 the funds to pay for which was raised at this place by 

It affords me but little satisfaction to write to you, as I wish 
to say so many things, and have room for so few. If I could 
only be with you I could tell you more in half an hour than I 
could write in a week. I shall write you again in the latter 
part of this summer, which I will send to the Islands and over- 
land through Mexico. You will likely receive it as soon nearly 
as you do this. 

With great respect, I remain 



Editor of the Quarterly : 

Some question has always remained as to the personal rela- 
tion of Dr. John McLaughlin toward the accounts he opened 
so freely with the settlers in Oregon after their arrival in such 
destitute circumstances. The following letter written in June, 
1848, by Gov. George Simpson, then in charge of the Hudson's 
Bay Company's affairs in America, to Mr. Archibald McKinlay, 
the chief trader of the Company in charge of their store at 
Oregon City, throws some light upon that question. When 
writing this letter Gov. Simpson was at Norway House on 
Lake Winnipeg, where was usually held the annual council 
with his chief factors and traders and where he passed upon 
the reports from the various districts of the Company's terri- 
tory. The letter was brought to Mr. McKinlay by the express 
leaving Norway House after the council and crossing the 
Rocky Mts. by the Athabasca Pass and arriving at Fort Van- 
couver usually in October. 

25 The press upon which the Spectator was printed February 5, 1846 the first 
newspaper west of the Rocky Mountains in American territory. 


The disturbed state of the Oregon country to which Gov. 
Simpson refers was the Indian war then in progress and 
reported to him in the dispatches from Fort Vancouver in the 
spring of 1848; and the sketch of Oregon City by Paul Kane, 
the artist, would be of interest, if accessible now. An inter- 
esting inquiry arises as to the Mr. McMellan mentioned ; could 
this have been the Mr. McMillan who was on the Columbia 
with David Thompson as early as 1809 and returned east with 
Gov. Simpson from Fort Vancouver in March, 1829, and 
seemingly then retired from the service as far as the Columbia 
District was concerned an efficient and trusted officer ? 

This letter is one of many discovered at the home of a 
son-in-law of Mr. McKinlay, at Savonas, B. C. ; the original is 
now in the Archives Department at Victoria. 


Walla Walla, December, 1912. 

Norway House, 

24th June, 1848. 
Archibald McKinlay, Esqre., 
Willamette Falls. 

My Dear Sir: 

I have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your valued 
communication of 16th March by which I am glad to find that 
all goes on with you at the Willamette Falls as well as might 
be expected from the disturbed state of the Country and the 
poverty and reckless habits of the surrounding population; 
the old outstanding debts come in very slowly and I fear there 
is very little prospect of their ever yielding a dividend of 50%. 

It is very satisfactory to learn that so good an understanding 
exists between Mr. McLoughlin and yourself ; you ought by all 
means to cultivate that gentleman's good will and be as useful 
to him as in your power. I should be glad to learn the nature 
and extent of Mr. McLoughlin and his sons business oper- 


Notwithstanding the wanf of capital among the Willamette 
population you appear to have done good business there during 
the past year, more especially so as it has been conducted on 
the principle of prompt payment from which there ought to be 
no deviation. I was quite surprised by the picturesque and 
respectable appearance of your city at the Falls, exhibited in 
a sketch by Mr. Kane, the doctor's mills form a very con- 
spicuous object. I should be glad to learn how they are likely 
to turn out. 

Your furlough came round this season but as you have not 
availed yourself thereof, lest your absence might be attended 
with inconvenience to the service, which is exceedingly con- 
siderate and laudable, care will be taken that leave of absence 
or change of rotation will be obtained for you in 1850 should 
you desire it; it would be well to apprise me next year if you 
be really determined to go in '50 in order that some other 
gentleman may be provided to fill your place. 

It affords me great satisfaction to learn by letters from Mr. 
McMellan this spring (conveying very favorable reports of 
Mrs. McMellan & their family) they have it in view to come 
out to Canada next year in order to take up their quarters at 
Point Fortune; indeed I think they would have been out this 
year had he been able to dispose of his place in the neighbor- 
hood of Perth to advantage. 

I am full of business, being about taking my departure for 
Canada, which will account for the brevity of this communi- 
cation and hoping to have the pleasure of hearing from you 
next season. 

Believe me to be, 

My Dear Sir, 

Very truly yours, 






CITY, 1850. 

To the Hon. The Senate House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress Assembled : 

The Memorial of the Undersigned Citizens of Astoria, in 
the Territory of Oregon, respectfully showeth : 

That your Memorialists have been informed that a petition 
has been presented, or forwarded for presentation, to your 
Honorable body, for the removal of the Distributing Post 
office and Port of Entry, from Astoria to a place called Pacific 
City, nominally located on Baker's Bay, under Cape Disap- 
pointment on the North side of the Columbia River, and about 
thirteen miles below Astoria. 

Your Memorialists show that the relation of Cape Disap- 
pointment to Astoria is precisely similar to that of Sandy Hook 
to the city of New York ; that Baker's Bay is a place of 
anchorage, formerly used by vessels before the discovery of 
what is called the South Channel, while wind bound in passing 
Cape Disappointment; that vessels passing through the South 
Channel, whether in or out, owing to the prevalent winds of the 
country, suffer no other detention than that attending the 
mouth of any other river, from actual storms ; that, on the 
other hand, vessels passing through the North Channel, under 
Cape Disappointment, are exposed to detention on entering, as 
well as in going out; that they have often been delayed for 
weeks in Baker's Bay when they might have passed on by the 
South Channel at once ; that the anchorage within the bar is 
inferior in Baker's Bay to that under Tansy Point on the south 
side, and vessels lying there are more exposed to the prevalent 
winter storms. 

Your Memorialists further show that since the survey of the 
mouth of the Columbia by Commander Wilkes, the bar has un- 
dergone considerable change ; that the old channel has con- 
tracted, while the South or Clatsop Channel, has straightened 


and deepened; that since the end of February, when the ship 
Louisiana was first taken out by Captain Charles White, our 
Pilot, among nearly a hundred vessels which have crossed the 
bar in entering or going out, not more than ten have passed 
through the old channel or near to Pacific City ; that only one 
vessel ever voluntarily stopped at that port, and that even she 
came in at the South Channel. 

Your Memorialists further show that to all vessels ascending 
or descending the river a saving of some miles in actual distance 
is effected by the present route, as well as of time and peril; 
that vessels of any size which navigate our waters can enter 
by the south channel to Astoria; that the U. S. Steam Ship 
Massachusetts, the Sloop of War Falmouth, the Pacific Mail 
Steamers Carolina & California, have all passed it without 
detention or danger. 

And Your Memorialists further show that the petition for a 
change of the Port of Entry does not come from the people 
of Oregon or express their sentiment, nor does it further the 
interests of commerce ; that it is solely the offspring of specu- 
lators who are seeking to bolster up a fictitious town by the 
transfer of Government patronage from its natural seat. 

Your Memorialists finally show that a survey has recently 
been concluded of this port and harbor by the officers of the 
United States surveying schooner Ewing under Capt. Wm. P. 
Me Arthur, and also a reconnaissance by the joint Commission 
of Army & Navy officers attached to the United States Steamer 
Massachusetts, and they respectfully suggest that before any 
change is contemplated, those officers may be examined as to 
its propriety. 

And Your Memorialists will ever pray, etc. Dated at 
Astoria this 6th day of September, 1850. 



*P. C. DAVIS, 
A. B. McKEAN, 










E. C. CROW, 

J. FROST & Co. 


*The only one in the above list now alive a resident of California. 




Address of Canadian citizens, reasons 
for fixing date of, in 1844, 151-9. 

Agricultural statistics of Willamette 
Valley settlers, 1836-7, 210. 

Amendment, thirteenth to constitution 
of tne United States, ratified by the 
Oregon legislature, 44. 

American civil government organiza- 
tion, sixty-ninth anniversary of cele- 
brated, 225. 

Argus, Oregon, attacks Bush because 
of his change of attitude toward the 
Lincoln Administration, 18-19; in No- 
vember, 1863, is consolidated with 
the Statesman under the name of 
Statesman, 20. 

Astoria Citizens' Memorial protesting 
proposed removal of distributing post 
office and port of entry, 385-7. 



Baker County, centennial of the arrival 
of the first white men in, 85-6. 

BARLOW ROAD, THE, 287-96. 

BARLOW ROAD, experiences in the open- 
ing of the, 261-76; making of the, in 
1846, 280-1. 



BROWN, BERIAH, editor of the "Johnson 
Organ," 55-6; 60. 

BUSH, ASAHEL, in Statesman changes 
attitude toward administration, 16-20; 
retires from editorship of Statesman, 


WAR, 1817-25, 297-337; his adminis- 
tration and reduction of the Army, 
304-9; his report on military roads 
and fortifications, 310-3; his adminis- 
tration of Indian affairs, 313-7; his 
connection with Seminole War and 
annexation of Florida, 317-24; as 
candidate for president, 324-9; per- 
sonality of, 329-34. 

CALHOUN, JOHN C., as Congressman, 

Canadian Settlers of the Willamette 
Valley, address of, on proposed po- 
litical organization, translation of, 
338-40; original text of, 341-3; fac- 
simile of (insertion) between 338-9. 

CLAY, HENRY, 246-8. 

CONDON. THOMAS, research work of, 
provides material for picture of pre- 
historic Oregon, 2. 

Copperhead conspiracy, fear of out- 
break of, 36. 

CORBETT, H. W., elected United States 
Senator, 58-9. 

Corvallis Union (Malone), attacks 
Bush, 19-20. 

CROOKS, RAMSAY, 73; 227-8; 234-9. 

DEADY, MATTHEW P., his characteriza- 
tion of George H. Williams, 34-5; 
though a pro-slavery democrat at 
opening of war votes for Lincoln in 
1864; on the political situation, 1865, 
52; writes to Nesmith on Oregon 
situation, 57; his "scrap book" as a 
source of Oregon history, 67. 

Democratic State Convention, 1864, 31; 
state convention, platform and nomi- 
nations, 1866, 48-50; convention of 
1868, 60-2. 

Democrats, Union, 18-19; in fall of 
1863, 23. 

DORION, MADAME, mother of first white 
child born in Eastern Oregon, 75. 

Elections, result of, 1864, 33; result of, 
1866, 50-1; result of, 1868, 64; Ore- 
gon vote in the presidential election, 
1860, 70. 

Emigrant train, 1842, 350. 

Express service, introduction of into 
Oregon, 1852, 357-8. 


Fur Trade, the lure of, 72. 

GILLIAM, CORNELIUS, appointed postal 
agent for Oregon Country in 1847, 
357; accidentally killed at Well 
Springs, March, 1848, while com- 
manding Oregon forces in Cayuse 
War, 357. 


HARDING, BENJAMIN F., though sup- 
porter of Lincoln administration is 
dropped by Republicans, 33. 

HENDERSON, J. H. D., nominated for 
Congressman, 29. 

History building for Indiana, 87; his- 
torical society buildings discussed in 
conference of historical societies, 87. 

Hudson's Bay Company's system of 
communicating intelligence, 348-9. 

HUNT, WILSON PRICE, 72-3; 228-39. 


Immigration of 1843, 118-9. 

Indians of the Pacific Northwest, their 
methods of communicating intelli- 
gence, 347-8. 

Indian statistics, 200-2. 

JACOBS, ORANGE, candidate for congress 
in Union party, 28. 

Knights of the Golden Circle, 22. 


Laurel Hill (Barlow Road) experiences, 


Lausanne party, 97-8. 
LEE, JASON, as Oregon messenger in 

1838, 349-50. 
Lincoln's majority in Oregon in 1004, 

Liquor in early Oregon, 279-80. 

Loyal League in Oregon, 23-6 (See 

Union League.) 
LUCIER, ETIENNE, credit due to, for 

voting in favor of a provisional 

government, 116-7. 



MACDONALD, FiNAN, commands Snake 
country expedition, 79. 

MACKENZIE, DONALD, and his four 
years of work developing the fur 
trade of 'the Snake country, 75. 

Mail, Oregon, routes, 1845-7, 355-7- 

Mail, Oregon, service, xmsatisfactory to 

general public, 1883, 360. 

MALONE, PATRICK, as editor of Cor- 
vallie Union represents "copperhead 
democracy," 19. 

vivor of May meeting, 1843, 119-20. 

MEEK, JOSEPH L., special messenger to 
Washington to implore aid against 
Indians in Cayuse War, 1847, 353-4- 

MITCHELL, JOHN H., elected president 
of senate and started long political 
career, 34. 


"National Union Convention" and its 
Oregon contingent, 52. 

NESMITH, JAMES W., gives Lincoln 
administration good support, 33; pre- 
fers McClellan in 1864, 35; on Ore- 
gon political situation in 1866, 49-50; 
crushed "between upper and nether" 
political millstone, 57-9. 

NESMITH LETTER, 1845, 379-82. 

Nursery business in early Oregon, 276- 

OGDEN, PETER SKENE, operations of, 
in the Snake Country, 79-83. 

O'MEARA, leader of "Oregon copper- 
heads," 1863, 23; insisted on remain- 
ing unreconstructed, 40. 

Oregon, Barlow's narrative of trip 
across plains to, 251-74. 

Oregon City in 1846, 278-9; 281. 

Oregon constitution, vote on adoption 
of, 69. 

Oregon in age of ice and period fol- 
lowing, 6-8; fauna and flora of in 
prehistoric times, 9-10; human life 
in prehistoric, 10-13. 

Oregon governmental authority during 
period of joint occupancy, 140-1; 
need of more efficient legal machin- 
ery in, seriously felt, 142-3; develop- 
ment of movement for organization, 

Oregon newspapers suppressed as trea- 
sonable, 21. 

Oregon, population of, in 1840-1, 104- 
5; in 1849, 136. 

Oregon railroads, 360. 

Oregon Country, boundary of, 89; dis- 
covery, early exploration of and oc- 
cupation of, 90-1; joint occupancy 
of, 91-2. 



ERS ON THE, 71-84; development of, 
83-4; marking of in Nebraska, 87. 

Oregonian, contends that republicans 
were greatly in the majority in the 
Union party, 27-8; takes congres- 
sional attitude in reconstruction, 40- 
3; straddles negro suffrage issue, 44; 
at issue with Statesman in contending 
that it represented real Union party in 
Oregon, 46; true exponent of Union 
party, 55; comments on efforts to 
commit Oregon democrats to John- 
son, 56. 

Pacific Mail Steamship Company fails 
to observe regulations or contracts in 
carrying Oregon mail, 358. 

Pacific Republic, plotters for a, wait 
for Confederate success and are 
cause of retention of troops in 
Northwest, 21-2. 

Panama railroad as link in rail route 
to Oregon, 359. 

Pioneer reunion, fortieth, 225-6 

PITTOCK, H. L., Union party nominee 
for state printer, 30. 

Political confusion and realignment 
after death of President Lincoln, 

Pony express, 360-2. 

Presidential campaign of 1864 in Ore- 
gon, 35. 


FORMATION, 89-139. 

Provisional Government, reasons for 
forming, 98-104; opposition to, 106-9; 
March meeting preliminary to, 109- 
10 ; May meeting preliminary to, 110- 
3 ; names of persons voting on the 
organization of 114-6; land laws of, 
123-4; work of 1843, 117-8; of 1844, 
124-6; organic law of 1845, 126-30; 
Hudson's Bay Company and the, 
130-5; summary and conclusion, 137- 
9; memorial to Congress, June 28, 
T 845, 351-2; creates Post Office De- 
partment, Dec. 23, 1845 


RAMSAY the Indian pilot, 74. 
REED, JOHN, 74; 233. 

Santa Fe Trail, marking of, in Kansas, 

SCOTT, HARVEY W., begins career as 

editor of Oregonian and serves as 



Secretary of Union State Conven- 
tion, 47. 

Secession Sentiment in Oregon, organi- 
zation of, 22. 

SHIVELY, JOHN M., appointed postmast- 
er at Astoria, 357. 

SIMPSON, SIR GEORGE, letter of, 382-3. 


SLACUM visit to Oregon, reasons 
President Jackson had for requesting, 
175; summary of what Slacum ac- 
complished, 176-7; letter of instruc- 
tions received, 180-1; political and 
statistical data on conditions in Ore- 
gon, 1836-7, 186-91; report of condi- 
tions at missions, 192-5; his interven- 
tion causing the abandonment of dis- 
tillery enterprise, 195-6; Indian sta- 
tistics, 200-2. 

Slavery, Indian, in Oregon, 191-2. 

Slavery as dominant issue in Oregon 
politics, 66. 

Southern immigrants in Oregon, 46; 
affect political situation, 51 ; cause 
democratic victory, 1868, 64-5. 

Spalding letters, 1836, 371-9. 

Star mail routes, 362. 

Statesman, Oregon, attitude of, toward 
administration at opening of war, 
16-7; attitude changes to one of hos- 
tility, 17-20; attempts political read- 
justment after death of Lincoln, 38- 
9; opposes negro suffrage, 44; at- 
tempts a "middle of the road" atti- 
tude, 53-5. 

Telegraph line, construction of, from 
Portland to San Francisco begun, in 
rSss, 359-60; connection between 
California and Portland not com- 
pleted until March 5, 1864, 360. 


T'VAULT, WILLIAM G., Postmaster Gen- 
eral of Oregon, 352; postmaster at 
Oregon City, 357. 

Union League in Oregon, 23-6. 
Union party as substitute for Republi- 
can in Oregon, 27-8; Union state 

convention, 1864, 29; Union state 
convention, 1866, 47; adopts plat- 
form of glittering generalities, 47-8; 
becomes radical, 51-4; name dis- 
carded for "Republican," 59-60. 


Viva Voce ballot law, repeal of, sup- 
ported by democratic members but 
law upheld by Union members, 35. 

Virginia and Kentucky resolutions 
adopted as first plank in democratic 
platform and made center of attack 
by Union party, 31-3. 


Walnuts, black, first in Oregon, 285-6. 

WHITE, DR. ELIJAH, and immigration 
of 1842, 106. 

Whitman massacre, the, 136-7. 

Whitman missionary enterprise, Fiske's 
original version of, in Astoria ad- 
dress, 1892, 162-5; revised version 
of, 165-74. 

Whitman's winter trip to secure retrac- 
tion of order for withdrawal of mis- 
sionaries, 351. 

Whitman-Spalding-Eells mission ordered 
contracted by prudential committee 
of mission board, Feb. 23, 1842, 350. 

WILKES, COMMANDER, on advisability 
of proceeding to political organiza- 
tion, 103-4. 

Willamette or Oregon Cattle Company, 
Slacum's account of, 196-8; articles 
of agreement pertaining to, 208-9. 

Willamette Valley, first settlers in, 92- 
3 : American settlers in, prior to 
1841, 93-7. 

WILLIAMS, CJEORGE H., elected to 
United States Senate, 34; character- 
ization of, by Deady, 34-5. 

"Wolf meeting," the, 109. 


YOUNG, EWING, and Carmichael dis- 
tillery project, documents relating to, 


F Oregon historical quarterly